Milestones at Otterbein: A Guided Journey in Memory Support

Posted on: August 30, 2022

There are more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, many of whom live in continuing care retirement communities. Otterbein SeniorLife cares deeply about those in our communities affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia; that’s why we established the Milestones Program.

The Milestones Program is Otterbein SeniorLife’s defined memory care program designed to provide expert care and services to residents who are living with dementia. The program was developed through the Otterbein Mission and follows guidelines of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Foundations of the Milestones Program

We developed the Milestones program to take a proactive and individualized approach to enhance life experiences, personal well-being, and holistic care for those living through their dementia journey at Otterbein.

The foundation of this program is centered on four key areas.

1. Comprehensive Education Program for Partners

The first component of Milestones at Otterbein is a comprehensive education program for our partners (employees) to expand their knowledge of the dementia disease process and provide information and strategies to better understand and engage residents through their journey.

Our program includes:

  • Defined curriculum for classroom orientation
  • Onboarding education and competencies
  • Annual education
  • Strategies to keep learning and development alive throughout the year

The curriculum included in this program is based on the Alzheimer’s Association’s Dementia Care Practice Recommendations (DCPR) and prepares partners to best serve those residents with memory support needs.

2. In-Depth Assessment

This portion of the program focuses on the way we get to know each resident and gather detailed information to develop an individualized plan built on their strengths, interests and needs.

The Care Partner team will use the information we gather during this portion to develop the third component of the program, the Path to Well-Being.

3. The Path to Well-Being

The Path to Well-Being is an individualized, structured plan that incorporates our Nine Degrees of Wellness to help guide programs and services for each resident.

The Path to Well-Being provides an action-specific guide that is directly connected to how the resident defines their personal well-being.  It includes specific and meaningful strategies that are integrated into each resident’s plan of care and personal routine.

4. Extensive Programming

The resources available through the Milestones program are based on memory care best practices and integrate the nine degrees of wellness. Included in our programming resources are individual programming options; seasonal, monthly, and weekly calendars; and a library of activity guides that anyone can use to create meaningful engagement opportunities.

What Our Staff and Families Have to Say About Milestones

The Milestones program has made a positive difference in the lives of our residents and their families. Here is what a family member of one of our memory care residents had to say:

“I’m very pleased with the programming that Judy participates in at Otterbein. One of her favorite activities is OMA (Opening Minds through Art), through which she’s painted several pieces of art and received awards.

Another program is the Music & Memory initiative, which brings back memories from her past and brings her joy.

I’m very proud of how well Judy has responded. She is loving the Milestones program at Otterbein.”

― Vic V., husband of Otterbein Memory Care resident

In addition, Otterbein partners speak highly of the Milestones program and the impact they have witnessed on residents. Yvonne Miller, the life enrichment and dementia director at Otterbein St. Marys, had this to say about her experience implementing the Milestones program:

“I have worked with dementia residents for over 35 years and have never seen such an organized and person-centered approach to dementia care at all stages of the disease. The partners, families, and residents work together to provide activities and programs that truly give the resident a clear path of well-being and purpose, giving them an enhanced quality of life.” 

― Yvonne Miller, Life Enrichment/Dementia Director, Otterbein St. Marys

Milestones at Otterbein SeniorLife Communities and Neighborhoods

There are nine Otterbein SeniorLife Communities (CCRCs) in Ohio and central Indiana, and there are also nine Otterbein SeniorLife Neighborhoods, also called small house neighborhoods, located in northwest, central, and southwest Ohio.

Each Otterbein community and neighborhood has developed a Milestones team to fully implement each component of the program. We’ve also put monitoring strategies in place to evaluate the progress and the effectiveness of the program.

In addition, the Milestones leader from each location works with the One Otterbein memory care collaboration team to further grow the components of the Milestones program and to continue to integrate additional memory support best practices.

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