A trip down Dogwood Lane

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 11, 2008

LIVINGSTON &8212; As the years wear on, all of us are inclined &8212; at some point or another &8212; to take a trip down memory lane. Whether it is to remind us of a simpler time or to gain a sense of what we have accomplished in our lives, a look at the past can do wonders for hard times in the future.

For the residents of Dogwood Lane, the soon to be opened dementia unit at Sumter Health and Rehab Center in Livingston, all they need to do to gain a glimpse of their past is look at the murals on their walls and see important Sumter County landmarks to remind them of where they live.

The murals are the work of Brenda McMath of Slapout, and they include such images as the Sumter Railroad line, logging trucks, a bait shop, little boys with fishing poles and many other scenes depicting historical Sumter County life.

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Kay Harrell, the admissions and marketing director for Sumter Health and Rehab Center, said the scenes are meant to be ones the residents can identify with. The whole focus of the unit &8212; whose motto is &8220;where memories have meaning&8221; &8212; is to treat individuals with different kinds of memory loss conditions.

By bringing in images of their past, many of their residents can begin the journey to treatment of cognitive disorders by remembering some of their past, Harrell said.

In addition to having local imagery to surround their patients, one of the key aspects to their treatment program is the activity department. By keeping their patients focused, Harrell said the intent is to deter them from many of their behavioral issues.

Each day&8217;s activities are structured around a theme having to do with history. For example, if a certain date corresponded with the day in history when NASA first landed on the moon, their activities would center around that. The residents might enjoy moonpies for a snack, or listen to Frank Sinatra&8217;s &8220;Blue Moon&8221; for music therapy.

According to Harrell, the name for the unit came from two sources. The facility is modeled after Magnolia Lane at Glen Haven Manor in Tuscaloosa, which is another company of Sumter Health and Rehab Center&8217;s parent company, Northport Health Services. Also, the unit has been set to open right around the Easter holiday when all the dogwoods are in bloom.

For more information about Dogwood Lane call 205-392-5281.