Governor's Glen, A Leader in Atlanta Assisted Living for those with Memory Care Needs

With expectations that the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other memory 
disorders will triple by 2050, there is a vast growing need for professional caregivers and assisted living 
facilities that accommodate memory care patients with their unique needs and requirements. Memory care 
patients need heightened levels of supervision and personal attention. They also need extra social and 
sensory stimulation to keep them engaged in community life. Traditional assisted living facilities may not 
offer the level of care your loved one needs and deserves.

The Atlanta assisted living community, Governor’s Glen, offers adult daycare, short-term respite care, and
 long-term assisted living for the elderly suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other cognitive 
impairments. A daycare participant may come for any 8 hour period during the day to allow his or her 
at-home caregiver to attend to other things, such as work or running errands. Daycare participants receive 
the same attention and high level of care as the long-term residents and respite care visitors receive. 
Everyone is encouraged to participate in a variety of social activities like exercise classes and special 
entertainment events. Pet and music therapy, among other techniques to encourage residents and visitors to engage with the community, are utilized as well. Governor’s Glen even offers an on-site barber shop and beauty salon for everyone to enjoy.

The compassionate and well-trained staff of Governor’s Glen provides a safe, nurturing, and stimulating environment for your loved one with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or memory loss. The unwavering commitment of the licensed nurses, the on call board certified psychiatrist, and all the other helpful staff to encouraging a lively, invigorating, and socially active environment makes Governor’s Glen a leader in Atlanta assisted living for the memory-impaired. The Governor’s Glen staff is trained to help your loved one to focus and remain socially involved and active. Governor’s Glen is not just a place to stay for the elderly with cognitive impairments, it is a patient-centered community geared toward cognitive improvement.

Music Has a Powerful impact on People With Alzheimer’s:
Music Fills the Hallways at Governor’s Glen Assisted Living Home Atlanta
Residents at Governor’s Glen Playing Musical Instruments (Right)

When the music is turned on at Governor’s Glen memory impaired assisted living home, the residents begin 
to react by taping their toes, patting their hands to the rhythm’s beat and many want to get up and dance. Many 
associate music with important events and a wide array of emotions.

Even those in late stages of dementia and Alzhemier’s receive great benefits from all types of musical activities. 
This happens because rhythmic and other well-rehearsed responses require little to no cognitive or mental
 processing. They are influenced by the motor center of the brain that responds directly to auditory rhythmic cues.
 A person’s ability to engage in music, particularly rhythm playing and singing, remains intact late into the disease 
process because these activities do not require cognitive functioning for success.

Music has the ability to transport people to a different time and place. Many of the residents at Governor’s Glen, located south of Atlanta, can’t remember their loved ones, but they can remember tunes from their past. Music has also been found to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression while improving cognitive function.

Music TherapyMusic Therapy has been found to be a valuable therapeutic tool for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or dementia in promoting interactive communication. It is an activity that residents at Governor’s Glen are exposed to just about every day. They have found it most beneficial in creating interaction among the residents as well as the caretakers.

Ways they encourage people with memory impairment include singing along, clapping hands, dancing, playing musical instruments or just listening to music. The staff at Governor’s Glen have found them all to have enriching benefits.

Governor’s Glen, a beautiful home for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Serving residents with families living in and around Atlanta such as Stockbridge, Jonesboro, McDonough, College Park, East Point and others.

What is the Difference Between Memory Care and Assisted Living?

Tress and flowers bloom in the spring. Spring is Colorful at Governor’s Glen.

The baby boomers continue to age, and as they do many of their children will become caretakers. 
Taking Mom or Dad into their home is often just not an option. Assisted Living and Memory Care are 
two fast-growing options for long-term senior care.
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that about 70% of adults over 
the age of 65 will need long-term care at some point in their lives. When our loved ones can no longer 
care for themselves, a decision has to be made about their long-term care. It’s a difficult decision 
because not all long-term care options are created equal.

Assisted Living CareAssisted living facilities vary in terms of what they offer. Generally speaking, it’s a good place for someone who just needs help with everyday activities like bathing, eating and dressing. It is defined by the Assisted Living Federation of America as “a long-term care option that combines housing, support services and health care, as needed.”

