Alzheimer’s Care at Dolan Homes

Alzheimer’s Care At Dolan Homes

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Tim Dolan of Dolan Homes talks about how he initiated the Dolan Homes Concept and the experience he had in his own family with dementia.

CLICK THIS LINK TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dianekeefe/2013/07/17/tim-dolan-on-caring-for-someone-with-dementia

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Tim Dolan has been involved in memory care for over twenty years and has witnessed significant changes in the perception of the illness along with the vast resources now available to families.

Dolan specializes exclusively in the care of those afflicted with the disease. We are not a special wing in a skilled facility, or a new building on a large campus; but rather small households within residential communities accommodating ten or fewer residents. When Tim built the first home in 1993 there were really very few options available to families facing the challenges this illness presents. As a consumer he was drawn to the industry when forced to locate a place for a family member and found the limited options available. During that time, people afflicted with the disease were relegated to what he felt were inhuman living conditions. They were basically warehoused within locked down wards in conventional style nursing homes.

Tim was very close to his grandparents and the thought of having to place them in that kind of environment was simply unacceptable. So he set out to develop what he thought would be an acceptable alternative. As a young person, he had a tremendous amount of energy and insatiable curiosity of how things worked and how he could make them better. You could say that he was determined to “build a better mouse trap.” That was the fortunate piece of the puzzle. However, Tim had a family and another career so he would have to pursue his quest in his spare time. Frankly, he states “I don’t think I fully understood the process or the sacrifices of pioneering something as bold and new as this.”

Tim began reading everything he could find on environmental design and different care techniques that he could incorporate in his new model of care. He had heard of other ideas that were similar to his that were beginning to take shape in Colorado and some of the eastern states. On his vacations, he would travel to these facilities to see how their approach might help with his design. Then Tim learned from his uncle that one of his relatives in New York had donated funds to a research center in Cleveland, Ohio; The Corrine Dolan Alzheimer’s Research Center. He could not believe that one of his own relatives would be at the forefront of what he was trying to achieve in St. Louis…  Irish Luck.   Tim scheduled a meeting and flew to Cleveland to tour and learn of their contribution in the field. It proved to be a wealth of knowledge that he could use in the development of his program. In fact, every place he visited he learned something that he could use in his vision. That was the fun part of his journey.

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In 1999 Dolan Residential Care was chosen as one of only two facilities in the St. Louis area to participate in the State’s Alzheimer’s Pilot Program to investigate and develop new environments and care techniques for Missourians suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. During that period he developed three state-of-the-art households that included numerous environmental design features that address the cognitively impaired along with several new innovative building techniques.

In 2010 Tim was chosen by the Governor to be a member of the Missouri State Alzheimer’s Task Force representing the long term care industry in the state. Other Task Force members included Dr. John Morris, Margret Donnelly, Director of Missouri Health and Senior Services, Senator Bill Stouffer sponsor of Senate Bill 616, Carol Rodriguez from the Alzheimer’s Association. The Task Force’s duties were to identify how the disease was affecting Missourians, what recourses were available and how the state could better serve those families affected with the disease.

Currently, Dolan is in the process of completing the fourth household in the memory neighborhood called Les Maison. Les Maison is the first of its kind green development consisting of four specially designed homes built to accommodate those suffering from various forms of memory impairment. It is a true social model in every sense of the word. Situated on five acres, each home is independent of the others. Residents are encouraged to participate in their own care as well as to be involved in the day to day operation of the home. Residents have the freedom to go outside in an enclosed yard and to socialize by visiting other residents within the neighborhood. To date, there is no other development like it in the country, making it a true “feather in the cap” for St. Louis.

If you’d like to learn more about it, please visit our web site www.dolancare.com

 

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