By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
When Dana Hill was a kid in her native Russellville, Alabama, her favorite people in the world were her grandparents. Though much of their time in the summer was spent working in the garden, there was nowhere else she’d rather be than listening to her grandpa spin yarns while they all shelled beans sitting in the swing under the old oak tree. As her grandparents aged and needed help navigating life, Dana became their advocate. She also became their caregiver, and told me that her grandparents’ journey is what caused her to realize her true calling. Being able to care for them was her joy and purpose, and it also made her wonder what life was like for seniors who had no one to look out for them.
Dana has spent several years in the senior care and assisted living field, and when the Executive Director Position at the lovely new Traditions Senior Living facility on Hwy 72 near Lindsey Lane became available, she knew she was “home.” Traditions Senior Living, according to their COO Wes Bartlett, “was born out of a desire to create a truly unique living experience, shared equally by residents, families and employees. We chose the name Traditions purposefully as it creates a responsibility on our behalf to honor the values, culture and distinct characteristics of the local communities we serve. Our philosophy is simple--treat others with respect, know our residents and employees as individuals, and create unique living and working experiences that draw us closer and keep people coming back. Our goals are to have fulfilled and extremely happy residents, 100% satisfied families, long-tenured staff, and a lot of fun along the way.” I know that the idea of “family” is bandied about a lot these days, but I knew that when Dana described the residents and staff as being family, she meant it.
I was taken on a tour, and one of the first things that “grabbed” me was the display on the wall of some of the best historical pictures of life in old Athens that I have ever seen. There is a gorgeous, sweeping staircase to the second floor, an elegant dining room, and a bistro with a fireplace where residents love to play cards, work puzzles or just visit. There are a number of comfortable common areas, as well as a private dining room, where families can celebrate a special occasion; a marvelous grand piano (which I had the pleasure to play); and a movie room decorated with old movie posters such as Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Gentleman’s Agreement. Movies are shown several times a week and church services are streamed on Sundays.
The apartments are beautiful and comfy, and are configured to be studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units. There are also 12 independent-living patio homes, which are currently under construction. These are expected to be ready for occupancy in February 2018. There is no long-term contract, and Tradition’s all-inclusive pricing takes the worry out of budgeting as care needs increase. With regard to the financial structure, there are no buy-in fees, long-term leases, or hidden costs. The monthly rental is based on the size of apartment selected and includes all utilities (except phone and cable), personal care and nursing services, activity programs, housekeeping, and maintenance. Here is a further description of some of the amenities offered by Traditions:
Private or semi-private rooms or suites
24-hour personal care available
Medication assistance is available
Assistance with dressing, bathing, grooming, and personal hygiene
Social, recreational, and educational programs
Dining hours meant to be conducive to resident’s schedules
Breakfast is available 7 a.m.-1 p.m., lunch is available 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and dinner is served between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., at the resident’s leisure
Transportation to local appointments, social events, and shopping
Laundry, linen, and light housekeeping services
Kitchen pantry, dining room, and lounge on each wing
Beauty salon and barber shop
Activity room, fitness room, and outdoor courtyards
On-site physical, occupational and speech therapy
Safety-monitoring systems in every room
24-hour nursing personnel on duty
One of the services that I found so comforting is the “philosophy,” if you will, toward doing laundry for the residents. Michelle, my tour guide told me that Traditions purposely chose not to get commercial washing machines and dryers so that doing laundry is done for each individual resident, in the manner that laundry is done in every home. “Every load is done separately, and clothing is never mixed. We also use Tide Pods because we want them to have the best,” she said. Interestingly, this is one of the things the residents appreciate the most.
Traditions has an activity schedule that is full and well-rounded. There are brain games, exercise classes, trips to the library, store, church, Wii games, a Book Club, crafts, movies, and the ever-popular bingo. All in all, it is a place that is an asset to our community and our families. Call today for a tour or to speak to a staff member to see if Traditions is right for you or your loved ones.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner