Design Strategies for Memory Care Centers to Meet the Needs of Dementia Patients – Annapolis and Towson Estate Planning

If your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, you should try to find a quality memory care facility that incorporates the best elements of design tailored to people with dementia.

When a long-term care facility designates part of an existing center to memory care, they often try to retrofit the space for people with dementia care. Unless the memory care center employs design concepts that address common aspects of dementia, the facility itself can actually increase the residents’ anxiety, sleep disturbances, wandering, falls, injuries and need for medications.

A well-designed memory care facility can make residents less anxious by its mindful design, reducing the amount of prescription drugs the residents need. Here are some design strategies for memory care centers to meet the needs of dementia patients.

Ground Floor Is Problematic

Every winter, there are tragic news stories of dementia patients who wander outside and succumb to the elements. Despite this fact, many facilities have their memory care rooms on the first floor. A better plan is to have the Alzheimer’s portion of the center on the third floor, with multiple security points, locked doors and keypads between the memory care residents and the great outdoors.

Speaking of the Great Outdoors

Having ready access to safe, peaceful spaces outside can reduce anxiety for people with dementia. One facility uses the roof of an adjacent building for the memory care garden. The space has lovely plants, seating for individuals and small groups and discreet fencing to keep the residents safe. There is even a non-functional classic Cadillac for residents to sit in and reminisce. You would not realize that venue is a rooftop garden.

Circular Walking Paths Indoors and Out

When an older person moves away from her home, she might get confused and feel lost. She might walk around, trying to find her home. She might simply feel restless and have a need to walk. An accessible circular walking path in the garden can satisfy her need.

The interior layout of the facility should not have long hallways that end with doors. When an exit door is the destination of the hall, it is logical the resident will try to open the door. Instead, the layout should have a social room, kitchen, restroom, or other room at the end of a hallway.

Design Principles for Memory Care Facilities

Savvy design will camouflage exit doors, place them to the left or right of hallways and use keypad locks that do not look as if they guard Fort Knox. By nature, human beings do not thrive in an institutional setting. The more the memory care facility looks like a home and less like an institution, the happier and healthier the residents will be.

Since memory loss is central to memory care centers, the residents should not have to remember their room numbers. Well-placed personal objects next to the door should readily identify the room for the resident.

Another tailored design feature is to do away with nursing stations and staff uniforms. Having the staff dress in regular clothing and eliminating the nursing stations makes the facility feel more residential. When people feel at home, their anxiety levels go down and they need fewer medications.

References: A Place for Mom. “Alzheimer’s Care Facilities Design.” (accessed August 21, 2019) https://www.aplaceformom.com/planning-and-advice/articles/alzheimers-care-facilities

Sims & Campbell, LLC – Annapolis and Towson Estate Planning Attorneys

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jane Frankel Sims

410-828-7775

Contact: Frank Campbell

410-263-1667

Sims & Campbell Estates and Trusts

Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell
Merge to Form Sims & Campbell

Firm will offer comprehensive Trusts & Estates services through offices in Towson and Annapolis

TOWSON, Md. (April 26,2019)  Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell have jointly announced the merger of their firms to create a boutique Trusts & Estates law firm providing comprehensive services in the fields of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Trust Administration and Charitable Giving. The combined firm will be named Sims & Campbell and have offices in Towson, Md. and Annapolis, Md.  Jane Frankel Sims and Frank Campbell will lead and hold equal ownership stakes in the firm.

Sims & Campbell will have 9 attorneys and 15 legal professionals that handle every facet of estate and wealth transfer planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, estate and gift tax advice, and charitable giving strategies.  The firm will focus solely on Trusts & Estates but will serve a wide range of clients, from young families with modest resources to ultra-high net worth individuals.  This allows clients to remain with the firm as their level of wealth and the complexity of related estate and tax implications change over time. 

“By joining forces, we have expanded our footprint to conveniently serve clients in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia” said Jane Frankel Sims.  We are seeing some of the greatest wealth transfer in our country’s history, and we want to continue to be on the leading edge of helping our clients maintain and enhance their family’s wealth.  In addition, we aim to serve our clients for years to come, and the new firm structure will allow Sims & Campbell to thrive even after Frank and I have retired.”    

“Jane and I have always admired each other’s firms and recognized the need to provide even greater depth and breadth of focused expertise to help families amass and protect their wealth from generation to generation,” said Frank Campbell.  “Now we have even greater capabilities to make a real difference for our clients.” 

The Sims & Campbell Towson office is located at 500 York Road, on the corner of York Road and Pennsylvania Avenue in the heart of Towson.  The Annapolis office is currently located at 716 Melvin Avenue, and is moving to 181 Truman Parkway in August, 2019.  For more information, visit www.simscampbell.law.