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Connections Center holds grand opening

June 1, 2009
Westfield Republican
JAMESTOWN — Recently, Heritage Park Rehab & Skilled Nursing held a grand opening ceremony to officially open its new Connections Center. The Connections Center is the new home of Heritage Ministries’ Connections dementia care program. On hand for the special event were Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation Executive Director Linda Swanson, Chautauqua Region Community Found-ation Representative Rose Prinzi, and a host of other supporters. The Connections Center was made possible by the generous financial support of the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, Senator Catha-rine Young Member Initiative, Chautauqua Region Commu-nity Foundation, Johnson Foundation, Butterfield Memorial Foundation, and the Hultquist Foundation. The grand opening event began with opening remarks by William Carroll, Heritage Park Rehab & Skilled Nursing Administrator. “The purpose of the Connections program is to enhance the quality of life for our residents. In the process, we are providing them with hope, dignity, and a purpose for living,” he said. The rest of the program was led by David Smeltzer, Heritage Ministries Executive Director, and consisted of an overview of the purpose behind the Connections program and the dedication of a Connections Memorial Garden in memory of Fletcher G. Taylor, who was a resident of Heritage Park and the Connections program. Fletcher’s wife Donna Taylor and her family were on hand to accept the dedication. Speaking about the need and importance of the Connections program, David Smeltzer explained, “Any needs that arise throughout the day will be provided in this dedicated space. The more time our residents are in a dedicated space and away from other distractions, the better they seem to react to the environment around them. We can’t reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia, but our hope is to maintain a residents cognitive ability for as long as we possibly can and improve their quality of life.” Connections is a groundbreaking program developed by Heritage Ministries. It is a multi-faceted, person-centered dementia care program designed to engage skilled nursing residents in purposeful activities. Connections is offered at Heritage Park (Jamestown), Heritage Green (Greenhurst), and Heritage Village (Gerry) Rehab & Skilled Nursing. This program includes an in-patient Day Center (or the new “Protective Care Unit” at Heritage Village) and focuses on and validates the residents’ remaining cognitive, emotional, physical, and social abilities, rather than their losses. Connections provides greater flexibility in resident participation, as residents from all units of a skilled nursing facility are able to participate. The program is run by staff in the Activities department, with assistance from Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). In this model, residents who typically remain on their unit without formal activity due to behaviors or intolerance can participate by daily attending the inpatient day care program. The program provides the resident with a structured and purposeful day. To learn more about Connections, please contact Heritage Admissions at 484-6695 or visit

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