More Freedom for Staff Means a Better Life for Residents

Thursday, 1:30 p.m., the moment residents in Inglis House’s 3-South neighborhood have been waiting for has arrived. It’s Tea Time. They steer their wheelchairs toward the solarium where snacks, music, companionship, and of course, a wide assortment of tea await… Since Inglis House has pivoted toward person-centered care and the Neighborhood Model, staff members feel more freedom to initiate events like Tea Time, and that’s translating into a better life for residents, sometimes with shocking results. Continue reading


The Magic of Music

Enjoying and appreciating music may still appeal to persons living with dementia, but music may offer a lot more than pleasure: a connection to memory and emotional expression that might not be otherwise accessible. Read these simple but powerful stories to be reminded of the myriad ways we might incorporate music into daily life, to both entertain and ENGAGE! Continue reading

Shaking up the Status Quo

Next Avenue, public media’s first and only national service for America’s booming 50+ population, has begun a year-long project on aging well, planning for the changes that aging brings and shaping how society thinks about aging. The most recent article – A New Twist on Planned Senior Communities, by Beth Baker, describes four communities that focus on wellness and quality of life. Continue reading

Transformative Leadership: Reinventing How We Age

With emotions running high, Steve Shields, Action Pact CEO, shares his personal experience with his mother who was placed in a nursing home, and the devastating aftermath of her time there. Through his determined efforts, Shields has transformed the senior living industry, and his talk reflects the need to change how we think about our elders.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Home Advocates — A Stitch in Time!

From UnitingCare in Australia comes this piece by Chidananda Kamath, which describes how his community, Annesley House, has begun the process of culture change following the kickoff with Action Pact in November 2014.

At Annesley, we decided to focus more around culture change rather than the infrastructure due to the physical limitations of the home. In consultation with our staff and residents over two months (Nov – Dec 2014), we decided to introduce a concept of shared leadership to kick off our efforts towards culture change. All staff, may it be RN or RAOs or care staff, were paired with a small number of residents. All the staff members were called ‘Home Advocates’ and were introduced to their group of residents. Home Advocates were encouraged to build relationships with their resident group while attending to their normal duties. This enabled Annesley to not only provide care but also discover new stories about each resident. Then these stories becaSlaters-quilt4ame part of their care plans. Recreational activities were designed around their interests and past experience. For example, there is a resident in our home who is originally from Burma and used to be a tailor when he lived there. Since moving here, he has struggled with social interactions. When his Home Advocate heard his story and realised that he used to be a tailor, she requested our Leisure and Lifestyle team to find a way for him to demonstrate his strengths. A sewing and knitting group was initiated as a result and this resident was invited to lead the activity. He became noticeably happier as a result. There are many more such examples and pleasant findings from this initiative.

One of the key things we tried to address and focus on is our language during this culture change process. For example, calling Annesley ‘home’ instead of ‘facility’. Staff were also encouraged not to pass on the blame when an incident occurred, rather identify the root cause that was at error in the process, which then would assist the whole team. This helped us design better processes with existing resources. Example: Annesley is now using calendar software to record resident appointments, GP clinic due dates, etc., instead of a diary where errors can happen just because of poor handwriting.
We also designed a simple monthly feedback process for Home Advocates which offers them ten minutes with a senior team member, giving them an opportunity to share their experiences or any new ideas.

My personal realisation through this initiative is that culture change is not a project but a process… And we intend to keep it going. 🙂

Contemplating Person Centered Care in the Expanding Continuum

This article was originally published by The Beryl Institute.

by Steve Shields

We know how it is. 

Anyone with a complex medical condition knows the feeling: Your doctor refers you to one or more specialists and therapists, and with each comes a new round of appointments to schedule, forms to fill out and recitations of your medical history, current diagnosis and the medications you’re on to a stranger focused only on one part of your total wellbeing. Continue reading

Pioneer Conference Keynote Inspires ‘Living Our Values’ at Jewish Senior Services

“…the generations must find ways to share daily life. Elders need the stimulation of young people … elders need relationships with middle-agers, whose challenges are not so far removed from their own at that age. Children and young people need … Continue reading