Aging in Style with Lori Williams
Aging in Style with Lori Williams

Episode · 1 year ago

011. How Memory Care Day Centers are Providing Relief to Seniors with Dementia and their Caregivers


“A place we would have had our loved ones attend if it had been available when we needed it” is how Laura Lester, owner of Encore Memory Care Day Center, describes her business. Her adult “day stay” is a cause dear to her heart from caring for her own family members with dementia. After she learned what not to do, she now provides plenty of research-backed tips and tricks to share with her guests and their caregivers.

Laura goes in depth about what an adult daycare can do for its guests, who get a full day of activities – such as morning coffee talk, music, dance class, and even trivia to help their long-term memory. They’re often paired with buddies who can show each other around and bring each-other comfort. Laura also shares how those with the disease still want to give back and accomplish something, so they try to align their activities with their past profession. 

According to Laura, not only does this stimulate their minds, but it helps their mood and gives them a sense of purpose. Many caregivers have said how this helps their loved ones become more talkative, restore their personalities and even sleep better at night.

Takeaways from this episode:

-No matter your age, everyone wants to have a purpose. This is true for those with dementia too.

-Many adult daycare guests feel like they’re going to work or volunteering, and workers will help them find ways to use their skills.

- Strategize a way to get dementia patients to come on their own terms (don’t tell them it’s a daycare)!

- The VA often helps veterans get approved more quickly to join these programs.

- Many day stays dispense medication if needed and can get orders from a doctor.

- Adult daycares often develop individual care plans, learning the guests’ medical history and past, to help them thrive.

- They’re able to learn what best helps their guests and will tell caregivers when something works well for them, making life easier at home. 

- Be sure to not argue with someone with dementia because it’s a lose-lose situation. Join them on their journey.

Topics discussed in this episode:

- Memory care services
- How adult daycare make a difference for those with dementia
- How COVID-19 has affected this service
- Effective practices and activities to help dementia patients thrive
- The importance of routines

To learn more about Encore please visit:

If you wish to suggest a topic, be a guest or want to support the podcast please email or reach out online:

Welcome to aging in style with me, Laurie Williams. I'm an optimist by nature and I believe you can follow your dreams at any age. My grandmother's journey with dementia ignited a passion in me to work with seniors. I've spent the past thirteen years learning about seniors and aging. In my mid S, I followed my own dream and found in my company, where I use my expertise to help seniors locate housing and resources. On this podcast, we cover all aspects of aging. Join US each week to meet senior living experts and inspirational seniors who are following their dreams. The fact is, we're all aging, so why not do it in style? Hi, welcome to another episode of aging and style with Laurie Williams. I'm so glad you're here today and we have a very interesting show for you. We are talking about Adult Day care and many people I speak with have never heard of anything like this, heard this concept. But if you are a caregiver for someone who has dementia, this is something you know, something that you need to know about because it could be life changing for you as a caregiver. So today we are talking to Laura Leicester and she is the owner of encore memory care day center. And just to tell you a little bit about her, she has always been an entrepreneur and owned and invested in other small businesses, but because she has cared for loved ones with dementia in her own family, this cause is especially dear to her heart. So when the opportunity arose to invest in this venture, Laura and her husband gave capital to get it started, never dreaming that eventually she would be running it and looking forward to coming to work there every day. Laura has owned on Core Memory Care Day Center for ten years and she and her staff consider it their ministry. She says, we have created a place that we would have had our loved ones attend if it had been available when we needed it. I love that. That gives me Chelse. So thank you, Laura, for joining us and welcome to the show. Thank you, and thank you for having me. I really appreciate it, of course. I just think this is so important for people to learn what you're doing and what's available. So tell us. How did you get interested in senior living? Actually, it was a complete accident. I didn't ever plan this. I didn't actually, I tell people it's a it's a good thing because we did have this in our family. That meant what we still do. But the first person in my family that had dementia was my grandmother, and we were completely untrained. We knew nothing about dementia and we did everything incorrectly. We did everything wrong and my grandmother became really, really mean and looking back after I've had the training and I've been in business for so long, I believe that if we had known then what we know now,...