Nursing HomesSeniors with complicated medical conditions who require 24-hour nursing care to those who are chronically ill or injured. and need daily care for their personal needs. Some examples of reasons senior might need skilled nursing that a nursing home would offer might be caring for bed bound persons, or on a respirator, or had wounds that were not healing.

Memory CareThis type of home is distinctly different from assisted living or nursing homes. Memory care is a different form of long-term skilled nursing that specifically caters to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of memory problems. They provide 24-hour supervised care with staff that are specially trained in to assist people with dementia or impaired cognition.

Governor’s Glen was built and designed specifically to care for dementia and Alzheimer residents. The physical layout and security is better suited for such residents with their wide hallways making it easier to navigate as well as the comfortable and home like surroundings.

Four Benefits of Adult Daycare
Jul 8, 2013
Caring for an adult who suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease isn’t easy. However, it’s a labor of love that many of us have to face when our parents or loved ones are dealing with a mental impairment. After a while the daily routine can become monotonous, causing depression and other ill effects to set in for all those involved.

Changing up your daily routine a bit can relieve much of the stress and dread associated with doing the same thing day after day after day. In fact, caregivers and their loved ones have a number of options they can consider. Adult day care is one option that provides a number of benefits to those who are living with mental impairments like dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease as well as for their caregivers.

Adult day care is designed to provide care and companionship for seniors or others with mental impairments who need assistance or supervision during the day. It can provide caregivers with a much needed break from their care giving duties. Caregivers can rest easy knowing that their loved one is being cared for in a quality facility by trained staff who have their best interests in mind. Being able to take a break from their care giving duties also allows caregivers to take care of personal business or errands that they may have been putting off in their own lives.

Adult day care also provides the social interaction that so many of those who are living with a mental impairment often lack. It gives them the opportunity to meet people, make new friends and maintain their social skills. This can be very exciting, especially for those who rarely see or visit with anyone aside from their caregiver from day to day.

In addition to the the social aspects, there are a number of activities that attendees can partake in at day care centers as well. These activities are usually designed to strengthen and maintain motor and cognitive skills, both of which tend to deteriorate in the advanced stages of mental impairment.

If you are the caregiver of a person living with a mental impairment, we invite you to learn more about our facility so that you can decide if our program is right for you and your loved one.

Why are Memory Screenings Important

Alzheimer’s disease can be one of the most difficult conditions to predict with individuals, patients, or with loved ones. There are some tools that are available for any person who is concerned about their well-being or if a loved one or friend is concerned about the possibility of Alzheimer’s. One of the major tools is a process called memory screening. It is important to keep in mind, however, that memory screening is not a pure diagnostic tool. Instead, it is tool to be used to see if a person might have the signs or symptoms of Alzheimer’s. If you or a loved one is concerned about the result of a memory screening, then please contact a medical professional who can properly diagnose a patient with Alzheimer’s.

Memory screening is a procedure endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. During the month of November, which is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, the Alzheimer’s Foundation promote using the memory screening method. The Alzheimer’s Foundation also states that anyone who is beginning to have trouble remembering things, concentrating, forgetting where they are going, or having difficulty performing regular tasks may benefit from taking a memory screening. The American Academy of Neurology recommends that memory screening should be given to individuals who clearly show signs of what many would think is dementia. It is not recommended to provide memory screening for every person. Widespread use of memory screening is not considered effective, and it can lead to many false positives.

Memory screenings are performed by a wide range of professionals, such as social workers, nurse practitioners, and psychologists. The tests are done one-on-one with the individual with the potential symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. In these sessions, the professional asks a series of questions and tasks to complete for the individual. These may range from language skills, critical thinking skills, and memory tests.

Based upon the results of these tests, which are confidential, the testing administrator may suggest to the person to further seek medical attention. Only a qualified medical professional can actually diagnose the individual with Alzheimer’s disease. Because of this, a participant may still want to seek medical attention if they are concerned. Some cases for individuals may be forms of dementia that do not appear to be Alzheimer’s. Other cases could come up as false positives. Either way, it is important to remember that memory screenings are useful tools to only help individuals or families further seek medical advice if Alzheimer’s is suspected.

