History & Team
Dementia Care Home Richmond Hill, ON
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
MONA LANCASTER (PRESIDENT)
BA, B Comm. Founding member of Memory Lane Home Living. Mona has a background in Psychology/Sociology and the mental health field. Banking experience followed. While in university she worked as a Nurse’s Aide in a Long-Term Care facility. Mona is currently completing a Geriatric Certificate from McMaster University. She has also completed a year-long course in 2019 with Dementia Care Matters Course, to guide and implement important aspects of the "Butterfly Model of Care “into Memory Lane Home Living Inc. Recently Mona was appointed to the Steering Committee as an Elder Representative for Caregivers with the Provincial Geriatric Leadership Office (PGLO). Mona’s related work experience in LTC, her education, and her lived dementia experience with her mother, three aunts and one uncle were the motivation to implement evidence-based models of care that would provide a cost-effective way of improving the “quality of life” for families and their loved one’s with a dementia diagnosis.
DR. ELIZABETH KELSON (BOARD MEMBER)
KAREN WALTER (BOARD MEMBER)
Has spent most of her working life formalizing policies and procedures for a wide variety of organizations. She has a degree from the University of Alberta, Edmonton. She is pleased to be playing an active role in policy with MLHL. Karen has undertaken some dementia training and volunteered with Memory Lane for the previous three years and is now stepping up to a Board Director position. The creation of a collaborative living environment for women with dementia is what she wanted for her mother in Alberta.
MINA SHIRVANI (BOARD MEMBER)
Mina believes in the motto ‘we rise by lifting others.’
CHLOE TAM (BOARD MEMBER)
JENNIFER TRAN (BOARD MEMBER)
FAITH ROBINSON (BOARD MEMBER)
Faith is a member of the OCSWSSW and holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern Maine. Faith has worked with all ages in a variety of clinical roles including Outpatient Mental Health Clinician, Crisis Services Provider, and hospital Social Worker2/Case Manager. While facilitating groups for older adults diagnosed with a mental illness, she was deeply inspired by the supportive community they shared, the ways in which this improved their quality of life, and she never looked back. At the foundation of Faith’s motivation to improve quality of life for those with Dementia and their families, is her passion for cultivating each person’s unique strengths, eliminating the isolation that many older adults and their families face, and collaborating with others to improve services. Faith also draws upon her own family’s experience with Dementia, Toronto-based Dementia and palliative care trainings, and a commitment to life-long learning to be an effective advocate and contributing member of the MLHL Board of Directors.
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.