Retirement Unlimited, Inc. has appointed Ron Bowen as the company’s vice president of engagement for its Inspiritas memory care neighborhoods and communities.
Bringing a 30-year career focused on dementia care, Bowen said the plan moving forward is going to involve learning his role better and looking into how parallel work with residents in different stages of dementia could work.
His most recent role was with Atria Senior Living, where he worked as divisional director of life guidance operations. Before that, he was executive director of an Atria community in Connecticut.
Bowen’s goal as vice president of memory care engagement is to “infuse the spirit and joy every day,” he told Senior Housing News. Information from RUI states the program consists of wellness, life enrichment, dietary and family engagement.
Beth Kolnok, VP of marketing, sales and engagement for RUI, said there is a greater focus on the individual under the company’s Inspiritas memory care program. Prior to a resident entering Inspiritas, staffers learn their history to better understand who they are and their interests. All staff members involved with the program make up a “full fledged community” to allow residents to “live each day to the fullest,” Kolnok said.
“We really enhance and engulf ourselves into our residents and their families,” Kolnok said.
Bowen’s involvement in dementia studies came about from a personal involvement from his grandfather having Alzheimer’s. In one of his previous jobs when he was working in dementia neighborhoods in a skilled environment, he focused on learning more about the disease.
“I worked closely with the psychiatrists and the team there … and I ended up learning a lot about how to redirect people, train staff, and I went and received my masters degree in gerontology and human development,” Bowen said.
Through that training and study, Bowen said the focus needs to be more about emotional intelligence and better understanding the person with the disease.
“Most places I’ve worked, they just focus on the disease. We are focusing on the human being to figure out what we can,” Bowen said. “I joined Retirement Unlimited … because it is person centered. I’m excited.”
Among the changes in senior living and memory care specifically, the one that stands out the most to Bowen is how more in tune with residents providers have become and realizing that group settings are not a one size fits all solution.
The future for memory care is looking optimistic, Bowen added, and he believes 2024 is going to be a year of growing, learning and trying more things for memory care residents.