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Interview with Sagecare 147 Elder Street family member, Julia Burchmore

Julia shares the relief she and her mom feel with her dad at Sagecare, where he benefits from the low caregiver-to-resident ratio, music therapy, and more.

In this perspective:

Highlights from the interview

  • The biggest thing that appealed to us about 147 Elder Street is the three-to-one resident to caregiver ratio that they have, right now. And also the fact that they carved out one-on-one time for recreation therapy throughout the day. They're very focused on art therapy and the benefits that it can bring to people living with dementia. This includes, to my understanding, music therapy, too. I know the research supports that they can still appreciate this. … I dance with my father to some of the songs that he remembered from the 60s, and it’s great.

  • The staff go above and beyond to help us connect and also record the connections, which I appreciate a lot. [One day] I was there with my three year old for Remembrance Day, and the three of us sat and painted puppies. Someone took our picture and sent it. We all have smiles on our faces, and I really cherish that photo. … It’s easy to take for granted that they do these things, but it's so special. 

  • He will fall in and out of sleep, and so often his head rolls forward. One of the PSWs came to pick him up to bring him back after our visit was over. She said, ‘Oh, his poor neck,’ and she’ll just give him a massage. She doesn't have to do that but you can see him appreciate it. Little things they do make us comfortable knowing that he's there and being well looked after.

  • Throughout COVID, they’ve gone above and beyond…It was hard, even before, when you had to schedule it to get him at a good time, but at least you could stay for a longer period of time. So on his birthday, we missed that window of alertness. [But] when he was awake later in the day, they redid the cake, videotaped it and sent it out… They do so much to make us feel as connected as possible. … It's like they bring him into their family. They treat him and look after him as they would their own father. That’s incredible to me. I think it's due to the nature of the size of the place. I almost look at it like a boutique long term care home. 

  • The building itself is located in a quiet residential area, which I think is really lovely. It looks like three townhouses. It's obviously bigger, but it's tucked away really nicely. 

  • My father's room… is a good size for what he needs. The bathroom is close so he can get to it when needed. There’s enough room for everything, but it's not overly large. It’s more than adequate, I would say. 

  • They understand what the disease [dementia] is like and how to get the best response out of people living with this disease.I can't say enough about how valuable that is. Just by having the constant programming … Having that level of music and art therapy available for him to experience on a daily basis makes a huge difference. And also someone to have the energy to look after all the needs in a loving, kind manner is wonderful.

  • It just was so hard on mom to provide care. Having consistent, loving care has been a huge improvement. … In terms of my own worry of my parents, that's gone down because I'm not watching my mom crumble under the stress of the caregiver burnout and the stress that results from looking after someone with Alzheimer's for so long. … When you’re considering whether or not to put a loved one into a home, it's important to take the burden and stress of the caregiver into account. … My father is doing very well there, but my mother is also doing incredibly well as a result of this decision. 

  • On the first day that he was to move in, it was a day-long procedure, where we went into a room and I was there with him… we sat around and we chatted, me and my mom and my dad and two of the directors of care at the time, and we chatted for hours. … Then at the end of it, they said, ‘Okay, Bruce, it's time to go.’ He was there long enough that it wasn't just a drop off… and he wasn’t all startled. It was a very easy transition.

  • They’ve done so much research and have so much knowledge and know how to best support and help people who are living with dementia, that you just feel like [they’re] coming from the right place with all of their questions. That really impressed us and helped make the transition easier. Other things would be reaching out by email and phone calls and letting us know how things were going and being as receptive as possible when we would call them. All of those helped our transition process greatly. 

MORE ABOUT Sagecare 147 Elder Street

Our Perspective

Sagecare 147 Elder Street brings to bear all the latest innovations and approaches in memory care building design and compassionate care, in a setting focused solely on dementia care. It’s a beautiful building both inside and out, and there’s also delicacy in the care given to residents here, administered by devoted staff, specially prepared and trained to help them. Over 20 years of experience is brought to bear in every nuance of living here. Read more

More video reviews

Robert’s been duly impressed by Sagecare. This was reflected in the depth of initial questions, the ratio of staff-to-residents, and in the care he’s witnessed.

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