When our mother's Alzheimer's had advanced to the point that continuous supervision on some level was becoming less of an option and more of a necessity, Arden Courts of Northbrook was one of the first places we looked. While it was a most inviting facility, it was not appropriate to our mother's level of dementia at the time. However, that is not to say that, now, having seen what works best for patients with memory issues, Arden Courts is not an ideal facility for persons whose memory problems are increasingly pronounced.
This facility has a distinct charm, reminiscent of a small country hotel, though readily accessible to Chicago's Northwest Suburbs. It is sufficiently set back from the road, and comfortably nestled into a wooded area that allows for a picturesque yet secure walking path. Small courtyards between the projecting "wings" are secure, intimate, unintimidating, and pleasant.
The entire layout, in fact, is clearly designed to accommodate those with memory issues. A broad ( and secured) central "loop" serves the distinctly-themed and color-coded residential wings. These halls are broad enough to be airy but designed so as to convey a notable degree of warmth frequently lacking in similar or larger facilities. In general, the atmosphere is comforting, with tasteful, home-like furnishings and comfortable communal areas. Knowing what I now know about memory care, I can easily see how the facility's design can go a long way to comforting those for whom confusion has become a regular part of their daily existence.
Certain aspects of this location, though certainly adequate, are not particularly impressive. By this I refer to the food, which seems to be conventional in most respects, and the rooms, which would not be likely to be described as spacious. In Arden Court's defense, a central component of their "activity" program is to encourage interaction with others and, accordingly, to discourage residents from remaining isolated in their rooms. This, I have found, is a feature common to all memory-care-specific facilities, especially the smaller ones such as this.
The amenities and features are typical of smaller assisted-living facilities, and it is unreasonable, not to mention unnecessary, to expect extravagance in a residence such as this. At this level, it is the consistency and quality of care from the staff that should be the most important consideration. Though Arden Courts is defintely far too restrictive for those in the earlier stages of dementia (or those merely experiencing a physical disability), it is a well-run facility that is worthy of consideration for anyone experiencing dementia that has progressed beyond the initial stages.