Maplewood at Orange has long felt like home to Liz Castiline-Gannon so settling into her new role as its Executive Director feels like a natural transition. Castiline-Gannon came to the senior living community nearly seven years ago as its Community Relations Director, where she was the first contact for seniors considering moving to an assisted living facility.
Since February, Castiline-Gannon’s responsibilities have increased to oversee all of Maplewood’s staff and operations. “My plan is to continue what we’ve been doing. I love supporting the staff and the residents and their families. They are an extension of my own family and I truly want to give everyone the best care and experience they can have here at Maplewood,” Castiline-Gannon said. Indeed, it is Castiline-Gannon’s warm and welcoming nature that makes Maplewood at Orange the loving environment it is, says Corporate Marketing Director Kim Brazoli. “Liz is very family-oriented and she brings heart to her job. Everyone feels so comfortable and at home here because of the tone she sets. She treats everyone as though they are an extended part of her family.” A ctually, some of Gannon’s family is at Maplewood – her 94-year old grandmother Rita DiCapua has been a resident for years. “Everyone here calls Rita ‘Momma’ and Liz treats everyone like she treats ‘Momma’” Brazoli said.
Like DiCapua, a new resident may initially come to Maplewood relatively independent but seeking more social interaction, but may require more services as they age. “We have different areas of the facility that provide more services, including Alzheimer’s and memory care. Residents don’t need to move out as their needs change, we can support them as they age under one roof,” Castiline-Gannon said. Castiline-Gannon typically has years of interaction with the residents and their families.
Castiline-Gannon’s promotion coincided with the completion of a major renovation at the facility so it was a perfect time for a fresh start with a new leader at the helm. “We know it’s a hard decision for a senior to leave their family home because they need support so we don’t want cookie-cutter properties,” she said. “We want each residence to reflect the culture of the community we are moving into. While care is our first priority, we also want our residents to be proud to call this home so we take care to ensure the spaces are always modern and comfortable and there are beautiful gardens and spaces to enjoy time with family and friends.”
Part of what makes Maplewood at Orange unique is its many activities and the interaction between the Orange community and the Maplewood residents. Castiline-Gannon finds that many friends and family members often participate in Maplewood’s events. “This is a very vibrant facility and I like to welcome outsiders to our community and make them feel at home here,” she said.
Castiline-Gannon always loved spending time with older adults and knew she wanted a career working with them. After graduating with a degree in Sociology from Quinnipiac University she began working in medical sales but it wasn’t until she visited one of her accounts—an assisted living facility—that she realized she’d found her calling. “It was my first experience in a senior living community and I loved what it was all about,” she said.
Since February, Maplewood is at full capacity with a waiting list. For the first time in Castiline-Gannon’s tenure there are an increased number of couples and more men calling Maplewood home. “It’s great because more couples tend to attract more couples and more men tend to attract more men,” she said.
By Laura Fantarella – Orange Town News Correspondent
Pictured are Rita DiCapua, Liz Castiline-Gannon and Lucille Stock.