There’s one word that best describes CareOne’s approach to memory care: groundbreaking.
For more than 45 years, CareOne has developed a reputation for offering patient-centered care in gracious, professionally managed centers and communities. And now, the family-owned healthcare organization is quickly becoming known as a leader in memory care.
When it comes to caring for people with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia, CareOne’s assisted living centers are ahead of the curve, providing hands-on training by seasoned dementia specialists to all employees; promoting a positive approach to care designed to enhance a resident’s quality of life; and engaging residents in activities that focus on what they can do, rather than what they can’t.
“We don’t see a resident’s disability as their identity,” says Joan DiPaola, a senior dementia specialist who leads CareOne’s memory care training program. “At CareOne, it is our job to ensure that patients who have dementia, at any stage, find beauty in every day.”
DiPaola works with a team of highly-seasoned dementia specialists (all with decades of experience) to provide regular training to all CareOne employees—from the assisted living caregivers to the hospitality staff—to ensure that all memory care residents receive consistent, patient-centered care.
One key piece of the training: “Employees are taught to look at each resident as a person, rather than a diagnosis,” DiPaola says. Families are a key part of the puzzle, helping by creating a “life story” book featuring their loved one, so that CareOne staffers can get to know each resident personally from the moment they enter their new home.
Additionally, a team of dementia specialists conduct monthly training sessions with residents’ families to offer education and support. “We partner with families in order to fulfill our commitment to give their loved ones living with dementia a meaningful, purposeful life,” says MaryBeth Rose, a Dementia Specialist at CareOne at Parsippany and CareOne at Livingston who served as a registered nurse in acute care hospitals for nearly 40 years before joining CareOne.
Positive Approach to Care
Much of CareOne’s training focuses on the “positive approach to care” philosophy, a series of techniques which focus on what people who have dementia can do, rather than what they can’t. The approach includes responding to a person’s change in cognition and abilities in a way that is not hurtful or offensive and recognizing that a person with dementia is doing the best they can.
CareOne strives to ensure each resident who has dementia spends time engaging in activities with peers who have similar cognitive skills, whether they’re living in a dedicated memory care unit of a CareOne assisted living community or in one of Care One’s all-memory care Harmony Village communities— which are organized in distinct “neighborhoods” for residents based on their varying stages of memory impairment.
“We find more success meeting people at the level they’re at, rather than over- or under-challenging them,” DiPaola says.“When some people think of dementia, they think of decline,” adds John Albanese, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for CareOne. “Instead of focusing on loss, we concentrate on the positive. That’s what really sets us apart.”