By Melissa Lampert, KHTS Staff Writer
One unique feature of the luxury senior living community Oakmont of Santa Clarita, set to open later this year or in early 2016, is an innovative memory care program designed to create a sense of meaning and purpose for residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Traditions Memory Care is a separate section of the community where those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can be cared for by compassionate staff members who have special training in memory care.
“Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, and with it comes that memory loss,” said Executive Director Margie Veis. “You lose that ability to take care of yourself, to have the judgement, to have the safety… Our program will be set up so that they’re engaged throughout the day with activities that won’t be frustrating to them, that will be familiar to them.”
For example, a series of stations have been set up to replicate familiar experiences that provide tactile and cognitive stimulation in addition to being both functional and meaningful, according to Veis.
“A woman that was a housekeeper that did laundry and cared for a child and now is in throes of dementia, that was their day. So to sit them down and tell them it’s time to play Bingo– that’s not meaningful for them,” she explained.
“But if you could give them warm towels that smell good and they can fold those and touch them and feel that it’s purposeful…A basket of socks, and it’s laundry time. Match the socks. It’s a cognitive activity. Let’s do all the blue ones, let’s do all the brown ones. It’s touch, it’s tactile, it’s cognitive, but it’s functional and meaningful.”
Another station will be geared toward residents who may have worked in an office, giving them the opportunity to sit at a desk and perform simple administrative tasks, such as licking envelopes or “stuffing” papers.
“it doesn’t matter truly what the outcome is,” Veis added. “It’s giving them purpose in their day and it’s engaging them in something that’s meaningful. That’s what our Traditions program is really going to be all about.”
For more information about Oakmont of Santa Clarita, click here.