We are a dementia care shared-housing initiative for women in Richmond Hill, Ontario serving the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. At Memory Lane, we believe that quality of life is as important as quality of service. We provide both.
Memory Lane Home Living Inc. House
Memory Lane Home Living Inc. represents a holistic approach for women in need of dementia care. In this house, women with dementia share a cozy home in Richmond Hill. Privacy is assured as each resident has their own bedroom, while other parts of the house are shared.
Our approach to care incorporates aspects of the “Butterfly Model of Care,” a model delivered by Dementia Care Matters, Canada. The “Butterfly Model of Care” is a recent success story in Ontario that has been credited with transforming Peel Region’s Malton Village LTC Memory Unit. The Central West LHIN awarded the Dementia Care Matters, Canada the 2019 Quality of Care award for humanizing care.
A Memory Lane Living Inc. community is composed of four parts:
- Residents: who benefit from a small familiar environment, with peer connections who participate in the everyday household activities of running a house.
- Families and Friends of the Residents: who participate in the shared decision-making with the residents and other family members of the house. Everyone involved gains a sense of community.
- Care Service: is a reputable insured care company who provides 24-hour supportive care. The care cost is eligible for a subsidy. The care company also achieves full time employment for their care staff, creating a stable, happier workforce.
- Memory Lane Home Living Inc: MLHL coordinates the housing and volunteers. We support our residents and their family and friends with the cooperative structure.
Putting government policy into practice
Our house engages with the National Seniors Strategy for Canada and the Four Pillars of Care (2015):
- independent, productive, engaged citizens
- healthy active living
- care closer to home
- support for caregivers
The overall goal of the Strategy is to ensure ALL older Canadians remain independent and engaged members of our communities and are supported to continue to lead healthy and active lives for as long as possible.
Memory Lane Home Living Inc. is also in line with the goals of the Ontario Dementia Strategy (2017) which broadly speaking include:
- respecting individuals and their care partners
- providing choices regarding the health and well-being of persons living with dementia
- supporting individuals to live well with dementia
Memory Lane Home Living is an advocate for persons living with dementia. Small home environments with purposeful living and family participation are the best living arrangements for this population. MLHL supports Canadian Mortgage Home Corporation’s (CMHC) National Housing Strategy (2018) which promotes housing for a vulnerable senior population that is affordable, accessible, and socially inclusive for individuals and their families.
Our Model is evidence-based
Our Model is a newcomer in the existing senior care framework in Canada. Unlike traditional models such as retirement homes or long-term care settings, Memory Lane Home Living Inc. offers a co-operative way of living. It is based on the well-established and evidence-based European framework called “Friends of the Elderly”—a way of living with dementia where individuals remain in community as they progress in their journey. Families are actively involved as part of this community. There are now over 5000 of these homes successfully operating throughout Germany. This collaborative model has become a way of living in many other parts of Europe because of the “senior boom” these countries encountered over 25 years ago.
That boom is here in Canada too. According to Statistics Canada, it started here in 2016 when the number of people over the age of 65 years surpassed those under the age of 15 years. Are we ready to follow Europe’s lead and look at shared housing as a solution to providing supportive care for those living with dementia?
The success of these small home environments includes having peers to connect with in a home environment. “Big” environments are not always “better” for those on the dementia journey. Families are part of a community as they are involved in the household and care decisions of their loved ones. Research on these shared housing arrangements began more than 20 year ago. Data from this research demonstrates that residents experienced fewer hospital visits and reduced need for medication. Importantly, both the individuals living in the house and the families/friends involved in the decision-making on the day to day running of the house reported feeling happier and more socially connected.