The Canterwood SNAL Program consists of three major components:
• A commitment to improve the overall functioning of our residents through the careful selection and voluntary use of pharmaceuticals. Today, more than ever before, there are medicines available to help people with memory impairment. Not all pharmaceuticals work well with everyone, and the choice to try medications must always remain with the resident and family. We assist families and their physicians make decisions about medication by making available the latest information and advice about medications in common use today, as well as the latest experimental drugs offered through approved clinical trials programs including those that some of our consulting physicians participate in.
• A behavioral approach aimed at reducing stress and aggression, reducing the tendency to wander and prolonging active functioning through the creation of “micro-environments.”
As memory impairment progresses, a widening gap appears between the reality the resident is experiencing and the reality of today. The world they remember is one of many years ago, so it is of little surprise that they do not function very well in today’s world. However, if we can create individual worlds that are more familiar to our residents, worlds in which they feel they belong, we find that they function much better, are happier and are less likely to want to run away to find a place where they are more comfortable. Research also shows that the more time those with memory impairment spend in these familiar “micro-environments”, the more slowly their disease seems to progress.
A micro-environment can be created on a tabletop, in the corner of a room, or in any space which is made familiar to the resident. We continually work with the families of our residents to uncover skills and activities that their loved ones can still enjoy and to create individual micro-environments that our residents can function effectively in and which will potentially slow the progress of their memory impairment.
• A comprehensive support program for families. We work to help each family understand and cope with the changes their loved one is experiencing, to make informed decisions about their loved one’s care, and to avoid other family problems that can result from the stress of having a family member who is experiencing progressive memory loss.