By Mary O’KEEFE
For years Mountview Retirement Community in Montrose has been a welcoming place for seniors as a residential care facility. In its continuing effort to support the community of seniors Mountview has dedicated a wing of its home to those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer and dementia.
The program called ActivCare opened last week but the management company, Health Care Group, has had the program in place since 1989. Executive director Jay Johnson has been with the company for many years and has headed the program at other facilities.
“We offer independent and assisted living for seniors and last week added the ActivCare wing,” he said of Mountview. The public is invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, April 29.
The need for this program was there and the service provides support to the patient and the family, he added.
“I think that the family [in many cases suffers] more than the patient,” Johnson said. When dealing with a loved one that has Alzheimer’s “it can be emotional and highly charged.”
There are feelings of guilt when family members realize they can no longer care for their loved one and need to place him or her into a facility. Johnson said his staff, which includes nurses, a medical director and psychiatric consultant, works with the families to understand what Alzheimer’s is and what is happening to the patient.
Alzheimer’s Association estimates that about five million Americans have the disease. Alzheimer’s is a progressive and fatal brain disorder that destroys brain cells causing memory loss and problems with thinking and behavior. Alzheimer’s accounts for 50%-to-80% of dementia cases and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, according to the association’s website. In addition to Alzheimer’s the program also includes those who have been diagnosed with other forms of dementia.
“The main thing we provide here is structure and a stimulating environment. We have found that [those with Alzheimer’s] need structure in a daily manner. We start our activities at 7 a.m. and end at 9 p.m.,” Johnson said.
The activities change every 30 minutes because those with dementia have a short attention span. The purpose of the activities is to keep the patients stimulated both mentally with arts and crafts and physically with aerobic exercise. Those in the program are within a secure perimeter. Many of those with Alzheimer’s will walk away from their home or care center in search of a memory. Their rooms are comfortable but secure with electronic locks that warn the staff if someone attempts to open a door.
Finding out a loved one has Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia is difficult but the Mountview staff wants to reach out to the community to educate and support.
“What we would like the community to know is that we are a resource of [information]. We encourage anyone to call and ask questions or stop by and take a look,” he added.
This type of care is not inexpensive but Johnson does offer seminars on ways to help families deal with
“Some veteran programs out there can help to provide up to $1800 a month if the veteran served during wartime. These are programs a lot of people don’t know about,” Johnson said.
Anyone who would like information on the facility can contact Jay Johnson at (818) 248-6737. Mountview is located at
2640 Honolulu Ave., Montrose.