With high rates of Alzheimer’s in Washington, Suzanne talks about memory care at Encore Communities at Laurel Cove in Shoreline, Washington with executive director Pauline Smith. She talks about memory care and the services provided for those with Alzheimer’s.
Encore Communities at Laurel Cove is located at 17201 15th Ave NE, Shoreline, WA 98155. Learn more at https://encorecommunities.com/laurel-cove or call 206-364-9336.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
The following is a podcast from a qualified senior care provider heard on the Answers for Elders radio show. … And welcome back, everyone, to the Answers for Elvis Radio Network with Pauline Smith from Laurel Cove Senior Living at and they are part of on Court Communities in shore Line. I wanted to get that right. I was getting it a little bit different in my head here, but Pauline, I am really intrigued with your community and certainly excited to learn more. But one of the things that you talked a little bit and I really want to delve in on this segment, is I want to talk about memory care. UM. I know that statistically in Washington State we have the one of the highest per capita um residents that are affected with Alzheimer’s disease. For some reason, it’s high in Washington State, UM, and we don’t know why that is, but obviously there’s there’s a lot of families out there, you know. I think the latest statistics I heard is there was like hundred and seventy thousand residents of the state of Washington are living with Alzheimer’s disease and they’re being cared for by close to three to four hundred thousands unpaid care partners, family care givers. That’s a huge amount of people, UM in this state that it’s affecting. And obviously you guys do a wonderful job and taking care of those that are affected with Alzheimer’s disease. So, Pauline, could you tell me a little bit about what is memory care and what are the services provided when you work with those with memory care? Sure? Absolutely, so memory care of my passion. I found several buildings that were only memory care, so it’s kind of my heart and so UM. One of the things that is most important is the relationship in life story process. So in order to work with someone who with memory care, because we don’t know a lot about memory, UM, typically they regress in the short term memories gone, and so knowing their past it was very very important and to support them to help them become comfortable in our own skin. And we have adopted this program called the best Friend’s Approach, and I love that because all of us need a best friend. Yes, and so when you start talking about working with people with memory impairments, if you know someone’s past, it’s very easy to get to know them. Enough to assist them without their being that level of anxiety or just or not being able to trust because their memory and are confused. And so one of the things I I tell everyone is kind of funny, but you know, I don’t really love the idea of having someone you know help me take a shower. There’s very few people in this world that I would want to see me under but my best friend who knows everything about me, and that was my favorite music and the sense of the lotion that I like that. I’m a learning person, so I want my shower bright and early. That person I’m gonna let help me and and enjoy it may get a pleasant experience. And so one of the things it’s also very important for the caregivers when you’re learning to work with certain people, you know those details, you truly enjoy your work for helping them with something that they enjoy as well, it’s just a win win for everyone. And so the best friend’s approach is really about getting to know them, getting to know their preferences and who they are, what did they do for work, where were they born? You know, I have many many stories I could share the opportunities of helping someone that had I not knew that experience could have easily become a negative situation. True, and often times in the community that doesn’t truly understand memory care, that’s what happens. People get irritated or grogly and more physically aggressive. They get labels so bad of all these horrible things, when the reality of it is is it’s becoming their best friend, knowing them, bringing those moments of joy which you and making life positive, great experiences. And that’s what we focus on. Our goal is truly to make every moment. It doesn’t have to be a big yes entertainment sign and big activities are great and that’s all wayskerful, But every interaction in memory care is an experience that could go positively or negatively. So learning how to make those positives um. Keeping people busy, but keeping them to their routines. UM. People of memory care truly need a routine. UM. So we actually assign a best friend, actually to each person has two best friends, so that they’re interacting with the same people enough to feel confidence in who that person is, that there’s trust there. May not remember their name, but know that they’re a positive person and they work with everyone too. All of us learned everybody is my story, but they have best friends. So it’s really nice because that best friends can be a resource for other caregivers working with that person to give them hints of things that they try at work and all of those things to make them feel comfortable and confident. And um, that’s that’s the main focus of our program is truly truly knowing those people inside and out and making them our best friends. Yeah, yeah, you know, And I love that whole analogy because certainly there’s a there’s a safety tructor you know when you’re talking about that, and also, like you said, for your staff, it’s really it’s it’s allowing people to take ownership of the relationship, you know, saying how can I make this person stay? Because that’s what a best friend does. You know. It’s that idea of a culture that you’ve created there. And I know, the other thing that I really want to