south mtn area webCaring for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is challenging. In addition to the emotional difficulty of seeing a loved one struggle cognitively, there are marked differences in how one’s life, activities and environment must adapt to accommodate their needs. Dementia experts encourage families not to mourn what is lost, but to hold on to the life that remains. This is the philosophy of South Mountain Memory Care, a personal care home specifically designed for residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Nestled in the quaint neighborhood of Emmaus at the foot of South Mountain, South Mountain Memory Care (SMMC) was designed for excellence in residents’ care. The new building just opened with facilities, amenities and programming for those with cognitive challenges. Below are the features of the community:

“Small House” Design
SMMC was designed using the “small house” model that has been found to be the most successful environment in providing a sense of home, connectedness and ultimately, resident happiness. Research indicates that residents in small house communities were significantly more socially engaged and displayed few non-aggressive behaviors, such as wandering, than residents in larger, traditional settings. Small house features also include:

  • Separate bedroom suites with clear paths from bedroom to bathroom
  • Abundance of natural light
  • Wayfinding and orientation with the use of colors, aroma therapy and artwork, including views to the outdoors that promotes use of exterior spaces and walking.
  • Safety and security - not only is it important for residents to be safe and secure they must perceive themselves to be safe and secure. This can be achieved with restricted window openings and secure garden fences. Secure outdoor spaces give people with dementia a secure place to go outside and helps reduce elopement attempts because residents no longer feel enclosed.
  • Consistent staff assignments with the same staff assigned to the same house at the same time in order to foster a sense of familiarity, an ability to truly know each individual and cater to their needs.
  • Smaller, intimate gathering places for those residents who feel overwhelmed by larger crowds.

The design and layout of SMMC minimizes overstimulation as many residents become overwhelmed by large groups and spaces 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. Both areas also feature an aviary that studies show promote life and tranquility.

The staff is also specially trained and experienced in caring for those with dementia. All programming is done with purpose either to stimulate cognition, social interaction, range of motion or other objectives. Dementia expert Teepa Snow says, “Dementia does not rob someone of their dignity, it’s our reaction to them that does.” SMMC implements all the best practices in dementia care to nurture each resident.

South Mountain Memory Care is the only locally owned, standalone 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

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