Meet our Caregivers – Jazz, Avita Program Director

During the month of November we celebrate National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

A time to educate about the disease, celebrate the amazing caregivers and recognize the many struggles and successes that come with both living with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone who does.

Just recently in 2023, President Biden proclaimed that November would be Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s Disease is recognized in many ways and throughout many months. In June we celebrate The Longest Day honoring caregivers on the day with the most light. In September and October communities around the country participate in The Walk to End Alzheimer’s, raising both funds and awareness in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

At Northbridge, we are celebrating National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month but featuring a few of our compassionate, dedicated and incredible Avita Program Directors. Avita Program Directors oversee programming in our Avita Memory Care neighborhood. They are some of the most caring, passionate and creative people you will ever meet and we are lucky that they share their talents with Northbridge!

Avita Program Director: Jazz CVitan
Community: Avita of Needham

What first made you interested in working in Memory Care?
My sister & my mom. My sister was a memory support director and I saw how much she loved her residents, and her creativity with programming I couldn’t help but follow in her footsteps. In fact, she was my first boss! My sister showed me that my career path can truly make a difference. I am incredibly lucky that my career allows me to lead with my heart, be sensitive, understanding, and to show love each day. My mom is a CNA, since I was young, she has always shown me the power of caring for others. I remember visiting the Hospice house she was working for and meeting her residents. To this day the most inspirational example of this was my mom working with someone with ALS, although I couldn’t understand what her resident was trying to communicate my mom knew exactly what he was communicating to her. I will never forget looking at my mom in awe that she knew this person and loved him so much that she could truly care for all his needs during that time of his life, and I will never forget his smile when he was with my mom.

How long have you been working in Memory Care and what was your first job in this field?
I have been in Memory Support for over 15 years. My first job in Memory Support was in a long-term care community and my sister hired me and gave me a chance. She had a feeling that I would love working with memory support residents. I learned everything from my sister; although she isn’t in the field currently, I still consult with her and brainstorm creative ideas for our Avita residents.

What is your favorite part about working with residents living with Alzheimer’s or dementia?
My favorite part of working with our residents is the love they share with me.  My residents always ask about my son and my pup, Olive. My residents & their families are family to me.

What is one thing you wish everyone knew about people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia?
The one thing everyone should know about people living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia is their life isn’t over. Our residents still want to experience new things and live their life! It is our job to provide the support our residents need to be as successful as possible. Our residents have so much to give, experiences to have, exploring new interests & hobbies, advice to give, love to give. Life still goes on, and our residents want to enjoy their life!

What is your favorite program to run with residents?
Any program that a resident may have never done before. For example, I enjoy running mediation groups. I have a resident that has never meditated before and it took a lot of convincing; when he tried the program, he enjoyed it and he found it helpful. I love helping residents find new passions in life.

What is a popular program among your residents?
Any intergenerational programs, our residents love to be with our younger populations.

  • We have St. Sebastian’s School seniors volunteer each year. It is a pleasure for our residents and students to learn from each other and share experiences.
  • When associates bring their children in to see our residents.
  • St. Joseph’s School student’s partners with our community for their classrooms to volunteer with our residents & to learn about senior living, specifically memory support.

It is powerful when you can educate the younger generations on the disease process in hopes to further promote the younger generations to be interested in senior living for their future.

What is one piece of advice you would share with someone starting out in a career working in memory care?
This is the hardest and most rewarding career path. This is a career that will bring you the most joy on some days, and sadness on others. The sadness comes from the love you have for your residents. When you see a resident have a bad day, their families struggling to cope, a loss of a resident will bring you great sadness, but you can reflect on the impact you made on their life, and the impact they made on yours and it makes it all worth it. This is the only career where you are the caregiver, but the person you are caregiving for is also caring of you too. This is a career that you lead with your heart first and that will guide you the whole way.

What keeps you invested in the field of memory care?
I want to make a difference in this field. I want the residents I work with to continue to live a fulfilling life. I want our residents and families to know that they’re loved. I want our associates to feel that they’re appreciated, and that we couldn’t support our residents as well as we do without their endless love, respect, empathy, and compassion they show every day. I am invested in this field because I want to see a cure for this disease. I am invested in this field because people need to better understand this disease process and know people who go through this disease are still there.

What is your favorite part about your job?
Living in the moment with our residents, laughing, hugging, chatting, learning, and supporting each other.

Northbridge residents enjoy engaging programs based on our three pillars of engagement – to move, to connect, to feel and to learn. All of our associates receive dedicated dementia training to provide the best and most compassionate care for our residents. Northbridge offers a variety of signature programs that provide our residents and families excellent engagement and learning opportunities as well as a sense of purpose. Be sure to learn more about our Northbridge Signature Programs, Senior GreenArtist in ResidenceCooking up MemoriesEat Fresh, Eat LocalJoin My Journey.

Find a position at a Northbridge community near you!

Click here to view jobs.

Working at a Northbridge senior living community

If you are considering a career in senior living, we hope you’ll consider one of our communities. Our team of associates makes a meaningful difference in the lives of our residents, every day. Because of that, we treat our team like family and we’re happy to offer:

  • Competitive Pay
  • Flexible Schedules
  • Direct Deposit
  • Vacation & Personal Days
  • Paid Holidays & Sick Time
  • Your Birthday Off
  • Health Insurance to Qualified Associates
  • 401k Company Match
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Ongoing Education
  • Associate Appreciation

View our careers website today to view open positions, what a day working at Northbridge is like, and why our associates love to work here.

As a New England senior living company, we pride ourselves in being the local choice for families in need of assisted living or memory care. We look to our teams of associates to truly make our communities home for our residents. Whether that’s a helping hand or a moment to listen to a story, our associates are dedicated and compassionate. With 19 communities in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, we hope you’ll find your home here too. If you already love what you do, and want to love where you work, apply now! We look forward to meeting you.

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