The Memory Care Virtuoso at Walden Place

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Walden Place resident Mary Tuthill has always been an exceptional communicator, and while dementia has changed her form of communication, it certainly has not dimmed her spirit. As a speech-language pathologist, her life’s work has been helping others communicate effectively, and her life at Walden Place, much like her life before dementia, is filled with laughter and music. Director of Resident Programs at Walden Place Amie Underwood says of their resident virtuoso, “Mary may not be able to speak using words like she used to, however, she speaks to me through her facial expressions, singing, whistling and laughing.”

The daughter of an Armenian immigrant who came to the United States in 1917, Mary is an accomplished pianist and opera singer. She is a coloratura soprano who performed as a professional soloist for the Presbyterian Church. Her daughter Sandra, also a speech pathologist, says that one of her earliest memories is watching her mother perform onstage. At a time when it was unusual for mothers to work outside the home, Sandra says that Mary was an incredible role model, managing the home and her career with humor and grace. She describes her mother as “brilliant” and the staff at Walden Place agrees wholeheartedly. They point out Mary’s love of music and her sense of humor, even when she is frustrated by the inability to find the right word to express herself. They also share that Mary has another talent: she is an expert whistler! Amie says that Mary can whistle like no one else; she can imitate any bird and whistle many songs to perfection. She is very fond of the movie The Sound of Music as well, and can often be found after dinner singing along with Julie Andrews or playing a medley of Christmas songs on the piano.

Mary’s daughter, Sandra, shares that when her mother was diagnosed with dementia, she worried about how the transition from assisted living to memory care would affect her, but says that she has been impressed with Walden Place. The community shows incredible dedication and compassion to their memory care residents. In fact, Sandra brings speech pathology graduate students to Walden Place for cognitive and language programming, a popular program that she says has an impressive waitlist! She shares that her students love visiting the memory care residents, and the feeling seems to be mutual. Residents and staff look forward to the visits, and the students gain valuable insight into non-verbal forms of communication which is a vital part of caring for a patient with dementia.

With programming that focuses on purposeful and enjoyable activities, the memory care program at Walden Place provides residents and families with meaningful interaction and opportunities to re-connect, and while a diagnosis of dementia can be daunting for any family, there can still be joy and laughter; Mary Tuthill is living proof of that. If you visit Walden Place and hear whistling or beautiful piano music, you can be sure that the virtuoso of Walden Place is sharing her unique talent for communication!

CARRIAGE COURT CELEBRATES RESIDENT’S 108TH BIRTHDAY!

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Ethel Klein of Carriage Court of Marysville will be 108 years old on April 29th, and Carriage Court will plant a redbud tree in honor of the occasion! The tree-planting ceremony and birthday celebration will take place on Arbor Day, April 28th at 3 pm at Carriage Court. Well-wishes may be sent to Ethel at Carriage Court, 717 S. Walnut Street, Marysville, OH 43040.

Born on April 29th, 1909, in Willard Kentucky, Ethel was one of 5 siblings born to John and Lily Fleming, a minister and housewife. Ethel completed 11th grade and went on to work as a desk clerk for 20 years, marrying her husband Ernest in 1950 in Ashland Kentucky. They were happily married for 43 years. Ethel and Ernest enjoyed traveling and were particularly fond of seeing the southern states during their jaunts.

Ethel still enjoys reading her newspaper daily, watching basketball, and listening to Billy Graham and The Gaithers. She loves holidays, especially Thanksgiving, and attributes her long life to “good clean living” and taking the time to eat three healthy meals each day at Carriage Court. Ethel has been a resident of Carriage Court since June of 2015.

Special Needs Student Volunteer with a Special Place at Heritage of Peachtree

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Every mother thinks her kids are special; what’s rare is when a whole community agrees with her. For our friend Sam, a caring and kind-hearted special needs student, that’s exactly what happened at the Heritage of Peachtree.

When the Social Coordinator from Clearwater Academy came knocking at the doors of Heritage of Peachtree in Peachtree City, GA, the Executive Director Wanda Khayat agreed immediately to host one of their special needs students as a community volunteer. What she didn’t realize is the depth of impact Sam would have over the next three years.

“Clearwater Academy has a wonderful Career Development program for students with special needs that prepares them for productive adulthood. I met with the Social coordinator and Sam, who was 13 at the time, and had had a massive stroke during his birth that left him with cerebral palsy, hemiparesis, seizures and global developmental delay,” said Wanda.

“I knew firsthand how important guidance and encouragement is, as I have a 10 year old grandson that also had a stroke during his childbirth, so I didn’t hesitate to welcome Sam into our family here.”

Sam began volunteering several times a week at the Heritage of Peachtree, stopping by to play games, cards, bingo, or simply visit with the residents. After two years, Sam officially joined the team through his Career Path program, designed to help special needs students succeed in the workforce. Now, Sam is pleased to be working with Heritage of Peachtree’s dining team three times a week.

“He’s learning how to work, he’s learning all about his responsibilities, and he’s such a caring and loving person,” said Wanda. “He’s had a huge impact on our residents, they just dearly love him; he is so special to us.”

After such success with the program, Wanda is working on expanding to invite other special needs students and children from Clearwater to become community volunteers. As for Sam, he won’t be leaving any time soon.

“I think Sam has had such a huge impact on our residents here at the Heritage of Peachtree not only because he’s such a wonderful person, but also because our residents can relate to him,” said Wanda. “Sam’s suffered a stroke, so he can’t do many of the things other kids his age can, and our residents are entering a time of life when they’re unable to do all the things they used to be able to accomplish. They gather around him, help him with his tasks, and he views them as some of his dearest friends. I wish everyone could experience this.”

Wayne Weber, Resident of The Barrington of West Chester, Presented Multiple Awards for Service in World War II

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Resident Spotlights.

On March 20, Congressman John Boehner presented Wayne Weber with the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, and the Purple Heart. Mr. Weber served in the 182nd Battalion of the Army in World War II. A rifleman, Mr. Weber fought in the Pacific Philippines islands, where he “hit the beach” in Cebu City.

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