Cerissa joined the Waterview team as Lifestyles Director in 2011. A cosmetologist for 12 years, Cerissa had always helped people feel their best on the outside, by helping to raise their self-esteem and provide them with a confidence boost. But over the years, she realized she needed more, and after determining that she wanted to help people on the inside too, she began looking for jobs that would help others.
Cerissa is able to now focus her attention on helping people from the inside, giving them a quality of life that they were losing while living at home. She makes our residents know that just because their legs don’t work the same as before, or their hands don’t work the same as before, or their eyesight might be declining, they still have so much to offer to the world. She states, “a beautiful person comes from the inside. Once I find that in my residents, I make it shine!”
Since Cerissa joined our team, she has made an incredible difference in our residents’ lives. She says that they help her more than she’ll ever impact them, but seeing their faces as she interacts with them tells us differently. Cerissa is a true team player, is passionate about seniors, and is always willing to go the extra mile and focus her attention on making people laugh, making sure they are having fun, and enhancing their livelihood. She said the best part about Waterview is the associates are a true team, no matter what. The good days, the bad, sad or happy days…the associates always are there for each other, which is what team work is about.
Cerissa’s passion is art, and she’s helped our residents show off their creative sides. Whether that be in the form of painting, photography, crafting, upcycling, or even theater, Cerissa always brings in bright and creative ideas for the residents. She loves goofing off with the residents and allowing them to be silly, getting into character and forgetting for a minute what problems they may have. She also is very much into intergenerational programs, and will often bring in local schools for reading, crafting, or adopting a grandparent/grandchild.
The residents at Waterview now paint weekly thanks to Cerissa. Many of them thought they had lost their passion, or had never picked up a paintbrush before. She will create a painting at home, bring it to her art class, and instruct the residents on how to paint the same or a similar picture. She explains, “In my classroom, anything is a perfect work of art. It may not be what they are used to, but fads change and so does the body. The paintings are perfect because my residents are not giving up.” One resident who never had an interest in art now paints weekly, and has filled her apartment with her paintings. Her grandchildren now call her “Mimi Moses.” That is the best example of how Cerissa is helping to life the spirits of our residents!
When asked what the best part of her job is, Cerissa exclaimed, “we’re a family, the residents and the associates. We see each other more than our real families. Having a bond that wasn’t pre-determined by blood or marriage, just simply that we all found each other here, that is a blessing. I look forward to sharing my day, everyday with my Waterview family.” Cerissa goes on to explain how working with seniors has affected her life, by saying; “you are able to find joys in the simple treasures in life. I’ve realized that even at 80 years old, life is way too short. I hear all these amazing stories from our residents that would otherwise be locked away forever. I’m constantly kept in awe. To have so much packed into one life, reminds me not to waste a moment, and live life so you will want to share your stories when you are 80.”
Working with Cerissa, we understand the impact that our residents have on her, because that is the best part of working with seniors…loving them, respecting them, being able to share their stories. Cerissa exemplifies the Sagora commitment of ‘Resident First’ and we are incredibly proud to have her on our team. She’s dedicated, fun, caring and full of love. We love sharing our days with her, and we know our residents feel the same way.