A year or so I published an article written by Greg Irwin titled The Best Dementia Design . . . as a way of asking what's the best memory care design? Greg’s ultimate answer was that it depends . . . on what your program goals are and what your operating philosophy is. Other considerations include site constraints, budgetary issues and what meets the needs of the local marketplace. Until very recently I would have concurred.
A couple of months ago I attended at presentation by Steven Jaberg the CEO of Cedar Community located in West Bend Wisconsin. Cedar Community a faith based not-for-profit that serves 1,100 residents. They are a part of the Ziegler 100 list of the largest not-for-profit senior housing providers. A few years ago Steven began the process of developing a new memory care community. He looked at the Eden Alternative, The Greenhouse Projects and other dementia communities including the Dementia Village in the Netherlands. Then as chance would have it, he was attending joint convention of LeadingAge and IAHSA (the international arm of LeadingAge) in Washington D.C. where got a chance to sit with four dementia experts from Europe and began a conversation about dementia design.
The video below (NO LONGER AVAILABLE) provides a virtual tour of this new community and describes its unique features better than I can, but here are some of the highlights: • There are essentially no corridors • There is no grand entrance • The programs are all resident centered • The units are designed to be very individualized with front porches that can hold full sized stuff. Here is the video
Still in doubt? Before Steven’s presentation was over, another developer at the conference who was mid-stream on a set of workings drawings for a new memory care community stepped out of the presentation to call his architect and tell him to stop all work until they could revisit that design incorporating many of these ideas. What do you think?