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Methodist Retirement Communities Set to Open the First Memory Support Community in Huntsville, TX Area
Date:12/12/2012

s will become a necessity, not an option.”

Alzheimer’s disease is the fastest-growing disease in the developed world, with nearly one in eight of those over 65 affected in the U.S. alone, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Jennette notes that the new properties are a far cry from the traditional “healthcare” models. “They’re designed to be much more resident-focused in a home environment in terms of technology and design,” he explains. “We will be able to offer a calming environment, private rooms, easy access to activities, dining and an enclosed courtyard, special lighting that will mitigate restlessness, and better monitoring with GPS devices. They’re subtle touches, but they make a world of difference.”

Staff members will also be trained specifically to work with residents who have varying levels of cognitive abilities. “Many of those with memory support issues do not necessarily require a lot of help with activities of daily living,” he says, “so our focus is often about allowing them to live their lives to their fullest capacity, and feel important and needed, rather than imposing a strict regimen on them.”

MRC has been cited as an example of progressive care in the state of Texas by a number of organizations. Existing memory support efforts include sensory rooms based on a European design equipped with special lighting and audio that stimulate the senses in a calming manner, as well as a Montessori-type learning program, and an early childhood life skills education program that has been repurposed for older adults. The latter, inspired by Darla Partin, a former teacher and wife of MRC administrator Todd Partin, taps into the theory that memory care residents often respond positively to younger points and experiences.

Families and primary caretakers are encouraged to be a part of the process. “There’s often a lot of guilt, and many caretakers feel that they’re ‘putting their loved ones away,’” says Jennette. “Howe
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