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Core Dementia Care: An In-Depth and Innovative Dementia Training Program at Clark

Clark has always been at the forefront of dementia care in West Michigan from our Montessori for Aging and Dementia program to Music Therapy in Memory Care program. We are thrilled to share the latest training we are implementing organization-wide — Core Dementia Care — an in-depth, and innovative dementia training program. This evidence based and person-focused program is centered around enhancing the well-being of residents while also reducing stress for caregivers.


Core Dementia Care Training

Core Dementia Care

Core Dementia Care is a program created by Stacy Starling, program contributors and collaborating partners including The Health Care Association of Michigan, The Starling Center and The National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration (NADONA). This training program will enable Clark staff to effectively modify strategies to discover what contributes to the resident with dementia feeling content, engaged, and enriched in everyday life. Learned strategies improve efforts to prevent or avoid unnecessary pain and suffering for the person with dementia. 

Ongoing Dementia Care Training

Select Clark staff members have become certified trainers through the Core Dementia Care Leadership Program. This gives our team the ability to train an even larger portion of the Clark staff as well as on an ongoing basis as new staff are hired. One thing that makes this training unique is that it is provided to all staff that have interaction with our Memory Care residents which includes not only our nurses and caregivers, but also housekeeping, dining, and administrative staff. Our team is excited about the opportunity to be part of this training and to be able to better meet our residents’ needs.

Individual-Focused Approach to Dementia Care

An important aspect of this training is seeing the person experiencing dementia as an individual — what is it that this person needs and who are they as an individual? The training teaches our staff how to better communicate with residents and provides an in-depth knowledge of trauma awareness. Previous life events can affect us later in life. With a person experiencing dementia, you may not know why they are upset. Something may have triggered them. This training helps staff learn how to work with the resident to care for them in this type of situation. 

One of the goals of Memory Care at Clark is contented involvement of our residents. As part of this training, our staff dives deep into what makes an individual content? All staff is involved in this approach. Creating an environment of contented involvement for our residents is key and this training helps us serve our residents even better.

The Importance of Self Care for the Caregiver

Key components of this training focus on both improving care for residents as well as self care for the caregivers. Self care is a critical, yet often overlooked aspect of dementia care. The program offers a special self-care focused app, Core Dementia Care, that staff, caregivers and family can download. This app includes activities for self-care, journaling, and meditation all of which can help reduce stress for care partners of people with dementia.

Memory Care at Clark

At Clark, our philosophy on dementia care is to focus on what is possible and to create an atmosphere where the resident thrives. Clark is the first Life Plan Community in the United States to adopt the International Montessori for Aging and Dementia program. Our program is led by certified Montessori practitioners, who empower residents with memory loss to lead as independent and purposeful lives. Clark does so by creating meaningful routines, activities based on interest, and an environment with memory cues and supports. Our program is supported by Music Therapy, Equine Therapy, IN2L computer programs and Eversound headphones for hearing difficulties.

Schedule a Call:

If you think your loved one could benefit from Clark, contact our senior living advisors at or 616-278-6520 or fill out the form below to schedule a personalized consultation to discuss your loved one’s situation and see if Clark is the right fit for your loved one.

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