Alzheimer's and dementia care are increasingly in demand here in the Cincinnati area and nationwide. That's because an estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's dementia. By 2050, that number is expected to increase to 14 million.
To help families impacted by dementia diagnoses, Episcopal Retirement Services and other retirement care providers around the country are investing heavily in memory care — residential and outpatient services optimized to support dementia patients’ cognitive function, as well as their daily living needs.
Today, let's discuss some of the changes we're making to accommodate the growing population of dementia patients and look ahead at changes you may see in the future.
ERS and several Tristate partners — including the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Cincinnati, the Kennedy Heights Development Corp and Community Council and Cincinnati's Office of the Vice Mayor — have launched an initiative to stoke community awareness about the need for additional dementia care and support.
The consortium was born in part of ERS CEO and President Laura Lamb's vision of making Cincinnati one of the nation's most age-friendly cities.
"Dementia-Inclusive Cincinnati is a comprehensive, coordinated, grassroots effort to launch an all-encompassing dialogue for the sake of our families, friends, our neighbors, and our city,” Lamb said.
It will help ERS to share with the community its expertise in dementia care and dementia issues, "the right way,” she added.
Memory care households at Marjorie P. Lee
Over the past year, as part of our master renovation plan, we reconfigured the Morris and Kirby premier memory support households at the Marjorie P. Lee senior living community in Cincinnati's Hyde Park neighborhood.
Now, senior residents with Alzheimer's can receive memory care in some of the most up-to-date, innovative dementia treatment centers in Greater Cincinnati.
The Morris and Kirby households are well-lit with beautiful, natural light. Common areas are continually monitored for safety and designed to encourage residents to visit and interact with one another, because socialization is believed to delay dementia's progress in some patients.
Residents love the open kitchens and community spaces. They also enjoy a secure setting that allows residents with advanced dementia to safely wander. This provides stimuli that may help to slow dementia's progress.
But Morris and Kirby residents also have privacy when they want it. They have their own apartments and bathrooms. Take a look at what our cheery and welcoming memory care apartment homes look like here.
As you can see, families are encouraged to furnish and decorate their loved ones' apartments with touches from home — a favorite couch or chair, photos, artwork, mementos and keepsakes, or whatever would make their loved ones to feel most comfortable in their new memory care apartments.
The Memory Care Center of Excellence at Episcopal Church Home
Last year, we also entered a new strategic partnership with the Episcopal Church Home (ECH) — Louisville's premier retirement care provider for nearly a century — and have developed the Memory Care Center of Excellence there.
ECH's Memory Care Center of Excellent features four "neighborhoods," each designed to feel like home and corresponding to different levels of memory care.
Like the memory care households at Marjorie P. Lee, they feature open kitchens and familiar-feeling commons, secure outdoor areas, comfortable living rooms and sun porches. Residents have private bedrooms and bathrooms. All residents enjoy common living rooms, family-style kitchens and dining rooms.
Staff members continually assess each memory-impaired resident's unique needs and develop customized care programs that can be readily adapted to changing abilities.
And, because ECH is a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) like Marjorie P. Lee, residents don't have to move out when their needs change — they can simply switch to another care neighborhood within the larger retirement community.
A multi-focused, therapeutic approach to memory care
We know that there is no one therapy that will slow dementia for every patient, every time. Rather, different therapies seem to work for different patients.
So, for memory care residents throughout the Episcopal Retirement Services system of communities, we developed our Living Well Memory Support Program — a comprehensive, ever-evolving suite of innovative cognitive therapies that includes:
- Game-based memory exercise, like SAIDO Learning®
- Computer-based memory exercise, such as iN2L and GreyMatters
- Integrated memory-and-motor stimulation in our 360 Wellbeing program, which incorporates light group exercise, yoga, Tai Chi, massage and other holistic, mind-body approaches
- Creative stimulation, through music and art therapies
Residents, their family caregivers and our memory care experts can work together to see which therapy combinations provide the most cognitive benefits, then tailor participation toward those and to maximize enjoyment for the resident.
And all our memory care team members are trained in the Positive Approach to Care. Based on techniques developed by renowned dementia care expert Teepa Snow, the program helps our caregivers better understand dementia patients' changing brains and teaches them dementia-friendly communication techniques that allow them to better serve our memory care residents.
Memory care will continue to improve as science learns more about dementia and its causes.
As new techniques and understandings develop, we'll keep incorporating them into our memory care efforts at Cincinnati's Marjorie P. Lee Retirement Community, at Episcopal Church Home in Louisville and throughout our retirement care network.
Would your older loved one benefit from dementia or Alzheimer's care at ERS? Click here to learn more about residential memory care and schedule your family's tour of one of our memory care centers today.