This man decided to turn nursing home rooms into small neighborhood homes

Every evening around 5:30, she would get up and tell the staff at her nursing home in Ohio that she had to leave. When they asked her why, she said she had to go home to take care of her mother. Obviously, his mother had been dead for a long time.

This kind of behavior is quite common for older people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Walter, another man in the same care home, was asking the staff for breakfast every night around 7:30 pm.

Jean Makesh, CEO of Lantern’s facilities, says he meets people with stories like these every day. It was their stories that inspired him to make some changes to Lantern.

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“I thought I knew a lot about caring for the elderly. The longer I spent with my clients, the more I realized, ‘Oh my god, I have no idea.

Confusion is common in Alzheimer’s patients, but Makesh knew there had to be a way to minimize this.

This man decided to turn nursing home rooms into small neighborhood homes

He is convinced that our environment has a huge effect on us, and he started to think of something revolutionary.

“What if we design an environment that looks like outside? ” did he declare. What if I can have a sunrise and a sunset inside the building and if I can get the moon and stars out? What if I build a unit that brings residents back to the 30s and 40s?

And that was only the beginning. He also studied sound therapy. And aromatherapy. And the carpet that looked like grass. No idea was insane.

Image crédit :Lantern of Saybrook / Facebook

His care center was really unique. And after testing the concept at Lantern in Madison, Ohio, Makesh opens two new locations this year.

Instead of rooms, each resident receives a “house” overlooking a small quiet inner street that recalls neighborhoods where many have grown up.

Image crédit :Lantern of Saybrook / Facebook

Now, residents see a digital sky, which darkens in the evening, not to disturb their biological clocks.

Image crédit :Lantern of Saybrook / Facebook

During the day, there are natural noises and fresh aromas like peppermint and citrus fruits.

Some studies have shown that this type of aromatherapy can actually improve cognitive functioning in Alzheimer’s patients.

There is even a small “main street” where residents can gather.

For Makesh, it’s not just about improving comfort. It changes the way we think at the end of a serious dementia.

Makesh said that one of the frustrating weaknesses of most nursing homes is that they create conflicts with unnatural environments and schedules, and they try to solve them by giving antipsychotic and anti-anxiety drugs to patients. In other words, when someone has serious dementia, we abandon him. From there, their brains no longer get the help they need to thrive.

Image crédit :Lantern of Saybrook / Facebook

Of course, we are far from a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

But the Makesh project shows that when we think strategically about changing the environment and focus on helping people relearn essential care and hygiene skills, the near impossible becomes possible.

Image crédit :Lantern of Saybrook / Facebook

“In five years, we will be able to rehabilitate our customers where they can live independently of our environment,” he said. “In 10 years, we can send them home. “

He knows it’s a high goal. And it remains to be seen if he will reach it. But in the meantime, he is proud to own one of the few places that offers something very rare in the case of serious dementia: hope.

Images: Lantern. Thanks to Jean Makesh and Dr. Sapna Dhawan

In France also good initiatives are taken see for example these therapeutic gardens or sensory garden: and these courses of health IME

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