August 30, 2018

Providing Meaningful Opportunities for Residents

In 2016, I began my career as a CNA at Brookcrest Life & Rehab Center. I planned to keep my head down, work for six months, and gain the experience needed to work at a hospital. While I made connections and friendships with residents and coworkers alike, I still decided to keep looking for the next opportunity. Though, deep down there was a small flicker of light telling me there is more to this job.

In the spring of 2018, a catastrophic resident event turned my view of my job, elder care, and life in general, entirely around. After reflection and prayer, that small flicker turned into roaring flames. It became evident that my job was to care for the physical and mental needs of my residents.

Regardless of status, disease, or stage of life, the importance of mental healthcare is of utmost pertinence. Sadly, it took a tragic event to make me realize it. In response, I, and many of my co-workers have pulled resources together to form the Resident Engagement Committee. The committee has one fundamental goal: To provide opportunities for residents to have a meaning and purpose in life.

The committee has been working hard to create opportunities for residents. These are some of the projects that are currently in the works:

Animal Therapy

Animal therapy is a proven technique for patients of all types and ages. Interacting with animals helps reduce stress, increase happiness, and can allow residents to feel connected to another living being.

We are working on incorporating animals into the daily life of Brookcrest residents with a multifaceted approach. One avenue will be an on-site chicken coop with egg-laying hens. Residents will have the opportunity to care for baby chicks, raise them, collect eggs, and share them with others.

We also plan to have rabbits available for our less-able residents. This option will provide residents a calming experience as they hold and pet the animals.

Additionally, we plan to bring an array of therapeutic animals to Brookcrest on a regular basis, allowing residents to see and interact with different types of animals.

Resident Bucket Lists

After working in a long-term care facility and talking with other elders in the community, it is evident that living in a nursing home represents the end of life is near. A common misperception is that nursing home residents are not able to do what they want ever again. We are striving to change this perception.

We will encourage residents to create bucket lists of things they never thought they would be able to do and do our best to make them possible. Whether it’s going on a date with their spouse, taking their grandson to the gun range, or even recording a song in a studio (which has been requested!), no idea is too small or too big.

It is essential for residents to know that their life does not end at Brookcrest, it merely continues down a new path.

Additional Projects

Greener operations, community outreach, raised gardening, going back to school, and many other ideas are part of our growing list. Through these projects, we desire to help residents integrate into the community outside of Brookcrest. This includes volunteering where physically able, helping with composting and recycling efforts, sharing wisdom with other community members, and taking classes at a college university. All of these things will positively contribute to the overall well-being of our residents.

Sometimes finding ways for residents to re-engage with the world is challenging. There are some days where my flame starts to return to a flicker. However, seeing the joy we provide to Brookcrest residents not only rekindles my flicker, it also feeds a fire that makes excited to see what we can do next.

Brookcrest is the neighbor that can help because that’s what friends do. We offer respite, rehab, and world-class recreational therapy services, so we can aid you or your loved one with their unique care needs. Brookcrest’s have high staffing ratios and low turnover also means Brookcrest’s family can quickly become part of yours. Let us focus on caregiving so you can focus on being the family member.

If you or a loved one are interested in calling Brookcrest home, please CLICK HERE for our Long Term Care Application. This electronic PDF form can be downloaded, completed, and emailed directly to our Admissions Team at Brookcrest-admissions@sunsetmanor.org.  You can also complete the form, print it, and mail it or bring it to Brookcrest.  (For best results, the form should be downloaded and completed on a PC or laptop with Adobe Reader and email software installed. Please keep in mind some PDF form functions may not work on mobile devices or in certain Internet browsers.)

Have questions? Please give our Admissions Team a call at (616) 534-5487.