May 10, 2017

Turning Back Time: Innovation in Dementia Care

There’s a dementia facility in Ohio that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

They have residents living there, many with dementia symptoms, like other aged care facilities you see around the world.

They have a full staff, with carers and nurses. Kitchen workers and cleaners. Managers and lifestyle coordinators. 

So what makes this place so different to your standard aged care facility?  

Well if you look inside, you might mistake yourself for being in a 1940s neighbourhood.

There are streetscapes, with porches and street lights. There’s fake grass and water features. Although you are unmistakingly inside, for many of the residents this facility is a slice of home.

Being inspired by the scenery and architecture of the 40s, it is based during the time where many of the residents, now in their eighties and nineties, were in the prime of their youth during this time.

Run by American aged care provider Lantern, their facilities in Madison, Chagrin Valley and Saybrook, all offer this unique setting.

The CEO of Lantern, Jean Makesh, previously said that he was inspired by the residents that he meets.

“I thought I knew a lot about elderly care. The more and more time I was spending with my clients, that’s when I realized, ‘Oh my god, I have no clue.’”

Makesh has gone to great lengths to design and create these stunning facilities. Researching sound therapy, aromatherapy – what outdoor setting helped calm the agitation.  

Inspired to help the residents, Makesh knew he has to think outside the box.

“What if we design an environment that looks like outside?” he said. “What if I can have a sunrise and sunset inside the building? What if I’m able to have the moon and stars come out? What if I build a unit that takes residents back to the ’30s and ’40s?”

If you listen carefully, you can hear that there are nature sounds, as well as smell the light scents of peppermint or citrus.

There have been studies that show the effectiveness of aromatherapy in helping aid dementia symptoms and improving cognitive functioning.

The facility even has the ability to simulate sunrise and sunset through their light and sound features. Replacing the panel ceilings is a digital sky, that dimms throughout the day into the evening and helps the residents with the internal body clocks.

Many of these people, with Alzheimer’s or dementia symptoms, do not get much exposure to the outdoors, and this facility can offer them something they may be missing out on.

The attention to detail is what sets these beautifully crafted locations apart from the rest. These Ohio facilities hope to ease and support older people and take them back to a simpler time.

To a place where they are happier.

*All pictures are courtesy of Lantern

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  1. Great idea, it gives them a sence of still being able to do what the used to do.
    It is such a shame that they don’t do anything like this in Australia, the problem here is the government or the big money spinners won’t spend the dollars on our elderly

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