Glenmeadow Seeks Volunteer Companions for Residents Living with Dementia
New opportunity part of the life plan community’s enhanced focus on dementia care
LONGMEADOW—Glenmeadow is seeking companions to spend time with residents who are living with dementia and will offer a training for the volunteers on Tuesday, Oct. 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the life plan community.
Laura Lavoie, director of life enrichment at Glenmeadow, said the new volunteers would receive certificates of completion in a Positive Approach to Care (PAC) training that she would lead as a PAC-certified trainer. Volunteers would then be asked to make a weekly commitment of several hours to a resident.
“The more we can get people in the community to feel comfortable communicating and spending time with people living with dementia, the better-equipped they will be when they meet people in the community living with the disease,” Lavoie said. “It would be really great to have people coming from around the area to work with our residents, who might feel isolated and misunderstood.”
She said the program feeds into the Buddy System culture that Glenmeadow is growing, through which residents are paired with a companion and have the opportunity to build meaningful, long-term relationships. “This allows our residents to feel a new connection with someone and feel that they have a friend who is interested in them,” Lavoie said.
As part of its strategic plan, Glenmeadow has enhanced its focus on dementia care, and Lavoie said this volunteer offering is yet another way to offer support to those in the community living with dementia, or those in their families.
Glenmeadow also offers a new Memory Café, a monthly gathering for people living with dementia and their caregivers, and it offers two monthly Caregivers Support Groups to professionals and family members who are assisting someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia.
Glenmeadow is also part of the Dementia Friendly Longmeadow initiative, through which varying programs are held throughout the year in Longmeadow.
Lavoie was recently certified in PAC and is able to train volunteers in developing a positive outlook in working with people who are living with dementia. “We are developing a new culture around dementia, trying to remove the stigma,” she said. “We want to train people to focus on the person who is still here and his or her strengths, rather than on the skills and abilities they might have lost.”
To volunteer at Glenmeadow or for information on the support groups or Dementia Tour, contact Lavoie at 413-355-5905 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Established in 1884, Glenmeadow is a nonprofit, accredited life plan community; it provides independent and assisted living at its campus at 24 Tabor Crossing in Longmeadow and expanded Glenmeadow at Home services throughout greater Springfield.
To learn more about Glenmeadow and its history and offerings, visit www.glenmeadow.org.
In the 1800s, elderly individuals without family or means were sent to live at what was called “the poor farm.” In 1884, a group of civic leaders raised funds among themselves and other area families and purchased a house on Main Street in Springfield’s south end, establishing The Springfield Home for Aged Women. Quickly outgrowing that house, land was purchased on the corner of Chestnut and Carew streets, where a new home was constructed and opened in 1900. In 1960, the name was changed to Chestnut Knoll, and, in 1992, it began to admit men.
In 1993, the organization purchased a 23-acre parcel in Longmeadow to build a new community that would provide both independent living and assisted living in one building with various common areas. This was a new concept known as a continuing care retirement community. Existing residents from the old Chestnut Knoll property were moved to the new campus in 1997. Shortly after the move, the board voted to change its legal name to Glenmeadow to coincide with the name being used by the developer of the property.
Continuing care retirement communities are now referred to as life plan communities, responding to the needs of the aging population with new opportunities for care, plus creative, educational and personal exploration. Glenmeadow offerings, which include everything from senior living options and handyman services to personal care and travel programs, are provided at its Longmeadow campus and across the region through Glenmeadow at Home. Glenmeadow strives to fulfill its mission of nurturing the whole person in mind, body and spirit.