This June, Summerfield Retirement in Utah is joining with the Alzheimer’s Association to recognize Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.
Our past activities director, BreeAnna, would like to share a few of her favorite moments from her three-years of working with residents who had dementia.
One day, after taking a resident back to her room after morning exercise, the resident looked up and me and said, “BreeAnna, will you turn on Andy Griffith?” Until this moment, I had no idea this resident knew my name. When she was feeling ill, I walked into her room and she seemed to perk up just by hearing my voice telling her “Hello.”
One of our residents had to go to rehab after illness sent her to the hospital. It was very discouraging to hear reports from rehab that she was extremely confused (way more confused than this resident had ever been at Summerfield). She was putting cereal in her juice not knowing to eat the cereal, dumping her juice on the floor, and exhibiting other strange behaviors. But I remember the moment she came back to Summerfield. I knew she was going to be different than she was before she left, but the moment she got out of the car and saw where she was, her face lit up. She had a huge smile on her face because she knew she was home. After a few days being surrounded by staff and residents she loved and living in her own room, she wasn’t acting as confused as she was at rehab. She was more back to her normal self and was able to enjoy her time with her friends and family.
We had a resident who lived at Summerfield for over seven years. Her family moved her to Summerfield when she was too confused to be able to take care of herself. Although she lived at Summerfield many years, I don’t know if she ever knew she wasn’t in the tiny town she lived in for so long, but she loved living at Summerfield. Every day she would walk down the hall smiling at everyone who walked past. She couldn’t hear and she wouldn’t wear her hearing aids, but she would have delightful conversations with everyone (even if they couldn’t hear her either). Her smiles and love for life were infectious and blessed the lives of everyone who came in contact with her. Her family would often bring her balloons for special occasions. I remember the tears in our eyes when she told us her family had brought her balloons. In that moment, she knew who had brought her the balloons and although she may not have remembered a moment later, she in that moment was able to express her joy from her family giving her the balloons. Dementia had changed her, but she was a blessing to everyone around her.
It is hard caring for a parent or loved one who has Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other mental illnesses. Summerfield Retirement is here to help. Our assisted living facility is staffed by CNA’s who have been trained to help residents who have dementia and other illnesses. Our staff know how to help reorient, redirect, and validate residents to help them enjoy a positive quality of life. Staff are available 24/7 to help remind residents about personal hygiene, meals, and other essential activities of daily living.
We have created a home-like environment where the residents can bring their favorite furniture, pictures, and decorations from home so their room is filled with things they know and love. We even have alcoves outside of each room the residents can decorate with their favorite decorations. Residents can walk down the hall and recognize their vase or other decoration sitting outside their room.
We have cared for many residents who had dementia over our over 20 years of serving the community. Contact us today if you have a parent or loved one who needs our care.