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Innovative Dementia and Memory Care Services at Clark

Clark has always been at the cutting edge of dementia and memory care in West Michigan. We were the first Life Plan Community in the United States to adopt the International Montessori for Aging and Dementia program and we have continued to be a leader in dementia and memory care. Our philosophy focuses on what is possible and we create an atmosphere where our memory care residents can thrive. We use the latest research and technology to provide an environment where our residents flourish.

Following are some areas where Clark is currently leading the way in Dementia and Memory Care:

Montessori Activities

Montessori for Dementia and Memory Care

You might have heard of the Montessori Method for children, but did you know that this methodology is also beneficial for those experiencing memory loss? Led by certified Montessori practitioners, this approach empowers residents to be independent and lead purposeful lives by creating meaningful routines, activities based on interest, and building a supportive environment with memory cues.

Clark’s Montessori for Dementia and Memory Care program is person-centered and emphasizes resident choice, independence and preserves the self-worth of all residents. One of the key factors of this program is giving residents a sense of purpose. Following are some examples of how Clark incorporates the Montessori method in our Dementia and Memory Care program:

  • Signs act as a cue for residents to engage in activities such as “please put the puzzle together” or “please enjoy a snack”
  • Staff and volunteers wear green name badges. Green is the last color dementia patients lose the ability to see, so green is a good color to use. These name badges allow residents to call everyone by name and feel a mutual level of respect.
  • Activity areas are visually organized with the appropriate level of stimulation. There are interesting things to do both for individuals but also as a group.
  • Residents are offered activities to help with things such as folding clothes, setting the table, or handing out salads during a meal.


Memory Care at Clark - Music Therapy

Music Therapy

Can you think of a day when you haven’t heard music? It’s almost impossible. Music is particularly valuable for those experiencing memory loss. For people with dementia, the part of the brain for speech is different from the part processing music. This is why people with memory impairment may have trouble communicating and yet they are still able to sing a song from beginning to end. A Northwestern University study confirmed musical activity preserves cognition and memory, and involvement in music therapy lowers stress levels, maintains physical health, social functioning and even reduces falls.

Clark’s Music Therapy in Memory Care program, led by certified music therapists, provides not only therapeutic value, but comfort and happiness to our Memory Care residents. At Clark, you’ll often hear music in the halls, in the Chapel, at events and activities. Music therapy at Clark also includes Ever Sound which re-engages residents with hearing impairment through a headphone system and IN2L (It’s Never Too Late) allowing residents to musically reminisce through computer technology.


Core Dementia Care Training at Clark Retirement

Core Dementia Care Training

Clark recently implemented Core Dementia Care — an in-depth, and innovative dementia training program. This evidence based and person-focused program centers around enhancing the well-being of residents while also reducing stress for caregivers. Core Dementia Care enables 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. 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. 

Another 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 helps staff 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, it may be difficult to know what is upsetting them. 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. 

Memory Care at Clark

If you think your loved one could benefit from Clark’s innovative Memory Care approach, you can connect with us at or 616-278-6520 or fill out the form below to schedule a discovery call to discuss your unique situation and see if Clark is the right fit for your loved one.

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