Opened by the Sisters of the Holy Spirit in 1956 to meet the needs of 90 elderly seniors, Vincentian Marian Manor now serves hundreds of seniors each year and is sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.
With 8 locations throughout the Pittsburgh area, Vincentian Collaborative Care offers the full spectrum of care options: from outpatient rehabilitation and independent living to skilled nursing care built to each resident’s individualized needs, whether that means personal care, long-term care, rehabilitation and therapy services or memory care.
City Charter High School is proud to partner with Vincentian Marian Manor in Greentree for its commitment to excellence in creating a memorable learning experience for our students. For over 7 years, our interns have gained valuable communication skills by working alongside some of the top personal care professionals in the industry. Like Aimi Long, ADC, CDP, VMC – Vincentian Marian Manor’s NCCAP-Certified Activities Director (National Certification Council for Activity Professionals) – this ensures she has the knowledge and skills to enhance the physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of elders in her care. Ms. Long is also a certified dementia practitioner and one of only 29 licensed NCCAP teachers in the country.
Recently, she was the mentor for City High student Brandon Mason, which was a resounding success… even during the pandemic.
“Our goal is an exceptional resident experience…and there’s a lot of work behind the scenes to make things fun for residents at a senior living community,” according to Ms. Long. “We rely on the volunteers and the interns to be quick thinkers and to be able to just jump in there and do. ”It’s a lot of fun to be in life enrichment, but it also takes a lot of work to make fun.”
“Brandon was exceedingly good at doing this. He had the confidence…and the personality to be able to lead almost from the get-go… leading a small group or a one-on-one, setting up/breaking down the room for an activity, getting ready for an entertainer… Whether it be: ‘I’ll lead bingo, I’ll set it up’, she adds. “He took control of it from start to finish, which was marvelous.”
The City High internship program is what Ms. Long often refers to as a win-win program. “It’s great not just for us the staff, but also for the elders… to have this relationship with this community of students because when you have elders who are coming into a nursing home situation, they have left behind all of their community… and they now come to a place that is not their neighborhood… not their people, it’s not their friends or family or the faces that they see all the time…often, it’s not even family members. So, having students, represents the community coming in and bringing not only those memories of their grandchildren, nieces/nephews, their neighbors’ children, the students who mow the lawn, whatever it is… all those connections have gone. So we rely very much on the community to bring back in that sense of “belonging” to the elders, and that’s what the students do. So, it’s a win-win for us. We can provide for the students and we can provide for the elders in a way that is immeasurable.”
How does she know this works? She can prove it with time on her side. “Looking back and talking with the students and talking with the elders, the bonds that they have formed are incredible. And many of them continue to maintain those relationships and those bonds. And they continue to come back… even after they’ve graduated… and gone to college… are working… or what have you…. That’s kind of the norm… they stay in touch… drop by… volunteer over the summer…maintain a relationship…send an email.”
That kind of proof is truly “immeasurable.”
From L to Right: City High's Brandon Mason and Mentor Aimi Long, ADC, CDP, VMC – Vincentian Marian Manor’s NCCAP-Certified Activities Director
“As we age in place more and more, the ones coming up are going to need to know how to deal with people and loved ones with dementia, because people are living longer… everything changes. So that’s something we work on [with our interns] – communication skills, and working with dementia.” Aimi Long