When older adults suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia, they require more care than is provided. During the middle and last stages of their illnesses, individual safety becomes a priority. Hence, living at home is no longer an option. Addressing this factor, assisted living (AL) has become an increasingly popular long-term care option for older adults with Alzheimer’s or (please change “or” to “and other forms of”) dementia. Although these ALs operate on the philosophical model of providing autonomy, dignity, and facilitating maximum independence, they still vary in terms of the environment and services that they offer. This leads to questions about their quality of memory care, i.e., whether they provide suitable dementia-specific environments compared to other forms of care services.
But unlike most assisted living companies today, Artis Senior Living is a leading owner of Memory Care and Assisted Living residences that operates on—The Artis Way—a personalized approach to Alzheimer’s and dementia care that looks after the emotional and psychological needs of each resident for empowered care. With the mission to provide the finest senior care with compassion and sensitivity to residents’ needs, Artis develops, builds, and owns 27 communities operating in 11 states, with many more in various stages of development throughout the U.S. This approach is a standout among assisted living’s today.
In addition, safety is its top priority. Each of Artis’ Assisted Living and Memory Care communities is constructed with buildings and grounds that are designed with unique features that ensure residents’ safety with 24-hour supervision, allowing them to move around freely, both indoors and out.
Dedicated to Artis philosophy, Artis Senior Living has managed to create a haven of dignity, empowerment, well-being and comfort for its residents.
Let’s dive in to learn about Artis’ journey in creating a safe place for memory care.
Artis Specializes in—Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care
Artis Senior Living was formed in 2012 by five former colleagues who saw the growing need for quality senior care. Together they reassembled a team who learned much about memory care assisted living while addressing dementia in their own families. Led by CEO Don Feltman, the group developed and began operating 27 communities in 10 years, channeling their experiences into growing Artis into one of the country’s premier dementia care providers.
The Artis portfolio of communities is dedicated to memory care assisted living, a conscious decision to specialize and focus upon the unique challenges faced by those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Since Artis develops, builds, owns, and operates all its communities, this broad span of control creates enhanced accountability and focuses on Artis’ core mission of providing excellent care.
Individual Safety is the Company’s Priority
When it comes to memory care, many providers focus on safety first. But despite its necessity, there are multiple factors that remain unaddressed. Some instances have reported that several AL services, despite being dementia-specific, were not really providing more dementia-sensitive environments, such as the minimization of aversive stimuli or the provision of pleasant activities.
At Artis Senior Living, individual safety is prioritized in the first instance, and the building itself is designed to provide a safe environment. They are structured with secured areas, handrails, design, and décor to meet the sensory changes of a person with dementia and alert systems throughout the community.
They Put Psychological and Emotional Needs Ahead of the Disease Itself
Artis’ key to providing memory care is to put the person ahead of diseases and allow for opportunities to thrive despite the disease. Hence, besides safety, the company prioritizes the emotional and psychological needs of its residents by offering flexible mealtimes, opportunities for continued involvement in community interests, and engagement programs that provide purpose and learning.
Caring for the resident’s family and providing them with the support and guidance needed through the journey of dementia is the second key offering of Artis. Not only through support groups but also through educational offerings, the families are given the opportunity to learn more about the disease. They are considered part of the caregiving team and provided with the opportunity to share information about their loved one and contribute to their care plan.
Additionally, ancillary services are made available to residents living in memory care. These involve services such as hairdressing, psychiatric services, dental care, audiology, and podiatry. These help maximize care for a person with dementia while minimizing the inconvenience (change inconvenience to burden) to family members.
The Artis Way: From Foundation to Partnerships
It is vital that the entire team, including the residents, family members, associates, and other professionals, work together to provide the best quality of life for a person. Hence the foundation of Artis Way is partnerships.
Often, communities look to be the provider of choice. But Artis strives to be the partner of choice. This is done through the acronym ARTIS. The ability to have a voice (A) assures that all parties are part of the discussion. Residents who vote on issues in their community, associates who provide input on all aspects of operations, and family members who voice their wishes for themselves and their loved ones.
Respecting and Relationships (R) focuses on the partnerships that people have. For all involved with Artis, it is about fostering what relationships have been important to them. Whether it be by celebrating anniversaries, continuing volunteer work that they have done previously, honoring veterans, teachers, and nurses, or fostering their religious beliefs, a person is made up of a lifetime of relationships that create their life. Living or working in an assisted living community should not diminish relationships but instead enhance them.
Treasuring each person’s uniqueness (T) focuses on the individual and not the disease. Through a partnership profile, which is completed by associates, professionals and family members for their loved ones, what makes each person in the community unique is being learned. Whether that be a specific bedtime routine, a meal request, a way of taking a shower, a fear, life engagement experiences, favorite music, or likes. Providing meals at different times, painting suites different colors, offering life enrichment that meets all unique interests, and encouraging visits 24 hours a day.
Integrity (I) represents the need to do the right thing consistently for the residents, associates, and family members. Success and recognition (S) denote the importance of people feeling successful and being recognized for their achievements and efforts. For this, Artis has a resident ambassador program in which residents welcome their new neighbors, assist in the recognition programs of associates, and are involved in the touring of the community for potential new residents.
The ARTIS Way provides a solid foundation and a universal language and culture for all to work on together.
Technology—Supplements Human Interaction, Not Replaces It
The residents that are currently entering AL, including those with memory care, have had technology as part of their lives for decades. Although technology is a tool that can be used to make operations, care, and sales work more efficiently, at Artis, it is used to supplement and not replace human interactions.
Often, a person with dementia may not be able to verbalize their needs accurately. In this case, technology helps monitor changes in vital signs and other markers that indicate that the person is experiencing an illness or injury. However, Artis values the fact that this cannot replace the process of getting to know a resident and picking up on subtle changes in behavior, ability, or demeanor.
Wise Words—Willingness to Explore is the Key to Growth
For those who aspire to walk in the footsteps of Artis, they must be willing to continue to learn and grow. When many of the owners and council members of Artis first got into memory care 33 years ago, the team thought what they were doing was best for residents with dementia. But looking back, it would not be considered good care now. Hence, the key is to be willing to try, explore, experiment, and think in new and different ways. Push the envelope, try new things, and focus on the person and not on the disease.
Recognition as a Leader
Our dedication to providing the highest-quality Assisted Living and Memory Care services has been recognized and rewarded not only by our residents and their families but also by various independent senior living organizations in our industry. We’re proud to have been recognized as a leader for our brand value and our reputation for providing outstanding, one-of-a-kind care for our residents.
- Fortune Best Workplaces in Aging Services™ 2022
- NRC Health Customer Approved Award for Excellence in Senior Care
- Great Place to Work Certification™
- 10 Most Trusted Senior Care Service Providers 2021 by Insightscare