Story and photo by Mike Lee, Staff Writer
When Kip Pammenter talks about the residents at his Heritage of Overland Park memory care residence he uses their first names.
The president of a company that specializes in Alzheimer’s and memory care knows that’s the only way you can truly make a difference in someone’s life. Getting to know each and every client and meeting them where they are is the hallmark of Pammenter’s successful approach to person-centered care.
It’s a unique concept in today’s take-it-or-leave it memory care market.
“Each family comes in with their own circumstance and their own issues and that’s their focus,” Pammenter said. “The relationship blossoms and they tie into other families. There’s a lot of empathy. Families are going through the same issue and families lend support to each other.
“They help each other and they help us.”
Based on the concept that Pammenter developed in the Kansas City market, Heritage Point will expand into Oklahoma City this April and then break ground later this year in Tulsa.
David Thompson serves as Pammenter’s vice president of operations.
“Really what we’re trying to do - big picture - is the person-centered care approach,” Thompson said. “We want to know what their routines are, what their interests are and how do we give them meaning and purpose and relationships and enjoyment each day in a lifestyle.”
Dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and trying to understand available care options can be extremely challenging for families. That’s why Pammenter designed Heritage Point to work with families to envision a better way to live with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia related impairments.
Pammenter wants to truly reinvent Alzheimer’s care and what life should be like for seniors with cognitive challenges. The focus is on each individual resident; knowing who they are and what they love to do…and then finding activities that have meaning and purpose.
Heritage Point will offer a smaller, home environment that promotes dignity, respect and love. A dedicated team of experienced and caring staff understands the importance of developing close personal relationships with residents and becomes an extended part of your family.
Professionally trained care staff, along with the expert guidance of the medical director, offer an unmatched array of services and life activities to create a home that supports each individual person.
Heritage Point invites families in, knowing that the interaction only helps the resident.
Guest meals are free of charge, not a separate bill waiting to be paid.
“That’s not what we’re about,” Thompson said.
The residence is designed with the patient first.
Each building will house 18 units. Three homes make up 54 total units.
“Dealing with dementia, it was important to us to keep the numbers to a minimum,” Pammenter said. “You put a lot of people with behaviors together it feeds on itself. We wanted to create something homey, keep the numbers down and make it a more enjoyable lifestyle.”
While consistency with Alzheimer’s patients is important, Thompson said the concept works when staff strongly hold an attitude of flexibility and incorporate individual interests and desires into everyday life.
In addition to a monthly community calendar, Heritage Point will integrate special events and activities that reflect personal passions of residents and staff such as musical events, animal assisted interventions, individual hobbies, etc.
“We don’t let dementia or Alzheimer’s define who we are,” Pammenter said. “It’s a part of us but it doesn’t define us. We are going to take that, accept it but we’re going to do what we do. We are not boxed in by contemporary thinking.”
That’s why you’ll see Heritage Point residents at a minor league ballgame or out to eat at a restaurant. Fishing trips and other outings are staples in Overland Park.
“Oklahoma City is much like Kansas City - center of the U.S. … with good people and family values,” Pammenter said. “We were successful with Overland Park and we started looking for places that were comparable. It just seemed that Oklahoma City was a good fit for us.
“I think even more important than that there’s nothing like this in Oklahoma City.”
Heritage Point will truly be unique in Oklahoma.
“We’re all in there with the same vision and it’s to provide some level of meaning and enjoyment and purpose,” Thompson said. “It’s a culture. That’s what I’m most proud of. I just didn’t expect it to be as big as it became. I expected it to be special but it really turned into something amazing.”
Heritage Point of Oklahoma City will soon open to provide Alzheimer’s patients a new living option. David Thompson, left, and Kip Pammenter are behind the innovative project