“Welcoming Residents Home” by Lynda

Feb 22, 2022 | Life At Sunset

I began working for Sunset in August 2006, just over 15 years ago. I started in Food Service, first as a waitress in the Manor and later in the Village dining room and the Café. I’d always wanted a job in an office, so when an Admissions Assistant position opened, I knew I had to give it a try. Sunset decided to promote me from within, and in October 2012, I officially became an Admissions Counselor.

Working For Sunset

Originally, I wasn’t sure if working as an Admissions Counselor would be a good fit for me, but I decided to give it a chance because it’s in my nature to want to help people. As I spent time getting to know our residents, I discovered how fulfilling it was to help them find their new home at Sunset, and I fell in love with my new role.

Building Relationships

Serving the Sunset community is near and dear to my heart, and I truly value the relationships I’ve been able to build with my coworkers and our residents. I’ve even made good friends with several of our residents’ daughters through the admissions process. We like to joke that we’ll have our own wing at Manor & Villages one day!

If you were to take a look around my office, you’d notice a number of treasured photos that I’ve taken with residents, and each picture holds a special memory. One resident in particular comes to mind, as she was on the waitlist at Manor & Villages but ended up moving into assisted living after her health began to decline. At first, she was skeptical of moving in, so to help her feel more comfortable, I found her a room with a wonderful courtyard view. The resident was so happy about her new home that she called it her “palace” and was sure to tell everyone about how I found her a new home.

Another one of our residents moved into Manor & Villages after her husband passed away. She’s a stroke survivor, and because of our special bond, she feels comfortable asking me to assist her with writing and sending cards to friends and family.

First-Hand Experience

I have a long history here, and I’ve gotten to know all the aspects of Sunset, from Food Service to Admissions. When the time came for my parents to move into an independent living community, there was no question about where they’d go—I honestly couldn’t do this job if I didn’t think my parents could live here. Instead of feeling like prisoners in their condo, they had the freedom to live, and after their move, my dad became his old self again: laughing, making friends, and just feeling happier overall.

Advice for Making the Move

As both a staff member and a family member, my biggest piece of advice for those helping a loved one move to senior living is to be an active participant in your parents’ life here. Dine with them, go to activities with them. Get to know their friends and neighbors, as well as the staff who take care of them. Enjoy being their child again instead of being their caregiver.

Getting to know their future community is especially important if your parent moves into assisted living or memory care, and it can help you become more comfortable with Sunset. I recently went through this myself when my parents moved into Reflections in 2021, so I know how emotional that time can be. Making memories with them here at Sunset has made the process a little easier, though, and I encourage you to do the same with your own loved ones.

A Legacy of Love

One of my favorite memories is when my grandson was born. While my parents lived in Independent Living at Manor & Villages, they would watch the baby every Friday. Waylon learned to crawl in the hallway of the café, and the waitresses and other residents loved him! He brought valentines for our residents on Valentine’s Day, and they referred to him as the “Mayor of Sunset.” Being raised by seniors for his first three and a half years taught Waylon an incredible sense of empathy, and he continues to have a heart for seniors at just five years old.