Willow Ridge


My name is Barb Lawrence and I am a Shabazz at Willow Ridge.

A Shabazz is a state tested nurse aid, so on top of that nursing care that they provide, they also do the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning. They spend time with the elders doing activities, anything they want, take them for walks, take them on outings.

Mary, she is fun. I feel like we would have been friends if we were in High School together. She loves to do things, loves to socialize, she doesn't know a stranger at all. I looked for this job for this purpose, because I wanted to be part of the Greenhouse project, and something like this it's something different. I had a selfish purpose: my grandma, you know, is getting up there in years, and I wanted someplace where it felt like home for her.

It's a family, they're willing to listen to you, they want to know about you, they want to know about your feelings on things here. They are good ladies. They take care of your room and there's so many things that they do and I'm aware of them, but you don't really get to tell them all the time “thank you.”

We want the elders to feel like they are at home, not just like “we're going to a nursing home,” and oftentimes that causes some anxiety with some of them, so we want this to look like their home, to feel like their home, to mean that this is their home. With the style at the houses, we're able to spend a little more like one-on-one time with the elders than maybe you would other places, and so you really can form those relationships. All the elders eat at one big table, and we sit down and we have meals with them, so it allows us to really get to know them.

We find out things about their family, about them growing up, we see pictures of their grandkids or great grandkids, and then when you start to form the relationship with these elders that move in and their family members, it really, I don't know, it gives me goosebumps, it really does, so we enjoy it.