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Elevate Eldercare

Jun 23, 2021

Pat Sprigg set off on her journey to change eldercare after observing firsthand the horrors of the “best practices” – powerful antipsychotic drugs and physical restraints – that were commonplace in the dementia treatment programs of the 1970s and 1980s.

But even as many facilities moved away from such dangerous and dehumanizing strategies, Sprigg came to believe that the next wave of best practices were just as damaging: Segregating people living with dementia into their own units behind locked doors, in Sprigg’s view, was just another form of physical restraint that robbed elders of their civil liberties and personal autonomy.

As CEO of Carol Woods, a retirement community in North Carolina, Sprigg has fostered an environment without locked wards or other barriers between people living with dementia and the rest of the community. 

Sprigg sat down with Susan Ryan to discuss her decades of dedication the empowerment of all elders, as well as the value in working for an organization where not everyone agrees on what constitutes a best practice – and how such professional disagreements can break old patterns of thinking to create a better future.

Sprigg also explains how comprehensive benefits for workers helped Carol Woods weather COVID-19 better than most senior communities, and why people should still be excited about entering the field – after all, she went from never wanting to work in the sector as a recent graduate to an upcoming retirement as CEO after 46 years in the space.


Learn more about Carol Woods:

Dive into the history of the “Untying the Elderly” movement:

Learn more about The Green House Project:

Register for GHP’s newest in-person and virtual event, DementiaVerse: