JERSEYVILLE - Liberty Village of Jerseyville hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony from 1-3 p.m. on Thursday afternoon to celebrate the recent addition of their newest memory care program, “Memory Lane - Fitness for the Mind.”

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The event saw a large turnout from the public and featured guest speakers including State Senator Steve McClure and Liberty Village staff members, in addition to demonstrations of new memory games in the village’s courtyard and tours of the newly-redone interior.

State Senator Steve McClure, who represents the 50th Senate District of Illinois, introduced himself to the crowd as “the youngest-looking member of the State Senate, but I’m not the youngest,” and noted the lack of similar memory programs in the region.

“This is a beautiful campus, and I think one of the issues that we have in this region - particularly lately - is there are not enough facilities that offer treatment options that help people with memory issues,” McClure said. “My grandma has dementia and she lives in a facility in Bloomington, and you could tell when she was in a previous facility that she was not getting the treatment that she needed, because in the daily conversations that we would have with her, it showed.”

McClure said his grandmother has since moved into another facility and is doing better, getting the treatment she needs, but that their experience underscores the importance of having programs like this in the area.

“This campus is always surprising me with every few years, something new popping up … it’s good to see growth here, particularly for people that want to stay close to their loved ones,” McClure continued. “I’m just here to congratulate you and to say, ‘Keep up the great work.’”

Dana Bainter, administrator of Liberty Village, said the facility has grown in the 18 years she’s been there and thanked the community for their support of the new program.

“We are so excited that you’re here to share in the celebration of our new and improved memory care program,” Bainter said. “Memory Lane - Fitness for the Mind is more than just a name; on Memory Lane, we will seek to exercise the brain, enhance memory, and maintain independence.”

She continued by saying these programs are personalized based on an individual’s strengths, and their on-site therapy teams will lead in-depth individual assessments to track participants’ progress throughout the program.

Liberty Village Medical Director Cristy Elving said they are already starting to see results among their residents from “environmental adjustments” that were made to the interior.

“I’m truly excited to see all the benefits our residents will have from our targeted treatment, based on each person’s individualized level of function,” Elving said. “We’re already seeing a difference in our residents with the environmental adjustments that we have made, and we’ve had great success with our targeted Mindful Moments and Memory in Motion programming as well.”

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Stephannie Cloninger-Hultz, nurse practitioner for Liberty Village, said this program will greatly help future participants and their families while reflecting on her own family experience.

“I want to take a moment and just speak from the heart,” Cloninger-Hultz said. “My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s dementia and she passed away last April, and it was extremely difficult as a loved one - both in the medical field, as well as just being a granddaughter - to see her decline and not have the kind of care that I feel we’re going to be able to provide here at our facility to our residents … I’m so excited to be part of that, for future family members and our future patients.”

Marketing Director Brady Dabbs wrapped up the speaker portion of the event by saying there are monthly support groups available to help families who need it.

“We recognize the stress related to caregiving can be overwhelming - we want you to know that we’re here to help,” Dabbs said. “Monthly support group meetings are available to all, whether you have a loved one you are caring for at home or a participant of our program. We are here to support and provide encouragement, and allow you the opportunity for camaraderie with others who face similar challenges with their own loved ones.”

“Come see for yourself; Memory Lane - Fitness for the Mind surpasses even the highest expectations,” Dabbs said.

After the speakers were finished presenting, they commenced the official cutting of a purple ribbon with large golden scissors with smiles on their faces.

In the back courtyard area, several “stations” were set up to demonstrate some of the memory games that will be offered. Mandy Pohlman, a speech-language therapist with Liberty Village who was tending one of the stations, said the program helps highlights strengths rather than weaknesses.

“I think it’s just shown us a whole new perspective on looking at someone’s abilities as opposed to focusing on their deficits,” Pohlman said. “We could all walk in there and see someone and know what they can’t do, but I’ll be honest in saying that I had no idea what some of these people can do. It’s been absolutely shocking.”

To find out more about Liberty Village of Jerseyville or about the new Memory Lane - Fitness for the mind program, call (618) 498-6441 or visit them at 1251 N. State St. in Jerseyville.

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