Health & Fitness

Memory Care Services for Dementia Patients

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Dementia patients in southern Wisconsin now have access to a dedicated memory care location. Find out how this 21-bed facility is filling a need that’s been a long time coming.

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Residents in southern Wisconsin now have easy access to a dedicated memory care facility.

Moments Memory Care, a new addition to Willowick Assisted Living Community, recently opened at 304 Ogden Ave., Clinton, Wis. Frieda Pulkowski, co-owner of Willowick, says the facility has been a long time coming.

“We’ve always had traditional assisted living communities, but none of the communities were dedicated to memory care,” she says. “Unfortunately, the incidents of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia are still increasing, and we’re seeing more and more people who are in the moderate to severe stages who need very capable memory care.”

The new facility has 21 beds and is designed to help residents to feel as though they’re at home, without the stress of a large, sprawling space.

“Sometimes, people build memory care communities that are so large and residents end up feeling lost,” she says. “It gets overwhelming, and it’s hard for them to meet friends and get their rhythm in the building. We want this to be lively and active with a warm, homelike atmosphere.”

Residents can live independently, but they’re cared for by an around-the-clock staff. Meals and snacks are served three times a day, and there are options for flexible mealtimes.

With the help of an activity staff, residents participate in life-enrichment and leisurely activities.

“They can participate in one-on-one or group activities off-site, like shopping, going out to eat or visiting the farmers market,” Pulkowski says. “This allows them to be part of the community. We want to keep them sharp as long as we can.”

Caregivers interact with residents using the Best Friends Approach, a nationally acclaimed method for interacting with people who have dementia.

Through this technique, residents are known and remembered by caregivers as a best friend.

“With this approach, I know a particular resident and I know they’re a kind person who may like chocolate chip cookies and cocoa,” Pulkowski says. “If they’re having an off day or if they’re yelling, I can say they’re my friend and I can approach the resident with some cookies and cocoa. You’re going to do what you can to support your best friend in a time of need. This is a highly individualized approach in care that’s unique to each resident.”

The facility also strives to bring back positive memories for each resident by creating “living nooks” in the community, where small scenes and familiar situations help to generate old memories and encourage activities that promote movement and interaction.

One nook looks like an office, for people who may have worked in an office setting.

“They might have a memory of working in some professional field, and they may want to be in an office setting,” Pulkowski says. “We’ve created an office for the residents, and it has an old-time switchboard and typewriter.”

Other living nooks are used for gardening, automotive activities and reading.

“These are places in the communities that the residents can use just for themselves,” Pulkowski says. “It’s pretty cool.”

Caregivers in the facility hope their services can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia while allowing each resident to feel a sense of purpose, satisfaction and enjoyment each day.

“There is a need for true memory care,” Pulkowski says. “There are some communities that say they’re providing memory care, but true memory care requires that you have specialized staffing and training, and the environment has to be appropriate. We believe we’re offering good, solid memory care.”

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