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Sage Desert Assisted Living and Memory Care invite the community to its annual Alzheimer’s Carnival, benefitting the Alzheimer’s Assocication.

Noodle ball, Wordathon and sitting volleyball are just a few of the activities the residents at Sage Desert Assisted Living and Memory Care partake in. Though luxury living is what they’re known for, care is at the forefront of everything they do. 

After only 15 months of being in business, Sage Desert has established their name with their amenities, programs and community outreach events.

On Oct. 5, Sage Desert, located at 2365 W. Orange Grove Road, will host its second annual Alzheimer’s Carnival, where 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the Alzheimer’s Association. From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., residents and visitors will be able to enjoy food from Tucson vendors and participate in carnival games. Additionally, Sage Desert residents are in the process of making arts and crafts pieces to sell at the carnival. 

“These pieces have been made with love by our residents,” said Myra Parker, director of sales and marketing.

According to Parker, the first Alzheimer’s Carnival was a hit. Organizers are hoping this year’s carnival is an even bigger one. 

“[The first year] everybody loved the fact that their money was going to a good cause,” Parker said.

The events at Sage Desert don’t stop there. With Halloween approaching, the Boys & Girls Club of Tucson will visit the residents Oct. 24 to celebrate the spooky season. From 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., residents and visitors can brainstorm on Halloween costumes, play games and tell scary stories.

Lastly, on Oct. 31, Sage Desert will host its annual Halloween party and parade from 3 to 4 p.m. Residents, families, friends and community members are encouraged to participate in the festivities and join the contest for the best Halloween costume of the night.

Tucson is home to several assisted living facilities, but what makes Sage Desert different are their various amenities: a dining restaurant, movie theater spa room with a hydro massage chair, just to name a few.

Sage Desert is made up of two services, assisted living and memory care. In assisted living, caregivers are on-site 24 hours and give a helping hand to residents needing assistance with medication management, dressing and transferring. In memory care, residents are supported through the “In the Moment” program, designed to perform appropriate care practices to seniors living with dementia.

For Parker, her position at Sage Desert is a rewarding one. Many residents don’t see their families every day, and many of them may feel isolated. Sage Desert works hard to make sure their seniors feel like they have a purpose.

Most of the residents at Sage Desert are around 80 to 90 years old. During this age, many seniors can feel lonely. 

“For the seniors out there who are isolated and they need friendship or activities, we open our community for them to experience the life that they can have here,” Parker said. 

Moving in shortly after the grand opening, Dick Jennings, 90, feels he has found everything he needs at Sage Desert. His caregivers are always there when he needs them, he said. 

“We can just push a button that we wear on a pendant and they come and take care of whatever we need,” Jennings said. “They’re great people.”

Since he can’t decide on his favorite activity, Jennings tries to be involved in a little bit of everything. 

“We like to play volleyball but sitting down,” he said. “That way even people in wheelchairs can play.” 

When it comes to the teams, it’s always the residents in assisted living versus the residents in memory care.

Unlike other places, the residents in memory care are not locked in, Jennings said. They can come out for a meal and a fun game.

For their game time, residents like to compete in a game of Noodle ball, where they use noodle floaties to hit balloons. “It is really fun,” Jennings said. 

Although he uses a walker to get around, Jennings still finds a way to get in his steps. 

“The circular design here makes it easy for me to walk along the halls,” he said. “I do 500 steps a day.”

For Jennings and for many other residents, Sage Desert is home. 

“This is it for me. I’m happy here and I don’t have anything to worry about. I don’t have any big plans for the future either,” Jennings said, “Everything is here for me.”

Vianney Cardenas is a University of Arizona journalism student and Tucson Local Media intern.

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