Better Living by Overcoming Safely and Securely the Obstacles of declining Memory
For those experiencing cognitive decline, living in an inclusive environment is important to their quality of life. By maximizing care, support, health, and well-being, a sense of normalcy is created, and the person feels valued as an individual.
BLOSSOM, initiated by All Seniors Care Chief Operating Officer, Lily Goodman, focuses on the creation of just such an environment.
“When we create a safe, secure, and supportive home, it gives individuals with cognitive impairment the opportunity to thrive and grow”, says Goodman.
She explains that “as residents age, we are seeing the impact of memory decline in many different ways. We introduced the BLOSSOM curriculum as the next step in our commitment to encourage an inclusive community – one in which we focus on each individual as a complete person.”
BLOSSOM is Creating a Buzz
Shaftesbury Park Retirement Residence in Winnipeg, MB launched BLOSSOM on July 1st and the excitement was immediate as the program filled up.
According to the Lifestyle Director, Brandi Hanna, families with loved ones in the curriculum called it a blessing. “The additional level of service is a game changer! Their loved one remains comfortably in their suite while receiving specialized memory care supports.”
Anastasia Atkinson, Health & Wellness Director at Shaftesbury, adds, “The seniors are enjoying the program very much! Having a small group of peers to spend the day with fits perfectly into their comfort level. A familiar face (our full time Blossom Coordinator) who encourages the seniors to participate is much appreciated by the residents and their families.”
With programming encompassing many different interests from folksong to baking, gardening to bingo, painting to cycling family members are happy to see their loved ones out and about!
“The peace of mind that their mom or dad is not isolated all day really brings them joy. Family members love hearing what their loved ones was up to every day,” says Atkinson.
A retirement community that offers a holistic approach with physical, cognitive, and social stimulation is a great option … The longer they wait, the worse the cognition will be, and the more difficult the change to a new environment. A program like Blossom provides a path to earlier and hence easier transition.” – Dr. Frank Knoefel
Importance of Early Support For Memory Loss
Everyone forgets things at times. How often have you misplaced your car keys or forgotten the name of a person you just met?
Some degree of memory problems, as well as a modest decline in other thinking skills, is a fairly common part of aging. There’s a difference, however, between normal changes in memory and memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.
Mild cognitive impairment involves a notable decline in at least one area of thinking skills, such as memory, that’s greater than the changes of aging and less than those of dementia. By moving into an Age-in-Place community early, these changes in memory are more manageable and less disruptive to your ability to live independently or maintain a social life.
According to Dr. Frank Knoefel, a Physician at the Bruyère Memory Program in Ottawa, seeking support early is crucial.
“In my experience with progressing cognitive decline there is associated functional decline. Eventually it is no longer safe for my patients to live alone”, says Knoefel. “A retirement community that offers a holistic approach with physical, cognitive, and social stimulation is a great option. The challenge is when to move? No one wants to leave their home sooner than absolutely necessary. Yet the sooner they move, the easier it will be to adapt to the new secured environment – and the longer they will be able to stay in one place. The longer they wait, the worse the cognition will be, and the more difficult the change to a new environment. A program like Blossom provides a path to earlier and hence easier transition.”
An Inclusive Community for Seniors
BLOSSOM supports residents in an inclusive community in which they can age in place. It is enhanced independent living that allows autonomous seniors and their partners to put down roots early, develop routines, make friends, and become familiar with the environment.
By providing structure and routine for the person living with memory loss, the program helps to maintain their cognitive function, sense of security, and even calm anxious behaviours. It also helps provide a sense of control over their day and their environment, especially for those in the early stages of the dementia.
How To Help Someone with Memory Loss
Two important elements of the BLOSSOM approach are nutrition and activation.
We believe that recreational activities play an important role when it comes to defining quality of life. By offering a wide variety of programs focussing on the key areas of wellness, we are able to create meaningful activities that are engaging and provide an opportunity for enjoyment, social contact, and growth.
Small changes to nutrition can also positively impact cognitive awareness. Our menus have been reviewed by dieticians and are continuously monitored to identify Brain Healthy options at every meal that are clearly identified and available to all residents, without compromising on taste.
Strengths of BLOSSOM:
- Holistic approach that supports autonomy.
- A dedicated schedule of activities focussing on mental, physical, sensory, social, and spiritual needs.
- Secure, monitored entrance and entry points where staff are available for support.
- Dedicated, trained staff, including managers, nursing support, a BLOSSOM co-ordinator, dietary staff, large creative activity team with a small staff to resident ratio.
- Person-centred program focused on the needs, likes, interest, and health of the resident so that changes can be easily monitored.
- Meets the needs of all residents including those living with cognitive decline.
- Fresh, seasonal brain healthy menus with flexible choices.
While each retirement community will have a unique approach that reflects the culture of its residents, the unifying principle behind BLOSSOM is inclusion. A participating residence runs two streams of programming that share a welcoming environment. It is a supportive, person-centred program that meets the needs of all residents. Spouses can attend regular programming together, then while the loved one experiencing cognitive decline attends a BLOSSOM program, the caregiver has some free time to pursue their interest or just take a self-care break.
For those living solo, BLOSSOM provides that extra sense of security and belonging so crucial to the early stages of cognitive decline.
Before we implemented blossom, many residents with memory decline were confused, agitated, and not motivated to participate in activities. Since joining blossom, the residents have been excited to get up in the morning, then spend the day doing things of interest. They aren’t agitated anymore and look forward to their daily activities! They are making friends and feel like they are part of something meaningful. – Etta Gover, Blossom Coordinator, Chapel Hill Retirement Residence, Ottawa
How You Can Support Your Loved One
All Seniors Care is proud to announce the roll-out of this important initiative. Dedicated to excellence in care, BLOSSOM an add-on service available at residences in many provinces.
Rather than segregate those with cognitive decline, BLOSSOM contributes to an inclusive retirement community where people work to create a feeling of togetherness.
You can contact us anytime for more information about BLOSSOM and how you or your loved ones can enroll in the program. We have seniors housing options in Edmonton, housing for seniors living in Calgary, assisted living in Winnipeg, retirement homes in Ottawa, and more.
BLOSSOM enrolled residents at Résidence Chapel Hill Retirement Residence