Moving Mom into Memory Care

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Catholic Care Center

Polly Snow

Edel Snow and her father, John, knew there was something wrong with Polly, Edel's mother and John's wife, but they, like countless others, chose to believe they could care for her at home.

"I think we wanted to believe it was a personality quirk or that this was just how she was aging," Edel says. "But we were not doing as well as we thought and we did have to admit her to a nursing facility. The first place we chose was not the best place for her. She was very agitated and unhappy. From the start my dad and I had agreed that we would visit as often as we could and we did, but this facility was not as accommodating to relaxed and pleasant visits with her. My dad and I would leave each time almost as agitated and unhappy as she was."

Edel says she and John counted themselves as "very fortunate" when, about six weeks later, they received a call from Catholic Care letting them know they had a room for Polly in the Memory Care unit.

"The benefits of having Mom at Catholic Care are numerous, but the benefits my dad and I like most are that Mom is treated like a person with a past, present and future, as well as a person who still has opinions to be expressed and heard," Edel says. "We appreciate that family members' needs are considered as well.

The variety of places to sit and visit with Mom are helpful because dealing with her moods often requires a change of scenery. When she is down we can sit on the patio in the fresh air and sunshine or in the sitting room with the fireplace and she feels like she is home with us.

"I am thankful that God directed us to Catholic Care and I am thankful for all of the help and advice I have received from staff members and family members of other residents."

Award-winning programming and design

In November of 2002, the Catholic Life Center opened its new Memory Care Residence designed especially for those with early stage dementia. The development committee of the Catholic Care Center traveled through several states to observe facilities and programs at continuing care retirement communities. In the course of the search, committee members discovered a new entrant into the continuum of long-term care services:  dementia care at an assisted living level. Thus was born the concept for a Memory Care Residence at the  Catholic Care Center.

Combining neighborhood living together with a person-centered care philosophy, The Memory Care Residence at the Catholic Life Center provides a unique environment for persons with cognitive impairments who are best served in a home of their own.

Peson Respected Care
"We believe in honoring the special personality that has come to live with us by partnering with the resident's family, providing a specially trained staff, programming that engages the resident, and a preferred living environment," says Tom Church, Catholic Care Center CEO. "Continuity of care is provided in two settings: the Memory Care Residence and The Meadows. Those who benefit from and qualify for an assisted living environment are served in the Memory Care Residence. Those who need a higher level of personal care are served in The Meadows."

A well-designed environment creates a habitat that enhances dignity and maintains independence, Tom explains. A carefully-planned design can accommodate, diminish, and even neutralize disruptive behaviors.  Design for the elderly, especially those with Alzheimer's disease, needs to take into account their desire to continue normal daily activities that have given them pleasure, such as gardening or putting seeds into a bird feeder.  These activities are often tied to a wellspring of memories that create the experience of well-being for the resident.  The role of the environment is to enable this to happen.

One of the ways this is happening in the Memory Care Residence is through the cueing design leading to each resident household.  Themes, colors and scenes create directions into one's household.  For example, the cueing design for the south household is a theme of an old-fashioned street corner.  A textured wall, painted like stone, leads from the core program area into the household.  Once in the household, the stone wall continues with a café window.  In front of the painted stone wall in the core program area is an old-fashioned street light, a mail box, a street corner bench.  The continuity of these items enables the residents of this household to find their own way to their home and tie in with objects they would have experienced in earlier years.  Thus is created an environment that is friendly and thus more conducive to a resident's sense of well-being.

Dementia Program Of Distinction

The Memory Care Residence at the Catholic Care Center has successfully achieved the standards to attain certification in the Alzheimer's Foundation of America Excellence in Care Dementia Program of Distinction, only the fifth such designation granted in the United States and the only one in the State of Kansas. With this designation, Catholic Care Center is recognized as a model of dementia care. In 2011 it received notification it had successfully met the criteria for recertification.

A community leader

The Catholic Care Center is a community leader in Alzheimer services.  The first Wednesday of each month they host a Support Group for the Alzheimer's Association.  In addition to the Memory Care Residence and the Special Care Unit within the nursing center, the Catholic Care Center offers an Adult Day program for persons who may need a half day or full day of program while the well spouse is at work.
"The value of one day"

"We chose Catholic Care Center for our adult day care provider for a number of reasons," says Donald M. Douglas, PhD. "The facilities are first-rate. The place is furnished like a home, not at all institutional, and  provides a home-like atmosphere. We found the staff to be cheerful, upbeat and wholly professional. We have been using it one day each week...and the value of that one day per week to me, as the sole caregiver, is incalculable."


Levels of Care

Independent - communities for senior living.

Assisted - support for activites of daily living.

Intermediate Nursing - 24 hours of nursing care per day.

Skilled Nursing - 24 hours of nursing care per day that is Medicare certified.  

Memory Care - specialized care for dementia and Alzheimers patients.

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