Latest News from Athena Health Care Systems

July 26, 2018
Enjoying Summer Activities at Shady Knoll

Monday, July 16, 20187 | Source: Journal Inquirer

Shady Knoll Resident Sarah Hosler gives her approval of a souped up muscle car along with Recreational employee Emily Harrison. Staff and employee family members displayed personally owned hot rods as part of an afternoon of music, ice cream, and classic cars at Shady Knoll Health Center.

Picture a sunny afternoon, summer in full tilt. Imagine that afternoon as a beautiful day with low humidity and 77°; classic cars are on display, live entertainment plays, and a softy ice cream truck serves up cool treats. That’s how one day played out last week for residents and employees at Shady Knoll Health Center in Seymour.

A few employees, including family members of staff, provided a row full of personally owned hot rod cars to showcase their muscle. “The Guitar Man” Phil Martino from Derby strummed up a musical vibe, as his bride Vera, sporting a tea length 50’s swing dress, danced, weaving through a patio full of senior residents. The line to the ice cream truck fluctuated with kids in adult bodies.

Summer events like these provide a welcome break for therapists, nursing staff, dietary and laundry crews, as well as a fun outlet for seniors. Muscle cars of an area gone by, helps in a therapeutic way by stirring up our elders’ memories. All in all, these are pleasurable events too short, but well enjoyed. But there is still more summer to come. More picnics and live music planned. Games on the patio. Mini gardens to attend. Please don’t whisper a word about snow. We are enjoying the brief sunshine and warmth of the season. Nursing homes do not need to be dull places. In fact, they should be therapeutic.

These types of events may just rank among the best therapy!


Shady Knoll Health Center of Seymour offers a wide range of services such as: Short-Term Rehabilitation, Long-Term, Respite and Dementia Care, as well as a Continuum of Care Offered by Athena Home Health & Hospice. Please call 203.881.2555 to schedule a private tour.

Shady Knoll is located at 41 Skokorat Street in Seymour, CT and is managed by Athena Health Care Systems. For more information please visit our website at

July 16, 2018
Art Alleviates Dementia Effects for Patients at Evergreen's Memory Care Unit

Monday, July 16, 20187 | Source: Journal Inquirer

STAFFORD - Benny Lezon may not be able to cut the intricate wood carvings that garnered him prizes at county fairs years ago, but that doesn’t mean the 91-year-old has slowed his artistic output.

These days, Lezon occupies himself with sketches, paintings, and acrylic works, which adorn the walls of his residence at Evergreen Health Care Center and help keep his mind sharp, even as he, along with 30 other patients in his wing, cope with dementia.

Staff at the freshly renovated memory care unit have introduced various art programs to help residents over the last several months, and many who work in the secured building say they’ve already seen the positive effects of a treatment that focuses on creativity and engagement.

"A lot of people get nervous about their abilities, but it’s the most amazing thing to see people expressing themselves," said Paulina Luna, who serves as program manager for the wing. "People with dementia lose some of their ability, but this gives them something to be proud of. They can point to a painting and say, 'I made that.'"

Luna said that experimentation with art has become another tool for therapists, nurses, and caregivers looking to alleviate complications that often arise later in life, like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Things that cannot be easily quantified in the same way as doses of medication — like pride, emotional investment, relationships, and ownership - are still a huge component of wellness, and art speaks to those concerns, she said.

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June 18, 2018
Partners In Dedication – Athena Honors Employees

Monday, June 18, 2018 | Source: Athena Health Care

Athena Health Care Systems held a Partners in Dedication luncheon ceremony on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at the The Country Club of Farmington for employees throughout the Athena network who reached their 10, 20 and 30 years of service as of December 2017. A total of 108 employees were recognized for their dedication and commitment for providing quality or care to residents and patients.