...that she would never have gotten me. She would have been my wonderful grandmother. But we didn't know what we were doing and it was it was really, really rough. My Mom, my mom and dad both died early, so it was my husband and I with my grandmother and then to which she passed. I also presently have a brother with dementia, so it's a it's in my family. And so one of our friends approached my husband about investing in an adult daycare that specialized in dementia. Well, that just hit us. We were like, you know, if that were available during my grandmother we would have utilized that. So we started out as investors and one thing led to another and we ended up buying out our partners and I've been running at nine of the ten years that we've had it. So that's how I got in it. That's wonderful. I remember when it started and I can't believe it's been ten years, but yeah, it has, and I'm literally look forward to come to work every day. It's it's it's such a joy and that's how it is when you're following your passion. It doesn't feel like a job. You're you know you're making a difference. Actually, when we were closed for six weeks, I was kind of grieving, honestly. I missed my yeah, I missed my friends. So I'm just happy to be able to open. Kind of imagine, yeah, wonderful for people who've never heard of adults day stay, if you can kind of describe what it is, what service that you actually provide and how you make a difference for a senior with dementia and for their caregiver. Okay, we we're under noncovid hours. We're open from thirty in the morning to six in the evening Monday through Friday. Because of Covid we we've had to reduce our hours a little bit and so we're open right now presently, from ten till four. What we do is everything that we that we do is based on the latest research in memory care. So we do cognitive activities all day long. We change activities every thirty minutes because we found out early on that is if they get bored sometimes they become anxious. So we just keep them really busy and we always have something ongoing all day long. And we do do a lot of physical activities as well, because the latest research says exercise is really good for this. So we literally walk six times a day and we do various we used to dance twice a week, but we can't do that now with covid. Hopefully the code is over, will be dance right and but we can't tend each other right now, so we just but we did insercises. What kind of activities do you do besides the dancing? Okay, we've got a I've got a big group crossword that we do. That's on the wall. It's giant and if the person knows the word they'll shout it out. If...

...they don't, then they can stay quiet. So it's a it's a fun activity for them. We do Trivia and it's all trivia. That's in their long term memory. So our goal is to keep those long term memory sharp so that they don't go away as quickly. So we do a lot of trivia exercises. We do art, we do crafts, we do rhythm exercises and will do rhythm in instruments music. Thinkau is magic here. So we do a lot of a lot of stuff with music. My my caregivers really, really, really love how when their loved one comes home they're tired and usually they sleep. That's good, that's so important. We keep them busy all day and nobody wants to take a nap. If if there's seventy and above, they're not going to take a nap. That's they don't want to miss anything. Sometimes my younger people take for really it up. No Way. Isn't that so? The the younger ones will take a nap, but not the older ones. Yes, yes, I wonder why that in years. I don't know. They don't want the older ones don't want to miss anything. I mean they're really this is really there their purpose, you know. And on core we try to give everybody a purpose. Even though you have a a desert these doesn't mean you still don't want to give back. And so what we try to do is everybody that comes here, pretty much you thinks they're doing volunteer work here or they're working here because that's their purpose. They need to come here and get there get something that accomplished. So we say that a lot on the show that no matter your age, everyone wants to have a purpose and I think that's beautiful that you are incorporating that and people think, you know, that they're volunteering, like I said, or coming at work and they we try to online it with the with the job that they had in the paths. So, like friends has had a gentleman that was a vice president of some company. Get named names that when we when he came in, he had a free piece suit on and I'm like, Oh, did you come to interview for the job, and he said what job, as a vice president. He said yes, I did, and so I hired him on the spot, brought him back and that's introduced from it's our new vice president. All the ladies just swooned like Oh, the vice president. That is so cute. So when you have someone that comes to you and they're interested, so say it's a you know the wife maybe and her husband has dementia. You do like an interview process basically find out about their background kind of what does that look like? Well, we do an assessment on everyone. So we do a complete assessment, including of their background, but we also assess their their medical everything, and so...

