It takes a team of dedicated staff to carry out Brandywine Living’s mission, and they do it exceptionally well. Sherry Sullivan, the Executive Director at Brandall Estates, had the opportunity to meet with Atlantic County Woman to share her journey on working in the senior living industry. The one remaining constant was that it always included working with the senior population. Now, as the Assisted Living Administrator at Brandywine Living at Brandall Estates, she is fulfilling her life’s purpose and dream.
ACW: Tell us about your current position as an assisted living administrator.
Sherry: There are no two days that are ever the same. After receiving my license in 2012, I began working at Brandywine Living at Brandall Estates. It’s the best job I have ever had, and here’s why: I get to use all of my experience from the past 28 years, and still learn something new every day. I am responsible for the overall operations of the community; everything from the clinical services to plant operations, to budget management to regulatory compliance. There are challenges as well as abundant rewards.
ACW: How does a loved one decide if their family member is ready for assisted living?
Sherry: Some of the pillars of assisted living are choice, independence, and dignity. This philosophy cuts to the idea that it should be the resident’s choice to move into assisted living. Many of our inquiries are from seniors who are planning ahead for their own future. They want to continue to make their own decisions for as long as they are able. Of course, there are circumstances in which a family member may be the first to realize that assisted living is necessary. This is often the case for those with memory impairments.
“It takes a team of dedicated staff to carry out our mission, and they do it exceptionally well. To have the privilege to watch that happen and engage with these seniors every day is my passion.”
ACW: What sets Brandywine Living at Brandall Estates apart from other assisted living communities?
Sherry: Our inherent focus on hospitality is second to none. Upon entering the front door, new visitors are always surprised at how beautiful our community is. It really presents like a grand hotel rather than a health care facility. We offer All-Day Dining with over 25 daily menu choices served in an elegant restaurant setting. I think the quality of life that we offer our residents through our Escapades… for Life! programs is unparalleled. Our residents are vibrant, full of life, and we keep them busy from morning until after dinner every day. Some of their favorite programs are Fun, Fit, & Fabulous, Karaoke Knights, Trivia Quest, and everyone’s favorite- Happy Hour and Center Stage every Friday afternoon. It’s jam-packed with folks enjoying beer or wine and appetizers while singing along and dancing to live entertainment. Many family members also join us and it’s a great time.
ACW: What is the most rewarding part about your profession?
Sherry: I love the educational process of showing people what we do and how we do it. Residents who were at home, socially isolated or in need of care, thrive once coming here. When a family member says to me, “I can’t believe my mom is so happy. I haven’t seen her like that in years!”, it’s very satisfying. As the first licensed assisted living community in Atlantic County, Brandywine opened its doors in 1997 and much of the original staff is still there. With licensed nurses all day and night (on-site) every day of the year, residents and their loved ones can rest assured that if something is needed, a nurse will handle the situation. Sherry adds, “For those residents that need help with medication administration, it is all performed by licensed nurses, as opposed to aides serving as medication technicians.” Although the decision to enter an assisted living facility is never easy, it can vastly improve the overall quality of life for the individual. Finding the right facility is the key!
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