Community Profile: Carrington Place by Americare: Integrating Independent and Assisted Living

Billy Sullivan is the Director of Nursing at Carrington Place, an assisted- and independent-living community by Americare, located in Pittsburg, Kansas. We spoke recently about how a positive culture is built at Carrington Place. This is the first of two parts of our conversation. The second part will highlight Billy’s role as Director of Nursing.

Carrington Place is very much a part and product of the community. Pitt State University is located in Pittsburg Kansas, and its enrollment roughly doubles the size of the small town during the school year, often providing Carrington with staff and volunteers. As a result, most of the residents, their families, and the staff are local.

“Most of our residents have family members who are within 30 minutes from here,” explained Billy. “We’re all real close. Our residents are from somewhere close to our community and most of our family members live right here in town, and it’s easy to get a hold of them.” 

“We have family members coming in frequently to visit and be involved in their loved one’s life,” Billy continued. Because of Carrington Place’s proximity to town, residents often leave the community to go on family outings a bit more often than at other communities. “Family members do come quite often to take their family out or to their home to watch a football game or go out to eat. Sometimes the family will visit here and go to their rooms to eat. Before Covid, visitors could eat in the dining room, but for now we don’t allow that.”

And since staff members live nearby, they understand the culture of the community. “Everyone on staff was mostly familiar with Carrington Place before they started working here. So the team we’ve got right now works well together, building a community here. Having that familiarity, culturally, with our residents is great.”

Carrington Place itself is small, and that’s how they like it. There are currently only 14 residents at Carrington, though they do have room for a few more. This community has accommodations for both independent and assisted living. Five residents are currently independent livers, residing in the nearby “Cottages.” The other residents, including some who have early stages of dementia, live in the main building. 

The Cottage residents “just need that little extra help,” Billy added. “Some just need assistance with medications, or someone to help them get to where they need to be. Others are pretty independent and are here because they couldn’t easily manage the tasks of living on their own. So, they live with us, but can care for themselves. We provide meals and showering and laundry and stuff like that. So we’ve got a wide range of residents even for a small community.”

During the day, the independent- and assisted-living residents fully integrate, blending this small community into one that’s diverse while still remaining tight-knit. “Some of the Cottage residents come in and sit with assisted-living residents for meals,” said Billy. “They’ve all become friends. As an outside observer, you wouldn’t really know which residents were in independent or assisted living, because everybody knows everybody and talks to each other.”

Some residents do eventually move from the Cottages into Assisted Living when they need more help, which ensures a smooth transition. Billy explained that the goal is for everybody to “age successfully while we help to improve or maintain their health for as long as we can. Some residents will transition at times to memory care, usually when a doctor suggests.”

Since residents are so integrated during the day, it's usually a fairly easy transition into assisted living. “We try to include everybody when we do something, so there’s a good relationship between the Cottages and assisted living,” Billy shared. 

Most residents of the Cottages head to the main building in the morning for breakfast, checking out the day’s menu and activity calendar on their way to the dining room. As Billy explained, Carrington Place is always buzzing with activity, and all residents are encouraged to participate. 

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