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The Ideal Family

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Marcia Eckerson, left, a resident's daughter, has high praise for Ideal nurse Shannon Michaletz and her colleagues.

UHS Senior Living at Ideal marks its 25th anniversary

When she talks about UHS Senior Living at Ideal, administrator Michele Gordon is justifiably proud. She glowingly describes the often-honored physical campus, which includes facilities dedicated to full nursing care, assisted living and independent-living apartments. And she lists Ideal’s many distinguished national awards for excellence. But what really puts a gleam in her eye are the people of the “Ideal family”: the 250 residents and their loved ones, plus the staff members who are so dedicated to making each resident feel at home.

As she and others at Ideal plan to celebrate the geriatric campus’s 25th anniversary this summer, Ms. Gordon reflects on the many qualities that make the facility special. “One of the reasons I love what I do is because our residents have so much life experience,” she notes. “They teach me something new about the past every day.”

Regarding the staff, she is quick to recognize these highly qualified professionals for their far-reaching compassion. “When a resident joins our community, we’re dedicated to their comfort, health and well-being,” she says. “But we also realize that the move to Ideal can affect family members. So we feel it’s important to extend compassionate, personalized care to our residents’ loved ones as well.”


The nurturing, family environment that Ideal fosters is difficult to put into words because the commitment comes from the heart rather than a rulebook. However, one family eloquently captured the spirit as they recalled their mother’s Ideal experience.


UHS Senior Living at Ideal offers a level of care to meet everyone’s personal and medical needs, including full nursing care, assisted living and private apartments. To most effectively and affordably suit individual needs, the Ideal staff can also help residents put together a combination of accommodations and services. “Many residents initially live in an Ideal independent-living apartment because they see their future with us as needs change,” explains Michele Gordon, UHS Senior Living at Ideal nursing home administrator. “They like the fact that we offer multiple levels of care, which means they can transition fluidly and stay within their own neighborhood.”

Irene Chmielewski was 93 when she was admitted to the Rehabilitation Unit at UHS Senior Living at Ideal. She later transitioned to Ideal’s Nursing Center, where she lived until her passing at age 94. With heartfelt gratitude, Ms. Chmielewski’s five daughters penned a letter of thanks to Ideal, recognizing more than 20 staff members by name and recalling how “everyone treated Mom and all of us with such respect, patience and courtesy. They answered all our questions and reassured us at every turn. How grateful we are to them all.”

The letter described Ms. Chmielewski’s compassionate care, which went far beyond medical needs and routine assistance, and how much she treasured warm, impromptu visits and gentle hugs from caring nurses — which made Ms. Chmielewski feel loved by her Ideal family. “After all that medicine can do, what really matters most is that beautiful touch of one heart to another,” the daughters wrote. “That’s the face of Ideal.”


This family spirit will drive Ideal’s 25th anniversary campus party on August 2, which will welcome Ideal residents, their loved ones and the entire Endicott and Southern Tier community. The event will bring everyone together under shade-providing tents for a festive lunch and live music, from strolling musicians to a local jazz band. There will also be a special celebration honoring Ideal’s centenarians.

“That’s a phenomenal milestone — reaching age 100,” Ms. Gordon stresses. “We have several centenarian residents, as well as so many healthy, active residents in their 80s and 90s. That says something about the care we provide. Our residents thrive here at Ideal.”


Visit Ideal on the UHS website to view photos and find out more about the facility. To get more information, call the front desk at 786-7300.