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Monticello West’s Jack-of-All-Trades

November 9, 2020

Monticello West’s Jack of All Trades

While his official title is community liaison, he is actually the assisted living community’s jack-of-all-trades. Michael Basha, who has worked at Monticello West senior living community in Dallas for four years, does just about anything for the residents and the staff that needs to be done. More importantly, he does so effectively and graciously. “He’s the go-to-person for everyone, “ said Nan Mulvaney, director of community relations. “He’s a tremendous asset to our team.”

A native of Texas, Michael began working at Monticello West as a concierge.  His father, Joe Basha, had recently retired from his position in life enrichment at the retirement community and suggested that his son looks into working there. Almost immediately after he started, Michael said, he began taking on more and more responsibilities, including marketing, admissions, IT, social media, photography, videography, and more. After a year as the concierge, the role of community liaison was created for Michael, more accurately reflecting many of the responsibilities that he was already handling.

Michael’s creativity and adaptability have taken on increased importance as COVID has changed the roles and responsibilities of much of the staff at Monticello West.  “In the early months of COVID, we literally quit selling apartments and spent our time supporting the residents and their families in whatever ways they needed,” said Nan.

What this meant was that the management team became what Michael termed ‘shepherds’ for the residents. “This has been a scary time, and we do the best we can to comfort and encourage them. We’ve visited them and also stayed in touch with their family members, being a reassuring presence, a liaison,” he said. “We’ve worked to help people remain connected with their loved ones. I find that I’m still here until 7 o’clock every night, trying to keep an eye on things. I’m friends with the residents and their family members. I’m one of the first people they meet and one of the individuals that they develop the strongest bond with.”  Michael noted that if his own parents were living in a senior living community during the pandemic, he’d like someone like him looking out for them. “I’d want someone to be my champion. These have been scary times. I can’t help just wanting to be there to help the residents, and I’m glad I’m able to.”

As testimony to this, a resident commented, “Michael was one of the first individuals I met here!  His kind manner made me feel good about living here. He remains personable and is always willing to help me if I need it.  Michael is humble and great at his job. He is just a good guy!”

Now that Monticello West has reopened for move-ins, Michael is spending more time in marketing initiatives, reaching out to bring new people to live at the senior living community. In the interest of maintaining social distancing and safety, prospective residents are initially participating in virtual and video tours that Michael produces. The prospects can get a feel for the community and even ‘view’ specific apartments. Michael has also created a number of videos showcasing common spaces and introducing interesting residents. Most of his technical skills, he said, are self-taught. “I grew up around computers and cell phones. If I run across something I don’t know, I’ll figure it out.”

Michael shared that what he likes best about his job is “having a laugh with the residents at the end of the day. There’s nothing greater than making the residents happy and knowing that they’ve had a good day.”

With a master’s degree in history, Michael acknowledged that he never expected to be working in senior living. But it’s a job he loves, and he recognizes that “the residents teach me about their own histories. I’m really lucky to work here. I’m glad I can be a small part in helping people.”

Michael said that he greatly values the team with which he works. “It’s a smart, strong group of people who are really good at what they do. The people I work with are amazing. We’ve proven that we are capable and caring.”

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