Memory Care an Asset to Those with Cognitive Impairments

September 24, 2013

Below is a story published in a previous issue of Faith in Caring magazine on how Concordia of Fox Chapel has made a major impact on one gentleman and his family. To be added to the mailing list or e-mail distribution list, e-mail us here or call the Concordia Public Relations Department at 724.352.1571, ext. 8266. Enjoy, and feel free to leave a comment below!

A well-tailored suit. The parking spot downtown that doesn't require you to parallel park. A pair of shoes that make you feel as though you're walking on air?

Yes ~ there's something special about finding the perfect fit.

Concordia of Fox Chapel Concordia of Fox Chapel

Concordia of Fox Chapel, which joined the Concordia family of facilities in July 2011, is what some consider the perfect fit for individuals with memory-impairing conditions. Every detail, including the building design, activities schedule and staff (among other things), is intended to help these individuals thrive.

And while that may not have the same ring to it as the other scenarios mentioned, it provides a calmness for families who are concerned for the safety, well-being and overall happiness of their memory-impaired loved one.

From the staff to the building itself?

Concordia of Fox Chapel is a specialized memory care facility. There are many factors that make this location the ideal place for those suffering from memory-impairing conditions:

? Higher staffing ratios that provide more caregiver time per resident

? Additional safety options, including secure and alarmed exterior doors

? More activity hours per resident, with more one-on-one activity opportunities

? A specifically-trained staff

Another major factor is the building itself. The facility is architecturally designed to promote comprehension, with color-coded "neighborhoods" (sections of the building), a cul-de-sac in each neighborhood (to help deter getting lost) and a "town square" in the lobby. There is also a lot of natural light and several enclosed outdoor courtyards.

According to Administrator Bonnie Jo Stapchuck, the most prevalent conditions they see at Concordia of Fox Chapel are Alzheimer's disease, dementia, stroke complications and general mental decline. Bonnie and her team assess every potential new resident to see if he/she is right for memory support.

"We have great support systems in place to give the best care possible to these individuals, and we're pleased to have so many families choose us each day," she said. "Our building and safety features are great, but it's the people here who make our residents feel like family."

Unique Needs

A few years ago, Oakmont resident Mary Jean started noticing some changes in her husband Ralph's behavior; changes that indicated a memory impairment. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's shortly after.

Mary Jean did her best to care for him herself but eventually realized Ralph needed a more safe and secure setting than she could provide at home. A self-professed "worry wart," Mary Jean said her biggest fear was Ralph wandering.

In her search for a facility, one of the most important factors was finding a place that specialized in memory support. She found what she was looking for at Concordia of Fox Chapel.

"I'm very glad he's here in a place that understands his, and all the other residents' unique needs," Mary Jean said. "The staff is very good, very compassionate. And Ralph is happy."

She added, "I really believe in the work that is done here. Even if my husband wasn't here, I would continue to volunteer to be a part of it."

Unfortunately, not all families identify soon enough that their loved one needs memory support, and sometimes accidents happen. Bonnie said there are a number of signs that indicate extra help may be needed:

? Wandering

? Increased confusion

? Decreased appetite

? Dressing inappropriately

? Not managing medications

? Repeating themselves

? Looking for deceased family members

? Asking to "go home" when in their house

(For more of these signs, visit the July 19, 2011 post on the Concordia Blog)

Other Memory Support Options

While Concordia of Fox Chapel is one of Concordia's locations for memory care, it's not the only option. In actuality, all of Concordia's personal care locations are equipped to give terrific care to those with memory-impairing conditions. Concordia of the South Hills also has a dedicated memory support wing and Concordia at Cabot offers Adult Day Services.

Adult Day Services provides basic care during the day as well as nutritious meals, activities, crafts, worship services and even exercise and baking classes to keep participants engaged. Hours of operation are Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

E-mail us here or call us today at 724.352.1571 if you have any questions about our services and how we can assist you and your loved ones.

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