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Fitness, health, and care for the mind

Full spectrum of memory support at Linden Ponds

Created date

May 29th, 2014
Tom and Eva Marx in their Linden Ponds apartment home. Tom participates five days a week in the Intermissions program right on campus.
Tom and Eva Marx in their Linden Ponds apartment h

From memory-sharpening exercises to comprehensive cognitive care, those who live at Linden Ponds have access to a wide range of memory support. 

“There’s a whole continuum available to you, whatever phase of memory support you may need,” says Meredith Scott, Linden Ponds’ resident life director. Scott oversees the coordination of access to all components of the Memory Support Program.

Linden Ponds’ Memory Support Program comprises three components: Memory Fitness, Memory Health, and Memory Care. All components are coordinated with the community’s on-site medical facilities and are available to those who live in the community. 

Exercising the brain

At Linden Ponds, memory support takes place in the classroom, medical center, and with self-directed activities. 

The classroom-based Memory Fitness Program is a six-week, 12-session course designed to enhance and maintain memory function. Based on The Memory Prescription, by Gary Small, M.D., participants learn tips and exercises for short-term memory improvement as well as lifestyle changes to maintain a healthy brain, including diet, physical exercise, relaxation, and stress management. 

“People feel they’ve benefited from knowing the life changes they need to make as well as some of the things they’ve learned about how to just remember things like names and faces and grocery lists,” Scott says. “We practice ways that we could all use to be able to remember things.”

A memory course is offered twice a year at Linden Ponds and is open to the entire community. 

Those who participate in the classroom program are also encouraged to take advantage of Linden Ponds’ self-directed activities, from exercise classes in the community’s fitness center to meditation and massage.

Residents may also be recommended for a coordinating Medical Wellness Program during an annual wellness visit with a physician in the Linden Ponds medical center. This program includes cognitive screening and may include additional cognitive testing. 

Meeting resident and caregiver needs

People with some level of cognitive impairment may benefit from Memory Health at Linden Ponds. Memory Health includes Intermissions, a daily on-site activity program; Home Health and Home Support Services; and physical, occupational, and speech therapy in Linden Ponds’ outpatient rehabilitation facility. It also includes mental health services, if needed. 

“The good part about Memory Health is it addresses all of the areas or needs of either the caregiver or the resident when they encounter memory impairment,” Scott says. “It’s a whole phase of treatment that is managed medically, socially (through Intermissions), and safely in an independent living environment. And it provides respite and education for caregivers.” 

When Eva Marx and her husband Tom moved to Linden Ponds, Tom had already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. At first he underwent speech therapy at Linden Ponds, but ultimately he was recommended for Intermissions. 

Based in what outwardly appears to be another apartment home at Linden Ponds, Intermissions is a safe and engaging place for participants, who attend from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for up to five days a week. 

Eva visited Intermissions to meet the staff members who run the program. Eva learned that, each day, participants start their mornings with coffee and discussion of current events, followed by a full schedule of activities, including lunch, trivia, arts and crafts, singing, and games, depending on the day.  

“They stay engaged the entire time, and they all seem to enjoy it,” Eva says.

Tom visited for a trial day and, when he seemed to like it, began attending two or three days a week. Today he attends all five weekdays. 

“It’s become very much a part of his routine and something he looks forward to,” Eva says, adding, “It’s given me opportunities without worrying and wondering if he’s happy.”

Of the Intermissions staff, Eva says: “I can’t say enough about the staff for their caring. I think that makes so much of a difference.”

Meaningful memory care

If family and health care providers determine that a person would benefit from a more structured environment, someone with cognitive impairment may be recommended for a transition to the Memory Care component of Rose Court, Linden Ponds’ continuing care neighborhood. 

Within Memory Care, residents receive supportive services 24 hours a day. The program encompasses three levels of engagement, from individual achievement to group involvement, and incorporates daily activities that provide personal meaning, optimal independence, satisfaction, and overall enjoyment of life.

The structured program in Memory Care comprises planned activities, including exercise, arts and crafts, trivia, and outings, all led by a staff member. In the self-directed program, residents visit memory stations, including woodworking and handwork. In the guided activity program, residents work with staff to carry out daily activities, such as folding laundry or setting the table, and reminisce about subjects of interest. 

“The main idea behind all three Memory Care programs is to provide purposeful and meaningful activities to our residents every day,” says Rose Court Program Manager Christina Galanis.