In just a year Dannis Murphy, Memory Care Manager, has made a huge impact on the Desert Willow community. Not only does Dannis come from an extensive background in senior living and healthcare, but he also has a kind, gentle approach that makes his care unmatched. He truly has a passion for memory care and through his dedication provides the tools necessary so residents can live a fulfilling life.
Dannis originally started his healthcare career in recreational therapy working with people aged from 4 years old to 94 years old. This is when he found that he had a knack for working with the senior population. He started working primarily with older adults, moved into dementia care for over eight years and finally shifted to Memory Care Manager at Desert Willow and the Assistant Director of Assisted Living at Acacia Health Center.
As Memory Care Manager, Dannis is responsible for overseeing the two memory care units at Desert Willow and managing the staff to ensure all residents are receiving the highest quality of care. While many others in this role would take a backseat approach, Dannis leads by example by interacting and caring for residents.
When a new staff member is struggling to connect with a resident, Dannis shows them his methods. To effectively help the residents, Dannis will lean down to their level, speak kindly but directly, asks about their lives and finally helps them accomplish whatever task is needed.
“Getting to know the residents is the best aspect of this job. They all have such interesting lives and I feel lucky that I get to socialize and smile with them every day,” says Dannis.
Dannis not only is a key member of Desert Willow, but he is also a memory care advocate outside of work. He participates in and was the chairman of the West Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The Walk is an annual fundraising effort held nationally and has six Walks in Arizona.
He has a wealth of knowledge about memory care and helps many families determine if their loved one may need memory care. Many signs of memory care can be brushed off as typical aging, so Dannis gives advice to friends, family and prospective residents.
“There are many signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Having one or two of the symptoms from time to time is just normal aging, but if a loved one consistently is showing multiple signs and it becomes intrusive in their everyday life, then it’s then time to seek professional help.”
Dannis adds, “The best piece of advice I can give is to live in a continuum of care complex as early as possible if memory care may be something you or a loved one eventually needs. If a resident has made their friends and is comfortable in this environment, it makes the transition to memory care so much easier for the individual.”
Those who have worked directly with Dannis know how dedicated he is to his practice. For those who have yet to meet him, now is a perfect time to say “hello” when you see him walking around Desert Willow or Acacia Health Center. His friendly demeanor is guaranteed to brighten your day.