Page 32 - Healthcare News SepOct 2021
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                                                        HEALTHCARE HEROES OF WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS
 Building Resilience
Cardillo has received a number of honors and awards over the years. In 2016, she was chosen
as Social Worker of the Year by the Western New England University School of Social Work. And
in 2019, she was honored by the Pioneer Valley Alzheimer’s Assoc. for her continued commitment and excellence in the field of Alzheimer’s. She’s also been named to a number of community- focused boards and committees, including Baystate Noble Hospital’s Community Benefits Advisory Council, which makes recommendations on how certain monies are to be spent based on the Community Health Needs Assessment.
Collectively, these appointments and honors, and especially the one she’ll receive on Oct. 21, speak to a rich and diverse career that spans many aspects of healthcare and especially work with, and on behalf of, the elderly.
Cardillo, who has been at the helm at Armbook Village since it opened in early 2013, has spent much of the past two decades working in senior- living facilities. But much earlier, she was a social worker and later landed at Hartford Easter Seals in the mid-’80s and started working with young adults suffering from traumatic brain injuries.
“That was a whole new world to me — I realized that people with traumatic brain injuries could work,” she explained. “Before that, people thought that, if you had a brain injury, your life was just ruined. I started doing some support groups for traumatic brain injury and found it fascinating,
and what I found most fascinating was the brain
and what happens to it in a car accident, which is different from a stroke or Alzheimer’s, although there a lot of common themes.”
Later, she would shift gears and move to senior living, starting at Glenmeadow in Longmeadow, where she handled sales and marketing, and
later at Keystone Commons in Ludlow, where she would eventually become executive director. In both settings, she learned more about Alzheimer’s and the elderly. Drawing on her experience with traumatic brain injury, she would soon focus
much of her energy on dementia — helping those suffering from it and educating others about the disease.
When asked what she enjoys about working with the elderly, she said it’s a variety of things.
“Their stories are fascinating, their lives are fascinating,” she said. “As a society, this country doesn’t think much about the elderly — it’s not sexy. In other countries, there is more respect and deference for older people.
“We don’t do a great job of that here,” she went on. “We forget that people were younger, and we’re so identified by what we do, we forget to look at the person sometimes.”
While working to create a high quality of life
for residents at Armbrook through a calendar
understanding. Over the years, more than 3,000 people have undergone such training, including nurses, local VNAs, firefighters, nursing students, councils on aging, municipal workers, even teams of bank employees.
But in recent years, Armbrook, under Cardillo’s leadership, has extended its catalog of free public education and services to include a caregiver support group; Westfield’s first Memory Café, a
 crammed with activities and programs, Cardillo has senior-living facilities: bullying.
made sure this facility extends its influence to the “This age group is no different than any other
community well beyond its walls.
The Dementia Friendly program is perhaps
the most visible example. It includes the ‘Dementia Experience,’ an experiential training initiative designed to help build empathy and
age group. Yes, bullying happens in senior centers,
Being a caretaker is very difficult, and
people need to know that they’re not alone. They need resources, they need suggestions and recommend”ations, and, above all, they need friends.
safe, supportive, stigma-free gathering place for friends with varying levels of loss; a choral group for those with memory loss; and a public-education program that brings much-needed attention to a problem most associate with high schools and not
mostly during bingo,” she explained. “They’ll say,
‘you can’t sit at this table.’ They shun people,
they get into verbal confrontations — it happens
everywhere. This was something we thought we
  Executive Director, Armbrook Village
on receiving the 2021
Healthcare Heroes Community Health Award.
Your time and many contributions to Baystate Noble Hospital’s Community Benefits Advisory Council, the Community Health Needs Assessment Regional Advisory Council, and the Baystate Community Faculty are valued and appreciated.
“Beth is one of the most enthusiastic teachers I have had the pleasure of learning from. She actively seeks ways to engage learners and create a meaningful experience for us. Her energy and commitment to her community is admirable, and I have learned so much from her about what it takes to care and advocate for one’s community.” – PURCH Student, Class of 2024
On behalf of all the lives you have touched,
thank you!
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    A14 OCTOBER 2021

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