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Lucy Panchoo is as passionate about her job as anyone could possibly be, evidenced by the cries from her children and grandchildren about her spending extended time at the office even though she doesn’t have to; she wants to. Ever since she first interacted with residents at a senior living community, she felt something different and special, more so than any other occupation or experience she’s had before.
“Always, always a people person, but I didn’t know this was where my heart was,” Panchoo said. “I can do Independent [Living], AL, but my heart is with dementia residents.”
Despite being the Memory Care Director at a place in New York for years, the opportunity to be a part of a brand-new community at The Chelsea at Fair Lawn, right down the road from where she lives, was irresistible. Now, she can do the two things she loves with balance: spending time with her family and spending time with her Chelsea family, especially her Country Cottage residents.
Panchoo grew up in Trinidad and Tobago where she pursued a career in banking. She worked at Royal Bank until she decided to join some family in the United States.
After prodding from a friend and an experiential trip with a Church group, she decided to give senior living a try.
“I always loved people,” said Panchoo. “My mom said ‘you can’t be this friendly.’ But, that’s who I am.”
She started out as an aide, but continued to advance through persistency and hard work. And for more than 20 years, she knows she found her life’s calling.
“I have a passion for Memory Care because they need the tender, love, and care,” she said. “They need nurturing, they need compassion. So, you just have to meet them where they are. I love spending time with the residents.”
Panchoo also enjoys giving family members regular updates through various means such as social media, FaceTime, and phone calls. That’s important to her because she knows it’s important to them.
“Things that their parents never did at home, they’re doing,” she said.
Most recently, dementia has hit home. Panchoo’s aunt who she first lived with when she emigrated to this country is fighting the disease.
She’s doing all she can to help, but she knows others depend on her, too.
“Taking care of people is the best thing that I think any human being can do,” she said.