Athena Health Care Systems
Pictured from left to right:
Jamie Dean (30 Years), Chris Ward (30 Years), Malcolm Mason (10 Years),
Shannon Donahue (10 Years), Karol Montagna (30 Years) & Marshana Dawkins (20 Years)

Abbott Terrace Health Center
Waterbury, CT
Pictured from left to right:
Julie Guerrera (30 Years), Phyllis Plourde (30 Years), Ebony Gatlin (10 Years),
Nadocia Canzius (20 Years), Coralita Woods (20 Years), Lisa MacMillan (10 Years),
Rena Brown (30 Years), Dana Taylor (20 Years) & Zulmarie Sumler (10 Years)

Bayview Health Care
Waterford, CT
Pictured from left to right:
Melanie Hoult (10 Years), Lisa Whitney (10 Years), Kimberly Carlson (Administrator),
Nicole Moriarty (10 Years)

Beacon Brook Health Center
Naugatuck, CT
Pictured from left to right:
Alice Miller (10 Years), Wanda Lugo (10 Years), Dawn Roberts (20 Years)
& Sarah Thiede (Administrator)

Cherry Brook Health Care Center
Canton, CT
Pictured from left to right:
Kate Stoetzner (30 Years) & Jacob Bompastore (Administrator)

Countryside Manor of Bristol
Bristol, CT
Pictured from left to right:
Harrison McKinstry III (10 Years), Lizbeth Carmichael (Administrator), Luljeta Meka (10 Years),
Beth Foley (10 Years) & Audrey Cox (10 Years)

Litchfield Woods Health Care Center
Torrington, CT
Pictured from left to right:
Carolyn Heacox (20 Years), Brad White (10 Years) & Denise Quarles (Administrator)

MeadowBrook of Granby
Granby, CT
Pictured from left to right:
Pedro Davila, Merilee McAllister (10 Years), Lameta Wilson (20 Years), Sandra Jiles (10 Years),
Eileen Shanly (10 Years), Tessia Durafort (10 Years), & Nicole Matson (10 Years)

Middlesex Health Care Center
Middletown, CT
Pictured from left to right:
Taniya Powell (10 Years) & Karen Golart (Administrator)

Northbridge Health Care Center
Bridgeport, CT
Front row - Pictured from left to right:
Aleksandra Blaceri (10 Years) & Erica Roman (Administrator)

Oakland Grove Health Care Center
Woonsocket, RI
Pictured from left to right:
Steve Haase (Administrator), Kathy Morin (10 Years), Jamie Clark (10 Years),
Katherine Rasco (10 Years),

Shady Knoll Health Center
Seymour, CT
Pictured from left to right:
Mindy Counts (10 Years), Deborah Torrey (Administrator), Doretta McCann (20 Years),
Julian Kollie (10 Years), Beata Sidorowicz (10 Years), Erica Hoffman (10 Years),
Michelle Bailey (20 Years), Lichanderine Brown (10 Years), LeKeshia Darden (10 Years),
Danyella Kwaak (10 Years), Daris Salinas (20 Years)

Sheriden Woods Health Care Center
Bristol, CT
Pictured from left to right:
Lisa Lavigne (20 Years), Dennis Paternoster (20 Years), Bob Guastella (Administrator),
Emilia Foster (10 Years), Cindy LaMay (10 Years)

Valerie Manor
Torrington, CT
Pictured from left to right:
Marisa Jones (Administrator), Karen Braley (10 Years) & Angela Civitello (10 Years)

Wadsworth Glen Health Care & Rehabilitation Center
Middletown, CT
Pictured from left to right:
Eugene Tortorici (30 Years), Christina Sanborn (10 Years), Stephanie Lisitano (10 Years),
Mary Monarca (30 Years), Lynette Milardo (30 Years), Kathy Russo (30 Years)
& Joseph Bray (Administratrator)



June 01, 2018
Athena Health Care Systems Announces New Additions

Friday, June 01, 2018

Newtown, CT – June 1, 2018 – Athena Health Care Systems ("Athena") is proud to announce the additions of Newtown Rehabilitation & Health Care Center (formerly Masonicare at Newtown) and The Commons of Newtown, (formerly Lockwood Lodge) to its network. Newtown Rehabilitation & Health Care Center is a licensed 154-bed skilled nursing facility offering long-term and short-term care, as well as a variety of other services. Also located on the same property is The Commons of Newtown, a 56-unit Assisted Living Community. Larry Santilli, President of Athena, is pleased with these new additions to the Athena network. "We look forward to continuing to provide the quality services that Masonicare of Newtown and Lockwood Lodge has in the past and will continue to strive and meet the needs of our residents and the overall community."

