Carveth Care Centre enhances dementia care

Amy Heddon shows off the contests of a Montessori Cart

People with dementia are capable of more than we can imagine.

Just ask Amy Heddon who has spent the past 20 years working with people afflicted by the disease.

“It’s the most enjoyable part of my job,” says the 40-year-old from Carveth Care Centre where she works as an Activity Aide.

A resident of Lansdowne, the mother of three is passionate about improving lives through an innovative service at the long-term care home.

Working with other health care professionals, Amy outfitted two carts to engage residents, the majority of whom have dementia.

Located in different parts of the home, the carts are filled with activities, sensory items and realistic pets.

“The purpose of the carts is for staff, families and volunteers to use as-needed and for families to use to enhance their visits with their loved ones,” explains Amy who is a former Personal Support Worker and leader in the Montessori Methods for Dementia treatment method.

“Every activity is in a Tupperware container with a program plan and a template,” she explains. “Even if people don’t follow the plan, nothing is ever wrong. Every activity can be done in multiple ways. It depends on who is doing it and what they like to do with it.”

According to Amy, the contents of the carts will:

  • Enable independence

  • Improve self-esteem

  • Encourage adaption to environment

She defines success as engagement or participation from the 104 residents.

“Any little thing makes a big difference,” she confirms. “Putting a smile on their face is extremely satisfying.”

Speaking on behalf of the home, Activity Director Shannon Buell notes, “I love to see the residents using the items.”

Clearly proud of this new initiative, Shannon notes, “Family are more than welcome to use the carts during their visits, so they have something constructive to do together. Doing fun activities can improve time with a loved one who may not be able to respond in the same manner they used to.”

Senior managers are pleased with the carts which fit with their gentle care approach. To formally introduce the carts, the home is holding information sessions on March 4 at 2:30 pm and March 5 at 3:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

“Things like this are going to help us,” says Shannon who would appreciate user feedback on the content. “The carts have made it easier to engage our residents. My team is eager to roll-out this new initiative.”

In photo: Amy Heddon shows off the contests of one of the Montessori Carts.

This story was originally published by Carveth Care Centre and has been reposted with permission.