Our Committed to Caring Challenge is simple. We started a wood project for a memory care man. Then it grew into three or four memory care. Followed by adapting it for a man on individual programming visits. Next, it grew into Veteran men wanting to participate.
I’m new to South Carolina and the PruittHealth family. When I started at PruittHealth Ridgeway I noticed a man on in our memory care community who rarely did anthing but watch Westerns. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good John Wayne movie like any man but it just seemed sad. This man’s name is Leonard McCorrey. He would just spend his day slouched over in his chair rarely saying two words the entire day. Staff would state, “He doesn’t do much.” Family was unable to give a lot of detail into what his past leisure interests were. They did state that, “He enjoyed logging and working with wood.”
So, activity staff had had some small wood pieces that were for building bird houses. They handed them to Leonard and the rest was magical! Staff laid out the boards, a piece of sand paper, stain and a brush. Without any verbal direction Leonard picked up the sand paper and began sanding each board. Once down with that he dipped his brush in the stain and began applying the stain in small strokes across the boards. Once the Items were dry Leonard were then picked up a hammer and with little tapes on the small nails hammered the sides together. All that he required here was staff to hold the small nails in place while he drove them into the wood.
As more and more people saw Leonard completing these wood projects they were amazed and wanted to be a part of the program. From there the wood projects became known as Wood Working Warriors (named for the Veteran men). The Veterans residents and Leonard restored an old dresser.
Why is this a big deal? It’s a big deal because it allows the residents (especially memory care) to utilize muscle memory. Things that are repetitive and movements we’vecompleted over-and-over again become stored in our brain. Like riding a bicycle! This, in turn, leads us to the bigger picture. AL/LTC communities should be looked at as new chapters in life. We, at PruittHealth Ridgeway, believe in giving our residents every opportuning to be successful. Why not have a Wood Working Warriors Program? Eventually, Dementia will take away Leonard’s muscle memory. There’s no reason we can’t give him meaning and purpose in his current chapter of life.