By RENEE WEBB
Holy Spirit Retirement Home in Sioux City held a ribbon-cutting Oct. 24 to mark the addition of new services.
According to Ranee Ehrich, director of marketing and development at Holy Spirit, the facility recently expanded its memory care unit and added two new therapy services – an Active Senior Outpatient Assessment Clinic and Active Senior Wellness Program.
Ehrich pointed out the memory care unit’s capacity was nearly doubled, expanding from 11 beds to 20.
“The expansion of our memory care to meet the needs of our seniors in our community is much needed due to the projected increase in Alzheimer’s and dementia,” said Debbie Logan, assisted living coordinator, who explained the memory care unit is currently on the second floor and will be expanding to the first floor.
As people become more aware of what to look for with memory care issues, Teresa Lagge, assisted living RN coordinator, said the need for memory care beds has grown. She also anticipates the need will increase even more in the future.
She pointed out that they have opted to go with an engagement model – a structured day program where residents participate in certain activities at certain times.
“For the women, it might be putting on makeup every morning,” Lagge said. “It’s something that gives them worth and yet still keeps them busy and focused.”
The engagement model, added Ehrich, was started after Holy Spirit began working with a national dementia consultant. The dementia expert has offered various recommendations related to latest trends of care for this population.
“Ultimately, instead of entertaining the residents throughout the day, you are engaging them. Whatever they were used to doing back home, we encourage them to be involved in here,” said Ehrich, who noted the success has helped with managing medications and behaviors of current residents.
Logan said the structed day program offers residents a supportive, safe environment.
“It lets them take part in everyday things that emphasize their capabilities, helps them maintain abilities with daily cares and through success-oriented activities maintain dignity and self-esteem,” she said.
For instance, Lagge noted, some of the past-times memory care residents may be involved in include folding laundry and doing dishes. They remember how to do these activities and usually it gives them self-worth.
The staff for the unit works specifically in the memory care unit and this allows the memory care residents to be around familiar faces.
Active senior services
Both the assessment clinic and wellness activities are open to any senior residents of the Siouxland community. These services are primarily designed for those who do not live at the nursing home.
Ehrich explained Holy Spirit contracts its therapy services through Aegis Therapies and they have successfully launched similar programs in other facilities.
“Our new Active Senior Outpatient Assessment Clinic allows people to stay in their homes longer and they can come to us through a doctor’s referral to get speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy assessments to see what they need to stay at home longer and then they are comfortable with us when the time comes to move to a retirement home,” she said.
Ehrich pointed out that many rehab and physical therapy facilities have a niche and Holy Spirit found there really wasn’t any focus on the active senior population in the Siouxland area.
“It’s an opportunity for physicians to partner with us to be able to give those patients options to be able to stay home longer, but still receive the assessment they need to figure out if they need more medical devices at home, maybe they need outpatient therapy that they can do through our services here,” she explained. “There was a need that wasn’t being fulfilled and it allows the area population of active seniors to stay home longer.”
The Active Senior Wellness Program, noted Ehrich, was launched in October and is currently held on Thursdays from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the independent living dining room. Cost is $5 per class with the first class offered free of charge.
For more information about the new and expanded services at Holy Spirit, call (712) 252-2726.