Katrina Parker is the Corporate Director of Marketing at The Memory Center. She is responsible for overseeing the business development and marketing strategies for the memory care communities, which means she is responsible for the company’s marketing teams, business plans and advertising campaigns, social media and other types of marketing related to their website company and providers. Katrina has been in the senior care industry for over 20 years and serves on the Board of Directors for Hampton Roads Alzheimer’s Association. She got into this business when she was in college, where she studied business administration with an emphasis in healthcare management at St. Leo College and Old Dominion University.
“I volunteered for nursing homes when I was very young and they had me going to perform activities, deliver food and be a companion,” Katrina said. “I was also a candy striper and emergency room volunteer at local hospitals, thinking I was going to be a nurse. I saw so many people who felt left out and wanted to be needed and cared for, so I started volunteering and I just knew that was where I needed to be.”
The Memory Center has three memory care communities located in Atlanta, Georgia; Virginia Beach, Virginia and Richmond, Virginia. The Memory Center in Atlanta is currently under construction, but will be opening very soon. The owner of the company chose the location of Atlanta because it’s one of the fastest growing areas that has a need for memory care.
“We are looking to expand to other cities in the south for the future,” Katrina said. “We hope to expand to South Carolina, Tennessee and other cities in Georgia.”
The Memory Center is specially designed for the cognitively impaired. The community focuses on their design with the Town Center concept, which makes it interactive for their residents to be engaged and makes memorable visits for both the residents and their family members. Their custom designed community addresses the needs of those living with memory loss.
“Filled with natural light, our safe indoor and outdoor spaces allow for freedom of movement and independence, secured courtyards and walking trails,” Katrina said. “Our whole building is set up in a town-like setting and a home-like environment with icons of the geographic local area because we really want to bring back the meaning of life.”
The Memory Center believes that the challenging conditions of an aging brain are met with care and interactive communities designed around the individual. They are optimized to enhance the quality of life and an environment to thrive for their residents.
“We use iconic stimuli,” Katrina said. “At our Virginia Beach location, for example, we have a 20 ft. light house and several monuments that relate to Virginia Beach. At our Richmond location, our icons relate to the Richmond environment and the names of our neighborhoods and stores all relate to that city; the same with our Atlanta location.”
At the Memory Center, their residents can still go on in their life and live it through movement and freedom with its Memories and Motion program in a secure environment. Each Town Center includes iconic stimuli from the past with amenities including: a stately library, a general store where residents can purchase items, a theater where residents enjoy movies from the past and special events, a tavern where they maintain an ABC license so residents can enjoy daily Happy Hour when prescribed by a physician, a beach shack and/or bistro where residents celebrate holidays and enjoy a daily ice cream social, over 1,000 sq.ft. of secured outdoor space including courtyard and walking paths that wind through gardens with bird feeders and seating areas and a beauty salon for hair styling, manicures and pedicures.
The Memory Center’s Memories in Motion program is a comprehensive activities program that provides the residents with multiple activities every day of the week. The program features at least eight different activities daily along with small groups and events to participate in. “It is a therapeutic program for activities that’s grounded in Montessori-based principles, primarily in respect, dignity, independence and choice,” Katrina said.
Katrina said The Memory Center offers personalized services and the industry’s best staffing ratio of 4:1 and 24/7 nursing oversight.
“We have the best staffing ratio, probably the top in the U.S. and we also hire a medical director for the medical oversight, as well as RNs and LPNs,” Katrina said. “Our staff is trained in dementia care with a specialty in geriatrics. We also have a full-time activity team that helps ease the disease of dementia and helps to improve the residents’ quality of life by offering activities to do and keeping them engaged. We’re not keeping them in front of the TV all day, we have them engaged in dance, music, art, interactive games, poetry and pet therapy; just outings with things that are important to them.”
When it comes to the health of the residents, Katrina said that each person is in a different stage of their dementia or Alzheimer’s, so it is important to understand those behaviors and different stages and to help them through it. “For instance, we had a gentleman who loved trains because he was in the railroad industry so trains were a big deal to him,” Katrina said. “When he became agitated or anxious, we started bringing out trains for him and talked about trains, showed him pictures of trains and his whole demeanor changed for the better.”
Because not everyone specializes in memory care, Katrina said The Memory Center can help other communities, families and health care professionals transition individuals to their community. “We can help communities with that process because that’s all we do, that’s our specialty,” Katrina said. “The Memory Center is also a resource to family members because it can be a very emotional and a heartfelt transition, therefore we can guide them with the help they may need.”