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Sunday, September 21, 2014

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New dementia home aims for ‘quality of life’

Tags: Health
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Isaac Weinroth

Anne Snowdon has a personal interest in One Kenton Alzheimer’s Centre of Excellence, B’nai Brith Canada’s new Alzheimer’s home, built in partnership with the Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation.

Snowdon, who chairs the centre and is a nurse by training, said that her mother, 87, has Alzheimer’s, and she understands first hand the impact the disease has on families. “The project is especially relevant to me because it [caters to] a population that is near and dear to my heart.”

Alzheimer’s and dementia are increasing around the globe, she said, and research is relatively limited. “That means there is no cure on the horizon. Wonderful strides are being made, but there is no magic pill to curb it.”

The impetus for One Kenton, she said, is to create a meaningful environment for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, and their families.

“Up until now, the focus has always been on managing patients, but we want to create the best quality of life for them.”

As a nurse, she said, she realizes that there have been no gains in caring for Alzheimer’s patients in decades.

“I trained 30 years ago, and things are still the same. I don’t mean patients are getting bad care. They are safe and cared for, but the institutions are not promoting meaningful and purposeful lives,” Snowdon said..

“This is the impetus that drives this project. [We] got involved because it is an important one. Our goal is to promote quality of life.”

When Ivey was approached by B’nai Brith, she said, “I thought, ‘Wow, this is a match made in heaven.’”

Isaac Weinroth, 37, executive director of One Kenton, speaking on Dec. 9, the day the first residents were due to move in, said B’nai Brith first got involved in building One Kenton in response to unmet needs in the community.

“B’nai Brith realized that Alzheimer’s was increasing in the general community, and the only option available to care for patients and their families was long-term institutions.”

Weinroth, who has a master’s in health administration and a degree in gerontology, said that at age 13 he volunteered at a geriatric health centre and went on to work with seniors. “I’m passionate about it.”

He said that One Kenton, which can accommodate 45 people in 44 suites – one is for a dementia patient and a spouse – is a retirement home for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“The whole residence is designated for dementia care. It’s built in a retirement home model, but with care for the residents.”

The One Kenton brochure stresses that it’s “not a home. It’s home.

“Everything from the architectural layout to the colour selections, lighting, furnishings, patterns, and common areas has been designed to promote a calming, comfortable environment.”

Weinroth said residents can bring in their own furniture and personal items if they choose. “They can also eat on their own schedule. They do what they do at home, and eat when they’re hungry. There is no such thing as missing a meal. If someone is not ready to eat at lunch time, they can eat at 2 p.m. There is always food available, and all food is certified kosher under COR.”

He said it’s the only retirement home in Canada that caters exclusively to residents with dementia.

“The setting is adaptable, and every individual has their needs met.”

He added that each resident has a core team made up of a nurse, personal support staff, dietary staff, program staff, housekeeper and a laundry person. “All staff, though, is hands-on. If someone asks me to take them to the dining room, I’m happy to do so, and so will any other staff. We’re all personally involved in residents’ care.”

He said residents can have visitors at any time, and can have them stay for meals or holiday celebrations.”

“One Kenton is a place to live, not a place to be. It will be full of life with musical performances, holiday celebrations, and High Holiday services.”

For more information, call (647) 932-7913

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