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The “Small House” Concept at South Mountain Proves Itself During COVID-19

suite1 800x500South Mountain Memory Care in Emmaus, Lehigh Valley, is the first privately-owned standalone “Small House” designed memory care community in the Lehigh Valley. This concept has always proven to be effective in giving residents a sense of comfort and security, and the COVID-19 crisis has served to spotlight the advantages of the small house model.


What is the small-house model?

Small-house memory-care communities consist of residential living spaces that are more “homey” than traditional communities. Residents live in private and semi-private suites with private bathrooms, and South Mountain’s suites have secure windows that face the outdoor landscape, providing plenty of natural light. The natural light brightens moods and helps residents perceive day and night more clearly.

Each wing of rooms has a family room and quaint dining area and kitchen. Being small, the wings allow for more personal care and increased resident engagement that reduces patient agitation.

This emphasis on individuality and low resident-to-caregiver ratio, plus the lack of long hallways and large mingling spaces no doubt helped to isolate residents and staff in a way that allowed life to continue with minimal interruption and exposure to infections. Implementing infection control measures is more efficient and less disruptive in a small house environment.

The current limited-visitor policy, combined with the ability to visit residents in the privacy of their own room, helps to contain the spread of any communicable diseases, both during COVID and non-pandemic seasons.

The advantages of the small house model go beyond the health concerns of the residents and staff. The quality of life of the residents is enhanced by the homelike rooms and smaller mingling spaces. Memory care residents can become agitated in crowds and disturbed by numbers of caregivers coming and going. Long hallways and multiple common areas can confuse and disorient some residents. Familiarity with furnishings, caregivers, and neighbors, helps residents feel safe, in control, and more engaged. There is also easier access to South Mountain Memory Care’s beautiful, peaceful outdoor spaces, including a secure patio and fenced-in garden and grounds. A covered porch allows for “hanging around” outside as well.

Ultimately, it is all about relationships. The small-house model of care becomes a true community for a group of seniors and staff. It focuses on nurturing the spirit of life, and its heart is found in the relationships that thrive there. South Mountain’s goal has always been, and continues to be, to serve as a place where seniors receive assistance and support with activities of daily living and care, without the assistance and care becoming the focus of their life. And ultimately to provide the key elements to successful memory care: connectedness, home, and happiness!

South Mountain Memory Care focuses on high-quality, personalized care. South Mountain Memory Care is proud to offer a wide range of resident-focused daily activity programming to our residents. Each neighborhood offers activity space for group and one-on-one activities.

The brand-new building is a stand-alone memory care community, meaning that the entire building, staff, and programs, are designed to serve residents with cognitive issues. To ensure person-centered care and attention, we have accommodations for up to 28 residents. The building is divided into two neighborhoods (wings), each offering 10 private suites and 2 semi-private suites. South Mountain Memory Care is located in the Allentown suburb of Emmaus, Pennsylvania, and is easily accessible from the Lehigh Valley, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. For more information, go to

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