About the Expert
Andrea Natalizio is the director of sales and marketing at HarborChase of McKinney. She has over a decade of experience in managing senior and retirement communities in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Her passion and focus in this field have resulted in senior adults having an abundant life — full of joy, with strength for spirit, soul, and body.
What makes memory care different from assisted living or active adult living?
Our memory care residence, The Cove, has dedicated services for seniors who need a home-like intimate setting. Memory care differs from assisted living or active adult living in that it offers more specialized care, with an emphasis on each resident’s unique needs. Residents can move about and explore different safe areas which are aimed at enriching their quality of life. Areas or sensory rooms employ light, music, and tactile objects that can calm or stimulate. There are shared living and dining rooms.
What kind of specialized care does The Cove provide for its residents and their families and/or caregivers?
The Cove associates and staff are well-trained caregivers. They get to know the unique needs of each resident and deliver a person-focused care plan. We carefully select those individuals with caregiving knowledge and expertise, as well as a warm and caring spirit.
How do intimate settings and/or cognitive activities or gatherings help these residents?
These spaces create a comforting environment for residents. They are designed to relieve stress and maximize a resident’s focus. They may improve their memory or communication skills. Our daily calendar of events has activities that are mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually fulfilling.
Music events and games, word games, trivia, cooking, gardening, art, yoga, walking, and dancing are just a few of the available activities. Our program, Vibrance, an iN2L Senior Engagement Technology program, connects seniors to sensory experiences as well as online engagement with family or friends. Using touchscreen technology, it houses a library of memory brain games, physical fitness, and exercise programs. This technology has proven benefits that enhance quality of life, reduce anxiety, elevate mood, and improve communication and relationships with loved ones.
What is Harbor Chase’s “Silhouette of My Life” profile for residents and how is that crucial to their overall health?
Depending on a resident’s level of care, a care plan is created for the individual through a silhouette created by the resident and their family and loved ones. This helps us provide an individualized, tailor-made program for them.
How important is it for families to be involved in the resident’s care?
It’s very important. We provide educational classes for family and friends, with an open invitation for them to visit, enjoy meals, and take part in their loved one’s daily activities anytime they want. Each resident’s room has a memory box outside the door where family members or the resident can place a favorite meaningful past picture or item that will help the resident connect to that room.
Our memory care director stays in direct contact with family. We also send out “One Day” videos to our residents’ families and friends. We want our residents to find purpose in each day. Whether that is through music, an art class, a guided fitness class, or just the plain joy of laughter and love amongst each other, the environment is a positive one.