A home-like environment with the ambiance of a fireplace and picturesque views to outside makes the dining experience for residents of Tweeten Care Center in Spring Grove an enjoyable experience. The dining room at Tweeten Care Center was recently renovated including adding an additional patio area.
“Before we did the renovation of the dining room, we weren’t able to fit all of our residents in the area; it was very tight and difficult to maneuver wheel chairs,” explained Tweeten Care Center Administrator Michelle Borreson. “We now have doubled the size of our room by bumping out the north wall. We also added half-walls near the hallway to make the dining area appear as a separate room.”
A waitress station was also added to make serving the food more convenient. Part of the waitress station is a hydration station that has water and coffee available all the time for residents and their families and visitors.
“This addition has been very nice for residents and their families as they have a place they can gather together and enjoy coffee and cookies that families often bring along,” added Borreson. “They often sit at the tables and near the fireplace and can enjoy a visit together.”
The fireplace isn’t able to put out heat due to regulations, but the residents and families enjoy the ambiance of the realistic looking flames and the hominess feel that it gives the room.
Just off the dining room is a new patio. The landscaping has just been completed on the area and residents have been enjoying late summer days outside in the fresh air.
“The patio is a really nice open space where residents can spend some time and easily maneuver about with their wheelchairs,” commented Borreson.
Tweeten Care Center staff is excited about these updates to the facility as they continue to move toward person-centered care. They invite the community to stop in during their open house and see the updates along with two new programs – Music and Memory, and essential oils – that they are implementing. The open house is Friday, Sept. 12, from 2 to 4 p.m. Visitors will be able to see the new dining room and patio as well as learn more about the new programs.
Music and Memory is a program personalized to each resident. Music has a way of bringing back memories and even feelings. This knowledge that music can evoke memories is being used all across the country with people with varying stages of dementia through the Music and Memory program.
The Music and Memory website explains, “Music uplifts the spirit, but group-based music programs, while meaningful, are time-bound and designed for broad appeal. Selections are age-appropriate, but not necessarily personal…..When individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia hear a melody connected with a meaningful memory, they can reawaken. Many people who have not spoken in years find words and sing lyrics. They often regain the ability to converse and connect to those around them.”
The Music and Memory program uses individual iPods for each resident. The facility currently has 15 different iPods to use, but would like to increase that number ideally to 50 so that all residents would have their own personal iPod to use with their own personal play lists.
“If anyone has iPods of any type or size that they are not using, maybe one that is lying around the house and they don’t know what to do with them, we would gladly accept them to use for our residents,” said Borreson. “The Music and Memory program is beneficial to all our residents, not only those with memory issues so our goal is to be able to offer this program to each and every one of them!”
Another new program that Tweeten Care Center is working on training their staff and implementing is the use of essential oils.
“Essential oils can help with pain and anxiety,” said Borreson. “The oils can be topical or they can be put on a cotton ball and placed on the resident so that they can smell it. Gundersen Lutheran has an essential oil program and an aroma therapist; we have been working closely with them as our staff is trained and we implement this program.”
Tweeten Care Center has just begun to implement these programs and already they have seen results. “We were able to decrease the anti-depressant medicines in one resident. Another resident wasn’t sleeping much at night and now they sleep all night long. A resident that took anxiety medication hasn’t needed them for six weeks. It is exciting for us to see these positive changes in our residents.”
Right now these programs have been implemented in the Woodlands Household (dementia wing) as part of the Dementia Capable Care program. Next year the programs will move to rest of the facility and the residents there.
“We are excited about all that is happening here at Tweeten Care Center,” added Borreson with a smile. “We invite the community to come to our open house and see first-hand the updates and learn more about our new programs.”