Oct 23

Senior Housing: Canyon Creek Memory Support Center

by Renata Birkenbuel

For the increasing crop of baby boomers who serve as caregivers for their aging parents, the family-owned Canyon Creek Memory support center in billings provides a unique support system.

“We do offer a Day Stay program where seniors can stay with us on an hourly basis for only $10 an hour,” says Amy Peterson, Community Relations director at Canyon Creek. “We also offer respite stays where seniors can stay with us for a short term stayat $100 a day.”

Caregivers who realize that a muchneeded break from daily care keeps them healthy may appreciate the staff’s holistic approach.

Overall, the facility, located at 1785 Majestic Lane, helps those suffering from memory loss, which also makes for happier families.

“There is a great need for caring for those with some form of dementia,” says Peterson. Currently, the 67 available residences are at 50 percent capacity.

“Our community is exclusively Memory Care. All of our team, from our housekeepers to our caregivers, are all specifically trained in how to communicate and assist those with some form of memory loss.”

For patients, Canyon Creek provides a full staff of 50 caregivers and licensed nurses 24 hours a day in order to individualize specific needs for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

“Every member of the Canyon Creek family is carefully screened and selected to ensure their skills and capacity for caring,” says Peterson.

“Caregivers also benefit from these programs,” she adds, “by taking advantage of a few hours of guilt-free time away from responsibilities to run errands, get shopping done, or simply relax with some alone time.

“Respite stays can allow caregivers to attend functions or go on vacations free from the pressure or worry associated with the day-to-day care needs of their loved one.”

The Koelsch family, which runs Koelsch Senior Communities, with headquarters located in Olympia, Wash., promotes Canyon Creek as different from other memory care communities because of the Personal Touch Program. Their family-focused philosophy infuses their mission of providing holistic care:

“Treat all people with the respect they deserve and the special attention they need. With more than 50 years of experience, you can be sure our family will take great care of yours.”

The facility opened over a year ago. Koelsch runs other senior facilities in several other Western states.

The Personal Touch Program is three-pronged, as the staff aims to “nurture intact abilities while reducing the adverse effects of impairments, provide a comfortable social and caring environment, and preserve
dignity and independence while respecting family concerns,” according to Peterson.

To form the best supportive partnership with each family, the staff welcomes input and guidance from family members in order to best meet the particular needs and preferences of each resident/patient.

To avoid the impersonal atmosphere that may exist at other memory support facilities, the Canyon Creek staff prides itself on maintaining meaningful interactions while fostering strong individual relationships with
each resident.

As for atmosphere, Peterson assures that Canyon Creek puts out the welcome mat in a big way.

“We custom designed and built Canyon Creek Memory Care Community with a distinctly residential character,” explains Peterson.

The grounds feature peaceful gardens, activities areas, a beauty and barber shop, a courtyard and a walking path, all in a secure environment.

“Every aspect of our community has been planned to help your loved one feel comfortable and at home,” Peterson adds.

Residents have at their disposal a wide range of activities, such as homemade cooking classes, therapeutic arts and crafts, exercise classes, reminiscing sessions, music therapy and pet therapy – all of which
provide sensory stimulation to match each resident’s personal capabilities.

“These activities also help to maintain functional skills,” Peterson says, “encouraging your loved one to succeed and get the most out of life.”

While the private-pay facility accepts long-term care insurance, management is applying for Medicaid slots, plus there are other avenues for payment.

“There are aid and attendance benefits for our veterans, and we work directly with an elder law firm to help speed up the process for those who qualify,” Peterson says. “Our rates vary depending on the level of care, but they are very competitive in this area.”

Renata Birkenbuel is a Great Falls freelance writer and former Missoulian sportswriter.


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