Hey there! I’m very proud to share this video with you, showcasing the care approach I created to improve quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s/dementia. Facilities throughout the US are using the Warchol Best-Abilities Care Model
℠ to make life better for residents and families. Take a look at this approach you can use in your facility, and feel free to share your feedback in the comments.
We have over five million people out there who have Alzheimer’s or dementia, and they have so much more potential than our society helps them to realize.
I got tired of writing “patient not appropriate for occupational therapy” because of their severe cognitive limitations. That hurt my heart.
Believing that abilities do remain at every stage of this disease. People can still do things if we know the right way to pull that ability out.
The Warchol Best-Abilities Care Model
[This model] enables people who have Alzheimer’s to flourish at every stage of their disease.
The objective is to improve the quality of life, level of functional independence, safety, and health of those we serve. So we have to take people through that shift of thinking that people with dementia don’t have to suffer—they can actually thrive.
First of all, you emphasize cognitive assessment because people tend to ignore that, and yet cognition is the primary determinant of someone’s level of independence. We can’t ignore it.
The second part of the model is that life story. We must get to know this individual. [Get started with this Life Story Questionnaire PDF
- What’s their history?
- What have they liked to do all their life?
- What’s their personality type?
- What’s their daily routine?
- What time do they like to get up/go to bed?
- What do they and don’t they like to eat and drink?
All that personal information is what drives the care we deliver every day. We can’t reduce this person to one page that’s buried inside a medical chart about who they are. We’ve got to do an in-depth life story assessment. So if you give somebody what they want to do and what they’ve always loved to do, if you present them with something meaningful, they’re going to pay attention to it better, they’re going to be more motivated to engage. Focusing on what someone can still do at every stage of dementia is the catalyst for quality of life.
Adapt to the person’s cognitive level
What’s the third thing? Learning their cognitive level, and knowing, “How do I provide this type of care that’s a simplification? How do I adapt to them, instead of them adapting to me? When we get the opportunity to engage a loved one, when we get the privilege to serve them, they see that potential that had been lying dormant, and an awakening happens.
That’s the starting point—we need to know who this person is and what their life story is, because when you have Alzheimer’s, a lot of those preferences don’t actually change. What changes is the ability to engage in those activities independently.
If they have a Dementia Capable Care partner who knows the just-right approach to help them to do those activities, then that person will be very successful. We treat someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia like the person they still are, with the dignity that they still deserve.
There’s this belief that once you have an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it’s the end. But if we can start holding them with the dignity and esteem that they deserve, if we can believe that quality of life is still possible, and if we can support their loved ones through this journey, I think the world will be a much better place.