New Sunrise Senior Living Terrace Club in Bloomfield Hills to serve those with memory loss

Publish Date:

Monday, January 12, 2009

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Oakland Business Review

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The official grand opening isn't until Jan. 29, but already the new Sunrise Senior Living Terrace Clubin Bloomfield Hills is getting commitments for its 23-person unit.

Billed as only the second of its kind in the state of Michigan, Terrace Club is an environment designed to fit the needs of those with early memory loss and aims at delaying its progression. The staff expects to start serving residents in early February.

"We're trying to keep residents from declining anymore," said Executive Director Gretchin Mager. "We want to stop it (memory loss) in its tracks."

Projects and volunteer opportunities at Terrace Club are tailored according to each individual. If someone spent a great deal of time as a nurse, staff members might arrange for that person to spend time at a local health clinic.

"We like to encourage thought, as well as offer the residents the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience with others," Mager said. "In our community, we want them to have the opportunity to do things within the community.

"We want to keep our residents as active as possible."

Part of keeping them active is providing lots of "brain-healthy" food on the menu, she said, and letting residents help make decisions about their diet.

"All of these have been proven to have protective effects on the brain," Mager said.

Much of the food is rich in Omega 3 fatty oils, vitamin B complex, folic acid, berries and greens high in antioxidants, nuts and seeds, and whole grains and fortified cereals rich in vitamin E.

Terrace Club shares a 70,000-square-foot building with Sunrise's other programs: assisted living and Reminisces. Reminisces is a secure section of the building serving residents with Alzheimer's and dementia.

Memory loss at any stage can be difficult on the person experiencing it and the families involved, Mager said, and it's up to Terrace Club to help ease that transition as much as possible.

"The education for not only our team members, our communities, but our family and friends ... that is a big deal to us," she said. "We will offer support groups for residents as well as family members.

"A lot of times when families move a loved one in ... it's a lot of stress, a lot of guilt."

Courtyards, terraces and walkways round out the rest of the facility, which includes a gourmet dining room, emergency call response system in each suite and a full service hair salon.

"The conception is it's a very sterile environment, very institutional," Mager said. But Terrace Club is "the most warming, beautiful place.

"This is their home."

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