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Taking Memory Care to New Heights

Madison Heights provides warmth and care for loved ones who need to feel at home

Article by Michelle W. Parnell

Photography by Photos courtesy of Madison Heights

Originally published in Evans City Lifestyle

At the intersection of a friendly home environment and specialized personal care, you’ll find Madison Heights, a beautifully and thoughtfully designed memory care assisted living community here in Evans. “We are a very home-like environment,” says Laura Brown, sales and marketing director. “We have four houses, each with twelve resident rooms. Each house if self-sufficient and gives residents a calmer, less stressful environment where they get to know their housemates very well.”

In each home, key elements for residents include comfort and familiarity, beginning with each resident’s room being filled with items from home that reflect their personality and things they cherish. “We ask families to bring in basically a bedroom, a bathroom, and especially a favorite chair,” says Laura. “...anything like pictures, favorite blankets, and pillows that will make the resident know that this is their new home and will make them feel safe and familiar.”

With its intentional design, the separate residences at Madison Heights reduces resident anxiety by keeping the communities smaller and making each home the hub of residents’ activities. “When it comes to dementia, processing is so much harder, and anxiety can be very high,” explains Laura. “It’s easier for our residents to be familiar with their surroundings and for them to find their rooms and also find the common areas where they can eat, sit down with everyone else, and do activities or watch television.”

“We are also very family oriented, so they really get to know the staff, and the staff really get to know them as well,” shares Laura. “Our staff works twelve hour shifts, and they get to know the residents in the house, including their personalities and their sleep and eating habits. The truly become a family.”

Concerts on the lawn, gardening, painting and craft sessions, and outings to museums and restaurants keep residents active and engaged in the pleasures of daily life. “Our job is to know their hobbies and what they liked doing in their past so that we can re-introduce those to the residents,” says Laura.  “We want to recognize what they did like doing, bring that back into their lives, and also introduce them to new activities.”

Although family members may be skeptical or concerned about whether their loved one will participate in the fun group activities, Laura explains, “Family members need to keep in mind that the resident is with other people, meeting other people, and they’re doing activities. When residents are sitting around a table with their peers and they have a paint brush and canvas in front of them, they are more apt to paint.”

Even with all the fun activity going on within Madison Heights, residents welcome interaction and encouragement from family and friends. This holiday season, tap into many fun ideas to connect with residents and family members.

For example, who doesn’t love getting a good “ole-fashioned” letter in the mail? In a time when email and texts dominate everyday life, take time to handwrite a note or card. “We just finished a card project where people from all over the U.S. sent cards, letters, photos and artwork to our residents,” says Laura. “We received a card from every state and even one from Germany! People have continued to send these, so our residents get mail daily, and it makes their day!”

“We also have chalk on every porch so people can come and 'chalk the walk,'” says Laura. It’s a great way to brighten the days of residents and caregivers as they stroll the grounds or enjoy a sunny afternoon outside. Drawings and sayings can be holiday themed or simply bright and encouraging.

Placing decorated yard signs outside of residents’ windows brings joy as well and has been well received by families and residents. “At the beginning of [COVID-19 restrictions], we had yard signs available for our families to decorate and put outside the windows of their loved ones, and we had a big turnout for that, so we offered it up again to the families.”

Also, you can grab a few friends and family members to organize a parade for residents to enjoy. “We have had several car parades in which people decorated signs and their cars,” says Laura. “The residents also made signs to say hello to all the people in the parade!”

With special care and a little extra creativity, you can continue to celebrate everyday life with your loved one while having the assurance that they are being expertly cared for by a thoughtful and qualified staff.

For more information on Madison Heights, including long term and respite care services, visit AtlasSeniorLiving.com/Madison-Heights-Evans or call 762-994-2663.

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