Today, Griffin Living hosted the keynote panel at the BRAIN Memory Care conference, hosted by Senior Housing News, in Chicago. The panel was moderated by the CEO of senior developer Griffin Living, Paul E. Griffin III, and featured memory disorder expert Dr. James Mastrianni and memory care director James Christensen.
Griffin emphasized the importance for senior living developers to understand the causes and treatments for dementia: “We’re delighted to be part of the conversation on memory care. We want to understand the customers and their needs so we can best serve them.”
Dr. James Mastrianni, a professor of neurology at the University of Chicago and a clinician at a memory care clinic, spoke to the 150 conference attendees at BRAIN about the current clinical understanding of Alzheimer’s and dementia. He also discussed the research being conducted that makes experts hopeful about a potential cure for Alzheimer’s in the future.
In the meantime, according to Dr. Mastrianni, Alzheimer’s care is more about lifestyle interventions, like making sure patients get enough sleep and proper nutrition. Exercise is the most important lifestyle intervention for managing dementia, Dr. Mastrianni emphasized.
James Christensen, Director of Memory Care at Griffin Living’s Varenita of Simi Valley community, accompanies and manages memory care residents with Alzheimer’s through these daily activities to promote their health and longevity. When hiring staff, James looks for people who are “person-centered and not just task-oriented.” He added, “I find team members who can slow down enough to live moment to moment with the resident, find out what is stressing them, and identify something that can redirect them.”
To maximize the effectiveness of his memory care programs, James said, “I personally invite each resident to participate. I try to make them feel like they’re my only resident.” This personal engagement helps to get the buy-in necessary from residents and supports them in making the lifestyle changes needed to maintain or improve their cognitive functioning.
While Dr. Mastrianni and James concurred that there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or memory disorders (for now), all of these lifestyle factors can help “build a physical and cognitive reserve and lead to a dramatic improvement in quality of life.” Griffin says, “Then we have a reason for being in business.”