Our Memory Care Unit: Caring for Those with Dementia and Alzheimer’s
When caring for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, an abundance of patience and kindness are something we at the Witherell prize as much as one’s physical care. There is an art to caring for those whose memories are failing them.
Gail Carone and Amy Demezzo, two members of our therapeutic recreation team, work at the Nathaniel Witherell’s Memory Care Unit, and provide the answers to questions you may have. The Unit provides specialized care for residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s on a separate unit within our state-of-the-art facility. There, in a comfortable home-like environment, residents receive one-on-one attention from our compassionate professional staff.
Q: What therapeutic recreational activities are offered to Memory Care Unit residents?
The one-to-one attention residents receive at the Memory Care Unit validates their individuality and promotes personal engagement. To that end, we offer a variety of specialized programming on the Memory Care Unit such as arts & crafts, exercise classes, music sensory, musical entertainment, Baking Club, table volleyball and Pastoral Care. Residents in the Unit also can join other Witherell residents for religious and spiritual services in the Chapel, exercise and music programs, and special events. Residents are also taken on walks and can visit the Witherell Café.
Q: Are there certain activities that are more popular with those who have dementia?
Bingo is always a favorite! Our residents in the Unit love to win jewelry and chocolate. If they join others downstairs and play Bingo, they enjoy winning money!! Of course, music is always popular. Our residents enjoy weekly entertainment from our house musicians, Vincent & Mike, and piano music with Bonnie, another favorite. It’s always heart-warming to hear how our residents can remember the lyrics to their favorite songs!
Q: How does Witherell tailor activities to meet the needs of those with Alzheimer’s or dementia?
We try our best to meet our patients where they are by supporting their individual cognitive, emotional, physical, social and spiritual needs. That’s central to our person-centered care. Our activities are all designed to keep our residents engaged throughout the day, while also bringing happiness and joy.
Q: Do you have any specific stories to share?
There are always moments in which you try your best to communicate with a resident with dementia or Alzheimer’s. While initially you may think they don’t understand you, they often respond in a way you did not expect – like offering a funny comment. We come to know every resident very well, so it’s always rewarding to see someone try something new and participate in a program that they would not normally. While our residents might not always recognize us each time we come to do programs, many times they do. Either way, it’s rewarding to know that we’re making a difference and enhancing every resident’s quality of life.