Bianca Syriac’s day starts with Sesame Street and a muffin. The Sesame Street is for her 1 1/2-year-old son Oliver; the muffin for her. She drops Oliver off at The Arbors Kids at East Longmeadow and then drives south LuAnn’s Bakery & Cafe, where she picks up a $1 coffee, before heading to the office.
As the marketing director at The Ivy at Ellington, Syriac is dedicated to the health and wellness of the residents. On a typical day at work, she:
- Makes presentations to community groups and organizations
- Gives guided tours to prospective residents and their families
- Educates residents about the move-in process, making the move as effortless for them as possible
- Attend events, lectures, and classes to learn about the industry
- Communicates with residents, their families, and the health care staff, recognizing the individuality of each
But she wasn’t always at The Ivy at Ellington. She got her first taste of assisted living at The Arbors at Chicopee.
The First Face of Assisted Living
Syriac started working with the Arbors family, including Amie, Sara, Emily, and Jason, as a pre–K teacher for The Arbors Kids, which is a daycare owned by the same family, and as a part-time receptionist at The Arbors at Chicopee.
“I got my first taste of assisted living as a receptionist,” Syriac says. “I was the first person people saw when they came into the community. I was making contact with the families. That’s what got my brain jogging to start a different career path.”
Syriac decided to make the jump to marketing. She studied at Bay Path University, and then put her skills to work as the marketing director at The Arbors at Westfield.
“It’s really different clientele [than The Arbors Kids],” Syriac says, “but it’s the same family values.”
Those family values are important to Syriac, who relocated to The Ivy at Ellington so to ease her commute.
“I’m pregnant with another baby on the way in February, so this is easier for me,” she says. “When I’m not here, my mind is in mommy mode.”
The Family Focus
When Syriac gives a tour of The Ivy at Ellington, she’s in mommy mode then, too.
“We try to focus the tour around the family’s wants and needs,” Syriac says. “If they come for memory care reasons, the focus is memory care. If someone is looking for socialization, the main focus would be the common areas and the activities.
“Rather than offering a standardized tour, we tailor your tour to your wants and needs. It’s really all about you. It needs to be 80 percent listening and 20 percent talking. When people come in for tours, especially if they’re in panic mode, they’re just looking for someone to listen.”
About half the families who come in for tours are driven by a health care emergency, Syriac says. Ideally, family members have thought about housing options before a health crisis requires immediate action. For families who are in the midst of the search for an assisted living facility for their loved one, Syriac says to go with your gut.
“You really want to make the best move for your family member, whether it be the Ivy or not,” she says. “Do what’s best for your family member. You’re their biggest advocate.”
The Arbors Family
In the seven-plus years Syriac has worked for The Arbors they’ve come to feel like family, too.
“Being in a family-owned company means having them in the building when you need them and having their support when you need it, too, whether for work or personal reasons,” Syriac says.
That’s her favorite part of her job: the people.
“I love growing relationships with the family members as they move in and cultivating that long-lasting relationship,” Syriac says.
And that’s the mission of The Arbors and the Arbors family — to enhance the quality of life for residents through genuine care and comfort and welcoming them into the family.