5 Tips for Visiting Loved Ones with Dementia
Jun 5, 2013
For those who suffer from dementia, visitors can add a rich and an enjoyable part of their day. As a visitor, it is important to understand the challenges that your loved one may be experiencing with memory loss. Follow these five tips from Governor’s Glen for making your visit an enjoyable occasion.

1. Consult with Caregivers

Whether the caregiver is a family member or a trained professional, ask them for information that will help make the most pleasant visit possible. People affected by dementia may be upset by loud noises, rattled with too many visitors in their room, or startled by the sudden approach of a person they cannot recognize immediately. Whenever possible, have the caregiver introduce you to ease your transition into the room and maintain the person’s dignity and respect.

2. Assist Them with a Favorite Activity

People affected by dementia are strongly encouraged to continue with the activities that they enjoy. To make a visit especially enjoyable, offer to assist your loved one with letter writing, scrapbooking or walking out by the garden. Ensure that these activities are safe and do not exceed the amount of time that your loved one can endure physically or emotionally tolerate. Often, only a few minutes of pleasurable activities can brighten a person’s mood and make them smile.

3. Understanding Aggression and Anger Outbursts

For those who suffer with memory loss, the part of the brain that “filters” behavior may become less effective and behavioral changes can result. If your loved one suddenly begins to show signs of agitation, they may be experiencing a confusion that causes them intense anxiety and fear. If you should experience this behavior during a visit, stay calm and keep the person safe. Try to refocus their attention to another activity or task, and speak to them in soft and reassuring tones.

4. Find out the Best Time to Visit

People with memory loss are usually the most comfortable when their daily routines remain the same and they know what to expect. Refrain from visiting during mealtime, their personal care schedule or during their favorite TV program. Often, your loved one may be more alert and receptive to your company in the early part of the day.

5. Be Respectful and do not Argue

People with memory problems often do not remember names or events. Do not attempt to correct them or help them to tell the story. By challenging their memory, you may escalate their confusion and worsen their anxiety.

Visiting a person with memory challenges can be a pleasant experience that enriches the life of your loved one. With simple tips and a little extra effort, you can enjoy the company of the ones you love.

Exceptionally Long-Lived Families Less Likely to Develop Early Alzheimer’s
May 31, 2013 by Definitive Production

Family Longevity may help delay onset of Alzheimer’s
Does your family tree consist of a many of relatives who had exceptionally long lives? A recent study suggests that families with longevity appear to have later onset of dementia.

The study compared the onset of Alzheimer’s disease among blood relatives with in long-living families and compared that with similar data on their spouses.

It was found among the people, average age of 70, who had blood relatives with unusually long life spans had less than half the threat of having Alzheimer’s disease than their comparably aged spouses.

However, once people reach the age of 90, onset of Alzheimer’s disease occurred at the same percentage rate with people who had families with longevity as those who did not.

The study appears to confirm earlier studies that show the essential role of the inflammation in Alzheimer’s dementia and some of the factors that cause Alzheimer’s have to do with the same blood vessel inflammation that contribute to cardiovascular disease and cancer.

To read more go to

Nominate a Special Caregiver: Shire Brave Awards
May 30, 2013 
As our staff at Governor’s Glen and anyone who provides care and attention to individuals with conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease know, the time and effort required can be huge. By contrast, the rewards may often seem minimal and fleeting. However, Shire, one of the foremost specialty pharmaceutical companies in the world, is determined to let caregivers know how very important and appreciated they are.

At Governor’s Glen we wanted to let you know that each year an invitation is given for individuals to nominate a family member, neighbor, or friend who lovingly and actively provides a dedicated and specific level of care for persons with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. If the one providing such care is 18 years of age or older, is not a healthcare professional, and does not receive compensation directly for such care, he or she may be placed in the running for a BRAVE Award.

