Innovated and Compassionate Memory Care

As printed in the Fall 2018 issue of here magazine. View the full issue here.

The Memory Care programs at CHI Living Communities are designed to nurture your loved one’s special needs due to memory impairment with a holistic and person-centered approach to care, in safe and engaging environments. It’s a new way of thinking that places the needs of residents and families first. 

The Commons of Providence

With a projected increase of 30,000 individuals with Alzheimer’s in Ohio over the next seven years, The Commons of Providence recognized the need to expand its Memory Care Unit. 

“We needed to do this immediately to provide additional memory care suites for our families and their loved ones for their needs now, and into the future,” said Staci Lehmkuhl, Executive Director, Providence Care Centers.

The $3.1 million addition enhances patient safety, increases the unit by 14 beds, and provides even more innovative services and programs to the 50 residents who receive compassionate care designed for their individualized needs.

“Our Memory Care unit now includes intergenerational activities with local high school students and aroma therapy to stimulate the mind,” added Staci. “We also have sensory paint and music programs and offer pet therapy. Since we’ve implemented these new programs we’ve received considerable praise from both families and community members,” she explained.

The addition also included a new wrist band call light system that alerts the staff members’ cell phones when activated. The new technology is also capable of giving the location of the resident on the campus.

Memory care residents have exclusive use of beautifully appointed private dining, living and activity areas, and receive more intensive personal care and closer supervision by staff specialists 24-hours a day.

Staff receive ongoing training in new and innovative care. In fact, two staff members were recently trained as Positive Approach to Care (PAC) trainers by Teepa Snow, one of the leading national educators on dementia. The Commons also regularly hosts training for the community on topics specific to cognitive deficits, memory loss and brain health. 

“It’s important for our community to better understand Alzheimer’s and to know what options for care are available,” Staci said. “It’s a disease that touches nearly everyone’s life in some way.”

Namasté Alzheimer Center

As a leading provider of memory care services, Namasté Alzheimer Center has been an innovator in caring for those with dementia related conditions, and is soon hoping to add a Snoezelen Room to its campus. The rooms, created in Europe, are relaxing spaces that reduce agitation and anxiety. The rooms are filled with various stimuli such as aromas, textures, colors, and sounds that help awaken and positively impact residents’ senses and behavior. 

“The rooms can alter colors that soothe or stimulate the senses. They may include floor to ceiling light tubes, bubbles or even sheepskin chairs.”  said Ashley Fellows, MSW, NHA, Administrator. “These rooms tie directly into our efforts to create positive mind, body, and spirit interactions.” 

Snoezelen rooms deliver stimuli that impact senses affiliated with balance and help increase residents’ awareness and understanding of their surroundings. It’s another way environments can be designed to successfully meet the functioning level of its residents. 

“People often comment on how adaptive our physical layout is,” said Ashley. “We have four distinct environments to accommodate our residents’ needs, including specially designed outdoor spaces.”

Washing machines, baby changing tables, and folding tables provide “life staging” activities that residents safely participate in to help recreate activities they once did.

“Our families are very active as well,” said Ashley. “Namasté was designed to enhance the love and support of the family – not to replace it. Families serve on advisory councils, and participate in educational workshops.”

“This is a “person-centered” home for our residents and family,” she said. “We want our residents to experience connection, meaning, and hope each day.”

Madonna Manor

From caregiver workshops to the installation of a new Prayer Path, Madonna Manor has made purposeful additions to its programs to focus on more vibrant living.

Teepa Snow, one of the world’s leading specialists in dementia, led one of the most popular programs this past winter, a workshop called Making Moments of Joy.

“More than 60 people participated in the workshop,” said Krista Powers,  Director of Mission Integration and Chaplain who also serves on Teepa’s advisory board. 

Teepa developed the nationally-recognized Positive Approach to Care program which includes “making moments of joy” through intentional interactions and care. 

“Her work speaks to the person-centered care that we focus on here at Madonna Manor,” said Krista. “How we approach a person with dementia is so important. We do it with joy, respect, and dignity.” 

“Teepa explained how the hand over hand technique can be so powerful when you work with or care for a person with dementia,” explained Krista.

“For example, if the person is painting, you let your hand rest below or above their hand and allow the resident to do the motion. It’s a very simple but powerful method. We are not doing things for them, we’re just facilitating something that they’ve done before in their life and really enjoyed.”

“We also work very closely with the families and the residents’ caregivers,” said Krista. “Our message to a family is always we are here to support both you and your loved one.  We explain how we are going to do things and let them know we are walking this journey with them.”

Krista said Madonna’s Memory Care models the Montessori method to create a purposeful and meaningful environment for the residents. For example, if a resident was a business person in an office, the staff may set up a desk and chair for him. Or if resident always loved to cook, they have the resident come into the kitchen and work side by side with staff. 

The spiritual aspect of the Body, Mind and Spirit Series now includes a .85-mile prayer path that meanders around the campus. Its peaceful placement allows individuals a place to walk, reflect, and meditate. 

“Everything we’re doing we do for our residents, caregivers, families, and our community,” said Krista. “It’s important that everyone can benefit from the Body, Mind and Spirit programs. It makes everyone and everything more vibrant.”