History & Dementia Care Team At Memory Lane Home Living Inc.
Dementia Care Home in Richmond Hill For Women
Memory Lane Home Living Inc. was intended to house my mother, who passed away before its completion. Our dementia journey was an inspiration for this home. Mom would have flourished in a small home environment that promoted purposeful living in a socially connected community setting. When I asked our Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) worker about such a home she said, “You are ahead of your time.”
We experienced the frustrations that come with institutional settings. It began with the “premature” entry into assisted living or a retirement residence—because there were no smaller scale options.
Mom endured the feelings of disconnect and loneliness that come with a large, impersonal setting where person centred care was not part of the culture of care. A setting where dementia care was integrated with seniors who were uncomfortable around people with dementia. Although Mom had mild dementia, she could certainly feel when she was being judged by others.
The message I clearly got from the staff in the institutional settings, from the beginning through to Mom’s passing, was that they did not have the time or organizational capacity for family input.
Another frustrating aspect of large institutional settings was the lack of understanding about the importance of relationship and purposeful activity in dementia care. Our mother loved to go for outdoor walks, yet the staff were too busy with task-based care to support Mom’s need to enjoy the beauty of nature. Outings were limited and activities in the facility were crowded and chaotic. Too many residents congregated in a very small space and we found that thse moments were stressful rather than enjoyable for her.
We are grateful for the guidance and support from friends, family, knowledgeable individuals in this field, and especially the Alzheimer Society of York Region, Seneca Social Service Worker Gerontology Program (King Campus). Memory Lane Home Living was designed to address the issues that many of us encounter on the dementia journey.
The Care Team
January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. In January we usually host a Living Well with Dementia Conference. Due to covid we have cancelled this event. We did however get recognized by the Federal Government in December 2021. Mona Lancaster was awarded an Outstanding Canadian Award for her perseverance and compassion in making a difference for a new way of living in community with dementia. Her resolve to re-create an evidence-based home model to live in a community setting instead of an institution, is a first step in ridding the stigma associated with this diagnosis. Mona would like to acknowledge those that contributed to her receipt of this award. This includes her Not-for-Profit Board of Directors at Memory Lane Home Living and volunteers that have contributed countless hours to this cause. It is in January we take the time to appreciate how far we have come in creating a Dementia Inclusive Community in the heart of Richmond Hill.
Advisors to Memory Lane Home Living Board of Directors:
Rebekah Churchyard is a Gerontological Social Worker (MSW, RSW) currently based in Waterloo Ontario working with Telehealth and the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. Her previous work experience in Toronto was as a Project Manager with The Neighbourhood Group (TNG) in the Neighbour 2 Neighbour (N2N) 2.0 Program, Rebekah is committed to supporting older adults and countering ageism and age-related stigma in our culture. N2N 2.0 is a project funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation to enhance volunteer-based Friendly Visiting programs for isolated seniors in the Toronto core. Rebekah also volunteered as Vice-President of Toronto Council on Aging. Rebekah was a founding member of the World Young Leaders in Dementia and in policy development with the Toronto Seniors Strategy 2.0 Accountability Table. Rebekah has worked with a diversity of community efforts including community-based research, older adult well-being, stigmas surrounding dementia and housing alternatives for seniors. Rebekah believes in transformative social work and values keeping seniors seen, engaged, and connected.
KLAUS PAWLETKOKlaus Pawletko, Sociologist, Dementia Specialist and an advocate for change, Mr. Pawletko is Managing Director of a housing project called ‘Friends of the Elderly.’ He helped develop the framework on how to create and coordinate the first co-housing social model of care for those with dementia over 20 years ago. Klaus was instrumental in advocating to have between 6-8 individuals with dementia living together in a house rather than an institutional setting. Today, there are over 5,000 of these houses throughout Germany. The success of these homes is a result of purposeful living for those with dementia, and the training of the in-home support with a unique skill set for person-centered care.
luba rascheffLuba Rascheff holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard University and is a part-time Chaplain in a retirement / long-term care facility in Toronto, Ontario. A member of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC), Luba is concomitantly pursuing a Master of Pastoral Studies (MPS) at the University of Toronto as she prepares to become a Spiritually-integrated Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). Luba completed her three-year term as a Board Director on Memory Lane Home Living’s (MLHL) BoD, during which time she used her foreign language ability, communication skills, and experience gained in social media marketing as an author of spiritual books to court influencers, build partnerships, actively promote—and thrust—a yet unknown MLHL into the public eye. Luba’s experience as a Chaplain brings immense insight into spirituality on the dementia journey. Luba was invited to transition to MLHL Advisor to the Board. In this new role, Luba brings wisdom gained from chaplaincy and previous directorship, as she aims to propel MLHL forward, and guide our province in becoming more dementia- and senior-friendly.
INA WEISZIna Weisz is a retired geriatric nurse with Baycrest Hospital where she worked for 29 years. Ina is a knowledgeable source in the field of dementia. She was a nursing supervisor in the palliative unit during her last 10 years at Baycrest. Ina has provided hands-on knowledge, skill and direction to the medical needs of dementia—she is the author of our ‘Fast Facts from the Nurse’s Desk’—and our weekly programs. Having completed her term as Board Director, Ina has agreed to transition to Advisor to the Board, to provide wisdom from both her directorship experience and nursing background.
ROSE (GIROUARD) ONG
Rose (Girouard) Ong is a writer, poet, retired accountant, married for 35years, mother, grandmother, who was a founding Member of our 2021 Young Onset Support Group. Rose served as a Board of Directors to Memory Lane Home Living until she recently accepted a leadership position with Dementia Alliance International (DAI). We were happy to inspire Rose to become an advocate for dementia, and we invited her to continue on with us as an MLHL Advisor to the Board.