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Board Games – Never Boring!

July 16, 2018

When you tour The Saybrook at Haddam, you may notice we have an abundance of board games throughout the community, strategically located where two or more friends can gather at a moment’s notice.  Most games can be found nestled in our library, game room, country kitchen, and second-floor great room – with plenty of tables and chairs to accommodate players.  Additionally, we feature daily board games (or word or card games) organized by our activities team, which are always open to anyone and everyone – residents and visitors alike – to gather for friendship and fun.

Visitors to The Saybrook at Haddam look forward to playing games with elderly relatives and friends.  We love when young children grab a game from the library and bring it down the hall to grandma’s home, or when they bring grandpa down to the front parlor to play yet another game of checkers or chess.  Sometimes, residents may start a board game (such as Monopoly) and keep it set up in their homes for a few days before they can finish it!

In addition to being a popular way to spend time together, board games offer wonderful benefits for senior citizens. They improve brain health by encouraging different ways of thinking such as strategy, keeping track of things, and even math (to be sure the scorekeeper stays honest!). Games also help conjure good memories, as many were popular when residents were young themselves.

Some of the more favored games at The Saybrook at Haddam are Scrabble, Yahtzee, Connect Four, and Trivial Pursuit.  Each week we also work in a few games of Mexican Railroad and Rummicube (sometimes led by our high school volunteers).

Of course, we must mention Bingo, the perennial favorite among senior citizens.  Our community is no different and we love to host frequent games for guaranteed fun and enjoyment.  We also enjoy making weekly trips over to the nearby Haddam Senior Center to play a few rounds of Bingo with friends from town.  These trips offer a change of scenery, a break from the daily routine, and, yes, a chance to win prizes!

Residents also love games that have nothing to do with boards.  Many folks join us for daily word games, puzzles and other challenges.  And we often see friends pull out a deck of cards for a quick game with fellow residents or visiting family.  In fact, cards are one of the more popular activities when young children come to visit.

We haven’t met a senior citizen yet who did not enjoy games on some level or other.  Giving them the chance to play a wide selection of board games, cards or puzzles each day builds and strengthens friendships, sharpens brains, and contributes towards a wonderful quality of life.  Bring it on!

 

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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How Seniors Can Keep – and Build – Important Muscle Strength

June 29, 2018

Each day at The Saybrook at Haddam, residents have numerous opportunities for physical exercise.  Our first-floor gym, which is equipped with cardio and strength-building equipment, is open all day long for residents to use at their convenience.  We also offer different exercise, Tai Chi, and yoga classes, and we host a walking club throughout the year. Most residents enjoy these classes with friends, which adds an important social element to their day.

One of the most important exercises we work on as a group is strength-building with light weights.  Under careful guidance, residents lift weights with their arms and legs, following various forms and repetitions – all designed to improve physical strength. It is interesting to note that seniors can use their own body weight to help build muscle by doing simple leg lifts and arm raises. Either way, these movements are important to help seniors manage daily tasks of living, maintain better balance to help avoid falls or injuries, and simply enjoy a better quality of life.

One of our more popular arm strength exercises is to hold light weights straight down by our sides and lift slowly until they are perpendicular and parallel to the ground. We hold for a second and slowly go down to the starting position before pausing and repeating.  We do other exercises to specifically build triceps, such as lifting a light weight with one hand, bending elbow up to ear and slowly extending the arm to the ceiling. We hold the elbow with opposite hand for support before slowly lowering down. For best results, the American Heart Association recommends doing these types of exercises twice a week.

We are encouraged by what we do when experts tell us how valuable these exercises are.  For instance, Webmd.com points to a review of multiple progressive resistance training, or PRT, studies of 6,700 older participants. They used free weights, exercise machines and/or elastic bands, two to three times a week, increasing difficulty and resistance over time. The study found “PRT produced a large improvement in muscle strength, a moderate to large improvement in doing simple activities such as getting up from a chair or climbing stairs, and a small but statistically significant improvement in doing complex daily activities, such as bathing or preparing a meal. After PRT, people had less pain from osteoarthritis.”

The article quoted researcher Chiung-ju Liu of the department of occupational therapy at Indiana University in Indianapolis who determined “Older adults seem to benefit from this type of exercise even at the age of 80, and even with some type of health condition.” Lu also said the data supported the idea that muscle strength is largely improved after the training, and the impact on older adults’ daily activities can be significant.

