Prime Living-Sponsored Feature: HP Retirement’s In the Moment program provides smooth transition when memories fade
Last updated 9/19/2018 at Noon
Everyone has a personal history that leaves us with enduring memories, even if we begin to forget much of our past and present, including loved ones and, even, who we are.
Take, for example, the long-retired baker who still wakes up at 4 a.m. sharp each day, or the one-time administrator who took a bus to the office daily for decades and still looks for that bus stop, or the former airplane pilot who reflexively scans the skies whenever he hears a plane overhead.
All are suffering from dementia. But while the world they once knew is receding into darkness, they still can relate to the sights, touch, smells and sounds of that world, indelible markers of their lives that give them comfort.
That’s why the team at Harbour Pointe Senior Living works hard to provide those people links to their former lives. Residents at the In the Moment® memory support wing at the Harbour Pointe Senior Living retirement community are beneficiaries of the latest innovations designed to ensure that people on their final journey can enjoy a safe, comfortable and satisfying lifestyle.
Mandy Curtis, Executive Director at HP Senior Living, said the memory support program was a logical next step for the retirement community that originally opened to serve residents who were tired of doing maintenance and chores at their homes but still wanted independent living in their senior years.
Over time, as those residents aged and required more help, HP Senior Living increased staff and programs to provide assisted living services. Today, as some residents begin to struggle with signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia, the retirement community now can help them seamlessly transition to the In the Moment program.
Residents and their families appreciate the options. “Knowing they can age in place is comforting,” Curtis said. Increasingly, potential residents are thinking about the final years of their lives, so even if they’re moving in to take advantage of the many services and programs offered for independent living, “they’re more comfortable and more secure” knowing they’ll be well cared for no matter how their final years play out, she said.
HP Senior Living’s memory care program offers some unique services not always available elsewhere, too. For example, when one spouse of a couple living at the retirement community needs to move into the memory care wing, the other spouse can move there, too, but can continue to live an independent life with friends and family outside the wing.
The professionals at HP Senior Living know decisions to move a loved one into memory care can be difficult. That’s why Memory Support Director Ann McCormick works with families to help them make hard choices when they’re ready, and keeps in regular contact to smooth the journey for all involved.
For example, perhaps a resident begins talking about or doing something she’s never done before. McCormick will call her family, telling them, “I noticed your mom has started doing this. Let me give you some resources to help you understand what’s happening.”
McCormick said In the Moment residents enjoy a variety of daily activities designed to honor each person’s own life history. Among the newest innovations are creation of “memory stations” where pictures, furnishings, objects or other items spark memories, giving residents clear comfort through their clouds of confusion.
That office employee looking for the bus stop, for example? Installation of a bus stop facsimile provides a familiar, calming experience. The former baker could find comfort when provided with baking utensils or similar supplies. The airline pilot gets plenty of time outside in the courtyard where he can watch regular flights in and out of Paine Field.
McCormick, whose own career involved years in the performing arts, including music, dance and acting, also schedules plenty of group activities such as sing-alongs. There also are various fitness activities such as Tai Chi, as well as arts & crafts, movie matinees, spiritual talks, baking, gardening and more.
McCormick also is starting a family support group to help a dementia resident’s loved ones through their own journeys. She said spouses, in particular, need support when the person they’ve shared their life with begins to withdraw.
She recounted the story of a husband who insisted on taking care of his wife in the independent living wing at HP Senior Living, even though her dementia was increasing. He finally agreed to leave her in memory care while he was out of town visiting family, and when he returned, he asked McCormick if his wife needed better care than he could give her.
“Actually,” she told him, “I’m more worried about you.”
In the Moment enriches the lives of residents and their families each moment of every day through expertise combined with compassionate care. It’s a logical step for existing or new residents who need special care, ensuring they will continue to experience the quality of life they’ve always known and enjoyed.
The entire wing is designed to provide a home-like atmosphere. Apartments range from studios to one- and two-bedroom units that can meet residents’ personal and financial needs.
On any particular day, you can expect to find residents gathered in the kitchen enjoying freshly baked bread, or in the community room playing music or sharing stories just the kind of activities one would expect to find going on at any warm, comfortable and welcoming home.
For more information, contact Harbour Pointe Senior Living, 10200 Harbour Pl., Mukilteo, at 425-493-8555, or visit online at hpretire.com.