CEO ‘Built’ a New Life for Alzheimers and Dementia Patients

Interesting Engineering

The meaning of life is our memories. That’s the thing makes us, ‘us’, and losing them is something we all fear.
Alzheimers and dementia are two of the worst diseases which take our memories from us, even if we are not aware. There is no cure, no medicines to stop it from getting worse. The only option and way to make the patients ‘happier’ is assisting and caring for them. Like the many centers and living facilities across the world do. The Lantern Of Madison is one of them, but it is just a little different from the others.

Jean Makesh, CEO of Lantern assisted living facilities of Madison, is presented with many stories of elderly patients and he cares for each of them. Therefore, he decided to make quite lovely and creative changes in their center, to make them happier. He says:

"I thought I knew a lot about elderly care. The more and more time I was spending with my clients, that's when I realized, 'Oh my god, I have no clue.'"

lantern-of-madison6[Image Source: Lantern Of Madison]

Alzheimers and dementia patients live very connected to their memories. In fact, they forget many things, but most of them are dwelling in a past period of their lives.

lantern-of-madison12[Image Source: Lantern Of Madison]

Most of them don’t understand and get confused as to why they are living somewhere different, which are facilities, with many ‘unknown’ people around. They mostly want to keep doing their old activities or feel free.

lantern-of-madison13[Image Source: Lantern Of Madison]

Obviously, there is a way to help them live in the peace and comfort for the rest of their lives. If we are not able to change their mind, we could change their world, by designing the place they live in. As Makesh did.

lantern-of-madison11[Image Source: Lantern Of Madison]

"What if we design an environment that looks like outside? What if I can have a sunrise and sunset inside the building? What if I'm able to have the moon and stars come out? What if I build a unit that takes residents back to the '30s and '40s?"

lantern-of-madison7[Image Source: Lantern Of Madison]

Makesh decided to design a place for his patients to set them free, which looks like their memories, and he did. The environments are not just places, they include smells and sound as well. So, his design includes everything needed to bring back old memories, and hes calls the project the Aqua Lilly Program.

lantern-of-madison4[Image Source: Lantern Of Madison]

Having their own room makes people happy, but instead of living in a room, Makesh turned the rooms into small homes which look like what the patients saw in their old days, covered with realistic grass look carpets on the floor. The patients are able to take in the smells of nature, as much as it is possible, like citrus and peppermint, which are piped in through vents during the day. There is a digital sky overhead which exhibits the time by lighting to make the mood feel more natural and real.

lantern-of-madison2[Image Source: Lantern Of Madison]

The patients walk around in ‘streetish’ corridors full of streetlights, a tiny waterfall, a little gazebo and flowers all around.

lantern-of-madison1[Image Source: Lantern Of Madison]

We can say that the Makesh’s Aqua Lily Program has become more than he imagined. After earning the 2012 Lake-Geauga Fast Track 50 Entrepreneur of the Year Award, they have added many new facilities in the project.

Now the Lantern of Madison has a theater, a chapel, and a ballroom full of happy patients in it. As we can guess, Makesh is happier than all of us, and expresses his feelings in these words:

"If I die today, I'll die a happy man because I've pretty much accomplished what I wanted to," Makesh said. "The only regrets I have are the times I didn't get to spend with my wife and my children."

SEE ALSO: Virtual Reality and Robotics Allow Paraplegics to Walk

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