The Athena network encompasses 45 skilled nursing facilities throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, one 55+ community, 2 assisted living communities, 2 home health agencies and 3 hospice agencies, employing more than 9,000 individuals. This acquisition will bring the number to 22 facilities Athena owns and/or manages in the state of Connecticut. Athena is a privately owned and managed company and prides itself on ensuring our commitment to residents, families, and staff. Our facilities offer short-term, long-term, respite and dementia care, as well as many other services. Athena also offers a continuum of care for home health and hospice services throughout most of our facilities. More information may be obtained by visiting

January 25, 2018
Athena Health Care Systems Announces the addition of Montowese Health & Rehabilitation Center to our network

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Athena Health Care Systems is proud to announce the addition of Montowese Health & Rehabilitation Center to our network. Montowese is conveniently located at 163 Quinnipiac Avenue in North Haven, CT and offers short-term rehabilitation, long-term, respite, hospice and home health care as well as many other services. Montowese also offers outpatient therapy in a 6,000 square foot gym with over 25 full-time Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists.

December 15, 2017
Athena Announces Home Health Care Services Now Available in Massachusetts

Friday, December 15, 2017

December 15, 2017 - Athena is proud to announce home health care services now available in Massachusetts through our new Athena company, Rehab at Home. Rehab at Home provides skilled home care services to help patients recover from an illness, injury or surgery in the comforts of their own home. The team offers a coordinated clinical and rehab approach to meet the specific needs of each patient's recovery. We will work with you and your family to find the best possible options to get your loved ones to their highest functional level of independence.

Rehab at Home
1569 North Main Street
Fall River, MA 02720

For more information, please call: (508) 673-5500.

October 30, 2017
Worcester Rehabilitation & Health Care Center Opening Two Newly Renovated Short-Term Rehabilitation Units With All Private Rooms

Sunday, September 29, 2017 | Source: Michelle Stevens - Director of Admissions/Marketing

Worcester, MA – September 29, 2017 - Worcester Rehabilitation & Health Care Center is pleased to announce the opening of two newly renovated Short-Term Rehabilitation Units. Each unit features 20 spacious private rooms with private baths, new furnishings, air conditioning and flat screen televisions. We hosted an Open House on Thursday, October 19th, from 4:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m. But you can come and see us at any time by contacting Michelle Stevens at 508.860.5208 to set up an appointment.

Worcester Rehabilitation & Health Care Center provides a wide range of services such as: Short-Term Rehabilitation, Long-Term and Respite Care, as well as a Continuum of Care Offered for Hospice Services.

Worcester Rehabilitation & Health Care Center is located at 119 Providence Street, Worcester, MA and is managed by Athena Health Care Systems. For more information, please visit our Worcester page at the Athena Nursing Home Website.

October 30, 2017
Veterans Honored with Hand-Sewn Quilts in Southington

Friday, October 27, 2017 | Source: By Jesse Buchanan - Record-Journal staff

SOUTHINGTON – Volunteers wrapped a large, hand-sewn quilt around Army veteran Dana Brown at The Summit at Plantsville during a ceremony to honor those who've served in the military.

"I've never been treated like this in my life," he said.

The Summit hosted the Quilts for Valor ceremony Friday, and a week earlier hosted volunteers who had helped prepare the gifts for veteran residents of the home.

As each intricate quilt was displayed, residents and visitors clapped and cheered. Quilters had created a host of designs and decorated the quilts with patriotic themes, flags, eagles, stars and geometric patterns.

Jane Dougherty, one of the state's Quilts for Valor coordinators, read off a name of each veteran resident and volunteers wrapped them in their quilt.

"Quilts for Valor are not handed to a veteran. We will not ship you one. We will not sell you one. Quilts are wrapped around a veteran," Doughterty said.

She and fellow coordinator Cindy Guendert helped do just that for many of the Summit's veterans on Friday. Those included a maple leaf-decorated flag for one resident who was a veteran of the Canadian Air Force.

Barbara Blau, therapeutic recreation director at the Summit, said that every veteran there would receive a quilt.

