By MARGARET BLOHM
For the Times-Herald
DEARBORN — Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that bring the most joy. For women residents in the memory care living area of Beaumont Rehabilitation and Continuing Care in Dearborn, it’s a young man who takes time to gently polish their nails — giving them a choice of colors, special designs and even polka dots.
According to Angela Gielow, Beaumont recreation therapy supervisor, it’s no surprise that Darius Harris, the young man who polishes nails, lifts the spirits of everyone he meets, including residents, their family members and staff.
“Darius has such great energy about him,” Gielow said. “He’s positive, fun, hilarious and a hard worker. I could say at least 400 great things about him. His energy is contagious.”
Harris joined Beaumont as an activities assistant in February and recently was promoted to activity coordinator for residents in memory care.
“I’m new to memory care, but there’s something fascinating about it,” said Harris, who credits his mother, a retired nurse, for his interest in health care and working with older adults and people with disabilities.
Raised in Indianapolis, Harris moved to Michigan when he received a full scholarship from Eastern Michigan University to study speech and debate. Following graduation in 2016, he worked at a rehab center in Ann Arbor, helping patients with their daily living needs and working in the activities department.
“I was excited to learn about the opportunity here,” Harris said. “I really hope to further my education through Beaumont in this field.”
Working in memory care, Harris spends time helping residents with arts and crafts, playing jazz and easy listening music, telling stories and helping them act out stories.
“I’ll ask them to imitate their parents and things their parents used to say,” he said. “It’s amazing how they respond.”
When asked about polishing residents’ nails, Harris replied, “I love to draw and paint. I used to paint my mom’s nails. It gives them, and me, a sense of comfort. It’s like having a spa treatment.
“The women are happy to show off their nails to family members and friends and tell them about the nice young man who painted them.”
Their smiles say it all.