the amusement of those watching, two baby goats frolic on
the tarp-covered floor of the spacious chapel at Forest
Valley Terrace, an Orléans assisted living and memory care
residence overlooking St. Joseph Boulevard, west of Forest
are thoroughly entertained by the playful pair, even if
some can no longer recall what kind of animal they are.
story speaks to the lengths the staff at this Symphony Senior
Living residence will go to bring unique experiences to
its residents, and is just one of the factors that gives
such a positive impression.
chapel, added in 1955 to the original seminary built in
1930 by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is the heart of
the residence, with its striking stained glass windows and
comfortable couches. Now a multi-purpose space, it is used
for everything from religious services and physio sessions,
to special events, musical presentations and . . . goat
Valley Terrace prides itself on its leadership and expertise
in the field of memory care. Its stated goal is to “connect
with our residents and support the family through a disease
process that takes so much, but makes us stop and truly
appreciate each moment.”
cornerstone of its approach is recognizing the value of
maintaining lifelong daily routines and the belief that
by participating in various tasks residents may have done
throughout their lives, they feel productive and worthwhile.
In turn, they are happier and have greater self-esteem.
of us have heard of the strength of music memory and the
emotional and behavioural benefits of listening to music
or singing for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other
types of dementia. The reason is that key areas of the brain
linked to musical memory are left relatively undamaged by
the disease. Music has been proven to relieve stress, as
well as reduce anxiety, depression and agitation.
Staniszewski, the residence’s executive director, says music
is a powerful tool for staff when dealing with an uncooperative
or agitated resident. The simple act of singing to them
can distract an uncooperative resident sufficiently that
they will calm down and cooperate.
fondly of one resident, a retired piano teacher in the middle
stages of Alzheimer’s who sits at the residence’s piano
and plays flawlessly. “Her music memory has remained beautifully
Valley Terrace has incorporated a multitude of tools to
provide memory support and to engage and calm residents
who are struggling at different levels of dementia. They
have created a home-like atmosphere and have a state-of-the-art,
customized wireless monitoring system which not only provides
residents with the ability to call for assistance, it also
tracks the exact location of both residents and staff.
care at Forest Valley Terrace is committed to “assisting
people live their best lives.” The program is based on “living
in the moment, because with Alzheimer’s, life is moment
to moment. It may be a good moment or a bad moment, but
you are ‘living’ in it.” Staniszewski says. “We are focused
on engaging that resident and making each moment the best
it can be.”
corner of the floor has something that can help those struggling
with memory loss to relive happy memories by stimulating
their minds and memories. It might be the office desk and
typewriter which allows a former businessman “to go to work”
or a bassinet of life-like baby dolls to be snuggled to
rekindle a mother’s love.
also emphasises the extent to which the families of residents
are the focus of their care.
stress how important it is. Sometimes it is the family we
are helping the most because they are at a breaking point,”
members often need help dealing with guilt and fear and
are supported as they learn to adjust to a new relationship
with their loved one, who perhaps doesn’t recognize them
anymore, he adds.
of us may need the kind of specialized care that is offered
by residences such as Forest Valley Terrace; if not for
ourselves, perhaps for a family member or friend. Alzheimer
Society statistics predict that the number of people living
with dementia is expected to double in the next 20 years.
sure Forest Valley Terrace is not unique amongst area facilities
in its strengths. But it certainly is a leader.