Traditionally, when someone is asked to describe activities in a skilled nursing environment, they might envision a “riveting” game of bingo, or a balloon volleyball match. Today, Judy Sarnowski, Smith Care Center’s Activity Director, and her team are doing away with that notion. In addition to Judy, the Smith Care Center (SCC) team consists of Erica Andrejkovics, Virginia Bailey, and Jason Redmon.
Before coming to Plymouth Harbor, Judy taught for 12 years in the Indiana school system. This experience has absolutely shaped Judy’s approach to her position as Activity Director, providing meaningful leisure activities that help to strengthen the mind, body, and spirit of SCC residents. Judy and her team tend to focus on range of motion activities in the morning, and on cognitive stimulation activities in the afternoon that offer a broader appeal — for example, the game “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?” The team also differentiates itself by incorporating technology — including everything from computer games to iPods and iPads to YouTube and Wii games. And, if requested, they will even facilitate FaceTime with residents and their family members.
While sharing the same vision, each member of the SCC activity team brings his or her own unique approach to the job. According to Judy, that is what makes their team work so well together. Jason graduated from University of South Florida with a degree in Psychology. He worked in the healthcare activity field for a few years before leaving to pursue interests in both teaching and IT. After only four years away, he felt a calling to go back into activities. Erica is similar to Judy in that she has spent many years working in the field of education, and currently serves as a middle school math teacher in addition to her part-time position in SCC. Virginia seemed to always have had her sights set on the healthcare industry, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Human Services, and earning her certification as an Activity Assistant and a Certified Nursing Assistant.
“I feel extremely fortunate to have a team that shares my passion to make a difference in the lives of others. It is delightful to work with those who have both the education and background to assist me in providing our residents activity choices that are fun, relevant, and meaningful,” Judy says. “We are a cohesive team that complements one another, and I think that is a rare find.”
There is no doubt that when you visit SCC, you’ll see the activity team in action.