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Highgate Senior Living to offer unique dementia care training program


Last updated 10/23/2017 at Noon

Highgate Senior Living is now offering a dementia care training program. Courtesy photo

TEMECULA – As an industry leader in memory care programs, Highgate Senior Living is offering a unique memory care program in Temecula to those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

For those taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, they know that some days are easier than others. With a long-term memory loss diagnosis like Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment, sometimes it may take every last bit of energy a person has to be their loved one’s caregiver. It might be convincing their mom to eat dinner or dealing with dad when he thinks it’s time to head to work when it’s really 3 a.m. Being a live-in caregiver might not be a realistic, long-term plan.

It may feel impossible to find a community that will care for a parent with as much affection and attention to detail as their adult children can. At Highgate, they have invested resources into their memory care program to do just that. Two elements of their program allow them to create a unique, purposeful environment for their memory care residents.

First, the program helps residents live life in their moment, not ours.

Working with individuals who see reality differently takes particular skill. That’s why all of Highgate’s care partners are trained in a positive approach to care. Developed by Teepa Snow, the Positive Approach to Care method teaches care team how to step into the shoes of a resident with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It helps them to live in the moment with residents and to provide support regardless of what year, day or time period may be the resident’s reality at that moment.

When care partners use PAC, Fred becomes much more than the 85-year-old resident who gets panicky in the afternoons. Instead of asking “How do we calm him down now?” care partners can take a respectful, problem-solving approach and ask, “Why is he panicky? What do we know about his story that will help us figure out what he’s trying to tell us?”

By getting to know his story, care partners might realize that he’s upset because, in his mind, he’s late submitting a report at work or he’s supposed to be at his grandma’s house after school.

Knowing what Fred is trying to accomplish allows the care team to support him in his reality, rather than try and convince him of ours.

The care team partners are trained to explore why a resident’s memory has taken them back to that time and place.

They might ask what he enjoys doing when spending time with his grandmother.

His answer might lead into a conversation about her strawberry patch, which could lead to asking him to help check on the residents’ garden at the community.

Fred feels heard, validated and gets to enjoy an activity that reminds him of the quality time he used to spend with his grandmother.

Second, the program helps focus on purposeful living, not limitations.

While some communities assign numbers to the various stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, Highgate uses Snow’s Gems model to identify what purposeful living means for each resident. Using a gem for identification says to residents that “they’re still precious and valuable and can still shine,” registered nurse Marcie Suppe, director of resident services at Highgate Senior Living, said. “You’re a ruby, not stage 4 dementia. We play to your strengths, what you can still do well.”

At Highgate at Temecula, residents aren’t just an apartment number. Every resident has a unique story and a legacy to share with others. The community’s goal is to ensure residents live each day to the fullest by providing opportunities for residents to stay as physically, mentally and socially active as possible by offering a quality recreation program that offers activities such as exercise classes, music therapy and relaxing massages.


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