If you are looking for a safe, secure living environment for your spouse or parent who needs some extra help and care, you no doubt have many concerns—and probably just as many emotions. It’s not an easy decision to make.
The best way to get a feel for any place you might be considering is to visit in person and talk with the staff and residents there. Though, if you’re just getting started in your search, you’ll want to narrow down the possibilities before you start arranging visits.
While you’re here on our website, you can learn all about the full continuum of care that’s available at Penrose Harbor, including the innovative approach we take to providing that care. You can also explore our photo galleries to see what our suites and common areas look like. Naturally, it’s helpful to have that kind of information as you begin to shape your opinion of our community.
What might be equally (or even more) helpful is to hear from a couple of our dedicated staff members about what it’s like here. After all, these are some of the people who will be caring for your family member on a daily basis. Then, should you choose to visit us, know that you are welcome to talk with any of our staff or residents who live and work here. In fact, we encourage it.
In the meantime, let us introduce you to Ashley and Kylin, who care for residents in our assisted living and memory care living areas, respectively.
Penrose Harbor Staff Testimonial #1
Ashley: “I’ve Always Loved Helping People.”
Ashley has been with us since our early days. As a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and med tech in our assisted living area, she ensures that residents receive their medications as prescribed, monitors them for potential side effects, and helps them with grooming, meals and other routine activities, as needed.
Many times, she’s also a companion.
“We go for walks, and a lot of the ladies like to sit in the dining room, so I’ll sit and drink a cup of coffee with them and chitchat. A couple of the ladies like to have their nails done,” she said.
Ashley explained that even as a child she would socialize with neighbors and try to find ways to help them. After earning her certifications, she worked in the emergency room at the hospital. However, she said that wasn’t really what she was looking for. Once she started working in senior living communities, she found that she enjoyed that a lot more.
“I felt like that was just where I belonged.”
When asked about her favorite part of working at Penrose Harbor, Ashley said, “Honestly, just coming to work and getting to socialize with people and see everybody. They always say try not to get too attached, but you really can’t help it. You know, day in and day out, they’re like your family. You can’t help but develop that relationship with them.”
Having worked as a CNA for about 15 years, Ashley has had plenty of experience at other places that provide assisted living services.
“This is the first place I’ve worked where I really feel like management is absolutely there for the employees, as well [as the residents],” she said. “Tristan [the health services administrator at Penrose Harbor] comes around every morning to say, ‘Hey, are you doing OK? Is there anything I can get for you?’ Even when he couldn’t come over to check on us, he would call to see if there was anything he could do.”
A happy staff typically means happy residents. Ashley notes that it’s always a good idea when visiting an assisted living or memory care provider to notice whether the staff seems content to be working there. If not, it could be a sign of an underlying problem.
The quality of the food is something else to pay attention to when evaluating a potential new home for your family member. Ashley gives the food at Penrose Harbor two thumbs up.
“I think our dining staff is amazing,” she said. “The food is really good. I eat it all the time, and I wouldn’t say that about just any food, either. They really try to get creative. One of our chefs, Tally, makes some awesome desserts. At Easter, she made these really cute pancakes.”
“Lots of times when I get off work, I’ll order a bunch of food to take home so I don’t have to cook,” she added. “My kids love it!”
Her advice for anyone who is considering Penrose Harbor for a loved one is to “come in and take a look around for yourself. I can tell people all day long how great it is, but that’s just my word. But if they come in and take a look, I think they would love it.”
“I love working here,” she said. “It’s honestly a good place for people to come. They’re going to get the best care. And the staff really are there for them. They really are.”
Penrose Harbor Staff Testimonial #2
Kylin: “We Don’t Just Look At The Resident. We Look At The Whole Picture.”
Kylin, one of our newer staff members, joined us in August 2020. Like Ashley, Kylin is a CNA and med tech, but she takes care of residents in our memory care area.
A fan of medical shows on TV since childhood, Kylin said she knew at an early age that she wanted to do “something along those lines.” Then, when Kylin was 14 or 15, her grandmother developed dementia, and Kylin started helping her out around the house. Then, when her grandmother moved into an assisted living community, Kylin spent a lot of time visiting her and helping her there.
“That’s how I stepped into this world,” Kylin said.
The best part of being at Penrose Harbor for Kylin is “the real intimate relationships that we form with our residents,” she said. “We experience raw, real emotion with them … and funny moments, too, that you’re only going to experience when you spend 40 hours a week with them.”
“We’re like one big family,” she added. “I love them as much as I loved my own grandmother.”
Like Ashley, Kylin also had previous experience before she started at Penrose Harbor.
“One thing that I have noticed about Penrose Harbor as opposed to other places I’ve worked is they really take pride in having one-on-one interactions with the residents. Finding activities that they like, individually,” she said. “The activities department is amazing. They spend a lot of one-on-one time with the residents. They’re really good at fine-tuning what each person really enjoys.”
Now that warmer weather is here, Kylin said they’ll be doing a lot of gardening, which a lot of the memory care residents really love. Volunteers from the activities department also go outside with residents who want to take longer walks out in front of the building and will spend an hour or so “chitchatting.”
“Just being in the sunshine, it’s so important for their psycho-social health—especially living in Washington,” she said. “We have big speakers we can take out so they can listen to music,” she noted.
Music is popular inside, too. Kylin said she “puts on YouTube and we sing classic songs.”
She also mentioned iN2L, a technological solution developed specifically to engage older adults in communities like ours. It’s a big part of the activities programming here at Penrose Harbor.
“It has basically every activity you could ever imagine,” she said. “There’s games, church services, yoga, life and wellness, all sorts of things.”
Something Kylin said she really appreciates about Heron’s Key and Penrose Harbor is that residents have access to whatever level of care they need. She said the staff is watchful for early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among the residents in assisted living. Should the situation call for it, they can move over to memory care and receive the care they need.
“They say [to prospective residents], ‘If you decide to live here, you will be taken care of for the rest of your life,’” she said.
“We have an amazing social worker, and hospice services, palliative care if they need that, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, everything.”
Kylin said that if she had the opportunity to talk with people who are considering Penrose Harbor, she would tell them “just how amazing it is here, and how we don’t just look at the patient. We look at their life, environmental factors, everything. … It’s important for them to know that they have mental and physical support all the way around.”
Ready To Learn More?
If our staff testimonials have motivated you to find out more about assisted living, memory care and the other types of services available at Penrose Harbor, give us a call at (877) 770-5126.
Another option is to schedule an in-person or virtual tour. Either way, we’re here to answer any questions you may have. We want you to be able to make the best possible decision.