Staff Spotlight: Denise Hall, Greenwalt Adult Day Health Care Center Activities Coordinator

For the past 25 years, Denise Hall has cared for seniors at Greenwalt Adult Day Health Care Center and become an extended family member to countless New Orleans area families. She is motivated by the relationships she has built with both the clients and their loved ones, sharing, “The [clients] can’t care for themselves anymore, so I’m happy to give their family members a break and keep the participants engaged in their lives. It’s challenging for our families to juggle it all, so we become a part of their support system. They rely on us, and we’re glad to help.”

Denise loves her work and organizes activities, games, and exercises for the men and women who attend the center, such as balloon volleyball, pizza toss, and chair calisthenics. Bingo is her favorite game because all the participants get excited and shout out their wins, but she most enjoys the outings, which allow the clients a chance to leave their regular routine and explore the city, including visits to Café du Monde for beignets or getting a summer treat at a local snowball stand.

Denise regards all of the seniors at Greenwalt with equal care and attention, but there have been a few clients over the years who have stood out to her, including Ms. Elma, the same woman who took care of her when she was a child. Denise recalls, “Ms. Elma ran a nursery in Kenner and took care of my brother, sister, and me when we were toddlers. When she started coming to Greenwalt, I was honored to take care of her in return for all of the kindness she showed me when I was too young to take care of myself. She had the brightest smile when she saw me again after all those years.”

Ms. Elma is just one of the many lives Denise has touched through her work. She encourages other families to consider Greenwalt as a daytime option for their older relatives. She explains, “A lot of caregivers tell us that their mom or dad is not going to do the games and activities and that they can’t get them off the coach or interrupt their tv shows. But leaving the house and being around other people their age changes them.”

Last year, a new family member, Jenny, came to Greenwalt to enroll her mother, Linda. Jenny shared that her mom used to be a social butterfly, but since the onset of dementia, Linda has lost her spark. While Jenny was completing the paperwork, Linda began to cry, asking her daughter why she was “sending her away” to Greenwalt. However, Denise says, “Now, Linda talks to everyone. Her transformation is like night and day. There are times when Jenny comes to pick Linda up, but she refuses to leave because she’s having such a good time.”

Denise suggests older adults who might be skeptical about day centers should give Greenwalt a try and take a tour. With staff like Denise, there is plenty of love and support to go around. Learn more about Greenwalt Adult Day Health Center.

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