This year’s deadline for submitting a nominee is June 30th. Once all the nominations are received, each member of the Selection Committee begins the task of rating every individual submission. At the end of this process, the score given to each nominee by the individual committee members is tallied, culminating in a final Cumulative Caregiver Score.

The ratings are derived by using Shire’s Caregiver Rating Scale that looks at qualities such as dedication, courage, patience and respect, as well as the impact that the caregiver has on the one in need and beyond. For the person whose cumulative score is the highest after the ratings are completed, Shire presents them with the BRAVE Award, including a gift of $10,000 USD or the currency equivalent in his or her country’s currency.

Now is the time to honor the person you know who best exemplifies what the BRAVE Award represents by nominating this friend or loved one. After doing so, then make a mental note to remember to show this person, on a regular basis, just how much he or she is appreciated.

Dr. Paul Colon & Governor’s Glen Featured in Clayton Magazine
Mar 26, 2013 by Definitive Productions
(Right) Dr. Paul Colon with portrait of his mother, Millie Michaels

GOVERNOR’S GLEN: Physician’s Mother Inspired the Creation of a Home for Many

Millie Michaels was a petite woman, less than five feet tall, with a heart that could fill a city bus.

“If she walked into a restaurant by the time she walked out, she would know half of the people there,” said 
her son Dr. Paul Colon, founder of American Foot & Leg Specialists in Forest Park. ” She was always looking 
for the best in people.

Millie raised 3 children in a one bedroom, fourth floor walk-up apartment in south Brooklyn after divorcing her first husband. She attained the stereotypical Jewish mother’s most fervent wish: to see her son become a doctor. Actually, both of Millie’s sons became physicians and her daughter became a psychiatric social worker.

She said, “Whatever ever it takes, we’ll get you an education.” I had to work three jobs to help support the family because at (age) thirteen I was the man of the family. But I don’t look at it as a negative. It made me the person I am” clarified Dr. Colon. ” She inspired me to pursue my dreams.”

Her second husband succumbed to pancreatic cancer: But Millie did not want him to die in a hospital, so she cared for him herself at home.

“She was very devoted to him. She was his attendant” said Dr. Colon. “But it took a tremendous toll on her. I saw a profound change in her when he was dying. She became forgetful.”

Dr. Colon moved his mother from New York to Atlanta after her husband passed away. Here, she lived with his family in a nice suburban neighborhood filled with green lawns and cul-de-sacs. Millie relished the clean outdoors and loved to take the family dog out for a walk. A couple of times, however, she would go out and then forget how to find her way back home. “She couldn’t find her wallet or her glasses. Then, she couldn’t recognize family members,” Dr. Colon recalled.

The culprit, of course, was Alzheimer’s disease, diagnosed for Millie in 1991. Although trained as a podiatrist and leading a thriving practice, Dr. Colon threw himself into the study of Alzheimer’s. He started visiting memory impaired assisted living facilities around the country, eventually touring some 100 sites. The first thing he would ask them was, If you had to do anything different, what would it be? “I wanted to learn from what they had not done rather than what they had done,” he said.

He found that Alzheimer’s has no cure—no miracle pill that restores a person’s brain to its youthful vigor. But, he discovered that by keeping a person stimulated and socialized and enhancing their diets with foods rich in antioxidants, like blueberries and tomatoes, the disease’s progression could be delayed. Dr. Colon also found that natural light was very important to the brain’s functions.

Millie, who was in her late seventies, was in the twenty-fifth percentile of the population between the ages of 75 and 85 who becomes afflicted with Alzheimer’s. That percentage leaps to 50 percent of the population over the age of 85. About five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease.

“Ninety percent of Alzheimer’s is due to aging, with the additional 10 percent due to a defective gene,” said Dr. Colon.

The family got a caregiver to come into the home for Millie, but Dr. Colon noted that she was getting worse. Millie had made her son promise to never put her in a nursing home, but she had hip surgery and needed rehab. Dr.Colon was convinced that his mother was in dire need of a place where she would be around other people. However, on a tour of the Mount Vernon Towers Home in Sandy Springs, Millie pulled her son aside. “There’s nothing but old people here,” she said.

