26 December 2017
Written by JUSTIN MUSZYNSKI
BRISTOL – Shady Oaks assisted living center provides strong nursing in a cozy, caring and loyal home.
“And by strong nursing, we mean that we’re able to help people all the way through no matter how much their care needs increase,” said Tyson Belanger, owner and executive director of the 24-apartment center, at 344 Stevens St.
“By cozy, we mean we provide our care in a homey, comfortable, apartment-like community,” Belanger continued. “By caring, we mean that we respect our residents and support their families just as we would for our own family members. And by loyal, we mean that we’ll do anything we can to help each resident with their personal happiness in whatever personalized way they want their care given.”
Belanger’s parents built Shady Oaks in 1976, and he has since bought the facility and devoted himself to running it and caring for the residents. He said assisted living is a “smart alternative to a nursing home,” mainly because residents are living in an environment like the one they have grown accustomed to their entire lives.
“Nursing homes can sometimes have a hospital feel,” Belanger said, adding that only five percent of Shady Oaks residents ever have left the facility because they needed more care.
The quality care provided at Shady Oaks is reflected in surveys given to family members of the residents. Of 67 people who answered a survey, every one of them agree that the facility has strong nursing, and would recommend it to a friend. And all but one agreed that Shady Oaks is very loyal to residents and provides a cozy home.
Residents at Shady Oaks also get the benefit of getting to know staff members who work there for the long haul. For example, the supervising nurse has been there for more than 25 years, and the certified nursing assistants, on average, remain at the assisted living center for more than four and a half years.
In addition to long-term care, where Shady Oaks excels, the center also offers $8 an hour day care and respite care for families that go on vacation or out of town for a week or two. Both of the latter services have limited availability.
Belanger is a hands-on executive director and owner, living in the home right next door to the center. He personally handles matters anytime there’s an issue, and knows all the residents by name. He also helps residents apply for VA benefits and the Connecticut Pilot Program, both of which can help pay for assisted living.
Belanger’s knowledge of the industry and his willingness to help residents personally has contributed much to the great reputation Shady Oaks has in the community, which is reflected in the waiting list the center has had since July. Most of the 38 residents living there are from Bristol, but in recent years the center has seen residents from as many as 45 different towns and cities in Connecticut.
A waiting list, Belanger said, “is unusual in assisted living,” but people from all over seem to prefer Shady Oaks over other assisted living centers. For more information about Shady Oaks, visit its website at shadyoaksassistedliving.com.
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