Thanks to Vibrant Living Director Nahshon Ford, residents at Brightview Bel Air aren’t staying nestled in their Harford County home. They are connecting and building bridges to countries all over the world, all without leaving their community.
Nahshon described his first few weeks at Brightview Bel Air as a flurry of activity. He shadowed Vibrant Living Directors at other Brightview communities and began creating Brightview Bel Air’s next activity calendar. “I didn’t know what would work and what wouldn’t work,” Nahshon said. “As the month progressed, I saw what was working and what we could improve, and I sprinkled in a few things the residents had never seen.”
As a frequent international traveler – Nahshon has traversed the world three times! – bringing cultural and international programming to the community was a priority. When the residents reacted positively to his Passport to Cuba program, Nahshon knew he had struck the right tone.
“We’re presenting different atmospheres to residents,” Nahshon said. “Some residents enjoy it for the educational value, but as they learn about different languages and cultures, they see at the end of the day, we are all the same.”
To best showcase the beauty of the world, it takes the entire supportive team at Brightview Bel Air to pull out all the stops. In addition to his Vibrant Living team, Nahshon works with Dining Services to present the flavor of a country to residents.
“Everything I throw at the team, they never question it,” Nahshon said. “They are not scared to try it, and they make substitutions if needed.”
The rest of Brightview Bel Air is getting in the spirit, too. Nahshon sends out a monthly list of theme days to all the associates to encourage their participation. He explained that the whole community is getting involved, from the Resident Assistants to cooks to the hairdresser.
“When the whole team is in on it, residents ask why they are all dressed up,” Nahshon explained. “It drives excitement and encourages residents to come out and participate. From the back of the house to the front of the house, everyone gets excited for theme days.”
Thanks to the buzz associates build each day, residents are eagerly responding to the new international feel to their community. The residents can participate in monthly Program Council meetings to bring up their ideas and suggestions. Even if Nahshon can’t fully accommodate a request, his team strives to still deliver on what residents desire. For example, the community asked area churches for help with a Protestant worship service. While waiting for responses, Nahshon’s team curated their own Sunday church fellowship.
At the end of the day, he wants every resident to feel like there are at least a few things in the community for them. “We still have bingo and dance classes and musicians,” Nahshon remarked. “I want to ensure we are cultivating an environment where everyone can feel safe.”
However, residents, associates, and families are truly embracing the new feel at Brightview Bel Air. Nahshon dubbed the term “Fresh Air Bel Air,” which the community uses as a hashtag on their social media posts. “Everyone has been yearning for something fresh, and to come in and have the support from the top down is amazing,” he said. “Collectively as a community, we are united in what we are doing.”
For frequent traveler Nahshon, he is most looking forward to returning to New Zealand. He’s visited the country twice and said it was magical both times. In fact, Nahshon’s pie in the sky dream event for Brightview Bel Air residents would be an immersive, month-long trip to New Zealand. While he plans his next trip, Nahshon spends his time recording his podcast, The [UrC] Space, and playing with his new dog, Phoenix.
Brightview Senior Living builds, owns, and operates award-winning vibrant senior living communities in eight states along the East Coast: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. We offer senior Independent Living, Assisted Living, Enhanced Care, and Wellspring Village™, a specialized neighborhood for people living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Schedule a personal visit to experience our communities firsthand.