The IKEA Distribution Center near Puyallup donated over 50 employee and family volunteer hours and thousands of dollars in furniture, equipment and plantings to The Arbor, the memory care unit at Wesley Homes Lea Hill on Saturday, June 15th. Led by General Manager Pam Andrews, IKEA provided a complete refresh of The Arbor gardens with new benches, planters with flowers, patio furniture and raised, custom-built planting tables complete with new soil, vegetables and herbs. The interior of The Arbor was also treated to a refresh of the costume area with major additions to the comfort baby space, including a new bassinette, two new baby dolls and a glider rocker donated by The Old Cannery in Sumner. These items may seem simple, but they are important when caring for and relating to a person receiving Alzheimer’s or dementia care. It is necessary to tap into their long-term memories: parenting children of their own, dressing up, looking at items from their past and doing any of the activities they may have done in their 30s and 40s, such as gardening. This is called joining their journey. The IKEA group purchased therapy baby dolls specifically designed for people with Alzheimer’s. These types of dolls are weighted, feel like soft skin instead of plastic and look somewhat lifelike. The purpose of the therapy is to give a person with Alzheimer’s someone or something else on which to focus care and attention. This will also relax them in a location that is inviting and comfortable to rock, care and soothe the doll, thus calming the resident. The same goes for the dress up area in The Arbor. By having a mirror to see what a hat or scarf looks like and items to handle and try on, a resident is redirected in a positive way. The courtyard has been refreshed with soft outdoor sofas, chairs and raised garden beds, enabling residents to participate in something they might have enjoyed in the past in a way that is adapted to their particular needs and limitations at this stage in their lives. “What a gracious gift that will serve each of the residents in their own particular way,” said Teresa Askew, LPN for The Arbor. “The residents enjoy going out and seeing the new flowers, sitting on the benches and even showing them off to their visiting family and friends.” Wesley Homes Foundation Executive Director Susan McConnell said, “It’s our hope that IKEA’s commitment to our community and to eldercare issues will inspire other partners to follow their courageous lead.” Thank you IKEA volunteers, The Old Cannery and Wesley Homes staff members: Campus Administrator Scott Hulet, Community Relations Director Karen Satterberg, Foundation Major Gifts Office Jamie Gregory and Activity Director Lori Britton.