talk about with memory care obviously is the fact that these are skilled individuals that understand that people that have Alzheimer’s and you know, uh, advanced dementia, they they have different ways of connecting with people. Uh you know, they may be one day they may be just fine and then the next day it’s like they’re the worst person in the world, right, But to understand a little bit about how that processes with staff that understand that completely, I think that’s a real key thing of making sure that that individual feels safe in the environment that they live in. And and I know that with the staff that’s specifically trained, sometimes family members don’t quite understand. They don’t have the ability to, you know, to to deal with all the mood swings of Dad or the different things that goes along with that. And I think that’s one of the things that um is a good thing about a memory care situation because Dad’s safe, He’s in a secure environment, He’s not going to wander down the streets of you know, of Edmunds. And therefore, you know, you’re you’re feeling like, you know, he’s in a really good situation and he supported in what he does, and I know that there’s all different types of ways in which The other thing that I love about memory care, and I kind of rambling, but one of the things that I love is the ability to tap into parts of the mind that professionals can do, such as music therapy, such as art therapy, different things like that that goes on, which fascinates me. I’m still to this day so fascinated. Like I remember reading a story about a lady that she used to be a ballerina and she got Alzheimer’s and it was like she was just totally almost you know, stage five, you know, really not very much with it very much anymore, and all of a sudden, they put on this swan like music and she just came alive in the chair and I went, oh, my gosh, it just it gave me goose bumps to hear these stories. Absolutely, there’s so many opportunities. We do pet therapy, have visits, visiting pets. We definitely do music therapy multiple times a week. I think the music really is They’ll be to someone that you could ask, you know, what day of the week it is, or what year it is, and there’s those questions that it couldn’t answer any of them, but you put on music and they remember every word of the song, and it’s just isn’t that something? Yes, yeah, yeah, and it’s and it’s the mystery of the brain, you know when when we look at it, like you and me, I’m I have a thing for memory care. And of course um, my listeners know that I have a therapy dog. And the first thing I do is if I go to a community, I’m just drawn. I where a lot of people are still uncomfortable to go there, and I apreciate that I’m the first one that goes up to memory care. I’m the first one that wants to be with those with those seniors. And because I am fast, I’m a part of me is really fascinated with the whole idea of wanting, you know, wanting to be in that environment and to see them come alive like they do. And that’s really the cool thing. And I think the other thing is also having the awareness and understanding that one day, you know, somebody’s going to be angry with me, you know, for being there or not want to talk to me. And having the ability to recognize that and to read those fines too is I think important as well. And you know, as as a professional that I am in my work, I can recognize that, but a lot of people they don’t. So I understand what it’s like for families because I was there. My mom had advanced dementia, but certainly over time, um, you know, I was able to grasp a lot of education. So yeah, that’s fantastic. Yeah, it definitely takes getting a little patient and yeah and wanting to be educated. Yeah, we do provide some of that as well. We do support groups. Um, I do a powerful tools for caregivers class um for those people they’re chronically mentally ill or deaventia or any sort of illness. Actually, health care is important to yeah about a lot of that. Yeah, and you know, I definitely would love to talk about those kind of things in our next segment because I think the big thing about it right now is is that families today they’re graspling with a decision and they might right now, especially after the pandemic. You know, their loved ones have been either living with them or they’ve been you know, outliving their home at this time. They’re looking at scenarios that they can’t hold on much longer. But there’s this element of fear and and and grief there in their own grief process and also just really the feeling of you know, having giving themselves their own guilt trips. And I know with that, um, you know, we do care about the families, and I think one of the things I always say is when my mom passed away. It’s like I felt like I lost my support network because of so many I was so blessed to have the kind of support that I had from the community that my mom lives in. And I think that’s one of the things that you offer as well as to families. So Parlane, How do we reach you? You can always find us at Laurel Cove on our on Poor Communities dot Com website just click on world code when we get there, or college directly at two zero six three six four nine three three six. Well fabulous and everyone. We’re going to talk about family resources, and we’re also going to talk about how Laurel Cove loves our seniors and our community. And we’ll be right back for after them. Answers for Elders Radio show with Suzanne Newman. Hopes you found this podcast useful in your journey of navigating senior care. Check out more podcasts like this to help you find qualified senior care experts in areas of financial, legal, health and wellness, and living options. Learn about our radio show, receive promotional discounts, and meet our experts by clicking on the banner to join the Senior Advocate Network at answers for elders Radio dot Com. 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Originally published October 09, 2022