Posted on June 16, 2021 by Admin
Many older adults reach the stage where they ask themselves whether they’d prefer to stay at home or move into a senior living community. People enjoy living at home because it’s familiar and they view home as the place where they connect with friends and family. Senior living communities , however, offer all those advantages and more . Here are just a few of the ways that residents benefit from senior living communities .
Perhaps the core benefit of a senior living community is that it fosters an environment where residents stay engaged with other people so much that the atmosphere is like a family. That familial warmth extends to the interactions between other residents, their families and staff members, which helps create a feeling of belonging that anchors an entire community.
Receiving consistent care
Senior living communities assess residents before they move in to determine the care services they could benefit from the most (if they need it). Afterwards, other assessments are conducted regularly to ensure that residents are healthy and enjoying the benefits of the right senior living option . That way, children and family members can enjoy the time they spend with their parents, knowing they are receiving the care they need.
Once older adults join a community, they often find their list of daily to-dos shrinks, which allows them to rediscover the passions they always enjoyed. A good senior living community will also provide residents with ample opportunities to explore new interests – listening to guest lectures on a bevy of topics, painting outside or swimming in the pool.
Providing a healthy lifestyle
Research indicates that community living is often a healthier option for older adults, providing a suite of benefits that can’t be found at home. Take a look at our breakdown of the moving vs. staying debate – and contact us to see how Atria can help benefit you.
If you or someone you know wants to learn more about Atria, visit AtriaSeniorLiving.com / FindACommunity to discover the location nearest you.
Category: Active Aging, Caregiver Support, Community, Lifestyle, Wit & Wisdom
Posted on June 8, 2021 by Admin
People who aren’t familiar with senior living communities sometimes assume that they are all the same. But the distinctions between three of the major senior living options – independent living, assisted living and nursing homes – can be substantial. So here are some helpful points of clarification on the differences between each one.
If you are an older adult leading an active lifestyle, you are probably best suited for an independent living community. Your residence options might include an apartment, a villa or a duplex. The staff in the community takes care of household tasks, which frees up your schedule to do things that you love – whether it’s traveling, hiking in the mountains with your son or getting to know other residents. You can also enjoy community events such as exercise classes, guest lecture series or happy hours. Think of independent living as an option that gives you all the comforts of home without any of the burdens of homeownership.
Older adults who choose assisted living housing options want to enjoy chef-prepared meals, group outings and help with household tasks just like independent living options, with the added benefit of caregiver support available 24/7. Residents can select a range of assistance options. Some residents may benefit from living in memory care neighborhoods. Others may ask for assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, grooming and safety checks. Assisted living communities often employ full-time licensed nurses or a physician to serve as another layer of professional, discreet support.
The function of a nursing home is to provide medical assistance to seniors who need round-the-clock monitoring and care. The residents who live in nursing homes often have conditions best treated with long-term palliative care or prescription medication administration. They may also require specialized rehabilitative services such as speech or occupational therapy. The primary focus of nursing homes is to provide 24-hour supervision and medical attention.
At Atria, we offer independent living and assisted living options customized to individual preferences – whether residents are looking to be free of the burdens of homeownership or need discreet daily support. No matter how much – or how little – assistance any given resident would prefer, contact us to see how we can cater to your individual needs.
If you or someone you know wants to learn more about Atria, visit AtriaSeniorLiving.com/FindACommunity to discover the location nearest you.
Category: Active Aging, Caregiver Support, Community, Dementia & Memory Care, Lifestyle, Wit & Wisdom
Posted on June 2, 2021 by Admin
At a certain point, older adults often have the conversation with their adult children about whether it makes more sense for them to remain in their homes or to join a senior living community. The decision is a crucial one. Considering the emerging research on the importance of social and emotional support from others, becoming part of a community that cares about you can be better for your health and well-being than living in your home. Here are just a few reasons why.
