Aged Care Study Tour Blog #4.
Today we were privileged to meet a young lady named Mai who owns and operates Dagmarsminde; a facility specifically designed for people living with dementia.
It’s a small and innovative place, where nature and well-being, proximity and equality is paramount.
Surrounded by forests and fields in the Danish country side, the house has 9 beds – all designed around a central lounge, dining and kitchen area which creates a very welcoming warm, home like environment – and you can tell the residents love this.
Dagmarsminde’s philosophy is that the life of a person living with dementia must be meaningful. The team at Dagmarsminde know every resident’s background, their wishes, their values and their special needs. They believe that respecting what makes sense to the resident is essential to conserve the individual’s integrity.
No unnecessary medication is given, and any new residents entering the house who have been prescribed medication at a previous facility are weaned off their meds over a 4-6 week period by the resident doctor. Mai and her team believe that a healthy diet, daily activities and providing a purpose for residents results in improved behaviour and a pleasing, enjoyable lifestyle.
The residents are encouraged to care for one another – they cook, they clean and they take care of the resident cat, chickens, goats and rabbits. There are no restrictions around the house, with everyone free to roam around the property as they like.
Her low staffing requirements are testimony to the benefits of her approach – resident’s behaviour is calm, so only requires a small team.
Wandering around Dagmarsminde, watching the relaxed, cheerful behaviour and interaction of the residents was very gratifying, it was such a wonderfully pleasant environment and one which I could sit and enjoy all day long. Even just from the pictures, you can see that this place is exactly that of a normal house setting; wine and alcohol sit around the kitchen bench, and the furniture is just as you’d see in the family home.
Mai says that this approach to caring for people living with dementia really provides them with a quality of life – and from what I have seen, I can’t fault her.