Facing the realities of memory loss is never easy, especially for the loved ones of dementia patients. Health and safety become paramount, often requiring alternative living arrangements. Parc Provence in Creve Coeur is dedicated to making that transition easier for families. The vibrant senior living community specializes in memory care, and its staff work with families by offering support, expertise and understanding.
For regional activity consultant Shelly McGuire, working in senior living allows her to focus on helping others. She began at Parc Provence when it opened as its first activity director, and in her current role, she also serves as a consultant for McKnight Place Extended Care and McKnight Place Assisted Living & Memory Care. “I work with the activity directors and their departments to ensure they are equipped to offer their best to our residents,” she explains. “When residents are active, especially physically, it can help with circulation, reduce the risk of diseases, strengthen bones and improve or maintain the ability to do their everyday activities. It can improve brain health as well.”
While there is no way to reverse or stop the progression of dementia, McGuire notes that Parc Provence staff are dedicated to ensuring residents’ individual strengths are recognized, so they can continue to live with dignity and enjoy a higher quality of life. Creating opportunities for them to stay active and engaged is a major part of this. “When creating activity programs, we personalize them to best fit residents’ interests, strengths and needs,” she says. “For example, individuals in the middle stages of dementia still have the ability to use their hands, so activities like sanding, cleaning, sorting or organizing are a great way to maintain those abilities longer.”
Parc Provence also offers art and music therapy to help residents reach specific goals, such as managing stress, expressing feelings, increasing socialization and enhancing memory. It’s all part of the community’s dedication to putting residents’ overall health and wellness first. “We want to make sure we offer a well-rounded program that meets each resident’s needs spiritually, mentally, physically and socially,” McGuire says. “This can range from yoga to life-long learning programs to spiritual offerings. Even residents in the later stages of dementia can be impacted by these activities. It is the best way to engage their memory and improve their quality of life.”
Social engagement is another important component of the care Parc Provence offers. The community uses the Claudia Allen and Retrogenesis theories to organize residents in households with peers of similar cognitive levels, and it also ensures that families can continue to engage with their loved ones through visits and special events. “Socialization helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression—in fact, it helps with all around wellness and may even slow the progression of dementia,” McGuire notes. “We just had our annual dog show, and several families entered their pets. The residents loved seeing and petting the dogs while spending time with their loved ones. The joy and smiles on their faces were contagious.”
Text based on an interview by Stephanie Wallace in Town&Style Saint Louis