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Crown Cypress is changing the way people think about assisted living

January 30th, 2012 9:50 am by Staff Report

Crown Cypress is changing the way people think about assisted living

Crown Cypress director Jake Rightmyer, left, gives monthly guitar lessons to interested residents. Here, Beulah Blair tries her hand at the instrument

By Crown Cypress Staff

Kingsport’s first assisted living facility recently received a new name, new face and new life.

You may not know it as Crown Cypress, but you’ve probably passed it a few times since it was built in 1994. Formerly known as The Oaks and located on East Stone Drive next to Brandy Mill Apartments, the Crown Cypress community is changing the way people think about assisted living.

From the moment you walk through the door and see a flat-screen TV displaying a slide show of residents involved in activities to the continual remodeling of the quaint 36-room building, you know that something special is going on here.

If you ask any of the residents what their favorite part of Crown Cypress is, though, they are quick to tell you it is not the amenities - it’s the staff. The leader of that staff may have been the biggest and best change of all. His name is Jake Rightmyer, a Kingsport native who has come back home to do what he loves best.

Rightmyer is a preacher’s son who got the chance to live in a multitude of Southern areas, including parts of East Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi, Kentucky and others.

"Something always brings me back to these mountains," explains Rightmyer.

Aside from his love of the area, Rightmyer has an interesting background that makes him a well-rounded director for Crown Cypress. He has been a musician, operated a restaurant, plus has a marketing background and helped develop a state-of-the-art memory care community in the Southwest.

"Everything that I have ever done has somehow helped me in working with an assisted living community," he said. "From entertaining, to marketing, to even food, I’ve done it all in some capacity, and I think it helps me relate to the people I trust to make those aspects of the business the best that they can possibly be."

Along with the assisted living facility, Rightmyer has taken on a completely separate in-home health operation as well, called Crown Cypress Comfort Care. This division provides services such as medication reminders, meal preparation, housekeeping, transportation and more.

"It has been quite a learning experience trying to understand Medicaid and the Choices Program that helps seniors get financial assistance. With or without the benefit, we have been able to provide service for a lot of people inside their own homes," Rightmyer explained. Crown Cypress Comfort Care has more than doubled in size since Rightmyer began last fall.

The assisted living community is finding new ways to get residents involved in activities and is making their atmosphere creative and exciting.

"We have changed so much around here from décor, food quality, resident services and everything in between," he said. "On a regular basis, we have people walk in that haven’t been here in a while, and they will stop and comment on how much has been happening around our community."

And, it’s not over. This spring, the dining area will receive a complete renovation, including new flooring, tables and chairs, and other furnishings in order to make the area feel as good as the food tastes.

Rightmyer, a published singer-songwriter, also gives monthly guitar lessons to the residents of Crown Cypress. You can find him around town occasionally playing original songs at local venues. At Crown Cypress, he sticks to the old-time folk songs the residents love to hear and sing along with.

"In all my years in the healthcare business, I have never seen a director sit down and teach the residents something like guitar," said Sue Arnold, director, resident services. "It’s amazing, and the residents love it."

That’s not all that goes on at Crown Cypress. On any given day, you can find the members of this community learning new skills or having lots of fun with the Crown Cypress staff.

"This is a special place, made up of very special people. I am thankful for such a wonderful staff who really loves our residents and does everything with them in mind," he said.

Crown Cypress is located at 2424 E. Stone Dr., and the community is open for tours at any time. For more information, call 423-817-8202.

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