"Due to the large number of veterans, some will receive their quilts in May," she said.

After the presentation, Brown sat wrapped in his new quilt wearing a camouflage boonie cap with various Army and Vietnam veteran pins. He was a sergeant while serving in the Army.

Letters and proclamations were read from a host of state legislators and leaders. State Rep. Liz Linehan, a Democrat representing Southington, Cheshire and Wallingford, was present along with Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.

Jerry Limmer, coordinator for Music on the Green, was the master of ceremonies for the event, which includes songs and poems.

Dougherty said Quilts of Valor started in 2003 when a quilter's son was deployed to Iraq. Since then, Dougherty said volunteers have sewn and presented 170,000 quilts.

She said Friday's ceremony was particularly meaningful because the volunteers who made the quilts were able to meet the recipient veterans.

"A lot of times the veteran never gets to meet the quilt-maker," Dougherty said.

She said the Summit would have another sew day in April and likely again around this time next year to continue providing quilts to veterans.


View the original article at

October 18, 2017
Evergreen Opens Unit Dedicated to Memory Care Patients

Thursday, October 12, 2017 | Source: By Zachary F. Vasile - Journal Inquirer

Stafford - At the grand opening of Evergreen Health Care Center's new memory care unit Wednesday night, a sense of "home" was a recurrent theme.

From the wing's warm colors and new fireplace to couches draped in throws, the area is meant to give patients a space to thrive, said Deborah Stone, Evergreen's admissions assistant. "We've really tried to make this place warm and inviting," Stone said. "And every detail communicates that."

On a tour through the 31-bed wing, Stone pointed out stations where staff had stocked drawers with dolls, toys, and items like rubber balls and puzzles to provide patients with tactile stimulation.

At the far end of the unit, what had been a utility closet has been converted into a spacious lounge with couches and a large fish tank. Far removed from the bustle of the main activity area, it offers a calming, quieter space for residents to gather and meet, Stone said.

The wing's doors lock automatically for patients' safety, but residents still will have access to outside spaces in an enclosed courtyard off the unit's main entrance.

"Residents will be able to come in and out freely," Stone said. "Sometimes you hear patients say that all they want is just some fresh air, and now they have that in a safe, controlled space." Ann Melite, who designed the new wing, said her goal was to create a comfortable, soothing, and engaging living space.

"We wanted to make it more of a home-like environment rather than an institutional environment," Melite said. To that end, every aspect of the unit down to the smallest details has been calibrated for ease and comfort, she said.

Stone and Brian Marquis, Evergreen's director of physical plants, said the building, which went up in 2008, had been used as an Alzheimer's unit when Johnson Memorial Hospital owned Evergreen. The wing was shut down after only 2 1/2 years, however, and sat unused until Athena Health Care bought the facility in December 2015.

Almost immediately, Marquis said, Athena set to work figuring out how the memory care unit could be improved and brought back online.

"Athena saw the potential," he said "And the result is that we have an area specifically tailored for dementia patients' needs."

Stone said the Johnson-era unit resembled a "fishbowl" style of design - dark and closed in with glass windows. It also was hard to navigate for people with walkers and not accessible for patients using wheelchairs, she added.

"It was very limited before," Stone said. "Now it feels more like home."

Program Manager Paulina Luna said activities at the new unit will go far beyond the stereotypical elder care staples like bingo to accommodate patients' interests. For many, that will bean cooking or baking or maintaining a vegetable garden that Luna said she hopes to start in the warmer months.

Social activities like card games can help build relationships between residents, she said, while giving patients something to care for, like plants or flowers, gives them some agency in their new home.

Above all, Luna said the goal is to smooth the transition into the memory unit by setting patients at ease and showing them that they can continue their lives here.

Stone said the new wing is now accepting applications. About a third to a half of the new wing will accommodate dementia patients already at Evergreen, but other spaces will be open to those looking to transfer from other facilities or transition into the unit from home.

And early reception has been positive, Evergreen staff said.

At an open house this week for families with relatives already at Evergreen, some could barely contain their excitement, Stone said.

