By Deb Silverthorn
According to the World Health Organization, around 50 million people have dementia, one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year. The Legacy Senior Communities of The Legacy Midtown Park and The Legacy Willow Bend are allowing residents of their Memory Support neighborhoods to flourish, thrive and enjoy full lives.
“Our residents are our family, really there is so much love in our building and I’m so excited to have the community coming to life as people are moving in,” said Cheryl Weitz, Memory Support director of The Legacy Midtown Park. “It is so heartwarming to see our new residents engaging with our staff, participating in activities in a safe, secure and homey environment.”
The Legacy Midtown Park, where residents began moving in late last month, is offering move-in discounts and other specials. The new facility has 36 private residential suites, of which four are companion-suites so a resident can be with their spouse or other companion. There is also an open kitchen; the open-kitchen concept provides the sights, smells and warmth of home, while promoting positive dining experiences. In addition, there are several common areas including a theater, an activity and piano room and an outdoor patio and terrace garden, all in a secure area.
“We provide person-centered care that is specific to each of our residents,” said Weitz, whose relationship with Legacy Senior Communities began more than a decade ago. She started as a part-time volunteer coordinator working for her mother, Florence Kramer. She then succeeded her mom as the volunteer director, and served as assisted living manager in two facilities, at the now-closed Legacy Preston Hollow and at Highland Springs.
Among the new “residents” at The Legacy Midtown Park are Tex and Tabby, a dog-and-cat team of robotic pets. The animals, which bark, purr, meow, blink and comfort, are part of the cutting-edge technology being introduced by The Legacy Senior Communities.
Also in use for Memory Support residents is the Birdsong tablet that, in addition to allowing residents to easily connect via audio and video calls to family, friends and caregivers, is a brain-fitness building technology. Residents each have a digital “memory box” that allows friends and family to load photographs from anywhere.
The Legacy Willow Bend’s Medical Director Dr. Kuldeep Singh, a UT Southwestern specialist of diseases and conditions associated with aging, provides outpatient testing, evaluation and treatment. At The Legacy Willow Bend, there are 18 private memory support suites.
“We’re here to help with queuing and direction, activities that keep residents engaged in small groups or individual settings,” said Anu Pokhrel, Assisted Living Memory Support director for The Legacy Willow Bend. “We’re a team of compassionate caregivers holding ourselves to the highest standards. It’s an honor to be a part of this community.”
Lynne Lautin is the daughter of Buddy and Rita Rosenthal, who have lived at The Legacy Willow Bend for six years. She described her mom’s move to the Memory Support neighborhood of the campus as “seamless and best for her.” Her mom is still close to her husband but with staff and programming best suited to her. “She is always stimulated and engaged — there’s singing and painting and so many activities — and she’s close enough to Dad, now that everyone is vaccinated, to be able to be together.”
The Legacy Senior Communities team is available for counsel, recommendations and support for families researching the best care for their loved ones, regardless of whether they are considering residential care. A doctor’s admission order is necessary for move-in but the Memory Support teams from both facilities make at-home assessments, to determine the level of care needs.
“There are 180 types of dementia,” said Weitz, “and we are engaged with each person in whatever manner they require.”
For more information on either location, visit thelegacyseniorcommunities.org.