“I love my job so much. The people at Hannah Duston are like my own grandpas and grandmas – and I get 100 of them!” 

Meet Madison Brady! After graduating high school, Madison came to Whittier, starting as a part-time activity assistant at Hannah Duston Healthcare Center. Soon, she completed CNA training to make the transition to full-time work – but to her surprise, Madison was offered the director position at Hannah Duston instead!

Now at the helm for over a year, Madison is a fierce patient advocate, such a vital service when the world changed so drastically in March 2020. With COVID restrictions in place, Hannah Duston residents couldn’t partake in many of the activities they loved, and visitation was suspended or limited. Madison became the conduit between the outside world and the residents, facilitating as many FaceTime and Zoom calls as possible to reassure family and friends that their loved ones at the center were well-taken care of. 

At the same time, Madison knew the importance of quality visitation to her people: “virtual can be a struggle because the folks need hands-on stimulation; otherwise they tend to zone out or sleep,” she kindly explains. In July 2020, family visits began to be held outside under tents in the patio, at tables spaced six feet apart. All visitors had to wear a mask at all times, sign in with administration first, and acknowledge all the safety protocols. While physical touch was not permitted at first, folks and family were able to hug for a brief time until recently, a gesture that brought tears to the staff’s eyes. Madison recalls a couple who hadn’t been separated for over 60 years and how meaningful it was to see them hug for the first time in eight months. Please visit our Visitation Policy Page for updated policies.

Madison is looking forward to bringing back activities to Hannah Duston in 2021; pre-COVID, the center had a robust schedule of liveliness and outings for its people. Music was a constant at Hannah, with several guest performances each week. Madison hopes to bring in musicians to present outdoors or in day rooms so that the residents may sing along to their favorite songs at a safe distance. She’s also been in talks with Whittier administration about restarting their activities calendar, offering Bingo, church services, and more with social distancing guidelines in place, and how she might create a Zoom community channel to stream television shows and movies. 

Until then, even with quarantine limitations, Madison and the staff of Hannah Duston are making their own fun. They’re known for their ‘traveling parties,’ bringing carts with booming music and treats door-to-door to offer their folks some cheer: slices of cake for someone’s 100th birthday, pineapple upside-down cake on Hawaiian Day, or fresh coffee with tasty goodies. “They do love their sweets,” Madison laughs. 

“It’s been a journey, but a wonderful one,” she continues. “With the older population, a lot can happen within two weeks, and it can be hard for family members to see their loved ones looking good one day, and then the next visit they’ve declined. But I’m so glad to be here to support these people and their families as best I can.”

Contact Hannah Duston at (978) 373-1747 for a virtual tour, and visit their page on our website.

Want a job like Madison’s? Please visit our Job Board!