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Memory Care at Seasons Retirement Communities

At Seasons, our dedicated team is always looking for new ways to improve the lives of our residents. As the Canadian population ages, experts suggest that an increasing number of seniors and their families will be affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, over 500,000 are Canadians living with dementia today. They project the number of Canadians living with dementia in 2030 will be 912,000.

Seasons responded to this reality by developing a person-centred Memory Care program for seniors living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Our Memory Care areas incorporate bright, open spaces that feel like home and are comfortable for visitors. In our newer residences, we include private outdoor spaces to promote freedom of movement and to ensure nature is close by.

Furthermore, we provide engaging tools that encourage conversation for families and staff to connect with residents. This so-called enabling of the environment is one branch of our Embrace Today philosophy that promotes wellness and positive interactions for our residents living with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Stephanie Sanborn, Director of Innovation and Education, was instrumental in building the Seasons Memory Care program. “We understand the importance of hiring for the heart to build authentic relationships with our residents and their families,” says Stephanie. “We believe that positive relationships among all care partners elevates person-centred care and makes it more meaningful.”

The Seasons Memory Care philosophy is based on authentic relationships.

Each of our highly-trained service team members commits to Embrace Today® which means they approach the workday with a promise to do their best to make all interactions positive and meaningful, one moment at a time.

Because of this, Seasons also fosters an unhurried environment, where building genuine friendships with residents and their families is prioritized over daily routine. We strive to understand who our residents are to adjust our interactions and respond with whatever is needed at the time.

Additionally, we work with our residents and their loved ones to create a Legacy Today journal. Through this journal, we acknowledge and celebrate moments shared at Seasons, as well as documenting elements of a resident’s life story. When we understand someone’s past accomplishments, and interests, for example, it strengthens our connection with them. Life stories shape our care plans, allow us to create “Wow Moments” that truly matter, and help us empower our residents to continue building their legacy while at Seasons.

Collaboration with family members and healthcare professionals allows us to:

  • Know and understand a resident’s life story to build daily routines around preferences
  • Build supportive friendships
  • Host ‘Living with Dementia’ support gatherings with residents, families and staff
  • Provide continuing education for staff and family members
  • Develop meaningful, individualized programs

Our activity calendar for residents in Memory Care is flexible, yet progressively balanced to incorporate the elements of the mind and spirit, like brain-enhancing games, exercises and physical activity routines, and calming meditative programs to promote sleep and happiness daily.

For example, our signature program ‘Fire It Up’ is based on the research that engaging both the body and the mind in one program encourages neuroplasticity in the brain. In other words, the brain’s ability to change throughout life, which could mean compensating for lost functions, or maximizing remaining functions.

In Ontario, we have designated memory care areas in Bowmanville, LaSalle, Milton, Amherstburg, Stoney Creek and Brantford. For Alberta residents, we offer DSL4D (Designated Supportive Living, dementia) in Camrose, High River and Olds.

Since our philosophy is rooted in person-centred care, we are open to growing and expanding our Memory Care platform as emerging science and evidence-based programs emerge. For example, implementing pets into our care programming and hosting virtual reality experiences to promote understanding and compassion between residents, family members, and caregivers.

The positive impact of technology: In-house research on the impact of VR training on caregivers.

Seasons continues to be open to and seek out partnerships in aging research with academic institutions, their students and professors across Canada. Through this continued outreach, we look forward to gaining increased insight and knowledge within our industry, to embrace innovation and best serve our residents, now and in the future.

What we offer these institutions, is an excellent platform for interested researchers to access willing seniors for research purposes. Also, we hope that through these expansive efforts, we can continue to bridge the gap between youth and seniors.

We embarked on building a dementia experience that could offer team members some understanding of the resident’s world by leveraging virtual reality (VR) technology. The viewpoint of the 4-minute simulation, using a 360-degree headset, was from a person living with dementia being approached to have morning care completed.

We piloted this experience on 150 team members from Ontario and Alberta. After participating, Seasons team members understood the importance of slowing down during care and offering an empathetic approach.

What’s new: Seasons partnered with The Centre for Elder Research to develop a new design relaxation ‘den’ for residents.

The Centre for Elder Research at Sheridan College recently partnered with Seasons Retirement Communities to explore the use of technology in design for a new and improved ‘den,’ a quiet space for relaxation, reminiscence, and social connection, specifically for residents with dementia or other cognitive impairments living in specialized memory care areas within the homes.

Learn more

This month, on Seasons Speaks – A Virtual Services, join our Director of Innovation & Education, Stephanie Sanborn, who will cover the background and future of our Memory Care program, and Jessica Kim, from Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA), will discuss the key to dementia-inclusive communities.

To find out if Seasons is suitable for you or your loved one, we would encourage you to speak with the Seasons Leasing Manager at your desired location or complete our contact form to arrange a virtual or in-person visit. You can rest assured that all visits will be scheduled following COVID-19 safety measures. For the most up-to-date protocols, see our Company tab.