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Welcome, Jennifer Armenia, to our Marketing Team

March 29, 2019

We welcome a new face to The Saybrook at Haddam:  Jennifer Armenia, our new director of marketing!  Hopefully you have met Jennifer already, but if not, we wanted to introduce you to her here.

Jennifer is a native of Connecticut and has spent her career working along the shoreline and in Middletown.  She loves the natural beauty of the area, particularly the Connecticut River and surrounding woods and hills.  In fact, The Saybrook at Haddam’s bucolic setting is one of her favorite parts of working here.

Jennifer has a strong history working in the senior living industry.  She was marketing director at One MacDonough Place, an assisted living community in Middletown, and she worked as director of community outreach at The Hearth at Tuxis Pond in Madison, focusing on building relationships and connections throughout the community.

Just prior to joining The Saybrook at Haddam, Jennifer worked as marketing director of Freedom Land Group, LLC, in Clinton. She also is a founding member of the Central Connecticut Senior Network (a prominent networking group) and served a one-year term on its leadership team. She remains heavily involved in local networking associations as she is an active member of the Shoreline Senior Network, the Shoreline Eldercare Alliance, the Middlesex Elderly Service Providers, and the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce.  She also serves on the “TIME” to Act Interdisciplinary Council.

Jennifer graduated magna cum laude from Bryant University in Smithfield, RI, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Marketing.  While there, she was a member of the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society and helped direct the Northern Rhode Island Special Olympics.

“I have always admired The Saybrook at Haddam for its great reputation and am so thankful to be part of this community,” Jennifer said.  “I already feel like part of the team – which is one of the hardest working and most dedicated I have ever known.  You can tell this is an exceptional place by all the smiling faces and the wonderful activity going on all day long.”

Other things Jennifer says she loves about The Saybrook at Haddam include the beautiful building with bright and spacious apartments and common areas, the many outdoor spaces, and the convenient location.  Mostly, though, she loves the residents and everyone who works to make the community so successful!

We are so happy Jennifer has joined us and we invite you to stop by to meet her!  She is available to give you a private tour of the community – which you can request by calling 860-345-3779 or by filling out the form below.

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Happy Birthday to You!

March 18, 2019

Every week it seems, visitors come to The Saybrook at Haddam with gifts, balloons, flowers or other treats that celebrate a resident’s birthday.  These birthday visitors sometimes stay for a special meal in a resident’s apartment home or in one of our private dining rooms – or they head out with the residents to enjoy dinner at a favorite local restaurant.  Whichever way the day is celebrated, seeing a smiling birthday “boy” or “girl” lifts everyone’s spirits.

We love to celebrate these birthdays, too.  Each month, we host a community party in our front parlor to recognize all those with a birthday that month. These parties are always a great deal of fun with activities, live entertainment and, of course, birthday cake. They are particularly meaningful for the resident who has family far away or who maybe prefers not to be the soul center of attention on their “big day.”

In addition to a large event, our executive director, Jeff Williams, holds a private luncheon each month just for those with a birthday.  Jeff and our activities director, Merrianne, invite these small groups to our private dining room where they share a chef-prepared meal, special drinks and desserts, and great conversation. Residents enjoy Jeff and Merrianne’s undivided attention as they tell stories and memories of birthdays past. In this little way, we help residents feel special, celebrate their lives, and get to know them on a deeper level.

Sometimes, especially on milestone birthdays, families and friends plan larger parties or activities for residents.  Whether these are held here in the community or in another location, we love seeing pictures and hearing stories from the big day – and we are always willing to help with any planning or organizing if needed.

The Blog “Help Parents Age Well” discusses some dos and don’ts when it comes to celebrating birthdays for elderly relatives and friends – strongly recommending you respect the likes and dislikes of the birthday boy or girl.  For instance, if a senior loves to travel, plan a destination celebration or take a birthday trip to visit a relative who moved far away.  If a senior hates surprise parties, don’t plan one for his or her 90th birthday. This may seem a little obvious but is a good reminder for the planner who gets sidetracked or likes to go overboard.

We also appreciate families of residents struggling with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other memory-related illness who come to us for guidance on how to celebrate birthdays and other special events.  We have many suggestions on activities, gifts, and even foods that focus on creating a sense of specialness for the resident – allowing them to enjoy the moment when they are the center of attention.

As we age, birthdays may not be quite as welcome as when we were younger – but they should be just as fun. At The Saybrook at Haddam, we see the joy birthdays bring and we love to be part of it.  Mostly, though, we love to watch all those visitors with flowers, balloons and giant smiles brighten the day of residents.

For a personalized tour of The Saybrook at Haddam and its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or call David Downey at 860-345-8779.

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The Popularity of “Books with Joan”

March 1, 2019

One of the more popular activities at The Saybrook at Haddam is our “Books with Joan” gatherings.  Residents meet up in the second floor Great Room to get comfortable and listen to Joan Szewczyk, longtime member of the activities team at The Saybrook at Haddam, read from books of their choosing.  The group often takes on a theme such as American presidents, composers or travels, and Joan researches the book to read.  Regardless of the topic, residents treasure this time to share a good book together and to discuss it afterwards.  This makes sense as residents are lifelong readers and wonderful conversationalists.

Joan has been reading aloud to residents for several years. She started “Books with Joan” because of her own love of reading and because she had received input from residents that this would be a welcome activity. In truth, she was a little doubtful that the group would take off and was pleasantly surprised when it became a fast favorite.  She also loves the fact that the group is well attended, the discussions are interesting, and everyone gets involved in picking the next book or series.

“Many seniors are able to enjoy reading in their own apartments, but they love the social aspect of participating in our reading club,” Joan said.  “For residents who are struggling with independent reading, our group allows them to hear some new and interesting books.  The best part is that everyone loves to discuss the books after each meeting and after we complete a book or series.  It really is a lot of fun!”

Joan says she was happy that residents stayed on the topic of American presidents for so long, although she worried the biography genre would become a little tiresome.  But the group kept moving from one president to the next and soon they had tackled nearly all of them.  Currently the group is learning about different composers – including contemporary ones such as John Lennon and Paul McCartney from The Beatles.

“When we finished learning about John Lennon, we had a special treat,” Joan said.  “Our maintenance director, Barry, stopped by with his guitar and gave us a private Beatles concert!  The residents had a blast, sharing stories of when their children first brought The Beatles into their homes.  Some like the older Beatles songs best, but everyone appreciated the impact their music had on the culture.”

Reading is well documented as one of the most important ways we learn and live – and regardless of our age, we enjoy many benefits from reading (or being read to).  In the article “Read Me A Story: Importance of Reading Aloud to Elderly People,” author Oksana Dlaboha encourages anyone to read out loud to anyone who no longer can because of age, vision problems, or other issue.

“Listening to reading aloud is a lively intellectual and emotional process,” she said.  “And thinking during reading aloud rebuilds body-mind-spirit needs and offers other benefits as well.” Those include how good readers feel after reading aloud – as he or she has just given a gift to someone – and how great those listening to the story feel. Dlaboha says both the reader and the listener will surely remember this gift long after the book has been closed.

All residents and guests are welcome to join in “Books with Joan.” Please visit the front desk for a schedule of meeting times.

 

For a personalized tour of The Saybrook at Haddam and its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or call David Downey at 860-345-8779.

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We’re happy to answer any questions you have and provide additional information about The Saybrook at Haddam.

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