Putting families and their loved ones first
■ Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Editor
Desert Hills Memory Care Center (DHMCC) in Hemet specializes in dementia care. The center promotes education for families looking to place their loved one in a care center. Staff works with families to determine whether the center is the right fit for their family member.
Jane Farmer, community relations director, joined the staff of DHMCC almost eight years ago, after her mother, who resided at the facility, passed away. Farmer and her daughter, Shannon Eaton, give community seminars together to help educate families on their journey through dementia care. Eaton was a DHMCC employee during the time of her grandmother’s treatment.
The company is owned by Cascade Living Group in Washington, which also owns 22 other facilities in the western United States ranging from memory care to assisted living and dementia care.
Farmer stated that the owners come down from Washington and visit quite often, that the organization is a fantastic place to work and top care is their specialty. The facility, which only serves dementia patients, offers 24-hour nursing care; the facility is licensed for 58 people and is staffed by licensed vocational nurses — some are working to become registered nurses.
Every employee, from nursing staff to office staff to groundskeepers, goes through mandatory training every month. The training is dementia specific and covers all facets of the disease.
Dementia, Farmer explained, is not a disease by itself, but is a group of symptoms that can be caused by more than 170 diseases that researchers have identified; Alzheimer’s Disease comprises approximately 70 percent of all dementia symptoms.
According to Mayo Clinic, “The term dementia refers to a set of symptoms, not the disease itself. These symptoms might include language difficulty, loss of recent memory or poor judgment. In other words, when an individual is said to have dementia, they are exhibiting certain symptoms.”
Although Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent cause of dementia, other disorders that cause dementia include vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, lewy body dementia and frontotemporal dementia.
Farmer pointed out that the facility’s priority is to educate families, and they hold open meetings for the community the second Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. Farmer and Eaton will host a mini seminar series at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church every Wednesday in September at 6 p.m. See the ad on page A6 for details.
One of the highlights of the property are the tree-shaded patio grounds, often used for bingo, entertainment, lunches and parties.
Farmer said it is important for her to help families and walk them through the disease. What drives her is her personal experience with the disease, knowing that place, feeling lost and remembering that it is not a fun place to be. She enjoys giving families tools to help them understand so they can make the best decision for their loved one.
Desert Hills Memory Care Center is located at 25818 Columbia St. in Hemet and can be reached at 951-652-1837.