What to Look for in a Memory Care Community
Few processes are more stressful than deciding upon the best place to move a loved one when it is determined that a move to memory care is the best option. Keep in mind that when this decision needs to be made, it is often critically important, not only for the well-being of the person with dementia, but in order to maintain the health and safety of the family member who is their current care partner.
If you are in the process of making this potentially agonizing decision, here are some questions to ask yourself, and others, as you tour and consider various possibilities:
What does the environment feel like?
-Marysue Moses, Ebenezer Dimensions Coordinator
Place the turkey in the slow cooker. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, then pour over the turkey. Cover and cook on low until the turkey is tender, about 7-9 hours. Remove from heat and serve.
I really like to use this recipe when it's time to shake things up with that leftover turkey. It's a great meal that's really easy to make. My kids love it when i make it too. I usually make it with a little wild rice blend and some roasted broccoli. It's especially nice because you can use some of that leftover Thanksgiving turkey that you haven't been able to eat yet. If you are using precooked turkey, you obviously wouldn't need to slow cook it for 7 hours though, but it doesn't hurt.
-Tommie Daye- Director of Dietary Services at Meadow Woods Assisted Living
When I first become Director of Spiritual Health for the Martin Luther Campus just over a year ago, I brought over 25 years of experience as a church pastor in Illinois, Texas, Virginia, and Minnesota, but I had less than one year of experience as a chaplain. You have been gracious and kind to me as I've found my way and you also have been supportive as I continued the education process that is required to become a Board Certified Chaplain.
This morning, the certification committee of the Board of Chaplaincy Certification, Inc., interviewed me and gave me their approval. I’m now officially a Provisional Board Certified Chaplain, recognized by the Association of Professional Chaplains. It's a milestone for me at this turning point in my ministry, and it's a benefit to the Martin Luther Campus.
Obviously, I’m excited about this. But it's part of a bigger picture, and I'd like to share that with you, too. If you're curious, read on.
Fairview and Ebenezer have always been committed to the spiritual health of all our patients and residents. Yes, we are a residential health care institution, and we operate as a business. But we also know that no one we care for is just a collection of their medical conditions or housing needs. Each person is a bundle of relationships, habits, convictions, experiences, stories, feelings, ideas, thoughts, fears, and hopes. That’s the “stuff” of spiritual health. Sometimes these things are given explicitly religious language, but not always. Identifying our residents’ and patients’ needs, goals, and resources in any of these areas is part of the overall health and healing we are here to provide.
To build on this conviction that spiritual health matters, and to continue improving the care we offer, Fairview and Ebenezer have committed to providing chaplaincy that meets the standards for BCCI Certification. These include chaplains who have undergraduate and graduate degrees, 4 units of Clinical Pastoral Education, 2,000+ hours work experience, a recognized faith group endorsement, and demonstration of 31 core competencies.
I’m grateful to Associate Chaplain, Pastor Diane Reishus, and to the administration, staff, volunteers, residents, and their families on the Martin Luther Campus for taking the last year of these clinical steps of the journey with me. I’m also thrilled that together we are expanding the spiritual care we offer by becoming a clinical site for Fairview CPE students like Derek Martin, who just completed his CPE summer internship with us in August, and Scott Hoecker, who is now doing his CPE residency with us through August 2018.
Finally, I’m especially glad to be your chaplain, serving alongside Diane and Scott. No matter what your religious or spiritual tradition (even if you don’t identify with any at all), we're each here to support you in being the best YOU you can be.
May you be whole and at peace,
Rev. David Cobb, PBCC
Director of Spiritual Health
Below is Sally Peterson's speech she gave at Ebenezer's First Mission Breakfast where she explained about Integrity, and what it means as one of the five values Ebenezer holds true to.
"Good Morning, I'm Sally Peterson, and I am the Campus Director of Community Programs at Ebenezer's Martin Luther Campus in Bloomington. I work with volunteers, Life Long Learning, Therapeutic Recreation and Activities, as well as the Auxiliary and Gift Shop. I also serve as Volunteer Lead for Ebenezer. In January of this year, I celebrated my 30th anniversary with Martin Luther.
It is a privilege to be with you this morning and an honor to speak at the first Ebenezer Mission Breakfast.
I have been asked to speak on the second of our five core values, Integrity. When we think of the meaning of this word, we think of one who has the quality of being honest, of having strong moral principles, moral uprightness, an individual who is sincere, truthful and trustworthy.
