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Arden Courts and the Human Touch

By: Dr. Cate McCarty

Alzheimer’s and related dementias have a unique impact on individuals and families. Physical health stays strong as the brain weakens. Behaviors arise that make the everyday routine unmanageable. Memory care communities are an excellent opportunity to maximize quality of life for individuals with dementia and their families. But like all things, not all memory care communities are the same. 

When you are looking for memory care it is wise to look for a community that is high in human touch. At a time when brain failure impacts every one of your loved one’s sense, it is vital that care includes staff trained in maximizing effective sensory communication. Arden Courts understands that touch can communicate when words fail. 

Touch has long been touted as essential to infants and children, but research is now showing that touch is essential to dementia care a current study shows a significant reduction in behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia when touch, eye contact and verbal communication are vital components to care.  This was particularly true for non-aggressive behaviors.  Individuals with dementia were more accepting of care with human touch. Touch has been shown to be a key component of nurses working with individuals with dementia.

Arden Courts is the memory care community with a staffing ratio that includes more nurses than most memory care communities. Training, staffing and medical presence are optimized because Arden Courts understands that memory care requires attention to touch. As a memory community, Arden Courts’ reputation has prompted in-house medical visits from leading community doctors. With over 20 years of expert care and high family satisfaction, in-house visits are a positive connection for community doctors.

There are new memory communities popping up in response to the increased memory care needs of the population. Many are touting technology as the latest advances for care of your loved one. A tour will show walkie talkies on staff hips; cameras in corners; room security fobs and bracelets. The tour guide will explain how each of these things will help your loved one stay safe, have privacy and give you comfort. This technology almost always replaces staff. A camera, a fob, a walkie talkie will do nothing to increase your loved one’s care, independence or quality of life. Anecdotal evidence shows these technologies as hindrances to quality of life. Dementia-specific trained staff cannot be replaced by technology. There is no research supporting this technology. 

When choosing memory care - staffing ratio, training, and touch are critical to your loved one’s quality of life. Arden Courts’ Namaste program uses sensory input; touch, music, massage, color, tastes and scents, to connect with individuals with memory loss. Honoring the spirit within dementia is what Arden Courts specializes in, and has excelled at for over twenty years.   




Honda M, Ito M, Ishikawa S, Takebayashi Y, Tierney L Jr.  (2016). Reduction of behavioral psychological symptoms of dementia by multimodal comprehensive care for vulnerable geriatric patients in an acute care hospital:  A case series, Case Representative Medical,  Epub 2015 Mar 16.

 Millán-Calenti JC, Lorenzo-López L, Alonso-Búa B, de Labra C, González-Abraldes I, Maseda A.  (2016). Optimal nonpharmacological management of agitation in Alzheimer's disease: challenges and solutions, Clinical Interventions in Aging, 11:175-184.

 Montague, A., & Montague, J.  1971.  Touching:  The Human Significance of Skin.

Ødbehr, L. S., Kvigne, K., Hauge, S., Danbolt, L.J.  (2015). Spiritual care to persons with dementia in nursing homes; a qualitative study of nurses and care workers experiences, Boston Medical Center Nurses, 14:70.

Stacpoole M, Thompsell A.  (2015).  OA25  The namaste care programme can enrich quality of life for people with advanced dementia and those who care for them without additional resources, Boston Medical Center Supportive and Palliative Care, 5:Suppl 1: A8.


By-line:  Cate McCarty, PhD, ADC has been collaborating with Arden Courts in a variety of roles since the late 90’s.  Her background in nursing, activities and admissions has given her a passionate commitment to quality of life for the individual and family with dementia.


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