Supporting cognitive health with person centered Memory Care

“Dementia doesn’t rob someone of their dignity; it’s our reaction to them that does.”

— Teepa Snow, Dementia Care Expert

At Marquis’ Alzheimer’s and Memory Care, we live and practice by those words from renowned dementia care expert, Teepa Snow.

Teepa has worked with hundreds of patients with dementia—at Duke University Medical Center’s Neuro-Rehabilitation Team and School of Nursing, the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill’s Geriatric Clinic and at the Veterans’ Administration Medical Center. What she’s learned, could be distilled down to that timeless golden rule:

Treat people the way you would want to be treated.

And to do that sometimes requires us to, as Teepa puts it, “rewire our own perceptions, attitudes, communication strategies, actions, and responses.” And that’s what we’ve done at Marquis.

In the next few minutes, you’ll learn:

  • How we accomplish that at Marquis memory care facilities.
  • How lacing up your walking shoes and joining us in October, will raise awareness and research funding to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.

Here to help, is Campus Administrator of Marquis Autumn Hills in Portland, Oregon, Javan R. Nelson, MHA, LNHA.

Q: Javan you’re known for your tremendous enthusiasm about working with seniors who have cognitive decline.

A: Thank you! It’s like moral currency for me. I started on this rewarding journey of becoming a nursing home administrator well over a decade ago. During my Administrator in Training (AIT) program, I grew fond of helping patients with severe cognitive decline. That focus led me to Marquis Autumn Hills, where we specialize in working with patients experiencing various degrees of memory loss.

Q: Tell us a little about that work at Marquis Autumn Hills.

A: We work with our patients and their families, helping them understand that each person’s cognitive decline and needs are unique.

We think holistically and design daily personalized activity calendars for our residents in each area where Teepa Snow’s research shows people find meaning and purpose — in their work, leisure, self-care and rest and relaxation. From dining together, contributing through volunteer service or enjoying a visit with animals or children, our residents stay engaged in the routine that’s right for them.

Some of our “classes,” if you will, are Medication Intervention, Music Therapy, Aerobic Exercise and Memory Training.

Q: Are these classes and approaches working?

A: Yes! We see results every day. Medication intervention, although not effective at stopping cognitive decline for patients living with Alzheimer’s, can slow the process. Music therapy is utilized in our facility both as a recreational means and as a non-pharmacological intervention in addressing concerns, primarily behavioral concerns. It’s no secret that music is the fruit of the soul. This remains true for adults experiencing Alzheimer’s related changes in cognition. Aerobic exercises have also been shown to significantly improve cognition.

Our patients are engaged and learning!

Q: Are scientists learning anything new about cognitive health that can help future generations?

A: The search for a cure to stop cognitive decline remains at the forefront of many organizations, namely the Alzheimer’s Association. One recent and exciting study is the use of biomarkers for earlier detection. That discovery is important because Alzheimer’s disease is currently diagnosed through a person’s cognitive decline. The added benefit of being able to detect Alzheimer’s early is that healthcare professionals can intervene prior to neurodegeneration, the unfortunate physiological and anatomical consequences of the disease.

Q: You’ve got a big walk coming up in October with the goal of stomping out Alzheimer’s.

A: Yes! And we’re hoping our Marquis blog readers will walk with us on Sunday, October 8. Marquis will join in the world’s largest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s care research and support. It’s called, Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

We’ll join 600 communities nationwide, to put an end to a disease that afflicts 55 million people worldwide, 6 million alone in the US, not to mention the 11 million people who are providing unpaid care for those patients. Join us for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s!


Ready for some brain boosting tips? Look for a future blog where we’ll share some ways you can help strengthen the cognitive health of the senior in your life— and sharpen your own brain power at the same time!

For more information, visit Marquis’ Alzheimer’s and Memory Care services.

To learn more from a cognitive health expert, visit Teepa Snow’s website.