Our next interview in our “5 Questions” series was with Robert Cherry of Cherry’s Assisted Living in Tucson, Arizona. In December 2011, we asked Robert and Myrna the following questions about their facility, and about the assisted living industry:
Q: Please tell us about your assisted living / senior care business, where your business is located, and how long you have been working in the senior care industry.
A: Cherry’s Assisted Living Home is located on the far east side of Tucson, Arizona. We are certified for all levels of care, i.e. supervisory care, personal care, and directed care. Our Certified Manager, Myrna Cherry, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and several years experience in Tucson hospitals. We opened our assisted living business in January 2008. Our mission statement is “Care From The Heart.” Our home has a capacity of 5 residents by design.
Q: Has our economy in the past decade affected the assisted living industry, or has it been immune to economic shifts due to the retiring ‘baby boom?
A: The economy in the last few years has not really affected our business. We try not to listen to the “doom and gloom” reports which have a way of turning into self-fulling prophecy. We stay focused on providing a great service with competitive pricing – and we always market even though we are full.
We appreciate your wonderful attitude about the economy, and I am sure that this probably contributes to your success! – ALD
Q: What do you feel may be some of the benefits of a smaller, residential home (like yours) over a larger, more corporate-feeling facility?
A: The larger facility does serve a purpose for some residents, however we have had residents come out of larger facilities, because there was not enough individual attention given. It really depends on the level of care and how much time the caregiver can spend with the resident. We live on the property so most times there are 2-3 certified caregivers on duty caring for 5 residents.
Q: Why did you choose Tucson, and how did you settle on the location of your facility?
A: We have lived on the east side of Tucson, since 2001, and the home became available in that area. We have been fortunate that it has been a good location.
Q: It seems like every day there is a new ‘referral site’ or business trying to collect and sell leads to facility owners. Do you think that referral sites have been helpful to facility owners like you, or more of a hindrance?
A: In Tucson there are about 432 assisted living homes ( or using different names like personal care home or adult care home ). That is a staggering amount of homes to sift through and find a good fit for a loved one. A good site can really save a person a lot of time and effort. Unfortunately, there are those websites that don’t deliver on what they say they can. There are only 1 or 2 that are effective, and it took us 3 years to figure that out. Actually, most of our website contacts have come via “Assisted Living Directory “. This site is very professionally done and it is user friendly.
(Thank you for that nice comment about our site Robert – we really do try to maintain a balanced, useful, and fair site. – ALD)
Q: Owning an assisted living home is obviously a mix of challenges, and rewards. What have some of those challenges been for you, and what has been rewarding about owning and operating an assisted living home?
A: Probably the biggest challenge is the fact that you and your staff become so attached to the residents and their families. Hence, the loss of a resident can be a very difficult thing to cope with. In many cases the residents are like grandparents or in some cases like a parent figure. On the other hand, it is very gratifying to see a resident improve upon arriving at our home. In some cases, they needed extra attention and you can see the improvement right away. Perhaps the resident needed physical assistance in some areas, but you can see them start to thrive just with individual attention. And the families notice !
Thank you Robert and Myrna for sharing your insights and expertise with us, and we wish you all the best and success in the future with your lovely assisted living residence! – ALD
Learn More About Cherry’s Assisted Living Home:
Interview by Assisted Living Directory