The Compass Memory Support Neighborhood at Methuen Village, a Senior Living Residences community in Methuen, MA, is maximizing space for programming by using hallways, nooks and common areas.

As Kristen LaBrie, director of Compass Memory Support Programming, has transformed the areas into what she calls “skill stations” for residents and their visiting family members to enjoy.

“In addition to making our community brighter and more appealing, I have seen residents become more social with each other and more involved in activities,” she said. “Those who hadn’t normally taken advantage of structured programming throughout the day have really taken to exploring these stations.”

First, this past spring, was a “Floral Shop,” a flower-arranging station with floral arrangement books, rose potpourri and a variety of flowers and vases that users could choose to create their own arrangements.

Next to be created was the “Beauty Parlor,” decorated with old Victorian wallpaper and a vanity, where residents can accessorize with costume jewelry and give each other makeovers.

The third programming areas was a “Workshop,” reminiscent of a garage or tool shed, where residents can work on projects such as copying blueprints and completing PVC pipe puzzles. 

Each station provides an opportunity for residents who may want to spend some time alone, as well as those who can bond over common interests and hobbies. They also allow the seniors to reconnect to past life experiences or careers in a tactile way.

LaBrie said the project also has helped memory support residents who may exhibit anxious or agitated behaviors; by having eye-catching activity stations set up along the hallway, residents re-direct themselves and engage in something positive.

The stations also have served as a tool that family members can use to structure visits and produce meaningful, positive conversation with their loved ones.

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