The Bristal at Westbury Blog

Fun with Science in Westbury

Ever since the March BBU Lecture on Science & Technology, we’ve been exploring this topic all month and having lots of fun with science. A very simple chemistry experiment taught us how to clean pennies! By mixing a solution of vinegar and salt, the reaction creates a solution that can be used for cleaning up dirty pennies. Just take a look at how shiny we were able to get them. Just make sure you rinse them well…otherwise the solution will speed up the oxidation process and turn the pennies a blue-green color.

Westbury Residents at the Flower and Garden Show

To celebrate the coming of Spring, Westbury residents went to the Flower and Garden Show at the local nursery.  This is one of our favorite things to do and couldn’t have come at a better time after all the bad weather we had this season.  The gardens were truly beautiful and gave us an added boost of confidence that Spring is just around the corner.

Westbury’s St. Patrick’s Day Party

Here in Westbury, we had a terrific St. Patrick’s Day Party. The afternoon started with a delicious Irish themed meal which included a slice of Irish soda bread that the baking group made.  Green beer and green ginger ale were served during the meal and the chef’s special dessert trolley cart had some fine looking confections on-board, including Bailey’s Irish Cream cheesecake!  After lunch, residents sipped on Irish Coffee with a drizzle of green crème de menthe on top.  Green frosted cupcakes were also served.  Then, residents gathered for a performance by the Banjo Rascals.  They were dressed in Derby’s and emerald green vests. They played all the old favorite songs including some Irish Reels played on guitar and mandolin.  It was an incredible sound!  This St. Patrick’s Day Party will be tough to beat next year.

Fat Tuesday in Westbury

We celebrated Fat Tuesday here in Westbury with a great big party. To kick off Mardi Gras, special food and drinks were prepared and all the residents got a handful of beaded necklaces. We danced all afternoon to the Big Band Sounds of the Bay City Ramblers.  This year along with the hors d’oeuvres, Dining Room Manager Rob made special Fat Tuesday Hot Toddies for everyone.  We all had a wonderful time.

Testimonial from Cindy Story

Testimonial by Cindy Story

Read Original

Hi Susan,

I spoke to my Dad first thing this morning. Thank you so much for your help with the card & lotto scratch offs, and the lovely surprise of a balloon too! What can I say…you and everyone at The Bristal are so very wonderful!! Please know that my brothers, cousins and I appreciate everyone there and all the good work that you all do. It is such a comfort to know that my parents are well taken care of, especially living so far away from them.

I really feel like they have turned a comer and are settling in nicely…. such a blessing!!

Once again, I thank you.

Kind regards,

Cindy Story

Westbury’s Valentine’s Day Celebration

Valentine’s Day was full of love here in Westbury. We celebrated with activities that lasted all day long. After a beautiful luncheon was served and we enjoyed dessert from the chef’s special dessert trolley, residents were treated to cocktails by Dining Room Manager Rob. We all loved his signature Valentine’s Day cocktail named “Red Kiss” as well as the petite fours and other drinks.
Lynn then came to play the piano and sing sweet songs for us. She started by asking the residents the names of their wedding songs, then she played them!  The Arts and Crafts Group donated a beautiful heart shaped wreath and a handmade scarf to be raffled off to all the party goers. Despite the snowy weather, Valentine’s Day warmed our hearts! It was certainly a memorable day.

Baking Cream Puffs in Westbury

The bakers at The Bristal at Westbury got together to whip up a batch of fresh, homemade cream puffs. Though the dough can be tricky, these residents are pros. The batch was a complete success. The cream puffs were devoured by everyone during a mid-day social hour. We couldn’t pry the recipe out of them, but if we are lucky, they’ll make these again soon!

‘Outstanding Personal Care Professional’ Awards from LIAF

Members of The Bristal Team Earn Outstanding Personal Care Professional Awards at the Coping and Caring Conference

Hosted by the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation

The Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (LIAF) recently held their annual Coping and Caring Conference and Awards Luncheon. We would like to congratulate Cheryl Witsell from The Bristal at Westbury and Bibi Annief from The Bristal at Massapequa. Both women work in the Reflections neighborhood of The Bristal, caring for residents with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and memory loss.

