President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in 1983. Appropriately, this week members of Leadership Health Care (LHC) received an early look at what is expected to become the national model for Alzheimer’s and memory care:Abe’s Garden.
Abe’s Garden, founded by Michael Shmerling, was built from personal experience. Shmerling’s father, Abram “Abe” C. Shmerling, M.D., suffered from Alzheimer’s, and he saw first-hand the lack of quality services and care for this segment of the population.
Shmerling described for LHC members a plan to incorporate the best practices of memory care into every facet of the operation. Abe’s Garden partnered with Vanderbilt University Medical Center to develop a joint research program targeting improvement in the quality of care provided to residents. The Vanderbilt University Abram C. Shmerling, M.D., Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease and Geriatric Medicine will create opportunity for future research projects.
Currently in the middle of a $14 ½ million construction project, Abe’s Garden will improve the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s through evidence-based programming and campus design, as well as enhanced services for families. LHC members were given a first look at spaces designated for an on-site wellness center, personal care services and quarter-acre organic garden – just a few of the amenities planned. Despite an anticipated opening date of summer 2015, Abe’s Garden is already beginning a waiting list for those interested in learning whether the campus is appropriate for their family member suffering from cognitive impairment.
Leadership Health Care was formed in 2002 as an initiative of the Nashville Health Care Council to foster the next generation of health care leaders.