With the help of our volunteers, we’ve been able to achieve a whole lot more in the community,” said Edward Esguerra, Life Engagement Manager at Autumn Leaves of Cy-Fair.
Houston, Texas (PRWEB) October 29, 2014
Caring Angels, a new program of family members of residents at Autumn Leaves of Cy-Fair assisted living memory care community, is bringing precious joy to family members through their generous volunteer time.
Here’s the stereotypical scenario: Mom or Dad moves into a senior housing facility, and family members only drop by occasionally to visit. Not so at Autumn Leaves of Cy-Fair, an assisted living memory care community in Houston.
Family members are actively involved in the daily life of the memory care community: visiting often, organizing events, leading activities, and getting to know the residents, as part of a program they have dubbed “Caring Angels TEAM,” with TEAM standing for “Together Everyone Achieves More.”
All of the residents at Autumn Leaves are living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. The Caring Angels group functions a bit like a PTA for seniors. Instead of supporting children and the classroom, these volunteers are supporting their parents or spouses and their community. Weekly football-watching parties, arts and crafts projects, and events like a Red Hat Society party keep the community abuzz with activity on most days, all thanks to the Caring Angels.
“With the help of our volunteers, we’ve been able to achieve a whole lot more in the community,” said Edward Esguerra, Life Engagement Manager at Autumn Leaves of Cy-Fair.
The Caring Angels not only serve the residents of Autumn Leaves but also the broader community as well. Recently, the group hosted a “Tea Time with Teddy” party as a sendoff for dozens of stuffed animals collected for Project Smile, which provides toys to firefighters to offer children in distress. In other community-oriented projects, residents made blankets for hospitalized children and collected newspapers for the Houston SPCA.
The volunteer group also published The Autumn Leaves of Cy-Fair Family Cookbook, a collection of favorite recipes from the residents and their families, with proceeds from the sale of the cookbook going to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in November. The group members’ original goal was to raise $1,500. To date, they have raised more than $6,000.
After formally organizing in March, the Caring Angels adopted a logo and had t-shirts printed. Recently, one member created official Caring Angels aprons for group members to wear during activities.
Many of the Caring Angels are spouses of residents who were devoted full-time to caring for their loved ones before they came to Autumn Leaves. Moving a loved one into a memory care community can be a difficult but inevitable step; sometimes family members feel as if they “abandoned” their loved ones.
“A program like Caring Angels gives those caregivers a sense of purpose and a way to stay connected,” said Leah Miller, Director of Sales & Marketing for Autumn Leaves of Cy-Fair.
Both Esguerra and Miller have worked at other senior communities in previous jobs, and say they’ve never seen this level of family involvement.
“It’s really great to see how much the Caring Angels truly care, not just for their own loved ones, but also for every one of the residents,” said Esguerra. When visiting a family member, each will also take time to stop by the rooms of all of the other residents.
“Even though they’re living with memory loss, many of our residents do remember the Caring Angels, because they see them so often,” said Miller.
ABOUT AUTUMN LEAVES
Family owned and operated memory care assisted living communities, Autumn Leaves® is dedicated to serving those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Autumn Leaves communities are committed to providing exceptionally high-quality care and research-based programs that allow for safe, secure, and active environments for its residents. An acknowledged leader in memory care, Autumn Leaves combines clinical expertise, knowledge of dementia, and heartfelt compassion to create the best possible care environment. Autumn Leaves currently operates 36 communities in 4 states with the ability to serve more than 1,800 residents. For more information, visit AutumnLeaves.com or call 888-662-8886.