Memory Care America - May 2019

Memory Care Moments

MAY 2019

1.833.MEM.CARE • 833.636.2273

LINDA CARRASCO SHARES HER MEMORY CARE JOURNEY Meeting You There For the past 30 years, I’ve dedicated my career to the health care field and older-adult care. It might sound crazy to some people, but I honestly believe God placed me on this earth to care for elderly people. It’s what I have always loved to do, and I cannot imagine doing anything else. Still, the devotion to those with memory care continued to stall. Everyone knew what happened when you went behind those double doors

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of each facility, and while this care was better than it had been, it was nothing like the quality of life people deserved. For some residents, what was through those double doors was terrifying.

In the early stages of my career, I was a social worker for a nursing home. I noticed this strange phenomenon of children bringing their seemingly healthy parents in for long-term care, simply because there were no other options available outside of a nursing home. There was no such thing as memory care or assisted living, so when Mom or Dad showed signs of a possible decline, children did what they thought was right. Heartbreakingly enough, I still have vivid memories of residents telling me, “This is where your family brings you to die.”

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Eventually, as memory care continued to improve, I was approached by Memory Care America to become the executive director at Memory Care of Westover Hills in San Antonio, Texas. Once again, I was in another position that I loved, and I saw firsthand the revolution of memory care. I was particularly impressed with the layout and style of our facility, which felt more like a town square with its patios, gardens,

I thought, There has to be more than this.

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Thankfully, the standards and

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care opportunities began to improve. The company I was working for at the time opened an assisted living facility, and I was asked to help with the opening. I absolutely loved this position, and it was primarily because I watched residents come in

... it ’ s our job to make sure your loved one gets five more months , five more weeks , or even five more minutes of happiness .

and apartments. I’ve since become the director of operations with Memory Care America, and I have the pleasure of overseeing five very different yet compassionate facilities. I’ve seen the

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caregivers' dedication to creating a better quality of life, including the implementation of sensory stimulations, hydration programs, and fall-prevention workshops. I am completely enamored with the mission of Memory Care America, especially since the care fits into our residents’ lives.

and actually thrive. They were living in a homelike environment,

they had a social life, they didn’t have to cook, and there was someone on hand to care for them when they needed it. Late-in-life care was vastly improving compared to when I first began my career.

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“You have no idea that you’re going to be in the position of caregiver for your mom,” says Norma Hemphill of Converse, Texas. Her mother, Norma Williams, was diagnosed with cancer shortly after Hemphill’s retirement in May 2013. After Williams defeated cancer, her youngest daughter approached Hemphill, concerned about their mom’s mental well- being.

While it’s great not having your nose to the grindstone nine-to-five, leaving work also means leaving behind a lot of daily activities and social interaction. Eventually, having nothing but free time goes from relaxing to isolating, and that can be dangerous to your physical and mental health. When planning for retirement, it’s important to plan ways to stay active and engaged. Joining a new organization or club can be a huge benefit. Here are a few suggestions to help you stay active in retirement. Enjoy Your Hobbies Did you spend years dreaming about hitting the golf course every day? While it can be nice to spend some time alone on the green, consider joining a golfers club if you want to mix things up. Enjoy scrapbooking? Check for get-togethers at the craft shop. If you’ve always wanted to try pottery, look for a class at the rec center. It’s easy to find groups dedicated to just about any activity. Get Involved Think of the causes you’re passionate about and get involved! Animal shelters and soup kitchens are always looking for volunteer help. Book lovers of all ages can join their local Friends of Libraries chapter. To make a difference through politics, help with fundraisers or join an active campaign. If you want to stay closer to home, check out your local homeowners association. There are plenty of ways to engage with like- minded people while making a difference. Try Something New Don’t know where to start when looking for a group to join? Start online! Try searching “groups for retirees” and see what comes up. You might discover a travel group and start planning your trip to Asia. Or maybe you’ll have more fun mentoring young people in your professional field. Don’t be afraid to spend your retirement doing something new! There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your alone time, but don’t let your alone time turn into a lonely retirement. Joining a group can help you broaden your social circle, stay active, and maybe even learn something new about yourself. CLUBS: NOT JUST FOR HIGH SCHOOL The Best Way to Stay Active in Retirement

Eventually, Hemphill says, the family learned that Williams was living with dementia. Hemphill recalls her once-diligent mother forgetting to mail utility checks, walking around her building at night, and going to work after she was retired.

But for a woman who devoted her life to her work, her career was hard to give up. Even in her mid-80s, Williams would walk to her job at Julian Gold. One day, Hemphill saw Williams was tasked with removing staples and clips from papers that were to be shredded, and while it was a job that

Hemphill, a human resource expert, knew was very tedious, Williams was set on perfecting it. She was always a meticulous, hardworking, and well- dressed woman who was dedicated to others, Hemphill says. When a concerned security guard told Williams’ family that she was walking around at night, the family decided their devoted mother needed help. After a trial period at one of her son’s homes, Williams moved into an assisted living facility for the next two years. The family appreciated the care their mom was given, but as her health began to decline, she was in need of more specialized care. After learning their favorite staff member was leaving for Memory Care America, Williams' family decided it was time to move their mom, too, and they knew just where to go. “It was clean, friendly, resilient; it’s just gorgeous. It was very refreshing to know we don’t need to worry. [The staff tells us,] ‘She’s okay. We’re taking good care of her.’ When we moved her in, she told my sister, ‘Don't touch anything! Don’t touch anything!’” Hemphill recalls with a little laugh regarding seeing Memory Care of Westover Hills. “She was just in awe. She was very, very impressed with the facility, as well.” More than a year after her move to Memory Care of Westover Hills, Williams has been shown nothing but care, Hemphill says. Even her smallest needs — such as labeling her clothes — have been attended to, and everyone, from the support staff and the nurses to the top executives, has given Williams the care and attention she deserves. If you would like to be featured in our newsletter or if you know a family that could benefit from our services, please call 833-MEM-CARE (636- 2273) or visit Don’t keep our work a secret; referrals are the best compliment you can give us.


