By Kathy Gaito
When we or someone we know needs assistance, we want to know that those who are helping us are committed, friendly and most important, qualified. This is especially true as we grow older and need to seek services for family members or even ourselves. The Diocese of Norwich is blessed to be affiliated with St. Joseph Living Center (SJLC) in Windham, Connecticut. Celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, SJLC has a CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) 5 Star rating. Whether you are seeking shortterm rehabilitation, skilled nursing or end of life care, St. Joseph Living Center strives to be your home away from home. While St. Joseph Living Center is a Catholic faith-based healthcare facility, they admit people from all religious backgrounds.
Approximately 95 volunteers from all ages are an integral part of the SJLC family. Many volunteers are family members of past and present residents, students from local schools and colleges and even some toddlers who come in to exercise. There’s a never-ending list of activities and outings for residents. Volunteers accompany residents to appointments, sit and visit with residents, assist with setting up the chapel for Mass, as well as transporting residents to and from Mass, the dining room, rehab, recreation and other areas of the building.
In addition to the volunteers and other staff members at St. Joseph Living Center, four Sisters from The Sisters of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament also work at SJLC. Three of the Sisters are RN’s and one is a Certified Nurses Aid. The staff is committed to the mission of SJLC, always placing the residents’ needs first and researching ways to make their experiences and their families’ experiences better. Ginny Person, Administrator of St. Joseph Living Center, shared, “Many of our staff have become Dementia Care Certified and are working together to create programs and improve the level of care to enhance the daily lives of our most vulnerable residents. Our Therapeutic Recreation Director, Tracey Megson, has implemented a Music & Memory program through a grant, which has proven quite successful in both soothing and brightening our residents with dementia. We are moving towards Electronic Medical Records and our nurses are being trained in the various aspects of that, as well as interfacing with other services such as X-ray, Labs, and Pharmacy.” The best way to sum up life at St. Joseph Living Center is to hear it from someone who has family members living at SJLC…
“Both my parents have moved into St. Joseph’s Living Center and they absolutely love it there. Their room is clean, the staff is attentive to their needs and requests, and the food is outstanding. The facility is always clean, bright and odor free. While walking the halls with my parents the staff knows them by name and asks them if they are having a good day. Seeing my parents interact with the staff and then walk away with smiles on their faces is priceless. My parents receive prompt and effective medical attention by staff that are both professionally competent and sympathetic. As my parents frequently say… “We didn’t move to a nursing home, we moved to a living center and we couldn’t be happier” - Michael A.