20 Under 40: Adrienne Idsal | SteamboatToday.com

20 Under 40: Adrienne Idsal

Adrienne Idsal (Photo by John F. Russell)

During a visit to Adrienne Idsal, director at The Haven assisted living home in Hayden, one might find her leading a morning chair exercise class, rounding up residents to play the dice game Farkle or filling in for dinner prep when an employee calls in sick.

When she is not at work, Idsal, 33, receives middle-of-the-night calls from staff regarding timely concerns. She shrugs and smiles, with an attitude that indicates it’s all part of the job she loves and hopes to stay with long term.

“I give my all to it,” said Idsal, who became director in July 2019. “Seeing the residents smile makes my day.”

Despite the hard work, including the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, Idsal said it’s her dream job directing the 20-room home for residents age 55 and older. Idsal leads with such a familial touch that residents may tell her they forget she is the director.

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See all of the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s 2021 20 Under 40 winners here.

“Adrienne is an incredible person who has created a home-like, fun and engaging atmosphere for the residents,” said former colleague Katy Thiel, who nominated Idsal for 20 Under 40. “Adrienne is a great example of someone who loves what she does and the world she lives in. She has brought new fun activities and life to the community there.”

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Idsal, a dog owner, sees the benefits of the residents keeping their own pets, which now includes one dog and a cat in addition to parakeets Jack and Jill in the family room.

“We actually now have residents moving in with their furry companions, which means the world to them, and these types of meaningful interactions are essential to providing resident-centered care,” Idsal said.

Idsal worked with the town of Hayden to establish a groomed cross-country ski trail behind The Haven so that residents can walk on the winter trails or watch skiers. The home offers everything from happy hour gatherings (sans alcohol) before dinner to a book club to movie nights with a popcorn machine.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in political science and conflict resolution from the University of Notre Dame, Idsal earned a master’s degree in social work with a concentration in gerontology. She started working in 2015 at Northwest Colorado Health, which owns and operates The Haven.

Idsal’s compassionate energy is obvious, despite the fact that caring for seniors during a pandemic can be devastating. The Haven lost two residents due to the COVID-19 virus, and five other residents and five staff members tested positive. The health of other residents declined during the prolonged lockdowns, so several older residents needed to be transferred to nursing homes, Idsal said.

The Haven now is at full capacity for the first time in years, Idsal said. Earlier this summer, Idsal invited family members for a potluck party to celebrate vaccinations. Residents also attended local churches again. That is until the threat of the delta variant and the low vaccination rate in West Routt County put the home back in masked-up mode with restrictions on family visits and group outings, she said.

Idsal believes it is important to combat ageism by educating the community about how best to serve the aging population and finding creative ways to connect older adults to a sense of purpose. Her plans include helping residents get back to volunteering in the community and connecting residents with local youth.

When not on call, Idsal enjoys turning off her phone and trail running, skiing, camping and recreating with her husband, Barclay, and their dog.

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