These two team members were honored at the luncheon with the Outstanding Personal Care Professional Award.


Cheryl Witsell

Cheryl Witsell
Award Winner
Outstanding Personal Care Professional

Cheryl Witsell was nominated by Westbury’s Director of Reflections, Colleen Jones. As a part of the qualification, nominators were asked to share a story that illustrates the nominee’s remarkable qualities. Cheryl’s story shows genuine care for Reflections residents as well as their families.

The granddaughter of a resident was getting married and expressed that she really wanted her grandmother there. Cheryl decided that she would make it happen. She hired a car service and accompanied the resident to the wedding! The family was incredibly thankful for Cheryl’s generosity and for going above and beyond expectations. Cheryl made sure to take lots of photos of the resident and her family so that she would always be able to remember that day.

Cheryl’s director, Colleen, had this to say: “Cheryl has been working here with residents who have dementia for more than seven years. It takes a special person to work with residents with dementia. They need to have patience, they need to be able to think on their feet, and they need to be loving and understanding. That is exactly what Cheryl is. She is an asset to the Westbury community as she mentors the new Bristal staff, sharing experiences and knowledge of the residents.”

Cheryl grew up in Queens. She later moved to Westbury, where she lived with her parents. Cheryl loves to sing and dance. She is always smiling and has a contagious laugh. She has been married to her husband, Merrick, for 12 years and they have three children. Cheryl treats each of the residents at the Bristal as if they were her own parents.


BiBi Annief

BiBi Annief
The Bristal at Massapequa
Outstanding Personal Care Professional

Bibi Annief was nominated by Massapequa’s Executive Director, Debra Figueroa. To illustrate Bibi’s remarkable qualities, Debra recalled a story where she witnessed Bibi exhibiting true patience and kindness.

A Reflections resident was refusing assistance. Bibi was able to gently redirect him using her comedic wit and gentle manner. She asked him directly what she could do to assist him. Bibi listened to the resident’s needs and did exactly what he asked. She gained his trust, and was able to help the resident. When she was finished assisting him, he gave her a big hug and told her what a beautiful person she was. Bibi knows how to give, and lets the residents guide her in their needs.

Debra expressed that they often use this story as an example to teach others that sometimes, all we need to do is ask the resident what they need. Debra said of Bibi: “She has a huge heart and is always willing to give of herself to residents, family members and co-workers. She has a unique ability to easily calm residents when they are exhibiting difficult behaviors. Bibi is confident in herself, but very humble. She always takes the additional steps to make things work.”

Bibi was born in Guyana where she studied Management and Accounting, eventually working as an Accountant. She and her brothers and sisters joined her parents in the United States in 2010. Her parents had been in the United States for 13 years prior to her arrival. Once she came to the U.S., she studied to become a CNA and found that she enjoyed working with the elderly. She eventually came to work for The Bristal, and she enjoys communicating with and caring for residents. In her free time, Bibi enjoys reading. She also spends time on the computer researching medical information and would like to progress in her career.


The Bristal would also like to congratulate Mr. Allan Vann. A family member of a resident at The Bristal at East Northport, Mr. Vann was recognized at the Coping & Caring Luncheon as an Outstanding Alzheimer’s/Senior Care Advocate.

Congratulations to all of this year’s award recipients!

LIAF Coping & Caring Luncheon 2014

The Bristal Team at the LIAF Coping & Caring Luncheon 2014


Click here to learn more about Reflections at The Bristal

Valentine’s Day Wreaths in Westbury

The craft group at the Bristal in Westbury were busy making beautiful heart shaped Valentine’s Day wreaths for their apartment doors. It was a huge undertaking, but the lovely results were worth all the hard work. Here are a few shots from our day of crafting:

Alzheimer’s Disease Training from the ADRC: Continuing Education

Alzheimer’s Disease Training Curriculum

for Professional Healthcare Providers and/or Professional Caregivers, Recently Completed by Team Members from The Bristal Assisted Living

Hillary Gilbert

Hillary Gilbert

Several staff members from The Bristal Assisted Living recently participated in a continuing education program offered by the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center. Hillary Gilbert, Colleen Jones, ToniAnn Notarfrancesco and Angela White all completed the program, called Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Dementias.

