Get to Know Our Team

Mayra Palominos

As the seasons change so do the decorations at The Grove Assisted Living & The Gardens Memory Care in Forest Grove, OR. This month is no different – Valentine’s Day is upon us; pink and red tones are scattered colorfully through the hallways as the activities unfold throughout the day.

One thing that doesn’t change is Mayra Palominos unwavering dedication to her job. A long-time med-passer, Palominos greets everyone with a smile and a wave in her brightly colored scrubs. Confidently, she strides through the halls. Palominos starts her morning at 4 am every day, ensuring all staff scheduled is here on time. Palominos expresses her commitment, “When people depend on you to live and operate throughout their daily routine, you have to be on time, every day.” She emphasizes.

Palominos is a mother of three alongside her husband. Outside of work, the family stays busy by either watching or playing soccer and basketball. She tenderly remembers, “If I wasn’t at work, I was out on the soccer fields, rain or shine, watching my kids play.” Now, her children are older and have become part of The Grove & The Gardens family. She shares, “My son works here full time, and my oldest daughter goes to college and works here on the weekends, my little one is still in high school.” A touch of gratitude is noted in her voice.

Palominos began her trajectory at the facilities 14 years ago, starting as a caregiver, then resident care. Now, her current role includes med-passer and scheduling staff. She fondly shares, “My residents are the most important to me, if one of them gets sick, I go home worried – how are they doing? Are they out of the hospital?” She further explains, “My coworkers tell me, ‘Go home and rest!’, I tell them, “I’ll go home, rest? I don’t know.” She laughs, contagiously echoing through the room with a beaming smile.

For Palominos, every day at The Grove & The Gardens has a different beat, with the same smile radiating ear to ear. As she further explains, “When you enjoy what you are doing” – Palominos shares in Spanish – “no te importa trabajar tantas horas” – “you don’t mind working long hours.” Our place is not only filled with love around Valentine’s Day, but year-round. With a twinkle in her eye, she finishes her statement, “This is my second home, I couldn’t see myself anywhere else other than The Grove & The Gardens.”

Vickie Garcia

The leaves are slowly changing hues of orange and red, as the sun awakens on a crisp fall morning. Vickie makes way to start her day at The Grove & The Gardens. She begins her daily routine walking to her office, greeting the early rising residents with a smile.

Vickie Garcia is the Administrator for both The Grove Assisted Living Community and The Gardens Memory Care. As the administrator, Vickie oversees the day to day operations of every department for resident care.

Garcia is a Mexico native from the state of Michoacán and raised right here in Washington County. She is a Hillsboro High School graduate and continues to reside in the area with two chihuahuas and family. Vickie enjoys spending time with her family whenever possible.

“… it’s harder to find time to wrestle all my siblings together nowadays. When we can all be together, especially for dinners, it’s more special now.” During her free time, Garcia winds down by going to the gym and driving around with her four siblings to find new ice cream shops in town. “It’s always a treat”, Garcia explains and smiles from ear to ear.

For almost 11 years, Vickie has transitioned to different positions within The Grove & The Gardens. Starting as a caregiver to med passer, resident service director, and now to administrator since 2017. Garcia shares with a sense of pride and dedication in her voice, “I appreciate my journey here, I am thankful for the opportunities I received and continue to receive.”

Garcia refers fondly to The Grove & The Gardens, “When I walk into the memory care neighborhood, the residents may not remember my name, but they know who I am, the residents know I am there to see them.” She further explains, “My favorite part of working here is the lively and personal stories residents share with me. They trust me enough to share their memories, what they feel, and what they are thinking. It’s a warm feeling knowing you are trusted.”

Vickie, like many at The Grove & The Gardens, is passionate and driven by the good work done to help residents enjoy a better quality of life. As Vickie looks off into the distance, she states with a blissful tone in her voice, “I see myself here for a long time working with residents. Sometimes I may be having a difficult day, a smile from the residents can change that in an instant.”

Chrissy Ellington

Chrissy Ellington is the Accounting & Office Manager at The Grove Assisted Living & The Gardens Enhanced Memory Care. For over 23 years, Chrissy has witnessed The Grove & The Gardens flourish into the living community it is today. Before The Grove & The Gardens evolved to what it is, Ellington has worn many hats herself – from activities director to med passer, caregiver, and now Accounting & Office Manager. As a fourth-generation Oregonian, Ellington is deeply rooted in the fabric of the community she calls home.

Ellington, an owner of two cats, and mother of two spends her time watching her kids play sports year-round. She explains, “My daughter plays volleyball, basketball, and softball. My son is passionate about basketball, he would play all day if he could”, she chuckles. Aside from being a devoted lover of sports, Ellington takes pleasure in camping and spending time by the lake, “I grew up around nature and animals, I have fond memories of our family trips with my grandparents- I miss them so much.” Ellington conveys, as the memories start to flood, with a twinkle in her eye.

Ellington starts her day with accounting duties, such as accounts payable and accounts receivables. Although every day may be different, she also assists answering financial questions residents may have, and helps to order supplies. Ellington explains with eagerness in her voice, “I love helping when I can. If I can visit residents throughout my day, I will. Especially our residents who don’t have family, they appreciate it.”

