IDEAS Institute - 440.253.1883 8055 Chardon Road Kirtland, Ohio 44094 440.253.1883

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The mission of IDEAS Institute is to provide solutions that improve the lives of older adults through the conduct of rigorous applied research. Our highly respected staff examine the therapeutic potential of the environment—physical, social and organizational—as it relates to frail and impaired older adults. Serving older persons, their caregivers, and the community, the IDEAS Institute seeks to be a premier resource of information and environment - behavioral research centered on improving care and quality of life for people with chronic forms of physical and cognitive decline, including, but not limited to, Alzheimer’s disease. Our areas of expertise lie in dementia care, long term care, environmental design and modifications for older adults and those with dementia, caregiver /staff education and research. Ingenuity, innovative solutions, and integrity are core values of the organization.


The IDEAS Institute is a recently incorporated entity having received its 501(c)(3) status in March 2000. The IDEAS Institute is the culmination of several years of effort on the part of a small but highly regarded group of professionals. Dr. Margaret Calkins is internationally recognized as a leader in the field of environments for elderly, particularly people with dementia. As an architect and gerontologist, with a background in psychology, she has worked extensively on creating low-cost solutions for facilities trying to improve their environments and programming for people with dementia. She is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences around the world.


Dr. Margaret Calkins is one of a small group of individuals to become EDAC certified. The Evidence-based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC) program is transforming the field of health care design by providing nationally recognized accreditation to promote the use of an evidence-based design process in health care building projects. The goal of the program is to institutionalize evidence-based design as an accepted and credible approach to improve health care outcomes. The EDAC accreditation is designed to help health care organizations identify qualified experts who understand the implementation of evidence-based design in new and existing health care environments. It complements the American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA) certification and aligns with the Environment of Care section of the 2006 Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities by the Facility Guidelines Institute and the American Institute of Architects. Evidence-based design is the process of basing decisions about the built environment on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes.


Other Team Members

Jennifer Brush, M.A., CCC/SLP, is a highly regarded Speech-Language Pathologist known for her work in the areas of memory and swallowing interventions for people with dementia. As a sought after national speaker, Ms. Brush offers interactive and educational presentations that help audiences bridge the gap between current research findings and the care needs of their clients. She has served as the Principal Investigator on applied research grants that have examined issues pertaining to HIV/AIDS dementia, hearing impairment, dining, dysphagia, and the long term care environment. Ms. Brush is the author of Meal Time Matters a training program that builds nursing assistants’ skills related to dining, swallowing disorders, and safe feeding assistance. She is the editor of IDEAS for a Better Visit and the co-author of two books: Environment and Communication Assessment Toolkit and A Therapy Technique for Improving Memory: Spaced Retrieval.


Kathryn Kilpatrick, MA, CCC/SLPis the founder and president of Communication Connection.  She received her Master’s Degree in Speech and Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. Kathryn is the author of over 30 products sold nationally including the Visiting Nurse Service Therapy Guides (Volumes 1-5) for Speech and Language Disorders.  She is a motivational speaker and trainer whose focus is on enhancing quality of life of for older adults and supporting their families, friends and caregivers.  Kathryn’s website ( provides a multitude of communication and activity suggestions that will enhance time spent with an older adult. 



Margaret P. Calkins, PhD., M Arch
Chair of the Board


Christine Bretz, CPA


Daniel Kendis, MD


Suzanne Sandusky


David Schell, MBA, LNHA


Kimberly Van Haitsma, PhD


Gerald Weisman, PhD, M.Arch


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8051 Chardon Road     
Kirtland, Ohio 44094