Faith-Based Assisted Living Communities: How a Higher Calling Pushed Us Toward Higher Standards

Faith-Based Assisted Living Communities: How a Higher Calling Pushed Us Toward Higher Standards

COMMUNITY LIFE

Posted: October 22, 2021

St. Anthony’s has been around long enough to know we’re not the only senior living space in town. In fact, there are many great options in our wonderful community that offer care for those in this special phase of life. However, we also recognize that assisted living communities each have their own unique culture and philosophy. As for our community, we are unabashed in the way we lead with faith, focus, and relationship.

And in the same way, we can recognize plenty of great assisted living communities across the country, we can also note the dwindling number of faith-based senior living communities in and across our country.

We think this is unfortunate.

It’s nothing detrimental because “faith-based” or not, like we said above, we know there are plenty of great people fulfilling the work God has given them in their respective assisted living communities. But there is something special when you walk in the doors at St. Anthony’s. And for as subjective as that may seem, we’re actually able to say it because we have heard it from so many of our residents and their families.

 

About Our Home

“You can feel something different when you walk through these doors” is a humbling phrase we’ve heard, and it lets us know we’re on the right path—a path that God has given us to steward relationships, love others well, and encourage our residents in what it means to flourish at any age

A little background in what started us down that path? St. Anthony’s is sponsored by the diocese of Kansas City St. Joseph. Per our website:

“We welcome all faiths. We have a dedicated chapel. We have priests in residence and the Sisters of St. Anne, a healthcare Order from India working in our Assisted Living and Memory Care communities.”

Welcoming all faiths is integral to our mission, and we believe it’s a key component to what God has entrusted to us. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, we know every resident at St. Anthony’s is a child of God. That’s not the first thing many people think of when they consider assisted living communities. Many might think of an age population who is just moving onto an appropriate next step in retirement etc.

But what if our society started to reframe that notion? What if we all took a stance that really saw these residents as “children” who have life to give and joy to offer? That’s how we see it anyway, and it changes the way we go about our day-to-day business.

 

Honoring the Mission God Gave Us

Does any of what we described mean that every second of every day we’re discussing matters of faith with our residents? Not at all! We never want to come across as “pushy” as it relates to faith matters in our community.

Instead, we take a stance that most of what we do is sacred—even if it doesn’t take place in our chapel or alongside a chaplain.

  • Washing dishes? We prayerfully complete tasks like this with prayer and efficiency. Some might see menial chores as busy work, but we know there is so much to be said with completing our work with a focus each day.
  • Helping with laundry? Similarly, we want to honor and serve our residents well—from laundry to linens, one of the best ways we can spiritually serve them is to create a clean and comfortable living space.
  • High-quality facilities? Speaking of space, we know that one’s environment contributes greatly to mental and emotional well-being. We’ve taken many steps to ensure our residents actually enjoy their time in our building.
  • Quality conversation? Even if the conversation itself doesn’t center around matters of faith, we have some residents who just love to talk about life! We love listening and learning about their memories and dreams for life ahead.
  • Respecting privacy? We also have residents who are a little more introverted, and that’s OK too! “Reading the room” is something we strive for, and if someone is feeling a little off, we want to respect their privacy and space in the process.
  • Having fun? We think, more often than not, that laughter and play are ways that we can glorify God in our daily lives! From programming and planning, we have a detailed calendar of events our residents can participate in throughout the year.
  • Getting exercise? God has blessed us with a wonderful Brookside community to walk around and enjoy.
  • Inviting families of residents into our community?

That last bullet point is crucial for us as it relates to stewarding the relationships God has given us. The families we get to come alongside are such an added blessing of our work, and we know that fostering open communication with them, as they interact with their loved ones, is another spiritual component we don’t take lightly as St. Anthony’s. This point ultimately leads to a crucial faith-based quality we hope to implement every day . . .

 

The Importance of Relationships in Assisted Living Communities

Trust. That’s the word. God has entrusted us with a calling: to give freedom, purpose and peace of mind to those seeking an active lifestyle that will encompass the spiritual, medical, physical, emotional, intellectual, social, environmental and vocational activities.

There is a phrase: “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

The calling we just mentioned is the lens through which we care for others. In turn, over an extended period of time, we love building trust with each of our residents and their families. It’s how we approach excellence in everything we do and honor God’s call.

So although we can’t speak for other assisted living communities, we can speak for ourselves: at St. Anthony’s, our residents are more to us than just another individual. Our residents are living, breathing souls—children of God who deserve care that goes beyond the day-to-day grind of life.

Care that recognizes this brief life we’ve been given is only the beginning.

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