...if they've ever had any any violence or anything like that, we don't take those people. So we have to we have to assess the people that that we can take care. I've got a very happy place. And so they come in and basically it's a different now with covid than it was prior to covid. But so which, just which thing do you want me to describe? Let's do right now is we're very limping. Yeah, sure, looking before covid and then we'll talk about how it's changed with covid. Okay, before it's Covid, what we do is we usually advise that the people come in for the first time without their loved one so that they can look around and see if this is an environment that they're loved one would maybe enjoy being in. And if the answer is yes, then we can sit down and really strategize on ways to get that loved one to want to come, because there's so much easier if they want to be there than then if they're reticent. In really, ninety nine percent of the people that come for the first time to daycare situation or don't want to be here. So that's our job to turn it around. And nobody thinks they're in daycare. We don't say the word. Nobody knows that they're doing daycare. They're coming to the center at fun with their friends or to beat to do their job or are to play Bingo or whatever ever, but they're coming to the center for a specific reason has nothing to do with theay care, because they know their adults and adults don't need day care. So the family member knows, but but the guests is not. So we invite them in and we we find out some things about their loved one. We find out what they did for a living, we find out that some of the things that they enjoy doing and then, in non covid times, we take them back and really introduce them to some of the other guests that are here so that they can get a gage. Hey, would my mom or dad or husband or wife enjoy meeting this person? Would my my mom or dad enjoy having a conversation with this person, and so we really do take them around and introduce them, tell them a little bit about each guests so that they'll have a gage of who their parent is going to be interacting with, and then we bring them back and to the conference room and just ask them if they have any questions for us and we go over all those questions and if they are interested in signing up their loved one, are enrolling their loved one, then we'll bring the nurse in and she'll ask the medical questions and we'll go through we have to. We do have a nurse on staff and so we do have to contact their doctor. So I get a medical release forms signed and we do dispiss medications here if they need a need them. So we get ordered from the doctor and we do a care plan, a careful care plan that involves the whole person. You know who they are, what they like and what they're you...

...know their fall risk or we advisor from the window work close to shoes and not to bring anything valuable to the center because it knows. Usually, though, the things that they lose are valuable. This funny. The things that other people might want to take are things that people really want. That's okay. So, so that's really our process on enrolling people. And then on the first day that they come we always assign them a buddy so they have someone to kind of walk them through the day and make them feel comfortable, and that gives the buddy a purpose as well. You know, they're they're making someone new feel comfortable and everybody's very warm and welcoming here. It's a very friendly attitude, you know, atmosphere. So my guests are very anxious to invite more people to come and join us, join in the fun, because they're having fun. And I absolutely love that you use the term guest. I think that's wonderful. They don't live here. That's those that's as they guess, their guests here at there, at work or they're volunteering and they have a purpose. That's right. That's right. So a typical day they come in thirty. They can come in as early as thirty. Do they have breakfast or how do you? How does that work? kind of walk us through a typical day. When we're up in thirty in the morning, we have a kind of a new breakfast. So if they're hungry, they can have coffee, juice, just continental breakfast, cereal bar something easy. Sometimes you'll make bathing but most of the time it's just pretty straight out continent breakfast. And then we do what we call coffee talk. So we sit around and we don't do sometimes we'll do news of the day, but we don't do real news of the day. We do positive news of the new Nice. So we so we have to go all the way to Europe to get the news because America doesn't print positive news find it. But so I have a site and then that prints positive news, good things that have happened. So we'll tell we'll talk about a news story and then we'll invite conversation about it. And so we'll ask the or or we will ask them, has anything like this ever happened to you or if you have, you ever been in a situation similar to this? And it's really nice morning. So we open with what we call coffee talk and then as people come in, they just join the conversation and grab something to eat and they will have a mid morning snack at about thirty usually, and then, and usually it's fruit, you know, the morning something like that. So then at. Right now we're having our devotion at eleven o'clock, but we usually have a devotion at ten o'clock every morning and basically we just do a little a little devotion and then we ask if there's any prayer request. So if anybody needs prayer and a family or or anything, will pray for each other. And they were singled hymns. So they'll say far half an hour old hymns.