However, another definition of Integrity, the state of being whole and undivided, meaning to have unity, unification, coherence, cohesion, togetherness and solidarity. In fact, the word Integrity comes from the latin word ‘integer’ which means whole and complete.
In this context, of Integrity, I think of Ebenezer as the whole. Each site represented here today, are all a part of that whole. WE, are Ebenezer, together, whole within our individual sites, but in unity, cohesion and solidarity to be part of the whole or greater good.
I would like to share a story regarding the Memorial Garden and how it came to be the special place it is today. It was the wishes of our owners to have a place where loved ones would be remembered and honored. A place of respite for all people.
Just over a year ago, we dedicated the Memorial Garden, behind the care center, overlooking the Minnesota River. Memorial stones, colorful plants, shrubbery, walking paths, tables, chairs, umbrellas and a fountain marking 22 years of dedicated service by a chaplain give character to the garden. Old oak trees provide an abundance of shade to those coming to relax and meditate. It has become a special place for residents, staff, family members and neighbors. A summer concert was held there a few months ago and last week, we celebrated Oktoberfest, with a polka band, beer garden and a yodeling contest. A 91 year old yodeler from short-term care entered and won! While these events have been festive gatherings, the garden is also a place of peace and solitude. A place for reflection, remembering, and celebrating the lives of those who have passed away and those who are living! A place to forget your cares and enjoy all that nature offers. One Meadow Woods resident loved to visit the Memorial Garden, to soak up the sunshine, while having the privacy to remove his shirt, as he did in his own backyard.
The Memorial Garden is one of the ways that we strive to uphold the core value of integrity for our residents. The owners of our campus, were and are men of integrity, having strong moral principles which are congruent with Ebenezer's mission and values. Ebenezer is driven to heal, discover, and educate for longer, healthier, meaningful lives which was and is, also the goal of our owners."
After she gave this speech, she went to help feed the hungry at Second Harvest Heartland. She is one of the many at Ebenezer who lives the mission of integrity!
There could come a time when your parent with Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia will need more care than can be provided at home. During the middle and late stages of dementia, sometimes 24-hour supervision is required to ensure the person’s safety. As dementia progresses further, round-the-clock care requirements become more intensive.
Making the decision to move a parent into a specialized memory care environment may be difficult, as it is tough to suddenly be faced with a decision that makes it feel like YOU are now in a parental role. But it is important to consider whether or not it is possible to continue to provide the level of care needed in the person’s home.
The questions below, from the Alzheimer’s Association website, are ones to consider when determining if a move to residential care is a good option:
Please see http://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-residential-facilities.asp for additional information
--Marysue Moses, Ebenezer Dimensions Program Coordinator
At the end of June, I had the opportunity to experience the first ever North American Dementia Action Alliance Conference in Atlanta. This was an amazing event, the best and most moving dementia conference I have ever been to, and it scrambled my brain in the very best way.
The conference organizers included persons with early-stage dementia in their planning. There were many speakers at the conference who also had dementia, who spoke movingly and clearly about horrendous experiences with diagnosis (example: essentially being told by the doctor to “get your affairs in order”, and just prepare to curl up and die) the stigma that accompanies the diagnosis, the despair the ensues, and the long climb back into hope, purpose and connection which now fills their lives.
There were 30 persons who attended the conference who are currently living well with dementia, and doing amazing things. Yes, they run on adrenaline in conference situations and there is another side to their lives that conference goers like me can only imagine, i.e. the utter exhaustion at the end of the day, the confusion that comes and goes, the losing one’s way in a large hotel, the forgetting a portion of what happened this morning.
Here are 10 things I learned:
Might they be doing a whole lot better now? I think they might. But it is never too late to support people in finding a sense of purpose and meaning, and never too late to treat them with the compassion and respect they deserve. It is with a renewed and profound sense of purpose that I will continue to learn about dementia from the real experts, and to advocate for them, all along the way.
-Marysue Moses, Ebenezer Dimensions Coordinator, email@example.com
The National Day of Prayer is celebrated by Americans of many religions, including Christians of many denominations, including Protestants and Catholics, as well as Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews, reflecting the demographics of the United States. On the National Day of Prayer, many Americans assemble in prayer in front of courthouses, as well as in houses of worship, such as churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples.
