May 03, 2021 3:16 PM

Enhanced dementia care engagement is key in Kidron Bethel project

Posted May 03, 2021 3:16 PM
Live Forward Loop Courtesy Kidron Bethel
Live Forward Loop Courtesy Kidron Bethel

NORTH NEWTON, Kan. – In late 2019, after a year-long training and accreditation process, Kidron Bethel Village was accredited by Comfort Matters, an evidence-based dementia care program that provides top-quality care and quality of life for people living with dementia.

Since that time, campus staff and administrators have dreamed of incorporating unique and innovative elements to support residents who have difficulty thinking.

With planned enhancements focused on dementia care, the campus’s Live Forward campaign will continue to build on Kidron Bethel’s reputation as a safe, comfortable and engaging home for all people, including those living with dementia. Specifically, the plans include the installation of indoor and outdoor walking paths designed to increase movement, freedom and engagement through tactile stimulation, sensory components and interactive elements.

“Providing innovative and progressive care to all residents is an important element of what we do at Kidron Bethel,” said Executive Director Linda Peters. “We’re planning several innovative installations that will enrich the lives of those who have difficulty with thinking. Our design will complement our Comfort Matters dementia programming.”

Studies show that exercise, sunshine and fresh air have positive effects on brain health for people of all ages and capacities. Likewise, person-centered care such as sensory and memory stimulation, rather than pharmacological means, can promote physical and emotional comfort to those living with dementia. The plans for the new walkways look to capitalize on natural elements and tactile engagement.

Included in the Live Forward plans is a therapeutic walking loop that travels both and indoors and outdoors.

“Many people who are diagnosed with dementia demonstrate wandering behaviors, such as walking aimlessly down corridors, going into other people’s rooms and staring out exit doorways,” said Peters. “Our project design incorporates both interior and exterior ‘wandering loops’ in response to these types of behaviors. Residents can wander safely and under visual supervision of staff.”

The interior loop will be located near a small sitting area that has both visual and physical access to an outdoor courtyard. The courtyard path will loop around trees as well as raised garden beds that will encourage people to stop and sit for a while or even get their hands dirty in the garden bed.

“These paths encourage independence and mobility, as well as visual stimulation and, if desired, socialization with others on the pathways, all while keeping people safe and secure,” said Peters.

“Each element of the campaign’s enhancements speaks well to the forward living nature from which the campaign takes its name,” said Derek Yoder, vice president of fund advancement. “This whole project was designed to be forward thinking and innovative so it can benefit residents now and well into the future.”

To learn more about the enhancements and timelines of the Live Forward campaign, visit kidronbethel.org/liveforward.