Sharon Youngblood | Executive Director, Summer’s Landing of Tilly Mill Assisted Living
Sharon Youngblood, 52, found her second home at Summer’s Landing of Tilly Mill Assisted Living. Originally she was working as a Certified Nursing Assistant while attending school to become an LPN, but, “when I was promoted to Activities Director, and eventually Executive Director, I knew I wanted to stay where I was and enjoy my career there,” says Sharon. “I truly enjoy what I do and the people I work with!”
Because of the high health risks, senior living communities have had to implement strict policies to minimize the risk of COVID at the cost of social interaction. “I would have to say the toughest part of my job since the pandemic began is coping with the reality that some residents may pass away without their family members by their side. I can see the fear my residents feel about dying alone and I have tried my best to comfort them during this pandemic,” she says.
Fortunately, Summer’s Landing has a screened in porch which Sharon and her staff have been able to utilize for socially distanced visits. “The looks on residents’ faces when they finally got to visit with their loved ones again … was really special to me. I could see their joy and it reminded me to never take time with loved ones for granted.”
Sharon is proud to say that so far, her facility has yet to lose a single patient to the virus. “Our owner, Affinity Living Group, owner of Summer’s Landing of Tilly Mill, has initiated a tracking system to monitor all visitors and staff with daily temperature and oxygen level checks,” she explains. Additionally, the Georgia National Guard has come out to test the residents and deep clean their facility twice. “I cannot say enough great things about those men and women. We are eternally grateful to them.”
Residents’ physical health isn’t Sharon’s only concern, she’s also worked hard to take care of their spiritual and emotional health. One of the ways she’s done this is a weekly Happy Hour, where they play music for the residents (oldies, of course). “You can find me dancing and visiting with the residents! I am often tired and do not feel very pretty. But the residents are always able to change my outlook. There is one resident that will mimic my dancing, which I think is adorable. There is another that will say, ‘You’re so pretty!’ This never fails to warm my heart and keep me going.”