By KEVIN CHIRI
Tammany West news
MANDEVILLE – Beau Provence Executive Director Shelly Jarrell believes that the memory care community in Mandeville she leads is set apart from others because it is 100 percent dedicated to residents living with memory problems.
However, there is another reason Jarrell is positive that her community offers the best care possible at Beau Provence—she and her mother spent 10 years caring for her father through his Alzheimer’s journey before he passed away.
Beau Provence opened its doors three years ago as the only North Shore assisted living community that is 100 percent dedicated to serving memory care patients.
“I do believe it sets us apart as a local leader in memory care,” Jarrell said. “It’s like if you make snoballs 100 percent of the time—you are probably going to be better than anyone else at doing that.”
Beau Provence owner David Schonberg, who owns 13 assisted living communities throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina, is another reason that Jarrell came on board to lead the Beau Provence team.
“He shares my vision for senior care, and he had this facility specifically designed with special architectural features to make life easier and safer for residents facing memory care problems,” she stated.
Beau Provence is created with two separate, circular walkways for residents, something that makes the community almost impossible to feel lost within.
“If residents keep walking in the hallway, they’ll always end up back at their room,” Jarrell says.
Other key features at Beau Provence include: special lighting in the hall to account for the fact that memory care problems often lead to vision problems; employees that work in 12-hour shifts so that residents interact with familiar faces; a full-time Activities Director on staff to keep residents busy with activities that are engaging and customized for each individual residents’ preferences and abilities; a nurse at the community 24/7 to ensure complete continuity of care; and specially designed railings on all halls and walkways that make it easy for residents to get around.
Jarrell said she personally understands the challenges and struggles that each resident and their loved ones face, as she and her mother went through that situation with her father not long ago, a journey that lasted 10 years.
“The toughest part is that we lost the man we knew. Family members who deal with Alzheimer’s actually lose their loved one twice,” Jarrell notes. “I understand how much guilt and sadness there can be in this situation for the caregivers, and that’s why we provide as much care to the family members as we do to the resident.”
The first signs that Shelly’s father was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s was not the simple forgetfulness that many seniors face. Her father was 70 years old and had recently retired from a long career as an accountant at Freeport McMoran when Shelly and her family began to notice him having some serious memory issues.
“With Alzheimer’s and dementia, it’s not a matter of forgetting where I parked my car or where I left my cell phone. It’s things like ‘what car do I have,’ or ‘where do I put the gas in the mower?’ People living with Alzheimers or dementia become withdrawn and shrink their world since it has become so confusing,” Jarrell says.
Professional care becomes needed when the individual with Alzheimer’s or dementia begins to make unsafe decisions.
“Of course, people do things to try and minimize how serious their memory problems have really become by beginning to live in one room of their home or sleeping in the living room chair,” she notes. “But when they begin to make decisions that can hurt them—like not knowing that their legs are too weak to walk or whether or not they took their medications that day, that is when it is important to seek out additional support that communities like ours can provide.”
Jarrell said Beau Provence has a staff that is fully committed to “the same level of care that we provided for my dad. I’ve been there, and I understand on a very deep level what the families we serve are going through, as well as the individual with Alzheimer’s/dementia.
“We honor the people that are entrusted to us and help those with memory problems maintain their quality of life and their dignity,” Jarrell says.
Jarrell pointed out that the increase in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients is rising at a rapid pace, yet it is one of the top ten causes of death that still has no cure.
“Predictions are for Alzheimer’s patients to triple in just over 10 years,” she said. “That’s why communities like Beau Provence are so very important. We really care about these folks, and once someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the best thing you can do for them is ensure that they have the very best level of care and support as they go on living with the disease.”
Another example of the exceptional care provided at Beau Provence is the community practice of employees sitting down with the residents as they eat to enjoy meal times together.
“That way, we can spend quality time with them, learning more about their lives and building strong relationships, and we can truly know if they are eating or not, which helps in building a full picture for us in regards to their care needs and their food preferences,” she says.
The beautiful community boasts a large den area with a bistro, allowing residents to continually move around, including an outdoor patio that is open and protected for residents to spend time outdoors freely. Hallways are covered with colorful pictures from the Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival and other serene imagery, and soothing music is piped in steadily to help residents remain calm and engaged with their surroundings.
“We call the walking ‘safe wandering,’” Jarrell says. “It is very good for our residents, as exercise releases endorphins that are optimal for their health and their ability to function at their own highest potential.”
The community also offers monthly gardening opportunities for residents, as local Master Gardeners come to Beau Provence to help plant flowers and grow vegetables and herbs.
Beau Provence Memory Care Assisted Living is located just off Hwy. 22 in Mandeville at 100 Beau West Dr. You can call Executive Director Shelly Jarrell for more information at 985-778-0755.