An innovative program to enhance brain health, detect and treat the early stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia is connecting Presbyterian Village North (PVN) to Diana Kerwin, M.D., Internal Medicine/Geriatrics and cognitive disorders specialist. The partnership is focused on three goals: developing a community-wide brain health program to maintain well-being; implementing therapy programs to prevent and reduce the impact of memory loss; and conducting research to detect and treat early memory loss and preserve memory. PVN has appointed Dr. Kerwin, Medical Director of its memory care program, where she will oversee the care of residents in memory care, all clinical practices, cognitive therapy and memory care research. Dr. Kerwin completed her residency and fellowship training in geriatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics. She is the founder of Texas Alzheimer’s and Memory Disorders, a practice that offers patients access to advanced, innovative treatments and procedures for a range of cognitive disorders in adults.
“We feel privileged to welcome Dr. Kerwin to our team, and we are inspired by her passion to care for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia,” said Ron Kelly, executive director of PVN. “Our community is home to many active and independent seniors, but we also have some of the nation’s top rated care services available on the campus, including specialized care for those with memory challenges. Dr. Kerwin was involved in numerous memory care projects at PVN in 2014, so it seemed natural to have her lead the development of our new memory care programs. Prior to joining our team, Dr. Kerwin worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and Geriatrics at Northwestern University. Her experience in this field will help us deliver high-quality programs, conduct important research and impact lives.”
This year, PVN and Dr. Kerwin will begin offering a brain health program and memory assessments to all residents of the community. Opportunities for residents to participate in classes focused on ways to keep their brains healthy, such as memory training activities, physical activities, and guidance in selecting foods to maintain a healthy brain will be available. In addition, PVN will offer brain health assessments, during which Dr. Kerwin and fellow team members will determine if residents are having memory loss issues. Then, they will continue to monitor the state of their memories and help them maintain mental acuity.
“I am really excited to continue conducting research with PVN on cognitive disorders and Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Kerwin. “We are making great strides and opening our research to families and residents who wish to help us develop clinical practices that will preserve memory, prevent memory loss and detect early signs of memory disorders. We have one study, a computerized test that detects early memory loss, which is already Institutional Review Board-approved. We will offer this test in the second quarter of this year, and anyone at PVN is welcome to participate. Our leadership team has a strong vision. I am grateful to be a part of this mission and help incorporate the best practices for maintaining brain health. We are all working toward providing the best possible quality of life to seniors in retirement.”
As the number of seniors living with Alzheimer’s is increasing, PVN saw a need to add to its existing Alzheimer’s program. In preparation for the new programs they will offer this year, PVN is adding 44 additional memory care assisted living apartments as part of $96 million expansion project that includes a state-of-the-art wellness center and new independent living, assisted living and transitional care apartments.
“We are eager to begin providing these services to all our residents to encourage brain health and help our seniors thrive and avoid many of the challenges that come with aging,” said Kelly. “With the new programs and the research we will be conducting, we will be able to develop comprehensive treatment plans for residents. All of our efforts aim to prevent cognitive and functional decline, with a special focus for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Once the expansion project is complete, we can offer these services to even more seniors in the Dallas area. We are working hard to achieve the goals we have set to benefit our residents and provide exemplary care to them all.”