This spring, Davenhill opens a state-of-the-art memory care floor entirely devoted to caring for residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Executive Director, Janice Pitts, and her team have incorporated some of the most innovative and effective resident-focused therapies into the floor’s operation, expressing confidence that the facility will be “one of the best there is.”
The fully staffed floor will accommodate eighteen people in their own rooms and will feature a kitchen, living room, exercise room, a specialized therapy room, state-of-the-art spa and laundry room. Davenhill will offer complete continuity of care, so residents will never have to look elsewhere for long-term needs.
Staff have received specialized training in a variety of proven memory care techniques such as ‘P.I.E.C.E.S.’ – a program where caregivers take the time to research each resident, learning about their individual physical, intellectual, emotional, capabilities and environment of their life. By getting to know who people were before the onset of the disease, it informs development on an individualized care plan for each resident.
An even more innovative approach is the Virtual Dementia Tour for family members as well as staff. This simulation of sensory disruption provides first-hand insight into the various cognitive challenges dementia sufferers face. Everyone from cleaning staff to caregivers have experienced this tour, providing all points of contact with a deeper empathy – that fosters a culture of care at Davenhill.
Those who have taken this training report it to be ‘life-changing.’ Experiencing what dementia is like provides a valuable perspective for anyone dealing with those who have the disease. This training program will also be offered to the Police Services Department with the goal of increasing their understanding of proper dementia management techniques.
Another major aspect of Davenhill’s memory care will be how staff incorporate activities of daily living into programs to keep residents as active and functional as possible. Janice Pitts says it’s all about giving them purpose.
“For instance,” she says, “those who are physically well will be doing their own laundry with somebody there to guide and assist them. Some will be really good at setting the table for meals. Some can help clean up after, some can help sweep the floor. Any time we can approach a resident and ask them to lend a hand, they’re so willing to help. They love it. We find once people are engaged in different activities, they’re less likely to have responsive behaviours.”
“Meeting the individual needs of each resident is key at Davenhill,” says Pitts. “They’re all at different stages, so what works for one might not work for another. That’s why we’re investing the time to train the staff who work on our memory care floor so they truly get to know and understand the residents… so we can get them to engage and enjoy their life.”