Talk to our activities director and wellness team for details on all of the important fitness activities we offer each day.  Let us know if you have a new game or program you would like us to consider for our healthy community – if it gets more seniors moving more often, we are all for it!

 

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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Thanking and Appreciating our Veterans

June 15, 2018

Since The Saybrook at Haddam opened our doors, we have welcomed dozens of military veterans to our community.  Some of these men and women served during World War II, the Korean War, or in Vietnam; others during peacetime.  We owe a debt of gratitude to each of them and to every person who stands up to defend our nation and protect our freedoms. This is why we are proud to look for small and large ways to say “thank you” to all veterans in our lives.

Today, in fact, The Saybrook at Haddam is traveling with a group of veterans and family members down to the Nautilus Museum in Groton, Conn., for a very special “Honor and Remember” event.  This ceremony, which is hosted annually by VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, pays respect for Connecticut military veterans, past and present, and serves as a memorial to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We appreciate the opportunity to be part of this tradition of highlighting the legacy, service, and sacrifice of all veterans to the country.

Additionally, we commissioned a local artist, Kristin Haddad, to create our own “Veterans Honor Wall” which is nearly complete.  This tribute, titled “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave,” prominently features a painting of the American flag with our national emblem and a soldier standing in salute.  The mural will eventually include a plaque from each branch of service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard), each featuring the names of veteran residents from The Saybrook at Haddam. Stay tuned for details on our dedication ceremony!

On a regular basis, we host special veterans’ social events at The Saybrook at Haddam for residents, families and community members.  These events are meant to be an opportunity to share memories of time in the service, discuss some of our country’s history, offer thanks, and build friendships.  Each time we host these events, we are heartened by the spirit of the men and women who attend, and we are glad to offer small recognition.

In the past, one resident was honored at our community by the remarkable Quilts of Valor organization. We all gathered to watch this emotional ceremony, learn more about the special people who choose to live at The Saybrook at Haddam, and, again, offer thanks.  We cannot seem to do that enough. (Please note that the Quilts of Valor Foundation is always seeking volunteer quilters and welcomes suggestions of quilt recipients.)

We look for other little ways to honor and respect veterans and their families in our daily activities at The Saybrook at Haddam.  We often screen historical films and documentaries that focus on different battles or times of war; we have many books and magazines in our libraries that about military history; we host book clubs and discussion groups that oftentimes take on an historical or military theme.  Residents always seem to learn something from these activities – and from fellow residents – which is one of our important goals!

We welcome any veteran of any age (or current service member) to visit our community to meet and talk with fellow veterans.  The National Veteran’s Association reports that there is tremendous value and therapeutic benefits when vets gather and share their stories.  We see this here on a regular basis and encourage it anytime!

For us, coming together on national days of remembrance such as Veterans’ Day or Memorial Day is important to do to show respect for those who served.  We make a special point, however, to go one or two steps further and find ways to extend a hand and offer our gratitude when it is not expected.

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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Tips for Safe and Healthy Travels for Seniors

June 1, 2018

Many residents at The Saybrook at Haddam are life-long travelers – and many have taken trips all around the globe.  We love when residents share photos and stories of their adventures, both far and wide.  In our own small way, we help fulfill their joy of traveling by hosting “travel tour” videos featuring world-class destinations such as Paris and Bejing, and taking many short, local trips to embrace the beauty of our Connecticut River location.  But in the summer – with the warmer weather – we know many independent seniors will be embarking on trips with family and friends. To help keep everyone healthy, we wanted to take a quick look at some advice for seniors and traveling.

The Center for Disease Control has extensive information on things senior citizens should do before any travel.  The most obvious (and most important) is to visit a doctor 4–6 weeks before any travel to assess health and fitness status, receive vaccines, order necessary medicines and prescriptions, and discuss general concerns.  All travel should factor a senior’s physical limitations and only appropriate/manageable activities should be planned.  This may mean some seniors maybe shouldn’t hike down into the Grand Canyon or spend a lot of time standing in a museum. Seniors should also give themselves time to recover from jet lag, motion sickness, or changes in altitude and climate.

Before travel, seniors should be up-to-date on routine vaccines, such as measles/mumps/rubella and seasonal flu as many of these diseases are often more common in other countries. There are some vaccines recommended for specific countries to avoid diseases such as hepatitis, typhoid, polio or yellow fever. They also should consider getting a tetanus booster since more than half of tetanus cases are in people over 65.

Seniors should talk with their doctor about prescriptions for malaria, altitude illness, or travelers’ diarrhea, making a note of possible drug interactions with other medications. They should carry enough medicine for high blood pressure, diabetes, or arthritis to last for their trip and for a few extra days in case of travel delays. All prescription medicine should be in its original container, packed in carry-on luggage in case checked luggage gets lost.  Carry a copy of the prescription to refer to if needed.  Please be aware that counterfeit drugs may be prevalent in certain parts of the world, so seniors should only take what they bring with them.

It is recommended everyone (especially seniors) follow food and water precautions during all travel outside the United States to avoid additional complications.

The greatest concern for seniors traveling is physical injuries. Seniors can minimize their risk of serious injury by:

  • Always wearing a seat belt
  • Avoiding rides in cars after dark in developing countries (or in small, local planes)
  • Never traveling at night in questionable areas

Note that many health plans, including Medicare, will not pay for services received outside the United States, so supplemental travel health insurance is recommended.

Whether seniors are traveling to the beach, going overseas, or making their way to their children or grandchildren’s homes this summer, these precautions are always good to take seriously.  Our Wellness Team is ready to discuss travel plans and health advice with residents and their families.  Simply stop by the office or set up an appointment and we will make the process as smooth as possible. We look forward to hearing more stories and seeing more photos of all the wonderful places residents voyage to this summer!

 

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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Mother’s Day Every Day at The Saybrook at Haddam

May 16, 2018

Mother’s Day was this past Sunday – although The Saybrook at Haddam will be celebrating next week, on Monday, May 21.  We decided to host our special gathering at this later date so we did not interfere with other Mother’s Day events families planned for the moms, grandmothers and great-grandmothers at our community. Plus, no one seems to mind extending this holiday a little longer! We were looking over some articles on “great Mother’s Day gifts,” and it struck us that many of the suggested gifts are part of our daily life here at The Saybrook at Haddam.

For instance, caring.com suggested brain teasers as great gifts for grandmothers – and each day, we offer group activities including word and number puzzles designed to “exercise our brains.” They also suggested taking grandmother to have her hair and nails done at a salon – which is something residents can conveniently do here at our in-house beauty salon.  And, they thought sending a healthy meal through a mail-order company was great – and we serve healthy meals here three times a day every day of the week.

For the grandmother who continues to enjoy cooking and baking, Good Housekeeping thought gifts such as measuring spoons or cookware were the way to go this year.  The moms and grandmothers at The Saybrook at Haddam know our Country Kitchen is fully stocked and ready for them to use when the mood strikes. So instead, we suggest the best kitchen-themed gift is time shared mixing and baking together with family or friends (something we do quite often here).

Flowers are always a popular gift and we know residents loved receiving some this past Mother’s Day (and many shared them with the rest of the community).  We regularly decorate our dining room and gathering spaces with flowers to bring cheer and brighten our days.  Now that the weather is warming, our many gardens are starting to bud and sprout (one of the greatest gifts from nature) – which we enjoy inside and out.  Additionally, we offer a year-round program called “People-Plant Connection” that helps residents best maintain their own houseplants or container gardens.

We are an inquisitive group at The Saybrook at Haddam and many residents love receiving books or audio books as gifts.  Residents like to pass these along so others in the community can borrow and enjoy them.  We keep several well-stocked sharing libraries for residents to discover new books to read in their private apartments or in one of our many “reading nooks.” We also host author readings, book discussions, and educational outings to really encourage the life-long learning spirit.

Recently in the Baltimore Sun, writer Peggy Rowe lamented that the most popular Mother’s Day gifts were flowers, apparel and gift cards. “How could we get it so wrong?” she asks in her humorous article about giving the greatest of all Mother’s Day gifts: time and patience. We couldn’t agree more!

Additionally, we find it inspiring that Mother’s Day began as far back as the 1850s and, early on, included “Friendship Day” picnics to help reunite Union and Confederate loyalists after the end of the Civil War.  The whole “holiday” was meant to bring people together, strengthen American families, and improve conditions for children and families – which really are the most important gifts of all.

