Our found family is diverse, imperfect, and loving in every single way.

Cultures of Caring

What do you find when you start to look closely at assisted living communities? You find a treasure trove of love, kindness, and caring.

During National Assisted Living Week, I produced a campaign to share the joys, celebrations, and greatness of the people that make up our communities. I asked the administrators of our 20 senior living communities to send me photos, wisdom from their residents, and examples of what living in assisted living can really be like. When we looked at what they were sending and sharing on Facebook–we were overjoyed at the beautiful people caring for one another everywhere we looked.

Employee appreciation day at Sun Oak in Citrus Heights, CA

Caring for employees So often senior living companies call their employees “caregivers”. But, who cares for them? We believe that caring is a reciprocal relationship–that the care team and the elder are in a partnership to care for one another. Where one perhaps benefits from physical support, another benefits from emotional support or wisdom earned through many years of life experience.

PT_grandparents day family photo.jpgCaring for family
Families of elders living in our communities are often providing the hands-on care until mom or dad move into a supportive living environment. That’s when assisted living can really support families–by taking care of the daily needs so they can get back to having a relationship with the elder. Throughout the week, we saw many moments of caring for the families that have become part of our reciprocal care culture.


Caring for furry friends

SO_pet daySeveral of the communities recognized the role that furry family members play in our lives through events such as fundraisers to care for homeless pets and bring your pet to work day.  They are the companions that never complain, love unconditionally, and provide that unexplainable emotional care that only a pet can provide.

Elder participating in the Relay for Life in Florence, Oregon at Shorewood Senior LivingCaring for the community
It never ceases to amaze me at how much energy the elders and employees have for giving back to their communities. Alzheimer’s Walk fundraisers, homeless pet fundraisers, school supply drives, Boys’ and Girls’ Club support–the list goes on and on for the causes that our communities support to not only stay connected but care and love the communities that have loved them.

Caring for eldersouting at Carolina Assisted Living in Appleton, Wisconsin

And, of course, we can’t forget the elders that are at the core of what we do. During this week, the demonstrations of love and care for the elders that we learn from and feel loved by was overflowing. And, our teams gave back as much as they could through massages, parties, happy hours, dances, and recognition that we make up this family brought together by a common circumstance. And, have become much more than that.

Thank you to everyone that makes every day a culture of caring day!

Take a look at the week in review here.

About the Author:  

Photo on 9-7-17 at 4.53 PM

Amira T. Fahoum is the Director of Marketing and Director of Operations, Northwest Region for Compass Senior Living located  in Eugene, Oregon. Her path to senior living started when she simply decided to be open to possibilities in life. Possibilities are what led her to what is now a career in serving elders and families. Possibilities also led her into the world of becoming a Certified Eden Associate, Certified Validation Worker, Levels I and II, and a licensed Assisted Living Administrator in Oregon. On her journey with Compass, she has found true reward in working with, and for, the people that care for others.

Thanksgiving of Goodness and Gratitude

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer

Today I am celebrating all the previous moments of goodness and joy in my Compass Senior Living Family.   Gratitude is a wonderful way to grow more beauty into our lives!

When I look back 3 years ago when Compass Senior Living was first formed, there were just four of us, and we were attracted to the possibility of working together to build a company with authentic leaders and a common purpose. Our core values have continued to be paramount in all of our decision-making, as we have committed to maintain a focus on our ‘True North,” which is goodness.

Our decisions have been guided by our core values – goodness, loyalty, faith and fun. It has been humbling to see that this clear direction and focus on what is right, and proper, and good  has attracted incredible leaders, investors, partners, care team members, families, and residents to join Compass Senior Living on our journey.

As we have grown with grace over the past 3 years, our Compass Senior Living family is honored today to serve almost 700 elders and their families.

Goodness and Gratitude.  That is how I would describe the journey these past three years.  I think I speak for the rest of our team when I express our deep gratitude to our President, Dennis Garboden, and Vice President, Will Forsyth for having the faith to begin again – and inviting us to innovate, create, and celebrate this adventure! Thank you Dennis and Will, for “rekindling the spark, and lighting the flame” within us!

As a gift to you today, I have been transcribing some of our resident’s audio clip stories for our Tiny Stories project, and have two to share.

We are building a ‘Tiny Stories’ library to preserve the voices and the legacies of the awe-inspiring elders we have the opportunity to get to know and learn from.  I will let you know when the library is complete, and when all the stories from our communities are posted.

This Thanksgiving week I thought it fitting that I share the audio clips of  Ruby Sims tiny stories.   Her voice and her laughter express  gratitude  that  is a joy to hear. 

Ruby Sims – Resident at Marla Vista Gardens, Green Bay Wisconsin

About Ruby:   Ruby  moved to Green Bay from Berlin, Wisconsin but she was born in Winner, South Dakota. She attended school in Chamberlain, South Dakota and has one year of college. Her past occupations were: piano teacher, bridal seamstress and a sales associate at Sears. She has two daughters named Melody and Joy.  She also use to play the trumpet. She enjoys gospel, oldies and folk music. Her favorite singer is Frankie Valli and her favorite movie is the The Sound of Music. She crochets and one great achievement is that she crocheted 500 baby hats for Meriter Hospital; she received an award for this.


ruby“Well I grew up in the state of South Dakota, and I had a couple of brothers and a couple of sisters. My mother was a very lovely woman. I am very thankful for the parents that I had. Very thankful for the parents I had. Not every body can say that. I am very thankful for them. I am very thankful for the life that I’ve had. But I gave my heart to the Lord at a very young age. I think I was 7 years old when I said, “Yes Lord, I am yours.”

Ruby Sims, Piano teacher

Piano Teacherplayingpiano

“My name is Ruby Ann Sims, and I am a piano teacher, or was a piano teacher. I haven’t been doing it for a while, but I could still do it. I am just thankful for what the Lord has allowed me to do. He has always been a big part of my life.”

(Piano music is  Ruby playing in 2016 at Marla Vista Gardens in Green Bay, Wisconsin)

“Every time an old person dies, a library burns to the ground”   African proverb

About the Author:    Jean Garboden is the Director of Education and Innovation at Compass Senior Living, located in 11062337_10206528118188840_645394201235573404_nEugene Oregon. Jean is an Elder Advocate and Eden Alternative Educator with over 30 years’ experience in not-for-profit and for profit health care organizations. She is honored to lead the mission and values culture development for Compass Senior Living.  Jean lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where she enjoys the weather and volunteers with the Nevadans for the Common Good, advocating for caregivers and elders in southern Nevada.