The Living Magazines

Hyde Park Living .....Hyde Park, Oakley, Mt. Lookout, O'Bryonville and East Walnut Hills
Wyoming Living
Indian Hill Living
Fort Thomas Living

Friday, October 30, 2020

Episcopal Retirement Services Takes Dementia Support Programs Into the Community

Barb (l) lives in a memory care neighborhood at Hyde Park’s Marjorie P. Lee, and Gladys (r) works with residents in the memory care neighborhoods. 

By Cynthia Smith

Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS), which owns the Marjorie P. Lee retirement community on Shaw Avenue and the Deupree House on Erie Avenue, has long offered innovative therapies and programs to their residents with dementia. 

In recent years, they have also provided community outreach throughout the Greater Cincinnati area to create safe and welcome spaces for those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Now, ERS has formalized all of these services under one umbrella: The Center for Memory Support and Inclusion (the Center).

The qualities that define a Dementia-inclusive community (source: 

Dementia Inclusive Cincinnati

In 2017, ERS started a Dementia Inclusive Cincinnati (DIC) initiative in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati, UC Health, the City of Cincinnati and others. The initiative, which has the ambitious goal of making Cincinnati America’s most dementia-inclusive city by 2025, defines such a city as one that:

1. Empowers people with dementia to have high aspirations, confidence and to know they can contribute

2. Has “befrienders” who help people engage in community life

3. Is easy for people with dementia to navigate physically

4. Maintains independence by delivering community-based solutions

5. Challenges the stigma of dementia and builds awareness

6. Provides appropriate transportation

7. Ensures activities include people with dementia

8. Helps businesses and services welcome people with dementia

9. Shapes communities around people with dementia and their caregivers

10. Ensures that early diagnosis, and personalized/integrated care is the norm

Resident Barb enjoys art therapy, just one of a suite of therapies offered at Hyde Park’s Marjorie P. Lee. 

Dementia is a growing issue

The purpose of the effort is to respond to the growing local need for dementia support. “There are 31,000 Greater Cincinnati residents over the age of 65,” explained Laura Lamb, president and CEO of ERS. “One in 10 men and one in six women who live past 55 will develop dementia in their lifetime. 

“With an increasing prevalence of the disease, we realized that we needed to support and embrace those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their caregivers, both within our retirement communities’ walls and in the broader community. Too often, these individuals are isolated. We wanted to ensure there are places to go and resources and programming available that enrich their lives.”

Taking successful programs beyond retirement center walls 

“We realized a few years ago, we had developed so many ways to support people with dementia and their caregivers inside our retirement centers, it could be really helpful to share what we had learned with the larger community,” Lamb added.

Programs within ERS communities include:

1) Intimate Living Environments, which reduce the colors, visual cues and smells that may overstimulate people with dementia; 

2) Training programs such as Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care and an ERS-developed Yes, And program, that builds on theories of theatre improvisation to help residents engage positively with day-to-day challenges

3) Living Well Memory Support, which combines physical and cognitive therapies including art, music and horticulture programming to keep residents stimulated and engaged. 

So far, DIC efforts include:

Monthly Memory Cafes, where people with dementia and their caregivers can enjoy socializing, music and games at the Harrison, Blue Ash and Green Hills branches of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Library staff were trained by the DIC team to make libraries safe, welcoming places for people with memory loss. 

Training modules developed in partnership with UC Health’s Gardner Neuroscience Institute to apply research-based knowledge about the behaviors of people with dementia to real-world settings both inside and outside retirement communities.

A dementia-inclusive restaurant training program, developed for organizations such as the Sleepy Bee Café in Blue Ash, to help restaurant staff identify people with cognitive loss, improve communication and relieve stress when serving these patrons.

Creating a difference for the community

The purpose of the Center is to provide safe and welcoming spaces for people with dementia and their caregivers. It has four pillars to address these needs: making sure living environments are conducive to caring for people with cognitive loss; making sure programs are therapeutic in nature and help individuals along their journeys; assuring the Center can be used to reach out to the larger community (beyond ERS retirement centers); and providing training and education for care providers, physicians and caregivers in the community.

These efforts have been well-received by participants, and DIC and ERS won an Aging Services Impact Award from LeadingAge Ohio in 2019 for their work. 

The Center has three main goals:

1) Create innovative programming directly benefitting those living with dementia and their caregivers.

2) Train community members to become DIC-certified; teach those in the service industry how to compassionately serve customers living with dementia

3) Through a media campaign, create community awareness and advocacy of Alzheimer’s and dementia-related illnesses

To accomplish these goals, the Center will expand training for more business sectors and increase the number of volunteers training others. Ultimately, the Center hopes to serve more than 1,200 people living with dementia in the community and relieve caregiver stress in the process. 

How the Center came about

The Center has been made possible through a grant from the Sutphin Family Foundation and another private $250,000 donation. In addition, ERS has recently hired Shannon Braun, who was previously the Early Stage Program Coordinator at the Alzheimer’s Association of Cincinnati, to lead the development of the Center and create more programming. Anyone can use the center’s resources.

ERS is the largest aging services network in Cincinnati. Approximately 175 residents call the Marjorie P. Lee retirement center home, and 170 live in Deupree House on any given day. About 25 percent of Marjorie P. Lee and Deupree residents are Hyde Park natives. Marjorie P. Lee was opened in 1961 and Deupree opened in 1982.

No comments:

Post a Comment