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Alzheimer’s affects over 6 million people in the United States and that number is increasing daily. Recognized as the 6th leading cause of death, with no known prevention, treatment or cure. The caregiver must find ways to creatively connect with their Alzheimer’s residents individualized needs on a daily basis. Vista Grande Villa on Springport Road in Jackson is implementing a new program, Awakening the Subconscious of the Alzheimer’s Patient (ASAP) program, which combines habilitative care with sensory influencers that allow the Alzheimer’s patient to experience the positive feelings and emotions that have been stored with in their subconscious for many years. According to the program developer, Pam Reese, “ASAP provides the caregivers with the necessary tools to recognize the resident’s individualized needs, build meaningful relationships with their residents, and ensure the memory care atmosphere is conducive to maintaining the residents’ current capabilities.”

The traditional memory care model focuses on tasks to accomplish during the day. The ASAP Memory Care program is focused on a new and exciting approach focused on emotions and the relationships between the resident and the caregiver. For a resident with Alzheimer’s, the ability to experience and maintain emotions, as well as to accurately perceive others’ emotions, remains intact right up until nearly the end. Caregivers and staff have a profound influence, good or bad, on the emotional state of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Patients may not remember a recent interaction, but have an innate ability to know how those interactions made them feel. People with dementia often become amazingly good at reading and responding to others emotional states. Care partners’ body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice add up to a strong message clearly received—often despite what is said in words.

Vista Grande Villa has a 23 one and two-bedroom suites specialized memory care unit as part of their Assisted Living community. According to Kerstan Tansley, RN, Director, “We focus our staff training to tap into their own emotions and the importance of how those emotions transfer to the resident they provide care for.” She goes onto to say, “We work with the resident family to know as much as possible about each resident so we can incorporate specific emotional memories into our interactions with each resident.”

The ASAP program is part of the habilitative approach to Alzheimer’s care, where staff learn to fill in the missing pieces of the resident’s daily life. According to Pam Reese, “We take into consideration environmental enhancements including specific colors and sounds to create a peaceful and pleasant atmosphere along with the tailored feelings and emotions incorporated into the ASAP approach.”

Vista Grande Villa is a 318-unit non-profit senior living community offering independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing care. "Since 1972, Vista Grande Villa has been committed to providing the best senior living experience in Jackson, Michigan and we are continuing that legacy by enhancing the quality of our memory care programs utilizing the ASAP approach," said Vista Grande Villa Executive Director, Chelsea Eisele. We recently began our management arrangement with Kauhale Healthcare Management who is bringing new programs to Vista Grande Villa along with over $5 million investment in improvements over the next 2 years.

For more information on the ASAP program and Vista Grande Villa please visit the community at 2251 Springport Road, Jackson, visit their website or give them a call at (517) 787-0222.