Aim to make assisted living facility feel like home, and like family
While her occupation since 2012 has been serving as activities director at Ashton Manor Assisted Living and Memory Care, Trudy Lopez doesn’t see her work with its residents as a job.
“We’re all one big family,” Lopez said. “A family, a community, inside one big house. It’s a rewarding life we have here with them because you become so close to them.”
Her outlook is shared by other members of the Luling facility’s staff and leadership team who each spoke of their roles at the senior living community as more of a calling or vocation than prototypical job.
“I feel like God has me here for a reason,” said Deshinae Petetant, Director of Health and Wellness. “You get so attached to the residents. They teach you in nursing school to not get attached, but we break rules here.”
The facility represents a collaborative effort to provide customized assistance that’s optimal for each individual resident.
Residents who require minimal assistance with day-to-day life can enjoy a feeling of independence akin to living at home, without the chores and hassles of managing a household. Meanwhile, residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia are provided with higher levels of care and security, including individualized programs that enrich their lives and enable them to function at their highest possible level.
“I feel the need to give back to (the elderly) because they’re the ones who raised us and brought us into this world,” said Executive Director Stephanie Maxwell. “They cared for us and guided us into adulthood. Now they’ve reached their golden years, and I think it’s highly important to pay them the respect they truly deserve.”
The facility is not a nursing home, Maxwell noted, but a place to live where assistance is provided along with a plethora of diverse benefits to enjoy. The community features a large, beautifully decorated living room, as well as an inviting family-style dining room with wait service.
Residents have at their disposal a fully equipped multi-purpose recreational room, beauty salon, barbershop, sun porch, ice cream parlor, courtyard and winter garden. Activities can range from card games to painting to the enjoyment of regularly scheduled concerts by visiting musicians, among much more. The experience is an evolving one, as well: residents hold a monthly meeting to discuss and submit their own feedback, noting their likes, dislikes and suggested changes.
While it can be difficult for families to make the decision for a member to move into assisted living, Maxwell said her team’s goal is to make it a worry-free and attractive option that is even best made sooner rather than later.
“We want them to experience the full benefits we have here … delicious food prepared by our dieticians and chefs, fun events, activities and socialization … a wonderful experience, and sometimes if you wait, you can’t get that fully,” Maxwell said.
The facility is fully enclosed and secure for safety, though the residents and their family members have a code to admit themselves to the building – there are not rigid or set visiting hours.
“When you’re at your house, you don’t need to call and set it up, you pop in, you come and go,” Lopez said. “We want them to feel like this is just one big house.”
Ashton Manor is located at 270 Ashton Plantation Blvd and can be reached at (985) 785-8288.