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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Aging In Place—With Grace

Posted By: Advancing Care

From social daycare services to long-term nursing care, two area senior-care facilities offer residents many options.

By Ali Jackson-Jolley


For many, the idea of relinquishing independence and moving to a senior-care facility represents the end of the road, but according to Lisa Brocky, Administrator for Schervier Pavilion, a Member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, this is a huge misconception. Brocky notes that through recreation and therapy programs, many of her residents perk up and become even more active than before they arrived. “They begin to live again!” she explains.

Michael Becker, Administrator for Mount Alverno Center, also a Member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, agrees: “We provide a high level of activities, a safe and social environment, and because of the continuum of care [Schervier Pavilion and Mount Alverno Center are located on the same campus], families might choose to leave their loved ones within this campus. It is a unique opportunity to age in place.”

A Continuum of Care
Set on a 27-acre campus in Warwick, Schervier Pavilion, a skilled-nursing facility, and Mount Alverno Center, an assisted living program, together offer a full range of care — from social daycare for seniors who are independent but seek social engagement to round-the-clock skilled-nursing care.

Assisted Living Program. On one end of the spectrum is Mount Alverno Center’s Assisted Living Program (ALP), which provides services for relatively independent aging patients needing help with one or two aspects of daily living. ALP offers meals, housekeeping, laundry service, medication management, general personal care, and an extensive recreation program. But since it is not a skilled-nursing facility, Mount Alverno does not provide therapy or staff physicians. In addition to the ALP, an Adult Home Resident Program is available for independent residents who can care for themselves but who can no longer cook, clean, etc., and there is a Social Daycare Program for seniors who just come for the day, to enjoy meals and social activities.

Mount Alverno Center's Activities Director Amy Steinberg (with resident Rose Marciante) keeps residents busy with many activities.

Mount Alverno Center’s Activities Director Amy Steinberg (with resident Rose Marciante) keeps residents busy with many activities.

Skilled Nursing Care. While Mount Alverno Center’s assisted-living residents are more independent, Schervier Pavilion’s residents require a 24-hour nursing staff and constant access to therapists and doctors. Brocky explains that patients come to Schervier Pavilion with medical issues such as diabetes, cardiac disease, respiratory conditions and dementia that have progressed to the point that it has become unsafe to be at home and the person requires 24-hour skilled-nursing care. With a specialization in both short-term rehabilitation and long-term care, Schervier Pavilion has a full suite of medical services, including a nutritional program, orthopedic rehab, cardiac care and management, post-surgical care, pain management, and a strong presence in palliative care, to name a few.

Social Activity
Mount Alverno Center and Schervier Pavilion may provide different services to their residents, but they are in sync when it comes to the level of attention given to their recreation-and-activities department. “We make social interaction and resident engagement a priority because it is imperative to our residents’ well being,” explains Mount Alverno’s Becker. Amy Steinberg, Director of Activities, keeps the residents busy with outings to the libraries, restaurants, and parks, along with lots of daily activities, including horticulture therapy, trivia programs, and shuffleboard. “But what is most important — what all of these programs are really designed to do — is to help residents establish their own caring community,” Steinberg says. Resident Rose Marciante, appreciates the care: “I enjoy the activities,” says the 105-year-old, “and everybody is good to me.”

Activities and events at Schervier Pavillion include Oscar parties, computer time and exercise classes.

Activities and events at Schervier Pavillion include Oscar parties, computer time and exercise classes.

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Of her vision for Schervier Pavilion’s recreation programming, Brocky says she’s intent on creating a fun environment, in which her residents are able to do things they’ve never done or thought they’d never be able to do again. “I want people to live in the least restrictive setting,” she explains. Director of Recreation Kari Call and her team are the driving force behind creating fun and unexpected events, such as Happy Hour every Friday, seated Zumba, and lots of intergenerational activities with the preschool kids at Warwick Day Care, a community-based daycare program located in Mount Alverno Center. Call’s goal is to create activities for each individual, as well as have at least one special event per month and include family members.

“I like to take part in the group activities,” says Schervier Pavilion resident Rosemary Chapple (pictured above at the computer and exercise class), “but I also enjoy the individual activities like exploring on the computer,”

Memory Management
Memory assistance is another major focus at Schervier Pavilion, which is a custom fit for each resident. Brocky explains that because keeping dementia patients active and engaged promotes a sense of self-worth, and may even keep that person independent longer, Schervier Pavilion is big on memory manipulatives. For example, in each unit there are different activity boxes available for one-on-one activities. iPods are also available, with specific songs for each resident, based on the resident’s music preferences. “We have seen great results when using music therapy with residents with dementia,” Brocky observes.

Schervier Pavillion's Kari Call, DIrector of Recreation; Lisa Brocky, Administrator; and Lillian Alberti, Recreation Aide.

Schervier Pavillion’s Kari Call, DIrector of Recreation; Lisa Brocky, Administrator; and Lillian Alberti, Recreation Aide.

As for Mount Alverno Center, although Becker says his facility does not specifically deal with memory impairment, the activities department provides some programs broadly aimed at memory assistance, such as trivia and brain-teasers. But if a patient’s dementia progresses to a point that a skilled nursing facility is needed, the adjacent Schervier Pavilion could be a good option.

Becker concludes, “People are living longer, and with that there is a greater need for families to figure out ways to care for their loved ones as they age. Our continuum of care affords families the flexibility to have their loved ones live nearby with access to additional services on the campus, if needed.” •