Argentum's latest Senior Living Innovation Series white paper centers on the field of programs that are marking the definitions of innovation in memory care.
The 32-page white paper is the third in a series of five topics viewed as imperatives within senior living industry over the next 10 years.
Survey data from Argentum members and additional literature sources led to the list of 39 programs and innovative practices described in the report, including several programs from other countries. Programs are categorized as transformational, breakthrough, incremental or tried-and-true. Innovations can be as encompassing as a building-wide environmental design approach or as singular as an art activity.
While many of the entries center on activities such as music or art therapy, others focus on innovative approaches to staff training, technology, nutrition, cognitive stimulation and end-of-life care.
It's no surprise that environmental design innovations are included—while seven out of 10 senior residents have some sort of cognitive decline, only 10 percent of the 30,000 care communities are designed exclusively for residents with dementia, the report notes.
The challenges to memory care innovation are widespread—starting with clinicians' understanding of what defines and drives the disease. Legal and regulatory forces, the reimbursement landscape and the trend of "branded programs" are all in the mix, the authors add.
"Advancing best practices in the care of residents with dementia must be a priority for the industry," the report authors write. "Innovation requires a willingness to experiment and the patience to wait for evidence to emerge."
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