In this webinar preview, Susan Robbins, Director of Dementia Training for the Arbor Company, introduces us to the Bridges Neighborhood—a blend of assisted living and dementia care designed specifically for residents in the early stages of dementia. Learn more about this unique environment and how it helps our residents with dementia find happiness and joy while living life to the fullest.

Watch the video above for a preview of Senior Living LIVE! What Is Bridges at The Arbor Company, and then visit to access the full webinar!


Video Transcript

- Hello, everybody. And welcome into Senior Living Live. My name is Melissa. Thanks so much for being with us today. One of our favorite presenters is with us today and will be with us June 13th for a webinar about one of our special Arbor neighborhoods called Bridges. Susan Robbins is our expert when we tackle discussions relating to dementia and this webinar will discuss how the Arbor Company as a whole provides the care and guidance you or your loved one will need on your Senior Living journey with dementia. Hi, Susan. How are you?

- Hi, I'm good. Thank you. How are you?

- No problem. Always great to have you here. You're always a fan favorite. So this is a really pointed webinar. We're really honing in on a specific topic here about Bridges and people don't really know what that means or what that is. So we're going to try to explain it a little bit today so that they can RSVP for the webinar. But before we do all that, Susan, please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do for the Arbor Company.

- Well, I have the pleasure of supporting the Arbor Company in many different areas, but all things pertain to dementia. I get to work with our families. I get to help support trained staff with everything that they need for interacting with our residents to make a resident's stay as happy and as pleasant as it can be and to help them feel successful. And it's just a real honor to be able to work with Arbor who reaches out not only to our Arbor communities, but the communities at home.

- And you've been able to help so many people just in the webinars that we do. And that's just something in addition to what you do every single day. And people just want answers, they want somebody to talk to. And like I said, you're one of our favorite presenters for sure, without questions. So, I know that people are going to hop on here just to hear you speak again about this topic. So, can you explain some of the needs that people living with dementia have?

- Well, one of the biggest things we tend to when we care for somebody, we always look at the physical of what somebody needs. We know they need to take their medicine. We know they need to eat. We know hygiene cares need to be taken care of. But you can't see dementia. You can't see what's going on inside their brain. So it takes special education, understanding, and a great deal of patience to make somebody's life different so that they can feel the best they can be. And with Arbor, we have the separate neighborhoods. Our programming that allows people to feel successful, be with their cognitive peers. We talk a lot about that and that's where it gets into my cognitive needs so that my emotional needs are met.

- Yeah. So let's dive a little bit into that about what Arbor does to meet those needs within their Senior Living portfolio, which includes independent living, assisted living, Bridges and memory care.

- Break it down, assisted living means, again, it's not necessarily just physical. I may need physical needs along the way. And we know as a society, how to help people with those physical needs. But in assisted living, sometimes people are in the very early stages of dementia and maybe don't even have a diagnosis. So, we want to approach them and help them feel successful. They may forget things, but they're gonna withdraw because I don't want you to know that I'm forgetful. But I can still function completely and just need a little bit of oversight and some reminders for different things so that I can feel safe. Bridges, in AL, I'm aware of my deficits, both cognitive and physical, but our Bridges residents, that in between, that's that middle stage. And we call them emeralds because nobody wants to be rated as a number. So we use the gem level process. And so our Bridges are our emeralds. And if you think about emeralds that's that green light, I'm on go. And I'm always ready to do stuff. I wanna know what's going on, but I'm not not aware of my cognitive deficits. And when you point them out, I get frustrated. I have problems sequencing things, but I'm unaware of the mistakes I make. I'll put my sweater on first and then my t-shirt on over that. So, I need things laid out for me and sequenced through, but I don't want you to tell me to do it, I just want you to set me up for success.

- How does the Bridges Neighborhood differ from memory care?

