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Activities keep residents active and spark memories

Staff member Tanya Peck dances with Priscilla Dragoon and Jackie Bouchard.

Staff member Tanya Peck dances with Priscilla Dragoon and Jackie Bouchard. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

PLATTSBURGH – As the Castaways stood center stage, playing golden oldies, residents clapped their hands, tapped their feet, bobbed their heads and smiled, surrendering to the rhythm.

A few stood up and danced, moving to the band’s play list until their legs grew tired.

“We thought we would get a party going,” said Kim Clowney, activities director for Meadowbrook Healthcare in Plattsburgh.

The 200-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility has been recognized as the North Country “facility of choice” for short and long term care services since 1974.

Activities, Clowney said, are an important part of what goes on at Meadowbrook.

Meadowbrook offers two to three daily activities as well as bigger ones up to three times weekly.

“One of the greatest things it does is they get to be social with friends and family,” Clowney said.

Residents look forward to the activities, she said, especially the music programs.

Music is a great way to spark a memory and relive, said Laurie Marvin, community relations coordinator.

“It is a journey for them.”

And it can work as exercise. Zumba, for example, gets them moving their arms and cheering.

Other activities capture memories too, such as gardening. So Meadowbrook offers gardening, especially for residents who were once gardeners.

The garden club meets each week, sometimes to pick fresh strawberries.

“We try to get something they did in their younger years,” Marvin said. “Our goal is to enrich their lives emotionally, physically and spiritually.

“We want to give them activities to look forward to.”

Many residents mark their calendars to let staff know which events they want to participate in.

Staff, in turn, keep track of who comes to events to ensure residents remain active.

Meadowbrook is always looking for volunteers to help with activities. Anyone interested should contact Clowney at 563-5440.

Jeanette Miller arrived at Meadowbrook this past February and enjoys the events offered there. She said they give patients something else to think about.

Miller also enjoys knitting and reading a good mystery, but the music activities are her favorite.

“I like the concerts they have,” she said. “Some of them are amazing.”

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