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Wellness across all areas is an important matter for staff, residents

Particularly over the past 18 months or so, it’s hard to understate the importance of emotional and mental well-being. The changes brought about by a global pandemic have made life more challenging in a variety of ways.

“I believe the emotional and mental health fallout of the COVID pandemic have been just as devastating as the physical losses,” said Liz Miller, LMSW. “We’ve done our best to continue to foster relationships with families and residents in order to recognize emotional struggles. We’ve been diligent in ensuring visitation can occur as much as possible and developed new, creative ways to facilitate visitations when necessary.”

In a normal world, Liz’s work centers on discharge planning, visitation facilitation, helping to develop medical interventions, and working with residents and their families to meet their needs and create a warm living environment. While that work continues, there’s been additional effort dedicated toward ensuring emotional and mental well-being for everyone at Aberdeen Village.

“Emotional health is essential for physical health,” Liz said. “Unfortunately, emotional health sometimes is overlooked because people can hide emotional and mental concerns easier. But if emotional health is suffering, total health is suffering. Conversely, if emotional health is well, total quality of life tends to be better, even if physical limitations exist.”

In the era of COVID-19, emotional health has been strained — as quarantines prevent normal socialization and activities that can make a person feel connected.

“Everyone, regardless of age or state of life, wants to feel like they belong and have a purpose,” Liz said. “This is what we strive to cultivate at Aberdeen Village by forming relationships and meaning with each resident.”

To that end, Liz said Chaplain Diane Gunsolley and the entire staff work to keep residents active and engaged, help protect their health, and offer support through activities such as a monthly grief support group.

“Our chaplain and activities staff do a phenomenal job of offering concrete ways for residents to engage the community, which aids emotional and mental health,” Liz said. “We social workers also engage with activities, but we look thoughtfully at each resident individually to recognize signs and symptoms of emotional issues and work to provide interventions as needed.”

Though the challenges have been big in the past couple of years, Liz said the culture and staff of Aberdeen Village have risen to meet residents’ needs in the most trying of times.

“The staff at Aberdeen — from the nurses, to dining, to activities, to maintenance — is so caring and have stepped up in so many ways to assist residents in feeling cared for. This helps with emotional health as well,” she said.

Outside of her work at Aberdeen Village, Liz enjoys her husband and son — and she is excited about their second son due in November.

“I enjoy reading a good murder mystery novel, advocating for residents, being outside, and decaf French vanilla cappuccinos,” she said.

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