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Cedarhurst Senior Living Expands Memory Care With New Programming, Training 

Cedarhurst Senior Living is expanding its memory care programming while creating a new dementia care-focused training program to improve service to older adults living with cognitive decline.

Regional directors began overseeing life enrichment departments at its communities, and developed a new memory care training program based on evidence-based dementia research. The four-hour intensive training program was also approved by the Alzheimer’s Association and was recognized as incorporating evidence-based dementia care best practices.

“It’s been huge for us and we teach it to all of our team members in every department, no matter the title,” Cedarhurst Director of Education and Engagement Tara Powell told Memory Care Business. “We wanted to ensure that our managers had a good skill set, along with our life enrichment team, and were certified.”

Powell helped guide the development of the new training and rollout of the program.

To-date, 400 of the company’s employees have participated in the training program with certification by the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners, and that’s paired with a 90-hour training program that deals with engagement and supporting those living with dementia, Powell said.

The need to expand memory care training to staff stemmed from Cedarhurst leaders preparing for demographic shifts. Data shows that residents are now skewing older as they enter communities, often with higher acuity care needs, Powell said.

“Knowing this, we need to tailor programs to our residents so that when it comes to life enrichment, we integrate information from their life story into our program to make sure we’re meeting their interests,” Powell said. “We’re laying the foundation from the training and we’re directly assessing what a resident’s challenges are.”

By detailing training, care and service to Cedarhurst residents will improve due to the personalized nature of the revamped programming, Powell said.

Life enrichment teams at Cedarhurst have also modified activity programs for certain residents living with dementia, having redeveloped some evidence-based practices like promoting movement and daily mantras to reduce stress and improve a resident’s ability to regulate their emotions, Powell said.

“I had a breathwork coach that helped me develop some of this incorporating some therapeutic nature and art activities because along with that, emotional wellbeing is also valuable for brain health as well.”

That’s mixed with fitness and therapeutic activities to improve the holistic resident experience, regardless of acuity, Powell added.

With the training and programming developed, Powell said additional training would roll out to Cedarhurst communities in the second half of this year with on-site training. Teams will also spend increased time with residents exhibiting behaviors and work to improve incidents portfolio wide.

“When we get into Q3 and Q4, we will really be able to get person-centered care best practices established and well-underway,” Powell added.

The needed programming change and training update comes as Cedarhurst communities deal with rising resident acuity, as seen across the industry.

“When people living with dementia are in the late-or mid-stages, that poses a challenge because now we haven’t had a chance to get to know the resident prior to their symptoms escalating,” Powell said.

Going forward, Powell said, operators must think deeply in developing memory care communities for resident needs and not specifically for design aesthetics and curb appeal.

“We need to be mindful of what the resident needs, so understanding that it can’t look identical to assisted living because people living with dementia have significantly different care needs,” Powell said.

The post Cedarhurst Senior Living Expands Memory Care With New Programming, Training  appeared first on Senior Housing News.

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