Sugar Creek Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Normal recognizes that those living with memory loss still have the capacity to experience joy and live meaningful lives. Our exclusive Meaningful Moments® is the foundation of our care model. It is a family-centered concept that starts by learning everything there is to know about our residents—their passions, achievements, careers, family, hobbies, and interests. This allows our staff members to develop an individualized plan of care designed around their specific life story. It allows them to create moments of delight, wonder, and meaning for our residents in their care each and every day.
But during these times, when we’re told to practice social distancing and restrict in-person visits from family members, creating these moments can be more of a challenge. We’ve had to curtail group activities. This increases the risk of our residents feeling more isolated and anxious. Memory care residents are particularly vulnerable, as they like routine and may not understand what is causing these changes.
At Sugar Creek, we are still able to take care of our residents and help them to create moments of joy and purpose. While interacting with other residents and family members has been limited, we spend time with residents in sharing their memories of family and loved ones, completing meaningful projects, encouraging creative pursuits such as painting, writing, and singing, and reading favorite stories and letters from loved ones to them.
Family members can also feel frustrated by not being able to connect with loved ones. We are currently restricting nonessential personnel from entering the community. This includes family members. We often get questions from loved ones on things they could be doing to stay in touch with our residents. Families play a critical role in their health and well-being and we encourage them to get involved. Here are just a few suggestions on how to create meaningful moments during this time.
A video chat is the next best thing to being there in person! Seeing a familiar, loving face can make a world of difference to our residents. Sugar Creek is able to offer Skype and FaceTime visits. Give us a call at 309-451-3000 to schedule a time for your visit. Consider setting a regular schedule of visits, as this will establish a new routine and allow your loved one to know that they can expect regular contact from you. Our staff will assist you in making this happen.
Pick up the phone
If a video chat sounds too complicated or you aren’t sure your loved one would understand seeing you on a screen, consider a good, old-fashioned phone call. Texting and email have replaced many “real” interactions among family members. But the simple act of hearing a loved one’s voice can make social interaction much more personal. A “real” conversation may also allow the person you’re speaking with to be more open about how they’re feeling about the current challenges we’re all facing.
Make a video
If making time for regular contact is a challenge for you, consider making a video and sending it to your loved one. This way, they will always have something to watch, even when you’re not around. Either by email, YouTube, or DVD, our staff can help ensure your loved one can watch it.
Send a handwritten note or letter
If phone calls are rare, a handwritten letter is nearly extinct. The unexpected surprise of getting a handwritten letter can really brighten an elder person’s day. Include photos, drawings or other notes from family, grandchildren, etc. so they have something tangible they can share with friends and have something to put on their refrigerators. This serves as a constant reminder that there is someone out there who loves them. Because studies have shown that the virus only survives for a few hours on packages and cardboard, this is a relatively safe way of staying in touch. At Sugar Creek, we take the added precaution of holding mail and packages before delivering them to residents.
Those living with memory loss enjoy gifts that stimulate the senses. If your loved one isn’t able or chooses not to go outside, bring the outdoors indoors with a beautiful bouquet. Flowers can deliver an instant mood boost and serve as a reminder that beauty still exists in the world.
With a little imagination and determination, you can stay connected with loved ones during this challenging time. Your efforts will not only help you keep in touch, it’ll be a big mood boost for your loved one.
Learn why Sugar Creek is the leader in Memory Care services in Central Illinois. Sugar Creek Alzheimer’s Special Care Center is located at 505 E. Vernon Ave. in Normal, IL and can be reached at 309-451-3000. Check us out by visiting our website at www.sugarcreekalz.com or check us out on Facebook.