They love it. They I know they absolutely love those old hymns. That's wonderful. Probably brings back some good memories for them. And then every day's new. Every day's a different day. Every days a new adventure. So we have a counter of events that will follow. So depending on what's going on that day, we have different cognitive activities and physical activities that we do that day. And you mentioned that. You know, sometimes if someone needs to nap, is there an area if they are tired and want to lay down? Yes, I have a I have a nap room has three beds and three twenty bents and sometimes, like if somebody does is off, will go and nicely wipe them, ask them if they would like to lay down and then take them to the Napron, but usually if we can rewaited that no, no, and then they stay away. But my younger ones will ask to take a nap sometimes and so we let them take Ana. Yeah, do they say, Oh, I was just resting my eyes. I remember my grandfather always saying that. No, I'm not sleeping right, are just rest resting. That's right. Is there anyone that you can think of? And I'm sure you have changed so many lives, but maybe a particular story of someone who didn't know about day's Day and is really change their lives since they've been coming? Well, I've been doing this for ten years, so there's many, many mini series. I was thinking I had had a guy named Henry one time that when he came immediately he became one of our volunteers. He because he had done a lot of volunteer work in his day. So he started really doing volunteer work from day one. He had come here for one week total, like Monday through Friday, not even seven days. Monday through Friday and that's only weekend he was to attend to wedding for his family and so he went to the wedding the following Monday. His family said I can't believe what you've done in one week. She said Henry has been very reclusive and is not his normal personality. Is Not reclusive, but for the last three or four years any family event he just sits in the corner and at that wedding he was up and socializing with people and talking. He's we've got our old Henry back. So they were just plored that that happened in one week's time. I mean it was lovely, but we gave him a purpose, we gave him something to do and he looked around and saw people make mistakes all the time and nobody cares, because that's a lot of times. They're worried that they're going to make a mistake and people are anything. So that, yeah, that makes sense. You know, maybe not be kind. So they see he's at in our environment. He's in our environment, people are making mistakes, we're laughing and we're having a great day. So he did. He's not fearful of making a mistake day. So that yeah, so you're able to take away their fear. They're seeing other people who are like them and you're giving them back a purpose. Yeah,...

...and you know, the family members also very grateful because they actually have some of their life back, you know, during the day, and they don't feel guilty. They do feel guilty for the first two weeks because that the usually there's about ten day adjustment period for my guests. So they even if they've had a great day that day, they may tell their love when I hate that place, I never want to go back. It doesn't makes them fel a little guilty, but we try on what to say if they say them, but usually texts about ten visits and once they get past the ten visit, then they ask their loved one please bring me on. They'll ask on Saturday, on Sunday, and sometimes they have to drive to the center and prove that we're not open. They want to. Oh, so this is really fun. Yeah, yeah, do most of them come every day or is it just a couple of days a week? Is there are I guess they can do kind of anything, right or what? Do you think? I've got a two day minimum. Okay, so two days is the minimum amount that they can come, because anything less than that I'm starting over every time they come because they forgot exciting. It's not good for them, it's not good for my other guests. Because there's too much anxiety. So if we get them into a routine, as we all know, to mention, you have to have a routine. So we get them into a routine and they're coming at loose two times of week, then I'm not starting over, you know, after a while, after they've come ten times, I'm not starting over every time that they come. So that's why there's a two day from them. And then some people come every day. So people come two days a week and the people to come three days weeks and people can come four days the week. It's just really up to them what they need. And a lot of times people will start out maybe two days a week and then they'll increase to three days and that I had one yesterday that's increasing from two days to four days because she's like, I just love my days and he comes home so happy. So that's that's a thing she she no longer feels guilty when she drops him off and she has her freedom during the day and knows that he's happy and well taken care of. So it's our goal that on for is to make sure that our family members can completely relax when they drop their family member off. It on for I want them to be able to cook. If they just do notp with it, sleep, that's fine. I just want them to be able to completely relax. Usually takes about two weeks before they could do that, and then that. That's our goal. Yeah, because you're taking care of both the caregiver and the guests. Yes, and we also are training the the caregiver as well, because when we find something that works with their loved one, we share with them, and with Dementi you can actually refuse the same technique over and over and over that because they forget. So we find something that works, we share it with the family. Makes their life easier at home. Their family member is tired when they come home. They usually sleep better. They...

