Service Through Senior Living
As a high school student, Nick Lay did not anticipate that his part-time job washing dishes at a local nursing home was actually the start of a fulfilling career in senior care.
Lay recently became the executive director for Spring Gardens St. George. He comes from an extensive background in assisted living as well as hospice care.
His career started not long after that dishwashing job. The nursing home recognized his work ethic and soon offered him the position of running the kitchen. With the help of a thoughtful mentor, Lay went on to be trained as an administrator working with each of the different departments. He uses that experience mentoring employees today.
“I like to treat people the right way,” Lay says. “It doesn’t mean I don’t hold them accountable, but I want them to know that I am there for them.”
After completing his administration training program, Lay became licensed and ran a nursing home for a year. He then decided to use the skills and expertise he had gained to work in assisted living. For Lay, each of his roles has been about caring for others.
“Working in a memory care community early on was a really positive experience,” he says. “I realized I could really make a difference in their lives.”
As executive director of Spring Gardens St. George, he continues to make a difference in the lives of others. He manages about 50 employees and approximately 93 current residents. He says working with people is the best part of his job.
“I love being able to listen to the residents and make the changes that they want to see,” Lay says.
He says empathy goes a long way when it comes to caring for others.
“I know what our employees are going through,” Lay says. “I know how hard they’re working and I feel comfortable stepping in and helping them with whatever they need.”
The result is a community that feels like home. Spring Gardens St. George is the perfect size — not too big, but not too small.
“It has a great family atmosphere,” says Lay, “but it also has all of the nice features you look for in a larger community.”
Benefits of Assisted Living and Memory Care
When families are concerned about placing their loved one in assisted living, Lay lets them know about the great social and emotional benefits of living at Spring Gardens.
“Coming here really opens up different social avenues for their loved ones,” Lay says. “They actually do better as they make new friends, socialize with other people in their same place, and get involved.”
He says another benefit is that when residents are cared for in a community setting, children often enjoy a better relationship with their parents.
“Caregiving at home is a huge task, and you don’t get to enjoy your parents as your parents anymore,” Lay said. “Now you can enjoy that relationship again.”
Lay emphasizes good communication with families in his role as executive director. In addition to meeting with families face-to-face, he regularly stays in contact with them on the phone or over email. He says that has become even more important during the pandemic.
“It’s a whole different world,” Lay says. “We are always trying to be creative and figure out ways to communicate with families and for our residents to enjoy activities and go on outings safely.”
When he is not taking care of the employees and residents at Spring Gardens, you can find Lay doing just about anything outdoors: hunting, camping, fishing, and most recently — coaching his son’s local mountain bike team.
Spring Gardens St. George is located at 2654 E. Red Cliffs Drive and provides assisted living and memory care services. Call us to learn more about how we can help your family: 435-236-6144.