The 'plagues' of long–term care

Long–term care facilities treat a wide range of people for a variety of reasons including Alzheimer’s, chronic illnesses and trauma. Often, patients in these facilities struggle with hopelessness, helplessness and boredom – otherwise known as ‘plagues’. (Andrew Hawkin/KTVF)
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Long–term care facilities treat a wide range of people for a variety of reasons including Alzheimer’s, chronic illnesses and trauma. Often, patients in these facilities struggle with hopelessness, helplessness and boredom – otherwise known as ‘plagues’.

According to Tina Rein, the Director of Nursing at the interior's long-term care facility, the center is a part of the Eden Alternative, a cultural think–tank for long-term care that addresses these plagues.

"Bill Thomas, who is the creator of the Eden Alternative, started his journey by being a medical director in long–term care," began Rein. "He recognized that people were dying, not of disease processes, but of those plagues."

She went on to say the Denali Center addresses these plagues by creating an environment where patients feel excited. Ruth Pomeroy, the Activity Manager for the center, spoke on how they keep the patients engaged.

“We do small things and big things," started Pomeroy. "We like to go out in the community. We've taken half our residents out to the fair and been a part of the senior day for the Riverboat Discovery. We also enjoy the small moments here at Denali Center; visiting with each other and the puzzle table, having a cup of coffee.”

This Friday, October 4th, the center is having a First Friday event. Some of the artwork that will be displayed was made by patients in the facility. Pomeroy says art is helpful for those receiving treatment.

“Creating things, having a process for creating artwork gives people joy and provides meaning,” said Pomeroy.

The event is open to the public and residents are encouraged to attend.

“I just the think it’s a really unique opportunity for people to come in and see Denali Center and see the elders and their ability to contribute,” said Rein.

“We get to showcase our talents and get to show that our elders here are more than just a diagnosis," said Pomeroy. "We’re all people and we’ve all done amazing things. Art is a great way to show that off.”

The First Friday event goes from 5:30 to 7:30 pm in the Denali Center at the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

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