Residents who move into senior living communities often remark that they feel relief after downsizing and moving out of their homes, in large part because being a homeowner means shouldering the responsibilities of mowing the lawn, fixing the gate latch whenever it breaks or calling the plumber when the sink clogs. At a senior living community, the staff does all that work for you, so you can spend your day doing the things you love. Plus, the amenities that might span a town or neighborhood – gyms, movie theaters, patios, pubs, salons – are all located within your new community, and the convenience of that proximity would make anyone feel at home.
They offer opportunities to learn and grow
On the subject of convenience: Not only are the amenities nearby – so are other residents. Moving into a new community means finding new opportunities to make friends. People who have lived in their home for decades sometimes realize one day that they don’t know anyone on the street, or they stopped popping by neighbors’ houses years ago. Life at a high-quality senior living community should include a calendar of guest lectures, exercise programs, painting classes and other chances to meet residents who live down the hall or across the courtyard. Those workshops and series foster chances to seek connections with other people, and rediscover interests such as intellectual topics, athletics or other subjects that residents are passionate about.
They let families be families again
Older adults also tend to find that when they move into a senior living community, any strain in their family relationships eases up, because the staff provides the care that was previously done by their adult children when they lived at home. Look for a quality of care at a senior living community that empowers older adults to enjoy a high quality of life – which includes reconnecting with their children as children, rather than as caregivers.
Home means security, comfort and safety. That’s why Atria Senior Living offers residents the familiarity and peace of mind of home with the added benefit of the fun and vibrancy of a built-in community. As we like to say here: People belong together.
If you or someone you know wants to learn more about Atria, visit AtriaSeniorLiving.com/FindACommunity to discover the location nearest you.
Category: Active Aging, Community, Lifestyle, Wit & Wisdom
Posted on May 15, 2021 by Admin
Atria is home to the world’s wisest people, and we’re always eager to hear the stories of those in the Atria family. One such story that to encourage us comes from Paul, a resident at Atria Westminster in Colorado who survived , displacement and other hardships – and is now an inspiration to everyone around him.
From Yugoslavia to Austria
Paul was born in 1929 in Yugoslavia. He had one younger sister and two older brothers, and he described his younger self as a soccer player, a hard worker and a devoted youth leader in his church. When Paul was 12 years old, Germany invaded Yugoslavia. In less than two weeks, Germany had defeated the Yugoslavian army, and the country was under Nazi control.
Not long thereafter, Paul and his family were taken to a concentration camp. He endured horrors for two years until his family escaped and made their way to Hungary. Once again, they were captured and put in a prison in Budapest, but the Hungarian government gave them a two-week pass to leave the country, and they made their way to Austria – traveling in train boxcars until they arrived at a refugee camp in Vienna.
From Austria to Chicago
Paul and his family spent several months in the refugee camp, with the exception of his brother Jacob, who had been taken to a separate camp. Jacob was released before the rest of Paul’s family, and he started to make a life for himself in Austria. After Paul and his family left the camp, they worked for a local farm owner through the harvesting season before making their way to Jacob’s one-bedroom apartment, where they all stayed.
During these years as the war was ending, Paul fell in love with the mountains, learned the trade of cabinetmaking and met his future wife, Hilda. Eventually, a family member sponsored them to come to the United States, and after the birth of their son, Paul and Hilda moved to Chicago.
From Chicago to Colorado
Paul mastered his trade as a cabinetmaker, and he and Hilda had another child, this time a daughter. After spending 14 years in Chicago, the family moved to Colorado. Paul loved the mountains ever since he lived in Austria, and after moving to Colorado, he’s never left.
Today, Paul loves watching soccer and baseball – he’s a huge Colorado Rockies fan – and his favorite place on earth is Rocky Mountain National Park. He and his family spend a lot of their free time hiking and camping, and the outdoors invigorates him.
He talks openly about his war stories and even gave a presentation to his church, which was filmed and later presented to his friends and neighbors at Atria Westminster, with Paul answering questions afterward.
