By Jackie Pope-Ganser, CADDCT, CDP, CDCS Executive Director, Carriage Crossing at Bloomington
When you determine that it’s time to start researching new living options as you age and decide the right move for you is Assisted Living, what do you think will be the deciding factor in choosing the right community? When you know you need a little extra support and want some freedom from all the details of managing your own home, what will you be looking for in your next home? Or if you are in need of more care, where you will have peace-of-mind knowing there will be nursing and support services around the clock, what other factors will help you make the best decision?
At Carriage Crossing at Bloomington, we know those services matter and they are our priority, but what really makes the difference, at the end of every day, is the people and relationships that are key to success and happiness in your new home. When you walk into our community, you immediately feel the warmth and family-like atmosphere because you are joyfully greeted by staff who know your name. Before you even get to the apartment to visit your loved one, it is not uncommon that a staff member is telling you about their participation in an activity or a special moment that they shared with them that day. And it is very likely that another resident, who has made a new life-long friendship with your loved one, will greet you and tell you about a puzzle that they worked on together or that they spent time visiting in the courtyard. How you feel when you walk into the community is what makes the difference and that is what guides our team in making it possible to fulfill our mission and help people continue to “Live the Life You Love.”
So, what does life really look like at Carriage Crossing? Before I even walk in the door to our community, usually I see families sitting on our front patio, smiling and laughing and enjoying their time together. If I turn my head to the left, I see a flag gently blowing in the breeze, reminding me that the pillar it hangs from is the entryway to a veteran’s apartment who proudly served his country in the Korean war. If I look to the right, I see a gentleman sitting across the way with his dog on a lead as he enjoys the fresh morning air. I see friends walking together on the sidewalks outside getting in a little exercise after they have finished their freshly prepared breakfast of eggs, sausage, and pancakes with warm maple syrup. This picture I see every day is a picture of family, it represents community, and it feels just like home.
Once inside our community, I am filled with pride to see exceptional care provided by extraordinary people.
At the concierge desk, there is a woman whose laughter is infectious, who is a retired school teacher and PTO president, now helping our residents make appointments for doctors, helping them fix their “not-so-smart” phones or simply listening to them and calming them when they share they are worried because their adult children are traveling out of town and they want them to make it home safely.
Walking along main street, I see a man who is stopped in his tracks at least a dozen times by residents who need a picture hung, a bulb changed in a lamp, a message cleared off the phone, or a long-legged spider removed from the corner of an apartment that got in after the farmer’s harvested the corn over the weekend. I see him jot down every request with attentiveness, even as he shares the successes of his granddaughter’s weekend hockey match with the residents because he wants to tell them how proud he is of her accomplishments.
Before I even get to my office door, I see a number of young ladies and gentlemen in scrubs working so hard to make sure residents are escorted to their apartments so they can get their morning medications or showers. I hear these care givers sharing stories of nursing school or parenting, getting advice from our residents because they know that our residents are mentors whose sage wisdom is not to be discounted. I see them working shoulder-to-shoulder with one another, coming up with a game plan to balance the care needs of the people they have grown to love, just like their own parents and grandparents.
As I walk through the commons area of our community, I see a mom of three telling a resident about a weekend visit to her daughter’s college campus as he helps her set up chairs for morning exercise class. Later, I see this same woman with ladies surrounding her asking if they can help set up for BINGO, always a favorite resident activity, more for the appeal of being together than for the prizes. She lets them, of course, because it gives them purpose, they get the opportunity to socialize and share time with friends. Everything that she does is with the thought of how to enrich their lives, and when they help, it feeds her soul too!
A little further into the community, I hear a resident softly playing the newly donated piano that sits in the corner of our chapel. We all secretly look in as we beam with pride knowing how important music has been in her life and that this little alone time can set the tone for the rest of her entire day. I see residents sitting near the fireplace playing Scrabble with a staff member, even if it just for a few minutes, because those are the moments that make a difference in someone’s day. I hear the sound of pool balls hitting one another as a culinary team member spends his breaktime with a resident in the billiards room, probably getting beat because that resident has a lifetime of experience to share. And I see a man receiving a delicious shrimp recipe from a resident who believes it would be a great addition to the menu. I love this because soon, I know he will honor her lifetime passion for cooking when it is served as a feature at an upcoming daily meal.
As I navigate further into the community, I enter “Moments,” our memory care area of the community and the sights bring so much joy. I see caregivers and nurses walking with residents, holding hands, and delivering care with a level of compassion that makes your heart swell. I see a woman whose only goal of the day is to make people “forget that they can’t remember.” She gets their daily paper set out on the dining room table so the residents have points of conversation. She gets watering cans ready for our resident gardener so he can safely tend to the raised bed gardens. She gets balance balls set up for drum circle music class and searches for just the right tune that will infuse them with energy as they reminisce and move to the beat of the song.
What I haven’t shared with you is how beautiful our Carriage Crossing community is, comfortably nestled on Bloomington’s east side with views of cornfields and beautiful sunrises. Nor have I told you about our services and amenities; all the unique spaces in our commons area; our beautifully land-scaped courtyards; our activities and partnerships with organizations throughout our cities; or our bright, open dining areas where residents enjoy chef-inspired meals every day. Carriage Crossing at Bloomington has all of those amazing features as well, but at the end of the day, it’s the people that make the real difference. The people—staff, residents and families—all together working collaboratively, to help each individual continue to “Live the Life You Love.” That is community, that is family, that is what we call home.
Carriage Crossing Senior Living at Bloomington proudly offers exceptional care in Assisted Living and Memory Care to older adults in their welcoming community at 1402 Leslie Drive, Bloomington, IL 61704. “Live the Life You Love” while having enrichment opportunities, supportive services, and the security you need to feel confident in your new home. For information or to schedule a tour, please call Amy Agee, Community Relations Director, at 309-603-2500 or visit carriagecrossingsl.com to learn more about our communities across central Illinois in Bloomington, Champaign, Arcola, Rochester, Decatur, Taylorville, and Paris.
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