The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday December 4th

Orange County awards good care for aging

Livewell Assisted Living is an assisted living facility for senior citizens based in Chapel Hill. Many of its residents have dementia. Diane Beckett, executive director of Livewell Assisted Living, said it created a program that would resonate with residents on an individual basis.

“We developed a one-on-one activity program based on information from family about personal history,” Beckett said. “What they did, past interests and jobs.”

One of those one-on-one activities is a daily 15-minute memory stimulation activity that incorporates residents’ past hobbies and interests.

The new approach has had good results, Beckett said. Residents displayed less anxiety and more focus. They wandered and hallucinated less.

“By engaging in activities that resonate, we saw a decrease in some adverse effects of dementia,” she said.

For its efforts, Livewell Assisted Living, along with Carol Woods Retirement Community and Acorn Home Care Services, received Orange County’s Long Term Care Quality Service Award.

The award recognizes organizations that work toward creating higher quality care for their residents with temporary ailments and chronic diseases.

The award was created this year to recognize facilities with exceptional quality care programs. It was established by the Long Term Care Learning Collaborative, an organization Orange County developed in 2013 to bring senior citizen administrators and staff together to discuss ways of improving quality care.

Activity programming and practices to reduce administrative staff turnover were key topics in a series of seminars held last year by the LTC Learning Collaborative.

Mary Fraser, the Aging Transitions Administrator for the Orange County Department on Aging, said the three facilities were recognized because they implemented the ideas from the seminars.

“They identified what they wanted to address, created new programs and changes, evaluated the results in responsible ways and found a positive impact,” she said. “The fact they saw it raised the quality of care.”

The award was given to showcase the high-quality care at the winning organizations in order to encourage other agencies to reach the same standard, Fraser said.

“Orange County is a retirement destination, but our long-term care facilities could be improved,” Fraser said.

The award comes from the Orange County 2012-17 Master Aging plan, which aims to improve quality of care in the long-term care facilities and home care organizations.

“It is a five-year community-wide plan addressing quality of life and aging issues in Orange County,” said Janice Tyler, executive director of the Orange County Department on Aging. “For people with chronic diseases, why wouldn’t you want to provide the best quality of life until the end of their life?”

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