Lauren – A Feeling of Community

September 28, 2021
Lauren smiling with trees in the background

I’m excited to introduce you to Lauren, this month’s Irby Ranch Resident Spotlight! Lauren moved into the community a year ago and shared that it’s been fun to live at Irby Ranch in Pleasanton, CA and engage with other residents and the surrounding community.

Lauren enjoys participating in Sunflower Hill programs and activities held on site at Irby Ranch, as well as the Hands-On Garden program at the Sunflower Hill Garden in Livermore. She likes harvesting the fruits and veggies, and enjoys having the healthy snack and different-flavored spa water together with the group after completing the daily tasks. She shared with me that one time she harvested peaches with her mom and Teacher Abby, which she found very fun.

Lauren playing corn hole. Throwing a corn hole bag, standing next to a sunflower-themed corn hole.Lauren also enjoys playing basketball and corn hole on the Irby Ranch sports court. She lists floor hockey, volleyball, softball, tennis, golf, playing on her iPad, and watching TV as a few of her hobbies.

Lauren lists her strengths as being gentle, kind, forgiving, and loving. Whenever I see her, she always has a bright and warm smile on her face. She will frequently call out to staff or peers saying, “what’s up?” or “how’s it going?” She likes to ask people about their day, share with them her plans for the day, and end the conversation by saying, “thank you for listening.” She sets a great example of how to listen to others and be kind!

 On Living Independently

Lauren has been living independently for over a year and moved to Irby Ranch from Dublin. When I asked her what she thought about living independently, she replied with one word: wonderful! I prodded her for a few additional examples and she responded with a list:

  • More sleep
  • Healthy living
  • Clean living
  • Eating at the table with support staff
  • Getting to watch TV while eating dinner
  • Socializing

Lauren has several recommendations for people who are wanting to live independently:

    • Learn to cook and bake
    • Be nice to neighbors and make friends
    • Take care of yourself and keep everything nice and clean
    • Respect everyone’s privacy
    • Don’t watch TV too loud

On Living at Irby Ranch

Despite the challenges of moving during a pandemic, Lauren says the transition from her old apartment to her new apartment at Irby Ranch was smooth. She says she likes to “hang out at my place and attend activities at Irby Ranch.”

Lauren likes her apartment “a lot better” than her old place in Dublin, noting the sense of community: “I got a (Sunflower Hill) resident shirt that one of the residents made!” Her favorite Irby Ranch activity is the Sunday Movement Breaks because she gets to do many different types of exercise and activity in the community room.

Lauren in a mask standing in front of an aquarium with fish and a shark swimming in the background.
Lauren at the New York City Aquarium.
Lauren sitting on an amusement park ride at Coney Island, putting her hat on.
Lauren at Coney Island in New York.
Lauren driving a bumper car.
Lauren in New York City.
Lauren in a forest holding a chainsaw.
Lauren, ready to work!
Lauren harvesting red peppers
Lauren harvesting red peppers at the Sunflower Hill Garden.
Lauren holding potatoes she harvested
Lauren harvesting purple potatoes at the Sunflower Hill Garden.
Lauren smiling holding a box full of freshly harvested red peppers at the Sunflower Hill Garden.
Lauren harvesting red peppers at the Sunflower Hill Garden.

Lauren says her apartment is “perfect, quiet, fun!” She was excited to be able to decorate her bedroom and TV room just the way she wanted to, and that her bathroom is big. She enjoys spending time with her support staff and doing laundry and cooking together.

Lauren chose to live at Irby Ranch because she thought it would be fun – she says it is and that she has a “good time” living in the community! She has made new friends, and especially enjoys her next-door neighbors. She enjoys that there are no curfews and being able to watch TV during dinner. She has also enjoyed the fact that there have been no black-outs, which she experienced frequently at her old apartment.

Thoughts on the Pandemic

Lauren feels that living through the pandemic this past year has been a little stressful because of having to wear a mask. “I hope we stop soon,” she said. She found that staying organized helped her to not get too bored. She also started meditating and found it helped her to stay calm.

 Plans for 2021 & Beyond

Lauren recently enjoyed a vacation to New York and Canada, where her siblings live. In addition to spending more time with her family, she hopes to eat healthier and exercise more in 2021 and beyond. As some of the restrictions put in place due to the pandemic ease and people are able to meet in person more, she looks forward to spending more time socializing. I look forward to that too!


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Story by: Pratimajit Kaur, Sunflower Hill at Irby Ranch Residential Programs Manager
Contributing Writer: Rachel Clark, Sunflower Hill Communications Manager

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