Ahwatukee nursing, rehabilitation center puts residents in the spirit - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Ahwatukee nursing, rehabilitation center puts residents in the spirit

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Posted: Friday, December 23, 2011 7:00 am | Updated: 1:44 pm, Wed Oct 10, 2012.

The holiday season can stir up a whirlwind of emotions. For some, there can be the highest of highs and, for others, maybe the opposite. But one local long-term health care center focuses on making sure each holiday season is a positive one.

The staff at La Estancia Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Ahwatukee do many activities for their patients and residents, especially around the holidays, to recreate that feeling of being at home, one employee said. They focus on those in long-term care, those who are there for an indefinite amount of time, some of which do not receive visitors during the holiday season.

"We look at their needs year-round and look at how to meet them," said Curtis Rick, activities director at La Estancia. "But especially during the holidays, we focus on those in long-term care. We don't want them to think about the past, of what it was, but moreso making them feel a new happiness now."

They do that by hosting parties, like this year will be a 1950s rock ‘n' roll Christmas party, bringing in singers and performers, playing games, and more. For some, the holidays can be a tough time, and for others, it can be worse. But one long-term care resident said what the staff does for them really works.

"Last Christmas was a really sad time for me because I just lost my husband, but they didn't make it sad," said Jean Meyers, 87, who has been at La Estancia for over two years. "They make you do things and they make it fun to be out and around... There's no place like home, but some of things we do are special."

The community also plays a major role in making the holidays special for the La Estancia patients. Meyers said one of her favorite activities is when a local music ministry comes to sing to her and her fellow residents. Rick said that also during Christmastime, groups like the Salvation Army and Home Instead drop off gifts and Trader Joe's dontates flowers all year long that are distributed to long-term care residents.

"Those residents that don't get a lot of attention, we find out what they want and find a way to get it for them," Rick said. "We try to make it feel like home."

There are 79 patients, including 20 in long-term care, at La Estancia, and there is always something going on to keep them active and busy. Throughout the year, the staff provides a range of activities designed to stimulate intellectually and spiritually, Rick said.

"There are so many different types of patients here," he added. "We try to get them to be social, whether that is through bingo or a slot machine tournament. It's all about meeting their individual needs."

To find out more about La Estancia Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, at 15810 S. 42nd St., call (480) 759-0358.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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