On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law in the United States. President Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer. Since then it has grown to encompass luncheons, picnics, and even popular music performances revolving around praying for the nation.
The National Prayer Committee was formed in the United States in 1972. It went on to create the National Day of Prayer Task Force, with the intended purpose of coordinating events for the National Day of Prayer. According to the Legal Information Institute, the President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.
At Martin Luther Campus, we strive to give every opportunity for prayer and spiritual growth. We supports residents, families and staff to integrate Spiritual Health with their physical, mental and emotional well-being. We honor and respect diverse spiritual needs to each individual as well as making a wide variety of resources available to them.
Our Memory Care program at Ebenezer now has a name – Dimensions. Dimensions has five building blocks: wellness through person-centered, relationship–based care, innovative training, engagement, supportive environments, and family education and support. We have gathered best practices in each of these realms and are giving our sites the tools they need to implement them effectively and consistently.
I chose the name Dimensions not just because it sounds like the word dementia, but because of all the things the word demands that we think about, such as…
…The person with dementia has many different dimensions. We can’t assume that what we see or hear or assume about a person is all of what is there. We must be curious, patient and respectful as we work to discover the length, breadth and depth of each person’s history, personality, preferences, sense of purpose, habits, idiosyncrasies, hot buttons, skills (yes, these people still have skills) and strengths. Their long-term interests and passions need to be encouraged. These people still have a sense of humor and a need to laugh, even if that doesn’t seem obvious.
…What about the spiritual dimension? Did you know that some Native American cultures believe that persons with dementia are doing important spiritual work --- communicating with spirits at a level the rest of us cannot understand. I love the inspiration this idea provides. It spurs me to work hard to create more and more calm in our Ebenezer environments. Imagine how we might honor and reward care partners and caregivers if we all agreed that persons with dementia were indeed doing the most important spiritual work on the planet! Imagine the environments we would build for these folks! Imagine the walking paths, the sense of peace and purpose, the accessibility of nature. The spiritual dimension is indeed another dimension of the person to consider in order to give them the care they require. What moments in their life do they hold as sacred? When do they feel most at peace, most at one with all things? Where have they found solace during hard times in the past? It is important to ponder these questions, search for clues, and to ask the individual, if they are able and willing to respond to them.
The point I am weaving around here is a theme I often remind myself and all those whom I train on various dementia care topics: People with dementia are PEOPLE, first and foremost. They have needs (to be filled) and quirks (to be enjoyed) just like the rest of us. There are things that make them laugh (to be discovered and used as often as possible). They have likes and dislikes (to be respected) good days and bad days (to be tolerated) and they have courage and resilience (to be admired and emulated).
A person with dementia NEVER stops being a person.
With thanks to Megan Carnarius, author and nursing home operator, for the insight on Native American beliefs.
-- Marysue Moses, Dimensions Program Coordinator, mmoses1@fairview. org
Staying away from work or crowded places while sick is important to prevent spreading the flu to others. But that's not an option for seniors living in care centers or assisted living communities making senior flu prevention that much harder at these communities. When you congregate large numbers of people in close quarters, transmission is a lot easier.
However, care centers usually require all employees to be vaccinated, which is the single most effective way to guard against getting the flu. And, it's important to get a flu shot every year, because the virus changes slightly from year to year. Getting a flu shot one year and not the next, will not protect someone from that year's particular strain.
Older adults should make every reasonable effort to get vaccinated early in flu season, but don't do it too early in the season, because occasionally the immunity will wear off before flu season ends, especially if the season lasts into March or April.
While vaccination is the most important senior flu prevention, it's only 70 to 90 percent effective, so some people who receive the vaccination will still get the flu.
So, for at-risk populations, it's especially important that everyone around them also gets vaccinated. That includes everyone involved in taking care of the elderly. And like skilled nursing facilities, some hospitals, require all employees to be vaccinated.
During flu season, practicing good hygiene can help people avoid catching or spreading the flu. Wash hands frequently, especially after touching door knobs and stair rails in public places. Always cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and immediately wash hands afterward. And, of course, stay away from people who are sick. People taking care of the elderly especially need to follow this type of common sense senior flu prevention.
Take care this flu season. If you would like more information about the flu or would want to talk to a healthcare professional about protecting your health. Give us a call today, ask to talk to our Education Specialist, Gretchen and we can get you connected. 952.888.7751
If you have ever surfed websites of senior housing options, I bet you have frequently run into the term “person-centered care” which we owe to Dr. Thomas Kitwood, a British physician who focused on the importance of remembering that a person with dementia is first and foremost a PERSON with particular needs, challenges, strengths and preferences.
