Life’s Neighborhood™ — An Innovative Program for Memory Care
The core of our Memory Care communities is Life’s Neighborhood™ – a nationally recognized program developed by Aegis Living. The program was designed to improve the quality of life and increase enjoyment for people living with memory loss.
The goal of Life’s Neighborhood™ is to decrease stress and anxiety by re-creating the familiarity and comfort of the neighborhood of yesteryear. The program helps build a strong bond between staff and residents – whether chatting about past times while tidying up the apartment, looking at old photos or strolling together in the courtyard. The Life’s Neighborhood™ physical space is reminiscent of a large family home in the 1940s and 1950s, designed to encourage an environment of socializing in a nostalgic setting.
Motion sensors and emergency call buttons increase the safety of the environment and enable emergency assistance if necessary. Our bathtiques offer a spa-like experience and may aid in sleeping at night. Specially designed, graduated-rack closets allow for greater independence as residents can remove each item in order and dress themselves without confusion. And our buildings include flowering gardens with circular walking paths, birdfeeders and, in some, classic antique cars to remind residents of days past.
Each of our memory care communities has a Snoezelen (pronounced “snoozlin”) room called Life’s Haven™. Lighting, shapes, textures, aromas, music and colors are used to gently stimulate the senses. This setting can provide comfort, calming and redirection for residents who may be agitated, restless or sensory-deprived because of their disease. The goal is to be stimulating, but not overwhelming. The use of these sensory effects depends on each individual, and it often takes individual work with the resident to discover what works best.
These innovative techniques have been medically proven to increase a sense of ease for residents and help re-create their happy, comfortable memories while minimizing the use of medication.
Life Skill Stations
Special stations are placed throughout our communities as settings from the past that act as a mental nudge back to remembered interests and allow for independent or group interaction. These environments focus on work, hobbies or pastimes. One may have an old-fashioned kitchen vignette with baking tools and Julia Child playing on the screen, or a travel station with guides, maps and travel-related games for reminiscing about family road trips, and another may have a baby stroller complete with a lifelike baby doll to stimulate the memory of family.
Each resident has a memory box outside their apartment, allowing them to share photos and mementos with their friends and care team. By knowing these stories, we can engage in meaningful conversations and interesting activities that are important to them.
Daily exposure to a specific light spectrum decreases agitation and symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression, and diminishes the cognitive decline for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
In select Life’s Neighborhoods™, residents will receive a dawn simulator in their apartment to help reset circadian rhythms and provide a natural start to their day. They will also benefit from a specific duration of specialized lighting in the dining area, and a gradual decrease in light throughout the day to reset melatonin levels and help to eliminate irregular sleep patterns.
Regular outdoor exposure is also a part of this innovative program, using clear umbrellas for less-than-sunny days, which will provide benefits from natural light, fresh air and light exercise. Finally, a nutritional plan will be created that will work in tandem with the light therapy to diminish the effects of depression and dementia.
Aegis’ aromatherapy is a proprietary scent designed to relax the body, calm the mind and enhance a sense of personal well-being. “Serene” is a blend of chamomile, aromatic lavender and other complementary ingredients. Chamomile reduces stress and anxiety and is used to treat insomnia. Lavender relaxes the body. A Duke University study reports the scent of lavender relaxed participants as much as a massage.
Our goal for Serene is to be undetectable while enhancing the day-to-day experience of our Aegis residents, families and employees to play a role in the Aegis mission “to make life better.”
Caring for a family member with dementia can be extremely difficult. The increased responsibility and emotional burden can easily cause stress and anxiety. This is why we believe in our neighborhood approach. These tasks are now shared by a number of dedicated individuals trained in caring for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. With the knowledge that your loved one is well cared for, you can enjoy a more fulfilling time together with less stress.