"Some of the families were just in tears," she said. Gathering a crowd around the new wing's "living room" Wednesday, Evergreen Director Christine McKinney reiterated the staff's commitment to providing a welcoming and warm atmosphere for patients, while the Rev. Martin Jones, parochial vicar at St. Edward Church in Stafford and All Saints Church in Somers, blessed the wing. Stafford First Selectman Anthony Frassinelli also addressed visitors and commended Evergreen for creating what he called an inviting place that feels more pleasant and intimate then a traditional clinical setting.

"You get a sense, when you come in here, that it's calming and it feels like you're in a home setting," Frassinelli said. "It's brilliant and so important for the folks who are struggling with dementia."

The first selectman also praised the new wing as a resource for patients and families who otherwise would have to look far beyond Stafford for a dedicated memory care unit.

"To have this facility here within Stafford so that those families that are close don't have to travel like they've had to in the past - that's extremely important," he said.

September 6, 2017
Athena Health Care Systems 17th Annual Taking Care of Our Own Softball Tournament

Monday, June 27, 2017 | Source: Debra Soucey - Senior Executive Officer

Farmington, CT - September 1, 2017 - Athena Health Care Systems 17th Annual Taking Care of Our Own Softball Tournament was held on August 25-27, 2017 at Panthorn Park in Plantsville, CT. This annual tournament raises money for eligible employees throughout the Athena network who are stricken with cancer. Larry Santilli, President and CEO of Athena said, "the annual tournament continues to be a very successful weekend-long event bringing together our employees and their families from CT, MA and RI for one mutual cause... to help fellow co-workers by providing donations that offset the costs associated with cancer treatments. Thank you to all that participated, volunteered and cheered on the games. Without your help, support and dedication, these efforts could not be met."

Valerie Manor, in Torrington won first place in the tournament and took home the championship trophy, Sheriden Woods Health Care Center, in Bristol came in second place and The Summit At Plantsville, in Plantsville came in third place. Other festivities at the tournament included food catered by Elements Fine Catering, ice cream provided by Connecticut Ice Cream and activities for children provided by Teach-Art-2-Me which included games, crafts, face painting, and tie-dyeing of shirts, mini-golf offered by The Carnival Party, Thomas The Train rides provided by Roaming Raceway & Railroad and also Trevor The Games Man.

Throughout New England, Athena Health Care Systems is known as a leader in providing quality health care services and is recognized as one of the largest managers of skilled nursing facilities located in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Athena managed facilities offer short-term rehabilitation, long-term and respite care, as well as a continuum of care offered by Athena Home Health & Hospice.

June 27, 2017
Summit at Plantsville Nursing Home Resident Has Found His Calling

Monday, June 27, 2017 | Source: My Record Journal and FOX 61 News

SOUTHINGTON - Bill Flaherty hasn't built a home since he was injured in a 1999 accident, but he's taken up building model houses for children while undergoing treatment at The Summit in Plantsville.

Flaherty said he always enjoyed building homes. "Now I just build them in a smaller scale," he said. "You have to get correct angles for the roof pitch and all that."

Flaherty's sisters and Barbara Blau, therapeutic recreation director, suggested he build the models. Blau said he agreed, and later told her that his grandfather had built dollhouses and toy garages for the family. "He is following in his grandfather's footsteps," Blau said. Flaherty said he was getting "a little bored" while undergoing treatment over the last several years before the suggestion from Blau and his sisters.

"I look forward to doing it now," he said. "You never know where your destiny's going to go." While he said he wishes he could walk again, building these houses gives him purpose, and he enjoys making children happy.


A special needs girl at Plantsville Elementary got Flaherty's first creation, a three-story dollhouse he constructed and painted. He's now working on a log cabin home and accompanying barn for a boy, although a recipient hasn't yet been decided.

He said the child, Kylie, was surprised and excited when she came to The Summit and he told her she could keep the doll house. A few days later, he received a thank you letter from Kylie which reads in part, "Dear Mr. Bill I love my new doll house you made for me. I love to play with it every day. My favorite thing to do is play with the little tiny dollies. I would like to visit you again someday, you are my nice friend. Your friend, Kylie."

While Flaherty worked on his second and now third project, he has the letter from Kylie hanging on his wall. He said his family has been very supportive, even purchasing the tools he needs to build the homes.



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