“Paul always thinks of others,” Jessica Romito, the Engage Life Director at Atria Westminster, said. “He believes in paying forward the kindness and compassion that was shown to him by the people who helped his family escape the concentration camp and make their way to Vienna.”
Paul’s experiences as a concentration camp survivor taught him to never give up.
“There is always something worth pushing forward for,” he said. “You should live with what you have been given and be thankful for every day on this planet.”
To read more stories about Atria residents, visit AtriaSeniorLiving.com/Wit-And-Wisdom.
Category: Community, Wit & Wisdom
Posted on May 3, 2021 by Admin
Atria Senior Living’s care services are backed by our industry-leading quality standards. In our communities that offer care services, the Resident Services Director – who is also a licensed nurse – assesses each resident’s physical, emotional and functional needs prior to move-in, and then on an as-needed basis following that initial care plan.
How assessments work
Because the well-being of residents is our top priority, we pride ourselves on the rigor with which we conduct assessments. Here’s how the process works:
- Prior to a new resident moving into Atria, a licensed nurse will visit the resident to review medications and develop an essential drug list.
- A physician will review the assessment before it’s shared with the resident and his or her family. Atria will conduct another assessment the day the new resident moves in, and add it into our system to help caregivers organize their days and meet residents’ needs.
- Following those initial assessments, Atria will conduct further assessments to determine whether a decrease or increase in care services is needed.
Discreet care is available 24 hours a day, and services generally fall into these three categories: personal care (bathing, grooming, getting dressed and safety checks); medication assistance (reminders, consultations with physicians and pharmacies and ongoing reviews with a nurse); and incontinent management (daytime and overnight assistance).
Some Atria communities also offer memory care, geared toward older adults experiencing the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Memory care neighborhoods are located in thoughtfully designed, secure spaces within a community.
Care and Engage Life®
The Engage Life department adds another layer of support to the licensed nurses and caregivers within an Atria community.
“Engage Life and care and social work – they’re all interlocked,” Beth Levi, Engage Life Director at Atria Forest Hills, said. “In my role, I have the opportunity to monitor residents through the activities they’re doing. I see them on a daily basis. So if I notice a change in condition, I can coordinate with the care team.”
Engage Life Directors create programs and workshops that enhance residents’ lives through social connection and lifelong learning, which is one reason Levi is looped into the part of the assessment process for new or prospective residents: She learns about a resident’s care needs and assistance levels, and then personalizes the community events calendar so that there are plenty of opportunities tailored to each individual.
“When a new resident moves in, I take all the programs we offer, and then I go over it with them,” Levi said. “They pick out what they like and we make a personalized schedule, so when they move in, it’s all set in their minds – ‘This is what I’m going to be doing.’ The calendar is adaptable and changeable, and based upon their interests and needs.”
The Atria advantage
“The differentiator in Atria’s care is our preparation, our response, our protocols, our internal Quality Enhancement review process,” Joanna Mansfield, Atria’s Senior Vice President of Care and Life Guidance, shared. “We have stringent guidelines. We have checks and balances to make sure residents’ needs are being fulfilled.”
Those stringent guidelines are the result of being so attentive to residents’ well-being. When it comes to a community’s Resident Services Director, Atria only hires nurses with a clinical skill set and management experience who are also familiar with working with older adults. That attention to detail required in their jobs helps give nurses and caregivers the structure necessary to provide the best care for the world’s wisest people.
Discover how empowering the right care can be at Atria Senior Living at ExploreAtriaCare.com.
Category: Active Aging, Caregiver Support, Community, Dementia & Memory Care, Our Team, Wit & Wisdom
Posted on April 9, 2021 by Admin
The health and safety of our residents and employees is our highest priority, and to deliver on that promise, we launched the “Sleeve Up Atria” initiative in late December – ever since COVID-19 vaccines became available.
As of April 9, we have administered more than 50,000 doses of the vaccine to nearly 90% of our residents and employees in the U.S.
