New memory care facility in Bellevue hopes to enhance the lives of those battling memory loss

Published: Mar. 7, 2019 at 10:13 PM CST
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Studies show more than five million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer ’s disease, and 110,000 live in Wisconsin.

A new memory care facility in Bellevue held a grand opening for the community on Thursday. 'The Courtyard at Bellevue' houses assisted living and memory care residents in their facility, which is something experts say the community doesn't have enough of.

More than 100 people came to check out the new facility, many hoping to find a home for their loved ones.

"The need for memory care in this area is so strong, especially in this side of town,” said Amanda Johnson, Administrator at The Courtyard at Bellevue. “That's our biggest draw, to have people from De Pere, the Bellevue area, and Allouez where they can keep their loved ones close to them.”

According to the Alzheimer's Association, in 2017 more than 2,400 people in Wisconsin died from Alzheimer’s, but the facility hopes to be proactive.

Nurse Shayna Stoop, says when it comes to those struggling with memory disorders, keeping residents’ brain active is an important step to staying healthy.

"You know we like to do hands on activities to get their motor function going and music to bring back some of the memory for them,” said Stoop, who serves as a Wellness Director at The Courtyard at Bellevue. “We want to just try to stimulate them in the right environment."

"We like to engage the mind so we have other activities, physical activities to keep the body going and keep everyone moving, we also have daily walking clubs," said Johnson.

'The Courtyard at Bellevue' also built memory enhancing features, like ‘memory boxes’ in front of each apartment.

"Each apartment has a memory box so the residents and families will decorate their memory box so it cues them and reminds them that 'oh this is my apartment, this is where I live," said Roth Weaver, Chief Operating Officer of The Courtyard at Bellevue.

Animatronic cats and dogs can be found in various areas of the facility. Staff say petting the robotic animals, help residents with dementia feel calm and comfortable.

Right now the facility has 43 apartments, but in the second phase of construction an additional 26 apartments will be added. Stoop expects the demand for memory care to grow.

The Alzheimer's Association says from now to 2025, Wisconsin will experience an 18-percent increase in the number of people with Alzheimer’s aged 65 or older.

"Really we all know somebody who has had these problems, and to be able to care for them and help them, it's so meaningful to all of us here," adds Johnson.

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