Volume 12 Week 5

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(Posted 7:30 a.m., April 24)
Dementia care residence undergoes $5M makeover
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Symphony Senior Living founder and CEO Lisa Brush helps Moments Manor Orleans resident Frances Rogan cut the ribbon during the manor's official grand opening on Thursday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

It's been a little over a year since Symphony Senior Living purchased the St. Joseph Manor retirement residence from Kingsway Arms.

During that time, the dementia and Alzheimers care facility has undergone a complete transformation.

Symphony has invested $5 million to completely renovate both the building and the programming and on Thursday they showed off the changes to more than 200 invited guests during their official grand opening.

During her openign remarks, Symphony Senior Living's founder and CEO Lisa Brush spoke about visiting the former St. Joseph Manor for the first time and why she decided to buy it.

"When we first visited I was floored by the condition of the property. I mean I hadn't seen anything like it since the very, very old nursing homes of the 60s and 70s," said Brush.

"It was very depressing, but I knew Symphony could make this into something we could be proud of and I wanted to do it for the residents who were here, so it really was a labour of love."

Gone is the old chain link fence security fence which used to completely surround the building and make visitors feel like they were walking into a maximum security institution. The linoleum tiles have been replaced by wall-to-wall carpeting and the hospital quality food has been replaced by a menu that is both nutritious and delicious.

When you walk into the building you are immediately struck by the casual trappings of the main foyer and a large door leading to the crown centrepiece of the Manor, a wonderful chapel with a high-vautled, wood beam ceiling and beautiful stainglass ceilings.

Before the renovations, you had to enter the chapel through a hallway as if it was hidden away. Symphony has opened up the space and made it immediately accessible from the main foyer. They've also expanded the chapel, adding a bistro area to the back, making it a multi-functional space.

The bistro is incredibly welcoming with a small modern kitchenette to the side, several extremely comfortable large sofas and chairs, a fireplace and a large screen television. It's perfect for residents looking for a quiet space to spend some time, or families looking for a larger space to meet their loved ones.

Everywhere you turn at Moments Manor you see quality and class. Each of the upper floors has a modern kitchen area as their focal point where residents can participate in stimulating activites such as baking bread and cookies, or preparing small meals with staff specially trained in caring for residents with Alzheimers and various stages of dementia.

Symphony Senior Living is one of the leading providers of residential care for seniors with Alzheimers and other forms of dementia in North America. Their Moments Neighbourhood progam is specifically geared for residents and families faced with this type of mental illness.

The Moments Neighbourhood program enables residents to live "in the moment" through stimulating activities ranging from sing-a-longs and baking bread to simply folding socks, or spending time trying on costume jewelry at an antique armoire. They even have a nursery where female residents can reconnect to one of the fondest periods of their lives.

There's also a resident cat for residents to interact with and they are in the process of adopting a specially-trained dog which will be kept on the main floor for the residents' enjoyment.

Perhaps most important of all is the food. Chef Henry takes personal pride in putting together a menu that is both nutritious and delicious, right down to the purees which are made every day with the freshest of ingredients.

The staff, or resident specialists, are all professionally trained to care for residents suffering from Alzheimers and dementia, and their staff-to-resident ratio is among the highest anywhere. While the Moments Manor Neighbourhood program is important, it's the dedicated resident specialists who are charged with ensuring both the residents and their families are kept fully engaged. In other words it's about creating and enjoying special moments.

The man responsible is general manager Dan Hepburn, who is understandably enthusiastic about the Manor's makeover.

"It been a lot of time and a lot of work on the part of a lot of dedicated people, but we're very proud of the results and we hope the community will be proud of it as well," says Hepburn.

Moments Manor Orléans is located at 1510 St. Joseph Blvd. about three kilometres west of Jeanne d'Arc. You can visit their website at http://www.symphonyseniorliving.com/moments-manor.php.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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