Adult Day Center manager and volunteer coordinator
For 11 years, Laurie Nowak has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of others through care and initiative at Greenfield-based Clement Manor.
Clement Manor is a nonprofit organization and retirement community that offers a full continuum of services to promote the healthy aging of its clients throughout the community
Like many, Nowak wears multiple hats, serving as the manager of the Adult Day Center and as volunteer coordinator for the organization.
As manager, she supervises a staff of nine individuals who plan and implement daily enrichment activities that minimize isolation and improve cognition.
Activities include chair exercises, table games, intergenerational music, lunch, snacks, socialization and other cognition-boosting activities.
Through her work, Nowak fosters creativity and expression.
As volunteer coordinator, Nowak trains and manages 230 volunteers who lend a hand with activities, group outings, the gift shop and transporting residents around campus to meals, chapel and physical therapy.
She also oversees the Brain Stretch Club, a program she developed for those recently diagnosed with dementia. With a focus on early intervention and a goal of keeping individuals in their homes as long as possible, the curriculum Nowak created uses art, meditation and sign language to stimulate new learning and enhance cognitive abilities by supporting the social, educational and emotional needs of the residents.
A typical day in the Brain Stretch program involves time for socializing, current events, memory recall, creative writing, physical exercise, art therapy and stress reduction techniques.
Nowak is teaching residents at Clement Manor computer skills, and also devised a walking program that supports nutrition and physical exercise.
In addition, she has created a Care Partner Respite program, an Early Memory Loss Support Group and a new Maintain the Brain class.
“With every hat she wears, Laurie improves lives by helping aging individuals stay productive and happy while supporting them and their families through the stages of dementia,” said Dennis Ferger, chief executive officer of Clement Manor. “Her team leadership, personal attention, resourcefulness and compassion make her a health care hero every day.”