Benchmark Wins National Award for Connection with Memory-care Residents

WALTHAM — Benchmark, a leading provider of senior-living services in the Northeast, announced it has received a Best of the Best award for its innovative Connect First program from Argentum, the national senior-living association. This mind and 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 amid dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other brain disorders by improving communication and establishing or maintaining strong human connections. 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,” said Tom Grape, Benchmark’s founder and CEO. “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.”