It was a labor of love that led registered nurse Betty Kemper to found the business that bears the family name.
“Her mother-in-law, Helen Kemper, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in the 1980s,” says Betty’s daughter-in-law, Jenny Kemper. “That’s when she recognized the gap in care for this population in the long-term care industry. Betty had a vision [to create] Kemper House, a secure, nurturing residential environment dedicated to caring for the unique needs of people with memory loss. Kemper House’s mission is to honor these individuals with dignified care and provide a life of meaning and purpose in their final years.”
More than 20 years later, Kemper Houses in Highland Heights and Strongsville remain true to the innovative setting residents and their loved ones appreciate. Kemper Cognitive Wellness was created to help people prevent and push back against cognitive loss. The program detects possible triggers of memory loss in people of all ages before it becomes acutely problematic.
“Many people don’t think about cognitive loss until there’s a problem,” says Jenny Kemper, director of Kemper Cognitive Wellness. “But one doesn’t just wake up one day and have dementia. Changes are often taking place in the brain 20 to 30 years before the first symptoms present themselves.
“If you have a family history, you want to be proactive and get a comprehensive assessment with Kemper to take a look at what could be happening right now metabolically that could be driving the disease’s progress. We’ll give you a highly personalized plan to push back and prevent, halt or reverse cognitive decline.”
Kemper adds that life’s anxieties and stresses, coupled with the food choices we make and the environment we live in, often contribute to the diagnosis.
Dr. Nate Bergman, Kemper Cognitive Wellness’ chief scientific wellness officer, and his team create highly individualized treatment plans designed to address individual root causes. Bergman, who co-developed Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine’s program for cognitive impairment, takes genetic, biochemical and lifestyle factors into consideration, as well as common maladies often taken for granted.
“People who have sleep apnea, for example, sometimes shirk it off as no big deal,” Kemper says. “Dr. Bergman calls it ‘slow drip brain damage,’ because it leads to poor oxygenation of brain cells. Night after night, you better believe that’s impacting your brain.”
One of Kemper’s clients was a 58-year-old executive who was experiencing major changes with memory, and keeping up at the office was becoming increasingly difficult. The final straw came when the avid runner became lost one day on a route she exercised on almost every day. Her mother had passed away at Kemper House years earlier, and the client feared her fate would be the same.
An extensive assessment featuring qEEG brain mapping and lab testing of more than 100 biomarkers for chronic disease resulted in a personalized plan of action for her. It included lifestyle changes centered on diet and addressing sleep apnea, as well as hormone therapy. In just four months, she noticed big changes: The decline was halted and she’d recovered the memory function she’d lost.
Kemper Cognitive Wellness is among the nation’s leading brain health centers for prevention, testing, services and support for Alzheimer’s and related dementias.