“Residents Aren’t Customers, They’re Family” by Jessica

Sep 23, 2021 | Life At Sunset

I started working for Sunset in June of 2019. I started as a Dietary Aide for Assisted Living and Memory Care, and now I’m a Dietary Aide team leader and serve in the café.

Initially, I applied at Waterford because I live in Jenison and it was close to home. I knew Sunset was a local organization and the hours fit my needs as a single mom. I had no idea how much I’d come to love my job, my co-workers, and the residents I serve.

An Extended Family

I’ve gotten to know almost all the Independent Living residents here at Waterford Place. I know all their favorite menu items and their standing reservations at the café. There are quite a few residents I get to see every day, and I always make time to catch up with them. Carl comes to the café every morning and I look forward to cooking him breakfast and chatting. Rich comes in for a Sprite every afternoon and he and I have bonded. Another resident, Paula, has actually become one of my close friends! She is wonderfully supportive and sometimes goes out to dinner with my co-worker Linda and me.

I only mentioned a few by name, but there are so many residents I look forward to seeing! I do not have any living grandparents, so I have adopted all of them as my family. Their faith and prayers constantly lift me up, and I feel so blessed to be a part of their lives. I probably tell ten or fifteen residents I love them each day, and they say it right back!

Sharing Special Moments

Mealtime is such an important part of our everyday lives. It’s where we nourish our bodies for the coming day, catch up with friends, and celebrate meaningful moments with family. I try to make every meal a good experience for the residents I serve.

No two days in the café are exactly the same and I always come to work with a sense of excitement. I love being able to participate in special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. My favorite event each year is the Veteran’s Breakfast. They deserve to be celebrated all year round.

What Makes Sunset Different?

Working for Sunset has been a wonderful experience. The other staff and residents really do treat you like family and make you feel valued. I have great relationships with the rest of the food service staff and we work together seamlessly—which hasn’t always been the case at other places I’ve worked. I’d like to give a special shout-out to my café “partner in crime,” Linda.

Something I really appreciate is how Sunset prioritizes our time with the residents. I have a chance to check in with them every day and get to know them. It’s so much more than memorizing someone’s name or favorite order. Anyone who walks into the café isn’t just a customer, they’re family.

What does it take to work at a senior living community like Sunset? You should love talking to people and getting to know them. Everyone here is friendly and welcoming, so it really isn’t that difficult. If you apply, be prepared to make some special connections! I’m so thankful for the community here and the fellowship. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind place.