Reengagement for seniors with mild cognitive loss
“I can’t believe I’m not able to do this anymore.”
“Some days I just don’t know where I fit in.”
“It feels like I’m losing myself, and that scares me.”
As we age, upwards of 70% of seniors exhibit some symptoms of dementia, however slight.
In our role as senior living professionals, and more so as senior advocates, MorningStar Senior Living is vigilant in watching for signs of declining brain health in our residents. In partnership with family members, we are privileged to help seniors make the lifestyle adjustments necessary to preserve independence while protecting their well-being.
A Place of Belonging
MorningStar Senior Living is proud to offer WayFinders, a transitional program for assisted living residents who are mildly struggling with dementia to the extent it is compromising mood, ease of socialization and quality of life. This peer group of seniors, having jointly reached a unique stage in their journey, are in special need of special attention. Our WayFinders initiative is designed to meet that need.
Through the benefits of WayFinders, seniors can extend their stay in our assisted living neighborhood, forestalling the transition to a secure memory care environment, and reaping significant savings in the cost of care.
Led by a designated Director, we use purposeful activities and exercises to skillfully draw out and sensitively draw in seniors who are self-isolating in reaction to cognitive loss and the associated insecurities it creates.
Many of the manipulative’s in our toolbox do much to strengthen hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills while improving focus and concentration. The interactive offerings of our iN2L system (“It’s Never Too Late” software) are also used to great effect. Through diverse means we seek ways for these residents to restore confidence, maintain control and find their footing on what can feel like a slippery slope.
Director of WayFinders
Meet Our WayFinders Director
It was a foregone conclusion that Jessica Comly would direct her life toward caregiving. Jessica’s little brother gave her daily opportunity to creatively, persistently find ways for him to overcome the challenges of his brain injury and paralysis. From early on, Jessica was volunteering at Special Olympics, the perfect setting for nurturing, empowering and encouraging others.
Out of high school she trained as a Certified Nurse Aid, then served five years in senior communities in Billings, MT, her hometown, where she discovered an affinity for dementia care.
Seeing her grandmother, Mary Ann, lose ground with Alzheimer’s, Jessica moved to Yuma in 2018 to help Grandfather Dean with innovative approaches to caring for his wife of 62 years. “Out-of-the-box solutions,” says Jessica, “start by knowing the person well…history, habits and preferences. You must be very observant for remedies are often nested in the little things that make a person unique.” Mary Ann had always been an organized person, so Jessica devised for her the job of reassembling photo albums, an engrossing activity that left her feeling accomplished and less anxious.
Moving to Phoenix in 2019, Jessica joined a local senior community where she further developed her skills as a compassionate companion to families in transition. Increasingly she met residents who found themselves “in the gray”: having lost just enough cognition to be struggling and frustrated. How thrilled she was to see MorningStar identify a purpose-built solution. “Many seniors are afraid they are fading away, leaving them anxious and disconnected. I want to help them find a way back—a way in—through personalized, supportive care. At WayFinders, we create an atmosphere where wandering minds can settle and be comforted.”
Jessica is excited to help design this transitional program for those with early indicators of memory impairment, creating personalized activities based on individual strengths and cognitive skills.