What is the Butterfly Model?

The Butterfly Model is a culture change model created in the United Kingdom. It focuses on delivering person-centered, emotion-focused care to connect people in a dignified, human way. This is a powerful way to reach a person with dementia who can struggle with logic and memory. It means making their surroundings truly feel like home, a place where family, friends, staff, and volunteers can also feel at home with the people who call it “home”.

There are many changes which can be made to a care home, for example painting more colourful walls or increasing the range of sensory and naturally engaging reminiscence objects with which to engage. However, these will only make a meaningful difference when the whole team understands what it truly means to be with people like friends and family. The impact of this “being truly together” has a significantly positive impact on quality that is both deep and lasting for all involved.

An integral part of the Butterfly Method is creating homes for our residents. Ensuring that important aspects of the residents’ selves are visible throughout the floor and that they feel as though they belong.


A Butterfly Model takes the aspects that make us feel at home and enhances interaction. The design of the home and the contents within it are based on research related to how those with dementia interact with their environment. This includes brightly coloured walls, themed rooms, and hallways with plenty of interactive materials that meet the interests of the people living there, access to outdoors through the rooftop garden, personalized rooms and doors, and enhanced bathrooms for a calming experience.

Life Story Box

A “Life Story” is a story profile of the people living in the home. It visually represents who they are and what they value. Life Stories highlight aspects of the self that the people living at Belmont like others to know to better care for the individual and get to know who they are as a person.

These are some ideas for things to share:

  • A picture of their loved one with someone they love or doing something they love – which doesn’t look like a work or passport photo!
  • Something about their personality – what would your partner or best friend say about you? ‘Life and soul of the party’, ‘calm and kind in a crisis’ etc.
  • Where they are from/special places in their life/favourite holiday destinations
  • People and/or animals who are important to them – family, pets etc.
  • Interests or passions that they have – sport, music, crafts, gardening etc.
  • An achievement in their life they are proud of
  • Significant events or memories in their life – a wedding, a grandchild being born etc.
  • Their favourite food or drink
  • What brings them comfort when they are feeling sad/what makes them laugh

Life Story contents are collected, assembled, and framed outside resident rooms. This allows staff to make connections with residents based on who they are as people. It is essential to us, and to the Butterfly project that families be involved and help the residents express themselves to us.

Rummage Boxes

  • Rummage boxes are personalized filled with items of comfort/meaning to the people living in the home area
  • The rummage box will be placed in by the fireplace in the lounge and labelled with the persons name so that any of the team members can use it to prompt meaningful engagement with the resident (this can include housekeeping, dietary, maintenance, nursing, PSW’s etc.)
  • Items to include in a rummage box are magazines, books, photos, balls of wool, religious items, poems, old toys etc.