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New coordinator brings new ideas

Reybrock to work with local seniors

By Angie Landsverk

Sara Reybrock brings about 20 years of experience to her position as Waupaca’s new senior citizen coordinator.

“There’s so much for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re 55 or 104, we have something to offer everyone,” she said of the city’s senior center.

Before becoming Waupaca’s senior citizen coordinator in early August, Reybrock worked in nursing homes and in some adult programs, primarily as an activities director and volunteer coordinator, including at St. Joseph’s Residence, in New London.

Reybrock worked at St. Joseph’s Residence for five years and said she loved it.

The Little Chute native graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in therapeutic recreation.
“I think once you start doing it, it really is a sense of purpose,” Reybrock said of the work.

She explained why she was interested in the position here.

“I loved what I was doing before. I was kind of looking for a balance between family and work,” Reybrock said. “This position offered 29 hours per week, which I thought was a better balance.”

Reybrock works from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The senior center is also open from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

She and her husband David live in rural Fremont with their three children – 13-year-old Kaden, 12-year-old Keagan and 9-year-old Macy.

In her free time, Reybrock enjoys heading to northern Wisconsin with her family, and also kayaking, reading, watching her children play sports and taking part in outdoor activities.

In addition to seeking a balance between work and home, Reybrock is also excited to work with a different population.
Reybrock wants to build on the programs established by her predecessor, Teri Moe.

That includes expanding some classes, such as the computer, exercise and dementia classes.

“I also want to hit the 55 year olds,” Reybrock said.

For example, she is currently hiring a Zumba instructor, who will teach during the day as well as in the evening to hit both populations, she said.

The center’s exercise classes and pool leagues are strong, and Reybrock said a woodcrafter will be coming in to offer classes.

She also wants to expand the center’s Memory Cafe program.

The program offers a non-threatening environment for those who are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, where they may learn and have fun and feel they are not being judged, she explained.

Reybrock wants to start something new in which they, along with their caregivers or family members, work together to assemble their stories into life legacy books.

The books would be about what is important to them. what they love and what they want others to know about them, she said.

When Reybrock worked at St. Joseph Residence, the nursing home had Music & Memory, and she wants to bring that to the center, too.

Dan Cohen is the executive director and founder of the nonprofit Music & Memory, which uses digital technology to bring personalized music into the lives of the elderly.

“What I’d like to do,” Reybrock said, “is to get that started here (in the center). They can choose their music here.”
She said by starting the program earlier with people, they would have the ability to create their own playlists through the center’s computer lab and Memory Cafe.

Reybrock sees coupling the life legacy books with the music project, so “it’s before they get in the nursing homes when otherwise, people are choosing for them. I want it to be their story and their music.”

A grant from the Helen Daniels Bader Fund supports the Memory Cafe.

Reybrock also said, “The ARDC (Aging & Disability Resource Center) is looking to expand into the community. One of their goals is to go into businesses and make them dementia-friendly facilities. We want to partner with them.”

In regard to the new ideas for the center, Reybrock said there will be some navigating and learning as they go.

She appreciates the welcome she has received from the members of the senior center and encourages people to stop by and ask questions.

“People have been very kind. It’s been a good experience so far. I feel fortunate to be here with a good staff around me,” Reybrock said.

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