A visit to The Oaks at Chanticleer in Greenville will immediately reveal its specialty of caring for residents with dementia. Rather than being patient-keepers, the approach of each staff member is to make life for all residents seem as natural as possible, regardless of their individual condition.
“We’ve been a full-memory-care community since 1999,” said Gaalon Lukie, the community’s lifestyle director. “Right now, we have 57 residents with a form of dementia, and their well-being is our priority.”
For example, many residents had pets when they were living on their own, so The Oaks at Chanticleer allows pets on-site. In addition, alternative menu choices with restaurant-style dining make eating a meal more fun, and daily programs, organized and run by Lukie, are intended to keep residents mentally engaged – whether it’s social, educational, spiritual or recreational – “just as they would do if they were living by themselves.”
“We are currently getting new floors, furniture and paint to help make life for our residents a little brighter,” she said. “And due to the aging of baby boomers, communities like ours are becoming more and more important.”
The World Health Organization estimates more than 55 million people are living with dementia worldwide, with nearly 10 million new cases every year. Until a cure is found, Lukie and the other 32 members of The Oaks at Chanticleer will continue to provide the kind of care that its residents and many Upstate families have grown to trust.
Private apartments, 24-hour emergency calls, housekeeping and laundry services and several on-site therapies convey a sense of comfort to resident families.
“We’re all about caring,” Lukie said. “And while our residents need special forms of care that we provide, we try to make every one of them feel as normal as possible.”
By L. C. Leach III