Cannot expect persons with dementia to think like we do
It is also due to Dr. Kitwood’s brilliant work that nurses are no longer trained to try to orient persons with dementia to reality, e.g., “No, no, Mrs. Jones, it’s 2017 now – actually your mother is dead, and the farm has been sold!” Thank goodness for Tom Kitwood! He helped us understand that we cannot expect persons with dementia to think like we do. As I’ve heard nursing home operator and author Megan Carnarius say, “We need to cross to their side of the street.” People with dementia simply cannot come over to ours. We need to give them responses that make sense with the way in which they understand the world.
Dementia expert Elion Caspi encourages us to also think about dementia care as “relationship-based care.” If we do not maintain relationship and genuine connection with persons with dementia, trust wears thin. As a result, it becomes challenging for persons with dementia to accept the care they need.
Lost in the grief
It is completely understandable that care partners are exhausted. They often get caught up in the grief of losing the precise relationship they had with their loved one before dementia was part of the picture. All too often, people become angry and bitter, even to the point of saying things such as “Alzheimer’s is worse than death.” That is a direct quote from the despondent husband of a wonderfully clever woman; let’s call her “Pam,” with whom I worked for some years. What a heartbreaking pronouncement from her husband! At this point, Pam still loved to share opinions and insight, sing Broadway tunes, reminisce, walk, dance, and hold hands.
A person is NOT their Alzheimer's disease any more than a person who has cancer is their cancer!
Those of us who have had family members with dementia or other progressive diseases do understand from whence that sentiment arises. However, it is ultimately not a helpful one. Nor is it accurate. It implies that we might as well give up on a person who is still very much alive. This could not be further from the truth. A person is NOT their Alzheimer’s disease any more than a person who has cancer IS their cancer. The person, an intact spiritual being, is still there, though many of their needs have changed dramatically. We do our loved ones a disservice if we refuse to rise to the occasion of their increased needs.
Maintain connections along the way
There are many gifts to be gained by accepting where the person is at, through each and every phase of their dementia experience. There is connection to maintain all along the way. How we connect will vary with different types and different phases of dementia, but in general, smiling, eye contact, gentle touch and approach, curiosity, acceptance of where the person is, conversation about things that are meaningful to the person, sharing laughter, singing, enjoying simple pleasures, giving compliments, promoting calm, validating the person’s feelings, doing things just the way the person likes, making things easier for them, reminiscing, having fun together, sparking creativity, enjoying humor….well, the list of what can be done to maintain a healthy, nurturing relationship goes on and on.
Responding to the world from an earlier developmental time
In short, we can treat the person like a PERSON, and remember that even though this person is losing skills, even though this person may enjoy and indeed benefit from things that children like, this person is still an adult who is simply responding to the world from an earlier developmental time. This person still has strengths and skills we must actively encourage and appreciate in order for them to have a meaningful life.
Language is powerful
Did you notice that I’ve been using the term “care partner” rather than “caregiver?” Language is powerful. When the relationship between a person with dementia and someone caring for them is viewed more as a partnership, what’s implied is that both persons have something to give. Think about it…What might persons with dementia still have to offer us, their care partners?
Some bonds remain unbreakable
They can give valuable input as to what they like and what they don’t like. They can lend us wisdom from past experience; they can share memories of olden days, with humor and perspective. They can inspire us with their courage and resilience. They can give us love. In this process, we may be surprised at how flexible our own capacity to love may become. Even in the late stage of their dementia, our loved one may remind us how some bonds remain unbreakable. Caring for persons with dementia may give us more patience and more appreciation for wordless communication and for life than we’ve ever known.
We are in this together
Thinking about our relationship as a partnership will help make us more open to a person’s participation and input. We just might respect, value and love this person all the more. We are not the same as this person, and we have each been impacted by dementia and changed forever in vastly different ways, but surely we are in this together.
--Marysue Moses, Ebenezer Dementia Care Program Coordinator
Director of Community Relations
Hello friends, my name is Luke and I'd love to share with you ALL of the wonderful things happening at Martin Luther Campus. Be sure to check our Blog, Lifestyle page and Facebook page often to stay updated on the happenings at our community!