I will start by saying that every caregiver and staff member at Memory Haven Sumner (MHS) is awesome! My father (who has Alzheimer's disease) was at a larger community for the previous 2 years before I moved him to MHS. I knew a lot of caregivers from his stay at the previous community, however his disease got worse and was told he needed more care than they could provide at the "assisted living" community. I honestly did dread having to move him to a memory care unit because of what I was told they were like. I conducted extensive research of 6 memory care facilities in my area, and was less than impressed.
When I finally did have to move Dad, John M had just opened a brand new community, Memory Haven Sumner, and from the moment I met John I knew something was different. He personally came to meet and conduct an assessment of my Dad. Dad, who was very suspicious of new people liked John right away! During one of my first meetings to enroll my dad, John gave me book called "Creating Moments of Joy" and once I read it, I started to understand what dad's care should have consisted of, compared to what he had received for those two years before MHS. John said this book was required reading for all caregivers selected to work there. I learned more than I ever knew about communicating with (and caring for) dad and people with Alzheimer's disease. John gave me a tour of the beautiful community and even showed me where Dad's room would be. He spent the better part of the day with me, learning about Dad and providing me with general and specific information on care for people with Alzheimer's disease. He was amazing. I learned from him in a few days what no one else had taught me about how to relate to my Dad. Frustrations (from my ignorance) disappeared and my relationship with Dad was more beautiful than ever.
I met all the caregivers shortly after moving dad into MHS, and as the community was less than a few months old, when I met them they were busy doing all the things that caregivers do. From the very start, I saw that their "gift" was "creating moments of joy" among all the residents. They pay close attention to the things others look over or look around. As busy as the caregivers are, they ALWAYS make their time with the residents seem like they have all the time in the world for them. They taught me how to "get into Dad's world, because as much as I'd like him to, he can't come into ours". I always watch them, study them, ask them questions. They always make time to provide information on how to provide these "moments of joy" for our loved ones. They always know the condition and demeanor of every resident at all times. Having recent extended experience with caregivers at the assisted living community, it was immediately apparent that these people were DIFFERENT!
One of the most outstanding things I noticed occurred not long after I met the staff, everyone calls everyone by name rather than "Sweety" or "Honey" or other patronizing, (and in my opinion) belittling names I have heard caregivers call residents. So awesome how each staff member looks the residents in the eye, sits down, shows them they matter! Every time I see this, it is amazing to watch how the residents respond. If they are having a "bad day" caregivers do not leave their side until they are better. I see this every single day. Dad loves the staff and his beautiful home!
Many times, well meaning caregivers will speak one way to residents, and another way to their families or others without dementia. Their demeanor changes distinctly (if you have been on the family side, you KNOW what I mean). One of the first things that impressed me about the staff at MHS is the way they spoke the same way to the residents they spoke to me and other family and staff. Same tone, same respect, same kind of awesome communication....and a lot of smiles and laughter. A caregiver by general definition is "one who provides care". The Memory Haven staff provide care, quality of life, expert clinical assistance and comfort, not just for the residents of Memory Haven Sumner, but for the family members of those residents. I love my dad, he has been my hero my whole life. As much as I love him, I cannot be physically present with him every day and even if I could...I could not provide the care he needs by the hour on my own. Memory Haven provides something daily I have not seen anyone provide. They make a difference in every life they touch every day by purposely "Creating Moments of Joy".
Those of us who need the best for our loved ones want the most caring, efficient and loving home atmosphere we can provide. From personal experience, there is no place like Memory Haven Sumner.