Brookdale, Sunrise Begin to Collaborate with Other Providers on Dementia Care Practices

The first-ever meeting of the Dementia Care Provider Roundtable, convened by the Alzheimer’s Association, took place on Thursday in Chicago. Representatives from 16 senior care providers, including Brentwood, Tennessee-based Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD) and McLean, Virginia-based Sunrise Senior Living, were in attendance.

One of the goals of the roundtable, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, was to bring attention to and more widely implement person-centered dementia care.

“It’s about leveraging the expertise that we have around a very complicated problem,” Beth Kallmyer, vice president of care & support at the Alzheimer’s Association, told Senior Housing News. “We’re really thrilled that we could bring together organizations that some folks would say are competitors. Technically, many of them are competitors.”

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Goals of the roundtable

To form the roundtable, the Alzheimer’s Association initially reached out to senior care providers with which it already had relationships. “They were a natural ask,” Kallmyer said.

Still, the roundtable is not intended to be exclusive.

“There’s not a limit on who’s invited to participate in this,” Kallmyer explained.  Mary Kate Nelson

One of the primary goals of the roundtable is to facilitate implementation of the Alzheimer’s Association 2018 Dementia Care Practice Recommendations, which were published in January. The roundtable also plans to discuss the challenges involved in implementing person-centered care, how to better work with diverse families, how to fill the existing gaps in psychosocial research.

Going forward, the roundtable is expected to meet once per quarter, she added. The next meeting is scheduled for this fall.

Growing memory care focus

The memory care forecast in the U.S. remains a bit of a mixed bag.

Some industry players, for instance, have predicted memory care occupancy will increase nationwide in 2018, and memory care units tend to fill up faster than independent living units. Still, there’s been plenty of occupancy trouble in the freestanding memory care sector.

Irvine, California-based memory care provider Silverado, which took part in Thursday’s roundtable, plans to add between two and three memory care communities per year over the next five years, President and CEO Loren Shook recently told SHN.

Similarly, memory care is “exceptionally important” to Sunrise Senior Living’s operations, Rita Altman, senior vice president of memory care programs and services at Sunrise Senior Living, told SHN. In fact, Sunrise has opted to build communities with more flexibility in order to accommodate a potential increase in memory care demand.

“Very often now, the way that we develop or build—we’ve got a couple of floors or wings or areas that can be purposed for either assisted living or memory care,” Altman explained.

A greater demand for memory care units is likely to impact everyone in the senior housing industry, according Juliet Holt-Klinger, senior director of dementia care and programs at Brookdale Senior Living.

“I think it’s a growing part of all of our businesses,” Holt-Klinger told SHN.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson