For residents and staff at The Hearth at Drexel, memory care is more than providing specialized services for individuals living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. It’s about providing empowering opportunities for residents to make every moment meaningful in a setting where they can nurture independence and engage with others.
“This isn’t our job; it’s our passion.” –Dana O’Donnell, executive director of The Hearth at Drexel
Dana O’Donnell, executive director of The Hearth, is extremely proud of the memory care services they provide for residents. A registered nurse with 25 years of experience in senior services, Dana has been around memory care for much of her career, and she has seen first-hand the light it can bring to the lives of both residents and their families.
Remembering Moments of Kindness in Memory Care at The Hearth
Dana says, much of what makes memory care at The Hearth stand out is the quality of care the staff provides for residents. “This isn’t our job. It’s our passion,” she says. Dana remembers one morning driving into The Hearth seeing a man from the maintenance team walking around their beautiful landscape with a resident from memory care.
“I thought to myself at first, ‘What’s going on?’” she says, admitting that her first reaction had a tinge of worry. “He told me the two of them were just going for a walk, and when I looked at the resident’s face they looked so happy. I later learned the resident was having a bad morning. Our maintenance staff took the resident for a walk to cheer them up, and he did.”
Dana says this resident and maintenance man truly enjoyed spending time together, and it was heart-warming to see that interaction. While not necessarily in his job description, this endearing memory shows how each member of staff contributes a meaningful part in providing care for residents in their own unique way.
Inspiring Today: The Hearth’s Unique Approach to Memory Care
Inspiring Today is The Hearth’s progressive Memory Care program that incorporates their Six Domains of Living Approach, including a variety of highly personalized activities that promote fitness, spirituality, cognitive acuity, creative expression, social interaction and more.
The Hearth’s team of staff takes time to learn about each memory care resident’s past routines, careers and hobbies to incorporate into their everyday lives not only within the memory care household, but outside of it as well. Keeping resident’s unique interests in mind, staff makes sure to give them experiences that bring meaning to their life and make them feel special.
“We have a lot of outings, and our memory care residents will often be a part of them,” says Dana mentioning how two memory care residents went to the Phillies game earlier that day because of their love for baseball.
“It’s rewarding to see the joy on residents’ faces when they have a moment of clarity. Certain activities bring them back to a memory that they find meaning in. It’s really special.”
Providing the comfort of home
Dana says memory care residents at The Hearth enjoy outings to the aquarium, the zoo, and all kinds of local museums. “Music therapy and pet therapy are also great activities that they really enjoy,” Dana says describing more programs that create meaningful moments for residents in memory care.
Dana remembers one night at The Hearth when she stayed later than usual, “It had to be past midnight,” she recalls. She walked into the memory care household and saw three residents comfortable on the couch, watching a movie and eating bowls of ice cream. “It was just nice to see them feel at home,” she says reflecting on the experience.
At The Hearth, memory care is a household model where residents experience comfort and security.
“We don’t see this as an institution. We care for residents as if we were in their home because we are. This is their home,” Dana says referring to the comfort and safety residents feel living at The Hearth.
At The Hearth, staff does more than simply provide quality care for residents. They give each individual the compassion and understanding that they deserve.