Overhead view of the surrounding countryside

Applewood Launches Dementia Caregiver Support Group for Residents

Apr 15, 2024

Courtney and Samantha

Staff Certified Dementia Capable Care Specialists help residents care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and memory decline.

“Applewood is one of very few continuing care communities offering in-house dementia support facilitated by certified Dementia Capable Care Specialists,” explains Samantha Scanlon, MSW, Manager of Resident Services.

In the initial stages of dementia, when individuals begin to face cognitive hurdles while still able to live independently, their family and loved ones are often faced with the need for guidance and support. Dementia Capable Care Specialists play a crucial role in offering education and resources to help families understand the progression of dementia, anticipate and manage potential symptoms and adapt their caregiving approach accordingly.

Providing education and facilitating understanding about the progression of dementia for families, loved ones and caregivers has demonstrated effectiveness in creating a positive, safe and emotionally secure environment. This not only fosters security for the family but also mitigates stress levels and behavioral episodes as the dementia advances. 

Samantha Scanlon, MSW, Manager of Resident Services (left) and Courtney Paul, CALA, Engaged Living™ Manager (right), were approached by an independent living resident seeking guidance in managing her husband’s recent dementia diagnosis. “Rather than refer people to an external resource, we chose to undergo this certification, giving residents the comfort and familiarity of working directly with Samantha and me,” Courtney explains.

Dementia Capable Care Specialists provide specialized knowledge and support individuals and families navigating the complexities of the condition. Their role encompasses a multifaceted approach, merging empathetic care with evidence-based strategies to improve the quality of life and maximize the safety of those affected. Frequently encountered types of dementia include Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia.

Thankfully, dementia caregiver education was readily accessible. Ilana Silvan, ADC, CDS, Interim Activity Director for Applewood Healthcare and Thrive Memory Care, is a Certified Dementia Capable Care Specialist.  She conducted both classroom and clinical certification training for Courtney and Samantha.

“Embarking on the journey from partner to caregiver is a profound life transition filled with challenges and adjustments,” Samantha explains. “We support resident caregivers and their loved ones in navigating this path with grace and resilience.”

Dementia Caregiver Support Group meetings are held bi-weekly at Applewood and open to all independent living residents caring for loved ones with memory-related conditions.

Learn more about Thrive Memory Care at Applewood.