Bel Aire Senior Living in American Fork, UT recognizes the special needs of people with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other related memory impairments. Our memory support staff are trained in providing individualized, compassionate care to meet the unique needs of those with more severe forms of dementia. Our services are focused on the individual and on providing a safe and familiar, yet stimulating environment.
Meet Andrea Lewis: Andrea has worked with seniors in long-term care and assisted living for the past 13 years. She specifically has worked in Dementia care and behavioral units. She enjoys working to provide sensory stimulation, memory recall, music, and physical activities, along with outings and scenic bus adventures.
She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Leisure Services and Recreation from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington and a Therapeutic Recreation Technician Certification in May 2014.
Andrea enjoys working with people, encouraging positive outcomes, and providing opportunities to succeed. She looks forward to meeting the family members of our residents. She also enjoys having grandchildren sing, perform, and share other talents with the rest of our Bel Aire family!
Two things you may not know about Andrea is that she served an LDS mission in Hamburg, West Germany and she went on an Alaskan Quilting Cruise where she completed a 3D quilt.
Andrea is raising four young grandchildren who love to come and visit all of our wonderful residents. She enjoys connecting people of different generations for their benefit and enjoyment.
Come see what our residents are doing today at Bel Aire and say hello to Andrea.
The Bel Aire Difference
Our memory support staff are trained in providing individualized, compassionate care to meet the unique needs of those with severe forms of dementia.
Bel Aire is also the only assisted living community that has the Dakim BrainFitnessTM cognitive learning system. Dakim transforms standardized neurological tests and exercises into compelling and fun brain-stimulating games in six cognitive domains. Dakim provides new games daily that seniors will want to play again and again. Dakim BrainFitnessTM has been clinically proven to significantly improve memory and language abilities while strengthening users’ attention, focus, and concentration.
We have witnessed that in spite of the effects of a dementia-related disease, the human connection we make with our residents will bring them comfort and more positive experiences.
People often rely on thirst as a signal for how much to drink. When it comes to Alzheimer’s residents, this may not be an accurate indicator of the body’s fluid needs. They are often confused and are not be able to remember if they’ve consumed any beverages in a given day. We’ve implemented a hydration program where each resident in our Alzheimer’s wing is given 2 oz of fluid every 2 hours.
We have developed a program that can bridge the effects of dementia to meet the emotional needs of each individual. We begin with understanding the stories and details of a senior’s life so we can involve them in familiar activities that keep the brain active. Group and personal activities are specifically designed to maintain and enhance cognitive, sensory, physical and social abilities. We have witnessed that in spite of the effects of a dementia-related disease, the human connection we make with our residents will bring them and their families comfort and more positive experiences.
Sensory therapy is focused on anything that affects one of the five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch), in some ways it also relates to a sense of location and balance. Therapy to help in this area may use swimming, mazes, obstacle courses, constructional toys, and building blocks. Hand and eye coordination can be improved with activities such as hitting a ball with a bat, popping bubbles, and throwing and catching balls, beanbags, and balloons. Appropriate sensory stimulation will decrease agitation and aggression, calm restlessness, and successfully treat sleep disorders – which are all symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disease.
People with Alzheimer’s disease can often be soothed and calmed by beanies. With their comforting warmth, varied textures, and size and weight similar to an infant or small pet; these products provide a calming effect and can reduce anxiety and agitation. A minute or two in the microwave and these furry friends provide two hours of heat and aromatherapy. A little time in the freezer and they are a comforting way to provide cold therapy.
Long after most other memories have become inaccessible to a person in an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, that person might remember songs from his or her past and even sing along with them. People often report being surprised when their mother or father who doesn’t remember who they are, and yet, sings a familiar song without missing a word. It’s not just the stimulation caused by the memory of the song that is gratifying and therapeutic, but reminiscences are also conjured. With those reminiscences, emotions that became associated with the songs long ago are brought out and relived. It’s common for a song to elicit smiles, laughter, and even tears.
Artistic and creative talents often remain strong long after Alzheimer’s disease has severely affected memory and other cognitive processes. The creation of art and the enjoyment of art are both viable and effective activities for people with dementia. The benefits derived from creative expression include reminiscence and memory stimulation, socialization, and a decrease in some or the undesirable behavioral aspects of the disease, including anxiety, apathy, and agitation.
Dogs and pets of all kinds have become increasingly common in the treatment of individuals with dementia-related disorders. Due to the anxiety that social situations can cause dementia patients, they often avoid social situations altogether, including interacting with family and loved ones. We also use pet therapy to help our Alzheimer’s residents to improve their social, emotional, or cognitive functioning.
It is a funny thing about Alzheimer’s that memories are lost in reverse order; memories formed recently are more fleeting than those from many years ago. Alzheimer’s disease starts in the hypothalamus, the region of the brain responsible for putting experiences into memory. When the hypothalamus is damaged, recent experiences never have a chance to become memories. Not until much later in the disease’s progression does it affect the regions in the brain in which older memories are stored, and so those memories are available even into later stages of the disease. This phenomenon is responsible for much of the behavior and the symptoms commonly associated with Alzheimer’s, and we need to consider its effects when communicating with and selecting activities for people affected by the disease.
Planning structured, individualized activities that involve and interest the person with Alzheimer’s may reduce many of the more disturbing behavioral symptoms of AD, such as agitation, anger, frustration, depression, wandering or rummaging. Health professionals who work with Alzheimer’s patients say therapeutic activities should focus on the person’s previous interests, cue the person to old and recent memories and take advantage of the person’s remaining skills while minimizing the impact of skills that may be compromised. Successful activities support a person’s sense of self – bringing out their skills, memories, and habits – and reinforce the person’s sense of being in a group, which can provide friendship, mutual support, and spiritual connections.
Doll therapy is also known as baby doll therapy. Anyone who has seen it happen knows that a doll has the power to soothe and comfort people with Alzheimer’s disease. Naturally, more women than men will choose a doll to nurture. It is important that a doll not be given directly to the person with Alzheimer’s disease. Rather it should be left somewhere, on a table or sitting in a chair, for example, somewhere that she will easily find it. This way the individual can make the choice to provide care for the doll, not feel that they are being given the responsibility to do so, which could cause anxiety or result in the doll being rejected.
People with Alzheimer’s disease don’t lose the capacity for human emotion or recognition of a caring touch, even a person in the very late, severe state of Alzheimer’s retains all these capacities. There are several benefits massage therapy offers people with Alzheimer’s disease, including increased body awareness and alertness, as well as a reduction in the feelings of confusion and anxiety. You also build reassurance and trust. Massage therapy can also help ease the effects of isolation, loneliness, and boredom while encouraging feelings of worthiness and well-being.
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
“After caring for my husband who was recently diagnosed with both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, it came time to think about placing him in a care facility. After visiting several places, we chose Bel Aire and we have been happy with our choice. We love the staff and feel they are dedicated to their jobs. The facility is clean, the residents are well cared for and I feel my husband has adjusted well. He enjoys the activities and tells me the food is delicious. I would recommend Bel Aire for these reasons and for the fact that I know he is in good hands and the peace of mind that gives me speaks for itself.”