The Heritage at Clara Barton provides smooth transition for seniors

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By Deana Mercedes DeMone
Director of Recreation and Activities
Genesis Healthcare
Heritage at Clara Barton

I am currently designing programs at the Heritage at Clara Barton, located at 1015 Amboy Ave. in Edison, to encourage socialization, helping the residents of our community to feel the comfort they once felt in their own homes, as it is sometimes unfortunately a dramatic transition to leave the home they raised their children in, and to leave their memories behind shared with loved ones.

We provide entertainment, relaxation and fulfillment, all while improving the daily skills of our residents. Each member of our elite team thrives upon providing care for each individual resident and their unique needs, such as planning bus trips, exercise, parties, decorating for holidays, and their different religious beliefs, celebrating birthdays and venturing elsewhere on daily trips to continue living and enjoying their lives as independently as they once did, only now with a helping hand, and an occasional boost of motivational support, along with tender loving care.

We also are respectful of the residents who simply enjoy their days not socializing, while relaxing privately in the tranquility of their home.

Our employees here at the Heritage basically feel as if we are amongst our own family members each day. It is not only a job for me, or anyone else who works here. It is our way of life to provide the best environmental atmosphere for our community. Their very own fortress of solitude, the place they call home.

Tanya Wild-Peach, director of Rehab, says, “My team and I work closely with the nursing department to develop therapy programs for our residents to help them age in place and remain as independent as possible, while addressing individual health needs. Therapy programs can consist of strengthening balance, training low vision, self care management, fall prevention, community reintegration and medication management, and are individualized uniquely, providing one-on-one care per each resident.

Mr. Ray Rapuano, director of Maintenance, whose itinerary includes laundry maintenance, trade contacts, including all outside contacts, fire drills and safety, specializes in leadership, communication and problem solving skills, as well as understanding the systems in our building. He says, “We are here to ensure  the lives of our residents be easily maintained, and as joyful and positive as can be on a daily basis.

Victor Esguerra Jr., director of Dietary, directs and oversees food service for our residents. He creates menus containing all of the important food groups, each one having protein, fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, one starch, dairy and a dessert. In the event our residents need special care, he also purees and mechanically chops food as needed, also having on hand-special utensils for residents having trouble with hand gripping skills. Head chef Patricia uses the most exquisite spices and delicate flavoring to enhance the enjoyment of our food. Each meal here at The Heritage resembles those served at a 5-star restaurant, as it is served with love in our hearts and a smile upon our faces.

Marybeth Sondergaad, director of Nursing, is a woman with tremendous responsibility. As there are many duties she performs, she answers to top management, being Jyll Bascone, CALA executive director, as well as patients and staff. Marybeth is in charge of creating a collaborative and efficient workplace with attention to quality standards and policies. She is in charge of controlled medication of residents, also making sure they receive the correct dose at the time of need. She evaluates each new resident to determine if they shall require additional assistance with rehab. Marybeth is a dedicated and efficient problem solver, also an avid listener with her keen managerial and administrative skills, along with a sharp eye to notice immediately of any sudden patient change.