November 25, 2022

Cedar Trails Senior Living Shares a Note of Gratitude

Category: Senior Living

Author: Sheila Gallagher, Interim Executive Director

As Cedar Trails reflects on the last year, we’d like to be thankful for all our fun moments! From restrictions of COVID to being voted “Best Assisted Living,” it surely was a great year. We’ve had some new families join us and others unfortunately leave us. It’s safe to say that we’ve enriched the lives of those at the community and the city of Freeburg.

This past year has been exciting for our residents and staff members. With all the struggles we see in the everyday world, our community was successfully able to build a stable and successful team. This allowed our residents to build amazing relationships with our staff members building a deeper connection than we have seen in the past few years.

It is so hard to believe another year has ended. We started the year with many COVID procedures and social distancing in place, but as the year went on, we were able to see fewer and fewer restrictions dictating our day. What a joy to be able to come together and share many events with family and friends.

2022 was a year to remember. We hosted plenty of events on-site, such as our Easter Egg Hunt back in April. It allowed a chance to have some people back in the community as we began to reopen the campus. As the weather warmed up, we had our exciting butterfly house in the summer, where we had a chance to watch the metamorphosis happen before our eyes. Our summer was wrapped up with a few exciting events.

Cedar Trails was voted “Best Assisted Living” in the area. We had a tremendous turnout by our management team, friends, and families of our residents. Approximately 100 people showed up for the celebration event resulting in an exciting time! The words of encouragement were rolling in from everyone for the incredible party we hosted.

We even had two residents turn 100 & 101, respectively. The parties on-site by the families were exceptional. One of them even had a chance to go to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game where she was shown on the jumbotron and interviewed on live TV! Lastly, one of our other events we held on-site was our annual Fall Festival. Again, we had tremendous participation from families as many residents had anywhere from a few family members show up to as many as thirteen family members! Once again, we had just north of 100 family members show up for said event.

It is hard to break down some of the top memories from this past year with residents and family members as there are so many to choose from. I think the best moment for myself and the team that works in Assisted Living and Memory Care was our Family Night. COVID hit all of us hard and even harder to our residents who were separated from their family and friends for so long. I decided to host a family night to invite all our families to a St. Patrick’s Day themed dinner. This was such a huge success and gave a great opportunity for our family members to mingle and meet our leaders inside the community and staff members they hear about so often. It was also a great opportunity for me to meet family members on a personal level, rather than through work. I truly believe building positive relationships with family members is so important in caring for their loved one. Sometimes we lose sight of that, and those relationships is something that I am very thankful for.

If I had to choose one more event in the past year that I am proud of it would be our trick-or-treat for the residents. For the past two years this has been an event that allows our residents to dress up in their favorite costume and invite their family and friends. It’s a great opportunity for family members to bring their children and spend some quality time with their loved ones and of course invite the grandchildren. I know this has a lot of meaning to our residents and families as it brings up fun memories from their past and gives them the opportunity to mingle with their friends in the community.

I remember how exciting it was when we were able to have family and friends come to the community for Happy Hour, it was so much fun. We had our first Wednesday Wellness in the main lobby and so many families mentioned to me how nice it was to see everyone gathering in the common area just like before COVID.

Our Fall Festival was such a blast with a full pig roast. The residents had so much fun looking at the pig as it was roasting. Our neighbors were all coming from the buildings to see what smelled so delicious.

Our Resident Services Team was on point this year, hosting our Annual Fall Festival along with other events. There is never has a dull moment and you’re able to feel the energy that team emits!

Our Culinary Team has helped tremendously in preparation of food for all our events. As we’ve transitioned to open brunches, they have not slowed down at all. We’ve had the highest participation of monthly brunches Arrow-wide. It’s a test of not only family involvement, but how truly delicious the food is. Within our culinary department, Richard Pointon, one of our Chefs, has been a vital team member in helping prepare and present for our events. Other key members of our culinary department include Deanna Dawe and Jodi Litteken. They have helped serve our families at all the events and have done nothing short of remarkable work.

Our housekeepers, Ladi Thicksten and Kellie Kleve, have made sure that our community is immaculate for all the events. They have done a truly remarkable job in the cleanliness of the community.

I don’t even know where to begin, we have some many strong leaders in our community. I would like to highlight our wellness team and their everyday effort they put in to ensure our residents are safe and have everything that they need. Tomesha and Shay stand out as great leaders who put our residents before themselves and give everything, they have day in and day out. There have been several times we have been short staffed, and they always seem to be there to give an extra hand.

I would also like to give a big thank you to Kim and David in our culinary team. They are always going above and beyond their duties for our residents. On top of that they have built such a great rapport with the residents that most of the residents would consider them part of their family.

I could go on and on about our employees, but I want each one of them to know that I am so grateful for what they do every day not only for the business but for our residents and the relationships they have built with them.

Cindi, our Wellness Director, has mastered the Wellness Wednesdays and has created an environment of education and conversation. Nick, our Culinary Director, and his team have given us so many fun and delicious meals and events, like the first annual pig roast and our candlelight dinner. Our care team and culinary team are second to none! We would not be the wonderful place we are without them. Allysen has given us fantastic resident and family events to enjoy. We are always thankful for our maintenance and housekeeping team who keep us clean and sparkling, Dan, Alice, and Jerijo.

Austin got us through the Best Place to Work Survey in record time with great results. We have been a “Best Place to Work” for three years in a row. We were also named by US New & World Report as “Best Place to Live” from a survey our residents and families completed.

This year we were able to utilize RPI therapy for all our resident’s needs. They’re one of the reasons why our residents can age in place so well. Another third-party company we were able to utilize this year was ProMedica Hospice. You can tell they truly care how to care for residents and families as their loved one is near end-of-life.

We have so many great partners in our community who are always here for us when we need it. I want to make a special shout out to Leslie and Miracle City Hospice. Their attention to detail and services they provide are unbelievable! What separates them from everyone else is their relationships they create with family members of the residents. End-of-life is always a tough topic to talk about with anyone but the way they involve family members in this process is a beautiful thing.

Dr. Lee and Nurse Practitioner Stacy have been amazing assets to the community, and we are very thankful for the great care they give to support our residents and community. Traditions Hospice has been the very best partner for our hospice residents; the love and care are outstanding. Fox is our very own in-house therapy and they have really given us great training and education to keep our residents as independent as possible.

Some of the exciting plans we have for the next year are our continued monthly brunches, Casino Days (hosted on-site), quarterly events, hosting of Chamber of Commerce meetings, and overall being more involved with the city of Freeburg, Smithton, and surrounding cities.

I think I am safe to say that next year we may be going back to normal after COVID. I am excited to build on everything we have accomplished so far this year and continue to add more events within the community and outside of the community. I am excited to give more opportunities to our residents with new community partners in therapy and home health.

As we look forward to next year our hope is to continue to do all the fun community things prior to COVID. We expect to see the restrictions continue to lessen. We are planning to have several family events so we can all be together sharing good time and great food.

Cedar Trails Senior Living in Freeburg, Illinois offers independent living plus, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include Essen Restaurant, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Peacefully located just southeast of the heart of Freeburg.

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Cedar Trails Senior Living

490 Urbanna Drive

Freeburg, IL 62243

Arrow Senior Living serves and employs individuals of all faiths, regardless of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age or handicap, except as limited by state and federal law.

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