Personalized care helps Alzheimer’s, dementia patients live life to fullest

SIDNEY — For those living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, the right care can mean everything.

“There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia,” said Jana Ranly, administrator at Ohio Living Dorothy Love. “It’s important to understand each person’s cognitive level so that we can provide the environment, services and activities they need. That’s why our therapists use an innovative cognitive assessment tool to stage each person’s level of dementia.”

Ohio Living Dorothy Love has two memory care neighborhoods specifically designed to diminish anxiety and lessen confusion. The Program Center serves those with mid-stage dementia; the Court View neighborhood serves patients with late-stage dementia. Employees in these neighborhoods are specially trained to care for people with these diseases. They provide an individual approach so that residents receive the most appropriate care possible.

“The person’s best ability to function takes place in the least restrictive environment possible,” said Ranly. “When the environment and opportunities correspond to the person’s cognitive level, they can function at their highest level of ability and retain as much independence as is safely possible.

“Safety of the residents and peace of mind for their families are critical. Our environment is designed to reduce the risk of danger from wandering. Residents enjoy the outdoors in a secure courtyard with gardens. With these protections in place, we can promote independence in a safe and secure environment.”

Residents are encouraged to become involved in a variety of life-enriching activities and spiritual life programming, resulting in an enhanced sense of well-being.

“We are also Music and Memory Certified,” said Ranly. “Our staff uses iPods to create personalized playlists for each resident. It’s been proven that people who have cognitive or communication deficits can still relate to music. Hearing musical favorites can tap deep memories not totally lost to dementia and enable patients to feel and act like themselves again – to converse, socialize and stay present.”

The bottom line about Alzheimer’s and dementia is that expert assistance is important.

“Families need guidance, and we’re here to help; no one knows how to navigate these diseases alone,” said Ranly. “That’s one reason why we participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. We’re partners in service not only to the people suffering with dementia, but also in service to their families to guide them through the care process and help them understand what to expect for their loved ones.”

Family caregivers considering a move to a memory care community for their loved one should explore their options early. Visit the communities you are interested in, and talk to their experts about the future needs of your loved one. While the suspicion or diagnosis may be new, it’s never too early to begin preparing for the option of a professional memory care community.