Memory Care America - January 2020

Life Enrichment &

Laughter

Memory Care of Little Rock’s Marta Harrell Brings Joy and Smiles to our Residents

W hen Marta Harrell guests. So, the following week, Marta carted in dominoes, coloring books, and her guitar — which she had just started to learn — in hopes that she could spark some fun. volunteered at an adult day care center in Arkansas in 1998, she noticed there were hardly any activities for the

The result is a 22-year career.

After obtaining a license in the field and working at the center until 2003, Marta had various jobs at nursing homes and even a two-year stint in business ownership. It was a nurse who pushed Marta toward memory care, and for the past three years, Marta has served as the Life Enrichment Director at Memory Care of Little Rock. “I’ll tell you what motivates me. It’s the families and the residents,” Marta says “When I say hello and touch or hug them, their faces light up, and they just hug me so tight. I can be feeling a little tired, and when I get that smile or hug, it makes me have more energy.” The residents, Marta says, love competition, whether it’s playing bean bag toss and horseshoes or simply sitting on the sidelines watching the action. They enjoy sing-alongs and frequently listen intently while Marta reads books. Marta even has plans to incorporate music and movement into the therapeutic programming, increase the number of animals that visit the community, and invite children from the local schools. During her first month with Memory Care of Little Rock, Marta hosted a milkshake event, complete with diner-style milkshakes and ‘50s music. However, when someone approached her with a question, Marta forgot to put the lid on the industrial milkshake machine. With one push of the button, milkshake went flying into the air, covering Marta from head to toe.

"I laughed until I cried,” Marta says. “You have things like that happen, and that endears you to them and you love them back.”

Marta has lived in Arkansas since she was 17 years old, and she and her husband celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on Jan. 1. The couple has five granddaughters, including four who live in France with the couple’s daughter and one from their son. Since she was 4 years old, their eldest granddaughter has accompanied Marta to work, talking and playing with the residents Marta works with every day. Don’t keep our work a secret; referrals are the best compliment you can give us! If you would like to be featured in our newsletter or if you know a family that could benefit from our services, please call 833.MEM.CARE (636.2273) or visit MemoryCareAmerica.com.

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