If you hear jazz while you're at the Newark Extended Care Facility, it's probably coming from the room shared by John Griggs and John Lott.
Activities Director Pat Roza didn't go to a big box store to replace the tattered American flag at the 62-bed Elant at Wappingers Falls nursing home in Wappingers Falls, NY. Instead, she called her congressman, U.S. Rep Sean Patrick Maloney (D).
It's noteworthy that the Taylor Care Center in Jacksonville, FL, recently marked the 100th birthday of two residents by inviting an Elvis impersonator to perform. More remarkable: The event celebrated 42 residents who are at least 90.
Fairhaven Manor's Amy Kotterman wasn't sure her incoming graduate student intern was the Katie Smith until receiving an unusual voicemail. Smith called to say she would miss a day of her upcoming rotation to attend a USA Basketball board meeting.
Never mind the frigid winters in Ontario, staff members at Streamway Villa in the town of Coburg know how to bring warmth to their residents.
Filmmaker Stu Maddux is determined to make long-term care more sensitive to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.
Nursing home residents — especially long-term residents — deserve to have the best entertainment that money can buy. Unfortunately, most nursing home activity directors don't have the budget to draw musicians of that caliber.
When Steve Score, 57, retired, he quickly learned "A man can only watch so much 'Oprah.'" Thus, he began working as a volunteer mailman at Ecumen Emmanuel Community, a skilled nursing facility in Detroit Lakes, MN.
Bluegrass fans are well-versed in the music's invigorating effects. Now, residents at a Silver Spring, MD-continuing care retirement community have ample opportunity to both play and listen.
As elite athletes from around the globe descend on London this summer, another group of Olympians will be rooting them on from their West Virginia nursing home.
Administrator Leslie Pedtke considers herself just another visitor when she goes to work each day in Aviston, IL. Her workplace, Aviston Countryside Manor, is her residents' home — not hers, she says, which might explain the success of her resident-focused approach to hiring employees.
Hiring veterans to work in long-term care facilities is a no-brainer for nursing home administrator Steve Pazulski — a Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran himself.
Watching a long-time Alzheimer's sufferer create a beautiful piece of artwork or even play a musical instrument is like watching "magic in action," says Carol Silver-Elliott, president and CEO of Cedar Village, a continuing care retirement community in Mason, OH.
Jana Headrick likes to snag them when they're young — future long-term care professionals, that is. As the director of wellness at the continuing care retirement facility at Inverness Retirement Village in Tulsa, OK, Headrick oversees an internship program aimed at sparking an interest in senior living among college students.
If you were to visit the young adult care unit at Ecumen Bayshore Health Center, in Duluth, MN, chances are that Lady Gaga would be playing on a resident's stereo, and a group would be gathered around a living room table playing board games. In other words, it would look and feel a lot like any young adult's house or apartment — and that's how the residents at this nursing home like it.
A retired air traffic controller for the Air Force, Tom Gray, 60, currently has a role that is certainly less stressful, and even more gratifying: activities director for a California assisted living facility. In October, he was named the National Senior League's Wii Bowling Coach of the Year.
As Ashley Mask watched her grandfather struggle with Alzheimer's disease, she noticed that as the disease progressed, the more isolated he and his caregiver — Ashley's mother — became. In her role as the manager of visitor experience at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City, Mask hopes to ease the isolation felt by both dementia patients and their caregivers.
Marvell Adams knew as early as his freshman year in high school that he wanted to work with the elderly. While writing a paper for his biology class he learned that there was no cure for Alzheimer's. That's when he planned for a career in medicine. He later discovered working as an administrator in long-term care facilities was a much better fit.
Typically, when a nursing home gets into the business of granting wishes, it's the resident who gets to fulfill a lifelong dream. But Carol Cummings (at left), Brookdale Senior Living's director of Optimum Life, says celebrating the wishes of its workers is just as important.
Seniors are often given awards for their military service or cinematic accomplishments. Nadine Grosso, vice president and director of communications for the Maine Health Care Association, thinks it's equally important to honor those who have raised families and help build their communities.
Chinese culture values the wisdom and experience of its elderly, but Aileen Jong, a 16-year-old high school student, might very well prove that the reverse is true, too.
Before Jim Alexander entered the dementia unit at Syverson Lutheran Home in Eau Claire, WI, he was a beloved geography professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. It didn't take long for him to become a cherished resident at Syverson, where he charmed visitors and staff alike with his solo and group harmonica playing, according to Activities Director, Karen Park.
When iPods, the popular portable music players, started to become ubiquitous in about 2006, licensed social worker Dan Cohen Googled "iPods and nursing homes." He found no connection between the two anywhere on the Internet. Surprised, he made a couple of phone calls.
Before Steve Saling was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in February 2006, he worked as a landscape architect in the Boston area. His disease, however, progressed to the point where he soon was dependent on others for daily activities.
Joel Nelson, the maintenance supervisor for a sheltered care facility in Princeton, IL, has worked in maintenance capacities for 35 years. But that hardly prepared him for one particular resident's arrangement.
Not everybody can say they got their wish before they died. Jackie Edgar did.