- It's I have declined cognitively and I'm also having more of the physical things, such as the fine motor skills. Not the physical things that happen when people normally age, because as you age, you slow down, you can't do things you like. So all those things are happening along with a more acute memory care is a lot more of my physical and small motor skills starts to deteriorate. And in Bridges, we're gonna sequence things for you, set you up for success and offer choices. And I may give you two or three or four choices in Bridges, but in memory care, I'm gonna need this or that indefinite. And maybe I even need visual cues because I've lost a lot of my language. Where in Bridges, I can still define what I need. I may not know the word or what it's called, but I can define it. And in memory care, that becomes a lot harder. So we have to be able to anticipate their needs by reading their body language and learning their habits. And when people transition from neighborhood-to-neighborhood, Arbor, as a team, we'll find out what your habits were when you were living in assisted living, then I can adapt those same habits into Bridges and then eventually make sure that you're set up for success in memory care.

- And that is really the definition of what we call aging in place. So when you hear us say that in our webinars, on our videos, that is exactly what that means. The ability to move from one neighborhood to the next as your needs change. So I'm glad that you pointed that out. So, what does a typical day look like for somebody living in Bridge's Neighborhood?

- In Bridge's Neighborhood. When our residents need structure for our emeralds and our Bridges residents so that they can feel successful throughout the day. So we're gonna get up in the morning, gonna have that morning routine. If I'm normally a person that likes showers in the morning, we're gonna look at being able to continue to do that for you. Getting up and a wake up call. Some residents at Bridges can still completely dress themselves. Some may need some physical help based on my physical needs and not necessarily my cognitive needs, but I'm gonna need the setup so that I'm dressed appropriately for the weather and stuff. 'Cause I don't make good decisions and I'm just gonna wear what makes me feel good. So, in that middle stage, helping somebody that doesn't have buttons or zippers and things like that so that I can stay successful in getting ready. So then we're gonna have our meals and our meals are gonna be scheduled throughout the day. A morning snack because I may not remember to drink things throughout the day. So we're gonna offer that hydration. And then they're gonna have a scheduled activity, such as a exercise class, maybe some music time. Weather-appropriate, an opportunity to walk outside. But I'm with people that need the same setups to be successful. So if we're doing a craft, it is gonna be set up so that all the pieces are in front of you and I have a sample to look at to make sure that I'm doing it and it's done step-by-step. Music is the same thing, making sure we're hitting the right genres.

- Perfect. Yeah. Great description. So, our final question, really why is having a bridge, which is why we call it Bridges, between assisted living and memory care so important? Because this is something, Susan, that is relatively new.

- It is relatively new. And as we learn more about what the needs are and what makes people happy, is feeling validated and feeling successful. And you still need oversight in Bridges. Whereas your memory care, you need more step-by-step-by-step. Whereas you can give somebody in Bridges, maybe two steps at a time. But you can allow them to keep their dignity. It has a lot to do with dignity and with people that have the same cognitive needs that you do. We call it their cognitive peers. And this is where it's successful. If I'm gonna repeat my story 10 times, if my friend that I've made living in Bridges tells her story 10 times, we're both happy 'cause we've both just heard it for the same first time because of that short-term memory loss. But nobody's going to point out my shortcomings. And the different neighborhoods allow people to be successful without their deficits being pointed out.

- That sentence right there in a nutshell is perfect. To set you up for success. I love it so much. It is a wonderful neighborhood. It is just the way that Arbor has these structured neighborhoods so that each individual can be successful is really phenomenal. And it does work. So we will of course talk about all of this so much more in this webinar, including Arbor's award-winning Dining with Dignity Program, we're gonna touch on that. The training that our staff receives and the specialized care we see in this neighborhood and of course beyond. Susan, we cannot wait to see you on June 13th. Thank you so much for being here.

- Thank you for having me, look forward to it.

- Yeah, you are always welcome. You have a permanent spot on any webinar that we have for Senior Living Live. So, thank you Susan. Now this webinar, if you wanna RSVP, it is called What is Bridges at the Arbor Company? Pretty simple. It is June 13th as I mentioned, you can catch it at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time. We hope to see you then, have a great day, everybody.

Begin Your Senior Living Journey with Arbor

Begin Your Senior Living Journey with Arbor

Find a Community