Jean Makesh, the CEO of Lantern assisted living facilities knew that his clients had severe cases of Alzheimer’s and dementia, but had never really thought about what he could do to improve their daily lives. When he decided to take a closer look, stories began pouring in from nurses and carers.
I thought I knew a lot about elderly care. The more and more time I was spending with my clients, that’s when I realized, ‘Oh my god, I have no clue.'”
One woman demanded every evening at 5:30pm to leave because she needed to care for her mother whom had passed away years earlier. A man demanded breakfast every night at 7:30pm, his biological clock disrupted by the atmosphere of the facility. The cold and bright rooms were making life that much harder on residents, and Makesh knew that he needed to try…something. Anything.
And so they designed this incredibly facility that mimics day and night cycles in the hallways, complete with dimming lights and the weather projected onto the ceilings. The entryways to each room caters to the average age of the people living there, taking into account the feel of the neighborhoods and time periods that they grew up in. Some hallways reflect life in the 30’s and 40’s. Some are more modern.He has also included sound and aromatherapy, pumping in different fragrances such as citrus and peppermint to help calm the residents. Carpets that look like grass, rooms that feel like “home,” and tables and chairs to mimic the feel of a neighborhood cafe, and even the sounds of nature or a busy city help residents get their bearings and adjust to their new lives.It isn’t a cure, but Makesh is confident that in 5 or 10 years, residents will have adjusted to the way their brains work in a way that will allow them to move back out into the world on their own, sending them “home” without heavily medicating them instead.
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