Nichole Smith at CarePartners Living says that a lot of science was put into the design of their cottages. Their clients with dementia have a cycle of self-isolation, depression, that exasperates the dementia. The cottages are based on a home environment. Each site has three cottages on it, 20 residents each, which encourages interaction. Residents smell the coffee in the morning, hear their neighbors getting up, going to breakfast just like they did when they had kids, and this encourages their curiosity.
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The following podcast is provided by care partners living and answers for elders radio. Welcome to answers for elders radio, everyone, and I am here with Nicole Smith from care partners senior living. Nicole, welcome to the program thank you. You know, you have a twenty two year background in serving seniors and one of the things that I love about care partners is your cottages which which is really targeted for seniors that have memory issues, as in dementia, Alzheimer’s, brain injury, etc. So, Nicole, tell me a little bit about your concept of cottages and what they what, primarily, why they’re designed the way they are. A lot of science was really put into the design of the cottages and also just that we’ve been doing memory care as an industry for a number of years and I think that care partner senior living really learned off of the mistakes as we’ve learned over the years. So what we know about our clients with dementia is that they have a cycle of self isolation depression that actually exasperates the dementia because it does saying you don’t use it, you lose it. So if you’re not engaging with people every day. Then you will become depressed and self isolate in your demension will exasperate. So the cottages are more based on a home environment and they literally are a house. That’s why it’s called the cottages. Each site, and we have them lacy, Marysville, edgewood building and Renton. Each site has three cottages on it. Twenty people each cottage, twenty residents each cottage. So it’s not overwhelming. It’s not overwhelming a family it is and you know, I have a lot of families that sit down with me and they’re loved. One is on a regular assist of living and they say they’re not eating, they’re not coming out of their apartment, they’re not going to activities. I just don’t know how you’re going to encourage them to participate. And I said, well, they’re going to smell the coffee in the morning because they’re going to be in a bedroom instead of behind a big closed door in an apartment. They’re going to hear their neighbors getting up and going to breakfast, just like they did when they lived with their kids, and it encourages their curiosity to go out and be a part of the day. See, I love that and it’s not this overwhelming amount of I have to hike a big, long way to get up to a dining hall and it can be overwhelming for senior especially. They don’t even remember how to get back to their room sometimes with a memory care is you. Yes, you know again. It’s having that small community which I think get encourages also a higher level of care. MMM. And what we’ve learned with dementia is that a lot of people with dementia cannot remember what just happened and can’t predict what’s about to happen. So the smaller you make their visual world, the more successful they are. That’s why they are in a bedroom and not in an apartment, because they can see everything that they need to manage as they look around that room and then once they go out in the hallway, the cottage is small enough that they can see the living room, they can see the kitchen, they can see which of their neighbors have gotten up for the day, they can see that there’s a dance party happening outside on the patio and that, you know all of the offerings the care staff. They can see them their favorite TV shows on. Yep, you know, and and different types of things that they can participated and, like you said, it gets them using their brains. It does, and it is a very calming environment. Most of our residents know that they’re not necessarily living at home, but they also don’t feel that they’ve been institutionalized. Right. One of the funniest things about dementia’s over time, people new people to them. They get a familiar sense of WHO and what they are, but maybe not who they are to them. So I was touring a family recently and I had a resident come tap me on the shoulder and she said haven’t you found a place to live yet? And I thought she’s figured out that I’m the person who helps people find a place to love that, and she actually continued by saying you better hurry up because this place is filling up. Sweet so they have a sense that they are somewhere and they are receiving care, but there isn’t that anxiety. They aren’t brought with that anxiety because it is a smaller, calming environment. Absolutely and they don’t feel like they’re locked in no there, and they’re not. That’s the most wonderful part. So being that it’s three different cottages, three homes, we leave the front door unlocked because there’s a very tall seat fence all the way around the property and so when our residents want to go outside, we encourage it. I have a whole group of residents in Edgewood that has coffee on the patio every morning. Awesome. A lot of my residents in Lacey say to me, Oh, you just you know, to their kids, to you move me to the nicest little neighborhood and they they just transition and really, really easily. It’s a great product. Well, and what I love about the cottage is is every single one of your staff members. They are trained extensively and work exclusively with seniors, with the mansion absolutely so you know, you guys, as far as you know, families here. What is what does that mean to a family to have that level of care? So the biggest difference between memory care and regular sisted living is that training and above and beyond just the formal training, you get schooled every day in dementia when you’re working with clients with dimension. Much we still don’t know. Yeah, everything every day. We’re learning more every day and so I have a lot of clients who come to me from Magular sist to living and their family members cannot believe that we’re getting them to take a shower now that we’re letting you know. They let us trim their toenails and it really is when you’re immersed in dementia care, you can’t fake it. If you don’t love it, you leave it fast. And so our care staff that are there at our cottages, they love what they do and they get creative every day with our residents to accomplish what needs to be done. And you know, and I look at how that affects the quality of life, and you know you probably have seen that is as seniors will move into your community to start you can see this amazing transformation in their quality of life. I’m sure a lot of residents I will actually go with our nurse