“In early January, Atria was the first large senior living provider in America to mandate the vaccine for our staff,” John Moore, Atria’s Chairman and CEO, said. “The results make us glad we made up our minds early. So far, the breakdown is that more than 92% of our U.S. residents and 85% of our staff have taken the vaccine.”
How vaccinations benefit residents
For the more than 20,000 residents who call Atria home, the success of “Sleeve Up, Atria” has translated into the confidence to enjoy meals and programs together.
“Knowing we are no longer in the thick of it and that we’re getting back to normal makes me sleep better at night,” Beverly, a resident at Atria Rancho Peñasquitos in San Diego, California, stated. “I’m still staying safe, but now getting out and about again, and feeling freer. My next stop is our salon.”
The vaccinations, along with state approvals, have enabled Atria to expand resident gatherings from 15 to 20, and expand the number of visitors – including families, guests and older adults interested in moving in to Atria – from three to five at a time.
“The pandemic is not behind us yet, but now I feel safe to be with people, even though I still have to be careful,” Jansie, a resident at Atria at Foster Square in Foster City, California, said. “I have plans to visit my family in Seattle and see my grandchildren again.”
Learn more about how Atria is protecting the health of our residents and staff at AtriaSafeTogether.com.
Category: Community, COVID-19, Our Team, Wit & Wisdom
Posted on April 6, 2021 by Admin
St. Catharines, Ontario, about 12 miles northwest of Niagara Falls isn’t exactly known for its abundance of tropical plants, but that hasn’t stopped Gloria – an Atria resident at Anchor Pointe – from surrounding herself with flowers that might better thrive in Costa Rica than Canada.
Gloria has decorated her apartment with philodendrons and coleus, dracaenas and peace lilies, a schefflera tree that’s now over six feet tall – just to name a few – plus a red ceramic pot filled with red anthuriums. “They look like hearts,” Gloria said. “That’s why I love them. And I have six lavender mist orchids with a variety of ferns combined in the pot. I love mixing my colors. It speaks to me.”
“Follow your mind and your heart”
Gloria grew up in Toronto, about an hour north of Anchor Pointe. Her father was a millwright and traveled for work – everywhere from Alaska to Newfoundland and Labrador – and while he was away, the family chores sussed out so that Gloria handled the gardening, a task she loved from the start.
“I would plant onions and vegetables and cultivate them in the backyard. It wasn’t ever work – it was always a joy, and I always brought little flowers inside for my mother,” she explained.
As an adult, Gloria took classes to become a floral designer. At the end of her courses, the instructor told her, “Out of this class of 22 people, you are going to be the one who has a business.”
He was right. In the summer of 1963, Gloria opened a floral shop. “We had the whole kaleidoscope of anything commercial, from your everyday carnations to orchids and everything in between,” Gloria said.
She ran the shop for 39 years, before closing it in 2002. She still tells her children (“and anyone who will listen”) to make sure to love what you do for a living and not let anybody interfere. In Gloria’s words: “Follow your mind and your heart and you’ll be very happy.”
Discovering Anchor Pointe
In the years after she closed her shop, Gloria explored other interests. She freelanced as an interior designer for a close friend (who liked her work so much that he hired her to landscape his backyard). She planned parties. And she watched her kids mature into adults and follow their minds and hearts – her daughter Carla, who started helping around at her shop when she was only three, now manages a floral shop and garden center; another daughter, Andrea, is now semi-retired but worked as a hairdresser; and her son, Michael, an electrical contractor who owns his business.
When Gloria was thinking about moving to a senior living residence, Michael researched some of the nearby communities and found Anchor Pointe first.
They had two other community visits scheduled, but when Gloria walked into Anchor Pointe and looked around – seeing the chandelier, the high ceiling and people dining in an atmosphere of ease and comfort – she said, “Michael, cancel the other appointments. I’ve just found home.”
Had she known about Anchor Pointe before, Gloria said she would have moved in sooner.