...they are more talkative when they get home because they're more engaged during the day. Their brain is were day. We're stimulating their brain all day and their bodies. So another thing that I do is I try to hire people that you've had to mention their family. As matter of fact, I put I put that in my aunt that it's a plus if you've had this in your family, because in doing this for ten years, I can train everything they need to know about dementia. But I can't teach am empathy. So I want everybody that works here to understand what value that we're giving each one of these, not just the loved one but the caregiver as well. Absolutely so one understand. So that is so important. Yeah, yeah, because you don't, if you have not, never had a loved one with dementia, you don't understand. And my grandmother had dementia and you know, you see the affected has on the whole family, on the you know, person who's taking care. In my case it was my mom was taking care of her, and you see the stress that causes and you know, like you said, getting them into a routine. They come home, they are they're tired, their engage. You know more they and you've also given tools to the caregiver on how they can relate better and not have those they hate to like arguments, but sometimes you know it when a caregiver is taking care of a loved one in their home and they're tired and their stressed and sometimes you know you may be trying to argue and you can't argue with someone with dementia. No, no, you can know. So I think, yeah, yeah, you have to just kind of join in on their journey and not try to tell them no, you're you know where it's not. We're not going to dinner at so and says House who's been passed away for twenty years. You know, get that note. Yeah, you can't get them to understand that. So that's just a lose lose for everyone. So we were when I was looking on your website I didn't realize that there's some other forms of payment, like through the through the via. So I want to ask you you know how much it cost and how people typically pay for because I know that's probably the big question on people's mind right now. So if you can share that with us, that would be great. We're a very affordable option in this industry. It's a straight hundred dollars a day and right now we're open six hours a day. That equates to about fifteen dollars an hour. So that is very, very, very reasonable. The VA actually pays for a ventrance to come. They pay US directly. We have a contract with the Va. The qualifications with the VA are that they have a honorable discharge and well, I can't talk today a diagnosis, diagnosis of Dementu I read your mind sometimes what's but anyway, so if they have those two qualifications,...

...usually it's it's pretty quick for them to get approved and the va I'll start picking up the TAB. There's no fight. It's not like an attendance where they have all these very strict guidelines. Is How much money you can make. They can be really rich and still the Vao pick up the TAB. With us. Sometimes there's a co pay of fifteen dollars, but fifteen dollars is nothing. Oh, absolutely, yeah, that's good and that's the most I've ever seen a copay. Fifteen. So it's a wonderful opportunity. And then loctro care. Interance pace for this as well, and we're private pay. That's a fort and affordable option with yeah, it really is. And you said with the va it doesn't take as long as some of the other programs. With the BEA, maybe about two weeks and noncovid times right about two weeks to get approved. If they are already in the system, it takes less time. If they have to put them like they're there, they qualify their veteran but they're not necessary haven't been using the VA hospital takes a little bit longer, but not that much. Usually the people in this area that work for the va are really really do care for those veterans. They really do love the veterans, so they do what they can to get them approved quickly and in the center. That's great also. Okay, so covid. I always asked this question because we're living in these crazy times right now. So how has covid affected your center? And I know you said that you did have to shut down for a little while, but tell us, you know, how things have changed for you. Okay, the seventeen of the March we had about thirty forty people both of our centers, and the president did a news conference. I'm sure everybody remembers it, said you can't have a room with more than ten people to be safe from covid. Well, I have the most vulnible clientele and I had thirty or forty people in my center. So we close down immediately because I didn't we didn't feel like it was to be responsible, even though we're essential. We didn't feel like it would be responsible with this many people to stay open with the vulnerable clientele that we have. So we closed down, thinking it was going to be two weeks and then after two weeks the president says going to be another month. So we were closed for six weeks and in that period of time I didn't know anyone that had covid but I saw the people that I love kept in touch with them because starting to decline. You know, they don't have the stimulation at home that they that they do, that they did, and actually I lost some people as well. So it was very it was a very painful time, very much grieving. So I didn't know what to do, if we were going to remain in business or not. And, you know, we were doing a lot of prayer. You know, God, do you want us to stay in business? You know, give us a sign. We don't know. And we got our P PP. And once...