This fourteen week course included homework, tests, projects and participation in lectures and guest speaker appearances at various venues. The course was taught by Masters Level Certified instructors and its aim was to improve the job performance of its participants through teaching new skills.

ToniAnn Notarfrancesco

ToniAnn Notarfrancesco

The Alzheimer’s Disease training course objectives were clear:

1. Know the process and development of Alzheimer’s Disease.
2. Identify the specific behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s Disease and how to manage these behaviors.
3. Learn and utilize communication skills to increase effectiveness.
4. Strategize planning for activities and interventions that address the specialized needs of those with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Angela White

Angela White

Angela White, Director of Reflections at The Bristal at Massapequa, said of the Alzheimer’s Disease training: “I really enjoyed this course.” Angela expressed that it provided an “in-depth teaching on the working mechanisms in the brain, explaining the loss of white matter and how it affects memory processing.”

She also felt that the course focused well on the use of techniques to assist those affected by Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementia. Angela was happy to learn other ways “to allow a person with Dementia to complete tasks independently by giving them time and guidance during the task.” The course also stressed “knowing when the task is too demanding for the person and how to step in to assist with completion of the task.”

Colleen Jones

Colleen Jones

Colleen Jones, Director of Reflections at The Bristal at Westbury, took some positive things away from the course. “The class went into the differences between all the categories of dementia and the behaviors in each. The biggest part was the domains of the activities; trying to look at each activity and making sure that we are hitting the social, emotional and physical domains.” Colleen also stated “I think that the class gave me a different perspective on the disease.”

Reflections Programming Specialist for The Bristal, Kate Schneider, had a special message for those who completed the Alzheimer’s Disease training course:

“Congratulations to Hillary, ToniAnn, Angela and Colleen! Taking this course to further educate yourselves is truly a testament to your dedication. The Bristal is proud and grateful to have you on our team. Thank you.”

Click here to learn more about the Reflections Memory Care Program at The Bristal Assisted Living

Reflections Art Show in Westbury

To support January’s BBU topic of Art, we held an Art Show here in Reflections at The Bristal at Westbury. 24 of our Reflections residents worked on different pieces throughout the month of January. Residents employed different techniques and methods to create their art, for example: drawing zentangles, making collages, blowing through straws or creating paintings in the style of Jackson Pollack.

At the end of the month, the Art Show proudly displayed the pieces that the residents worked so hard on. Family and friends joined us for the event. We noshed on platters of veggies, fruit, cheese and crackers accompanied by sparkling cider. Lynn Portas entertained us on the piano, and Dorothy, a resident, even joined her to sing a few songs!

Thank you to everyone who made this Art Show a terrific success.

Westbury’s Super Bowl Celebration

The Bristal at Westbury knows how to have a Super Bowl Celebration! On Sunday evening, sandwiches, snacks, chips and drinks were set out in the Bistro. The game was on the television and everyone was cheering for their favorite team. Residents were also excited during the game breaks because of all the creative commercials.

Learning About Pointillism in Westbury

In support of this month’s Bristal Better U theme of Art in Our World, Westbury residents learned about  Pointillism, a Neo-Impressionistic art technique made popular by artist Georges Seurat in the 1880’s.  By separating basic paint colors into small dots, from a distance, the eye will put the dots together to form a color and a shape. After we learned all about Pointillism, residents experimented with this technique and were quite happy with the fun results!

Westbury’s New Year’s Eve Celebration

The Bristal at Westbury was really jumping on New Year’s Eve! Residents and staff came together to wish each other a Happy New Year. We had a huge party, replete with hors d’oeuvres, champagne and merriment. The entertainers kept everyone on their feet dancing and the disco light was illuminated during the countdown and toast were held. It was a great day!

These were a few of the resolutions we made to be sure that 2014 the best year yet:

  • To be more outgoing – Harry
  • To worry less – June
  • To be on time – Rita
  • To try an activity that would be enjoyable to me & beneficial to others – Billie
  • To do a good deed every day – Anonymous
  • To help others & take each day as it comes – Anonymous

Westbury Residents at the Poinsettia Display

Residents from Westbury enjoyed a trip out to the Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay to take in the amazing poinsettia display! The whole greenhouse is filled with poinsettias of every variety and color. We all had a wonderful time.