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Adding another level of assistance

From the original ground-breaking ceremony in 1976 and the building of the healthcare center in 1979, Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor was answering the growing needs of the Arkansas City community.

In a March 8, 1979, article published by the Arkansas City Traveler, resident Mary Allee stated in a hearing to Flint Hills Council (which granted permission to build the healthcare center) that it was important to her to know that nursing facilities would be available to her at Presbyterian Manor should she ever need them.

When she needed those services, it was important to her to be surrounded by her friends. Even though at the time Mary was referring to skilled nursing needs, she voiced what many of the residents at Presbyterian Manor have felt over the years.

The independent living apartments provide security and socialization for seniors in Arkansas City. The healthcare center provides skilled nursing services when residents need significant assistance whether at the end of their life or rehabilitation after a hospital stay. However, during the first 8 years after the original opening, the leadership team determined that the Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor had a gap in services.

The organization needed to bridge the gap between the two, and the level of “intermediate care” was introduced, which was the beginning stages of developing the full continuum of care on one campus.

In the senior housing industry “continuum of care” is a term used to describe the range of services that a senior might need during the final phase of their life. Having all levels of services available to Presbyterian Manor’s residents on one campus provides a further sense of security that the residents will not have to move somewhere else to receive certain services.

Residents in independent living enjoy minimal services including maintenance-free residences, socialization, and one meal per day in the restaurant. Residents also have the opportunity to add additional services such as housekeeping, laundry, additional meals and home health services at à la carte rates. Presbyterian Manor is a licensed, non-Medicare certified home health agency.

The expansion campaign in 1984 targeted several areas that would ensure the continued success of the community. The campaign included the west wing of healthcare, the purchase of the land for the duplex construction and additional improvements to the existing apartment complex, including the renovations that would provide what was called “intermediate care.”

In the 80’s “intermediate care” included services that would later be referred to as assisted living. This level of care packaged three meals a day, weekly housekeeping and laundry services, and minimal assistance, and did not require certifications or licenses to perform. The renovations included an additional dining room on the third floor, which evolved into an activities space in the early 2000’s, since all apartment residents dine in the dining room on first floor.

The needs of those in “intermediate care” continued to grow, and Presbyterian Manor expanded its license to include assisted living in 1993. The addition of the license allowed staff to provide additional nursing services including long-term whirlpool baths, medication management and assistance in activities of daily living. At that time, the Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor truly did provide a full continuum of care on one campus.

At first, the third floor of the complex was licensed as assisted living and as the demand grew, the fourth floor was added to the license in the late 90s. The census in assisted living fluctuated throughout the years, which led to the leadership once again re-evaluating the needs of the residents on the campus.

One of the dreams of the leadership was to expand assisted living to include a secured assisted living memory care neighborhood. The needs of individuals living with dementia was continuing to grow in Cowley County, and dementia care in Cowley County was very limited. An assisted living memory care community in Cowley County was non-existent. Once more, Presbyterian Manor set its sights on expanding its services to meet the needs of Arkansas City and the surrounding Cowley County community.

Executive Director Sarah Griggs and Activity Director Lori Peters were integral in the development of the memory care neighborhood. Sarah envisioned a supportive environment for individuals with dementia who were no longer appropriate for regular assisted living; however, were not ready for the healthcare neighborhood. This project was near and dear to her heart, because one of the residents who needed the additional memory support in assisted living was her grandmother.

“Unfortunately, grandma wasn’t able to benefit from the new unit because her disease process progressed before the unit came to fruition," said Griggs. “However, many of the concepts included in the memory care neighborhood are services that I would have loved to provide in assisted living at the time she was with us.”

In 2011 and 2012, Presbyterian Manor had the opportunity to campaign for its memory care neighborhood when it was granted tax credits from the state for contributors. Renovation of the fourth floor began in 2012 for a secured memory care neighborhood with the opening of the first eight apartments, dining room and activity spaces in 2013.

Among the first residents in the memory care neighborhood were current community residents either in the existing assisted living or in healthcare neighborhoods. The second phase included the remaining eight apartments for a total of 16 apartments in the neighborhood.

Lori also utilized her personal experience as inspiration for the memory care neighborhood.

“I experienced firsthand the specialized care that was needed and was not readily available for my grandfathers,” Lori said. “With the increasing population of adults age 65 and older, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are becoming more and more prevalent. There has never been a greater need for memory care than there is today. More importantly, there has never been a greater need to take care of our aging population with the kind of specialized support and dignity they deserve. Memory care communities like ours are solely dedicated to memory care and can specialize every service and amenity to benefit those with memory impairments.”

Presbyterian Manor’s specialized community benefits those with memory impairments by providing evidence-based care for residents’ physical, mental and social well-being.

Open floor plans help residents move around easier and avoid spatial confusion. It is decorated with purpose, using colors to add contrast, creating a calm and soothing environment, and guiding residents with visual cues. Residents experience greater independence as they can move about freely without safety concerns.

“Programs and activities are created to encourage current strengths and abilities, promote cognitive function, stimulate reminiscence and provide joy and meaning. Our goal is to create a lifestyle of comfort, security and purpose for our residents,” Lori said.

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