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Somerford Place Memory Care: Celebrates 20 Years

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Somerford Place is an assisted living community specific to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. On Thursday, June 27, they will celebrate 20 years of service since opening their doors to care for those who have been diagnosed with a form of dementia. They have also just completed a nine-month renovation and are excited to show everyone their beautiful new ambiance.

Showing Off!
The Stockton Greater Chamber of Commerce will conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony to honor this anniversary and the completion of the renovation. “We will celebrate this event with our families and friends of Somerford Place as well as healthcare professionals and the community at large,” explained Leslie Anderson, executive director. “The theme is A Black and White Affair, but a casual one. We are known for our gourmet hot dog events with plenty of tasty condiments and delicious hamburgers. Our large backyard lends itself to fun events and we’re excited to tour our guests through the community.”

All common areas have been refreshed with new carpet, paint and flooring. New art covers the walls and new furniture has been moved in and LED lighting added, which is critical for the aging eye. This adds to the ambiance for residents, and the comfortable clean environment helps them feel at home.

Their population of residents is 60, residing in four cottages that house 15 residents each. This creates a more intimate atmosphere, particularly for dining, and it’s less overwhelming. Residents enjoy walking the floor plan and expansive outdoor space, including two interior courtyards.  

Executive director Leslie Anderson has been with Somerford Place since the building was built. There is a history of longevity among the staff; most have been employed with Somerford Place for eight years or more. Each is trained in activities of daily living and working with behavioral methods associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s. “Kindness and compassion are traits valued among our entire staff,” Leslie confirmed.

Maintaining Individuality
Their award-winning Bridge to Rediscovery Program is unique and the cornerstone of success with residents on a daily basis. This program was inspired by the Montessori style and approach to education used throughout the world to help children succeed. In the Montessori tradition, the Bridge to Rediscovery celebrates the spirit within each resident through personalized activities that encourage creativity and self-expression. They work with each resident individually, striving for small successes each day that help create a sense of accomplishment. Residents can experience activities that encompass cognitive, group, motor, sensorial and purpose. Some residents return to an old hobby that has been long forgotten, but is stored within, whether it’s painting, sewing, gardening, crafts, playing a musical instrument or even enjoying the six-hole putting green in the backyard. Exercise and tai chi start every morning after breakfast and their live music program three days a week brings most residents to their feet to dance the afternoon away. 

“Since the world is smaller to someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, we bring the outside community to our residents,” explained Peggy Massey, marketing and family services director. The annual Spring and Fall Fashion Show, presented by McCaulou’s Department Store, is a favorite among residents, especially because models are residents’ family members. Another program favorite is Stockton’s Haggin Museum; their docents present the museum’s educational presentations for residents on a regular basis. “One of my favorite stories was told by a daughter of a female resident with extreme short-term memory loss. After one of our fashion shows, she said her mother remembered the event for a full week,” Peggy smiled. “The daughter was thrilled.”  

Care for Peace of Mind
Their daybreak program gives caregivers a break and is available seven days a week. Also, respite stays offer one to 30-day stays so families can enjoy a vacation or long weekend and know their family member is in good care.

Leslie is encouraged that there is a push for doctors to wean patients off psychotropic drugs, and more emphasis is on daily routine, healthy meals, redirection, physical activity and understanding the cues that come with sundowning, which is the late day confusion and agitation patients experience. “Clinical trials are on the rise for a better understanding of the causes that contribute to dementia and Alzheimer’s. We are learning what we can do to help prevent memory loss, primarily continue to learn and use your brain, move your body and eat a healthy diet,” Peggy stated. “There is now awareness and focus on preventing heart disease that can cause stroke and vascular dementia, and of course, 20 years ago, we didn’t have the DNA testing that we do today to identify an Alzheimer’s gene to start, and keep, best health practices now. Somerford Place continues to host educational seminars to help keep the public informed on dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s and preventive habits to adopt to maintain a healthy brain.”

Somerford Place is located at 3530 Deer Park Drive, Stockton, California. For more information, visit somerfordplacestockton.com or call 209-951-6500.