Brookdale’s Dementia Care Program Philosophy

Sterile institutions used to be the only option for people living with dementia, but thanks to the knowledge we’ve gained about the disease, those days are long gone. I’ve dedicated the last 30 years to dementia care, and watched the facilities of the past evolve into the compassionate communities of today. Clare Bridge, Brookdale’s dementia care program, started in one community more than 25 years ago. Now we have approximately 550 communities that specialize in this type of care to serve those from early stages of the disease through the late stages. Each community embraces the latest research to best meet the needs of our residents through programming. 

What makes Clare Bridge different? 

What does this mean if you or your loved one is living with dementia at home and needs additional support? It means that when considering a transition into a dementia care community it’s important to look for programming that is deeply rooted in a person-centered approach, focuses on sustaining feelings of belonging and purpose, and seeks to preserve identity and a sense of self for those living with dementia. 

Our Clare Bridge program does just that. We are committed to what we call relationship-rich care which is evidenced by forming person-centered partnerships between the residents and their care partners — our associates. In our care model, the same associate cares for the same resident consistently. This allows us to build a relationship based on trust. This relationship-based approach also enables our associates to listen to our residents to problem-solve behavioral expressions we may encounter. We find that being present in relationships with our residents gives us the ability to anticipate unmet needs and lessen behavioral symptoms.

In Clare Bridge communities, we have rejected the old, traditional model of providing “activities” for residents because it’s just not enough. To encourage the right challenge for each resident, communities have clustered offerings throughout the day that are dedicated to various interests and ability levels. Even more, we have created environments that promote spontaneous engagement in various household and normal daily tasks. Most people don’t spend all their time participating in leisure activities and appreciate having some “real work” to do, including those living with dementia. Because we understand the best care environments, our Clare Bridge communities feature spaces that are set up for safe engagement in gardening, kitchen work, caring for the home, handy man help, and other things that provide purposeful and meaningful moments.

We have progressed, but we are not stopping here — there is always more we can do and apply from all that we are learning from the latest research to better care for our residents every day.

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