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Kane's Memory Care Unit Caters to Residents with Dementia-type Disorders

By Vanessa Orr

No matter how much a person may want to care for a loved one with dementia at home, the fact is, it can place an almost unbearable strain on the caregiver, and put the person with memory issues at risk. One of the best options available to families who are undergoing this difficult process is to find a safe, secure facility for their loved one that has been designed with his or her needs in mind.

The Memory Care Unit at Kane Scott was created specifically to cater to this patient population. Since it opened in spring of 2014, families have been able to relax knowing that their loved one with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia is receiving specialized, 24-hour care. Kane Scott is one of four Allegheny County-owned skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, which are located in Ross Township, Scott Township, McKeesport and Glen Hazel.

"I think what makes our Memory Care Unit unique is the programming that we offer to keep residents focused and entertained," said Bill LaLonde, community outreach representative, of the 45-bed facility. "The unit is staffed by recreational therapists who constantly provide games and activities to keep seniors engaged and socially active." Geriatric psychologists and geriatric nurse practitioners are also on-site to provide behavioral and medical care when needed.

This type of social interaction is especially important as research has shown that targeted activity programs can help to sustain mental function in patients with Alzheimer's or related-dementia type disorders. Supervised activities at Kane Scott include music therapy, pet involvement, crafts, exercises, horticulture, reminiscence therapy, spiritual services and supervised off-unit activities and trips, and residents can also take part in favorite past times, such as gardening and participating in regular household chores.

Kane decided to open a third secured unit—the other two are located at its Glen Hazel location—because the need for a safe, secure place for those with dementia continues to grow. "Unfortunately, there is a need in this community for more dementia beds; in fact, we might be looking at adding even more in the foreseeable future," said LaLonde. "It's a difficult decision for families to make, but you have to consider how much a person can still do on his or her own, especially if there's a risk of them wandering off or hurting themselves in their own homes. They often forget what they've just done five minutes ago."

According to the Alzheimer's Association, an estimated 5.3 million Americans of all ages currently have Alzheimer's disease, and by 2025, that number is expected to reach 7.1 million. Approximately 250,000 people living in Pennsylvania have been diagnosed with the disease or roughly 13 percent of Pennsylvania seniors.

Symptoms include memory loss that disrupts daily life, challenges in solving problems, difficulty completing familiar tasks and confusion with time and space, among other issues.

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To learn more about symptoms, visit www.alz.org. To learn more about the Memory care Unit at Kane Scott, or any of the Kane nursing and rehabilitation facilities, visit www.kaneismorethanable.com or call (412) 422-KANE.

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