Memory Care Services
The St. Ann’s Special Care Unit for Dementia is designed for persons who are in the middle to late stages of dementia and require skilled nursing care. Alzheimer’s Disease, the most common form of dementia, is a disease of the brain that results in gradual memory loss, disorientation to time, place, and person, diminished comprehension, personality changes, and decreased abilities to communicate and care for oneself.
The St. Ann’s Special Care Unit for Dementia:
- Provides a secure environment that allows safe wandering
- Reduces anxiety and confusion through a calm, relaxed atmosphere
- Supports socialization and communication through design, programming and education
- Maintains residents at their optimal cognitive, physical and functional levels
- Fosters independence and engagement
The physical design helps residents, families, and staff by reducing anxiety and confusion. A safe, least-restrictive, calm, homey environment encourages safe wandering and opportunities for socialization. Because persons with dementia can wander, we designed a continuous path to encourage safe wandering. The path has resting spots that include an indoor garden and aviary. These rest areas can decrease agitation and minimize weight loss from constant walking. The indoor garden provides space for residents to pot new plants and flowers throughout their home. They’ll enjoy the uplifting effects of bird songs year round or help staff care for the birds at our aviary.
The design supports participation in life skills. So, we designed a country kitchen for social gatherings, family style dining, baking, cooking, and midnight snacks. If a person with dementia mixes up their days and nights, they can come into the kitchen for warm milk and cookies and receive the support of a well-trained staff member.
Meaningful, small group activities provide structure and routine for SCU residents while engaging them in programs that foster socialization. Daily activities encourage spontaneity through music, art, exercise, dance, song, and sensory stimulation.
Education of Staff and Families
The SCU also supports staff, volunteers, and families. Staff receive three weeks of training and education to prepare them to work on the SCU. Subjects include the understanding and management of Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. Staff learn about a national movement for culture change that places the resident at the center of care and empowers staff to get to know the resident, problem solve, and share responsibilities. This Pioneer Movement focuses on a social rather than medical care model. Staff are trained in food handling and serving techniques, how to help residents do personal laundry and light housekeeping, how to maintain a pet and plant therapy program, and many other areas that enrich their jobs. Families are invited to join a Family Advisory Committee to help in the planning of the unit.