Ellington understands the challenges residents and family members can face when transitioned into a living facility, “My grandmother was a resident of The Grove & The Gardens, it’s comforting to know the staff who works here cares about the residents, I feel a special connection to this place.”

Tom- Ellington’s supervisor says with delight, “We appreciate the longevity that so many of our employees have with us. Chrissy has grown with The Grove & The Gardens and we are grateful she always goes above and beyond for our residents.” The Grove & The Gardens is not only home to residents, it’s a community built by caregivers, kitchen staff, RNs, the person greeting you at the front desk and so many others. With a tender note in her voice, Ellington expresses, “I can’t see myself anywhere else, it’s my home away from home.”

Gina Armstrong

The Grove & The Gardens would like you to meet our team member – Gina Armstrong. Gina is no stranger to the area, having moved to Forest Grove in 1997. To this day she remembers her first day at The Grove & The Gardens June 14, 1998. “I immediately became fond of our residents; caregiving is a gift”. Armstrong explains with tenderness in her voice. Not only is she dedicated to the residents of The Grove & The Gardens, she is a loving mother to three children, a shiatzu, and a four-month-old chihuahua. During her free time, Gina enjoys gardening in her backyard and relaxing outside on her patio on hot summer days after an exciting day at work.

Armstrong’s day starts with a buzz. Zooming from one resident room to another, encouraging them to join exercise class in the morning, ensuring they have what they need for the day, signing them up for activities and so much more. Armstrong explains, “I help in whatever way I can, if residents need help scheduling appointments or shopping to be done, I do it for them”.

 

Armstrong began her long trajectory at The Grove & The Gardens as a caregiver, later becoming a med passer. “In 2002, I applied for the Activities Department and have been an assistant coordinator since. I love planning events; I get excited thinking about next months’ activities and what outdoor activities we can organize with residents. During the summer we go to the beach, Multnomah Falls, their favorite activity is having a picnic near Hagg Lake.” Armstrong describes with a large and eager grin.

 

Armstrong further explains, “One on one visits is one of my favorite activities at The Gardens. You can talk to residents about their life and you can see a sparkle in their eyes as they go back in time and remember something they want you to know.”

 

For over 22 years, Gina has devoted her career to the well-being of our residents. “Residents ask me, ‘Why are you always smiling Gina?’ I smile even wider. I respond, ‘Because I am happy to be here, I love my job.’”

 

Gina sees herself continuing to grow along with The Grove & The Gardens. “I see myself helping residents for a long time, knowing I can help and feel cherished by them, and my coworkers, is a very special feeling. I love giving them special moments. Special moments are what lead to quality of life. The Grove and Gardens is like my second home”.

Linda Kelley

Though she is new to The Grove & The Gardens, she joined our team with over forty years of experience in patient care and hospital care. Linda is highly educated, with her degrees from the University of Miami (Ohio), and the University of Gonzaga masters program in nursing leadership, research, education, and management (which she earned while raising her children). Linda is an accomplished and proud mother of four and now spends time with her sweet Maltese Yorkie hiking in the Portland Northwest.

Prior to establishing roots in Forest Grove, Kelley has long been on a dedicated path in patient care, from Nurse Supervisor in nursing homes in Ohio and Texas, and when her love for academia and patient care met, as an instructor. Which later turned into a promotion to Associate Dean of Nursing at a community college nursing program in the Seattle area. Her other areas of expertise include home health, hospice care, and quality improvement in several outpatient and hospital settings.

 

 

“Nurses can have a world of opportunities to choose from. No matter what you do, you give yourself because you care.” Kelly explained with excitement in her voice as she shared her passion.

For Kelley, her day begins with resident reports from other facility leaders and then assesses and provides holistic care to all resident. Her main priority is ensuring patients reach self-actualization with any assistance required to allow a patient to reach their highest potential even with a disease that can hinder them physically and psychologically, but Kelley always strives to give her patient’s the best care she can provide.

 

Kelly explains, “I retired early, but I missed my career and decided to come back. I enjoy the small town feel of Forest Grove and The Grove & The Gardens just made sense for me. I like the administration and their philosophy, there is a deep level of care for residents and we seek to provide what is best for each [resident].”

 

Kelley further explains with a smile on her face, “From the beginning, The Grove & The Gardens embraced my background and listened to my ideas to have the best experience for residents, their families, and employees. It is a warm feeling when you know your boss is there to support you”.

 

Luan and Tom- Linda’s supervisors express with joy, “Since Linda’s arrival we’ve seen continuous improvement. Not only does she go out of her way to assist residents but their families too. She brings a very disciplined skill of critical thinking, professionalism, knowledge, and education. It’s had an overwhelming effect on our quality of care here at The Grove Assisted Living and The Gardens Memory Care. We are so privileged and proud to have her in our facility”.

 

Kelley is hopeful for the future of healthcare, especially for what is to come for senior care.

 

“I think assisted living will see stricter regulations and a better focus on the elderly community, the need for experienced nurse care will improve. It’s not easy in our society to grow old and I am hoping it will change with generations to come”.