to the assessment to just get an idea of their personality and usually, wherever they’re living they are nervous, they have their shoulders real tightly tucked up by their ears and there is this total transformation and their appearance after a few weeks with us, the relaxation happens. Yes, they feel safe, they feel loved, they feel cared for, they get to know you, they get to know us. There’s a large amount of verbal reassurance that needs to happen multiple times a day with someone with dementia and in this model of care our residents are with other residents there, with our care staff, and so that opportunity is there all the time to reassure them and say you’re fine, you’re safe, let’s go. We Cook this. So tell us a little bit about where, where all the cottage is located. So you have a list? Yes, at least I didn’t bring with me. is off the top of my head. From north to South, Mary’Sville has a wonderful cottage community, Milk Creek has a cottage community. Mount like terrace has a cottage community as well. That’s attached to an assisted living so they have the bonded pairs program there. I have a husband and wife when, well, the die really and one without and then it been. Your Park is yeah, okay, not like Teara Svineyard Park. We’re building cottages and Renton with a hopeful open of this winter. Wow. And then we have the cottages of Edgewood, cottages of university place in the cottages of Lacey. So you really are up and down greater paget sound in Pierce County, snowhomers county and King Count Durstin lace and there’s yeah, yeah, and and obviously you know what is the process or what are the signs, Nicole, that somebody might need memory care. So if you’re a family member and you think that your loved one might need memory care, they did probably need memory care six months ago. Okay, so you know, when you see that your loved one is has that Fraut anxiousness, that’s a big sign. Self neglect. Let weight loss. Yeah, of course, anything emergent like getting lost in their car. Had a couple families now where Mama made it from spanaway to North Bend overnight. Very scary. So it’s very true, very scary. Any sort of loss of ability to keep track of the finances as a sign. And it’s really never too soon to call us, even if you’re in the decision making process and it takes you a year to get there. Let us hand hold you, let us educate you, let us support you, come to our family nights, get to know our clients. It’s another families. Most of our calls are urgent need. I’ve placed nine families that eduate just this month. Every single one of them urgent need. So I don’t mind urgent need, but I would love to not be cleaning up a crisis because right so stressful for the families well and and for the senior to absolutely when because because obviously, if you have a senior that is starting to feel that they’re being forgetful, one of the things about looking at this process earlier is they feel like they’re part of the decision and they’re part of the process it, rather than just having something like this thrust on them when they’re already in a crisis. And I cannot emphasize enough why it’s important to be proactive, to look at you know, mom is starting to be forgetful, let’s do an assessment, go to the doctor, you know, talk about you know, get some gets your hands, you know, your feet wrapped around this, you know, of what’s happening and realizing that your mom is not alone or your dad’s not alone. This is something that is on the you know, on the rise, sadly, and most certainly, you know, we do our part to raise awareness as much as possible and I know that you guys are also involved in the Alzheimer’s absolutely and in Everett. Is that correct? We’re involved in all the walks. Oh, are you? Yeah, so undercomb on Olympia, all the walks, so fault in all of them. And to pick it back on what you’re saying, I think that if your mom had heart failure, you would have no problems talking about that actly. When mom has brain failure, which is what to mention Alzheimer’s is, there’s a stigma attached and sadly that’s true. When you come to any of us, you know we will help you with the guilt, will walk through that stigma together and try to break down and really look at what’s really happening and to understand that you as a family member, I don’t care who you are, even if you’re a nurse, chances are you’re not equipped to help be there as a caregiver two seven to take care of you senior know, and that is the challenge that a lot of families think that they can do this on their own and they lose their lives in the process and it’s not the best situation for their loved one either. To have trained staff that understand, you know, therapies, different types of ways in which they can interact with people. I think one of the things that families forget is they forget the fact that, you know, as they they age or you know, as an Alzheimer’s is the disease progresses, the more isolated your loved one is, the worst it gets. Right. So the dynamics and the relationship between child and mom, I’ve actually had. I had a client once who came to me at a guilt and said I’m going to stop caring for my mom because she just doesn’t even recognize me anymore. She says me all the time, Marilyn made better food. you better go find Marilyn. Marilyn wouldn’t make me take a shower. Her mom was with us. Three weeks she started recognizing her daughter as her daughter. Yeah, she actually said, I can’t believe you left me with that nasty woman. Where have you been? Yes, and that’s way, that’s the way. You know, adult children, in my opinion, need to be is be the daughter absolutely and and be the sun. Talk About Memories. I bring a photo album and talk about long term memories, because those are the things they’re going to remember most. I agree. Yeah, so, Nicole, how do we reach you and what’s the process? I guess in getting involved with care partners. Yeah, so anyone can call me at any given time if you have a concern about a loved one. My phone numbers two US and six nine hundred and two nine five one hundred and ninety one, and I’m also very available by email. and Nicole with an H and I see H oh Ellie at care partners livingcom well, I’m so excited and again, check out the cottages. If you have a loved one with the with dementia or Alzheimer’s, I couldn’t recommend them stronger any enough, and remember this. They will always take care of your loved one, even when they run out of money. So financial is not a consumer we can work with Medicaid, we can work with you, we can come up with a plan. That’s lovely. Thank you so much for being on the show and thank you guys re sponsoring today’s program welcome. Thank you. The preceding podcast was provided by care partners living and answers for elders radio. To contact care partners living, go to care partners livingcom
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Originally published August 25, 2018