Meet the Family: Bonnie Tormay of Wesley Village
What makes a house a home? It's not the fancy furniture or shiny chandeliers, but the family who gathers there. At our senior living communities, our staff members are one of the main reasons why our residents feel so at home! Not only do they create a warm family atmosphere, they also understand the challenges faced by families caring for older adults. By fostering caring relationships, staff play an essential role in helping our residents navigate the journey of aging - from the very first visit, to the day they move into our community and every day after that! Read our "Meet the Family" spotlight below to see how Bonnie Tormay makes our residents' home such a special place....
Meet Bonnie Tormay!
Resident Service Coordinator, Wesley Heights
I grew up in Southington, CT and graduated from Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) with a degree in Psychological Science and a minor in Business. Some of my hobbies include biking, baking, fishing, and skiing. I like to spend my summers at the beach, going boating and taking trips to Nantucket to visit family.
I have been working at UMH since August 2015. I started working at UMH’s assisted living community, Crosby Commons, an Activities Coordinator and worked at the reception desk. A year ago, I transitioned to the Resident Service Coordinator of Wesley Heights, another assisted living community located on the Wesley Village campus.
What inspired you to work with older adults?
I grew up very close with my grandparents. When I was younger, my grandfather fell and broke his hip and needed to stay at a rehabilitation center. I regularly visited him and decided to start volunteering there as well. My grandmother also needed increased help in her daily activities so I would help my parents, aunts and uncles care for her. Interacting with my grandparents inspired me to pursue an internship in gerontology at CCSU where I had the opportunity to work with seniors. This was a wonderful experience, and I really enjoyed it.
What's your day-to-day interaction with the residents?
Every day is something different, which makes my job exciting! I work closely with residents at Wesley Heights Assisted Living and the Cottages, depending on their needs. Whether I’m helping them get on a specific program or helping them solve an issue that arises, I’m regularly interacting and engaging with residents. I help residents and their families with supportive services and other community resources too. Whenever a new resident moves in, I meet with them and am the point person if they have any other questions or concerns.
My dog, Louie, has become quite the hit at the community! I bring him to work sometimes and the residents just love him (and he loves them!). We host "bring your dog to work" days, and the residents gather to play with our four-legged friends.
What do you think makes UMH different from other senior living communities?
Our mission and values differentiate us from other senior living communities. Because we are a not-for-profit, I believe we provide an added level of care and commitment, as we are a mission-based organization. Our staff works closely as a team and cares about the residents as if they were family.
Another aspect of UMH that makes us unique is the layout of Wesley Village. Wesley Village in Shelton is a great option for aging adults with varying care needs. Within the campus, there are the cottages for independent living, Wesley Heights and Crosby Commons for assisted living, Lifestyle Transitions for memory support and Bishop Wicke for those who require rehabilitation or skilled nursing. Depending on a resident’s needs and wants, there is a place for everyone.
What do you like most about working in a senior living community?
I love getting to know the residents and hearing their life stories. It is incredibly rewarding knowing I can make a difference in the lives of our residents and help them in any way I can.
How do you help residents feel at home?
When a resident moves in, I introduce myself and welcome them to the community. I then introduce them to their tablemates in the Dining Room and encourage other residents to introduce themselves to make their new neighbor feel welcome. I tell them to not hesitate to reach out to me if they have any questions because that’s what I’m here for. Shortly afterwards, I check-in with residents and their families to make sure they are doing well with the transition. I find out what their interests are and encourage them to participate in those activities. The more activities they’re involved in, the more they can meet and befriend other residents and quickly become comfortable in their new home.
From your experience, what advice would you give families and their loved ones who are thinking about making a move to senior living?
Moving to senior living is a big change for both the resident who is moving as well as their family members. It’s an adjustment, but you’ll have peace of mind knowing your loved one is living somewhere safe and well-suited for their needs. They won’t have to be lonely living at home because there is always something going on or someone to talk to. When family comes to visit, they won't have to worry about taking care of their loved one either. They’ll be able to actually enjoy their visit, knowing there is a dedicated team caring for their family member when they’re not there.
About Chelsea Sayegh
I started working as a Marketing Coordinator for United Methodist Homes in October of 2016. I work on public relations, website management and community planning for their award winning independent and assisted living communities. As a graduate of Ursinus College with a degree in Media and Communications and a passion for serving nonprofits, United Methodist Homes has become my home away from home. I spend my days working in a community filled with smiling faces, helpful hands and wonderful residents. I have a passion for assisting seniors and take great pride in being able to promote a company with such a positive mission and values. As an individual committed to learning and growing, I have jumped right into this exciting career!
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.