Over 25 years ago I became an L.P.N. and about 23 years ago, a friend actually dragged me to the Gardens at Columbine and usually nurses will bounce around and I didn't think I'd probably be there very long but I just, I fell in love. I fell in love with the residents and with the community and our team.
After almost 23 years I'm still there in the capacity and now have grown into these other two communities as well. It was probably about 10 years ago that really my passion for Memory Care got sparked. Just the whole conversations with families about our residents needing to move because they weren't functioning well in the Assisted Living.
And our owner was great and built a Memory Care with our input. And again, just fell in love with the Memory Care realm.
What sparked my passion though is back when I was first starting out in the Assisted Living, they had a different philosophy about Dementia and how you responded to residents and trying to reorient them to reality so to speak. And that always broke my heart. And so that's what really started my path onto wanting to do it a different, better way.
When we built the Memory Care, it's not just one resident, but a number of our residents who moved from the Assisted Living and they weren't doing well they were isolating and coming into the Memory Care and our focus on what their likes and were dislikes and just being able to really focus on them.
and seeing the shift in watching them go on outings where they never went on outings, dancing around, singing with them and overall just watching these folks blossom with a different program.
I would say always go with your gut feeling when you walk into someplace. You get the vibe and you've gotta trust that vibe. The second thing is, if a place, whoever you're talking to, doesn't want to answer your questions about staff ratio and how do you engage your loved one who has cognitive decline, what are they doing in that activity program and if they're not willing to answer those questions or they get put off by 'em, that's a big red flag.
Communities should be very transparent. You're the advocate for this person, so all the questions you have, they should be happy to answer and happy to have you in the community to see what's going on.
A) You walk into it and it doesn't feel like a Memory Care the way it's designed. It just flows with the rest of the building and it doesn't feel like it's a secured Memory Care. And then you add in the staff to it. They really get the residents involved and engaged. . Sometimes it's out in the Assisted Living that those activities are happening like music and different storytelling. Programming about different countries and then other times it's back in the Memory Care.
We really take a look at each individual person and what they like, what they don't. We try to get as much information from the family beforehand so we have a better understanding. And so we'll know that Joe really likes music or that he gets really upset if he doesn't have his coffee in the morning, things like that.We believe in communication and partnership with the families.