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Belleville Rehabilitation Facility Staff Honored With Governor's Engaging Aging Award

ILLINOIS, October 31 - BELLEVILLE, Ill. - Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) Director Paula Basta will present a special award to the Memorial Care Center activity department on Tuesday for their efforts to support residents' spiritual well-being as part of a holistic approach to rehabilitation and recovery. The Belleville rehabilitation facility is the recipient of a 2022 Governor's Engaging Aging Award, presented annually to up to 13 community-based organizations that serve older adults and their caregivers.

"I want to offer my congratulations to the staff at Belleville's Memorial Care Center on receiving the 2022 Governor's Engaging Aging Award," said Governor JB Pritzker. "The Memorial Care Center team provided quality, holistic care around the clock throughout a once-in-a-generation pandemic—all while embodying the ingenuity, resourcefulness, and empathy necessary to best support their long-term care residents. To say that Memorial Care Center staff exceeded expectations would be an understatement—they gave it their all. For that, I couldn't be prouder to bestow them with this award in honor of their dedication and hard work."

"The pandemic has been challenging for everyone, but particularly for long-term care residents and staff," said IDoA Director Paula Basta. "The staff at Memorial Care Center have shown incredible resilience and compassion, providing spiritual and psychosocial support to their residents that goes above and beyond addressing their physical needs."

The Governor's Engaging Aging Award recognizes community organizations that have gone above and beyond to make a positive impact in the lives of older adults over the past year. Recipients are nominated by Illinois' 13 Area Agencies on Aging.

Nominated by AgeSmart Community Resources, Memorial Care Center, owned and operated by Bethesda Health Care, will be honored with a 2022 Governor's Engaging Aging Award for their activity staff's commitment to holistic wellness. According to AgeSmart CEO Joy Paeth, the activity staff have made it a point to incorporate spirituality into the healing process for those residents who identify with a faith tradition. During the height of the pandemic when visitors and outings were restricted, activity staff offered Zoom prayer services, and activities assistant Juanita Smith, who is an ordained minister, would visit residents room to room for prayer and spiritual support.

"The facility's activity staff have shown by their example and commitment that holistic wellness includes not only physical and psycho-social health, but also spiritual wellness," said Paeth. "The care center and the activity staff are to be commended for their vision and their service for including spiritual wellness in their holistic wellness care plan."

AgeSmart Community Resources and IDoA are hosting an award ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 10 a.m. at Memorial Care Center, located at 4315 Memorial Dr., Ste. 5342 in Belleville. The ceremony is closed to the public but open to the press.

IDoA serves and advocates for older Illinoisans and their caregivers by administering quality and culturally appropriate programs that promote partnerships and encourage independence, dignity, and quality of life. For information about the Department's programs and services for older adults and persons with disabilities, visit or contact the Senior HelpLine toll-free at 1-800-252-8966, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.