Colorado's Veterans Community Living Centers are accustomed to assessing the abilities and interests of residents with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Based on information about each resident, we design and customize activities to meet their needs. This includes a strong family support group and a team of professionals, including our pharmacist, nursing and social services staff who routinely meet to properly manage medications for residents and to allow those living in our living center to remain as alert yet calm as possible.
Following principles of The Eden Alternative, a leading organization in long-term-care culture change, we do our best to eliminate residents' feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and boredom. This begins before or upon admission, when we gather information about each resident's routine, preferences and dislikes. We also seek input from residents and families on individual meal choices, activities, outings, etc. With all of this information, we work to provide care that is consistent with our elders' choices.
Staff assignments and training are focused on meeting the unique needs of memory care residents. For example, special dementia training is provided to staff across all disciplines. Also, consistent staffing enables residents and staff to get to know each other more quickly, which can increase the resident's comfort in our living centers.
Our secure environment may be appropriate for individuals who have Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia, have unsafe wandering behavior, and are considered a danger to themselves or others. They may not understand the need to live in our home and may wander away or voice or exhibit the intent to leave. They also may not do well in large group settings.
Click below to further explore our facility-specific Alzheimer's and dementia care programs:
- Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons
The Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons offers a secure, 21-bed memory care unit, or "neighborhood," with spacious rooms, recreation areas and outdoor gardens. An in-house pharmacy enables staff to become familiar with residents' conditions and history, to communicate this information to physicians and to respond quickly to medication order changes. Also, pharmacists and nursing staff maintain close, ongoing communication to provide the best possible care for our residents.
Fitzsimons works to provide a home-like environment. Residents who live throughout the nursing home are encouraged to bring in familiar items such as personal belongings and even their own furniture if desired. All of the Fitzsimons nursing staff attends specialized two-day dementia training developed by experienced Fitzsimons staff. The training teaches staff to create meaningful interactions, maintain a positive approach, communicate in engaging ways, slow down to enable the resident to track and understand information, eliminate stress in the environment, avoid stimulation overload, provide activities that focus on their remaining abilities and help meet residents' nutritional needs.
- Bruce McCandless Veterans Community Living Center at Florence
The Bruce McCandless Veterans Community Living Center at Florence offers a 20-bed memory care neighborhood known as the Four Seasons Trail neighborhood. In this neighborhood we offer:
- Semi-private, recently updated rooms with have large windows, new flooring and individual temperature controls
- Bright, sunny living and dining rooms that help provide a pleasant environment for our residents
- A spacious and beautifully manicured secured courtyard that allows for safe access to fresh air and sunshine
Staff assignments and training are focused on meeting the unique needs of memory care residents. For example, special dementia training is provided to staff across all disciplines. Also, consistent staffing enables residents and staff to get to know each other more quickly, which can increase the resident's comfort in our living center.
- Veterans Community Living Center at Homelake
Veterans Community Living Center at Homelake does not have a separate, secure memory care neighborhood. However, for individuals with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia who do not require a secure unit, Homelake provides care designed to meet their individual needs.
Residents throughout the living center can receive many types of memory care services:
- Our sensory program is designed for residents who are not able to speak or participate in activities physically, mentally, or cognitively on their own. Offered at least three times a week, the program targets three or more of the five senses. Individual and group activities may include hand massages, aroma therapy, cooking classes, petting a dog, outside walks, listening to music and tasting different foods.
- Several members of our nursing staff have participated in validation therapy, which promotes hearing, acknowledging and respecting the person's opinions, values and beliefs and avoids confrontation or correcting the person.
- Homelake works to make bathing a positive activity for residents with dementia. Assigned bath aid staff members provide bathing that is consistent with individual residents' needs and wants. Techniques are based on "Bathing without a Battle" principles. Depending on what works best with individual residents, approaches can include using a basin of water, no-rinse soap or body wipes. Bathing also can be done while the resident is sitting in a chair or lying in bed. Singing or engaging in conversation also can calm residents during the process, and bathing can be stopped altogether if the individual becomes uncomfortable or wants to reschedule.
- A wander monitoring system allows staff, through a computer system, to know where residents are throughout the living center. In the event a resident is near an exit, the staff is alerted to their location for their safety.
- Veterans Community Living Center at Rifle
The Veterans Community Living Center at Rifle offers a 12-bed secure unit, or "neighborhood," for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia who require additional structure and specialized attention. Called Grass Mesa, this neighborhood is designed to help residents maintain as much independence and freedom as possible, while also minimizing safety risks. Residents in this neighborhood enjoy:
- A home-style environment with Western décor and residents' photos displayed on the walls
- Choices for dining anytime between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., with options for special orders
- A small kitchen offering ice cream, fruit and other snacks throughout the day
- A secure outdoor courtyard complete with picnic tables
- Opportunities for barbecues and other gatherings attended by residents and family members
Nursing staff members receive specialized dementia training that promotes resident choice and independence. Also, the secure neighborhood maintains a consistent group of staff, helping residents become familiar with their caregivers and promoting a sense of family.
- Spanish Peaks Veterans Community Living Center at Walsenburg
The memory care unit in Spanish Peaks Veterans Community Living Center at Walsenburg provides the following services and amenities:
- Dining room
- Multipurpose activity room
- Fenced large wrap-around outside garden with gazebo
- High-quality security cameras for increased, yet subtle, monitoring