Watters: Mindful Care serves as respite, October 18, 2014

Daily News Journal, October, 18, 2014

Jamie Watters, program director for Mindful Care, right, interacts with Melva Reed, left, after the two sing along together. (Photo: HELEN COMER/DNJ )

Jamie Watters, program director for Mindful Care, right, interacts with Melva Reed, left, after the two sing along together. (Photo: HELEN COMER/DNJ )

Growing up on a farm in Lascassas, Jamie Watters spent a lot of time with her grandparents. She also spent a lot of time at her mom’s job at the VA nursing home in Murfreesboro, where she would often visit with residents.

“I enjoyed visiting her work and while there I spent time with the residents. The residents smiled as they told me stories about their life, and I learned a lot from listening. I developed a passion for the elderly and became dedicated to helping them remember how good life can still be,” said Watters, who recently became program director at Mindful Care Adult Day Services in Murfreesboro.

Watters recently talked with The Daily News Journal about her career and how she has been able to fulfill her passion to care for the elderly:

Can you talk about your background?

Watters: I had the opportunity to fulfill my passion and goals as an activity assistant at the Tennessee Veterans Home in 1998. In 2002 I married James Watters of Hillsboro, Tennessee. I later worked as the activity director for Crestwood Nursing Home in Manchester, Tennessee, for two years before becoming a stay-at-home mom to my son (Caleb). Four years later I had my daughter (Abigale) and 11 months later my son (Thomas).

In 2009, I decided to go back to college to show my children the importance of having a college education. I graduated from Motlow Community State College in 2010. In the fall of 2011 I started classes at MTSU. I studied in the area of recreation with a concentration in recreation administration. In spring 2013 I had the opportunity to intern with the Bradley County Chamber of Commerce in Warren, Arkansas. After my internship I was hired as the downtown network director for the city of Warren, Arkansas.

In July 2014 my family and I moved back to Hillsboro to be closer to family. And now I am the program director for Mindful Care.

Tell us about the program. What do the seniors do with their time there?

Watters: Mindful Care is a daytime program designed for persons with compromised memory and health, aged 55 and older, seeking fellowship, exercise, local outings, stimulating games, cooking projects and engaging conversations while in a safe, loving and caring environment. Mindful Care is located within the New Vision Baptist Church on Thompson Lane in Murfreesboro. Our program area consists of rooms decorated to create a warm cozy atmosphere that invites are participants to feel at home. Our days are filled with stimulating games and exercises that help to retain cognitive recognition and physical stimuli. Between games and activities we enjoy fellowship among each other. We appreciate diversity and what it brings to our daily conversations/program.

What’s your favorite part about working with clients at Mindful Care?

Watters: My favorite part of working at Mindful Care is the people that come to our program and their families. They make me smile as soon as they enter our room. I love to laugh and have fun. I learn so much from our seniors including; history, life, and most importantly, caring for others. The caregivers are given their much-needed respite.

Why do you think a service like this is important and how do you hope to grow the program?

Watters: I hope to grow our program in time to fit caregivers’/seniors’ needs in the future by networking within the community and bringing awareness to our program. As the downtown network director (in Warren, Arkansas), I planned events to create awareness along with consumer traffic to the downtown area. Awareness is key to the future of our program. Our program is a resource for caregivers to receive the respite they need while keeping their loved one at home with them. The caregiver is able to do what they need to do during the day or in some instances just taking a much-needed nap. I believe in our program and how beneficial it is. Word of mouth is still one of the most effective marketing tools available and we have a program to talk about.

You should consider Mindful Care Adult Day Services for your loved one if they cannot structure own daily activities, need companionship or feel isolated, cannot be left alone by his/her self, or live with someone who works outside home. Our operating hours are Monday-Friday, 8-5 p.m. The cost is $40 (full day) and $25 (1/2 day) per day. Please call us if you have any questions or you feel we are the answer that you have been looking for. We look forward to speaking with you about your loved ones needs.

How can others get involved (volunteer, donation opportunities)?

Watters: We are a nonprofit 501c3 organization. We receive funding through grants and donations. We are always looking for volunteers who share the same passion and want to help by donating their time.

If you would like to donate to Mindful Care here are some of the following items we use on a daily basis: snacks, puzzles, cognitive games, crafting supplies, music and movies (DVDs). In addition, we are always looking for volunteers willing to donate their skills and talents for our participants. Please contact us at 615-542-4371 or mindfulcareorg@gmail.com.

What’s the most important thing you do with your job each day?

Watters: The most important thing I do each day is put a smile, along with hope, on the faces of each person that comes to our program.

About Jamie Watters

Position: Program director at Mindful Care Adult Day Services

Education: Graduated from Oakland High School in 1997, earned associates of science degree, with concentration in speech and theater from Motlow State Community College in Tullahoma in 2010, graduated in 2013 from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro with a bachelor of science degree in behavioral and health sciences

Career: Activity assistant at Tennessee Veterans Home in Murfreesboro, activity director for Crestwood Nursing Home in Manchester, downtown network manager at Bradley County Chamber of Commerce in Warren, Arkansas

Family: Lives in Manchester and married to James Watters; mother to Caleb, Abigale and Thomas

Other ways to help

To donate online to Mindful Care, visit www.Mindful-Care.org.

Mindful Care also has a team participating in the Oct. 25 Rutherford County Walk To End Alzheimer’s. Registration begins at 8 a.m. at Gateway Trails near Murfreesboro Medical Clinic. Any money raised for this event goes to the Alzheimer’s Association rather than Mindful Care. But if you would like to join the Mindful Care walking team, sign up at http://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2014/TN-MidSouth?team_id=244982&pg=team&fr_id=5430

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