Belvedere Senior Housing offers an affordable assisted lifestyle community for older adults, and it also accepts Medicaid waiver. The moment she found out that such an assisted living facility was opening near her, Sue Huttel leapt at the chance to apply.
“I’ve worked in healthcare for over 20 years, primarily in long-term care with a couple of opportunities in assisted living,” Huttel said. “Medicaid-waiver buildings for assisted living have always been the missing link.”
Huttel explained how oftentimes, when seniors cannot afford to turn to private care or private pay communities, they have no other option but to either go to a nursing facility or to stay at home and try to manage their care as best they can.
“As soon as I heard that there was a community that accepts Medicaid waiver getting ready to open almost in my backyard, I immediately started reaching out to everybody I could to get my name out there,” Huttel said. “Once they did start taking resumes, and I was fortunate enough to get the position here as the administrator.”
Huttel began working in Belvedere’s sales and marketing office on April 3, 2017, before the facility officially opened its doors last summer. The building itself is a breath of fresh air to residents who might otherwise be faced with less inviting conditions.
“To be able to offer this environment for residents that could not afford other senior living options makes every day worthwhile,” Huttel said. “Just to see the expressions on their faces the first time they see the building, or their apartment, makes every moment special.”
With life enhancing amenities, such as a movie theater, a bus for transportation, and constant snack opportunities, Belvedere Senior Housing is more of a home than a care facility. While she joked that her daily routine at Belvedere doesn’t exist, Huttel tries to stay consistent in her day’s priorities.
“We recognize this as the home of our residents and that we work in their home, so every day is something new, something different,” Huttel said. “My biggest focus is to make sure our residents, families, and staff members are happy, and then I get to my paperwork later. That’s the way I try to operate my day.”
Huttel’s favorite part of her job?
“The relationships. We’re definitely like a big home; everybody cares for one another, everybody is supporting not only every resident, but every staff member and family member along the way,” Huttel said. “We’re still learning as we grow, but, again, I don’t take a job because of the paperwork, I take a job because of the people, and that is definitely the best part of this building.”
When she said Belvedere Senior Housing is basically in her backyard, Huttel wasn’t exaggerating: the building is 1.3 miles from her home, making it a little too easy for her to overwork herself (although she’d never admit it!) But when she’s not at work, she’s usually spending time with her family.
“I really value family, which I think comes from working in a healthcare environment. You learn to appreciate the people that you love so dearly,” Huttel said. “Any chance I have, I spend time with family.”
Huttel’s son is in his senior year of college and guess what degree he’ll be claiming? Healthcare administration, just like his mother. Huttel is extremely proud and excited for him to follow in her footsteps.
“It’s really made for fun dinner talk!” Huttel laughed. “He’s always been involved and volunteered, but now when you’re talking Medicare and Medicaid and budgeting and finance and all of that, it’s a whole new world that we’re having a conversation about!”
Huttel’s passion for her job is a rare and admirable find, but she’s so happy in her field, she hardly gives it a second thought.
“I’ve been licensed in healthcare administration since ’93 and worked in healthcare since ’87, so I’m not sure I’d know what else to do if I didn’t work in an environment like this. And I don’t ever plan to retire!” Huttel said.
Belvedere Senior Housing offers tours seven days a week, and most of the facility’s events are open to the community. Huttel encourages you to come visit and explore your options as soon as possible. For more information, visit the Belvedere Senior Housing website.
343 East 90th Drive, Merrillville, IN 46410
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