BY RENEE HENDRIX –
Peachtree Assisted Living was established in Mena with the hopes of bringing quality care to the people in Polk County. Peachtree is currently one of six Arkansas assisted living facilities owned by the Shephard Group. They currently have 54 patients living in their facility and have several open apartments for new residents.
Carla Tenbrook has been with the Shephard Group as the Peachtree Executive Director since 2011. Carla stated that her favorite thing about her job is working with the residents, “You learn so much and they have so much to offer.”
The mission of Peachtree is to provide an excelled quality of life for residents through trained, caring professional staff in a safe and secure environment. Tenbrook said that there are always opportunities to volunteer or contribute to brighten the lives of its residents.
Peachtree is particularly proud of the commitment of their nursing staff that is available 7 days a week from 7 am- 7pm. They offer assistance with administering medication and daily living. They also provide transportation to doctor appointments and, of course, weekly trips to Walmart. In addition to serving three meals a day with an alternative meal option, Peachtree also offers weekly laundry pickup and cleaning of apartments as well as providing their residents with monthly calendar events and day trips.
Security is always a major concern for residents and their families. Items such as a keypad to the outside enclosed courtyards are in place for an extra layer of security. With some residents suffering from the early stages of dementia, security is always a top priority of Peachtree.
Peachtree also strives to provide a family environment with holiday celebrations and resident birthday parties every month. They also offer a monthly auction, which according to Tenbrook, can get very lively with the residents! Throughout the month they earn paper money by participating in activities and then when auction day rolls around, they can bid on the things they want.
Tenbrook said that Peachtree has many opportunities for volunteers, explaining that with all of the responsibilities the staff carries, time quickly becomes a precious commodity and does not always afford them the opportunity to participate in fun activities as much as they would like to. Tenbrook added that the residents do enjoy new faces to visit with and she invites members of the community with a particular talent or activity idea they would like to share with the residents to contact the Peachtree Activities Director Lauren Gage. All ideas are welcomed according to Tenbrook as she shared the story behind one of Peachtree’s newest programs, gardening, which came about after a resident approached them with the idea. He now is a proud owner of raised gardens boasting a jalapeno pepper & tomato patch… much to the delight of the residents!
One of the activities Peachtree enjoys offering is their “mystery drive.” The residents really enjoy having the opportunity to take a drive and have the chance to look around and enjoy the outdoors. They have been to Queen Wilhelmina but Tenbrook said they hopefully will be planning more trips to Mt. Magazine and Petit Jean State Parks.
Tenbrook did mention, one of the things the residents struggle with is having enough toiletries and other extra purchases. Most are limited with funds from Medicaid through the assisted living waiver program. Tenbrook said that in many instances, they will only get $66 every month as their own money, and as she explained, that does not go very far and will have to go toward their phone, co-pays for their medications and other expenses. Peachtree welcomes donations of toiletries to assist their residents.
With a Director and staff committed to doing the right thing, it is easy to see what the Peachtree’s motto is “Where love and care go hand in hand.”