3 Alan Fairbanks Rita Altman

Dementia Services and Supports Will Expand Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation. It’s an expensive epidemic. The total estimated worldwide cost of dementia was $818 billion in 2015, which represents 1.09% of global GDP, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International. In senior living,  of residential care community residents had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another dementia, according to the 

“We believe this component has often been lacking when individ- uals are working with this population segment,” he says. Fairbanks notes physical care needs are front and center,


but programming intervention often can alleviate some of the physical care aspects of caring for residents with Alzheimer’s or memory loss. “I think this approach is being taken by more and more operators, and that is why you are seeing more conversa- tions around the high-touch personal interactions in memory care services,” he says. 

physical care needs. “We have observed better sleep patterns, less wandering, and improved overall behaviors. The key is making activities and programming meaningful and purposeful to the resident.”

At Sunrise Senior Living, Rita Altman agrees: “It will always be important that, foremost, we provide resident-centered care and our care teams know how to enter the world of that person, join- ing them on their journey and preserving dignity,” says Altman, who is senior vice president, memory care and program services. “We’ll continue to go down the path that provides individualized care and life enrichment programming by team members who know our residents’ needs best.” 

role, enabling residents to “access care without needing to travel  when a resident is experiencing a behavioral expression, including an acute episode of high anxiety.” Wearables, clothing that in- corporates sensors that detect and analyze movement, will enable providers to better predict the risk of falls and changes in condition, or to monitor a resident’s location. About 17 percent of Americans over the age of 65 use wearables to track wellness and vital signs such as blood pressure, according to Accenture. That compares to about 20 percent of Americans under the age of 65. Sunrise is also focused on ways to attract front-line team members to care for this growing population. The company has


ickford Senior Living focuses on the “programming aspects of working with residents who have dementia,” according to Alan Fairbanks, executive vice president of operations.

created new pathways for community connection by opening its doors to local schools. “There are tremendous, immediate bene-  kids grow up, they’re groomed to have a serving heart and ready to take on the privilege of caring for our residents.” Memory care, and rising acuity, are altering how senior living companies approach the design of communities. “Higher and   challenges when trying to design for everyone,” notes Dan Pur- giel, managing principal of LRS Architects. Some residents may require lifts, and Purgiel points to hospice care suites and therapy rooms among newer spaces in senior living communities. “Con- sider an elder massage room and program with special techniques specially designed for elder sensitivity.” General building design concepts also continue to evolve. “Standalone memory care plans often are set up into smaller neighborhoods of 10 to 20 residents that may be connected to  Some have all resident rooms open directly into common spaces (open plans) with essentially no corridors—the plan I prefer,” he says. “Some open plans resemble smaller plans being designed in nursing facilities (household plans).” Lighting plays a particularly critical role in design. Proper col-

 the day and night time functionality and general happiness of residents. “Integrating nature and proper abundant natural day  areas easily viewed from resident areas is appropriate backed by studies of being exposed to natural surroundings. There is a better understanding of often age related eye diseases such as - encing lighting design.”

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