Gary Rainaldi, Certified Dementia Practitioner at Sebos Provides Care With a Person Centered Approach

Gary Rainaldi, Certified Dementia Practitioner at Sebos Provides Care With a Person Centered Approach

Gary Rainaldi has dedicated his life to helping others. For the last four years he has been the Alzheimer’s Unit Director at Sebo’s Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Hobart, Indiana. Because of his professional know-how and big heart, Rainaldi has made a profound, positive impact on local families and seniors.

Rainaldi is originally from Cleveland, Ohio. To start his professional journey, he received a degree in education. Soon after, however, his path changed.

“I went into social work because I felt the needs of people are met better outside of the classroom rather than in the classroom,” he said. “I worked in a long-term care facility right after college, [and] I’ve always worked with people with disabilities through Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation and then the Southwest Cooperative in Illinois.”

Rainaldi started working at Sebo’s as the Alzheimer’s Unit Director in 2013. Here, he has been able to make people's’ lives better in more ways than one. As a certified dementia trainer, he makes sure that all staff receive the education necessary to best assist and care for residents with dementia. Rainaldi sees the importance of and takes pride in sharing his knowledge and passion with others.

“How do you communicate with a person with levels of dementia? Understanding the seven levels of dementia, so that when you act and react to certain things, it gives you a better understanding,” Rainaldi said. “[The training] really helps the staff formulate very productive ways to work with individuals with some form of dementia.”

Aside from the training, Rainaldi also conducts Medicare reviews, leads behavioral meetings, and formulates resident-centered care plans to serve each resident as an individual. The concern for each person is a unique consideration that is special to Sebo’s and Rainaldi’s approach to dementia care.

“We try to work with everybody as an individual,” Rainaldi said. “We are very diverse in our resident base, we’re very diverse in our staff base. And we really are open to all cultures, all religions...anybody who comes in here, we look at them as a total person.”

By treating each resident with respect, Rainaldi and his staff ensure an excellent quality of life for all of their residents. Rainaldi also makes it a priority to aid the families wherever needed. Because people are living longer and because families are becoming more involved with the care, it is necessary that families receive support as well. Rainaldi leads dementia support groups to help families understand the disease, and encourages everyone to treat those with dementia just like anybody else.

“I always tell people - don’t really treat people differently. If you have a joke, that’s not offensive, tell it to these people,” he encouraged. “If they don’t remember or if they remember something differently, just go with that because we can try very hard to bring them into our world and that can make them afraid of their own. So we really want to make some comfort for them in the world they’re in now.”

These are wise words from a very experienced and compassionate professional. As expected, this love and consideration extends beyond Rainaldi’s work life. With a daughter and three grandchildren in the area, Rainaldi spends much of his free time babysitting and attending soccer games. He lives in downtown Valparaiso where he can always find something interesting to do, and he has also enjoyed restoring his current home.

Rainaldi’s family-centered demeanor and commitment to others makes his residents and families feel right at home at Sebo’s, and you can too! To learn more about dementia care at Sebo’s Nursing and Rehabilitation, please visit their website.