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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Great Weather – Great Health for Seniors

April 30, 2018

Spring has sprung here at The Saybrook at Haddam with warm weather and the appearance of countless buds and flowers.  It is a welcomed time of the year that lifts our spirits and improves moods – and perhaps even affects our health.   While residents and staff are all enjoying this new season, we thought it was interesting that experts have found a real, provable connection between weather and health.  We wanted to share some advice to help seniors avoid turning a nice day into an uncomfortable one.

Scientists do believe that some folks coping with arthritis pain may really “predict” bad weather when they have flare-ups. To minimize this, seniors are encouraged to hydrate sufficiently, dress warmly, supplement with Vitamin D and fish oil, soak in warm baths, and maintain a healthy diet.  We have hydration stations throughout The Saybrook at Haddam, so residents can readily take a rest and have a drink.  We also serve plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods that help manage many different conditions, including arthritis.

Others who suffer from migraines may notice increased discomfort when there is a drop in barometric pressure (before a storm) or an increase in seasonal allergies.  They are encouraged to take migraine medicine at the first sign of a headache – and perhaps even tap into today’s technology by connecting filtered earplugs with an app that sends an alert whenever there’s a drop in barometric pressure.

More time outdoors in the nice weather may lead to an increase in the chance of a fall from uneven pavement, sticks or debris on pathways, or slick walkways from misty rain.  Wearing sturdy shoes with good traction is essential, as is making sure walkways are clear.  We appreciate the hard work of our maintenance and grounds keeping team that keeps our entire community in such great (and safe) shape.

When it’s hot outside, some seniors may be at risk of heatstroke, which happens when the heart strains to produce sweat needed to cool the body.  So, people with heart conditions should be extra cautious.  Additionally, on humid days, people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other lung diseases may notice an increase in symptoms such as shortness of breath, respiratory infections or wheezing.

Of course, spring is notorious for those bothered by asthma and allergies.  Tree and grass pollen, high humidity, high winds, cold temperatures and other sudden weather changes can also worsen symptoms. In severe cases, seniors are encouraged to work with an allergist to identify triggers and develop a customized treatment plan. Residents can always start by talking with the wellness team at The Saybrook at Haddam.

In essence, paying attention to your body and health all year long will help you manage illness, pain or allergies anytime of the year – so you can really enjoy those great weather days.  At The Saybrook at Haddam, we do all we can to support your wellness goals and keep you healthy to do just that.  To us, it’s all part of gracious retirement living!

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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Music and Alzheimer’s

April 18, 2018

Throughout every single stage of our lives, music is present.  We have been singing or listening to music since the day we were born – in the nursery, on the playground, in school and church, at dances, weddings and other social functions.  Some of us may have studied music or performed as a singer in a chorus. It is understandable then that our connections with music can be therapeutic when facing illness – especially memory-related illness.

Last year, the Saybrook at Haddam’s Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood began a formal music therapy program for residents.  We tapped into the talents of Maggie Carchrie, a local board-certified music therapist who comes to The Saybrook at Haddam to host lively and fun programs including familiar sing-a-longs, drumming circles, and hands-on tactile instrument playing.  We also began a “Music and Movement” program with Kerry Kency on alternating weeks. These activities help residents “unlock” old memories.

“Musical programs are one of the residents’ highlights,” said Kathy Hallett, director of Safe Harbor.  “Every single resident responds to music, sometimes by singing, sometimes by tapping their toes.  Either way, they all find meaning and enjoyment throughout every single session.”

The connections between music and Alzheimer’s was the center of a 2014 documentary, “Glen Campbell … I’ll be Me,” which focused on the award-winning singer’s battle with the disease during his final concert tour.  In a review of the film, New York Times columnist Larry Rohter said, “It seems remarkable that Mr. Campbell, a superior guitarist, can still play with such skill when he can’t recall the words or the names of his band members.”

This happens not just with world-class musicians, either. Dr. Oliver Sacks, a noted neurologist and best-selling author of “Musicophilia,” said, “When I’ve worked with people with Alzheimers and various forms of dementia, some of them are confused, some are agitated, some lethargic, some have lost language. But all of them, without exception, respond to music.”

