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Sunrise Achieves Milestone with New Memory Care Certification

Families who entrust the care of a loved one to a Sunrise Senior Living memory care community know firsthand how committed we are to each resident’s success. Our Reminiscence® neighborhoods utilize a person-centered approach that supports residents’ abilities and allows them to feel empowered and independent. It’s a standard of care that allows Sunrise to exceed industry standards in memory care and programming.

It all begins with the caregivers we hire and the on-going training we provide. We set the expectations of excellence and individualized care from day one and reinforce these on a regular basis. Now, all Sunrise communities with memory care programs can officially add another credential that demonstrates the quality of our care programs. It’s called the essentiALZ® certification and all of our communities in the United States and Canada are all now staffed with a team member who has earned it.

What is essentiALZ®?

The essentiALZ certification is a world-class dementia care certification developed by the Alzheimer’s Association. The program uses evidence-based best practices for providing care to adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Here are the best practices emphasized in the program:

  • Understanding and utilizing person-centered care
  • Needs assessment and care planning
  • Activities of daily living
  • Learning about common dementia related behaviors
  • Identifying techniques for communication

Each of these serve as a guideline for defining quality care in different care settings at every stage of the disease.

EssentiALZ Certification at Sunrise Senior Living

Over the course of 10 months, every Sunrise Senior Living community that offers memory care had a program leader become certified. Sunrise communities already follow the Dementia Care Practice Recommendations developed by the Alzheimer’s Association. These are the practices on which the EssentiALZ certification is based, and they serve to reinforce our existing philosophy and standards.

Each essentiALZ leader completes an online exam to earn their official certification. The certificate is valid for two years. Moving forward, the exam will become part of the onboarding process for all new memory care leaders.

Memory Care at Sunrise Communities

When an aging loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia, it can become increasingly difficult for families to manage the care of their loved one at home. Safety is often a leading concern. Families may also worry that their senior’s home environment doesn’t promote feelings of independence or empowerment.

This was the case for Ruth, a resident at one of our communities in Texas. Ruth did not want to make the transition to a senior living community, and she let everyone know it. From sitting alone at meals to refusing assistance with some of her tasks, Ruth dug in and let her care team know that they could not and should not help her. However, her care team was passionately invested in Ruth’s journey and understanding the root causes of her resistance to the transition. Through a person-centered care approach, team members across the community found ways to meet Ruth in her own reality through trust, compassion and working closely with Ruth’s daughter.

One night, a team member saw Ruth sitting alone at a puzzle table in a dimly lit room, long after many of her neighbors had gone off to bed. She sat, solitary and isolated fumbling around with the mess of pieces. Our team member politely joined her and began to build the puzzle with Ruth. It was quiet at first but as they built, the conversation turned from pleasantries to a meaningful discussion about bits from her life. Through a simple act of meeting Ruth where she was, the team member was able to support Ruth to let her guard down and enjoy the new home she had so actively opposed.

Over the weeks, this team member’s connection with Ruth grew and the whole community could see how much Ruth’s experience had changed. She joined the Resident Committee, signed up for all the outings, and became an unforgettable member of the community among residents and staff alike. Other care workers may have labeled her a “grump” or unhappy, but Sunrise’s team is trained in the practices of person-centered care which equips them with the tools to connect with residents on an interpersonal level and understand why they are feeling a certain way. It is through this type of training and certification like essentiALZ that Sunrise can deliver the care that allows residents like Ruth to live with the dignity and respect alongside people who love her for exactly who she was.

The challenges that Ruth faced are what quality memory care community and team are designed to support. From life skills stations and personalized lap boxes to a person-centered approach to care, Sunrise is a leading provider of memory care services in the United States and Canada. We invite you to call the community nearest you to learn more about our programs and how they can help a senior loved one enjoy their best quality of life at every stage of their disease.


Article By: Sunrise Senior Living

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