Daniella Tartakovsky lived with her grandparents growing up. When her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Tartakovsky was the one who helped her pay the bills and do her taxes. “I’ve always been in a caregiving role,” she says.
Yet Tartakovsky never imagined she’d be the director of memory care programs for senior living communities when she grew up.
“I started my work in mental health and had to do an internship for my graduate degree,” says Tartakovsky, who was studying counseling. But something wasn’t feeling right. The passion wasn’t there. So Tartakovsky met with her advisor and mentioned she enjoys working with the elderly.
Her advisor reached out to the local assisted living community, and Tartakovsky started interning with the activities program 20 hours a week.
“I did a total career shift after that,” she says. “I felt like I was doing something important. I knew then that was where I wanted to go.”
Today, Tartakovsky is the Director of The Reflections Memory Care Program at The Ivy at Watertown.
“Daniella has the perfect personality and ideal skill set for leading our memory care program,” says The Ivy at Watertown Executive Director Jason Rieger. “Because of her experience with seniors with dementia, she will be a valuable resource for both families and staff. That, combined with her ability to use her amazing energy and enthusiasm to engage others, will create the stimulating and nurturing environment that is so vital to our community.”
A Family Feel
Tartakovsky has been in the senior living industry for about a decade, and there was just something different about The Ivy, she says.
“It feels like a family already,” says Tartakovsky. “While I’ve worked in other communities where the fellow directors are close, it wasn’t this family feel. And I got this right off the bat here. It’s the direction they go in.”
Tartakovsky is eager to join The Arbors and The Ivy family and for the opportunity to start from scratch. “I’m looking forward to building a culture that represents The Arbors and Ivy from the ground up and getting to know the residents as they move in slowly.”
A Resident Focus
Getting to know the residents individually is core to The Ivy’s philosophy.
“It’s very resident-focused,” Tartakovsky says. “They really want to drive home that they are learning a lot about each of the residents and getting to know them and making them family and making the resident’s family their extended family.”
Tartakovsky says it’s that relationship with the resident that makes them happy and successful—and that’s the goal of The Ivy’s memory care program.
“As long as you’ve made them happy at the moment, you’ve succeeded,” Tartakovsky says. “That’s important because, unfortunately, due to memory loss, they don’t remember the short term. Because of that, a lot of residents suffer from anxiety and depression and fearfulness because of what’s going on in their brains. Making them happy in the moment lets them feel like themselves again. It calms them down and gives them peace.”
“Whether it’s sitting and talking with them or taking them to an outdoor concert or Skyping with their family,” she says, “something small and a little bit out of your way goes a long way with them.”
A Classic Small Town
Another reason Tartakovsky is excited about joining the team at The Ivy at Watertown is that her in-laws live just 7 minutes down the road.
“My husband grew up in Watertown, so I’m pretty familiar with the area,” Tartakovsky says. “It’s a classic small town. Everyone is pretty close-knit. You don’t have to go far out of town to go to a supermarket. There are clothing stores and restaurants. It’s a little town, but there’s so much to it. It’s special.”
A Word of Advice
For families who are searching for memory care for their loved ones, Tartakovsky offers this advice: “Really get to know the people who are going to be the ones working with your loved one. Talk to the frontline staff. Most of them have been caregivers for a long time, whether personally or as a job. Talk to the housekeepers. Housekeeping and serving get forgotten about, and they’re usually the ones to pinpoint when something is going on with a resident. Stop and talk to them when you’re on a tour. They’d love to share their information with you.”
If you have questions about The Ivy at Watertown, its family-first memory care philosophy, and the really important stuff — like what the food tastes like and how much it really costs — schedule a tour today!