This Man Decided to Transform the Rooms of a Retirement Home into Little Neighborhood Houses.

This Man Decided to Transform the Rooms of a Retirement Home into Little Neighborhood Houses.

At 92, Norma had a strange habit ... a habit that saddened those around her. Every night at around 5.30 pm, she told the staff at her retirement home that she had to leave. The staff asked her why she had to leave them and she answered quietly that she had to go and take care of her mother at home. Of course, her mother had been dead for many years. This type of reaction is quite common in elderly people with Alzheimer's disease.

For example, Walter, another resident of this nursing home, claimed his breakfast every evening at 7:30 pm. For John Makesh, the director of this retirement home, this kind of anecdotes is not exceptional. It's even his daily lot.

But it is precisely these anecdotes that gave him the idea to make some changes to the retirement home he runs. "At first I thought I knew a lot about caring for the elderly, but the more time I spent with my patients, the more I realized I did not know much."

Confusion is not uncommon in people with Alzheimer's. But for Jean Makesh, there must have been a way to limit its scope. For him, the environment in which we live has a huge impact on everyday life. That's when an idea started to emerge in his mind.

"What if we made a retirement home that looks like a small village?" he asks himself. "A small village with a sunrise and a sunset inside the building - and even a moon and stars at night - could we even go further and build small houses in the style of the 30s and 40s?"

And, that was only the beginning of his project! Subsequently, he also added sound therapy or aromatherapy. Not to mention the carpet that looks like grass on the floor! As a result, he has created an absolutely unique and warm care center.

After the success of the first Lantern Center in Madison, Ohio, USA, two new centers were created. Each time, patients are housed in a small "house", located on a street inside the center. For many of the residents, this looks like their childhood neighborhood and brings back good memories. The artificial sky lights up and darkens to respect the patients' biological clock.

Change the way you think about dementia

During the day, we hear natural noises. Scents of peppermint or citrus are diffused in the air. And when we know that studies have shown the positive impact of aromatherapy on the cognitive functioning of patients, we understand the value of this approach. In this health center, there is even a street where residents can meet to talk. Yet beyond the comfort provided, Jean Maeksh wants to change the way we see this type of diseases. Nursing staff often impose living conditions and non-natural schedules on residents, which creates stress for residents. And the caregiver tries to solve these problems by giving them drugs: antipsychotic drugs or others to fight against anxiety.

In other words, if a person has dementia, they do not have access to the resources they need to be stimulated. Alas, Alzheimer's disease is still not cured. But this type of approach encourages thinking differently about the disease.

"In 5 years, we hope to make our patients more autonomous," says Jean Makesh. This type of innovative approach helps restore hope to families.

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