Back in the 1980s, the widely accepted treatment for cognitive impairment was sedation and psychotropic drugs. These approaches, thankfully, are now nearly extinct in modern treatment. Now with access to homelike care practices and environments such as Paradise Valley Estates’ Deer Creek, residents with cognitive impairment can live as they normally would with emphasis on comfort and engagement.
Since its founding, Paradise Valley Estates has sought to bring specialized dementia care to the community’s continuum of services. This year, that goal will become a reality with the opening of the new memory care center. The expansion, which will add 18 residences adjacent to the Quail Creek structure, will provide a safe and stimulating setting for residents living with Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments.
Perkins Eastman, an international architecture and design firm specializing in senior living communities, designed the highly specialized environment slated to open in June. Perkins Eastman Principal Leslie Moldow explains that the company was an early leader in the design and building of residential communities for those with dementia and related disorders.
The new memory care center will include an attractive, secure outdoor courtyard that promotes activities ranging from quiet relaxation to sensory stimulation. Inside, community spaces and hallways will be filled with natural light and look out into the courtyard. Moldow says that maintaining a visual connection to the natural world helps residents navigate the building more easily and even helps prevent the common evening agitation called sun downing.
The aim, according to Moldow, is to make the center feel residential, familiar and comfortable. Inviting community living spaces and an open concept kitchen create friendly interactions among staff and residents throughout the day. Another design strategy is ceiling changes at hallway junctions that aid with wayfinding and feature self-engaged activity areas that reliably reward residents’ curiosity and spark engagement.
Moldow explains that modern dementia care philosophy emphasizes interaction with nature and the environment. Combining a nature-minded approach with staffing, programming and architectural elements that better serve residents’ needs, patients with memory issues now enjoy a more deeply fulfilling quality of life than previous generations. “The biggest impact is in the programming, rather than the environment,” says Moldow. “Helping residents stay engaged in the meaningful activities of daily life is crucial.”
Stay tuned for details about the grand opening of Deer Creek at Paradise Valley Estates, opening in June 2017.