Avamere at Chestnut Lane deaf and deafblind senior living community in Portland, Oregon

July 8, 2020


Imagine bumping into someone on the street and not being able to apologize. Imagine being in a new environment and not being able to ask where the restroom is. For those who are deaf and deafblind, they don’t have to imagine. These are real challenges they face every day.

People find their voice at Avamere at Chestnut Lane, a specialized assisted living community for the deaf and deafblind in Gresham, Oregon. Here in this unique senior living community, the deaf and deafblind are understood, surrounded by fellow seniors and staff who know their language by heart.

Senior living for the deaf & deafblind

Most of Avamere at Chestnut Lane’s residents are deaf, and all communicate with American Sign Language (ASL). The senior community has staff who have worked there for over 10 years because they have a voice at work. In fact, their very own Executive Director, Renee Vairora, is deaf and communicates with ASL.

“This is like a deaf country and when hearing people visit, they are the odd ones,” stated Harrison Burke, Staff Interpreter at Avamere at Chestnut Lane. “That is the real heart of what makes Avamere at Chestnut Lane great.”

For the deaf

Avamere at Chestnut Lane offers many features for their deaf residents, including a public video phone that allows residents to call anyone free of charge with an ASL interpreter. Residents can call family, order dinner, or set a doctor’s appointment. Several of the apartments also feature a video phone as well.

This specialized deaf senior living community also features a visual call system. When a resident pulls an emergency cord or presses their call pendant, the alert shows a visual of who needs assistance and where they are. This is just one of Avamere at Chestnut Lane’s safety features for residents.

Avamere at Chestnut Lane also has two staff interpreters, including Harrison, to help visitors communicate with residents and staff.

For the deafblind

Those who are deafblind can also find an environment of understanding at Avamere at Chestnut Lane. Staff communicate with their deafblind residents through tactile sign language, which Hellen Keller helped create.

Staff help deafblind feel comfortable in their community by approaching them with gentle touch, such as a touch on the shoulder. They then sign into their hand (tactile sign language), identify themselves and anyone else in the room, and give their message.

Avamere at Chestnut Lane offers special services for their deafblind residents, including reading their mail, making video phone calls, going on errands, and many other tasks to help the resident with their day-to-day.

The amount of assistance needed depends on the individual.

“They are their eyes into the world around them,” Harrison shared.

Fun at a distance during COVID-19

Avamere at Chestnut Lane still creates fun for their residents even amongst the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the virus, residents enjoyed regular visits from Janet, who led crafting activities as a volunteer. Now during COVID-19, Janet leads the activities from outside the lobby window.

“The residents thought it was fun and funny all the while we still got to participate in crafts while being safe with COVID-19 protocols,” Harrison shared.

Avamere at Chestnut Lane life

Avamere at Chestnut Lane staff truly care about their residents. They’re proud recipients of Pinnacle Quality Insight’s 2020 Customer Experience Award, being recognized for their smooth move-in process and being recommended to others.

And their shining customer service shows! This specialized deaf and deafblind senior living community has residents from all over the United States – from California to Florida and even Hawaii!

With 17 years of serving seniors, Avamere at Chestnut Lane is primed to lovingly serve deaf and deafblind seniors looking for a home where they feel understood, welcomed, and appreciated.

Discover more about Avamere at Chestnut Lane by scheduling a virtual tour today!

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