If walls could talk, then the new residents of The Pavilion Senior Living at Lebanon would hear 30 messages of goodwill, well wishes and love, courtesy of the 2017 Leadership Wilson Class.
Thirty of the 33 community leaders in the class participated in February's Health and Social Services Day. Included in the tour of medical facilities and social service providers throughout Wilson County was a tour of The Pavilion Senior Living campus on Lebanon's west side.
"The campus includes The Pavilion Senior Living Rehabilitation & Long Term Care Center, which has been open since 2009, as well as the new assisted living community and Phoenix Place memory care currently under construction," explained Heather Sadler, The Pavilion's marketing director and Leadership Wilson Class of 2009 graduate.
After lunch in one of the two dining rooms, Sadler asked each class member to grab a permanent marker and to write a message for the new residents on a wall stud in one of the 45 apartment-style rooms.
"I want our residents to know when they arrive that they are still important and that people came here before them and were thinking about them through these messages," Sadler said. "Senior citizens are leaving a legacy for us to follow through the lives they've lived, and they should be honored and recognized for that."
The messages ranged from the simple, "Good luck" and "Best Wishes," to more personal notes and humorous anecdotes. Sadler took pictures of each message. She plans to share the messages and stories with future residents.
Lauren Smith, the volunteer coordinator for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), wrote the following message: "Sometimes you need to talk to a three-year-old so you can understand life again."
When asked why this message, Smith said, "Because I work with children, and life happens really big, really fast. And to a three-year-old, it's just as simple as a bubble sometimes. And I think at the end of life, I would want to look at life as simply as I did when I was three."
City of Lebanon Economic Development Director Sarah Haston wrote the following reminder for new residents: "Be Still and Breathe. Memories Matter."
"I guess I figured at that point in your life, why not be still and live in the moment and just breathe?" Haston said. "Just take it all in, what you've learned, what you've lost, what you've gained."
Matthew Mitchell, First Tennessee Bank branch manager, shared his personal mantra: "Love, luck and lollipops."
Mitchell said the story behind it was "kind of personal. A friend, we used to say it back and forth to each other. When she passed away, it became kind of a mantra for me. It encapsulates fun and living to the most. It's just fun."
Janet Southards, human resources director for the City of Mt. Juliet, wrote a heartfelt message that reminded her of her grandfather: "May the light from your window give you comfort. Start your day with a smile, and God will shine upon you. With love."
"My grandfather had to be outside or near a window where he got light," Southards said while looking out a window onto what will be a screened-in patio. "It's a love thing. I could see someone living in here real well."
The Pavilion Senior Living at Lebanon, which is expected to open this summer, will consist of 45 private, apartment-style units that will be under one roof. Each one will have a kitchenette, a screened-in porch and a private bathroom.
The community has a variety of amenities, including housekeeping and laundry services, a fitness center, courtyards, restaurant-style dining, social activities, 24-hour staff, scheduled transportation, secure access and a beautician and barber. The assisted living community will also include a Phoenix Place memory care program in a separate wing for residents with Alzheimer's, dementia and other memory related conditions.
Sadler explained to the group that "98 percent of seniors need assistance with at least one activity of daily living. That is help with daily living activities such as grooming, bathing and dressing. Our staff is here to offer as much and as little care as needed for our residents to remain as independent for as long as possible."
Dorie Mitchell, executive director of Leadership Wilson, said when Sadler invited the class to visit, she thought it was a great idea.
"Wilson County has an aging population that needs to be taken care of, and this is a way to let people know what services are available locally to them," Mitchell said.