Last Easter, a powerful EF-3 tornado tore through Hamilton and Bradley counties, leaving a trail of destruction and a devastated community in its wake. Morning Pointe of Chattanooga and The Lantern at Morning Pointe Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence – the premier assisted living and memory care campuses, both located on Shallowford Road – were damaged to the point of inhabitability. The storm also hit near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which presented additional relocation challenges and health concerns for residents.
But Morning Pointe persevered thanks to the quick mobilization of its staff and the help of its neighboring community. “Our team was preparing as the tornado was coming over Lookout Mountain,” says Greg Vital, president of Morning Pointe Senior Living. “From the moment it hit, they went into a different mode of operation.”
Hard work and strong leadership meant that the Shallowford locations were able to rise from the ashes quickly and efficiently. Last November, five months after the tornado struck, Morning Pointe of Chattanooga reopened after a complete rebuild. The Lantern, a state-of-the-art Alzheimer’s memory care community, was also rebuilt from the ground up and reopened this July.
The 2020 Easter tornado and COVID pandemic displaced many of The Lantern’s former residents, some of whom moved to new facilities, while others stayed with family. But 12 returned to the brand-new campus, which offers two levels of memory care programming: The Lamplight, for those living with early-to-moderate stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and The Lantern, for those in late-to-moderately severe stages.
“The Lantern really is Greater Chattanooga’s premier Alzheimer’s center of excellence,” says Vital. “Not only in physical structure, but in the types and levels of care we’re providing. We strive to give our residents at every level of cognitive awareness the most meaningful day possible.”
The Lantern at Morning Pointe Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence offers state-of-the-art amenities and security to residents. The one-level living community took 14 months to complete and is comprised of 59 single-room apartments. “Every area has been turned into something purposeful,” says The Lantern at Morning Pointe’s executive director Alisha Landes, LPN. In addition to life skills stations, a secure courtyard that contains special musical therapy instruments, and a calming room to soothe residents, the campus also has several personalized touches to make community members feel at home.
“This is more than an institutional environment,” says Vital. “It incorporates both programmatic and clinical techniques, along with the latest in calming programs, clinical care, and medication. It’s also aesthetically pleasing for both the resident and family, providing dignity and respect.”
President Greg Vital and executive Director Alisha Landes
Murals and portraits of local locations and citizens line the walls so that residents might reminisce and connect when they lounge and dine. Apartments also come with a memory box feature located in the hallway outside each door. The families create these boxes and can fill them with photos and mementos that help residents find their rooms and recall special moments from their lives.
Day-to-day life at The Lantern at Morning Pointe is also structured to maintain comfort for residents. “Structure is very important for someone with Alzheimer’s,” says Landes, who recently completed her extensive Teepa Snow Positive Approach to Care™ dementia training – making her one of the few leaders in the region with this level of training. “They need to know that at a certain time, a certain thing will happen. They thrive in a structured environment.”
After a year of so much change and uncertainty, a structured lifestyle is a relief for not only the residents, but their families, too. They can rest assured that their loved ones are getting the best care at The Lantern at Morning Pointe Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence, where their comfort remains the top priority and where there is always proximity to necessary medical services.
“Morning Pointe has been resilient, but so has the community around us,” says Vital. “And this is really a microcosm of the larger community that we live in. Our residents are now in a safe place and surrounded with things that make them feel secure. I think we can all be proud.”
7620 Shallowford Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37421
Call 423-551-4190 today to schedule a tour, or go online at morningpointe.com.