“The grounds are lovely,” she stated. “The backyard has a garden, and beautiful trees. There’s a forest in the back. Having the plants around and the grounds being as they are gives you peace of mind. The place is so well taken care of.”
Gloria has replicated the beauty she finds outdoors at Anchor Pointe inside her apartment with the flowers she’s loved all her life.
“When I open my eyes to greet another day and I see their color, it invigorates me. I touch them. I water them. I clean them,” she said. “I’ve made many friends at Anchor Pointe, but the flowers are also my companions, and they remind me of that part of my life that was so important and vital, and I love with my heart and soul.”
When Gloria was moving into Anchor Pointe, Andrea brought her a momento that she picked up while on a vacation: a coffee mug with the words “Home is where the anchor drops.” To Gloria, it seemed so apropos that she’s now added decorations of anchors throughout her apartment – symbols of home mixed in amid her flowers. “I’ve found home and it’s certainly called ‘anchor,’” Gloria exclaimed. “It’s called Anchor Pointe.”
If you or someone you know wants to learn more about Atria, visit AtriaSeniorLiving.com/FindACommunity to discover the community nearest you.
Category: Active Aging, Community, Wit & Wisdom
Posted on April 1, 2021 by Admin
At Atria Senior Living, our mission is to serve the needs of older adults and their families. To that end, one of the ways we deliver on that mission is to develop new senior living communities. Our latest such development in the works: Atria Cary in none other than Cary, North Carolina.
An idyllic setting in the Tar Heel State
The township of Cary straddles the line between the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain regions of North Carolina, located roughly in the center of the state and between the Chapel Hill-Durham and Raleigh urban centers.
“Atria Cary is in a beautiful setting – I mean, stunning,” Jamie Floyd, Vice President of Sales Training and New Developments and Acquisitions at Atria, said. “There are miles of trails and greenways that weave around Cary. The town’s not that big, so there’s a lot of walking space and a strong lean toward wellness and outdoor living and activity.”
Scheduled to open in winter 2021-22, Atria Cary will be one of Atria Senior Living’s communities designed exclusively for older adults seeking independent living. Atria Cary was planned with the area’s trails and greenways in mind, so that residents can find abundant opportunities to get out, be in nature, ride a bike, go for a walk, and so on.
Touring the grounds
Atria Cary residents will enjoy amenities such as a wine bar, a movie theater, an art studio, a courtyard, a worship space and more. Being involved in the development, touring the grounds and poring over blueprints, Floyd can already envision what Atria Cary will look like.
“There won’t be a bad view from any apartment,” she said. “You’ll look out at tall pines that sway in the breeze or the sunset and the amphitheater across the way. It’s just amazing.”
To learn more about Atria Cary, visit AtriaCary.com.
Category: Active Aging, Community, Our Team, Wit & Wisdom
Posted on March 13, 2021 by Admin
At Atria, we believe the right amount of discreet personal care can help older people participate, grow and engage in what brings them purpose and joy.
We also believe in supporting families by doing everything we can to reassure them their parent is safe, well cared for and meaningfully connected to others.
Sheila and Rochelle
After her husband of 59 years passed away, Rochelle didn’t want to live alone. Friends suggested senior living, and her daughter, Sheila, traveled to North Carolina to help search for options. After touring Atria Southpoint Walk, they made their decision.
“It was wonderful,” Sheila said. “We knew within 10 minutes this was the place.”
A self-professed social butterfly, Rochelle settled right in. She loved the full calendar of events, friendly neighbors and chef-prepared meals. Sheila was relieved to see her mother gaining back the weight she’d lost after her father passed away.
Two years later, Rochelle took a fall. Sheila came to visit from Illinois while her mother recuperated. During treatment, doctors noticed a bit of memory loss and diagnosed Rochelle with mild dementia.
“Dementia doesn’t run in our family, so I didn’t know what to do,” said Sheila. “That’s when I started Googling.”
