Williamsburg Village Healthcare, a Texas skilled nursing and rehab community, this week opened a 24-bed memory care wing with a twist: It will serve women only.
It’s a unique way to address a clear-cut need in the area, Gibson Vernon, the executive director of the StoneGate-managed Williamsburg Village, told Skilled Nursing News.
“Every tour that I gave for female referral, the first thing they asked me was: ‘Are there going to be males in that unit also?’” Vernon said of his conversations with clients and case managers interested in memory care.
This led Vernon to start doing research on whether any location in the community served female memory care patients in a single-gender setting.
“I started talking to local senior centers, local retirement communities, referral management,” Vernon said. “And they said they’ve been looking for a while for a community that would house all female, especially for Medicaid.”
It took Vernon and his team about a year to complete the unit, including recruiting staff. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the unit was held Thursday.
The memory care unit at the 242-bed campus in DeSoto, Texas will accept both Medicaid and private pay residents. The new facility also offers certified dementia practitioners and dementia-specific programming.
One of the advantages of the single-sex setting is the new avenues it opens for individualized care plans for patients, Vernon said. This is in contrast to memory care settings that have both male and female patients, where the focus is on major cognitive exercises.
“For programs and activities and the way the care is divided, it’s more focusing on the cognitive and less on the individual,” he said of traditional memory care. “And females and males don’t usually have the same interests.”
Another consideration are differences in the way men and women undergo cognitive decline.
“I have seen some all-male communities,” Vernon noted. “Those tend to be more of a psychiatric thing, instead of a more Alzheimer’s-, memory-, or dementia-focused community. Men tend to become more aggressive during those first few stages, so those tend to become more of a behavioral thing.”
The all-female unit at Williamsburg currently has five people waiting to enter, and Vernon expects the facility will be filled by April. He’s expecting to become a primary referral source from the local hospital as a result of the unit, and expects anyone who wants “Mom to be there with other moms” will be interested as well.
“I think it’s going to be a fantastic business opportunity, not only for growth, but for service,” he said.
Written by Maggie Flynn