Leader’s Heart Dedicated to Caring for the ElderlyCulture
Jun 22, 2017
By: Andy Andre, Administrator for Bartram Lakes Assisted Living and THE GREEN HOUSE® Residences
While finishing up my Bachelor’s Degree at the University of North Florida, 17 years ago, I started an internship at a local hospice organization. While hospice is a service for people of all ages, I found myself drawn to those who were older – vulnerable, but each person unique. I say “unique” because I was working with older adults who were in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, but the disease affected each of them in different ways. It was at that time I realized my passion for caring for people who suffer from Alzheimer’s, and began my journey of helping people who may not be able to fully help themselves.
I tell this story so you can understand my journey to Brooks Rehabilitation. My name is Andy Andre and I am the newest member and Administrator of the talented team at Bartram Lakes Assisted Living and THE GREEN HOUSE® Residences. I have worked with this population in different capacities including long term care, home health care, skilled nursing, post-acute rehabilitation and now assisted living and memory care. The past 10 years I’ve been in administration and management at these care settings.
I am very excited to join the team at Brooks in Bartram Lakes for many reasons. One reason in particular is THE GREEN HOUSE® Residences, which models the true feeling of a real home where the Elders have meaningful engagement. We have two Green Houses with 12 Elders in each home.
I remember one day visiting one of the Green Houses and the smell of a freshly baked peach cobbler filled the home. A Shabaz had just baked a peach cobbler from scratch and the Elders were getting ready to have dinner. Some of the Elders assisted with setting the table while some enjoyed a classic movie in the living room. One Elder in particular waved me over and whispered in my ear, “You are a handsome doctor.” Blushing and flattered I thanked her, but told her I am not a doctor, to which she added “But you’re still handsome.” You see, while Alzheimer’s may be a very debilitating and frustrating disease, those who suffer from it can still have moments of clarify as evidenced by our Elder who still knew what a picture of handsome looked like to her.
On a more serious note, Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disorder that over time destroys one’s memory, ability to function and ability to carry out basic tasks. It is irreversible and the greatest risk factor is age. As of 2016, there are 5.4 million people living with Alzheimer’s. The most common symptom is Dementia, which can affect people in many ways including depression, behavior changes and confusion. I believe the Elders in our Green Houses have an increased quality of life because of the freedom that we encourage and the individualized care provided by the Shabazim.
Living with Alzheimer’s should not be seen as the end of the road, but more of the beginning to a new journey. You can learn more about Alzheimer’s and THE GREEN HOUSE® Residences by clicking here.