A Rewarding Season

“I love seeing their smiles. They say we light up their life.”

Merrill Martin is the Restaurant Manager at Atria Riverdale, where she brings residents together to bond over food – a job that’s especially meaningful during the holiday season.

“We look for ways to keep residents happy and recall holiday celebrations they’ve had in the past, explained Merrill. “Sometimes, we let residents help carve the turkey as it reminds them of when they would cut the turkey for their families and brings a smile to their faces.”

And if you ask Merrill, that’s what it’s all about. “If our residents are happy, we’re happy,” she said.

When Atria Riverdale residents enter the restaurant, their first stop is to chat with Merrill, who is known for her encouraging words and as the community’s fashionista.

“If I wear the same piece twice, they bring it to my attention,” she said with a laugh.

Merrill’s dedication to honor residents’ beliefs extends beyond the holiday season. In fact, her year-round commitment to incorporating observances and celebrations is why some residents call her the “Shabbat Queen.”

“The first thing I do on Saturdays is prepare for Shabbat. I always enjoy seeing the smiles on residents’ faces,” explained Merrill. “They’re so grateful that we acknowledge their religion and celebrate who they are.”

Togetherness During the Holidays

“We always want our residents to know how special they are,” said Cristine Basile, the Engage Life Program Instructor at Atria on Roslyn Harbor. It’s something she prioritizes, opening every event she leads by telling residents how they all have a special place in her heart.

Cristine says connecting with residents during the holidays is especially important. If a resident’s family or friends are unable to visit them, Cristine spends extra time with the resident and shares how lucky she is to spend the holidays with them.

“You always want them to know how special they are and that they’re not alone. That’s the beauty of living in a community like this,” said Cristine.

One way she shows residents how special they are is by incorporating everyone’s faith and background into community events.

“I love hearing about the holiday celebrations they’ve had over the years. They tell me how they would decorate and the recipes they would use. Then, I’ll share a story about my holiday celebrations. I get great joy listening to their stories,” Cristine said.

To join a team that recognizes the traditions and differences of each unique individual and their holiday celebrations, check out our open positions at atriacareers.com.