Heartfelt CONNECTIONS Memory Care program at Trillium Woods Wins Life Care Services Gold Award

The Heartfelt CONNECTIONS Memory Care program at Trillium Woods, a lifeplan community in Plymouth, MN, has won Life Care Services’ Gold Award for the innovative ways its experts improve the quality of life of residents with dementia.

While safety and security are prime concerns at all memory care residences, The Birches at Trillium Woods works with families and focus on each resident as a unique individual to provide the best possible quality of life.

It is the community’s constant goal to preserve in residents a sense of purpose, satisfaction, dignity, and quality of life.

Heartfelt CONNECTIONS is an individualized memory care program that reduces anxiety and increases safety and well-being by focusing on social interactions and familiar daily activities.

This continuum-of-care philosophy is grounded in the firm belief that the abilities that remain are far more important than what is lost.With memory loss, life is comprised of moments of opportunity for meaning and purpose. Each time a resident accomplishes a task successfully, it leads to confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. The Birches at Trillium Woods is dedicated to creating success stories, one small victory at a time.

The Life StoryThe Birches at Trillium Woods works with families and uses reminiscence tools to capture a lasting legacy of details about their loved one: family, friends, career, hobbies, and likes and dislikes. Even as memories fade, past relationships and experiences continue to shape lives. The skilled, trained, and compassionate team at The Birches at Trillium Woods uses the insights gained from each life story to develop person-centered activities and programming for each resident. They work with residents and their family members to:

  • Record life achievements, events, and special occasions to celebrate
  • Capture memories and collect pictures to provide comfort and pleasure
  • Identify key memory cues and triggers
  • Promote and support mental, physical, and emotional stimulation
  • Aid conversation with friends and family

Maintaining BalanceLike all of us, people with memory loss can experience agitation or frustration when they feel they don’t have balance in their lives. We all need self-care, a feeling of productivity, and time for recreation and leisure. The Birches at Trillium Woods incorporates specific routines in a familiar environment to maintain balance and minimize anxiety as part of the Heartfelt CONNECTIONS program.

1. Routine Self-Care
Appearance can be a very important part of self-esteem. When we look good, we feel good. The Birches at Trillium Woods helps residents be successful at achievable self-care tasks, such as getting dressed and combing their own hair, and celebrate their abilities to accomplish them.

2. Vocation & Productivity
Whether we work in or outside of our homes, most of us have daily tasks that give us a sense of accomplishment and purpose. The community works with families to learn more about residents’ professions, hobbies, and vocations and find ways to incorporate or simulate some of those activities into daily routines.

Memory care station with nursery items

The Nursery Life Station at the Birches at Trillium Woods.
One example is The Birches at Trillium Woods’ motherhood life station. We have a crib, complete with a baby doll, bottles, and blanket, plus chair for mothers to sit in — all offering the opportunity for spontaneous interactions. We also have a gardener’s workstation, an artist/crafters station, a lake cabin station, and a garage station.

Memory care area with garage tools

The Garage Life Station at the Birches at Trillium Woods.
“We also use ‘Memory Boxes’, which are individualized boxes with items to assist with behavior interventions.” explains Recreational Activities Supervisor Robin Holien. “For example, let’s say a resident who found great fulfillment in being a teacher becomes agitated. We could present him with a box that includes familiar items he loves, like pictures from his lectures, a pencil sharpener and pencils, a jacket letter from his school, and a note from a student asking for assistance. Often, this is enough to calm the frustration.”

3. Recreation & Leisure
Having fun for the sake of having fun is important, too. Residents at The Birches at Trillium Woods enjoy recreational and leisure activities that are familiar and similar to those they have always loved. Community members make interesting crafts, bake, sing, do movie nights, enjoy music, visit with cuddly therapy animals, play games, and throw parties.

Residents gather for Walk to End Alzheimer's

Trillium Woods residents and team members proudly participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s each year.
Daily RhythmsThe Birches at Trillium Woods understands the 24-hour cycles that affect the brains, emotions, and functionality of people with dementia.

To reduce frustration, restore confidence, and build self-esteem among residents, more challenging activities and tasks are scheduled at appropriate times in the day to maximize remaining abilities. For example, a resident might tackle puzzles or painting in the morning and wind down towards sunset with a quiet walk or soft music before bedtime.

Learn more about The Birches at Trillium Woods at https://www.trilliumwoodslcs.com/health-center/memory-care/.