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Caring Communities Memory Care America Celebrates Spring

Jim Walesa (middle left), event planner Christin Hemmens, Rudy Carrasco (far left), and Memory Care America director of operations Linda Carrasco (far right) celebrate at the Fiesta.

M emory Care America celebrated the grand opening of its new headquarters in Castle Hills, Texas, this April! During the fiesta-themed festivities, The Feral Four set the tone with upbeat songs that had everyone on their feet. Guests enjoyed delicious food prepared by Chef Richard of Memory Care of Westover Hills, and a fashionable four-legged friend even stopped by. Residents across Memory Care America’s five communities hosted their own springtime celebrations as well! Memory Care of New Braunfels joined in on the fiesta fun this spring, while Memory Care of Naples’ residents, families, and staff celebrated a 100th birthday.

This dog went all-out for our fiesta-themed celebration for the grand opening of Memory Care America’s new headquarters.

Guests enjoyed delicious food prepared by Chef Richard of Memory Care of Westover Hills.

Fiesta time means fun at Memory Care of New Braunfels!

The Feral Four band gets everyone moving.

A resident turns 100 years young at Memory Care of Naples!

Memory Care of Westover Hills business office manager, Sonia, and Memory Care of New Braunfels business office manager, Kacie, with guests from the Castle Hills Fire Department.

Easter festivities were also in full swing this season. Memory Care of Westover Hills had live music and dancing to celebrate

Memory Care of Simpsonville boasts some gorgeous Easter decor.

Easter, and Memory Care of Simpsonville was the best- dressed community this spring with festive decorations. Memory Care of Little Rock had the sweetest celebration, inviting kids from a local preschool to hunt for Easter treasure at its popular Easter egg hunt.

Residents, staff, and family enjoy live music and dancing during the Easter holiday.

Preschoolers show off their Easter finds at Memory Care of Little Rock’s annual Easter egg hunt!

Memory Care America would like to thank everyone who attended our headquarters celebration and our communities’ many events. If someone you know would like to learn more, don’t keep our work a secret! Direct them to our various communities online at or find us on Facebook.

... Continued from cover

I always say, “You have to go on their journey with them,” because it’s not about our timeline or even the fact that it’s 2019. For some of our residents, it’s still 1955, and they are young parents. In fact, when you look at the shadow boxes outside some of the residents’ rooms, you see far more old photos because in their mind, nothing has changed. There’s no harm in letting them happily live in the past, but you also have to support their families who are in 2019 and struggling with tremendous loss. Once, the son of a resident said to me, “Linda, I lost my dad, even though he’s in your facility. My daddy is gone. This is his shell. And when he goes, I’m going to actually lose my daddy twice. I already lost him, and now I’m going to lose his body.” The weight of that grief can be overbearing. Dementia is devastating, but it’s our job to make sure your loved one gets five more months, five more weeks, or even five more minutes of happiness. We have done something tremendous if we can give that to a family or a resident. There’s a tenderness in memory care that our residents and their families deserve. Regardless of where they are, we will meet our residents there.

Emerald May Remember

Memorial Nightingale Spring

Garden Blooming Day

Cinco Mayo

Gemini Mother

— Linda Carrasco

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Inside 1 Meet Director of Operations, Linda Carrasco! 2 Why Clubs and Activities Matter at Every Age 2 Family Spotlight: Norma's Journey 3 Memory Care America Photos and Festivities 3 Word Search 4 What Is the World’s Best Exercise?

Memory Care Wellness


Not all exercises are created equal. In fact, there is one form of exercise that is better than many others: walking. Harvard Medical School took a look at various exercises and concluded that walking is up there with swimming and tai chi in terms of health benefits.

these physical benefits, walking daily can improve your mood and overall mental health.

As simple and straightforward as walking is, it can be difficult for many people to find the time. Most experts agree that you need 30–60 minutes of physical activity per day, but the good news is that you can split those minutes up throughout your day. For example, you can take a brisk 20-minute walk in the morning before work, followed by another one at lunch and one more after dinner. Those 60 minutes also don’t have to be strenuous; they just need to happen. However, the more time you invest in walking, the more you will get out of it. If you slowly increase your distance and speed, you’ll end up burning more calories and strengthening your legs over time. The great thing about walking is that it’s not particularly taxing on the knees, and you can move at your own pace. It doesn’t get any better than that! To get the most out of walking, schedule your walks for after mealtimes, especially the ones that come later in the day, like lunch and dinner. It’s a great way to aid digestion and burn calories — which can’t hurt your waistline!

Regular walking can help maintain good cholesterol and blood pressure levels and keep your bones strong and healthy. One study showed that 40 minutes of walking every day helped people reduce blood pressure from hypertension to prehypertension, and then eventually to normal over several

months. Walking can even keep many different kinds of diseases at bay, such as diabetes and heart disease. In addition to


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