Each one of The Arbors Assisted Living Residential Communities is diverse. However, The Arbors at Stoughton is an example of how one community not only surmounted obstacles, but turned them into advantages.
A large number of area residents are Jewish, and many of the resident care assistants (RCAs) are from Haiti. It could have been a clash of cultures of epic proportions. Instead, RCAs and residents are learning to appreciate diversity and becoming a family.
Becoming a Family
“We focus on family. As a family-owned company, we really stress the importance of family involvement and that the resident’s family is also part of The Arbors family,” says Executive Director Carolyn Sandel, LICSW.
To meld these groups with disparate backgrounds into a family, The Arbors at Stoughton has staff members eat their meals with residents. Staff members actively participate in programs featuring travelogues and cultural histories related to their heritage. The ever-inquisitive residents enjoy learning more about the people they see every day.
“The RCAs are really excited about being pulled into the conversation,” says Brittany Ricketts, activities director at Stoughton.
“Our activity director has also served food from the different cultures. Our plan is to have more programs on the different cultures,” Carolyn remarks.
The exposure goes both ways: Because The Arbors at Stoughton offers Jewish programs around the Jewish holidays and celebrates shabbat every Friday, staff learn more about the heritage of residents.
That doesn’t mean other religions are left in the cold. Residents can pray the rosary every Wednesday and go to Mass on Sunday.
The eagerness to learn and reach out are hallmarks of the residents of Stoughton, whom Carolyn describes as independent. They enjoy trips to nearby attractions and entertainment in the courtyard. During the summer, residents play horseshoes, cornhole, and ladderball outside.
When the weather is cold, they’ll play cards and bingo, make crafts, and watch football on the giant TV.
One of their traditions is to bring cookies and thank-you cards to local fire departments and police stations as ways to show their appreciation for everything they do. Firefighters and police officers really enjoy the residents’ participation, Carolyn says.
The Arbors at Stoughton, responding to requests from residents and their children, are hosting medical services in the building. They include a medical clinic, eye doctor, and dentist. Carolyn hopes to add acupuncture, reiki, and other forms of complementary medicine soon.
If residents become ill, staff do everything they can to help.
“We are very proactive and ‘hand-holding’ with family members. When there is any change of a resident’s baseline or they’re hospitalized, we are constantly speaking to the family and helping them come up with solutions to get them back to their baseline and/or being creative to get them home with the services they need,” Carolyn explains.
While each Arbors community follows professional guidelines and standards, each community is unique, just as each community member is unique. Stoughton’s distinctiveness is part of what makes it a vibrant, active, and exciting place to live. The Arbors at Stoughton serves the communities of Stoughton, Canton, Sharon, Easton, Brockton, Avon, Randolph, Bridgewater and the surrounding area.