HCN News & Notes

Benchmark Mind & Memory Approach Wins National Award

WALTHAM — Benchmark, a leading provider of senior living services in the Northeast, today announced that it has received a Best of the Best award for its innovative Connect First program from Argentum, the national senior living association. This Mind & Memory program teaches associates how to discern what their memory care residents are trying to communicate and effective response techniques.

“Dementia caregivers must view behavior as being a form of communication that is altered or compromised because of how the disease affects the brain,” said Michelle Tristani, Benchmark’s Corporate Director of Memory Care. “Decoding behavior and responding in a way that results in the best outcome is at the heart of Connect First. In a short time, we’ve found it to be an effective, non-pharmacological approach to caring for the more than 1,800 residents at our 57 memory care communities.”

Understanding the behavior of someone with compromised memory or brain function is often one of the most challenging aspects of caring for them. This disconnect often leads to miscommunication, fear, and anxiety, especially as the disease progresses.

Connect First works to evoke positive emotions in dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other brain disorders by improving communication and establishing or maintaining strong human connections, a Benchmark cornerstone. Benchmark’s memory care associates are trained in critical thinking, individualized approaches to meeting their charges needs, and powerful communication techniques.Resident behavioral data is also formally collected for ongoing assessment and effectiveness.

“Fostering trust and strong relationships between our memory care residents and those who care for them is critically important in ensuring the best quality of life for our residents. I am so proud of our memory care teams and what they have accomplished and what they will continue to do for our residents and their families,” said Tom Grape, Benchmark’s founder and CEO.

Throughout its 23-year history, Benchmark has earned an array of accolades from Argentum and others, including four previous Best of the Best awards for corporate and individual community programs. In 2014, the company earned a coveted OPTIMA Award from I Advance Senior Care for their research-based Mind & Memory programming, which engages residents in physical, social, intellectual, emotional, purposeful, and spiritual wellness.

“The Best of the Best awards give us all a chance to hear the inspiring stories behind innovations that can make a lasting difference in the health, independence, and quality of life for residents and stronger engagement for those working in the industry,” said James Balda, Argentum president and CEO. “We’re pleased to be able to celebrate these offerings and the companies who cultivate them.”