SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE – Casa La Cieneguita Adult Care Facility administrator Pierre Lepoureau says that a top notch facility to take care of elderly residents is a must, “but what makes us different from others offering similar services is our therapies.”
Located at La Cieneguita village, just west of San Miguel de Allende, the care center opened up for business last August but for at least one year medical director and gerontologist José “Pepe” Valencia has been training the staff in different therapies, applicable to different individuals according to the needs and state of health of the residents at Casa La Cieneguita.
Dr. Valencia says that treatments include hydrotherapy, in the facility’s own thermal waters pool — with a ramp for wheel chairs — mental; memory; equine; mascot; massage; and art therapies.
“All this is carried out with a humanist focus.”
The words “humanist focus” stand out in the interview, as for the most part residents, besides being burdened by old age, have other physical disorders that may range from senility and dementia to Alzheimer’s disease.
“The focus is that we do not see residents as “patients” but as human beings with special needs. Look, when a person gets older he or she has special social problems, but they are all based on attitude. We’ve placed special attention in the training of personnel with a positive attitude and basic knowledge as care takers.”
Therapies, Dr. Pepe Valencia adds, aim at bringing the resident patient back into self-sufficiency and an independent life, “as much as possible, until the last moment of their lives. Our goal is to validate their presence in this life.”
Dr. Valencia sees internment in an adult care living facility as a last resource for the family of the elderly person.
“There’s no question that the best place for a person to be at is at home with their family but second best is a facility like this one where the main goal is to settle in the resident or patient and make them feel at home, as much as possible.”
A graduate of the prestigious University of Guadalajara School of Medicine, Dr. Valencia specialized on geriatrics and has now been practicing on the specialty for 39 years.
“We try to make them understand that this is the finest place they are going to have to keep up with the quality of life they have been accustomed to. One of the dearest things for a human being is to settle in at home where you have your bed, your pillow, and your things. If we can make this a home for every resident that arrives, obviously, their quality of life is going to improve.”
Another approach that Dr. Valencia will be taking towards elderly residents “is what I call ‘Grandpa Therapy’” It consists on bringing children to the residence to play and have the adults teach them things they know. “The grandpa or grandma feels up to date, teaches the kids, thus their quality of life improves as well as that of their adopted grandkid.”
Yet Dr. Valencia goes back to basics at the facility and touts their main staple:
“The great advantage we have over many facilities is the availability of a thermal waters pool. It’s an aggregate that yields them extraordinary health benefits.”
He says water analysis shows that the natural ground well liquid contains sulphur, iron, magnesium and potassium.
Administrator Pierre Lepoureau says that the facility was first used as commercially public thermal water baths when San Miguel de Allende started to gain prominence among international artists back in 1938. The original sign engraved on a wall by the pool still stands.
Dr. Valencia says that a basic premise of their idea of service is the individual.
“Nobody comes here with the same needs. We have to individualize attention based not just on a clinical, but also on personal history. We also have music therapy aimed at awakening long buried memories within the individual suffering from Alzheimer’s or Huntington, what have you. We do a validation therapy to bring back memories that will help the resident adjust to a new reality.”
In terms of cost, Lepoureau says that full service including room and board and a series of needs such as diapers and personal care are an average of fewer than $2,000 a month per resident.
“We offer a specialized service with a team of specialty physicians that work in tandem with Dr. Valencia and relatives can be sure that the resident will get the finest care for their money.”