Ask the Experts: Seniors & Aging

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Photo by Hilary Schwab

The Seneca

Sara Woodward, Director of Memory Care


55 W. Gude Drive
Rockville, MD 20850


Phone: 240-614-2800


Q: What is The Seneca’s approach to memory care?

A: Our approach to memory care is nurturing, loving and thoroughly person-centered. Our memory care associates are called “nayas,” which means guide or person of wisdom in Sanskrit. With an innate understanding of what will help each memory care resident thrive in mind, body and soul, they foster a sense of wellbeing. All of our nayas are Certified Dementia Practitioners. 

Q: What advice do you have for family members caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia? 

A: My advice to any family member is to live in the moment with your loved one. Individuals living with dementia have an amazing capacity for creativity and joy. Don’t be afraid to sing, dance, make up the rules, laugh with the person and share pictures and stories. In the midst of all the care tasks, it’s important to take breaks to have fun. 

Photo by Hilary Schwab

Q: What are some of the programs you design for your residents?

A: I am a board-certified music therapist and purposefully integrate music in many different ways. We have a Thrive Through Music program that takes into account each resident’s favorite music, which we use to create individualized playlists. We stream concerts of their favorite performers, from classical music to Frank Sinatra to Aretha Franklin. We offer live music in “Singing with Sara” sessions. They facilitate reminiscence and help members maintain language abilities. 

Of course, celebrating with food is always popular. An example of one recent interactive event would be Mardi Gras. For breakfast on Fat Tuesday, we made pancakes and waffles together. We also made masks, had a parade and ate New Orleans-inspired cuisine for dinner.

The Seneca is a Silverstone/Watermark Retirement Communities property located in a convenient setting next to King Farm in Rockville, Maryland. A brand-new community focused on hospitality and wellness, The Seneca offers assisted living, memory care and The Bridge—an intermediate level of care for those with mild cognitive impairment.

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