Memory care community allows residents to thrive

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

William Swearingen is passionate about senior living communities.

As senior vice president of sales and marketing for Spectrum Retirement Communities, Swearingen was part of the team that brought Lone Mountain Memory Care to life in February 2018.

“It’s one of the most beautiful memory care-specific communities that I’ve ever seen that doesn’t overdo that luxury component,” Swearingen says.

“It’s just warm and inviting. It’s elevated in a manner that residents in the community deserve at this point in their life.”

Lone Mountain was Spectrum Retirement Communities’ first free-standing memory care community. The Valley, Swearingen says, was the perfect location for a community of this caliber.

“As with anything, the Arizona demographic speaks to senior living,” he says. “In this particular market, there was a very, very well-defined need. There are other providers in the market that have some memory care components in their community, but few with a design as specific as Lone Mountain’s.”

Memory care communities, he says, need to be designed in a way that makes sense for the residents. The community gives residents the opportunity to move freely, which is critical to anyone with cognitive deficits.

“It’s a secure environment that does not diminish their value as a human being,” he says. “It’s a challenge that continues to exist in senior living. We have hallways that do not end; the design encourages movement. Everything connects in a large footprint. This helps residents be healthier organically.”

The Montessori method uses sensory experiences such as art and music therapies to create connections with misplaced memories. The residents maintain a sense of independence and dignity while enjoying the highest quality care in the industry.

The 56-unit Lone Mountain keeps its residents healthy through its variety of programs, which range from beer brewing to gardening clubs.

“We’re very, very passionate about our programming,” he says. “One of the problems that still exists is many believe those with cognitive deficits are incapable of doing things. It’s so not true.”

Other memory care centers have childish programs that are structured around a belief that their residents are ill-equipped to accomplish tasks.

“It’s so not true,” he says. “We have beer brewing with everyone in the community. Coloring with crayons is designed for a 5-year-old. It’s not what an adult does. We bake pies. We have wine tastings. Those activities should not be off the table for a memory care community.”

Swearingen understands the needs of memory care residents.

“I’m in senior living because three of my four grandparents lived with Alzheimer’s,” he says. “The options available today weren’t available when my grandparents were facing the challenges the disease presents.

“I’ve been in senior living for 32 years. I love being part of a company that’s willing to be disruptive intentionally. What can be possible should never be confused with curing. It doesn’t mean a quality of live cannot exist within the parameters of the disease. Let’s all get on board with who they are in this moment and find the joy, it is there if we let go of the sadness and look. This is what changes the life of someone living with dementia.”   

Lone Mountain Memory Care

7171 E. Lone Mountain Road, Scottsdale, 623-777-8002, spectrumretirement.com

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