Sacks also says that with Alzheimer’s, “you lose your past, your story, your identity to a considerable extent, but with familiar music, you can at least regain that for a little while.”  This is the biggest reason we have incorporated music therapy into our routine at The Saybrook at Haddam.

The Alzheimer’s Association says that music may “reduce agitation and improve behavioral issues that are common in the middle-stages of the disease.” They say that even in the late-stages of Alzheimer’s, “a person may be able to tap a beat or sing lyrics to a song from childhood. Music provides a way to connect, even after verbal communication has become difficult.”

Here are just a few additional tips from the Alzheimer’s Association to keep in mind when selecting music for a person with dementia:

  • Identify music that’s familiar and enjoyable to the person. If possible, let the person choose the music.
  • Choose a source of music that isn’t interrupted by commercials, which can cause confusion.
  • Use music to create the mood you want. For example, a tranquil piece of music can help create a calm environment, while a faster paced song from someone’s childhood may boost spirit and evoke happy memories.
  • Encourage movement (clapping, dancing) to add to the enjoyment.
  • Avoid sensory overload; eliminate competing noises by shutting windows and doors and by turning off the television. Make sure the volume of the music is not too loud.

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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Special Touches in Safe Harbor Memory Care

March 30, 2018

Memory care is an individualized health care specialty, requiring patience, awareness, and a focus on little touches and small moments.  Memory loss – which is a disease of the brain – affects each person differently, oftentimes making one day so different from the next.  We remember this with all we do at The Saybrook at Haddam’s Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood and we always look for special touches to benefit residents and families who turn to us for help and support through this difficult illness.

One particular frustration with memory care is the loss of clear (or even verbal) communications.  Depending on how far the disease has progressed, memory loss patients may have dramatic changes in the way he or she hears, processes, and responds to conversation. By creating a calm, steady, friendly and reassuring atmosphere, the Safe Harbor community helps resident express themselves through challenging moments, regardless of the hour or day.  For families struggling to help non-verbal loved ones “talk,” we thought a recent article on caring.com titled “6 Nonverbal Dementia Communication Techniques Make Caregiving Easier” explained this condition well and offered solid advice.

The memory care team at The Saybrook at Haddam employs many of these same techniques each day as part of our ever-growing skill set.  The most important thing we do, however, is to take time to learn the personalities and interests of each resident so we can create a therapeutic and engaging atmosphere that has meaning and appeal, and can respond appropriately when someone may have a bad moment or day.

Another frustration for memory care residents is not being able to do the things they used to do.  We learn which hobbies they once loved –such as cooking, painting, traveling, listening to music, or doing puzzles.  Then we adapt these types of activities so residents can once again (safely) make candy, paint ceramics, take short road trips (to places such as local farms, parks, libraries, shops, restaurants, and museums), or tackle other projects that require them to use fine motor skills, concentration, and creativity.  When residents participate in these social and hands-on activities, they have the chance to connect again with things they once enjoyed.

Residents also appreciate interacting with young children, which is why we initiated a wonderful relationship with a local preschool.  We visit with this energetic and loving group throughout the school year to work together on projects, sing songs, read books and just have fun.  On a recent visit, one resident asked a little girl if he could try on her red beret.  The girl happily obliged and giggled her way through story time watching her friend wear her little hat.  It was a wonderful moment.

And moments are what memory care is all about.  We know our small touches have meaning for residents at Safe Harbor and help preserve (or even improve) their quality of life.  It is a rewarding health care specialty and we are honored to be a part of it.

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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Fashionably Fabulous in Retirement Years

March 16, 2018

Recently, The Saybrook at Haddam welcomed Bea Smith’s “traveling fashion store” to our retirement and assisted living community.  They set up “shop” in our lobby so residents and guests could check out, try on, and purchase some of the best sportswear fashion lines on the market. They also showcased a wonderful selection of coats, handbags and other accessories that complete or update any outfit.  It was a fun afternoon for residents and gave them an opportunity for very convenient shopping – right in the middle of a week of snowstorms!

From Alfred Dunner collection, available at Bea Smith’s.

This great event also served as a reminder that senior citizens still enjoy looking and feeling their best – and that they can easily be affordably fashionable and even trendy with just a little strategizing.

