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Flipping the Traditional Model of Living in Memory Care

Welcome to the Connections Memory Care Program

We understand that considering memory care living for a loved one is a decision filled with emotions.

It’s a journey that requires empathy, understanding, and knowledge.

At Pegasus Senior Living, we’re changing the traditional nursing home and memory care unit models. Our data-based Connections memory care program brings an engaging and intentional approach to senior care centered on the concept of neuroplasticity.

“If you move, connect, and learn – in that order, you can get people to rebuild neural networks and live. And on some levels improve,” says Pegasus CEO Chris Hollister. “That’s a bold claim, but we think it can slow the progression.”

Understanding the Progression of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Dementia progresses in stages, each with its own set of symptoms. Over 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. Other types of dementia include:

  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Vascular dementia
  • Lewy Body dementia
  • Mixed dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease dementia
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome

Early Stage (Mild)

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia, a person might have trouble remembering recent events or conversations. They may get lost easily, even in familiar places, and struggle with managing their finances or planning meals. They might also start withdrawing from social activities because these challenges can be frustrating or embarrassing.

Middle Stage (Moderate)

As Alzheimer’s and dementia move into the middle stages, memory loss becomes more severe. A person might forget personal details like their address, phone number, or even the names of close family members. They may also have difficulty understanding what they read or see on TV. Simple tasks like getting dressed or eating can become challenging. People in this stage might also start showing changes in personality, like becoming anxious, suspicious, or agitated.

Late Stage (Severe)

In the later stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia, a person may lose the ability to communicate and need help with basic daily activities like eating and bathing. They might not recognize themselves or their loved ones. They may also experience physical symptoms like difficulty walking or swallowing.

It’s critical to remember that everyone experiences Alzheimer’s and dementia differently. Some people progress through the stages quickly, while others may stay in one stage for a long time.

And while these symptoms can be tough to deal with, there are treatments and therapies available that can help manage them and improve quality of life.

Understanding Neuroplasticity and Dementia

Neuroplasticity is like the superhero power of our brain. Brains can change and adapt, forming new connections between brain cells even as we grow older. This principle is a vital breakthrough for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Alzheimer’s creates disruptions and gradually damages the connections in the brain. Eventually, it is nearly impossible for brain cells to communicate. Progression from the earliest stages leads to problems with:

  • Memory
  • Thinking
  • Behavior

As dementia progresses, our brain’s superhero power, neuroplasticity, declines. However, promising evidence suggests staying engaged can extend this phenomenal process.

Researchers have used brain imaging to see this in action. When they asked people with early-stage Alzheimer’s to do thinking tasks, they saw differences in brain activity compared to people without cognitive decline. The extra brain activity helped them perform better on the challenges.

It’s like the brain was working overtime to make up for the damage caused by Alzheimer’s.

This evidence shows that neuroplasticity isn’t just about the brain changing and adapting. It’s also about resilience and fighting back when faced with challenges.

And it’s not just Alzheimer’s. Neuroplasticity can also be beneficial for other health issues. For instance, it can help people recover from strokes, deal with mental health conditions like depression, and even help people overcome addiction.

In all these cases, it’s about the brain’s ability to change, adapt, and keep going, no matter what.

This ability is crucial in those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Physical and mental activities and socialization can stimulate this process, creating new neural networks.

Discovering the Power of Brain Plasticity

Dr. Sandra Petersen, the mind behind Connections, discovered this firsthand.

After experiencing memory and mobility loss due to a stroke, she turned to neuroplasticity therapies. She learned a new language and took dancing lessons to engage in cross-body movements.

With over 30 years of experience in senior care and a passion for neuroscience, she began applying these therapies to people living with dementia.

Looking into The Connections Program

At Pegasus Senior Living, we wholeheartedly believe in the transformative power of purposeful creativity. We’ve seen firsthand how it can improve outcomes for those with memory conditions.

Our innovative approach combines cutting-edge science with heartwarming human connection, wrapped in engaging activities. Let’s dive in and explore three aspects that make our program so unique.

1. SingFit in the Connections Memory Care Program

Music has a profound impact on our brains, and its benefits for cognitive health are immense.

The part of the brain that recalls music generally remains unaffected by dementia. We’ve incorporated SingFit, a neuroplasticity therapy that combines music with evidence-based techniques, into our program.

2. How Art Therapy Helps Seniors

Our art therapy program draws inspiration from artist Henri Matisse, who said, “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”

Even when bedridden in his older age, he adapted his art to what his body would allow. Similarly, our program adapts projects to residents’ needs while encouraging brain challenges, body movement, and socialization.

Art can help those with dementia communicate when they struggle to find words.

3. Connect – Move – Learn: Data-Based Memory Care Explained

We prioritize creating opportunities for residents to enjoy meaningful activities, engage socially, and stimulate their minds. Each of these plays a crucial role in promoting neuroplasticity and slowing the progression of dementia.

As Executive Director Arlene Hsu puts it, “Through this activity cycle, we are able to help residents engage in a way where they are connecting socially, spiritually, and also physically. That is a huge piece when you are working through your day as someone living in memory care.”

Connect: Staying Social

Social interaction is not just about having fun – it’s also an excellent workout for your brain.

When we connect with others, it stimulates our brain to grow new connections between cells. This partnership helps maintain existing neural networks and can help delay the onset of dementia symptoms.

Pegasus Senior Living | Two senior women sharing photos of family
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Being social can boost self-esteem and relieve stress, which is beneficial for overall brain health.

Move: Physical Activity with Cross-Body Movements

Physical activity, especially those involving cross-body movements, is essential for promoting neuroplasticity. These movements require coordination between both sides of the brain, encouraging communication between brain cells and forming new neural networks.

Not only does this keep the brain active and healthy, but it also improves mobility and balance, which can be affected by dementia.

Learn: Challenging the Brain

Just like a muscle, the brain needs regular challenges to stay strong. Mental activities, whether puzzles, learning new skills, or engaging in creative projects, keep the brain active and stimulate the growth of new neural connections. This endeavor helps maintain cognitive function and can slow down the progression of dementia.

In the Connections program, we incorporate these elements into our daily activities. We believe that by connecting, moving, and learning, we can create a positive and stimulating environment supporting brain health and enhancing the quality of life for those with dementia.

Understanding Memory Care Cost

The cost of memory care facilities in the United States varies based on location. On average, the memory care monthly rent is around $6,935.

While this is significantly more than the average cost of assisted living communities, the specialized care provided in memory care units is crucial for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

It’s important to understand the breadth of services and benefits that are included. These cater to the unique needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, providing not just medical care but a comprehensive approach to their overall well-being:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs)
  • Personal Care Plan
  • Nutritious chef-prepared meals
  • Social and recreational activities
  • 24/7 supervision
  • Medical management
  • Therapeutic programs
  • Housekeeping and maintenance


Discover Connections Near You

At Pegasus Senior Living, we’re proud to offer a new approach to memory care living. We are grounded in research and compassion. Our assisted living and memory care communities support the growing population of older adults across the United States.

Our commitment to residents extends beyond providing a comfortable environment in our memory care communities. We strive to offer a life filled with joy, connection, and purpose.

Our specially trained team members are dedicated to enhancing the lives of our residents every day. It’s not just about skilled nursing; it’s about nurturing the mind, body, and soul.

For families considering memory care for a loved one, we invite you to learn more about our Connections program and how we’re flipping the traditional senior living model.

Contact a memory care community near you.

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