They share stories of celebrations, passions, and long-lasting bonds. This group of Chelsea veterans have been together at Fanwood for the past 20 years, most of them longer, nearly spanning the day the community first opened its doors in 1997, the first of the 20 Chelsea Assisted Living communities.
And for as long as they’ve been together, the closer they’ve become, which is why they consider themselves less than coworkers and more like a family.
“It’s become my second home,” said Sandra Venezia, now in her 21st year as a Licensed Practical Nurse at The Chelsea at Fanwood, a community that also offers Independent Living, Memory Care, and Respite Stay.
“It’s been my home away from home,” said Jane Pritsker, whose now in her 21st year as the Lifestyle Director at The Chelsea at Fanwood. “It’s a place where I’m comfortable. It’s a place where I’m happy to be.”
It’s also a place where their families have grown right in front of the residents’ eyes.
“I remember my granddaughter and Jane’s daughter doing cartwheels down the hallway. The residents really loved it,” said Arleen Nelson, who’s spent 19 years as the Business Office Manager
“I have two children, Nicole and Winston, who worked in Food Services here before,” said Karen Simpson, the Executive Chef at The Chelsea at Fanwood.
This is Simpson’s 23rd year at Fanwood. She started as a server, but with hard work, determination and a desire to learn, she was elevated to the top position in her department.
“I’m very proud. I’m very proud that I have someone who believes in me,” Simpson said.
Stories like Karen’s are synonymous not only at Fanwood but throughout all Chelsea communities. Career mobility, though, is only part of the package for the group at Fanwood.
“The one thing that I love about Chelsea Senior Living is the support,” said Annette Watson, the community’s Executive Director. She’s been with Chelsea Senior Living for 17 years.
Watson said one of the things she loves is to watch employees grow and promote from within.
“I’m kind of proud of myself that I’ve been doing one job for 21 years,” Venezia said. “That just means I’m happy here.”
Making the residents happy is truly what puts a smile on their faces.
“Any one of them can come to us and they know they’re going to be taken care of,” Nelson said.
The camaraderie among the staff is the reason why. While many of them couldn’t have predicted they’d all be together two decades later, Nelson said it feels just like yesterday when she was walking through the doors for her first day working for Chelsea.
“It’s gone by so fast,” she said. “It feels like I just got here. Most enjoyable. Really enjoyable.”