Meet Kathy Neville, Director of Independent Living

Picture It. Boonsboro 2022. You and your spouse have been living in the house you bought over 20 years ago. Now that the kids have all grown up and moved away, you both start to realize how empty the house feels. Not to mention how many rooms there are to clean and how it’s a little too much space for two people. You decide you would like to downsize. You would like to find a place with other folks around your age where there are plenty of housing options and things to do both on campus and off. Your next door neighbor tells you to try Fahrney Keedy because they heard it’s a great place to live. So you decide to look into it. The only question is who do you talk to?

Those who went to college probably remember residential living. You were placed in a dorm with a roommate in a building filled with other students in the exact same grade. There were shared bathrooms and communal spaces, a dining hall where you were assigned a meal plan, an Activities board with a calendar of events and announcements, a gym, a laundry room, etc. Independent Living in a community for active older adults is really no different from a college campus except there’s no rushing to class and, thankfully, no shared bathrooms. Residents who choose to live at Fahrney Keedy have their choice of a sprawling ranch home or a smaller, more manageable, row style apartment. With the community comes a brand new community center equipped with a gym, library, recreation room, and small, private meeting rooms for those who need a quiet place for book club or card games. There are concerts and events that take place in the main building including Chapel every Sunday morning. Being just minutes from two major highways makes access into town for trips to the grocery store or shows and restaurants easy and convenient. With neighbors who help with snow removal and trick-or-treaters who never miss out on Halloween night, Fahrney Keedy is the perfect place to settle down into the next phase of your life.

But, much like college, there is an application process that has to happen before move in day. There are logistics that need to be put in place, paperwork that needs completed, and questions that need answered. The spaces need to be toured and decisions need to be made. . Once you’re all moved in, there needs to be someone helping every step of the way in whatever capacity you need. Someone who will fill your work orders and order your meals if necessary. Someone who’s kindness reminds you of why you chose to live in such a great community when you could have chosen to live anywhere else. Who is that special someone you ask? Sounds like you’re looking for the Director of Independent Living.

Each week, we will be highlighting a member of the Fahrney Keedy Family to learn a little bit more about their life and career. They will be offering a unique perspective on their role as well as advice for those considering a career in senior living.

This week, we get a snapshot into the life and career of Kathy Neville, Director of Independent Living.

Where did you go to school? What was your major? “I attended Boyce Community College in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. My major was in Administration of Criminal Justice.”

Do you have any other certifications? “I do have my ADC activity certification through NCCAP.”

When did you know you wanted to work with the elderly population? What drew you to your current position? “I have always enjoyed being around the older population. They have vast life experiences if we take time to listen. I felt the need to try something new. As a resident once told me “if you’re not learning, you’re not growing and if you’re not growing, you’re dying.”

What brought you to Fahrney Keedy? “I had been at my prior job over 20 years when they decided to move my department to Utah. At that point in my life, I was not interested in making the move so here I am!”

In honor of #tbt, we want to throw it back to your first day at Fahrney Keedy. What do you remember? “I remember being a little apprehensive. After all, it had been 20 years since I was the new kid on the block. I was starting a new phase of my life with something that made me feel good about what I had done at the end of the day.”

What does a day in the life look like for you? What are your duties and responsibilities? “My day can change on a dime. My duties and responsibilities are all things Independent Living, whether it be putting in work orders for repairs, scheduling tours for prospective residents, helping with move-ins, to doing a quick stop by to residents who may need a little extra attention.”

Do you have a favorite memory from your time spent working here that you would be willing to share? “It’s hard to pinpoint just one. An early memory that stands out is when we did a Senior Prom and staff joined in in dressing up in their finest evening wear. The best was seeing one of our male employees in an evening gown! Anything to make the residents smile! Recently, I would have to say having a new resident tell me how much they enjoy being here and it was the right move.”

This pandemic has been hard for everyone but especially for those individuals working in healthcare. How did you personally get through it? “I have a very strong belief and faith in that if God brings you to it, he will bring you through it.”

Oscar Wilde once said “with age comes wisdom”. What advice would you give to your younger self? “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Work hard at making memories, they last a lifetime. Enjoy what you do and feel good about what you have done.”

What advice would you give to someone interested in working in a retirement community? “Working in a retirement community is some of the hardest work, but some of the most rewarding work you will ever do!”

Five-Second Pose!

We asked Kathy five rapid fire questions to get to know her a little better:

Favorite Color: Blue

Favorite Movie: Christmas classics, The Bishop Wife

Favorite Disney Character: Bambi

Favorite Superhero: Dead Pool

Favorite Actor, Age 65 and over: Sam Elliott

1 Fun Fact: Kathy likes to craft. She likes to try and recycle something to make something old new again.

Thank you so much to Kathy Neville for sharing! Stay tuned next week when we add another photo to our Family Album!