butterfly movement scaled
butterfly movement scaled

It is 2018 and a long-term care home in Calgary has taken on a radical new way of housing people with dementia. This home embraces the out-of-date with the new and the meaningful. Residents here feel good about themselves and are experiencing wonderful possibilities!







Sandra Cody sees her 90-year-old father, Fred, housed at Intercare’s Southwood Care Centre in Calgary. Sandra reflects that the Centre is a beautiful place to be with surroundings that look nothing like those institutionalized corridors of most hospitals. Everywhere that you look you see bright, vibrant colours that beckons you to come and stay for a while. 

The Southwood Care Centre has developed the “Butterfly Movement.” Launched in Britain over two decades ago by a U.K.-based organization called Dementia Care Matters, the movement offers the number one unbiased plan of action that serves as a remedy for the indifferent and unimaginative hospital-like environments of many long-term care homes’  with dementia units.

“People with dementia don’t do well in long-term care where they are treated with a behavioral management model,” states Dr. David Sheard, Founder and CEO of Dementia Care Matters. Dr. David Sheard emphasizes that the Butterfly Household Model of Care works because it is simple and holds great promise.
Comprised of just two easy steps, they are:
Dementia patients have the need to express their emotional memories. Women particularly can be heard talking about their babies, and when they do, staff can engage them in conversation. This is very comforting to them and is encouraged. “Dementia patients express a need to care for people,” says Lydia Wright, the Southwood Care Centre’s site administrator.
Staff are taught how to engage the resident’s. They learn how to emotionally connect with seniors with dementia. “They touch hands and hug,” healthcare aide Norway Prestousa explains. “Make the effort to chat together. Greet the dementia patient and say, “I love you!”

The next step brings encouragement back into focus. It is a Movement that doubles up to show great promise! Residents have gained weight, were less aggressive with both residents and staff, and fewer restraints were used.  A safer place was enjoyed by all with the use of less anti-psychotics prescribed. It has been one-and-a-half years since the Calgary residence has adopted the Butterfly Model bringing peace of mind to all involved.

Cody made note that her father is much happier now and wants to make the Calgary home his own. adding:  “When we first arrived, dad insisted! ‘You have to take me home, I want to go home with you, I want to live with you,” Cody said. “Now, it’s like, ‘I’ll see you in a couple of days, dad.’ ‘Okay, bye!”

With one accredited Butterfly Care dementia ward in Ontario, there are six of the same accredited Butterfly Care dementia wards in Alberta, Canada.  Ontario has plans on the drawing board to expand such units throughout Canada.