New memory center opens in Roanoke

Center is designed as a real life town

ROANOKE, Va. – Dementia and Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in Virginia. In a response to promote memory care for patients, a unique town center concept is now open in the Roanoke Valley.
You'll be stepping inside another world at Pheasant Ridge Memory Center. Visiting the indoor movie theater or reading a book at the Elmwood Library helps to trigger memories of those with a form of dementia.
The memory center has familiar names resembling real places in Roanoke and it has almost everything you would want in a town setting.

Life enrichment director, Casey Halstead says 13 new people are moving in July 17.

"My main goal is to make residents feel comfortable and at home. And basically make their quality of life meaningful as possible," said Halstead

The goal is to help people fight dementia by tuning their memory. They can spend time shopping at the Roanoke General Store or create a masterpiece in the Arts and Craft studio.

A day at the beauty salon is another activity encouraging residents to continue doing as a way for them to live a normal life.

Even the menu in the restaurant style dining area is a part of the plan.

"So this one is roast beef and mashed potatoes and vegetables. We made it portable so that they can dunk it in the gravy and get all the same nutrition as they would if they were sitting at a table," Brooke Christensen, lead cook said.

There's also a life station which is like taking a trip down memory lane with a wedding theme, an infant station and a military setup. These all are phases of life for the age group of those who will live here.

"An area where we can promote engagement. Where we can promote that activity that keeps the memories going. And memory care is difficult," said Chris Perkins, CEO of Harmony Senior Services.

Chris Perkins says the newest stand-alone memory care community is much needed.

"In fact by 2020 some of the statistics tell us that Alzheimer's and dementia will affect another 7 percent of our population," Perkins said.

Meant to be a nostalgic setting, the center is currently reserving rooms for those with all levels of dementia.