If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia, you may at some point begin looking into memory care communities. Memory care brings together highly skilled and compassionate professionals whose goal is to provide individuals challenged by dementia with an environment that is enriching, fulfilling and purpose-driven.
At the center of most memory care communities are what we call life engagement directors. Why are these individuals so important to the daily lives of residents? They are responsible for many things including the following:
- Getting to know every resident in terms of his/her background, health needs, cognitive capabilities, personalities, talents and skills, interests and personal preferences.
- Getting to know the families of residents and their needs as they relate to their loved ones, including regular communications.
- Identifying purposeful activities that meet the needs and interests of residents, down to the individual level. That includes recognizing that every resident has their own skills, preferences and abilities.
- Arranging outings to local places of interest.
- Coordinating physical fitness programs within the community, bringing in experts and conducting weekly age and ability-tailored exercise classes.
- Working with other key individuals to develop programs for the greater good of the community. These programs encourage involvement by residents’ family members as well as the greater community.
Recently, one of our own life engagement directors, Jennifer Boonstra with Porter Place Memory Care in Tinley Park, Illinois was honored with a special award during Evolve 2021, a conference hosted by Senior Living Foresight. It was a peer-nominated award recognizing those professionals who have gone above and beyond to raise morale and keep residents safe.
Upon receiving the award, Jennifer was asked what motivates her each day in her demanding, yet fulfilling work. She had this to say, “What motivates me is giving my residents a sense of purpose. They are living here in a community and it’s not just about providing activities. It’s about joy, whether those are little moments of joy that last about one minute or giving them an opportunity to give back to where they live. I am motivated by seeing he smiles on their faces.”
We are so proud of Jennifer as well as all of our amazing life engagement directors who go the extra mile every day for our residents and their families.
If you are looking into memory care for a loved one, it is important to get to know the community and those who work within it yourself. As memory care communities begin to open their doors again, you will want to visit and meet with as many team members as possible. Be sure to ask questions about how they work with residents and how they will provide a purposeful, high quality of life for your loved one. And, while you’re there, don’t forget to drop in and meet the life engagement director!