You Don't Want to Miss This Bus

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The Sedgewood Commons Bus Tour

Opened in 1994, Sedgewood Commons is located in Falmouth, Maine. A 100%-dedicated Alzheimer's care facility, it operates on the efforts of 150 staff members who support 95 residents and another 10 folks enrolled in the day program. Sedgewood's mission is to provide the highest quality of life for their patients, to maintain their dignity and independence as long as possible.

Meaningful moments keep the residents healthy. For them, happiness means being treated like the individuals that they are. "That's what makes anyone happy, isn't it?" asks Lea Rust, Director of Marketing /Admissions at Sedgewood. "These people have had amazing lives. They've had amazing marriages, raised amazing children, traveled to amazing places." It is a resume that the progressive disease works to hide but the staff always tries to remember.

"The people who work here are special," Lea says. Alzheimer's introduces several stages of gradual decline and a host of challenges that can include severe and aggressive behavior in its victims. Sedgewood caregivers are trained and prepared for this, but it is a tough job.

"About a month ago," notes Lea, "our Executive Director, Gary Currier, introduced 'The Happiness Bus' and showed us (department head managers) the video and mission/delivery tour you completed in 2010. It took me by surprise how much I and the rest of our profession can relate. 'Delivering Happiness' is something we do everyday. So I took the ball and ran with it this year and made our own 'Happiness Bus' for Halloween. We drove it around in our parade through the building, and played the [Happy Wrap] video. The staff here take such wonderful care of the residents, I expressed to them all that they 'deliver happiness.'"

Sedgewood places a premium on respect, communication, and follow-through among its colleagues. They approach one another in the same way they care for their residents. "We're each other's customers," is the way Lea describes the company's culture.

With the enthusiasm of the staff, the DH website and book are making their way to the corporate level.  "The [Delivering Happiness] Movement has moved us," Lea reports. She hopes that It will grow across all 268 facilities run by Genesis Healthcare.  She thinks it would be terrific if  ". . .  the Movement inspires all of Maine and Maine inspires Massachusetts and Massachusetts inspires Connecticut and . . . "

I asked Lea, an official VHP (Very Happy Person), if she would continue to further the Movement and tell someone outside of Sedgewood about Delivering Happiness.  "I'll take that challenge," she said.  "I'll probably tell ten."

Thank you, Lea, for sharing your story.  We are so inspired by the ride Sedgewood Commons is on!

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