When Dr. Colon finally put her in a rehab center, he told himself it was only temporary. It was a 240-bed facility where his mother was just another old person.“I told myself that there has to be something better out there. I decided that if I couldn’t find a place, I’d build it.”

The result is Governor’s Glen, a memory impaired assisted living home built on seven acres close to Dr. Colon’s podiatric practice. The doctor put together a team of engineers, architects, and bankers to plan and build the home. For Dr. Colon, there was only one criteria: it should be a place his mother would be proud of. “I didn’t want it to be an institution. I wanted it to be a home-like environment, not a jail,” he explained.

Walking up the driveway to tour Governor’s Glen with his visitor, Dr. Colon paused and said, “You’ll notice the driveway is curved. We did this to save these two 100-year old trees.” The front of Governor’s Glen looks like a home with an inviting front porch brimming with rocking chairs overlooking a running fountain with fish, a gazebo, and a short walking trail. Passing through the front door, you head down a short hallway where a hand-painted portrait of Millie hangs over a mantelpiece. From here, there are two hallways, the only ones in the place so as not to confuse the residents, which lead off into opposite directions. The hallway to the right opens onto two pods, which are open areas with streams of natural light coming in from large, high windows. The resident rooms are located around the pods, which surround a small kitchen where the residents get their meals specially prepared in a commercial kitchen that gets much of its food from the nearby Forest Park Farmer’s Market. The hallway to the left leads to a mirror image with two additional living pods. In the middle of the four pods is what is termed a “healing garden” where residents can enjoy the fresh air. Several large pots at one end are filled with tomato vines, eggplants, and herbs that are planted and maintained by some of the residents. Two screened-in porches give people shade and relief from flying insects. The white gate requires that a number code be input to open it so that no one can simply walk away.

“This is a not a place where they come to die, this is a place where they come to live,” said Rebecca Fitzgerald, the community relations coordinator at Governor’s Glen.

The home has several unique features. Very early on Dr. Colon got rid of the van that would take residents to doctor visits. “It was so disruptive for residents. Now we bring the doctors and dentists in. It helps them feel better,” he explained.

In his travels around the country, Dr. Colon learned that stimulation is a determining factor in slowing Alzheimer’s progress, so the home has a full-time activity director. “We have a structure to their lives. We have breakfast and then we exercise. We keep them up on current events by reading the newspaper to them everyday, we celebrate birthdays,” said Fitzgerald. Another big activity is music. When Millie was in the home she had lost her ability to talk. Yet one day when Dr. Colon came in to see a group of people sitting around a piano and singing songs, there was his mother, in her wheelchair, singing along with them.

“Music is the eternal wake-up call,” said Dr. Colon. So at Governor’s Glen, you will find music almost always filling the air. Sometimes musical groups perform live, often with residents joining in on their own instruments, and other times they listen to CDs.

Governor’s Glen accepts full-time residents. It also provides adult day care for families who work, allowing them to drop off their loved ones for eight hours a day. They even have respite care for temporary situations, like if the family is going out of town, for example.

Millie never got to see Governor’s Glen. She passed away in 1997 before the home was completed. But, Dr. Colon said it is her legacy. He built it with her in mind to be a place, as the mission statement says, where the one purpose is to improve the quality of life for residents through socialization and stimulation of the body and mind.

The inscription below Millie’s portrait reads, “Dedicated to the memory of Millie Michaels and all those who have endured the challenges of memory impairment.”

Said Dr. Colon, “Just like my mom, I’m an eternal optimist.”

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5000 Governors Dr., Atlanta, GA 30297
Phone: (404) 362-0404 
Fax: (404) 362-0353
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Governor's Glen

On behalf of Dr. Colon, the staff at Govenor’s Glen is proud to provide an excellent community for senior citizens that suffer from Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other memory problems. Our goal is to improve the quality of life of our residents through socialization and stimulation of the body and mind. We take pride in not being some old folks home for senior citizens to sit and pass the time. Instead, we strive to create a vibrant, active community.