The Masonic Village at Burlington’s Cindy Springs Memory Care Unit offers the best quality of life to its residents who are living with mid- to late-stage dementia. Named in honor of Cindy Shemansky, assistant executive director and administrator of Masonic Village at Burlington’s skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, Cindy Springs is an interactive memory support neighborhood that brings comfort, care and connection to late-stage dementia residents with its unique life-skill station design.
“When we decided to renovate this area and use it for dementia residents, I asked Anda (Durso), our executive director, if I could run with ideas that I had and she was fine with that as long as we had to find the funding to do what we needed,” Shemansky said.
The Cindy Springs Memory Care Neighborhood features six “home” stations and three “community” stations, as well as four interactive wall murals to keep residents engaged through various sensory experiences in the neighborhood. The program breaks the boredom cycle by focusing on meaningful engagement and looks for activities that build on remaining skills and talents.
“In this neighborhood, the reason why we made it so small is because it can be overwhelming for people with end-stage memory loss to be around too much noise and too much activity, because their brain can’t discern different things that are happening and taking place,” said Durso.
“We tried to keep everything very simple, very plain, colorful … Easy (and) recognizable things that may seem familiar to them.”
Cindy Springs uses its life skill stations – which include visual, spatial and tactile design – to elicit long-term memories, and each station is purposefully designed to spark reflection, recreate moments of happiness and help caregivers learn more about each resident.
There is a living room, a nursery station, laundry room station, garden cart, village workshop, village shop, office station and bus stop station.
Durso explained more about Cindy Springs and how it will accommodate those living in each unit.
“This is a 14-bed neighborhood for skilled nursing memory care, so it’s really (for) people at the end of the disease process … Memory loss and different types of dementia,” she said.
“We took such care with this environment to make sure that the residents are comfortable and not overwhelmed and that they’re stimulated and engaged.”
Shemansky noted what Cindy Springs hopes to achieve with its residents and how it felt seeing her idea happen.
“We wanted to make it truly a dementia area, where residents can interact … if they’re able to, or the team can help lead them to a different area that they can interact with,” she said.
“It was very gratifying to be able to see it come to fruition,” Shemansky acknowledged. “Even from just changing the carpet out to taking the wallpaper down … It just all came together.”