Montessori-Inspired Memory Care at Poydras Home

Poydras Home is committed to offering customized memory support to our resident population. We introduced a Montessori-inspired, specialized memory support program in 2013 that allows each resident to retain their unique voice. The “I’m Still Here”™ Montessori Program, originating from the Hearthstone Institute in Boston, MA, allows each resident to direct meaningful choices in the ways they spend their days. Creative techniques allow us to engage all residents while preserving their independence through mutually beneficial social interactions.

Roman Alokhin

Poydras Home participants in Artful Minds at NOMA – photo credit Roman Alokhin

We have a dedicated employee, well versed in the implementation of the “I’m Still Here”™ program. Additionally, our entire staff receives annual, professional training to both maintain and expand the program for all of our residents. Poydras Home is the only certified “I’m Still Here”™ Center of Excellence in the South. This holistic endeavor allows our passionately supportive staff to unlock the inner thoughts of those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias so that they can better continue to connect to loved ones and one another. The Montessori methodology has significantly broadened the depth of our memory care residents’ interactions and connections to the world around them. We will continue to implement the program in innovative ways to the betterment of our whole community.

This quality care approach includes regular visits by a licensed art therapist to guide both individual and collaborative, highly expressive, hands-on, art projects by our nursing care residents and day program participants in Poydras Home’s Rose Room and Hunter House. These sensory projects are then displayed for all to explore.

Poydras Home Montessori Program Art Therapy cropped photo 2

Poydras Home Art Therapy

The scope of the Montessori Program was further expanded in the summer of 2015 to include regular, ongoing outings to the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) as participants in Artful Minds at NOMA, an experimental art enrichment pilot program designed to enhance communication and connections through visual art. Through Artful Minds, our memory care residents were nurtured as they experienced a pre-selected variety of art installations, led by specially trained docents who coaxed expressive reactions and verbalizations from even the most reticent of residents.

Poydras Home began a partnership with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) in 2016 to provide music therapy specially designed to benefit people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, called Soul Strings For Seniors: Musical Memories. The first program of its kind in our area, it is delivered by four string musicians led by a licensed music therapist. A broader audience of Poydras Home residents are additionally invited to attend open rehearsals of the full Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

LPO Soul Strings For Seniors: Musical Memories sessions at Poydras Home

Music-informed therapy has been proven to support and increase the quality of life and functional skill sets for seniors in need of memory care. Soul Strings For Seniors: Musical Memories offers sensory and intellectual stimulation through exposure to creative culture. It supports connections between speech and singing, rhythm and motor behavior, while enhancing memory through song and mood elevation. Poydras Home CEO Erin Kolb notes, “The LPO musicians are working with a licensed music therapist in sessions that complement and reinforce therapy goals such as improving communication, memory, and attention skills. The intimate setting with small groups of our residents allows the LPO musicians to extend their talents into a new direction impacting wellness as they reach members of our resident population who can find traditional modes of communication to be difficult.”

In 2019 Poydras Home forged a new partnership with Camp Able, a Ministry of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church that includes a year round youth group for children and adults with special needs. Camp Able Youth Group participants visit Poydras Home’s Seasons at Oak House Assisted Living memory care residents monthly where both groups collaborate on a story writing activity to be published and shared with each other at the end of this year. The interactions between our seniors and Camp Able’s teens and young adults has proved to be warm, creative, engaging and mutually beneficial.

Camp Able Youth Group participants’ monthly meetings with Poydras Home Seasons at Oak House Assisted Living Residents began in April 2019.

Poydras Home’s long history of mission-driven dedication to provide expert level memory support to all residents affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias make us innovative leaders in memory care that can broaden the depth of positive life experience for our residents.