Shem Creek Health Center’s GEMMS Memory Care Program
May 24, 2023
A unique program keeps residents experiencing memory loss engaged, respected, cherished and cared for in whatever stage of life’s journey they are in.
GEMMS, a program exclusive to Liberty Senior Living communities, provides memory support programming that values the person and is customized to each person’s unique needs.
GEMMS is the acronym for Genuine, Engaging and Meaningful Memory Support, key words that represent the type of care that residents with memory loss receive at Shem Creek Health Center at South Bay at Mount Pleasant. The premier senior living community in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, offering independent living, assisted living, memory care , respite care, rehabilitation, and skilled care, is owned and operated by Liberty Senior Living.
A report in USA Today estimates that 6.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease and that one in ten older adults have early-stage memory or cognitive problems.
The importance of person-centered care to help people with memory loss maintain a sense of self and purpose in life is cited in a study published in August 2021.
Person-centered care is at the heart of GEMMS’ approach, which focuses on providing programming and activities that meet residents where they are. It also addresses the specific needs, preferences, and motivations of each resident.
“Knowing and understanding our residents really creates an opportunity for us to engage with them in a way that’s meaningful and positive,” says Holly Hines, Regional Dementia Care Coordinator and GEMMS Program Director for Liberty Senior Living.
Hines says GEMMS staff provide support and create an environment where residents can thrive.
She cites the example of an older resident who exceeded the expectations of his family who had seen his interest in making connections with others decreasing.
“In one of our communities, we had a resident whose family had said he wouldn’t participate in any activities,” she recalls. “But when they came to visit, he was doing magic tricks for the staff and other residents. They were excited that he was connecting with others.”
Hines, who has been with Liberty for twelve years, often works directly with residents. She ensures that the caregiving staff at all of Liberty’s communities offering memory support receives immersive and comprehensive training.
Hines, too, is highly trained. She is a certified dementia practitionerthrough the National Council of Dementia Practitioners as well as a certified trainer and coach with Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care. Hines says staff at South Bay at Mount Pleasant have a passion to provide the best care possible.
“Our staff can say they are making a difference in people’s lives because they are working with residents in ways that works for them and highlights their skills that remain,” she says.
While helping residents stay engaged is part of the goal of GEMMS, it is not the only strategy. “It’s not just about activities,” Hines says. “It’s about nurturing their body and spirit, so each day is engaging and meaningful.”
Shem Creek Health Center also provides peace of mind for residents’ families who appreciate the care their loved ones receive. They take comfort in knowing that their loved one’s basic needs for a healthy diet, physical exercise, social connections, and comfort are being provided.
The staff is dedicated to ensuring safety for all residents.