...we got our PPP, we had to open because that the PPP is payroll protection plans, which means we have to have people here to pay. So we decided to open on a very limited basis. So we open just for ten people at that time and it went so well. You know, I have and in Bedford I've got six thou square feet and Plano I've got five thousand, so there's a lot of room. So it's pretty easy. So all we did was we rearranged our chairs six feet apart all over the center so that nobody has to move chairs or anything that they're already preset, and we socially distance sound. It also kicked our disease control measures protocols of a couple of notches as well. We've been in business, as you know, for ten years and we know that with my clientele, anything that goes around the center can knock them out. So we have been very diligent for ten years. This isn't like we had to learn something new, like a lot of places. We already knew how to keep contagious diseases from spreading, but we kicked it up a couple of notches. So what we do now is, before the people even enter the center, we meet them at the car and we ask them a sick a series of questions that are like you, have you had a temperature in the last two weeks? If be taken any fever reducing medications today? Have you just a list of questions, if you had any symptoms, if you've been around anybody that may have had some symptoms that kind of think of the last fourteen days and they have to answer no. To all these questions before they will let their loved one come in. We take their temperature in the car and then we go around to the other side and take their loved one's temperature and if everything checks out, we walk the loved one into the center. Okay, once they're in the center, we wash their hands with hand sanitizer and then we bring them back and then they sit socially distance. We have hand sanitizer all over the center. I'm very lucky because I've always bought it by the gallons, so when covid hit, I had gallons of it already. You were stopped up already and I only have a right. So so I was said, I had plenty toilet paper to so we're good. But we have hand sanitizer everywhere. So my my guests are very used to being huggy and touchy, and I mean that's the way we've always send. This is to term. So we can't do that anymore, but we don't want them to think that there's anything wrong with it. So we try to keep them, we try to redirect and keep them far apart. But if a man, say, reaches over and shakes another man's hand, we're not going to single them out and say don't do that. Right. All we're going to do is everybody in the room washes their hands with hand sanitizer. So we don't even single them out. Just those two get the antanitizer. Everybody there, and so they're they're in the habit now that we just sanitize all the time. So it's like okay,...

...sanitize, because our go is those hands are clean before they touch their mouth, nose or eyes. and where we treat everybody that's there, even though they've gone through all this rigorous screening. We treat everybody that's here as if they have covid. So I thought I was reading something cute on your website. What about Covid? And I mean it's impossible to have them wear a mask, obviously. So I saw that you were doing like cowboy day to wear like a Bandana. I like that. is so clever and cute to be creative with the getting the where the masks. But it is very hard. Some of them, well, some of my guess, will wear a mask all day, but but all of our staff wear a mask all day. I have my man's around my neck. I see it. Yes, if if I leave this office, I'll have my mask on and we we're lot. And my staff also knows what a important responsibility that they have. So when they leave were they know that they need to carry forth their disease control measures after they leave the office to so most of my staff just got from actually we're so tired of wearing the mask by the end of the day we don't want to go anywhere. So we just go on. No, go home, take off the mask. Yes, that's great. And I know you mentioned you have two centers and and that's something else I didn't know that. I always knew about the one you have in plain Oh, but you also have a center in Bedford. When did you open that one? We opened in two thousand and seventeen, so going on three years. I'm behind the time. So yeah, that's wonderful and it's beautiful. Like I think my center here is beautiful. It looks kind of like a country club. My Center in Bedford looks like a resort. I mean is gorgeous. I just love it and I'm going to come see it when covid is over touring anything. Yeah. So, and you have plans to, hopefully big plans to open more down the road. Yes, I will. We always have. We're thinking that we're going to open ten and so it really kind of was just God's will. I think I'm just gonna be led by that. This cove is really thrown as for a loop. So we'll see, but I think eventually where you may even go nation. Why with it? Because we have I think there's such a need. I think it would be wonderful and we have our own way of doing things that we feel is successful. So we train people to do it our way instead of hiring someone that's been doing it somewhere else we may not like the way they do it. So, yeah, we just hire people that have had it in their family and then we train them the encore way and so consequently we have a very happy, very happy place, and all of our guests are the boss. You know, they're they're the the kings and Queens, are the star. Absolutely like you. You are doing it right and I'm just so thankful that you came on today to share about encore. I think it's so important people...

...know about this option and about you and the way that you are. You're running encore for your guests and I just I thank you so much for coming on today. Thank you so much for having me. I hope I didn't rattle too much now. You did a wonderful job. So if you want to know about encore, we're going to have all the information on the podcast and so you can find out where they're located, how to reach Laura if you have questions. If you're in the Dallas area, plain Oh Bedford area, this is a great option for your loved one, and so we'll have all that information for you and thank you, as always, for listening into the podcast and we would love for you to go and give us a writing let us know what you think of us, if we're doing a good job and if you have anything you would like to learn about relate it to seniors. We are always open to suggestions and would be happy to do that show for you. So thank you all for listening. Bye. Bye.

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