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Staff Spotlight – April Smith, Director of Memory Care

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Staff Spotlight – April Smith, Director of Memory Care

How long have you been working in the field of Memory Care?
Over 29 years.


How did you first get your start in the field?
I started as an Activity Assistant in a skilled nursing facility when I was 17 years old.


Can you tell us something about your educational/professional background?
I am a Certified Dementia Practitioner and am also certified in EssentiALZ through the Alzheimer’s Association. I started as a CNA in a Memory Care unit at the age of 18. Over the years I worked on expanding my skills and knowledge and grown from frontline caregiving into various leadership positions that have given me the opportunity to work with different departments and gain a better understanding of the best practices to maintain a highly effective program.


What was it that attracted you to the field in the first place?
I was attracted to the field initially due to my love of the geriatric population and my desire to help them.


As the new Director of the Shenandoah Memory Care community, what excites you the most about this amazing new community?
There are many aspects that excite me, but the main characteristic that captivated me was the level of purposefulness and intentionality of each feature. In the Shenandoah Memory Care community, each facet was done with intent and was clearly purposeful. Everything from the color of the paint on the walls to the placement of pictures, and our programming, all is done based on evidence and expertise. This to me highlights the level of dedication and passion behind this new community, and I wanted to be a part of that.


Can you share what you are most passionate about and what you hope to achieve in your new position at The Virginian?
I am most passionate about making sure that all of our residents have the best quality of life, daily. In my position, I hope to foster an environment that creates a loving, engaging atmosphere at all times for each resident. Celebrating them individually as people and promoting relationships both with other residents and the team. Together we can help all residents be engaged, happy, and fulfilled, daily.


What aspect of this new community do you believe would be the most reassuring to the family of a prospective resident?
The safety and programming would be the most reassuring, to me. We are a safe environment that the family can rely on to provide excellent quality of care within a safe space. If their loved one tends to wander or not understand where they are, there are constant staff members who are here to assist and redirect their loved one. The programming is fostered with a specific focus on the residents who live with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Our programming is focused on engaging and bringing quality of life through personal interaction and brain exercises that have been proven to help delay the progression of memory loss.


If you were recommending Shenandoah to a close friend or family member, what would be the three most important things you would want them to understand?
The three most important things I would want them to know are: 1) your loved one is safe, 2) your loved one will have daily access to excellent programming to help stimulate and engage them to improve their quality of life, 3) each team member that works with your loved one is specially trained in dementia care.


Is there anything else you would like people to know about yourself, your background, or Shenandoah Memory Care community?
I would like people to be assured that I am very passionate about resident care and making sure that our residents have the best quality of life possible. I have worked in Memory Care for over 29 years and am excited and driven to provide the absolute best care possible. I chose the Shenandoah Memory Care community because their mission matches my own. Our dedicated team and I will work side-by-side with the families and friends of each resident to make sure that each person lives their best quality of life daily.


To learn more about The Virginian's Shenandoah Memory Care Community
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