“A Program Like This Should Spread Like Wildfire”

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Staffer Chelsea Martens sits with Piotr (Peter) Wojcik while he peels an orange. The Butterfly program says touching food, peeling fruit and vegetables in advance of meals helps people with dementia start thinking about food and builds an appetite.(Randy Risling/Toronto Star).

The Toronto Star article “The Fix”, June 20th, 2018, states “in Peel Region, a couple of bureaucrats decided to take a risk on a care model that promotes, well, love…shoving aside the old clinical ways with plans for laughter, friendship, energy, tenderness, freedom and hope”.  And guess what?  It’s working!  Residents, staff and families from one unit are living as a community resulting in a decrease of aggressive incidents, decrease in psychotropic drugs as well as a decrease in staff sick days.

Click here to view the 21 minute video that shows how this unit was transformed. You will be amazed!

Are other municipal politicians gutsy enough to champion real change?  Mayor Tory seems to be.  He wants ‘The Fix’ in other Toronto nursing homes.  Read more here.

It is a mystery why there has not been a revolution to challenge the problems that have plagued our Ontario Long-Term Care Home system for decades.  But we can all start now by forwarding this blog post to all the candidates who will be running in the October Municipal elections to plant the seeds now and to demand that other cities embrace innovation as Peel has done.

As Peel City Councillor Ron Starr said “A program like this should spread like wildfire”.

And please forward this post to your contacts and encourage them to “follow” our blog to build up support for a transformation in our long-term care home system.



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Sharing the “stuff of life” at a Butterfly Care Home in the U.K

Do you know what the main difference is between Ontario’s institutional long-term care home model and the U.K.’s Butterfly Model just adopted by Malton Village Long-Term Care Home in Peel, Ontario?

Relationships, kindness and compassion 

Sound familiar?  That’s because the Butterfly Model is similar to the Hogewey and Eden Alternative models which were highlighted in previous blog posts.

  • All of these 3 models allow time for staff to develop relationships with residents and families.  Our current medical model of care in Ontario does not.
  • The Butterfly model stresses a departure from “a culture of care that believes the best facilities can do for dementia patients is provide physical safety and hold them in a building” to “a transformation in the way people are cared for, with a focus on people’s emotions and the creation of homelike environments and everyday activities people enjoyed earlier in life”

After the success of its one year pilot project, Malton Village Long-Term Care Centre in Peel has become the first Butterfly Care Home in Ontario.  Read more here.

Once the election is over, contact your MPPs again to urge them to consider these success stories.  All the MPP posts are listed as vacant until the election is over.

AND PLEASE – encourage 3 or more of your contacts to “follow” our blog.  Long-term care home residents need our help!


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Concept drawing for proposed Dementia Village in Metro Vancouver

Do you know what the main difference is between Ontario’s institutional long-term care home system and the innovative social models like the one now being proposed by Providence Health Care in B.C.?

Relationships, relationships, relationships – between and amongst staff, residents, families and the community

What does this actually mean?

  • It means a “constructive culture of care” enabling staff to know who their residents and families are – and what their life was like before.
  • It means residents are involved in many meaningful activities according to their abilities and what brings them joy.
  • It means schedules and routines are flexible to match the residents’ preferences and needs.
  • It means the surrounding community is invited to actively participate.

Providence Health Care is developing a concept for Metro Vancouver, based on the Dutch Hogewey Village model (scroll down for our first blog post re Hogewey in September 2017), that incorporates the above philosophy.   Read more here.

Please contact your MPPs again to urge them to fund something similar, perhaps as a pilot project, in Ontario when approving the new 5,000 long-term care beds.

AND PLEASE – encourage 3 of your contacts to “follow” our blog.  If you agree with our stance,  we really need your help on this to increase our influence.

Does This Look Like Home To You?


Does this photo show the kind of “home” in which you would like to live?

If you have had a relative in a long term care home in Ontario, you will understand. It’s about the choice between a medical model vs a “relationship” / social model of care.

Would you want to live out your final years in one of our existing long term care homes?  If so, please tell us. We would love to hear from you.

