Designing Better Days: Hearthstone’s Innovative Approach to Dementia Programming

In 1981 – 37 years ago – an important book for dementia care was published – The 36-Hour Day, by Nancy Mace and Peter Rabins. The title reflected the prevalent notion at the time that a single day caring for a loved one can feel much longer than 24 hours because of the tremendous effort it takes for one person to care for another who is living with Alzheimer’s. It’s no wonder that so many family caregivers suffered – and still do – from physical and mental illness and risk the dangers of burnout.

37 years ago, little was known about the best care for persons with Alzheimer’s. 37 years ago, there were no developed assisted living programs for persons living with Alzheimer’s. 37 years ago, support groups for care partners were rare. 37 years ago, there was no Hearthstone and no I’m Still Here® approach.

At Hearthstone we recognize that for family caregivers, days can feel intensely long. That’s why we’ve designed one-of-a-kind programming for seniors living with dementia to eliminate the anxiety, agitation, aggression and apathy that can negatively impact their quality of life. Our Parallel Programming™ approach to dementia care works with seniors and their families to create what author and innovator Dr. John Zeisel calls “a life worth living.”

Dr. Zeisel is the Founder of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care, The Hearthstone Institute, and the creator of I’m Still Here®, a proprietary model of care for those living with dementia that is being implemented by providers of memory care throughout the country. With this unique approach to caregiving, residents at Hearthstone experience days of meaningful engagement and enjoyment.

Parallel Programming at Hearthstone

The adage, “time flies when you’re having fun,” rings true with Hearthstone’s Parallel Programming™ approach. Our evidence-based, individualized care approach allows each resident to engage in an activity of their choosing. Rather than offering a single scheduled activity for every resident, our Parallel Programming™ creates simultaneous, individual opportunities for each person to partake in whatever they enjoy most, or what suits their current mood – always with appropriate support and companionship from our caregivers.

Our genuinely person-centered approach to engagement experiences is grounded in Hearthstone’s Engagement Replacement Therapy™ approach (ERT™). Evidence-based findings demonstrate that when someone is engaged in something they love with their attention focused on positive engagement, the anxiety, depressed thoughts, and irritations one might dwell upon are alleviated. In this way, ERT™ allows us to care for our residents’ spirits as well as their minds and bodies.

The principles of ERT™ are embodied in the I’m Still Here® approach and used to enrich our residents’ lives each day in our communities. By utilizing these and other evidence-based approaches developed by the Hearthstone Research Team we can ensure that our residents lead happier and healthier lives engaged in what they love. We’re proud that the evidence-base we have built allows us to offer best state-of-the-art care techniques and approaches to engaged living available today.

An Invitation to a Caring Partnership

If you’re curious about what ERT™ and Parallel Programming™ look like at Hearthstone, we invite you to come and experience our innovative lifestyle for yourself. When you visit us you’ll find a comfortable, welcoming environment where residents feel at home and at peace in a community where caregivers and staff have made them feel like they belong. You’ll see residents engaged in meaningful pursuits and not just “busy work” and entertainment and families joining in for an afternoon of quality family time.

You’ll walk through our garden, the “engagement hub” from May to October, where our Resident Garden Club has selected planted and cares for the flowers and vegetables. Maybe you’ll be here during one of our frequent barbecues on the patio, or when kids from the local schools come to visit. Our Healing Garden is always a favorite spot for families and visiting friends to spend time with loved ones.

Most of all, you’ll experience the magic that only happens at Hearthstone. You’ll recognize that we’ve lived up to our promise to provide the greatest, genuine engagement experience for those in our care. You’ll see it on our team members’ faces and in the joy of family members. You’ll discover that time passes in a beautiful string of moments, creating a lifestyle each resident desires and deserves.

Schedule your visit to Hearthstone today. Call us to start your family’s journey toward better days. 1-888-422-CARE.