Residents with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related illnesses reside in our separate unit, located on the third floor of our facility. This provides a secure yet open setting with distinct living and dining rooms. Residents can relax in a home-like environment, where full-time recreation therapists conduct activities throughout the day. Bed times and waking schedules are flexible, meals are served not only at customary meal times but also when a resident is hungry, and baths or showers are given at times that are preferred by each resident.
The Alzheimer’s unit provides a safe and comforting setting yet its residents benefit from a stimulating atmosphere designed to maximize each resident’s ability to function.
Individual Care Program
Prior to being admitted, a person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is carefully evaluated to ensure appropriate placement in the unit. Once the decision to admit that person is made, we create an individualized care plan, initiated by the unit’s Nurse Manager with input from her clinical team. She and her staff ensure that a well-coordinated, 24-hour program is in place for every resident, and that the program takes into consideration all aspects of the resident’s daily medical and personal needs.
Not only are important issues such as pain and medication management considered, but so are the resident’s every day personal care needs. Witherell maintains a strong focus on minimizing the use of antipsychotic medications.
Highly Trained Staff
Staff receive annual training in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease topics and are devoted to the care needs of this special population. The unit is more intensively staffed than a typical nursing unit of similar size and the staff is dedicated to caring for and interacting with people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia diagnoses and their families.
Families are encouraged to participate with their loved ones in planning for their care They are welcomed and encouraged to become part of the care team and to visit often, enhancing the home-like environment. When social, emotional, or psychological concerns extend to family members, Witherell’s social worker is available to help with adjustment to the dynamics of a loved one’s Alzheimer’s/dementia diagnosis.
Residents are encouraged to participate in a wide range of activities that promote productivity and accomplishment. Programming includes cooking/baking classes, gardening, games, religious services and spiritual programs, and music and art therapy. Residents may also participate in community-wide activities such as exercise/Zumba classes, card games and bingo, current events and lecture series, musical performances, summer barbecues and picnics, plus a variety of special events throughout the year.
When organized activities are not of interest, a resident can always enjoy some personal quiet time or an afternoon nap if they so desire. We encourage each resident to have outside interests, including trips to:
- Local shops
- Our in-house Café
- Our gift shop, and beauty salon/barber shop
We can also provide personal shopping and individualized attention for people who need additional support.
Our care philosophy encourages residents to connect with others besides being entertained and stimulated. Staff utilize strategies such as calm reassurance, handholding, active listening, and eye contact to enhance their relationships with the residents.
Music and Memory
In addition to weekly music therapy programs for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents, Witherell’s Music and Memory program is being piloted with Memory Care residents who do not respond well in a group setting, as they often experience too much stimulation or confusion due to their dementia. Witherell’s Music and Memory program is dependent on a true “person-centered care” approach, with a resident’s musical interest being gathered from staff, family, and friends, who become part of the team that develops a very tailored, personalized playlist for each resident and helps him/her access the music.