If not, please contact your MPP to tell them our system is broken and we need to consider replicating the innovative homes that already exist – some of which are referenced in our previous blog posts. Now is the time since the government is funding 5,000 new beds over the next 4 years.   Don’t have your MPP contact info?  Click here.

Help spread the word by sharing this with at least 5 of your contacts.

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You Can Bring Joy to Life in Long-Term Care

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.  To change something, build a new model that makes an existing model obsolete”

 R. Buckminster Fuller.  

Blog post #6

Barely a week goes by, when we hear yet another bad news story about our long-term care homes in Ontario. (See recent articles in the Ottawa Citizen and Toronto Star).

Despite the many millions of dollars injected into the system over the last 30 years, we seem to have fallen into an abyss from which we cannot escape.  Throwing good money after bad has not worked.  We need to transform our system!

The Ontario government has promised 5,000 new long-term care beds by 2021/22.  Models exist now such as Hogewey Villages (Netherlands), Eden Alternative models (in Canada and U.S.) and other innovative models which help to reduce aggressive incidents and promote quality of life.  Currently Langley, B.C. and Tasmania are building new homes designed after Hogewey Villages – 25 years after this model was created.

We cannot wait another 25 years for progress in Ontario. We need a willingness to act for significant change to our long-term care home system.  With new beds coming on stream, now is our opportunity to demand our government consider a new model of care!  Our residents deserve it.

The Ontario election is in June.  Please personalize the information in this post and send to your MPP urging them to address this situation!  Click here for MPP information.

And you can help to promote change by sharing this with all your contacts, posting on your Facebook page or on your Twitter account.  And FOLLOW US!


90% of Ontario’s long-term care home residents have some form of dementia


Why don’t we have more innovative dementia-friendly long-term care homes?  Ron Schlegel and his family started the ball rolling years ago when they developed Schlegel Villages in Ontario which included Memory Care Neighbourhoods.

Emma, Ron’s mom, was the catalyst for their innovative homes.   Her experience in a long-term care home “robbed her of her personhood”,  and “no effort was made to get to know who she was as a person and what gave her joy in life or caused her frustration.”  Ron wanted “to change the way those with dementia would be cared for in their final years” and created a new social model of care.

You can probably relate to Emma’s story – just take 2 minutes  and click here:    http://schlegelvillages.com/living/memory-care

Meet, email, send a letter or phone your MPPs to ask for their commitment to ensure that the 5,000 new beds will be awarded only to those organizations/companies who propose to build innovative, dementia-friendly environments.   See our previous posts which have highlighted many such models already in existence.   Your MPP info is here.

Please leave us a comment as we would love to know what YOU think.  You can help to promote change by sharing this with all your contacts, posting on your Facebook page or on your Twitter account.  And FOLLOW US!

Another innovative model in long term care homes

Did you know ….

  • 46% of residents have demonstrated some level of aggression with the most common type being “resistance to care.”
  • Normal daily home activities and creative care that is individualized for each resident will maximize functioning and quality of life.

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Here is another innovative model that was implemented (even though it hadn’t been done before) and it worked – The Green House Model – not the gardening kind…

 “THE GREEN HOUSE® Residences at Bartram Park in Florida offers Assisted Living to individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  The Green House Project counts 242 licensed homes in 32 states to date, with 150 more in various stages of development. http://www.bartramlakes.org/memory-care/what-is-the-green-house-model/

We know the Ontario Ministry of Health will be funding 5000 new beds by 2021/22.  This is an excellent opportunity to inspire innovation

If you agree, please ask your MPP to urge the Ministry to dedicate funding for these new beds to organizations that will commit to an innovative environment such as The Green House or other models we have highlighted in previous posts. The same old Ontario model is not good enough.  For a list of all the Ontario MPPs and their contact information click here

We would really like to know what you think!  If you haven’t done so already, please complete the  2 question survey .  Your name will not appear on the blog.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.  To change something, build a new model that makes an existing model obsolete.” R. Buckminster Fuller.  

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