When was the last time you visited a nursing home? Before experiencing the sights, sounds and smells encountered when walking in, a code must typically be entered to unlock the front door. It's at that moment, an Arbor and Terrace visitor may realize, this isn't the typical nursing home.
The A & T has other amenities that also put them a cut above, proof in point being the new Life Enrichment Coordinator, Sheila Williams. The residents at A & T say she goes above and beyond what the average activities director has done with them in the past.
Williams began at the A & T as a patient care assistant in April 2011. She said when the opening came up in January for a new activities director, she leaped on it.
“I told Ms. Hart (A & T Executive Director) that I would be perfect for the job,” Williams said. “I already knew the residents and they knew me. I knew each of their diets, along with their other likes and dislikes.”
Hart said she looked over the applicants and decided William would in fact be perfect for the position.
“I think she's got a nurturing personality,” Hart said. “She goes above and beyond to make sure the residents here are happy.”
During dinner at the A & T, Williams makes it a point to walk around the grand dining room and visit with each resident. After everyone's eaten, the majority of them retire to their rooms, but there too is another feature that's unlike what the average nursing home offers.
Each of the residents who live in the Arbor, live in an apartment type setting. Walking inside is very similar to walking inside a two-room apartment.
A & T resident John Roan has been living in the Arbor for the past three years. He said he enjoys the games that Williams has shared with them.
“She's brought on board some new things that I've never done before,” Roan said. “We play the memory game and fun card games. It use to be the same thing everyday, but with her here, we're always doing something different.”
The Arbor is for seniors who can maintain the lifestyle they had before coming there to live, outside of working. The Terrace is for those who need extra care, in areas such as feeding and bathing.
Although the Terrace residents don't participate in the activities, Williams said she still finds time to go next door and visit them daily.
“I make sure that I see every resident who lives here, everyday,” she said. “I want to see with my own eyes that each one is doing okay. No one here is neglected.”
Lessie Clark lives at the Terrace, where up until January, she lived with her husband Jim., who owned Clark's Furniture in Bastrop for over 30 years. Jim was the one who needed extra assistance, so therefore he had to move from the Arbor to the Terrace. Lessie of course followed, being the couple who, after 69 years of marriage, claimed to be as in love as the day they married.
“I think Sheila is very sweet,” Clark said. “She was good to my husband Jim too. One time he had to go away for physical therapy and I didn't see him for six weeks. When he returned, Sheila came and woke me up early that morning and took me to get my hair and makeup done before he got here.”
Williams said she loves her job at the A & T and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
“I love the people here just like they were my own famiy,” Williams said. “I'm just where God wants me to be.”