Dedicated to memory care, this Edwardsville senior community will offer amenities like no other memory care facility in the area

Located in the southern Illinois community of Edwardsville, Cedarhurst will open March, 2014 and will offer a carefully designed memory care solution catering specifically to seniors with Alzheimer’s and related memory loss conditions.

Designed after our sister building, Cedarhurst of Shiloh,  is being constructed in the shape of an oval consisting of four different neighborhoods, two on each side, with a total of 54 resident apartments. The oval design allows staff to have a visual on every single apartment door. In the middle section, there are staff offices, a kitchen, a laundry and a beauty parlor. There are also large common areas used for a variety of activities. On the grounds are secure outdoor courtyards, which allow residents to safely enjoy fresh air and sunshine as weather permits throughout the year.

“The design was considered extensively and we believe we will provide a very well thought out memory care solution to residents of the area. The communities actually loop around so you can walk around in one big circle through the community. There is no hallway with an end to it, which is great for people who are wanderers,” said Anne Reynolds, executive director at Cedarhurst of Edwardsville. (Reynolds was also involved in opening Cedarhurst of Shilo).

In the lobby area there are lockers, in which families and friends of residents can leave their purses, jackets and other items during visits. This helps to decrease anxiety in the resident, because sometimes picking up a purse or jacket can cause anxiety in memory care residents.

“My dad had memory loss, and when I went to visit him and grabbed my purse and jacket to go, he immediately said, ‘I want to go home’, so this is just one example of the level of thought we put into the community with the goal making family visits better,” said Reynolds.

Accommodations at Cedarhurst
All apartments at Cedarhurst have private bathrooms and a call light system, so residents can get help any time, night or day.

Apartments are private residences with the exception of some shared apartments. Shared apartments offer families and residents greater affordability. There are larger apartment available to accommodate married couples. Whether one or both people have Alzheimer’s or other dementias, couples can remain together, just as they did before when they lived in their own home.

All of the apartments in each of the four neighborhoods have sunlight coming in and each face the center, which is equipped with a therapy kitchen and a dining room.

“All of the kitchens have a stove and oven, so even though we don’t allow our residents to cook (alone), with the help from a staff member, they can make cookies. And a staff member can make them an egg if they sleep in,” said Reynolds. “So every neighborhood will have that feeling like home,” she said.

Residents are encouraged to bring as many of their own furnishings and belongings as possible, such as their own bed, their own recliner and anything else that will help to make living at Cedarhurst really feel like home.

In addition, every resident has a memory box in their apartment with their own things placed inside, military metals and photos of when they were younger, for example. With their own things near, residents have an easier time identifying Cedarhurst as home.

“It is just trying to make it look and feel as much like home as possible,” said Reynolds.

An Individual Story, an Individual Care Plan
Before moving in at Cedarhurst, the family of the resident does a medical packet, a life story and favorite preference of music.

The life story helps the staff know things about their loved one, such as what they did as a profession, their veteran status, their favorite foods, and their preferred time of day to shower for example. This helps to design an individualized care plan to meet the specific needs of each individual.

“All of the programs are very therapeutic, designed to meet them where their memory loss is. Often you will find in a nursing home when people do rounds, everyone (residents) gets up and takes a shower. That is more of a medical model. This is more of a social model, where it is supposed to feel like living at home,” said Reynolds. “Something that is really important, all members of the staff have 16 hours of specific dementia care training,” she said.

Cedarhurst’s music program, like others at communities, is a very successful program and one for which Reynolds is proud. Each resident is given their own personal iPod loaded with their favorite music. The personal iPods are used to enhance the quality of a resident’s day as well as a tool for redirection.

Reynolds talked about a gentleman, a resident, who was having a hard time with transferring, so the staff would put on his iPod to help motivate him. He loved Tina Turner.

“We would put on a little about 10 minutes before transferring, and sure enough, Jesse would be up and walking,” said Reynolds. “Again, using music as a tool for pleasure, but as to make sure they are eating better, moving better and we have found that for dementia residents, that music is a key element,” said Reynolds. “The music program is something I am really proud of. I don’t know of anyone else that is doing that where every resident has their own iPod with their own music on it. You will see people who are not verbal begin to sing along with the music,” she added.