By Cara Koepsel, M.S., CCC-SLP, DOR, Golden Acres Health and Rehabilitation, Dallas, TX

Here at Golden Acres in Dallas, Texas, we love our long-term care residents. They are the heart and soul of our facility, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. One of our residents passed away recently, and it never gets easier. The family reached out to myself, the DOR, and the social worker in hopes of getting a copy of her grandmother’s life storyboard that was created during therapy with one of our amazing speech therapists. Her granddaughter wanted to utilize this resident’s life storyboard to aid in writing her obituary. To think that the Abilities Care Approach Program could, in such a trying and upsetting time, bring joy and meaning to a grieving family is truly amazing.

What an important program this is, and what a reminder that what we are doing in therapy every day matters maybe more than it ever has before. The Abilities Care Approach Program is a program widely utilized across our Ensign facilities that is evidenced-based, and essentially allows the therapists to work with family members and residents to develop a life storyboard that paints a picture of our residents’ likes, dislikes, family history, and abilities they have within their communication and self-care activities through their changing stages of dementia.

For our family members to be involved in their loved one’s care through the stages of dementia is so important, especially right now as they cannot see their loved ones as they are used to. Our therapists, through this program, can work with our families to give them peace of mind that during a pandemic, their loved ones are being loved and cared for so well. Our long-term care programming continues to be so important right now! Let’s remind ourselves that we continue to make a huge difference in our residents’ lives!