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Houston Chronicle
Page 20 - Zone 17
Wednesday, March 31, 1999

Barton House Opens in Sugar Land
ThisWeek Correspondent

Barton House recently opened in Sugar Land as a care facility for Alzheimer's residents.

John Trevey, chief executive officer of Uncommon Care Inc., the owners of Barton House, characterizes it as "a small personal care home."  It can accommodate up to 20 residents who have Alzheimer's disease.  Uncommon Care also has facilities in Austin and San Antonio.

The licensure of Barton House, a private care facility, is not as a nursing home, but as a "personal care" or "assisted living" facility.  Trevey said the goal is to establish a residential character for the facility as opposed to a more institutionalized setting.

"Our people, because their long-term memory is very poor, need a lot of familiarity.  We try to make things look and feel like "home," which is a comfortable environment for them.  It's much more of a "communal feel rather than wings off a common area.  They eat family-style in a dining room," Trevey said.

Residents are encouraged to bring their pets so their familiar environment can be maintained as much as possible.  They also have a house dog for those who may not have their pets.

Barton House is a "secure environment," according to Trevey.  The front door is locked from both sides, although family members know the code and they can enter and leave as they wish.  The residents can't leave the building without an escort.  In the event of a fire alarm, the lock is deactivated.

Barton House, located at Edgewater and Williams Trace, also has about a half-acre secured back yard, which has "wandering paths" overlooking a lake.  Residents also can work in a garden.

"For our 20 people we have the highest "staffing ratio: around, " Trevey said.  "We also have a full time activity director, which is an incredible luxury for only 20 people to keep that level of cognitive stimulation at a premium, " Trevey said.

At Barton House, he said, staff tried initially to assemble a group of fairly high functioning residents.  As patients move through the course of Alzheimer's, the facility may admit new admissions who are at a similar level of functioning.  Potential residents are screened so the residential group will work well together, he said.

One of the keys in dealing with Alzheimer's residents is to have an environment as familiar as it can be.  At Barton House this also means maintaining a long-term staff - familiar faces to serve those with fading memories, he said.

Currently, about 4 million people in the United States are diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, Trevey said.  By the middle of the 21st century, he said the number is expected to be 14 million, because Americans are living longer and the chance of Alzheimer's disease occurring increases with age.

Ten percent of those 65 years old will develop Alzheimer's disease before they die, 50 percent of those 85 years old will develop Alzheimer's, according to Trevey.

Alzheimer's also is distinguished by "early onset" as opposed to those who develop the disease in their later years.  People have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's as early as 35 years old.  The "early onset" life span is bout three to four years, according to Trevey, as opposed to those with later onset whose average age life span is about 10 years.

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About this page: Article from the Houston Chronicle courtesy of Barton House, an Alzheimer's care facility located in Sugar Land, Texas.
 2229 Williams Trace Blvd.   |   Sugar Land, TX 77478   |   (281) 313-2500

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