On-site memory care matters at new facility
Mätterhaus construction coming to end

By AMANDA VOSS - Daily News

April 2, 2014

Capri Community Inc. Vice President Glen Choban walks through the Mätterhaus on Friday afternoon in Germantown. Patients are expected to move in April 14.  
Daily News Photos by John Ehlke

GERMANTOWN - Residents at the Gables of Germantown once had to leave the campus for memory care services.

So Capri Senior Communities, which manages the Gables, decided to remedy that by building the Mätterhaus Memory Care Community on the campus.

“We wanted to react to that,” Capri Senior Communities Vice President Glen Choban said.

The demand for memory care services has increased since the Gables was constructed in 2006.

“If you look at the statistics, Alzheimer’s and dementia is skyrocketing,” said Brian Lerch, registered nurse and executive director. 

The cost to construct the Mätterhaus Memory Care Community, which will be completed Friday, was $3 million. The big move-in day is April 14.

On Friday, Choban, Lerch and Director of Sales Judi Blanding gave the Daily News a tour of the Mätterhaus Memory Care Community while construction is being completed.

The Mätterhaus Memory Care Community features German architecture with therapy rooms, resident rooms, memory stations and activity rooms.

“Therapy is really important for memory care. Just to keep them physically healthy and strong. It reduces falls, Blanding said.

CA bed is set up in one of the new rooms at the Mätterhaus on Friday afternoon in Germantown  
Daily News Photos by John Ehlke

Before anyone enters the memory care community from the Engel Haus, there is a door that is locked at all times. An alarm will sound if a resident opens the door.

Choban said there are two sides of the Mätterhaus Memory Care Community building and it’s set up like a figure-eight racetrack because he said people who have dementia like to walk.

“They get very frustrated by dead ends, so having this ability to walk around ... you’ll find some folks spend a lot of their day walking,” Choban said, adding there will be memory stations along the way where residents can do things with their hands.

Lerch said there are country and city themes to each side of the building. Choban said it helps residents get oriented and they can recognize the colors and the themes. 

The rooms are on the outside of the building and common spaces are on the inside of the building.

There are 24 rooms and 26 beds. A studio suite with a bay window is 286 square feet, a studio suite is 259 square feet and a companion suite is 474 square feet.

Choban said the idea is not to have a lot of space in the rooms because they want residents engaged in the common areas.

“That’s why we call them bedrooms and not apartments,” Blanding said. “They are living in the entire home and this is where we want them predominantly sleeping, but we want them living in the social common areas of the house.”

Outside of each room is a memory box where residents and their families can place pictures or knickknacks, which helps residents remember which room is their room.

“Typically with dementia people remember further back, but their current memory is usually the quickest to go. You’ll find commonly when there’s pictures it will be a picture of a lady in her wedding picture. That’s what she looks like to her,” Choban said.

The front entrance of the building is also locked for safety purposes and a large living space is off of the entrance that is  complete with chandeliers and a fireplace. Lerch said the first residents who live in the building will have their names engraved in the stone above the fireplace.

One of the activity spaces off of the front entrance will feature Snoezelen Therapy. Lerch said the therapy comes from Europe and it helps patients by stimulating the senses, which  can help calm patients.

Choban said the entire Mätterhaus Memory Care Community will be more technologically advanced than the Engel Haus, the Himmel Haus and the Himmel Haus Cottages on the Gables of Germantown campus.

He said the entire building will be Wi-Fi enabled and will feature a program called “It’s Never 2 Late.” It is a system that combines touch screen computers with picture-based software and a content library that is continually updated.

“It’s a robust computer software system that’s really great for programming for residents. They have old movies loaded in. They can Skype. It’s on a cart and we can take it into each room. Each resident can have their own profile,” Choban said.

Each room will also feature an electronic picture frame and family members can upload pictures onto the electronic picture frame from their home.

“Everything from the ground up is specific for these needs,” Lerch said.

Blanding said they are working with several people who want to move into the Mätterhaus Memory Care Community, but she said it’s a lengthier process to move someone into a memory care community.

“That’s typical in the memory care environment. When somebody needs it, they need it today,” Choban said.

Choban said he would encourage families looking for a memory care community to consider the Mätterhaus Memory Care Community because of the Capri Senior Communities philosophy of care and resident care.

“We invest a lot of training in staff. Hiring the right staff and then training them. We’re looking at the latest available training,” Choban said.

For more information about the Mätterhaus Memory Care Community, call 345-6899.