Plymouth Place Memory Care – meeting residents where they are in their journey.

Plymouth Place’s two progressive memory support neighborhoods are designed to provide comfort, compassion, and joy for those living with brain changes related to all forms of dementia. The outstanding care provided is rooted in our determination to tailor support to the individual, respecting each person’s unique journey.

“Our philosophy is to try alternate approaches that acknowledge where our residents are missing skills and need support while celebrating the abilities they still retain,” says Nicole Hibbard, senior director of Assisted Living and Memory Care at Plymouth Place. “Because no two dementia patients are alike.”

This philosophy is the essence of the Teepa Snow Positive Approach® to Care, which Hibbard and her team—“care partners,” as she refers to them—incorporate in their daily interactions with residents. “Teepa Snow is a hands-on approach, a person-centered approach that involves meeting the patient where they’re at—without overusing medications, which can increase the number of falls and injuries,” says Hibbard. “We learn the truths about dementia. This allows our care partners to help our residents live their best lives with dignity and respect, while also maintaining independence and freedom of choice.”

Care partners are not restricted to the memory care neighborhoods. They are from every department that has any contact with memory care residents, including housekeeping, therapy services, resident assistants, nurses, and the life-enrichment team. “Many of our care partners have been here a long time,” says Hibbard. “Some have been here ten to fifteen years. Between our assisted living and memory care staff, we have a good core group of people who know our residents very well.”

All the care partners train weekly on the Teepa Snow fundamentals to reinforce this customized approach day in and day out. “Not many other memory care communities do this [weekly training],” Hibbard explains. “Our staff members are getting well above the number of hours for their regulatory requirements—about twenty-six additional hours per year above standard requirements for dementia-related training.”

Some of the topics that Plymouth Place care partners discuss weekly are:

  • Truths about dementia
  • Different types of dementias and their effects on the brain
  • Differences between normal and abnormal aging
  • Recognizing retained skills and missing function in residents
  • Techniques for best supporting residents in maintaining independence

Hibbard and Chris Irvine, the senior director of Rehabilitation and Wellness at Plymouth Place, are Positive Approach to Care certified trainers. In October, five additional care partners are expected to receive their certification. Hibbard also recently traveled to North Carolina for more extensive Teepa Snow training. “Our goal is to expand this dementia training to all of our higher levels of living, including assisted living and skilled levels of care,” she says. “This certification I’m getting will allow Plymouth Place to accomplish providing this education to all care partners, families, and residents throughout the Plymouth place continuum.”

Plymouth Place has invested heavily in its memory care program, not only in the Teepa Snow partnership but also in a program called Life Bio, which helps memory care residents tell their stories and give their families better understanding of their lives.

“Life Bio is free to all residents,” says Hibbard. “Essentially, Life Bio provides residents opportunities to tell their story and to reminisce. Another great benefit is that it allows us, their care partners, to engage with them in a more meaningful way and adjust our service plan to what their needs are.”

Adjustment to each resident’s needs is a constant in the Plymouth Place memory care neighborhoods, but it’s all about treating them as individuals. Sometimes this can be challenging for care partners and family members. Hibbard likens her job to being an investigator: “We adjust our care for them,” she says. “We are the investigators. We have to build a road map for each resident individually.

“Collectively, we have a passion for this. We are counselors, investigators, and caretakers all wrapped in one.”

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