Clark Meadows Chums
By Andrea Deckert Daily Messenger freelancer
Appeared in The Daily Messenger, December 2019. MPNNOW.com: Posted Dec 5, 2019 at 12:02 AM
CANANDAIGUA — Lynne Standish (photo on right) knows change is never easy. She also knows everyone could use a good chum.
That’s why Standish developed the Chums group at Clark Meadows at Ferris Hills. The group serves as a welcoming committee to those moving into the enriched living community, with the purpose of helping with the life transition.
“We don’t want anyone to feel like the new kid on the first day of school,” said Standish, who handles sales and marketing duties for Clark Meadows. “We want to create a welcoming environment and make the transition as easy as possible.”
Clark Meadows provides enriched living to senior citizens, ages 55 and older. An enriched housing program is one of three models of assisted living in New York and is a state-licensed adult care facility providing long-term residential care.
Residents can choose studio or one-bedroom apartments. Services range from 24-hour help with daily tasks and medication management to daily meal options, housekeeping services and recreational programs.
Each new resident is assigned a Chum. Chums can also meet with future residents and their family members prior to moving in, or even those who are still deciding if it the location is right for them.
In fact, it is not uncommon for residents, or their families, to tell Standish the Chum group meeting was a key factor in their decision to move to Clark Meadows.
While Standish can tout the benefits of living at Clark Meadows and give reasons as to why someone should choose to move in, it is different hearing it from someone who already lives there.
“It’s a good way to get the scoop,” Standish said.
In addition to lunch together when a new resident arrives, Chum duties range from assisting with introductions to helping a new resident get acclimated to one’s surroundings. Chums can let them know where the café, fitness center and mail room are located, as well as reviewing the weekly calendar with them to determine what upcoming activities a new resident may enjoy.
There are five current Clark Meadow Chums: Corrine Barnett, Dr. Al Ginkel, Margaret Hanover, Sylvia Markowitz and Beverly Rawlings. Each wears a name tag that denotes their status as a Clark Meadows Chum.
Rawlings is the newest Chum, having joined the group in April.
“I like helping people and always enjoy saying hello,” Rawlings said of her decision to join the group.
Helping others is a common theme among Chums’ members, as is an outgoing and friendly demeanor.
Hanover recalls how welcome the Chums made her feel when she moved to Clark Meadows roughly 1-1/2 years ago, and she wanted others to feel just as welcomed.
She says the questions she often gets from families and potential residents are the same ones she had herself, from practical ones like what’s the routine and what medical staff are available on-site to more personal ones such as how’s the food and is it easy to make friends.
Ginkel said the group has benefits for not only new residents, but for Chums as well.
“I’m not always good with names, but once I’ve met you as a Chum I will know your name forever,” he said.