What is your position at Courville?
Executive Director, Carlyle Place Bedford, New Hampshire.
Getting to know Jennifer:
Jennifer has been married for 20 years, and has a son who is a senior in high school and headed off to college in the Fall. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys camping, traveling and searching for new restaurants so she can try new foods. Jennifer also enjoys listening to music. Her husband and son are both in bands. With their love of music, Jennifer and her family recently got a new Amazon® “Alexa” and she decided to bring it into Courville to “wow” the residents. One time she asked a resident what their favorite song was, and then said, “Hey Alexa! Play ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water'”, and when the song started automatically playing, the residents couldn’t believe it!
How long have you been with Courville?
I’ve been with Courville for 10 years. I started as the Director of Nurses at Aynsley Assisted Living in Nashua and was in that role for six years. From there, I transferred to Courville Manchester where I was the Admissions Director for just over three years. I just recently moved into my new role as the Executive Director of Carlyle Place in Bedford.
What is one thing that stands out about Courville?
One thing I think people find attractive about our communities is that they are small and personal. Because we are privately owned, we have a continuity of staff – some staff members have been with us for several years. For 35 years, we’ve been privately owned – we were one of the first assisted living facilities in New Hampshire being founded in 1988, and now it feels like there’s a new assisted living facility popping up everyday, like a Dunkin Donuts®! In the end, we were one of the first and we’ve been doing assisted living care well for years. So, I think people trust us.
We’re also very family oriented, especially with our staffing. Several of the communities have mothers and fathers working with sons and daughters, as well as cousins who now work together. Most of us have been working at Courville for a long time. The families are used to seeing the same people whenever they come in for a visit, so you get to build that relationship.
If you’re talking to your friends about Courville, what is one thing you always mention about the facilities, the service, or the residents?
The keys to Courville are that we are small and personal, and we like to say “happy staff = happy residents.” We really do have a sense of family at our communities. Not just the families of residents, but our staffing family as well. We like to take care of the entire family, staff that works here are a family in a sense.
Can you think of any great/memorable/standout moments at Courville?
We had a Valentine’s Day dance a few years back. We even hired a DJ for 6-8pm, but we ended up asking him to stay an extra hour because we were all having so much fun. Everyone had a blast! Even the residents who are barely mobile, were up and dancing. We had families come in, and I really believe we improved their quality of life that night.
More recently, we had a couple (94 and 92 years old) who really wanted to stay in their home. We went to their home on a Saturday and talked to them, told them about the care they would receive and the community we have at Courville. They ended up moving in the following Tuesday. Their daughter came in to visit and made it a point to say that she was grateful and relieved to have her parents at Courville. Moving them helped to alleviate stress for the family, and provided the family support. That’s what we are all about here – we are big on supporting the families because we know that it’s often difficult to have to move a loved one. There’s a lot of guilt and fear involved, especially when roles are reversed, so to just be there as an educational support for families – I like that most about my job.
What do you think makes Courville unique?
Quality of care. A lot of settings are just aesthetically appealing, they have the beautiful state-of-the-art buildings and amenities but lack a lot of medical care features. On the flip side, when the medical piece is the focus, its more medicinal feeling, or like a hospital room and not a home. Our communities balance the more aesthetic/social model with a strong medical backbone. We have a quality medical team and beautiful facilities. Not many places can balance those two elements and Courville does it really well.
Any last thoughts or comments?
Besides the quality of care, safety is always paramount but, I want people to know that we have a good time here. We try to focus on quality of life. At this point for many of our residents, it’s not about the quantity it’s about quality. Savoring each and every day, and every moment, and living a full life – whatever that may be for each person. We work to include the family in that as well. We’re able to give residents back a sense of self a lot of times they lose when roles reverse. We want them to be the best person they can possibly be and a lot of that happens because a lot of things are in place and taken care of when they come to a Courville community. Even if its alleviating fatigue from just trying to make toast in the morning, we provided a supportive environment that allows residents to be their best self.