Quinlan Terrace: Aging Gracefully
by Linda Buchalo
(Author’s Note: This article was written during the pandemic and reflects the restrictions in place at that time.)
This is the first in a series of articles about the various residential living areas on the Misericordia campus. Today, we visit Quinlan Terrace, which opened in 2016. The four brick homes, located in the center of the campus, were specifically designed to address the evolving nursing, therapy, and healthcare needs of residents with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other age-related conditions. Quinlan Terrace is the long-awaited answer to Misericordia’s need to provide for an aging population.
The homes that make up Quinlan Terrace were built with generous bequests from the Quinlans and other families for whom the homes are named. Many other families and friends of Misericordia also contributed to the funding for Quinlan Terrace. Carr and Kaperl are female homes, Hartemayer is a male home, and Walsh is co-ed. Each house is home to 15 residents and is staffed by 3-4 staff per shift, 2 overnight staff, and a daytime nurse.
Each home has a common living room, dining room, and den. A basement-level room provides space for activities and room for exercise equipment, such as a NuStep cross-trainer. There is also a sunroom where families can visit. Each home has a patio area for outdoor activities. The homes have both single and double bedrooms. When needed, family can be with a resident to provide comfort care in one of the single bedrooms. Bathrooms are all fully accessible. In addition to the living areas, each home has an office for a QIDP. One of the homes has a nursing office, one has an office for the director, and another has an office for the supervisors.
A typical day begins with staff assisting the residents to get ready for their day. Following breakfast, the morning activities vary. Depending on level of ability, some residents attend Development Training (DT) programs while others stay at home to complete therapy sessions or engage in other activities. Everyone comes together for lunch, followed by additional DT programming or activities. Some residents nap after lunch or have quiet time to relax.
Other activities that occur during the day are car rides, having lunch with family members, or going to doctor appointments. Dinner is another time to come together. Residents then watch television, listen to music, or do activities until bedtime. Some residents are ready to call it a day around 8 PM and retire to their room. Others are night owls and stay up late to watch a favorite TV show, do a word search puzzle, or say hello to a favorite overnight staff before going to bed.
While the residents are older, there is still a lot of activity going on at Quinlan homes. Many know each other from having lived together in previous residential homes and apartments, and they have a lot of common interests. Some residents enjoy baking snacks or making desserts. Many love music, either listening to favorite songs or singing along on karaoke. One of the residents plays drums and another plays the harmonica. Watching television is a popular pastime; favorites include Game Show network, Jewelry Television network, and various old-time shows. Quinlan ladies love spa day, enjoying manicures, facial masks, foot massages—anything that makes them look and feel great.
Regularly scheduled activities include weekly music therapy and arts and crafts programs. The therapy department hosts three different groups during the week—an exercise group, a cooking group, and a self-advocacy group. The morning DSP team is currently planning its second annual talent show with all houses participating. Other activities include using the sensory rooms, hosting parties for just about any occasion, and singing karaoke, often accompanied by some great choreography. Outdoor activities are also popular and include walks, bike rides, and gardening in the courtyard and front porch planters.
Misericordia has always made an effort to get folks out into the community, and the Quinlan residents are no exception. A yearly fishing trip that accommodates non-ambulatory residents is a much-loved event. Both staff and residents look forward to the fishing trip. Often, community activities are based on individual interests. One resident had tickets to see a Wrestlemania event while another couldn’t wait to see Sonic 2.
Prior to Covid, Quinlan residents hosted an annual Quinlights event during the holiday season. Christmas lights and holiday scenes decorated the courtyard and the front of each home. Residents from all over campus came to see and participated in group activities with a Christmas craft and snacks. The current situation does not allow for the group activities, but the homes are still decorated with lights come the holiday season. Fingers crossed, the group activities will be able to resume soon. In the meantime, residents have participated in campus-wide parades, and they’ve also won some porch decorating contests.
As in every Misericordia living area, each of the Quinlan residents is unique in his or her own way, each contributing to the overall joyful and wondrous atmosphere. Mike can remember everyone’s birthday, the age of every staff, and everyone’s schedule—all of this after hearing it only once. A resident who recently passed away greeted everyone with “Good morning, sunshine.”
Quinlan Terrace is another step in the Misericordia journey and is indeed a wonderful place to enjoy one’s sunset years.