Rick Sellars is Assistant Vice President of Assisted Living and Independent Living Operations for NHC Healthcare. His experience as administrator of senior care centers for more than 30 years has benefited NHC centers and their families. He has been honored as Administrator of the Year and has served on the national board of the American College of Healthcare Administrators and on the state board of The South Carolina Healthcare Association, serving three years as their Chairman of the Board.

What are some things to know about Rick?

Rick tells us that he is lucky to have fallen into a job that he has loved from the very start. He originally began as an EMT and then began the path to administrator.  Years later, not only has he benefitted but he has three sons who have followed in his footsteps as administrators of centers. Rick finds time talking with the residents of assisted living have been some of his favorite moments where he learned about the rich and varied lives they lived. He has spent time with everyone from celebrities like Sarah Cannon (Minnie Pearl) to WWI And WWII veterans who stormed the beaches at Normandy. He has also learned what a difference every interaction with a resident can have.

What is assisted living? 

Assisted Living may vary by the resident’s needs.  In general, assisted living is luxury apartment living for those who many need assistance with dressing or grooming, meal preparation, and medication management.  They have determined they no longer can or want to keep up a home and need a little extra help.

Assisted Living has also grown to mean a short term stay for a person while family is out of town.  And it can be that little extra time needed for a patient that was discharged from rehab but is not really ready to go home. The patient and a caregiver can live in an apartment and spend a week to 10 days learning how to live on their own, once they are back in their home.

What are some of the benefits of assisted living? 

Residents in assisted living have so many advantages for a full rich life without isolation or loneliness. They benefit from well-planned nutritious meals. Activity therapists are on staff to help with exercise, games, parties and even a happy hour in some locations. If there is a need for medical assistance, there is someone there to help.

What are some signs someone might need assisted living?

Family members often recognize that their loved one is not eating right, not getting exercise, can’t keep up with routine chores, and needs help bathing and dressing. They may not be taking their medications regularly and just need a safety net around them.

What is the difference between a skilled nursing center and an assisted living center?

A skilled nursing center is a more medical setting with 24-hour licensed nurses available. The needs of a skilled nursing patient dictate a hospital-type room, in a hospital-like setting with a hospital bed.

In assisted living, residents are in their own bed in their own apartment with their own belongings. They are in a residential setting with a medical safety net in case something goes wrong.

All of our assisted living centers are on the same campus with our skilled nursing centers. If a resident has a hospital stay and needs skilled nursing, it can be accessed on the same campus.  That is particularly helpful to couples, where one may be in assisted living while another is being treated in skilled nursing. We call it continuum of care and it has been important benefit for our residents and patients since our founder Dr. Adams charged us with taking care of our residents and patients the best we can.

What are some favorite moments in assisted living?

Rick has learned that you are never too old to have fun.  Some of the best times are when the staff and residents are doing activities together.  They often have costume parties, seasonal plays or activities. One year the residents and staff teamed up to act out the Twelve Days of Christmas. One activity began with Rick’s grandson coming in for a play time with residents and grew to 7-8 toddlers playing with seniors and having a great time together.

What precautions are you taking with residents during COVID-19?

The centers take every precaution, following the recommendations of the CDC. Staff are screened daily for symptoms and their temperatures taken.  Residents are screened twice a day for possible symptoms.

The centers have been really creative in trying to allow for visitation with screen porches, plexiglass barriers and more. Some visitation restrictions are being lifted now as states phase re-opening, but there are still pre-requisites that must be met for visitation and it differs by state.