Iris Memory Care of Edmond Engages Residents
by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer
With a lifetime spent serving seniors battling age-related memory diseases, Ben Pearce noticed a pattern. Living options for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia issues focused on keeping them protected in environments that often separated them from the things they once lived for. So he devoted his life to finding ways to help people regain that happiness and helping them thrive.
“People are people and even though they have a disease it doesn’t mean they become the disease,” said Pearce, a recognized worldwide expert on the subject of aging. “They want as much engagement as you and I would. Our dementia program allows us to understand a person not only as someone who suffers from illness, but also as someone who inhabits healthy routines and a personality that remains even though it seems to be hidden by illness. Engaging the person behind the impairment allows activities to become therapy.”
With more than three decades of experience working with more than 200 communities in 36 states, Pearce also teaches on the subject at Johns Hopkins University. Pearce’s results in seeing through the fog of dementia to reach people are both innovative and groundbreaking and that’s why David Krukiel and Brandon Meszaros – owners and founders of Iris Memory Care of Edmond – engaged him to provide residents the best possible experience.
“Brandon and I sought high and low, all around the nation, to bring in the best operations team to make our mission of providing the best care for our residents a reality. Upon meeting Ben, it was an easy decision. We founded Iris Memory Care on three principles: Compassion, Dignity and Comfort. Ben not only understands our principles, he lives them!” said Krukiel. “Ben’s knowledge and hands-on-approach is a key component to ‘The Iris Difference’”.
THE IRIS DIFFERENCE
From the moment you walk through the front door you can tell Iris is different. The familiar sights, sounds, and aromas invite you to engage with your loved one in a comfortable, stimulating environment. The kitchen is traditionally known as the heart of the home, and at Iris Memory Care it serves as the heart of the community. The open-concept kitchen encourages residents and visitors to interact with cooks as they prepare classic dishes with fresh seasonal ingredients. Menus include meals your loved one will be familiar with, as well as family recipes shared by others. The food is only part of the dining experience; the sensory cues and social interactions that go along with each meal are equally important.
In the great room, a grand piano sets the tone for expression as residents, caregivers, and visitors are welcome to play. Countertops throughout are made of high-end granite, providing visual warmth and natural durability. Strikingly beautiful hardwood-like floors provide an elegant look while minimizing fall risks. Even the wall colors are specially chosen for their calming qualities.
PERSONAL PATH OF CARE
Krukiel and Meszaros understand residents experience the challenges of memory loss in different ways – and a routine that works well today may not be as effective tomorrow. That’s why Iris provides Personalized Paths of Care with the flexibility to adapt to the moment and be regularly updated with input from caregivers and nursing staff.
The Iris Memory Care approach to care revolves around four simple, yet powerful, factors:
· Getting to Know Your Loved One
When a new resident joins the Iris community, staff conducts a personal evaluation to identify your loved one’s cognitive function, social interaction, mobility challenges, special dietary needs, and more. Family members are welcome to attend the evaluation to offer insights about past events, personality traits, friends, relatives, hobbies, and other details that will help Iris staff connect with your loved one.
· Attentive Physical Care
From proper nutrition, hydration, and medication management to compassionate assistance with activities of daily life, the needs of your loved one are central to each care pathway. Once a Personalized Path of Care is created, staff works daily to strengthen their abilities and promote independence.
·Positive Social Engagement
An important point of difference for Iris Memory Care is the emphasis placed on making connections. Staff members visit each resident multiple times per day, and make it a point to facilitate connections among residents with similar interests. Outings to foster connections with the surrounding community are also offered.
· Sensory Enrichment
With memory impairment, activities that stimulate the senses and encourage hands-on participation can be invaluable ways to soothe or delight your loved one in the moment. Music and art play an important role in the care provided, as do stage-appropriate tasks.
Pearce has discovered the type of engagement offered at Iris is critical in helping residents thrive. “The industry standard is offering care with random activities. We’re reversing that paradigm to provide continuous therapeutic activities as our main focus, with the care that residents routinely need as supportive,” Pearce says. “This means we offer activities with care, not care with activities. Quality of life goes on all day long at Iris Memory Care. Quality of life is continuous and people expect and need to be engaged in that quality of life so they can remain positive, focused and enriched.”