Our Care Friends staff (caregivers) provide compassionate care and 24-supervision in a comfortable and inviting environment that feels like home. Unobtrusive pagers are worn by Care Friends to be able to continuously monitor and support individuals in our care. Our residential lodges have door alerts in place and attractive white fencing surrounds the perimeter of the lodges (buildings).
Debra Murrey, Executive Director
Even before joining New Friends, Debra lived the Vibrant Life philosophy. As her mother’s primary care provider for the last several years of her life, Debra made it her mission to ensure that her mother enjoyed a full, rich life as a woman living with Alzheimer’s Disease rather than as an “Alzheimer’s patient”. Debra is passionate about sharing the Vibrant Life philosophy with other families who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other Dementia conditions. Debra’s nursing experience taught her to care for patients; her management background made her a strong leader; but it is her compassion, her firsthand experience and her passion for helping people live life to its fullest potential that make Debra such an effective advocate for New Friends’ Vibrant Life philosophy. Debra brings more than 30 plus years of healthcare, and leadership to her position. A Nurse, A Certified Dementia Practitioner through the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners, an advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association, a member of NCAL & HCAM and Professional Business Women’s Assoc. A devoted advocate leading our New Friends Team, insuring they too care from the heart, not only focusing on quality, compassionate care, but enjoying the day to day journey with our residents.
Erin Kuhse, Human Resources Manager
Erin brings over 10 years of Human Resources experience and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, majoring in Human Resource Management. Erin started her Human Resources career in the automotive field, moved into Non-Profit, and then found her passion in health care. Erin not only enjoys her time with the employees but with the residents as well. Stepping in whenever needed to be the helping hand or a smiling face. Erin is the positivity bus driver for the New Friends family!
Cassidy Ardelean, CDP, Marketing Manager
Cassidy is a graduate of Western Michigan University where she graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Science, majoring in Interdisciplinary Health Services. She came to New Friends as a college intern and has grown professionally within the company. She has a passion for learning and has continued to expand her knowledge and training in Dementia, even becoming a Certified Dementia Practitioner. Cassidy is devoted to providing compassionate support to those who have a loved one dealing with memory loss. She has taken an active role with the Alzheimer’s Association as well as attending many other local groups focused on the aging population.
Tige Walkinhood, Operations Manager
Tige is an East Lansing native and a Spartan fan. He has over 23 years of experience in long term care facilities management, he feels right at home at New Friends. He enjoys trying to make our residents’ stay here a pleasant one, whether it be in maintenance, a Vibrant Life project, grilling for a party, or just spending some one on one time with residents. When not working, Tige enjoys “do it yourself” projects on his home, biking, cooking and spending time with family & friends. He is a member of the Kalamazoo Alzheimer’s Association and the American Red Cross. Tige has also completed New Friends Dementia Training courses providing him the appropriate approach and knowledge to support our team.
Corie Shireman, Vibrant Life Manager
Corie is full of life and loves creating stimulating activities! She knows that in great dementia care not everything is always planned and structured. Often the best activities are those that capture a great moment, like telling a funny joke or having an impromptu session in composing a group poem. Corie, a Certified Dementia Practitioner, has 25 years experience working with seniors and dementia care.
Rebecca Carver, LPN, CDP, Nurse Manager
Rebecca is passionate about senior care with over 20 years of experience. Her mission is insuring outstanding, comfortable, safe, and dignified memory care by meticulously following any new developments and breakthroughs of the various types of Dementias and corresponding diseases. She has continued her education by becoming a Certified Dementia Practitioner. Rebecca embraces New Friends philosophy of person centered care from the heart. She plays a vital role coaching and supervising our dynamic care team in our individualized approach.
Our Care Friends staff members are experienced in senior care, and trained in dementia care. They incorporate their knowledge and skills into providing compassionate personal care and assistance. What separates us from everyone else is that our focus is on each person living their life first, and then we take care of the task at hand. Care Friends make every effort to anticipate the needs of individuals in their care, while ensuring a safe, clean, comfortable, and homelike environment. We treat everyone as a valued individual and respect each person’s right to live a full and vibrant life, and to be as independent in as many areas as possible, for as long as possible.
Delicious and nutritious dining is well known at New Friends. We all enjoy a delicious meal with friends and family, and the people who live at New Friends truly enjoy their experience. Our Chef takes great pride in replacing the word “dietary” with “dining” when it comes to preparing and serving nutritious meals and snacks. Care Friends offer any and all necessary help to individuals who may need prompting, cueing, or full support with their dining experience, with each person’s dignity at the forefront.
We know that individuals with dementia can experience increased disability if their environment is not structured to support their remaining abilities. Therefore, we have created an inviting setting where anyone would want to live; a place where friends and family feel welcome. Our Lodges are purposefully designed for easy navigation, with cozy individual suites and purpose-specific living, dining, and family activity rooms. Other specific design features include:
For most of us, personal care is achieved without much forethought or concern. For someone with dementia, it can be a stressful and confusing experience, sometimes even a trigger for challenging behaviors. Our Care Friends are sensitive to the person’s individual needs, strengths, and limitations. We approach each person with dignity in personal care, bathing and personal grooming, always prepared to step back and redirect as necessary if our timing is off. We believe in promoting each person’s ability and autonomy in participating in their own self care needs, as much as they can, and for as long as they are able.
We have a great belief in the importance, as well as, sensitivity of our Medication Management and Delivery Program. We have no “med carts” at New Friends. Each person’s medications are securely stored and delivered in their own living suites. Medications are given by our Care Friends in a private and dignified way. They then “chart” each individual medication on their laptop through our online ECP program. This state-of-the-art program is paperless, is securely backed up, greatly minimizes medication errors, and as in all areas of the New Friends and the Vibrant Life philosophy, helps us provide more personal time, rather than task time between Care Friends and residents.
At New Friends we believe that each individual can continue, in some capacity, enjoying the work, hobbies, and stimulating things they always loved to do during their lives, despite any physical or cognitive decline. We help them keep doing those things through our program of Levels of Vibrant Engagement (LOVE). In this concept, developed by Vibrant Life Communities, people can still do the things they love in various ways. Simply they can:
We offer additional services that help make the change to New Friends as comfortable as possible – such as Day and Evening Respite Programs and Transitional Care.