by Mike Lee
Billie Upshaw, RN, has spent the bulk of her career serving residents in long-term care facilities in Kansas. She traveled from border to border to different facilities each week and then did it all again on Monday morning.
Even though former employers may have operated in a different way, Upshaw has always prescribed to the philosophy that every patient is unique.
That’s why she’s so excited about her new role as wellness director with the soon-to-be opened Heritage Point OKC in northwest Oklahoma City.
“It’s not cookie cutter. You meet where that resident is,” she said. “I read a quote somewhere that said that if you’ve met one person with dementia you’ve met one person with dementia. You can’t say ‘this is the way they are, this is what we do.’ There’s not a perfect answer unless you make it that way for them.”
Upshaw is excited about getting in on the ground floor at Heritage Pointe – which is designed after a similar facility in Overland Park, Kansas and will be a sister to a similar residence to open next year in Tulsa.
When owner Kip Pammenter talks about the residents at his Heritage of Overland Park memory care residence he uses their first names.
The president of a company that specializes in Alzheimer’s and memory care knows that’s the only way you can truly make a difference in someone’s life. Getting to know each and every client and meeting them where they are is the hallmark of Pammenter’s successful approach to person-centered care.
Upshaw likes working for someone with that philosophy. She also believes in tailoring care to the individual.
It’s a unique concept in today’s take-it-or-leave it memory care market.
“Each family comes in with their our circumstance and their own issues and that’s their focus,” Pammenter said. “The relationship blossoms and they tie into other families. There’s a lot of empathy. Families are going through the same issue and families lend support to each other.
“They help each other and they help us.”
David Thompson serves as Pammenter’s vice president of operations.
“Really what we’re trying to do – big picture – is the person-centered care approach,” Thompson said. “We want to know what their routines are, what their interests are and how do we give them meaning and purpose and relationships and enjoyment each day in a lifestyle.”
Dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and trying to understand available care options can be extremely challenging for families.That’s why Pammenter designed Heritage Point to work with families to envision a better way to live with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia related impairments.
Pammenter wants to truly reinvent Alzheimer’s care and what life should be like for seniors with cognitive challenges. The focus is on each individual resident; knowing who they are and what they love to do…and then finding activities that have meaning and purpose.
Heritage Point will offer a smaller, home environment that promotes dignity, respect and love. A dedicated team of experienced and caring staff understands the importance of developing close personal relationships with residents and becomes an extended part of your family.
Professionally trained care staff, along with the expert guidance of the medical director, offer an unmatched array of services and life activities to create a home that supports each individual person.
“People trust you to take care of their loved ones and sometimes it’s easier for you to take care of them because you’re taking them where they’re at,” Upshaw said. “We want to remember those things that are good and positive in their life but dementia is a robbing disease. It takes away the person and the things that have always been important to them but sometimes you can circle around and get back to that and those are the moments you live for.
“It’s a horrible disease. I hope we can cure it. I would be glad to be put out of a job. I’ll go find something else to do.”