Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Chairperson (Advisor 1)

Diane Hinds

Reader (Advisor 2)

Keith Johansen

Reader (Advisor 3)

Michael Finch


Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative disease that attacks the brain and results in impaired memory, thinking and behavior. It affects an estimated four million American adults including seventy thousand Minnesotans. It is the most common form of dementing illness. More than one hundred thousand people die of Alzheimer's disease each year, which makes it the fourth leading cause of death in adults after heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Alzheimer's disease, first discovered by a German physician, Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1907, knows no social or economic boundaries and it affects men and women equally. Approximately seventy percent of these persons are cared for at home, although more than fifty percent of the residents who reside in nursing homes have Alzheimer's disease or another related dementing illness.

Lyngblomsten Care Center is a traditional nursing home serving two hundred and fifty senior residents in the St. Paul, Como neighborhood. The demographics of the existing residents, as well as the needs of those applying for residency, proved the above statement. Fifty-four percent of the current client population have a primary diagnosis of dementing illness. We were receiving frequent calls from over-extended family members who needed to place their loved one in a long term care facility with the specialty interest in dementia and the consequent behaviors.

While the idea of a secured specialty unit for those who are a safety risk due to their own judgmental impairment is not new in the long term care industry, nearly every facility has one. For most of them, there is nothing "special" about them to warrant being called “specialized.” If we were to take on the project of developing the unit, we wanted to do it right and truly make it special.

Sometime in the year of 1993 an interdisciplinary workgroup was brought together with the task of researching and determining how to develop a secured unit for those with Alzheimer's disease at Lyngblomsten. This group met for two years and, for reasons unknown, disbanded without having ·made any headway into the work of unit development.

I was hired to Lyngblomsten in May of 1996 as the Director of Nursing. One of the primary reasons for my being the chosen candidate is my strong background in working with the demented elderly. In July of 1996 another interdisciplinary work group was put into place with the purpose of planning, developing and implementing a specialized care giving unit for persons with Alzheimer's type dementia. I had the distinct privilege to be an integral part of the strategic planning and reengineering processes required to transform a traditional nursing home unit into a secured one.

On October 1, 1999 we opened the Maverette E. Stanford Memorial Alzheimer's Program serving twenty-two (22) residents at Lyngblomsten Care Center. We offer twenty-four hour a day programming for persons with Alzheimer's disease who may benefit from a safe and accepting environment.

It is the process of that planning that I will share within this work to show how we developed a calm, pleasant, safe, homelike environment for the residents, their families and the staff.


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