Sheila discovered Atria Glenview 10 minutes from her home in Illinois. Rochelle’s dementia was mild enough for her to move into assisted living, with specialized care available in the community’s Life Guidance® memory care neighborhood, if needed.
“It was much like the independent living community Mom came from so it was a good fit,” stated Sheila. “But knowing she had help taking her medications and staff to make sure she was eating was such a relief.”
Eventually, Rochelle’s dementia progressed, and she moved to Life Guidance. Sheila said the staff at Atria were there for both of them, every step of the way. The team not only provided compassionate, highly personalized care for her mother, they helped Sheila understand more about dementia, what to expect and ways to cope with her own feelings – through support groups and phone calls at least twice a week from Life Guidance Director Kelly Burnett.
“The regular contact eases my mind,” Sheila added. “I’ve been able to express my own fears and concerns without being dismissed. I can’t tell you how much that matters.
“When you think of all the changes that have happened with my mom, having Atria on our side to guide us has been invaluable. I don’t think people realize how deep the support can go at Atria.”
Jack and Richard
Jack gets around. The 89-year-old resident of Atria Oakridge in North Carolina knows every dining room server by name and most of his neighbors, too. Before COVID-19, he loved playing the piano during ice cream socials.
“Dad is really outgoing,” said his son, Richard. “He enjoys talking with people, and he’s sharp as a tack. He’s thoroughly enamored with Atria.”
Jack came to live at the community a few years ago after his wife moved into a skilled nursing facility. Richard lives 600 miles away and didn’t want to worry about his father living alone.
“I don’t think it would do him well to be on his own completely,” said Richard. “It’s not safe for someone his age.
“Since he’s been at Atria, I’m confident he’s in good hands. I never have to worry. That’s priceless to me.”
Holly and Martin
Martin moved to Atria Sugar Land in Texas four years ago. At 93, he often forgets to wear a face mask when leaving his apartment. Lucky for him, staff find creative ways to help; lately, they’ve been hanging a face mask on his walker with a friendly message reminding him to wear it.
“They’ve hired really great people,” said Martin’s daughter, Holly. “I work in education, so I know in any school system you can be in the worst building with great teachers or the best building with bad teachers. It’s all about the people.”
When searching for senior living, Holly and her father explored several communities to find one that was warm and welcoming. The day they toured Atria, Martin’s wife was too sick to join them.
“I told them we’d have one less for lunch, so the staff packed a meal to take with us for my stepmom,” continued Holly. “Little things like that speak volumes.”
Knowing her father has support around the clock gives Holly and her siblings comfort. Two years ago, Martin’s health issues required a hospital stay. After returning to Atria, he was weak and needed extra support. Staff escorted him to meals and checked on him several times throughout the night.
“Just knowing that attention was there lifted a big weight off our shoulders,” said Holly.
Regular communication also puts her mind at ease.
“That’s huge,” she said. “You want to know what’s going on and they keep us updated by email and phone.
“It’s clear to see they really care about residents. And I don’t have to worry.”
Discover how empowering the right care can be at Atria Senior Living at ExploreAtriaCare.com.
Category: Active Aging, Caregiver Support, Community, Wit & Wisdom
Posted on February 20, 2021 by Admin
At 94, Gloria had hardly ever washed her own hair, relying instead on regular visits to the beauty parlor. After moving to Atria, she kept up her routine at the community’s salon until it closed temporarily due to COVID-19.
That’s when Kelly Burnett, the community’s Life Guidance Memory Care Director, voluntarily took over washing and styling Gloria’s hair.
“That’s not her job, but she knows how important it is to my mother” said Gloria’s son, Bill. “It’s a great example of how caring the staff is. I’ll remember that forever.”
When Joe first moved to Atria, he was depressed. He’d just completed rehabilitation for a stroke, relied on a walker to get around and was developing mild symptoms of dementia.
Despite daily invitations to join his neighbors for gatherings and events, Joe stayed inside his apartment. But staff members didn’t give up. They continued their visits several times a day to say hello, check in and gently urge him to venture out.
