Published July 18, 2021 at 7:35 AM Last Updated July 19, 2021 at 7:09 PM
MOORESTOWN, NJ — Harmony Village at CareOne Stanwick Road in Moorestown is currently expanding their facilities in order to grow its program to care for dementia patients.
All of Harmony Village at CareOne’s residents suffer from some form of dementia, with the facility unique in the fact that its building is made up of separate “neighborhoods” where residents are grouped based on cognition.
“Our program focuses on the residents’ strengths, rather than their weaknesses,” said Rachael Wittman, Harmony Village at CareOne’s Executive Director. “Because we group with cognition, we’re able to create an environment where our residents are able to receive programming that suits their needs, and we can accommodate the whole neighborhood.”
Because dementia is progressive, individuals’ “ability to communicate, take part in activities, their concentration and their interaction with others change,” as conditions advance, said Wittman. The neighborhood environment “allows us to group residents with residents who are like them, and this makes everything better for them,” she said. “We can do activities that can meet the needs of that particular neighborhood.”
According to Wittman, most other facilities group everyone with dementia together, regardless of their cognitive status. Highly functioning individuals in the early stages of dementia could be residing with people in hospice. “It’s very difficult to provide service to a group when you have people at different levels,” she said.
Currently, Harmony Village at CareOne has four neighborhoods, and the building’s expansion project will bring that number to six. The expansion will also add 31 beds to the building for a total of 99.
In addition to the additional neighborhoods and beds, a third courtyard will be added to the campus, which will be “state of the art” and provide gardens and outdoor entertainment for residents.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of October.
Like many facilities of its kind, Harmony Village at CareOne faced difficult challenges to keep its residents and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, only 11 residents in total contracted COVID throughout the course of the entire pandemic, and there were no deaths.
“We were really, really careful,” said Wittman. “I think the families have been very pleased with the communication we’ve had with them throughout the pandemic.”
In an industry that can see a high employee turnover, Wittman, who has a Masters Degree in Gerontology from the University of Missouri, credits the longevity of Harmony Village at CareOne’s staff for its success in caring for dementia patients.
“We really have a strong director team and a strong team of people that have really stuck with the building. They are a really dedicated, loyal and loving staff that care about each other and the residents and the families,” she said.
“I’ve known my whole life that I’ve wanted to work with people with dementia,” Wittman said. “It’s a passion that I really, truly have had my whole life.”
Wittman said that Harmony Village at CareOne is further strengthening its care of dementia patients by adding a director-level position of a Dementia Specialist to the team — something she says most facilities in the area do not have. This person will be on-site full time to assist staff and “make sure that we are on the cutting edge of everything” including training, activities and cognitive testing.
“Everything in this building is geared towards people with dementia and we want to make sure they’re getting the best,” Wittman said.
Because of its success in Moorestown, CareOne is building more Harmony Villages in the state as well as transforming some of their pre-existing facilities into the memory-care facilities.
To learn more information about Harmony Village at CareOne Stanwick Road in Moorestown, visit their website HERE. If you are interested in enrolling a family member in the building, reach out to Michael McGlinn, Director of Marketing, at (856) 638-1244