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It can be scary to think that you or a loved one may someday be diagnosed with dementia. Yet according to the Alzheimer's Association, one in three seniors will develop some type of dementia during their lifetime.

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe conditions and diseases that affect a person’s memory, language, and problem-solving skills. These conditions worsen over time, and so a person with a recent dementia diagnosis is in a significantly different place than a person who has lived with it for a while.

Many assisted living communities include special dementia care neighborhoods. They are secured environments with full-time care for residents who are in the later stages of dementia. But seniors just starting to struggle with dementia symptoms don’t need this much care.

Our Bridges Program

Arbor Terrace of Burnt Hickory in Marietta, Georgia, has a solution specifically designed to ease the transition between assisted living and dementia care. The Bridges program helps residents with early stage dementia live as independently as possible for as long as they can while helping them remain comfortable in their surroundings.

Staff members at Arbor Terrace of Burnt Hickory, who are specially trained in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, stay on the lookout for signs that a resident could benefit from the extra support the Bridges program offers. For instance:

  • Servers in the dining room may be aware of residents skipping meals or see them pushing their food around their plates instead of eating it.

  • Program coordinators may notice residents missing their favorite activities or struggling to play familiar games.

  • Stylists in the salon may observe changes in grooming habits or lapses in conversation.

Download our new guide: Living Well with Dementia and learn how you are able to  live the life you love for as long as possible.

The staff nurse conducts regular cognitive assessments on the residents and decides who would be a good fit for the Bridges program. The program is best suited for residents who want to remain socially active and can do so if given a little extra support. For instance:

  • Residents who love to play games but are starting to have trouble remembering the rules or keeping up with the pace of the game. The Bridges program offers modified versions of activities and games that meet residents at their level.

  • Residents who enjoy dining with their friends but have begun to lose track of time and miss meals. Staff members remind them when it’s time to eat.

  • Residents who miss out on favorite activities because they are embarrassed to admit that they get confused when trying to find their way to gathering spots. Staff members escort them to where they want to go.

  • Residents who dress inappropriately for the weather. Caregivers remind them of the forecast and make suggestions about what they should wear.

The Bridges program includes a full calendar of daily activities designed to give residents the cognitive support they need. Examples include:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Cooking
  • Music programs
  • Trivia and word games
  • Modified workouts and walking clubs
  • Games

Arbor Terrace of Burnt Hickory operates according to the philosophy that no one should be defined by memory loss. The Bridges program helps these residents retain their identities and live meaningful lives for as long as they can. When their dementia has progressed to the point that they need the safety of locked doors and constant care, residents are transitioned to Evergreen, the community’s secure dementia care neighborhood.

Residents’ needs will vary depending on how far their dementia has progressed. The Bridges program is designed to meet each resident at their level with the individualized care they need. To learn more about Bridges or to take a tour of our community, contact Arbor Terrace of Burnt Hickory at 770-691-0050.

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Beth Laxton

About the Author: Beth Laxton

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