Several years ago, as Brandon Meszaros walked his dog down a street near his Dallas home, he saw exactly what he had been seeking for years — a small, beautiful building on a quiet, tree-lined street. It was perfect for the specialized Memory Care community he and business partner David Krukiel wanted to bring to Dallas.
“Seniors with memory impairment and dementia are best cared for in a small, home-like setting, where they are less likely to become disoriented, agitated or reclusive,” David says. “Residents who once struggled in a larger senior care facility often begin to thrive only weeks after transitioning to one of our Iris Memory Care communities.”
It was Iris Memory Care’s plan in March to introduce its new boutique family-centered community to Turtle Creek and surrounding Dallas neighborhoods with a grand opening event open to the public, but was postponed, of course, due to COVID-19.
“Unfortunately,” David says, “we as a country were struck by COVID-19, and that has impacted our way of life as we all know it. And while our grand opening to the public has been postponed, Iris Memory Care is accepting new admissions. We follow strict COVID protocols to preserve the health and safety of our existing residents and our staff.”
Those who have loved ones afflicted with advanced dementia undergo much duress. Trying to be a caregiver while balancing all of life’s other responsibilities takes an enormous emotional and physical toll. This is true even in the best of times. With today’s pandemic, full-time home care for family members is especially difficult.
Parents of school-age children have shared their stories about the stress they are facing working from home and parenting simultaneously; caregivers of loved ones with dementia are in an even more tenuous situation. With the elderly being at such high risk for complications of COVID-19, family members are often extra cautious, resulting in extreme quarantine and isolation. Resources for these families are limited; many stand-alone adult daycare programs are closed and respite programs are indefinitely halted. The result of this extended isolation with limited help, on both caregiver and the loved one they are caring for is proving to be devastating.
Iris Memory Care, however, has remained a resource for these families during the pandemic, admitting new residents after rigorous screening. Additional precautions such as staff screening, visitor limitations, masks and social distancing are strictly enforced. Unlike many nursing homes and other long-term care environments, Iris residents aren’t isolated to their rooms because of these strict safety precautions. Staff are working to engage residents in creative ways, such as starting a resident pen pal program with members of the community who have reached out. They are engaging in activities such as bowling, crafts, bingo, and trivia, which can be enjoyed as a group while allowing for social distancing within the Iris community. Follow their Facebook page, Iris Memory Care Turtle Creek, to see a bit of their efforts! The pictures can be an emotional lift during these times. Strict safety guidelines, as well as continual resident engagement ,serve to relieve the fears, grief and anxiety family members can face in finding care assistance for loved ones in today’s uncertain climate.
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