Interview with Ms. Joyce Quintrell, the Volunteer Coordinator at Page Robbins

Interview Date : 1/22/2024

Elisa Wiadacz: So, this is Ms. Joyce from Page Robbins, you’re the Volunteer and Activities Coordinator, correct? Yes, correct. Alright, so we just have a couple of questions for you for Musical Memories, a little performance group that comes here sometimes to perform for clients typically with dementia or memory issues.

So, do you want to begin? 

Hana Barber: Yeah, so would you like to explain more about what you do here at Page Robbins? 

Ms. Joyce Quintrell: I am the Activities Volunteer Coordinator. Activities are my main job. I coordinate groups like, like Musical Memories to come in and play for us. I schedule all schedules every day. We have five different groups.

Which is about 36 activities a day that we do here. That’s a lot. Mm hmm. And I will be here 20 years come June. Oh. This year. Yeah. Oh my gosh. 

Elisa Wiadacz: Congratulations! Alright, so is there a specific reason why you chose to work with people with Alzheimer’s disease or just dementia in general?

 I’ve been training for it, I think, most of my life.

Ms. Joyce Quintrell: I’ve been in recreation and activities with young people, and I’ve coached gymnastics for 45 years, and I just stopped this year. And I kinda happened on it. About 25 years ago with Memphis Jewish Home, I tried it there and I loved it. So I’ve been doing it ever since. Alright. 

Hana Barber: What is your favorite activity to do with the clients?

Ms. Joyce Quintrell: I have a lot of favorite activities. I know, 36 a day. Yeah. Well, I’m responsible for all of the big parties and I think the prom that we do, and I think that the Veterans Day celebrations for the gentlemen are my two favorites. 

Elisa Wiadacz: And then sort of off of that, is there like a specific activity that you think encourages the most response or like participation in the clients?

Like one that they really enjoy or react well 

Ms. Joyce Quintrell: to? 

Anything musical. Anything musical. They love it when you guys come. They love the prom. They love the dance. And they love it when the Elvis people come. They just love music. And 

Hana Barber: could you describe a typical day at Page Robbins? 

Ms. Joyce Quintrell: We start out the day with a meeting. We have a meeting in the morning and we tell the schedule and at 9:30 am we go to our different groups.

We have art, music, and exercise for everyone every single day. We also have active activities. Please don’t tell them it’s exercise. I sneak it in there. We do word games and cognitive activities such as puzzles, all through the day. 

Elisa Wiadacz: Alright, and then, so what do you think is the biggest challenge working with people with dementia?

Is there anything particularly difficult? 

Ms. Joyce Quintrell: Sometimes, what they want to do and how they can do it are two different things. I have found that if, usually somebody is requesting to do something, I have to limit that, activity to their level and we try to do a successful day. We want failure-free.

So that’s what we try to do every day. 

Hana Barber: And is there a skill you have learned over the years working at Page Robbins in particular?

Ms. Joyce Quintrell: Hmm. Scheduling. Scheduling more than one group. I bet. Before, I was just doing one group. at a time for eight hours, and now I’m doing five at a time for eight hours. 

 And so you kind of touched on this saying that the clients really love music, but is there another reason why you think hosting concerts or recitals is really important at Page Robbins?

Ms. Joyce Quintrell: We’ve had concerts with professionals before where There are clients for professional musicians and they reminisce and they get to go up there and, they might drum on the drum or play the guitar or, or participate with them or sometimes we’ve had choirs to come in and they just add another chair and have someone to come up, they were a member of the choir, so they just go up into sync.

I mean, it’s very important.

Hana Barber: And could you further explain about all the different rooms in Page Robbins, like, what they are specifically and why you chose these specific rooms? 

Ms. Joyce Quintrell: We have the art room, which is the busiest room in the house. We do art and pottery in there, but sometimes it doubles as a game room. It just depends on what we need at the time.

Our dining room circle room. We have the dining room, which, of course, we need for breakfast and lunch, and we serve breakfast, lunch, and a snack. We have done as many as 48 people. That was pre-COVID. We’re not there quite yet, but we’re working ourselves up there. We’ve been 35 since COVID. and then in the circle area, it doubles as our concert hall.

It also is our exercise area. Our bowling alley. It’s all different activities there. In the music room, pre-COVID, we did a lot of music in the music room. Right now we’re not doing that, because of spacing. But we have, It’s our game room. We have our pool table, and mini pool table. We have all kinds of games for the guys in there.

