By Julie Workman
It's been said that dementia is the cruelest disease of them all. It takes a once vital and vibrant person away bit by bit, and the progression of the disease can take years.
After a while, the affected person doesn't realize what is happening, but their loved ones sure do. As a loved one fades away, the family grieves each loss of cognitive function.
It starts innocently enough—perhaps mom or dad slips up occasionally and calls a grandchild by the wrong name, or maybe they mix up which grandchildren belong to which parents. It can look like they're just a little bit confused.
But then, over time, they appear to lose interest in things they once loved, and the family's concern grows. When an aging parent can remember details from their childhood but not their 4 pm doctor's appointment, those kinds of lapses can spur a trip to the doctor for some testing and an eventual diagnosis of dementia.
Once a family has the words, the signs and symptoms become more and more apparent. After a son or daughter drops in for a visit and finds the stove is on and the kettle has boiled dry or takes a phone call from a parent who drove to the store but doesn't remember how to get home, the "kids" must have a conversation about what to do next.
It becomes clear that the parent can't take care of themselves anymore and that their needs exceed the family's capacity to take care of them safely. Guilt, frustration, and feelings of helplessness ensue.
Then practicality takes over: the power of attorney documents are drawn up, somebody takes over managing their parent's finances—tracking down all the money they have left and wondering if it will be enough to set them up in a facility. The hard work begins when it's time to find the right facility—one they can trust to look after mom or dad and preserve their dignity.
A dementia diagnosis affects everyone in the family, reverses traditional roles and responsibilities, and changes everything.
Fortunately, families have more options than ever before, including facilities that offer specialized, expert care for residents with dementia and associated conditions like Alzheimer's disease.
Sugar Creek Alzheimer's Special Care Center (Sugar Creek) offers solutions for those families in central Illinois.
Since 2007, Sugar Creek's parent company, JEA Senior Living, has been living their mission and values to treat their residents, loved ones, and team members just like family, so they've earned their reputation for excellence in memory care.
This year, JEA has recalibrated and refined its vision to focus on providing the highest level of care and service to their residents and families, putting their minds at ease concerning the residents' care and attention. Research revealed exactly what sets Sugar Creek and their parent company apart during the rebranding process, and JEA is now called Sinceri Senior Living.
All Sinceri Senior Living facilities are built on these three pillars of excellence:
- A focus on family
- A new level of engagement
- Transcending the status quo
Sinceri’s steadfast commitment to these pillars of excellence is evident from a family’s first tour of a facility to the residents’ everyday quality of life.
A Focus on Family
Sinceri's primary focus is always on the residents and their families. It is difficult to leave your loved one in the care of others and get in your car and go home, so at Sugar Creek, the staff receives special training to ensure they learn each resident's life story and to understand each family's unique dynamic.
When Sally's mom needed more care than she could get at home, Sally paid a visit to every senior living facility in town. She ultimately chose Sugar Creek because it is the only stand-alone facility that only serves residents with dementia and has a maximum occupancy of just 66 residents.
Paula's family chose Sugar Creek for her mom based on the "great reviews from other resident families." It's one thing for a company to say they're the best facility in town, but it's entirely something else when a place comes recommended by other families who have nothing to gain by leaving a great review.
Jamie had to find a place for her mother amid the COVID pandemic, so she relied on a recommendation from a licensed nursing home to place her mom at Sugar Creek.
No matter how the residents came to be there, Sinceri Senior Living offers everyone an innovative approach to resident care that creates lasting relationships and ensures that residents and their families feel valued and cared for.
Sally's mom doesn't verbalize much anymore, but one day when she was talking more than usual, the staff was so excited they took a video and sent it to her family.
Jamie and Paula both appreciate the staff's responsiveness. Regular communication via phone calls and emails offers peace of mind and assures that their loved ones receive the best care and compassion.
Jamie describes the staff as respectful, with a gift for humor, and says that her mom's caregivers are always ready with a smile.
The team at Sugar Creek can deliver this in-depth resident and family care model because of their specialized training and because Sugar Creek takes a similar approach to their employees.
Sinceri Senior Living uses the latest in human resource management strategies to make sure their team builds meaningful, caring relationships with each other so that they can deliver the highest level of care and service to Sugar Creek's residents and families.
A New Level of Engagement
The public perception of senior living can be unflattering. It can inhibit people from grasping the exciting and joy-filled new chapters of life still to come within communities like Sugar Creek.
The family-like relationships mentioned above combine with research-driven programming and comforts and amenities that create a home-like atmosphere to keep residents engaged and fulfilled in ways other facilities do not.
Family members are pleased with the comforts and amenities that the residents enjoy at Sugar Creek. From winning prizes at bingo to on-site haircuts and manicures to karaoke, dancing, and live music, the families we talked to all agree that the staff goes out of their way to make sure residents stay engaged and fulfilled by participating in meaningful activities.
Transcending the Status Quo
Technology has changed our lives in many ways, and that's as true in the senior care industry as it is for the kids on TikTok. Sugar Creek offers Eversound technology to hearing-impaired residents, which helps them stay engaged in daily activities. They've also developed a proprietary app called Sagely, which allows instant communication with family members, no matter where they are.
Sally keeps up with the happenings at Sugar Creek and gets updates on her mom via the Sagely app. She appreciates the convenience of receiving important messages right on her phone. She says that her out-of-state kids enjoy Sugar Creek's social media posts so that they can keep up with their grandma's activities.
Perhaps most importantly, the exclusive Meaningful Moments® program incorporates each resident's past patterns and routines into their daily lives in their new home at Sugar Creek to help ensure the highest possible quality of life.
Meaningful Moments® allows the care team to learn about resident's preferences, likes, dislikes, and cherished memories. Paula appreciates the "storyline" posted outside of her mother's room, which ensures that every staff member who enters can learn a bit about her mom's life to help make her more comfortable.
Adding details and preferences from their life stories helps the staff bring comfort and a sense of meaning to each resident every day.
JEA Senior Living, the parent company of Sugar Creek Alzheimer's Special Care Center, is now known as Sinceri Senior Living. The new name is based on sincerity, genuineness, and honesty, building upon the company's existing reputation coupled with a strong vision for the future.
Watching a loved one slip away bit by bit from a dementia-related disease is a devastating experience for any family. When it's time for more help than a family can offer, consider Sugar Creek Alzheimer's Special Care Center as the best new home for your loved one.
Their focus on family, engagement, quality of life, and transcending the status quo ensures that all residents are treated with compassion and respect, and their family members will always know what's going on. The family-like atmosphere and specially trained staff offer the highest quality services in a memory care-only facility.
For more information about supporting a family member with dementia or to set up an appointment, contact the experts at Sugar Creek Alzheimer’s Special Care Center at 309-451-3000 or check them out online at sinceriseniorliving.com/sugar-creek. They are located at 505 E. Vernon Ave. in Normal.
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