How A Memory Support Community Improves the Quality Of Life For Those Living With Dementia

by Chris Coelho, MMHC, Sr. Director, Quality Analysis and Interim Executive Director

Simple every day tasks can be difficult and stressful for someone living with dementia. Frustrations escalate as the disease progresses, which could lead to behavioral challenges. It can be overwhelming for the caregiver, but it doesn’t have to be. Memory care communities like Abe’s Garden Memory Support Center of Excellence are intentionally designed to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia. Here’s how:

1. Person-Directed Care
Provided support is based on the resident's individual needs and preferences rather than the convenience of the care team. For example, our care partners don't decide when to wake a resident and help get them ready for the day; instead, they assist with the morning routine when the resident wakes up at their preferred time. Our holistic approach tailors a care plan based on the resident’s life history, interests, abilities, and their personality before dementia impacted it.

2. Safe Living Space
Dementia-designed communities meet unique needs by creating a secure, comfortable environment through proper lighting, color palates, increased contrast, specialized furnishings and clearly identified spaces. Internationally recognized as a groundbreaker in dementia design, Abe’s Garden Memory Support also features an enclosed courtyard which provides residents the opportunity to continuously connect with nature safely outdoors.

3. Focused Communication
Memory support communities train their staff to understand both verbal messaging and non-verbal cues, which is very important as the disease progresses and verbal communication decreases

4. Structured Engagement
Daily enrichment activities stimulate individual interests and give residents a sense of purpose and routine. Abe’s Garden Memory Support infuses Hearthstone Institute’s evidence-based dementia care programs and approaches. Throughout every day, the Life Engagement team offers a variety of 1:1 and social opportunities that benefit overall wellbeing with focuses on art, connection to nature, music, movement, and pets.

5. Consistent Routine
Maintaining daily structure supports the highest level of functioning and can increase self-esteem and confidence when performed independently. Repetition can minimize anxiety and other challenging behaviors when the person living with dementia knows what to expect.

6. Social Interaction
Isolation and loneliness have been linked to cognitive decline, which is a reason social interaction is vital through all life stages. Living in a memory care community provides an instant social connection for residents, reducing experiences with depression and anxiety.

7. Good Nutrition
A well-balanced diet is essential for overall health. In order to maximize nutritional intake, our culinary team considers each resident’s food and beverages preferences when creating their meals and snacks every day. Food is prepared in the open kitchens to help cue mealtime, stimulate senses and increase appetites.

8. Exceptional Care
Dedicated dementia care is available 24/7, including medication management, wellness checks and coordination of visits with outside health care providers. Abe’s Garden Memory Support collaborates with the Vanderbilt Center for Quality Aging faculty to establish best practices in dementia care. Additionally, direct observations and resident well-being are continuously assessed and improved.

9. Family Support
Abe’s Garden Memory Support’s full-time licensed clinical social worker helps guide residents and family members during the transition into memory support and provides support throughout the dementia journey. This team member offers strategies and skills to assist in communication and activities during visits and provides emotional support for families.

You are not alone. Navigating dementia is a bumpy, winding roller-coaster and although the ride is packed with others, no two rides are the same. Let us help you. Connect with us today to create your personal road map.

Bill Purcell, son of resident
"Abe’s Garden® really is a world class, cutting-edge, special, loving warm place. When my mother needed that very thing, it was there."
Industry Professional
“I was thoroughly impressed with the community [after taking a tour], yet I was even more impressed with your focus on continual learning and improvement.”
The Club Participant’s Wife
“The music instruction piece is very well done, and I commend Abe's [Garden] for creating it. I am also grateful for the incredible opportunities that [my husband] has every week day at Abe's.”