We’d like to introduce our activities director, Gary Sacco. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to meet him, Gary’s upbeat personality permeates The Maplewood.
You can find him all over the building, chatting with residents and helping them with special requests, and of course in his office, keeping the events calendar running smoothly. When he’s not at Maplewood, Gary is an avid cyclist.
He’s held the role of activities director for over 18 years, and was activities assistant for several years before that. While he says that every day is different, one thing keeps him going: his connection with the residents.
“They’re like friends, like family,” he shares.
His personal approach sets him apart. It would be easy for Gary to fill up the calendar with his own activity ideas, but he has a different method that respects the interests and personalities of the residents.
He likes to spend time getting to know each resident individually; when he discovers they have a unique hobby or pastime, he’ll figure out an interesting way to incorporate that activity into the programming.
The way Gary tailors events and activities to suit individual residents is a testament to the benefits of personalized care. It takes more work, but it also means residents can do the things they love. Nobody gets stuck in generic or repetitive activities on Gary’s watch!
There is one activity, however, that remains popular no matter what, and saw a welcome return after residents received their vaccines.
“Bingo is back…they’re all very happy,” Gary says, chuckling through a pretend grimace.
Bingo might be a powerful uniting force, but everyone has their own interests. Learning those personal details requires asking questions and spending time in conversation. Gary is both kind and patient, especially when residents are more reserved. Eventually, true friendships develop. The reward is a much happier community, and a better connection between staff and residents.
As Rochester nursing homes return to a more familiar routine, Gary looks forward to when he’ll be able to take residents to family events and organize outings and external activities.
“We can’t do that yet,” he says, “but we’ll get there.”
For now, you can expect to see a calendar full of fun activities that reflect the many individual personalities of Maplewood residents. Whether it’s an old favorite like Bingo, or a new idea born from resident requests, Gary’s personal approach makes every resident feel like family.