A Person-Centered Approach: Explaining the Best Friends™ Approach to Care

In many cases, the general opinion of assisted living hasn’t caught up to the industry’s advancements in care and community lifestyle. While some still picture fluorescent lighting and long, lonely hallways, residents sitting silently in a row with nothing to do, the reality of assisted living has blossomed in recent years. Leading communities, such as The Homeplace at Midway, have redefined the assisted living experience, and it’s much, much brighter.

“At The Homeplace, seniors don’t need to worry about being one of dozens,” says Executive Director, Tonya Cox from the Midway, KY community. “For many of our residents, moving into our community expands their life more fully, instead of causing the limitations that many seniors fear. We make this possible through the Best Friends™ Approach to care, a personalized care model that emphasizes the importance of relationships in senior care. When you’re surrounded by best friends who know, love and care for you, life opens up.”

What Is the Best Friends™ Approach?

Ever since its introduction in 1997, The Best Friends™ Approach has grown to become an internationally recognized model for senior care. It was developed by Virginia Bell, MSW, and David Troxel, MPH, both masters in the field of senior caregiving for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Together, Bell and Troxel have over 60 years of experience working at the university and community level, using their expertise to create an effective, meaningful model of care.

At the heart of the Best Friends™ Approach is the understanding that relationships are fundamental to supportive care. Empathy, respect, support, trust and humor – the essential elements of friendship – create a meaningful bond between seniors and their caregivers and allow aging adults to live with dignity and purpose, despite their physical or cognitive disabilities.

What Does It Look Like to Live as Best Friends™?

Recognized internationally as an accumulation of the best practices in memory care, the Best Friends™ Approach emphasizes key principles of compassion, empathy and respect in the face of chronic illness, cognitive impairment and age-related challenges. The model acknowledges that those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease – or any struggles that accompany age – still deserve the right to a meaningful quality of life, as well as the care it takes to support that kind of lifestyle.

According to the Best Friends Dementia Bill of Rights that Bell and Troxel developed, every person deserves:

  • To be informed of their diagnosis and have ongoing medical care
  • To be treated as an adult, listened to and given respect for their feelings and point of view
  • To be around those who know their life story
  • To experience meaningful engagement throughout the day
  • To live in an environment that’s both safe and stimulating
  • To be part of a community
  • To be cared for by well-trained professionals

The Best Friends™ Approach promotes a relationship that in turn delivers a meaningful care experience, revolving around the idea that the best care begins with the acknowledgment of a person’s life story – a story that is unique, important and worthy of being told. Then, the benefits of friendship can begin to transform lives. The more a caregiver knows about the one they’re caring for, the more they can provide appropriate assistance and support.

Knowing someone’s life story is exceptionally important for those with memory loss, as they can no longer share their stories on their own. Often, the caregiver works as a detective to get to know a person with dementia, seeking the help of family members to understand their new friend. They learn about the person’s likes and dislikes, hobbies and pastimes, childhood memories, occupations, family members, milestones and more. This knowledge transforms into individualized services, activities and conversations that promote exceptional care and dignity for those living within a community.

Where Best Friends Are Made

“At The Homeplace at Midway,” says Cox, “we’re changing the way families and seniors view assisted living and supportive care. The Best Friends™ Approach makes resident care personal for us. It changes the lives of our staff as much as it does our residents’. The relationships that grow in our community lead to lower staff turnover, fewer injuries, falls or hospitalizations for our residents, and increased satisfaction for everyone involved.

“The Best Friends™ Approach is a game-changer in assisted care. Every interaction, conversation and decision is full of compassion for each individual resident.”

If you would like to learn more about the Best Friends™ Approach to care, you can read about it in “An Overview of The Best Friends™ Approach to Dementia Care,” or contact The Homeplace at Midway. Our team is always happy to share their skills and knowledge with seniors and their families.

Welcome Home

The Homeplace at Midway accommodates residents at all levels of care within four comfortable, homelike cottages. Along with our Assisted Living, Memory Care and two Skilled Nursing Care cottages, the Lucy Simms Lloyd Gathering House – our community cottage – is just a quick walk down the road. Here you can find our Administrative Support offices as well as space for social gatherings, worship services and engaging activities.

And of course, every level of care is delivered with the Best Friends™ Approach, ensuring each resident at The Homeplace at Midway is cared for at a deep, personalized level and their days are filled with meaningful, life-affirming activities.

The Lifestyle You Deserve

Cottage-style living at The Homeplace at Midway reinvents senior living, offering a lifestyle of care and comfort that everyone deserves. The Homeplace has been designed to provide our residents with the most fulfilling lifestyle possible, from our vast array of services and amenities to our delightful dining experiences and engaging activities. We celebrate each person’s individuality by creating a relaxed, customized environment, where they are free to express themselves in the comfort of their home.

Contact us today to learn more about the many unique advantages of The Homeplace at Midway!


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