We also do our word games. We might put up on the board. Pictionary or guess the word, which is what we call “hangman.” We don’t hang anybody. No hangman. We might have a sewing circle going on in there. Then here in this room, we’re in now is the living room. And it is our comfy chair area. If they need to take a rest, they’re able to go and sit in the comfy chairs.

 We also do, some of our, frailer, ladies, might have coloring pages or they might have a table game as we see over there. And, and, folding napkins and, and such. Because they gotta help us Because we need our napkins folded. And then, and the other room is our Florida room. And it’s a, sometimes it’s sunshiny, not today. We have a TV, you see, set up in there. But we don’t use it to watch cable TV. We might watch “I Love Lucy,” or a nature program, or a car program. So, but we don’t do that very often and that is all our rooms. 

Elisa Wiadacz: And so did you take inspiration from other sort of memory care facilities?

Like how did you choose?

Ms. Joyce Quintrell: I actually was not here when they built this building. I was still working at the Memphis Jewish Home at that point, and I came one, this building is one year older than I am. So it’s 21 years old and I’m 20, so there you go. But I have put my mark on some of the rooms, but they were pretty much just already built when I got here.

So did you bring anything from Memphis Jewish Home to Page Robbins specifically? Like, do you want to elaborate? 

 A lot of the activities I’ve modified and Because it was what we call a circle program where there’s a great big circle and all, and we pretty much stay there all day.

And we might move over to the dining room to do an art project. There I was pretty much responsible for all activities. Here our care assistants do a lot of it. I can’t be in five places at one time. But I do a lot of large group activities. Like I’ll do a gospel hour tomorrow and we’ll be doing our hymn sing.

They love the old songs. 

Hana Barber: Why do you think it’s important for volunteers to support Page Robbins? 

Ms. Joyce Quintrell: Without our volunteers, we could not be Page Robbins. We just wouldn’t be here. Our musicians, like you guys, come in and you’re also afternoon volunteers and spend time with a special friend.

That’s always very important. We depend on our volunteers for paper towels and toilet paper. We have a group of volunteers right now, which is small because post COVID. But we have a lot of art volunteers that help us out because we need many hands in art. Before COVID, we had a lot of volunteers.

And I had volunteers that would do our Thanksgiving luncheon. I would have the groups that came and do the prom and all different things and hopefully, we’ll go back to it. But we could not be Page Robbins without volunteers. And we thank you. 

Elisa Wiadacz: Aww. Of course! So, what kind of advice do you have for caretakers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s?

Like how do they approach it? 

Ms. Joyce Quintrell: “Alright Ladies, and Gentlemen, 

Ms. Joyce Quintrell: it’s time to get moving!” Well you have to move and go with the flow, that’s for sure. You just have to go with the flow on what you care, what your loved one wants to do. We have to remember that their reality is their reality and we cannot change them into ours.

So they might have been a great cook, and they’re having trouble in the kitchen now. Give them a small job. And, and their faces will light up. It is when we do cooking. It is amazing. Sometimes I just have to step back and watch them roll out the cookie dough. And, you know, we do the mixer and things like that.

But yeah, which is my advice is just to go with the flow.

Hana Barber: Is there anything you would like the public to know or to be aware of? Page Robbins or Alzheimer’s, like, in addition to what we already talked about? 

Ms. Joyce Quintrell: Well, Page Robbins is a very well-kept secret. And not a lot of people know we’re here and we’re here to help not only their loved one, but the caregiver themselves.

We have support groups. We have We just want to take care of the caregiver as much as we do the 

loved one. 

Elisa Wiadacz: So 

I guess we have, we touched mostly on like what goes on in here, but do you want to go into further what you do for the caretakers themselves, like those programs that you were mentioning?

Our social worker, Ms. Sheri (Wammack), has a lot of two different care support groups each month. We also remind them on a daily basis that you’ve got to take care of yourself before you can take care of your loved one. We are ears to listen. And we have a hug when we need to share a hug for the caregivers.


that’s really special, yeah. because usually, you know, you just think about the clients when they come in here, but also remember what goes on at home, how they 

Ms. Joyce Quintrell: can take care of them and everything, and how they’re 

Elisa Wiadacz: doing. Is there anything else you would like to add? No, nothing. Well, that was short and sweet, but thank you very much.

Thank you so much! Yes, this was amazing. Thank you. Alright.