It took a few weeks of patient encouragement before Joe started leaving his apartment. Soon he was participating in nearly every event.
“Everyone moves at their own pace,” said Tomika Polk, Divisional Director of Life Guidance Memory Care Operations. “Once Joe realized he could trust the people he lived with, he blossomed.”
Caring for the individual
No two people experience Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia the same way. The symptoms, behaviors and rate of disease progression look different for each individual.
Memory care at Atria is highly personalized to each resident, with one-to-one attention and support from caring staff in a secure, thoughtfully designed setting. Residents also enjoy daily opportunities to engage in meaningful pursuits such as art workshops, discussion groups and fitness classes.
Having worked in dementia care since 1993, Ron Bowen, Divisional Director of Life Guidance Memory Care Operations at Atria, says getting to know an individual’s likes and dislikes, personal history and what makes them tick is especially important when caring for a person with dementia.
“We want to understand the essence of a resident,” Bowen said. “We want to find out everything about Mom that will help us help her.”
To do this, caregivers collaborate with a new resident and their family to answer 116 specific questions, ranging from past occupations to favorite music genres to what calms and reassures them. Bowen refers to this as a resident’s life story.
“We take the answers to those questions and what they say about the resident, the things they like to do, and create a plan to keep them active and engaged.”
Most residents also receive a memory display to hang beside their apartment door. Families can choose to fill it with photos and meaningful mementos that illustrate their family member’s personality. The space also serves a practical purpose by helping the resident locate their apartment.
When staff members get to know a resident well, they can adjust the way they respond to certain behaviors. For some residents, music is a soothing antidote to aggressive behavior, which is a common symptom of dementia. Staff may help other residents focus on a simple task or project to redirect their attention in a positive way.
“What works for one person doesn’t always work for another,” Bowen said.
Developing emotional intelligence
A person with dementia can’t always control their emotions or communicate what they’re feeling. If they appear upset or confused, caregivers need to know the best way to respond.
Staff training at Atria includes universal dementia care methods such as redirecting or reducing distractions. Caregivers are also coached in more intuitive techniques such as “how to read a room,” as Bowen put it.
“We need to use our emotional intelligence when figuring out how to respond,” he said.
Emotional intelligence includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. The more in touch a staff member is with their own emotions, the better they can assess another’s and respond appropriately.
“We ask family members how they approach Mom, and what kinds of emotions she typically shows. How we respond from an emotional standpoint is what helps the resident feel at ease,” Bowen said.
Polk agreed, adding that a caregiver’s mood also can impact the way a resident behaves.
“People with dementia can sense your vibe and react to it,” she said. “I train staff members to put aside any personal issues as much as possible when they come to work. We want to create a peaceful, enjoyable environment.”
Building trust and communication
Forging a relationship with family is also key to Atria’s personalized approach. After a new resident moves in, a designated caregiver contacts the family with updates every day.
“It’s about connecting from the very beginning to make sure families are part of the process,” Bowen said. “Once they’re on board, it makes caring for the resident easier.”
Whether it’s making decisions together about medical treatment or discussing Dad’s need for a new pair of slippers, staff stay in regular contact with family. In her previous role as a Life Guidance Memory Care Director, Polk even sent photos to family members showing the resident active and engaged.
“We want them to know what their family member is doing,” she said. “That’s one way to gain a family’s trust.”
Bill says the staff members who care for his mother, Gloria, have “just the right touch” and update his family regularly.
“When they call, the first four words are always ‘Your mom is all right,’ and then they talk about what’s going on.
“From the beginning, I could see that these people truly care. I can’t imagine a better place for Mom,” Bill said.
If you or someone you know could benefit from Atria’s forward-thinking, highly personalized memory care, please reach out to the Atria community near you for more information.
Category: Active Aging, Community, COVID-19, Dementia & Memory Care, Wit & Wisdom