Meet Wyler Graft, CJL’s Activity Assistant at the Dementia Special Care Unit at Brudnick Center for Living
Born and raised in Woodland Hills, California, Wyler Graft spent two years traveling around the world, visiting 22 countries in total. She loved experiencing different cultures, meeting new people, and sampling local cuisines. Now settled in Nahant with Alex, her boyfriend of eight years, Wyler feels fortunate to be able to walk on the beach every day. In fact, she loves being outdoors in general. You will often find her walking, hiking, and playing sports such as basketball, soccer, and volleyball.
Wyler is grateful she’s able to work in a field that she enjoys immensely. We spoke with Wyler about her role in the Chelsea Jewish Lifecare organization and her inspiring work with our dementia residents.
Q. Why did you decide to work with seniors?
A. I was very close to my grandmother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at a young age. My mother, a nurse, devoted 15 years of her life taking care of my grandmother in our home. Her illness had a profound and enduring impact on me. The care, compassion, patience, and devotion that I witnessed from my mother inspired me to behave toward others with the same degree of kindness and respect. I saw, first-hand, how devastating the disease is not only for the individual, but for close friends, family members, and caretakers. As a result, I decided to study psychology, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Sacramento State University.
After graduating, I felt a desire to work with seniors, specifically seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s. I vividly remember my mom tried to keep my grandmother entertained and stimulated, finding creative activities to keep her mind busy and her spirits high. When I learned that an Activities position at the Brudnick Center was available, all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
Q. What stands out most about individuals living with dementia?
A. For me, the most rewarding aspect is developing connections and relationships with each resident. Breakthroughs such as smiling, singing, or talking makes me feel like I’ve cracked an age long code! As the care relationship grows, residents come to rely on you, trust you, and respect you. It’s such a special role to play in someone’s life. There is no population I would rather work with than individuals living with dementia. Most importantly, I feel honored to be a part of the DSCU.
Q. What do you like best about working in the Chelsea Jewish Lifecare organization?
A. Being part of the CJL Family provides me with the opportunity for education and growth. The team-oriented organization makes it easy for me to further my education by helping with licensing programs. Moreover, they are always willing to hire from within. I feel incredibly supported and equally challenged by my supervisors, which makes going to work every day a meaningful and rewarding experience. I believe I have found my calling, my purpose, and my joy. It’s a wonderful feeling.