It’s a special day at the Tullahoma assisted living facility Morning Pointe. The residents of The Lantern wing of the facility are eagerly awaiting the arrival of one of their most beloved visitors, an 8-month-old girl named Sadie.
The daughter of Morning Pointe Resident Assistant Krystle Brinkley, Sadie has come to offer Lantern residents some much-needed love.
Several times a month Brinkley takes time out of her busy schedule as the mother of five to take Sadie to the center, bringing an immense amount of happiness and joy to the residents.
It all started when Brinkley began working at Morning Pointe three years ago. Brinkley said the residents have, over the years, become like family to her. When she became pregnant with her fifth child, the residents followed along with her pregnancy journey, something Brinkley said left quite the impression on them.
“They all got to experience me being pregnant and they continued to remember and were always asking how she was,” she said. “When I was on maternity leave, they would ask the other nurses how the baby and I were. So, I decided to bring her up here for all of them to love on.”
A just two weeks old, Sadie made her first visit to Morning Pointe and it was love at first sight for the residents.
“They love it when she comes,” she said.
The Lantern at Morning Pointe specializes in Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and memory care needs. Brinkley said while there are certain things residents might not remember, they always remember Sadie, and it triggers them to remember a time when they had little ones of their own.
“It kind of takes them back to when they had children,” Brinkley said. “While they can’t remember and tell me what they had for breakfast, the can tell me about a particular time when they were raising their own children. A lot of them don’t even know they have children, but when they see her, the motherly instinct in them kicks in.”
Brinkley said Sadie’s visits last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or, she said, until the little one is ready for a nap.
“We try to come a couple times a month. I’ll stop by on my day off or after work with her,” Brinkley said.
Brinkley’s 5-year-old son also likes to tag along and though he’s not as social as Sadie, Brinkley said he’s getting the hang of it.
“He’s still a little shy, but they play with him, so he likes to come and visit,” she said.
Sadie’s special visits have been dubbed cuddle therapy. According to Jennifer Davis, Morning Pointe Life Enrichment Director Jenniffer Davis, the special interaction with infants is part of the Meaningful Day program, and has been shown to bring a sense of calm and purpose to residents, and helps to reduce anxiety and distress for people living with memory-related conditions.
“Residents love seeing Krystle and enjoy getting that extra bit of attention when she’s around. Cuddle therapy with Krystle’s baby, Sadie, has made a special connection with seniors who look forward to those precious moments,” said Davis.
Brinkley said bringing joy to the residents is something she is proud of and hopes that her daughter continues for years to come.
“I just think it’s just the greatest thing in the world,” she said. “They are all like my grandparents. When I’m working, they are always asking me about her and how she is. I hope she’ll come even when mom doesn’t tell her to come.”
For more on the Meaningful Day program visit www.morningpointe.com/makeyourmark.
Kali Bradford can be reached by email at email@example.com.