Memory Care: The Beauty of Engaging


  Person-centered care can be seen throughout The Arbor Activity Center at Wesley Homes Lea Hill, where memory care is provided to all residents 24 hours a day, 7-days a week. Activity Coordinator Carla Lopez-Wilkerson has managed the Activity Center since November 2013. Her main focus is to design programs that fit a resident’s physical and social needs. Activities include physical fitness games as well as brain fitness games and run the gamut from walks around the garden courtyard to art therapy. The physical fitness games are offered at different levels for each resident throughout the week. Brain fitness activities are offered in the morning twice a week and are extremely beneficial for less-severe residents. Carla recently introduced “e-reminiscing” to the residents. The group starts with a funny or inspirational YouTube video to initiate a discussion. “Once a discussion gets going, the internet is a valuable source,” said Carla.  “Introducing images from the past can spark a patient’s life experiences and are powerful to those with dementia.” Research shows that stimulating the mind and body can help with cognitive function, as in “use it, or lose it.” All activities create purpose and confidence in the residents. They are able to learn through the sense of accomplishment. “Some patients with dementia experience a flourishing of their creative side with things like art therapy. That’s exciting!” Carla said. One resident of The Arbor who is enjoying the new activities is Margaret Fiedler.  “When she does something, it’s beautiful,” said Dick, Margaret’s husband. Dick’s and Margaret’s children love what she creates. These activities have brought out her creative side in crafting a sun-catcher and watercolor paintings. Margaret has been participating three times a week for nine months, and Dick feels it’s been a real blessing. Along with the art activities, Margaret also plays bingo during the week. Other games at The Arbor include word games and puzzles, which Linda Ames’ mother, Lorene, likes. “Even with my mother’s failing eyesight and dementia, she does surprisingly well with these games.” Linda is very impressed with Carla’s loving and caring nature and with the new activities that Carla has introduced to the residents. Carla truly enjoys her one-on-one contact with the residents and loves seeing the positive impact the old favorites and new activities are having on them.