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Alzheimer’s: Creating the Right Environment

2012-03-19

The proper environment is crucial for someone in need of Alzheimer's care. It is just as important as administering the right treatment. There are steps people can take at home to improve the situation, but often times the appropriate environment can only be achieved by professional healthcare facilities that specialize in caring for those with memory loss.

The proper environment should be designed specifically for cognitive impairment. If structured right, the environment can help patients feel less confused, depressed, and isolated.

One example of a facility that has taken a comprehensive approach to create the right environment for Alzheimer’s care in Carlsbad is ActivCare Bressi Ranch.

With Alzheimer’s or dementia simple tasks such as orientation can be difficult. One major issue is way-finding. It is important for people living with memory loss to stay active, but this can often lead to folks losing their way. At Bressi Ranch, the facilities are designed with this problem in mind. For instance, there is a vertical garden that brings the outdoors inside. This enables residents to enjoy a sense of the outdoors without the added risk of venturing off the property. This garden also serves as a familiar landmark to assist in direction.

There are also themed walls and corridors in each wing of the building. Each theme is different and runs from the great room down the entire corridor. The themes assist with keeping residents oriented as they navigate to their destination. Furthermore, all halls lead to the great room, which serves as the activity area, dining room, and central meeting place. These features are all good examples of how the layout of a memory care facility can have a powerful impact on the day-to-day life of individuals with Alzheimer’s.

Bressi Ranch has also developed a specialized dining system designed to benefit residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Red plates are used for meals as research indicates they encourage more consumption. A specially trained team guided by a certified dietitian prepares fresh meals daily. The dining area is large and open to encourage socialization among residents. Furthermore, modified meals are available to encourage specialized diets.

Other features of Bressi Ranch that enhance the daily living of those in need of care include a medical examination room, exercise stations, sports greens for activities, and gardens with stand-up planter boxes. These are just a few of the benefits that make Bressi Ranch in Carlsbad a perfect example of the optimal environment for someone living with memory loss.