Here at Episcopal Retirement Services, we’ve always been focused on providing the best senior living options including safe and welcoming spaces for all of our residents, visitors, and team members. Our newest step along this journey is the new Center for Memory Support and Inclusion. We recently received two large gifts that are able to fund this new project. For right now, the Center is part of a 3-year, fully-funded pilot program, and it’s part of our goal to make Cincinnati the most dementia-inclusive city in America by 2025.
What Is the Center for Memory Support and Inclusion?
The Center combines the resources of ERS, UC Health, the medical community, the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati, and other aging service providers in the area to support seniors who are living with dementia. It begins with our memory care households at ERS that are designed to provide seniors with the best possible environments. They’re specifically designed to avoid overstimulating aging residents.
This program also features our Living Well Memory Support Therapy program, which has been working for years to keep residents engaged. The Living Well program uses both cognitive and physical exercise and various therapy programs, like art and music, to create a holistic approach to improving the lives of our residents.
No program would be complete without the staff who make it all work. Our team has a thorough training program designed to equip them to best care for our memory care patients and those who love them. Our “Yes, And!” training keeps staff on their toes in an improv-like style so they can become comfortable helping residents who may have challenges with daily activities.
What Does the Center for Memory Support and Inclusion Stand For?
This Center has been built on four primary pillars that emphasize the importance of care, compassion, and service toward those with the cognitive disease. These are the four pillars:
- Creating senior living environments designed to support those living with memory impairment.
- Ensuring the program is therapeutic to assist seniors throughout their journey.
- Being a center that benefits the greater Cincinnati community, as well as the ERS community specifically, through outreach.
- Offering training to care providers and caregivers in the community so they can best assist their loved ones.
By following these four pillars, the Center for Memory Support and Inclusion will be an incredible resource for the entire local community to improve memory care. Many caregivers don’t know the best ways to support loved ones with cognitive impairment. This program will offer them resources, as well as the seniors for whom they are caring.
How Is the Center for Memory Support and Inclusion Improving the Community?
As part of the Center and our overall commitment to improving access to and the experience of memory care, we’ve partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati and the City of Cincinnati to create the Dementia Inclusive Cincinnati Initiative. Cognitive impairment is increasing — one in eight seniors over the age of 65 will develop it. By creating programs and initiatives like these, we’re working to create a more inclusive community.
When someone is diagnosed with a cognitive disease, it impacts more than just them. It impacts their entire family. The Center for Memory Support and Inclusion will help both the caregivers and their loved one navigate through this time.
Pictured: Marjorie P. Lee residents participate in the Java Memory Care Program.
Through the Center and Dementia Inclusive Cincinnati, we’re also creating outreach initiatives to engage with businesses in the community. We’re providing education about cognitive disorders and how restaurants, businesses, and organizations can make changes to become more welcoming and inclusive for those with memory impairment. This can vary from things like employee training to wayfinding information and building design.
Who Is Leading the Center and Dementia Inclusive Cincinnati?
Our new Director of the ERS Center of Memory Support and Inclusion is Shannon Braun.
As Director, Shannon will oversee ERS’s memory support efforts, including the oversight of its living environments, therapies, and training programs for staff, along with its community outreach programs, including Dementia Inclusive Cincinnati.
Pictured: Megan Bradford (left) and Shannon Braun (right)
Shannon brings broad knowledge and expertise in the field of aging to her new role at ERS as the former Early Stage Coordinator with the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati.
In her five years at the Alzheimer’s Association, she developed and managed education, support, and engagement programs with community partners, conducted counseling sessions with families, and facilitated support groups.
Together with ERS Director of Strategic Initiatives Megan Bradford, Shannon was instrumental in developing the Dementia Inclusive training program. Then she led library staff training for the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in preparation for offering Memory Cafés to provide adults with dementia, providing opportunities to socialize and partake in a wide array of activities. Memory Cafés provide a safe, comfortable space to connect with others in similar situations. Dementia caregiving can be very isolating, and most find the Memory Cafés to be personally beneficial as well.
The Center for Memory Support and Inclusion is an asset to the Cincinnati community and all those with cognitive disorders and their caregivers. We’re continuing to expand and develop this program, so keep an eye out for more information. More news will be coming soon — but you can always contact us to learn more.