Built-In Benefactor

Longstanding employee brightens residents’ days.

Nancy Cann is considered one of the pillars of the Hibiscus Court Assisted Living Community. The fact that she’s been a part of that community since shortly after its pillars went up some 20 years ago is one of the reasons.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Nancy has been a part of the Hibiscus Court family for nearly 20 years.

“I think she came with the building,” jokes Hibiscus Court Executive Director Heidi Kuchenbacker-Robbins. “They built it, and Nancy was just in it. She really is the face of Hibiscus Court and has been for many years.”
That face first arrived at Hibiscus Court about ten months after it opened its doors. Nancy starting working at the community, making the move from across the street, where she worked at Holmes Regional Medical Center.
“I actually watched them build the Hibiscus Court campus,” Nancy says of the senior living community. “When I first got here, I started out as a housekeeper and did that about two-and-a-half years. Then I started driving the van, transporting residents to their various appointments and outings and things like that. Now, I do a little bit of everything.”
That’s no exaggeration. At Hibiscus Court, which offers an assisted living program, senior day-care services, short-term respite stays for seniors recovering from illness or surgery and a secure memory-support community called The Garden, Nancy wears a lot of hats.
There are times when she can be found working the front desk and others when she can be found helping in the dining room, caring for the plants or coordinating one of the many activities the residents are able to engage in.
“No two days are the same for me, and that’s one of the things that I love about what I do here,” Nancy says. “For example, today we are going to the Foosaner Art Museum, and when we come back, I’ll be holding a Roaring Twenties trivia contest in celebration of a 20th anniversary celebration.
“We throw big parties where it’s all hands on deck. We love to Luau, and senior prom is probably my favorite day of the year. Everyone – residents, families and our team – really enjoy celebrating and partying with each other. It’s probably why we have a disco ball hung up all throughout the year.
“I also chauffeur residents to their doctor’s appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I call bingo, play cards and dominoes, and if I have an idea for an activity or something like that, I’ll pitch it and become a part of that process as well.”

Woman About Town

“There is a rich array of things that Nancy is interested in, and we have managed to parlay that into her job, which falls under our resident programming department,” Heidi adds. “Wherever there is a need, we just kind of plug her in.
“So, if we’re taking our residents to a baseball game, a concert at the Melbourne Auditorium or on a museum tour, Nancy is the person who is there. And at a lot of those places, they would notice if Nancy wasn’t there.
“Another thing that Nancy always does is keep flyers about Hibiscus Court in the van with her. That way, when people ask about us, she can give them more information. In addition to all that she does, she’s a great ambassador for us as well.”

“We wouldn’t be the same place without her. She’s just amazing.” – Heidi

Nancy wouldn’t have it any other way. She says Hibiscus Court has become like a second home to her and that the residents are like family members. She says the relationships she’s built with many of those residents have enhanced her life tremendously.
“I really love interacting with the residents,” Nancy says. “It’s probably the thing I love the most about working here. There are so many who have had such interesting lives, and I love it when they share their experiences. Moments like that really brighten my day.”
In return, Nancy brightens others’ days as well.
“We wouldn’t be the same place without her,” Heidi states. “She’s just amazing. She’s the one who keeps us all going around here.”

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