This story originally ran in the July 28 issue of the Community Voice. For your own subscription, call 270-384-9454.
Years ago, Lana Roy ’s Monday morning routine was pretty typical. After getting ready for work , she may stop to get some coffee or possibly pick up some breakfast. It would just depend on how much time she had. She didn’t want to be late for work.
When she would pull into the parking lot at Summit Manor, she would get out and hurry into her office, which was down the hall from the front door among the residents. When she passed “Pearl’s” room, she would have to stop.
Pearl was a talker, and the stop became a weekly thing.
“When I would come in on Mondays, she would want to know what I did over the weekend, because that was her connection to the outside world,” Roy said. “Even if I just did laundry and hung it on the line, that was good for her because she could then tell me about when she would do laundry and hang it on the line.
“I have been blessed because I have had that kind of interaction with the people. They have felt comfortable telling me things about their lives. My parents have been here as residents, so I understand. I get so many benefits from working at this job.”
And that interaction with the residents is what Roy said she will miss most, after announcing her retirement late last week. She has worked serving others at Summit Manor for just under 45 years.
Roy began working in the service industry at the old Adair Hospital.
She said she then moved to Summit Manor and has had several positions at the facility, including medical records and admissions. She is currently the social service director.
“I am an advocate for the residents,” she said. “I am their spokes- person. If they have a problem, I am going to try and direct them to where they need to go. I am going to be there for them.”
Roy said she never knew and still doesn’t know what to expect of her day when she walks in because things change daily at a place like Summit Manor – including the facility roster. She was often involved in helping residents and families prepare for that day.
“It would kind of sometimes be a weight on your heart when the residents would pass,” Roy said. “With these folks you just want to make sure you’ve done everything you can do for them.
“When they passed, I struggled with that a lot. This place is the final journey for a lot of our residents, and we want to be able to comfort them when they exit the journey. It is a challenge for me, and I know it is hard for everybody.”
Roy said families should know people are available to help them through the process of making a life decision like putting a loved one in a nursing home. She said she realizes it is difficult for the families making the decision, and for the person moving in.
“We want you to continue to care for your parents, so we want to know how you did it at home, what was their normal schedule,” she said. “We want you in here working with us to continue care for your parents. We’re not saying you’re dropping them off to die, we’re helping you care for them, helping you meet your goals for them.”
Roy said she never had a date in mind when retirement would come. But she said she just feels like now is the time. After all, now she can spend more time with her family.
“I am just so blessed,” Roy said. “Some time ago, I was talking with one lady about arrangements for her dying days, and she told me ‘I already have everything prepared.’ She said, ‘so when something happens to me, please be happy.’ She said, ‘I know where I am going’…and one day later at lunch, that’s exactly what happened.”
By Scott Wilson