Fashion experts recommend everyone – including seniors – take stock of their wardrobe at least once a year.  This means going through closets and honestly assessing what you have, discarding what is worn out or outdated, and donating what you no longer wear (but is still in good shape). Then, look to replenish your wardrobe with stylish and affordable options.

In general, everyone should focus on quality and not quantity, making sure clothing is well made and then making sure it is well cared for. A few standard (and possibly more expensive) pieces can be easily updated with new or seasonal accessories, sweaters or shoes.  Sometimes these can be found at Marshalls, Target or other lower-priced shops that won’t break the bank.

The Budget Fashionista blog recommends women over 60 consider keeping some denim, bold prints and bright colors in their closet. These items are designed in so many different ways now that women can easily find the right fit and style that is flattering and appropriately youthful.  Keep a few “go to” pantsuits on hand (think Katharine Hepburn) along with skirts that fall just below the knee.

For senior men, the Love to Know blog recommends having several crew neck and v-neck sweaters, white and blue button-down shirts, pull-over vests, cardigans, and polo shirts to wear alone or under a jacket or blazer.  Pants should include straight-leg denim jeans, chinos, trousers and corduroys, depending on occasion and season.  Of course, belts should match shoes and shoes should match the color of the trousers.

A few don’ts for seniors:  Men should avoid baggy or distressed clothing, graphic tee-shirts, and baseball caps; women should avoid leggings, oversized scarves, and belts to hold up their pants.

Fashion is achievable for anyone at any age – and is important in putting our best selves forward. Whether the seniors in your life still enjoy heading out to the mall for some shopping or prefer to shop from the comfort of their homes, you can still encourage them to build and enjoy a fashionable wardrobe. We hope these tips help – and invite you to stop into The Saybrook at Haddam during any upcoming shopping events (check our Facebook page or our front office for details).

 

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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A Special Sweetness on Valentine’s Day

February 28, 2018

On Valentine’s Day at The Saybrook at Haddam, you may have seen a joyful group of Safe Harbor Memory Care residents traveling throughout the community making special deliveries of hand-made chocolate hearts.  This happy bunch had worked for several days making and wrapping the candies, tying them up in pretty bows, and placing them in baskets, ready for personal deliveries to all employees.  And when Valentine’s Day came, residents put on their most festive hats and set about the community, delivering candies and plenty of smiles!

Residents visited each office and department handing out candies at every turn.  They stopped to see (pictured here) Executive Director Jeff Williams, Receptionist Melissa Vicchito, Maintenance Director Barry Osalza, Food Services Cook Dan Reynolds, as well as other team members. Everyone enjoyed this wonderful surprise and appreciated the gesture of thanks.

Karen Bloomquist, recreation assistant at Safe Harbor, organized the project as a service-oriented activity that tapped into the residents’ lifelong love of cooking and making things.  Karen melted the chocolate in the microwave and helped residents spoon the chocolate into heart-shaped molds.  They placed lollipop sticks in the molds before putting them into the freezer to set.  Once ready, residents removed the candies from the molds, placed them in plastic bags, and tied on a red ribbon.  Karen said this fun project gave them purpose and joy – and challenged their cognitive and fine motor skills in an engaging way.

“This project made residents feel so good,” Karen said.  “It really empowered them to be able to make these treats and express thanks to our hard-working and wonderful staff.”

Kathy Hallett, director of Safe Harbor, agreed.  “We strive to make all engagement opportunities meaningful and purposeful,” she said.  “Many of our residents were active volunteers in their communities before moving to memory care. Doing a service project like this is reminiscent of activities from their past.”

According to experienced dementia caregivers, meaningful activities for memory care patients are crucial to improved quality of life.  Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association says that these types of familiar and meaningful activities help dementia residents reinforce their individuality. In addition to giving residents a chance to be creative and serve others, these projects allow everyone to enjoy success in the moment – without being concerned of the outcome.

The Saybrook at Haddam endorses this, which is why the team carefully plans daily activities that appeal to each resident, are engaging and do-able, and tap into former strengths or skills.  Residents really thrive in the moments when they are working on these projects, which is the primary goal of daily life at Safe Harbor.

This also is why our Valentine’s Day candy project was so much fun – and residents were able to spread a special kind of sweetness to all!

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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