The Varietas Program: Cherishing People, Memories

From the outside, Highgrove at Tates Creek is a gorgeous, gleaming facility, with lots of windows, manicured landscaping and a clean, traditional feel. What’s inside is even more spectacular: A senior living community centered around friendships and family, independence and purpose, and tender, trusted care.

Highgrove at Tates Creek, 4251 Saron Drive, Lexington, offers independent living, assisted living, and memory care options. Residents enjoy the privacy of having their own apartment while knowing professional caregivers are available 24/7 to assist with activities of daily living, meals, housekeeping and more. Structured activities and transportation to shopping, physician appointments and onsite amenities make life so much easier.

The Varietas Memory Care Program at Highgrove specializes in care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. “Our Memory Care Program offers our residents a safe, secure and structured environment where they can connect with one another, with their families, and our staff,” said Lisa Stamper, director of the memory care program.

Although each resident enjoys a private studio apartment, the program is built to ensure meaningful interactions with others, involvement in creative pursuits, and physical activity.

Each Varietas resident enjoys a daily routine personalized to their needs and interests, including therapeutic and positive stimulation. One of the most unique aspects of the program is its use of the award-winning Behavior-Based Ergonomic Therapy (BBET) program. BBET is designed to address two root causes of behavior problems in those with Alzheimer’s and related dementias: boredom and emotional disengagement.

These root causes have been demonstrated to increase mental stress, agitation and behavioral problems in people with Alzheimer’s’ and related diseases. “BBET is a very personal, non-pharmacological approach to stimulating and calming residents,” Stamper said.

The Varietas environment is designed to reduce stressful stimuli, such as alarm bells, buzzers, and overhead pages. Each apartment has a small kitchen area, but residents take meals in a common dining area. Day-to-day schedules keep residents engaged and mentally stimulated.

Each Varietas resident has a “Memory Prop Box” – a box filled with items that are meaningful to the resident. Items may include snapshots and photo albums, newspaper clippings, CDs, videos, stuffed animals, baseball cards, jewelry, clothing, greeting cards, books, poems, Bible verses … items that have a personal, and often profound, meaning to the resident.

Highgrove supplements individual memory boxes with additional resources, including music therapy CDs, video therapy DVDs, games and puzzles.

“When a resident shows signs of becoming agitated, depressed or upset, the Memory Box provides us with a way to stimulate positive memories and redirect their attention,” Stamper noted. Using the Memory Box allows staff to calm and soothe the individual without the use of medications.

The Memory Box, along with the specialized training each member of the Varietas staff receives, has a profound effect on the resident, even those experiencing confusion or sun downing, she said. BBET has been shown to reduce the need for medications and has been credited with significant reduction in fall risk.

BBET relies on family involvement in filling the Memory Box and providing valuable information about the resident. As a result, families feel more connected and reassured about the care that’s being given. Another benefit – the Memory Box can make family visits more productive and fulfilling for everyone involved.

The BBET program works best when staff are able to move beyond the day-to-day pleasantries and really get to know residents and their families. “Through BBET we come to know what each resident likes to see, smell, touch, taste and hear, what agitates them, and what calms them,” Stamper said.

Families notice the difference. “Many of our residents lived with a family member before coming to us,”

Stamper said. “When those family members come to visit, they notice the difference right away. They see how much happier and engaged their loved one is, how much our staff cares, how much like a family we all are.”

In addition to using BBET, the Varietas program is structured and predictable, something that is exceedingly important to patients with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. All the same, the program is full of variety, as the name Varietas implies.

A Typical Varietas Day 
7:30 a.m. – Awaken & Breakfast in the Dining Room
10 a.m. – Circle activities: Exercise, games, ring toss, etc.
11:25 a.m. – Lunch, cleanup and free time
2 p.m. – Afternoon enrichment: arts & crafts, adult coloring, checkers, singalongs, bowling, gardening, etc. (Short, happy music-filled movies on Fridays and Saturdays)
4:45 p.m. Dinner
6:30 p.m. – Calming/relaxing exercises, sensory balls, tea, and reminiscing

Want to know more?
The Varietas Memory Care Program at Highgrove offers free, no-obligation tours. For a sneak peak, visit the website at To arrange a personal tour, please call (859) 245-0100. Highgrove at Tates Creek is part of the Traditions community.

Lisa Stamper 
Memory Care Director
Lisa was born and raised in Montgomery County and received her Nurse Aid Certification from KCTC Community College. She is also a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP).

“My goal as Memory Care Director is to create a structured and calm environment. I want our residents to feel safe and happy and I find that this comes naturally when you bring patience and sincere compassion to your job. I take great pride in what my team and I do.”

This article was originally published here.