There’s something special about The Simon & Sylvia Zisman Seashore Gardens Living Center (SGLC) in Galloway Twp. You notice it as soon as you walk through the door, and it’s not only because of the immaculate surroundings, the competent and caring staff, or even the Boardwalk Café and mural of old time Atlantic City.
Those of you who know Yiddish would call it “hamish,” that cozy, homey feeling when you enter a place that simply feels like family.
“This is truly home for our residents,” said SGLC President & CEO Martin H. Klein, MA, LNHA, CALA. “When they talk with their families, they don’t refer to ‘this facility’ or ‘this nursing home.’ They call it their home. We’re not a fancy place; we cater to a primarily Medicaid population, but we stand out for the quality of life that we’re able to offer.”
This includes activities from gardening to Tai Chi, games like floor scrabble and trivia, arts and crafts, and more. Baking is a favorite activity; the residents enjoy the camaraderie that’s part of creating and sharing these special treats. Music is another beloved pastime, whether it’s playing in a drum circle or singing along to favorites during the piano concerts on Wednesday nights.
Regular programming includes intergenerational experiences like the Summer Sizzlers Youth Program. For every four hours that the teens work, they also volunteer for four hours. “Everyone feels young and vital, and age differences blur,” noted Cindy Weinraub, assistant director, Recreation, SGLC. “Friendship, shared experiences, respecting differences and finding common ground are the by-products of these programs.” Recently, SGLC was awarded a substantial grant to fund two new intergenerational programs: Music & Memory, and Opening Minds Through Art, both of which will debut in 2019.
Also noteworthy is SGLC’s unique hotel-like atmosphere and theme of 1920s Atlantic City. The building has attracted the attention of nursing home administrators who have visited from as far away as Japan to study the design and try to duplicate the SGLC model.
“I’d say it is nearly impossible to duplicate,” said Klein. “SGLC is one-of-a-kind. All of us—from housekeeping to maintenance, nursing, activities and the administration—share in the care of our residents. We appreciate the journey that has brought them here to us. We think of them as our extended family and honor them as such.”