A few weeks ago I was in the Denver area meeting with existing Vigil Health Solutions customers and prospects.  I was able to tour some terrific communities.  One of the best was my visit to New Dawn Memory Care community in Aurora. New Dawn  Memory Care is an Arizona based assisted living company that focuses on providing deeply personalized care to seniors with all types of dementia. 

They are part of an emerging wave of second or third generation memory care companies that have looked at what worked well in earlier generations and built on that knowledge base. The Aurora campus is their first community and has been open for two and a half years.

  It is full with a waiting list. 

The community consists of three adjacent buildings, each with 16 private, one bedroom one bath, residential apartments.  The apartments face the outside and the core contains the kitchen and activity areas. New Dawn Memory Care has a second community under construction in Arizona and four more communities under development in Colorado Springs and Ft. Collins, Colorado and in  Williamsburg  Richmond, Virginia.

A Unique Population

One of the most unique attributes of this community is the ratio of men to women.  The average senior community, whether independent living, assisted living or skilled nursing, has a ratio of 20-30% male and 70-80% female.  New Dawn  Memory Care of Aurora has a male population of 60%. I spent  time exploring this phenomenon with Rebecca Sturtz, New Dawn’s Vice-president of New Home Development.  They did not set out to create a community that caters to men. Rather, it turns out, this is a reflection of the local community’s demographics  and needs.  As New Dawn Memory Care has explored why this is true here are some observations:

  • While it is not entirely clear that male dementia residents are more combative than female residents, they often retain a surprising level of physical strength.  As a result, male residents frequently end up being discharged to higher levels of care, when comparable behavior in women does not result in a transfer.  New Dawn has developed a number of strategies to effectively address these behaviors.
  •  New Dawn Memory Care has invested a great deal of time and effort to understand the unique needs of their male dementia residents.  They train their resident assistants to use various techniques to distract and redirect their male residents when they are engaged in problematic behaviors.  By being proactive in this area, small problems are more likely to stay small.  Each New Dawn Memory Care’s staff person is trained by the Alzheimer’s Association CARES Program prior to starting work with residents so that all they better understand the challenges of the disease.
  • While aged and confused, many of their male residents continue to have sexual urges, and because of their dementia, they often act on these urges in inappropriate places.  New Dawn Memory Care has found ways to allow their male residents these needs in appropriate settings.
  • Because they have been so successful in addressing the unique needs of their male residents, New Dawn Memory Care has become a preferred placement for men who otherwise might end up in a locked geropsych unit or skilled nursing facility.

All of these factors considered, perhaps  the biggest reason they have had this amazing success with males is that they are committed to making sure that,once a resident has been accepted into their community, they will be able to live there until they pass away.  This is a commitment to create the highest possible quality of life for these individuals, who are parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

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Finally: If you know anyone who is looking at emergency call systems I would appreciate the opportunity to talk with them about Vigil Health Solutions.