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Artis Senior Living of South Hills’ Philosophy Focuses on Positive Partnerships with Residents
By Vanessa Orr


People living with dementia experience the loss of many things—their memory, their independence, the ability to have a voice in their care. But at Artis Senior Living, the focus is not on what has been taken away but on celebrating what remains.

“The Artis philosophy focuses on person-centered care; creating positive partnerships with residents, families and care partners to ensure the best quality of life possible,” explained Executive Director Rebecca Toomey. “We work closely with the family to create a profile that tells us about the resident—their likes and dislikes and social history—essentially their life story. By sharing this information, we are able to create a customized care plan.”

“We are care partners WITH them; not TO them,” added Director of Partnership Development Peg Chabala, adding that residents are encouraged to participate in productive, value-based living. “It’s important to know who they are and what abilities they have so that they can participate in engaging programming in order to maintain their personhood.”   

Artis currently has two senior living facilities in Pennsylvania, and will be opening its first in the Pittsburgh area this spring. The 72-bed memory care community located in Bethel Park will feature four neighborhoods, each of which has its own family room and dining room. Residents will enjoy private suites with private bathrooms, as well as extensive walking paths.  

“Amenities include a beauty salon, community studio and a courtyard that surrounds the entire community that offers a secured freedom to come and go as residents please,” said Toomey.

According to Chabala, environment is key when it comes to helping people living with dementia feel comfortable. “It needs to be functional, with everything on one floor. It also needs to be friendly, familiar and fun,” she said. “Consistent and everyday education is important. We provide our caregivers with the knowledge, approach and resources to care for people living with dementia.”

By providing residents with as much independence as possible, Artis enables them to live with grace and dignity. Each letter in Artis, which is Latin for ‘character and skill,’ represents our philosophy,” said Toomey. “A is the ability to have a voice; R is respecting and maintaining relationships; T is for treasuring each person’s uniqueness; I is for integrity, and S is for success and recognition.”

According to Director of Community Relations Mary Jo Greene, ‘having a voice’ is greatly encouraged among residents. “At our monthly Town Hall meetings, for example, residents have the opportunity to meet with Rebecca about any questions or concerns they have,” she explained. “They can meet with Chef Glenn Laufer once a month during ‘Time to Dish’ to discuss culinary options they would like to experience, whether it’s food special to the Pittsburgh region or to their heritage.”

Artis also encourages its residents to interact with the community with special projects.  “Through the I CAN (Community Assistance Network) program, we reach out to the community to have our residents participate in projects and connect with associations in order to provide them with that sense of purpose,” said Greene. “For example, they might help with putting together packages to send to our military, or putting stickers on water bottles for a charity 5K, or baking cookies for our police officers or making dog treats for the humane society.” Artis also hosts educational support groups for families and professionals as a resource for caregivers through their journey with dementia.

To learn more about Artis Senior Living of South Hills, visit www.artisseniorliving.com or call Mary Jo Greene for a tour at 412-595-8917.

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