If you or a loved one needs nursing home care, wouldn’t it be nice to live in one that triggered fond memories and felt like coming home?
A new trend in nursing homes is to create a community of similarly situated residents, such as those of a particular faith, ethnicity or even an alumni group. The residents live among people with a similar background and life experiences, and even staff share similar values and common traditions.1
In recent years, American Indian tribes have begun opening nursing homes on their lands to provide long-term care for tribal elders. Rather than moving to a facility off the reservation, the patients can still be near relatives but receive the care they need. They enjoy the same crafts, gardening, music, language and traditions they’ve always practiced, and meals include the same dishes they’ve prepared and eaten throughout their lifetime. They also can access the tribe’s traditional healing practices in combination with assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care and hospice.2
The tribal nursing homes also offer opportunities to provide more jobs for other reservation residents, including nursing, security, maintenance, laundry, food service and administrative positions.3
1 Kevyn Burger. Next Avenue. Oct. 9, 2017. “A Nursing Home for Native Elders Fills Cultural Needs.” http://www.nextavenue.org/nursing-home-native-elders/. Accessed Oct. 31, 2017.
Trends in Dementia Care
In 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) embarked on an initiative to improve dementia care in nursing homes, with an initial focus on reducing the prevalence of antipsychotic use with long-term care and dementia patients. These efforts to date have been quite remarkable, with usage reduced by 34.1 percent since the fourth quarter of 2011, including general improvement in all 50 states.1
The ultimate goal of the plan is to improve the quality of care and life of dementia patients by using alternate means of behavior modification. One behavioral approach used to help manage dementia symptoms instead of medicating residents is a “Music & Memory” program. This initiative provides iPods to nursing home residents, using music to trigger happy memories.2