As more families struggle with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, memory care has emerged as an increasingly prevalent solution. At Episcopal Church Home (ECH), we’re proud of the role our Memory Care Center of Excellence plays in supporting the needs of our residents and their families. A recent donation from First Christian Church’s Wholeness Grant program further facilitates our ability to help our community members remain engaged with the world around them while maintaining the highest possible quality of life.
Here's a closer look at how the generosity of First Christian Church is changing lives at ECH.
The Gift of Comfort
People living with advanced dementia and the cognitive impairment that goes along with it often have feelings of anxiety and restlessness. While medication can be used to manage these symptoms, non-pharmacological therapies are typically the preferred treatment for preventing and reducing agitation. These include creating a calm environment, avoiding environmental triggers, monitoring personal comfort, simplifying tasks and routines, and providing stimulating activities. (These non-pharmacological interventions are also keenly aligned with our person-centered approach to care.)
Given that many Alzheimer’s patients are looking for familiarity and security, comfort items can be an especially effective way to help them feel more at ease. This was something ECH social worker Cheryl Cubbage observed first-hand while interacting with patients in our Marmion and Memory Care neighborhoods: When she gave a restless community member a soft blanket to hold, it had an immediate calming effect. Cheryl realized the potential to make a difference throughout the entire community by offering all of our ECH residents the same access to this form of therapeutic support.
This is where First Christian Church stepped in with a generous grant toward the purchase of a collection of soft fabric pillows and small weighted blankets.
The latter has been linked with many benefits, including reductions in anxiety and distress. They’ve also been shown to enhance the quality of sleep in seniors.
First Christian Church’s generous gift also allowed us to provide “smart” comfort pets for community members. These life-like robotic cats and dogs have the ability to move and breathe like live animals and offer companionship as well as health benefits.
Proposes CB Insights of the potential of incorporating robo-pet technology into senior care settings, “The benefits of robotic pets for elder care may extend far beyond comfort and quality of life. One study found that therapy treatments with a robotic seal led to reduced medication use, better sleep, and other health improvements in patients with dementia—showing the potential for robotic pets to provide long-term clinical value.”
A Legacy of Changing Lives
First Christian Church has a long history of providing enriching and healing resources to communities all over the world, and ECH is grateful to have been on the receiving end of its generosity, commitment, and vision. In fact, this marks the third grant we’ve received from First Christian Church over the years. Other grants have been designated for the purchase of an ice cream machine and toward the creation of a sensory garden, which is a therapeutic space associated with boosting the mental wellbeing of vulnerable people, including seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. An additional and priceless impact of these gifts? The smiles we see here every day.
At ECH, we are deeply grateful for the ongoing support of the First Christian Church, as well for the meaningful contributions of the many other organizations and people who have partnered with us toward our mission of supporting the holistic wellness of all of our community members. If you’re interested in learning more about memory care at ECH, or in making a donation of your own, we invite you to contact us today.