Circle of Friends® Program Garners 2011 GMU Healthcare Quality Improvement Award

Belmont Village recognized for work in addressing issues of Mild Cognitive Impairment for assisted living residents

[HOUSTON, Texas] Belmont Village’s Circle of Friends® program, developed by the company to boost cognitive reserve in assisted living residents with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) was selected for Honorable Mention recognition as a part of the 2011 George Mason University Health Care Quality Improvement Awards. This singular Honorable Mention Award was chosen from all project submissions, across all entry categories, according to Andrew Carle, program director for GMU’s Senior Housing Administration program.

“The committee was extremely impressed with the work completed by Belmont Village in identifying and addressing issues of Mild Cognitive Impairment in their residents, as well as their plans to expand upon assessment criteria moving forward, in a continued effort to improve resident quality of life,” said Carle. “This is work that can be replicated and sustained throughout the industry.”

According to the 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, as many as 10-20 percent of people aged 65 and older have MCI. MCI is defined as a condition that noticeably affects memory, language or another essential cognitive ability. The impairment is severe enough to show up on tests, but many with MCI can still function in daily life with proper support. It is an established risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Statistically, nearly half of those diagnosed are expected to progress to dementia in less than five years. As baby boomers age, experts foresee a spike in demand and a sustained need for adequate housing and care, along with early intervention and enhanced support for conditions such as MCI.

“We recognized several years ago that there was an under-served segment of the assisted living population that didn’t need dementia care, but did need more cognitive support than is typically offered in assisted living,” said Patricia Will, Belmont Village CEO. “We went to work to develop our Circle of Friends program, which we piloted five years ago. The positive impact we’ve seen on the lives of our residents and families has been phenomenal. It’s become essential to what we do - to be recognized in this way is a tremendous honor for us.”

The Belmont Village program centers on group activities and interactions, with an enhanced, seven-day-a-week calendar designed to encourage socialization, maintain cognitive function, and strengthen self-esteem and confidence. The exercises are designed to engage the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain that controls memory, and the fronto-temporal regions of the brain, which control reasoning and judgment. The goal is to help residents maintain and, where possible, improve cognitive function. The company recently launched a pilot evaluation program to gather and analyze program data to determine effectiveness and identify opportunities for improvement.

“As both a developer and an operator of seniors housing, we feel a particular responsibility to provide not only a beautiful place for our seniors to live, but also a place where they can continue to grow and thrive,” said Will. “Just as we continue to develop communities, we will continue to develop, evaluate, and evolve strong, research-based programs for mind and body.”

“Belmont Village should be exceptionally proud of the creativity and focus they’ve put forth in addressing a common but too often overlooked issue in older adults,” said Carle. “It is a tribute to them and their leadership role in the industry.”

Belmont Village is an integrated developer, owner and operator of Senior Living communities in Northern California, Greater Los Angeles, San Diego, Greater Chicago and the Southern U.S. Belmont Village will open its twenty-first community in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2012.


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