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January 15, 2017

Update on Renovations & Wellness at Shady Oaks Assisted Living in CT

Dear Shady Oaks Community,

We have made great progress.  In my 15 June letter, I described my family’s transition.  My parents retired.  My brother, his wife, and their two children moved to Florida.  I stepped up.  I bought Shady Oaks and began serving as Executive Director.  In that letter, I promised several efforts.  This letter offers an update.  We kept our promises, and we have an exciting future.

Our key recent effort has been renovations.  We installed bright new insulated windows.  We landscaped our border with emerald green arborvitae.  We remodeled our business office.  We refreshed two resident rooms.  We replaced four common room chairs with power lift chairs.  We installed high speed public Wi-Fi hotspots (oak1, oak2, etc.) with the password “cozyhome”.

Looking ahead, we have several planned renovation projects.  We will soon install an interior elevator.  This will unite our main and garden level resident communities.  Next, we will consider new Wi-Fi call-light systems for a quieter home and increased resident safety.  In the Spring, we will develop our patios and courtyards for resident enjoyment of our outdoor spaces.

An additional recent key effort has been advancing resident wellness.  To lead this, we hired John Parent in a new full-time position and gave him with a strong budget.  John has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, a Master’s Degree from Hartford Seminary, and a license as a Certified Nurse Assistant.  He has a great soul.  We are grateful he joined our community.

John is leading a dramatic increase in personal engagement and activities.  He visits residents one-on-one for companionship and to help with personal requests.  As requested, we now have Wednesday games of Trivial Pursuit and two days for Bingo.  Plus, John coordinates weekly Communion with Rinette Cyr from St. Gregory’s Church. 19 residents now participate.

John also plans seasonal events and entertainers.  For Halloween, we carved pumpkins, got dressed in costumes, and hosted trick-or-treaters.  For Thanksgiving, a nature center brought in two owls and a red-tailed hawk.  For Christmas, we trimmed a tree and hosted young carolers.  Beyond the holidays, we are hiring, on average, one professional entertainer every two weeks.

At our core, Shady Oaks is a cozy assisted living home with skilled nursing.  Shade is for comfort.  Oak means strength.  We are more cozy and medically committed than other assisted living homes.  We are a smart alternative to 24-hour home care and nursing homes.  We are in demand.  As of 15 December, we only have one available single resident room.  I feel grateful to our residents, families, and staff.  To everyone in our community, I wish you happy holidays.

Very Respectfully,
Tyson Francis Belanger