West Haven enriches lives of residents
By Stephen Groessel

At Brillion West Haven one will find assisted living and Alzheimer’s and dementia care; visitors will notice staff wearing uniforms with wording on the front reading “Life enrichment matters” and on the back “Free hugs.”

The wording reflects accurately their mantra and what truly takes place in practice, “The Most Attentive Care... Anywhere.”

“At Brillion West Haven, we focus on Alzheimer’s and dementia. That is our specialty,” said Amy Doolittle, executive director. With this in mind, Brillion West Haven strives to provide residents with the highest quality of life. Everything done at West Haven contributes to life enrichment for its residents.

Life enrichment means much more than engaging in activities so as to make time pass by quickly. Activities build relationships that keep residents refreshed, deepening and expanding new discoveries in life. Doolittle said the staff gives careful attention to the seven human needs of each individual: physical, emotional, cognitive, social, spiritual, aesthetic and community. Activities that center on these needs make life more enriching.

Sixth leading cause of death

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U. S. Right now there is no silver bullet to stop it but we can slow down its progression with stimulation of the brain, Doolittle said. “I don’t know of any new drugs that are a really big break-through. All Alzheimer’s patients react differently from the drugs. The key to treatment is life enrichment. Keeping them busy and preoccupied, keeping their minds stimulated is huge medicine,” she said.

West Haven has a fully equipped life enrichment department with a director and specific teams. Staff members attend Alzheimer’s conferences and are in

In addition to many other activities, residents enjoy planting and tending to flower pots at Brillion West Haven.

touch with other organizations that deal with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Alzheimer’s and dementia is being diagnosed earlier and the need for facilities to treat such patients is growing. There is a waiting list for our units. Alzheimer’s and dementia patients waiting at home is not ideal because their safety is a great concern, Doolittle said.

To alleviate this situation, West Haven offers an outreach program for Alzheimer’s and dementia family caretakers whose loved ones are residents here and being cared for at home. It is a day and evening support group which meets twice a month. It is found to be successful and family members say they really like it, Doolittle said.

West Haven has 52 units at its Brillion site. There are 24 Alzheimer’s and dementia units and 28 general assistance units. The staff ratio for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients is 6 to 1 and 8 to 1 for general assistance residents. Dementia residents are checked on every 15 minutes and when it comes to activities

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