Story and Photos by Patricia Gay
Health issues with older adults are not always readily apparent or obvious. For example, hiding behind symptoms of dementia, could be a urinary tract infection. And crossing certain medications can cause interactions that wreak havoc on a person’s body, rather than benefiting them.
To help treat those and other senior health problems, Stamford Hospital has recently opened a Geriatric Assessment Center on the Cannondale Campus in Wilton which includes Wilton Meadows, a rehabilitation and nursing facility, and The Greens at Cannondale, an assisted living and memory facility.
The geriatric center focuses on the prevention and treatment of age-related disabilities and diseases. It is open to residents of the campus and the public at large and is located at The Greens at Cannondale, with a separate entrance for outside visitors.
The center is staffed by Dr. Alison L. McElhone of Stamford Hospital, who specializes in geriatric medicine and has a special interest in dementia evaluation and management, and palliative and hospice care.
“The geriatric center is another way to better serve the community. Dr. McElhone can see anyone who needs additional care,” said Elanit Linder, clinical community liaison at Wilton Meadows, during a tour of the center.
Making the center’s service especially accessible, Linder said Dr. McElhone makes home visits and Stamford Hospital takes a variety of insurances.
Common health issues addressed at the center include:
Balance and gait concerns
Caregiver education and support
Memory loss and dementia
Goals of care and planning for the future
Based on the doctor’s assessment, the center will provide lifestyle recommendations and options to help manage age-related health conditions.
Ron Bucci, senior executive director who oversees both The Greens at Cannondale and Wilton Meadows, is especially pleased to bring the new center on board.
“This is good for someone who has concerns with a loved one, be it cognitive changes, physical changes, or someone who wants their medications reviewed — sometimes a person is taking 12 or 13 pills a day. This is a wonderful resource for the community and is a best step to take in finding out if there is a diagnosis or treatment plan someone might need,” he said.
Ending the tour in the lobby of The Greens at Cannondale, resident Val Kalaidjian is enjoying a visit with fellow resident Vasilka Nicolova and her dog Binty, which Nicolova explains is Swahili for the word “daughter.” “That’s what Binty is to me, she’s like my daughter,” Nicolova says.
Bucci points out that providing quality services for seniors like Kalaidjian and Nicolova is the goal behind the Wilton campus.
Unlike corporate-owned senior facilities, The Greens and Wilton Meadows are family-owned and operated, Bucci said. They are the vision of builder and owner Fred Rzepka who wanted to create an innovative home for seniors, providing them with care and enhancing the quality of their lives.
“The geriatric center is another way to enhance their overall experience,” Bucci said.
The Greens at Cannondale and Wilton Meadows are located at 435-439 Danbury Road in Wilton.