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Disrupting senior care model with 'Butterfly' concepts

The Memory Care facility at Park Springs Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in Stone Mountain is the first in the U.S. to receive "Butterfly Accreditation," a specialized endorsement for a revolutionary care model for people living with dementia.

The Memory Care facility at Park Springs Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in Stone Mountain is the first in the U.S. to receive "Butterfly Accreditation," a specialized endorsement for a revolutionary care model for people living with dementia.

The Butterfly model breaks away from traditional senior care to create personalized plans.

Scheduled times for wakeup, meals or activities are no longer the standard.

Staff members wear regular clothes instead of uniforms to enhance the home-like setting, even putting on pajamas when on their night shift.

The walls are brightly-colored to help people living with dementia who commonly lose their ability to see muted color.

Seniors are encouraged to do activities in their current memory, such as former physicians discussing medicine or former teachers being offered school papers to grade.

“We’ve learned that feelings matter most, and that is the hallmark of our care,” said Tim Knight, Executive Director of Health and Wellness Services at Park Springs. "We have found that meeting members where they are and validating those emotions results in unprecedented emotional and mental improvement.”

There is an open kitchen concept that lets seniors observe or even assist with meal preparation, plus cozy seating areas with engaging items placed strategically for interaction and conversation.

“In a Butterfly Home, people are loved for both who they ​were and who they ​are,” said David Sheard, Founder of ​Dementia Care Matters​ and The Butterfly Community. “We can’t yet fix dementia, but we can fix our approach. Park Springs is a pioneer community leading the way.”

Introduced in the United Kingdom and implemented at Park Springs by Andy Isakson of Isakson Living, the concept changes the institutional mindset to one that puts people first, allowing seniors to maintain and improve their lifestyle, health and comfort.

Obtaining the Butterfly certification required a year-long training of staff, construction and evaluation, resulting in the ​Highest Level 1 credential for Park Springs.

“Long-term care in the U.S., as in most countries, needs complete disruption and fresh innovation,” added Sheard. “Park Springs took a leap of faith in 2017 to create a new culture of care where people would flourish and be loved. One year later, after vision, tenacity, passion and inspiration, it has become the first Butterfly Home in America.”

Locally-owned by ​Isakson Living​, Park Springs is just the first planned development for the Butterfly Model in the Atlanta area.

The company is currently constructing Peachtree Hills Place in Buckhead, set to open​ in 2019​.