Creating and Preserving Memories
Sixty-six years after their courthouse nuptials in Ringgold, Georgia, Carl and Betty Hullander experienced all the pomp and circumstance of the wedding they never had. Associates at The Lantern at Morning Pointe Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence Chattanooga, where the Hullanders reside, helped the happy couple to relive their special day: A suit and tie and a wedding dress were provided, along with wedding cake and cupcakes for the event’s attendees. The Hullanders were all smiles as they renewed their vows in front of family and friends in a beautiful outdoor ceremony at the Morning Pointe facility. “We wanted to help them celebrate and give them the wedding they never had,” says Alisha Landes, executive director at Morning Pointe. “This is our way of showing everyone what memory care really looks like.”
The Hullander wedding is just one of many celebrations associated with Morning Pointe’s “This Is My Life” project, which focuses on residents’ life stories, giving them an experience of reliving something that they once did or loved to do. Other celebrated stories have centered around residents’ careers, including artist Dorothy Gannon, who had dozens of pieces of her work exhibited for the public to enjoy, and restaurateur Tony Kennedy, who was surprised with a lunch outing to his former establishment – Wally’s Restaurant. The ultimate goal is to feature each and every resident’s story. “The thought behind the project was to emphasize that even though our residents have memory loss, the life that they have means something and is recognized still,” explains Landes. A special memory box displayed at The Lantern commemorates each story told. Landes says, “I chose to display the projects so our families and the public can see that this isn’t the end. Alzheimer’s doesn’t have to be the end of quality of life.”
In the hallways of The Lantern at Morning Pointe, families and residents see thoughtfully scrapbooked shadow boxes and frames, displaying old and new memories.
The “This Is My Life” project is a part of Morning Pointe’s important mission of creating Meaningful Days for memory care residents. Meaningful Day™ Programming offers stimulating activities to residents that include daily mild exercises, nurturing creative arts and music programs, brain games that promote lifelong learning, scheduled group outings, and intergenerational activities with students of all ages. Residents’ families are also encouraged to take part in Meaningful Day™ Programming. Beth Janney, RN, corporate director of memory care at Morning Pointe Senior Living, is at the helm of this purposeful program. “I remind staff members during every training that our memory care residents remember how they feel,” Janney says. “They remember how well we care for them. We are given the opportunity and the honor of making their lives better every day.”
All this and more encapsulates Morning Pointe’s commitment to Alzheimer’s care. Currently, 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, with that number predicted to rise to approximately 14 million by 2050. What’s more, Alzheimer’s ranks among the top 10 causes of death in the United States – yet this disease cannot be prevented, cured, or even decelerated. “As people continue to live longer, with more seniors reaching age 100 than ever before, Morning Pointe remains committed to providing the highest quality of Alzheimer’s memory care, growing and adapting to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s senior population,” says Greg A. Vital, president and CEO.
Two Morning Pointe locations, The Lantern at Morning Pointe Chattanooga and The Lantern at Morning Pointe Collegedale, are solely dedicated to the specialized care of those living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of memory loss disorders. Additional memory care wings are located at Morning Pointe of Hixson and Morning Pointe of East Hamilton, set to open in fall of 2019. At these facilities, community design, apartment layout, and room colors along with purposeful activities and monitoring have all been developed to optimize the independence and quality of life for residents. Meanwhile, a team of caregiving specialists work to enrich residents’ lives with comfort, security, and positive support. As an additional service, Morning Pointe communities across the Southeast offer monthly support groups for Alzheimer’s caregivers.
“At Morning Pointe, we offer a wholly unique approach to Alzheimer’s care, caring for residents’ physical health while also preserving their dignity, ensuring quality of life, and supporting the entire family throughout their Alzheimer’s journey,” Vital says.