What’s old is new again! Household design in memory care.



by Lynne Katzmann

In the mid 1990′s when we designed it, we called it a pod.  Now it goes by many different names:  a household, a neighborhood and most prevalently a “green house model”.  At Juniper Communities, if you live there, you live in Sage, Mountain, Garden or Lake house.

My colleague and Juniper’s interior designer, Richard and I attended the national Environments for Aging conference in mid-April.  The conference attracts a diverse group – from architects, to designers, to manufacturers to senior living owners.  This year there was a big focus on memory care design.

My headline might give you a clue to my next comments!  The featured advice went something like this:

  • Households of 10-16 promote quality of life, happier staff and better clinical outcomes
  • Connected households promote activities that go beyond those associated with activities of daily living and make a changing and generally higher acuity population easier to staff appropriately on a 24/7 basis
  • Care staff need to be in the household; the kitchen is a good place for a small administrative work place –med carts and large spaces to keep them are becoming obsolete
  • Easily accessible outdoor space is critical
  • Way finding colors and identifying architectural features are a must have

Richard and I kept meeting in the hallways after sessions hoping that the next session would yield some new ideas.  On that front we were pretty disappointed. But there is a silver lining:  the sessions confirmed what we have known for more than 15 years.  Our Wellspring household model works and not only continues to stand the test of time but will be a model for excellence in the care of those with memory issues for some time to come.

Caring for an American Hero: Juniper Village at Naples’ CPL Jack Skeels

Juniper Village at Naples' CPL Skeels

Juniper Village at Naples’ CPL Skeels

by Jeanine Genauer

Corporal Jack R. Skeels is an American hero.  He served in the United States Army Air Force during World War II. He is one of a rapidly dwindling number of living WWII veterans.   As a Radio Defense Medic, he served in the Atlantic-Pacific Theaters and earned numerous service medals.

Mr. Skeels was a humble man and rarely spoke about his experience, but his awards and medals tell the story:  Victory Medal, Atlantic-Pacific Theater Ribbon, two Overseas Stripes, and Exceptional Conduct Medal.  Mr. Skeels married his wife Lois in 1943 and she followed him to most of his postings during the war.  After the war, Mr. Skeels first job was as a salesman with the Fuller Brush Company.  He worked in sales for his entire adult life and ultimately became VP of Sales for Rapistan Conveyor Company.

When this American hero developed dementia late in life, Lois continued to care for him at home as long as possible.  When the time came to move him into a memory care setting, they chose Juniper Village at Naples.

“One of my dear friends and neighbors had her husband at Juniper Village at Naples.  She told me that the care he received was wonderful and that I should check it out.  I visited Juniper Village at Naples and was impressed with what I saw and realized that I could let him go and know was he was safe and well cared for”, stated Lois Skeels.

One of the Juniper Village at Naples team members stated that Mr. Skeels is her best friend.  To this day, he dazzles with his sparkling blue eyes and charming smile.

We are honored to be caring for this American hero.  Come visit Juniper Village at Naples to experience our level of caring and commitment for yourself.  We stand ready to honor all American heroes and their families.

Mary Jane Eicke appointed to role of Executive Director of Juniper Village at Williamstown

Juniper Village at Williamstown

Juniper Village at Williamstown

by Jeanine Genauer

Juniper Communities is pleased to inform the community that it has appointed Mary Jane Eicke as the new director of its two building campus known as Juniper Village at Williamstown. The prior executive director, Maria Ciocca, relocated to Naples, FL to take the helm of Juniper Village at Naples, one of Juniper’s buildings in that locale.

“I am so thrilled to be the executive director at Juniper Village at Williamstown. My interests and philosophy in caring for the elderly lends itself perfectly to Juniper’s motto of being alive in all seasons of life,” said Mary Jane Eicke upon her appointment.

Her history in the health care field has been mainly in long-term care. She is a licensed LTC administrator and a Registered Nurse (R.N.). Prior to Juniper, Mary Jane worked for Revera Health Systems.

“My entire career has focused on the geriatric population, for which I have the greatest love and respect,” stated Mary Jane. “Working with this population has provided me with such knowledge of that generation, learning from their lives and personal experiences.”

As the executive director, she plans to continue to provide quality care in the areas of mind, body and spirit; and, maintaining programming that nurtures the spirit of life in each resident they touch. “Something Juniper is known to be exemplary for,” she stated.

Mary Jane Eicke graduated from the Saint Francis School of Nursing in Jersey City, then went on to achieve her BS from Upsala College in East Orange at night while working full-time during the day. She resides in Little Egg Harbor with her husband, Charles, and golden retriever, Rusti. Mary Jane is very proud of her children, two wonderful sons and her daughter-in-laws. The real love of her life is her grandson Parker, who is 13 years old.

Juniper Village at Williamstown is a two-campus building offering assisted living and Wellspring memory care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. It is located at 1640 South Black Horse Pike, Williamstown, NJ. To reach Mary Jane Eicke, contact Juniper Village at Williamstown at (856) 740-4444; www.junipercommunities.com.

What’s in a Name? (Dementia Terminology)

Dementia Terminology

Dementia Terminology

by Lynne Katzmann

I believe the words we use are critically important. Different words set the tone, communicate values, and reflect the temporality of societal views. Take for example the words used to describe memory challenges.  We have long used the word dementia and its correlative verb, demented.  The word “dementia” comes from Latin and technically means “without mind”.  Someone who has dementia has “lost their mind”… as if they could find it if they looked hard enough.

Today, almost 1 in 2 older adults who live to age 85, will develop some form of cognitive challenge.  With the exploding demographics of this cohort, there will be a lot of “mindless” souls in our world.  And, many of us are likely to be among them.

In the last several decades, medicine and science have evolved so that we can now pinpoint several of these diseases.  The most common is Alzheimer’s disease and in some circles this is being used synonymously with dementia.  The common usage of the word dementia was legitimated until recently by clinical disease classification and billing codes.

Calling someone mindless does not flatter them.  It is degrading and robs people living with these challenges of important personal dignity.

Thankfully a change is afoot.  The disease classification code is being renamed!  Going forward, what we now know as dementia will be known as neurocognitive disorders.  This is appropriate as people who suffer from Alzheimer’s have a disorder which affects the parts of the brain that control cognition.

At Juniper Communities, we are checking ourselves so that we are leaders in the sea of change around memory care. We will be replacing “dementia” with neurocognitive disorder in our communities.  We know that nurturing spirits means providing dignity and support so that we can all live fully throughout all seasons of life.  Will you jump on the bandwagon with me?  Will you help us spread the good word?