Local therapist honored nationally for creating high-tech Alzheimer’s facility

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Lantern of Chagrin Valley

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio – He created a concept that revolutionized the way patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease receive care.  Now Lantern Group CEO Jean Makesh was selected as one of the top 50 influencers in aging in the country.

Makesh made it his mission to come up with an assisted living facility that creates a time capsule for residents.  Each Lantern home is designed to look like a small town in the 1940s.  The “rooms” are set up as “small houses,” each with a front porch light that turns on by timer every night.

“The intent is to create an environment that triggers certain memories to help them relax,” Makesh said.   “You’re more likely to retrieve memories when you’re relaxed.”

The “streets” inside Lantern have everything the actual streets of a small town would.  The carpet is designed to look like grass and sidewalks.  The ceiling is made of fiber optics that change from sunlight to stars for the appropriate time of day.  There’s also a PA system that plays sounds of chirping birds that make it feel like the outdoors.

Residents are also able to maintain a sense of normalcy by taking part in a community.

“We’ve set up a movie theater, a barbershop, a saloon and salon and supermarket,” said Makesh.  Something he says makes patients feel comfortable and “relate to the environment.”

Makesh’s idea earned him a spot on Next Avenue’s “2016 Influences in Aging.”  The digital platform focuses on aging, and selected the 50 advocates who they say understand and help change the care given to the elderly.

Currently, there are three Lantern facilities in Northeast Ohio: in Chagrin Falls, Ashtabula, and Madison.  Makesh hopes to expand and build more soon.