Independence Takes Sacrifice

The 4th of July is a day we celebrate the America’s Independence. We remember the history of our country which includes recalling the sacrifice of many who gave their lives for our freedom. Just as we all know that gaining and keeping freedom has a cost, we must also understand that independence (for countries or individuals) requires a support system, effort, and sacrifice.

A group of black and white pictures are in the shape of a square.

To keep “orphan elders” as independent as possible for as long as possible, moving them to a supportive and community environment is sometimes required. There are many different types of choices, but one in particular has recently come to my attention because of the way it sees and delivers early-stage dementia care.

The founders of Silverado Memory Care Communities have created a highly rated memory care residential program built on the idea that “love is greater than fear”.  Instead of accepting the standard approach to dementia care, which can lead to “warehousing” elders with dementia, Loren Shook and Stephen Winner came together to deliver high quality dementia care, which set the stage for many that followed in their footsteps to offer more responsive care options. Silverado designed a program called “Nexus”, launched in 2015, which seeks to create connections in the mind of those with early-stage dementia. This can effectively prolong cognitive engagement and therefore extend a supported, independent life for elders.

The six pillars of Nexus include: Physical Exercise; Stress Reduction; Cognitive Exercises; Customized Brain Fitness Program; Purposeful Social Activities; and Resident Support Groups.

In addition to a healthier brain, the approach pioneered by the team at Silverado includes mental, social, emotional, and spiritual engagement. There is significant research to back up claims that these types of layered engagements can easily advance measures of memory acuity by 3 – 5 points on the MMSE (an industry recognized measure of Alzheimer’s disease progression). This is compared to the expectation that people with Alzheimer’s will decline 2 – 4 points a year without any type of intervention.

The activities in Silverado’s Nexus program are a common sense but uncommon approach to combatting the early stage effects of dementia. At the same time Silverado gives dignity to a supportive lifestyle built on a model that encourages appropriate independence.  When searching for resources for yourself or a loved one who has early-stage dementia, take along the idea of the kinds of activities used at Silverado along with the attitude embodied by the founders, “love is greater than fear”.

You can learn more about Silverado at Berkeley here.  Alternatively, you can contact us if you are in need of a referral to a transition placement specialist. These specialists can assist you in searching for the perfect community for you or your loved one.

Loren Emmanuel