Health Info & Resources for Seniors
Those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia have specific lifestyle considerations. In early stage dementia one may be able to live with round the clock supervision at home or in a personal care home. As the disease progresses so does the level of care and attention of the individual. In middle or late stage dementia, one’s life, activities, environment and programs must be intentionally designed to mitigate the effects of the disease.
Memory care communities, like South Mountain Memory Care in Emmaus, cater to caring for seniors with cognitive issues. South Mountain Memory Care is a purpose-built facility with an exclusive focus on memory care residents.
Memory care is unique in the following ways:
Staff – every member of the staff from the administrator to the chef is trained, and receives on-going training, on best practices to care for those with dementia. The care for an individual with dementia must be handled methodically, ranging from how you approach, engage and redirect residents. Strategies for diffusing potential aggravating situations or managing agitation must be used. This applies to all facets of living including one-on-one care, meal times, and social interaction.
Programming – all aspects of life in a memory care community are well-thought out and individually customized based on each individual’s plan of care. Personal items mark each resident’s private suite and dresser tops and so is their schedule -- when residents are bathed, dressed, go to bed, eat, and other routines are carefully planned. Activities are all structured to stimulate physical movement or cognition. Non-constructive activities like watching television are virtually eliminated and replaced with games, puzzles, reading, or enjoying the life around them with a fish tank or aviary. Residents with cognitive decline may still enjoy watching TV. Memory is often triggered by TV. Conversation by involved staff can be directed to a time and place in the past that is pleasurable and stimulating. TV programs such as sports, old TV shows and even cartoons are still favorites of those persons diagnosed with moderate to severe dementia.
Facilities - The design and layout of South Mountain minimizes over-stimulation as many residents become overwhelmed by large groups and spaces. The layout can be and can be susceptible to confusion and distraction. To achieve this, the 24-room building is divided into two, 12-room neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own common area for arts and crafts, dining and other activities. Additionally, all decorations and furnishings are safe and functional for residents, it encourages activity and exploration, but discourages exit seeking. The entire facility is secure to decrease the possibility of a resident being able to leave the building.
Family Involvement – Given the nature of the residents’ mental condition, family members are encouraged to play active roles in designing the care plan and lifestyle for each resident. Families are free to visit the community at will and receive frequent communication about their loved ones.
South Mountain Memory Care is the only privately owned, stand alone memory care community in the Lehigh Valley. If you seek memory care living for your loved one you are encouraged to call Executive Director Victoria Snyder to schedule your personal tour at 610-965-7662 or visit lehighvalleymemorycare.com.