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Sandy Journal

Sandy seniors invite EMS and first responders to pancake meet-and-greet

May 15, 2018 01:20PM ● By Keyra Kristoffersen

Cedarwood at Sandy residents dine on pancakes with EMS and police officers. (Jesse Buntjer)

By Keyra Kristoffersen | [email protected] 

As a thank-you to the EMS and First Responders of Sandy City, Cedarwood at Sandy, a retirement community, hosted a pancake breakfast on Thursday, May 3.

“We wanted to do something nice to give back to EMS and First Responders,” said Jesse Buntjer, executive director of Cedarwood. “Just to be able to sit down and get to know the residents and vice versa.”

Buntjer said that a lot of times in senior living, interactions between residents and First Responders is when a resident falls, feels lousy or they have to take them to the hospital, so a lot of times the interaction with them is pretty brief and always under a stressful situation. Cedarwood hoped to combine the groups in a relaxed atmosphere to allow for real communication and gratitude, not just for the residents but the community of Sandy as a whole.

Around 20 to 25 people from three different stations came as well as some representation from the police department, along with residents and staff. Buntjer was pleased with the outcome.
“They were able to come in and sit down and get to know the residents, which was so fun to be able to watch them interact and find out more about them,” said Buntjer. “We decided we want to kind of do this as an annual thing where they get to come in once a year and do breakfast with the residents.” 

Cedarwood at Sandy is a four time recipient of the Best of State award given by The State of Utah and was recently selected as one of the 2018 Best of Assisted Living award winners on, the largest site for ratings and reviews of senior care and services in North America and Canada. The annual Best of Senior Living awards considers over 150,000 reviews to determine the highest quality care providers. Of the nearly 45,000 communities currently listed, just over 1,600 were recognized with the award, Cedarwood being one of the few from Sandy.   

“Whenever people come to visit our facility we always hear that it just feels different,” said Buntjer. “Even though our residents are older and they physically can’t do the things that they used to be able to do, we try to create an environment that allows them to thrive, allows them to feel as independent as possible, and like family.” 

To facilitate the positive, Cedarwood at Sandy is currently in the final stages of a $3 million renovation which includes the main lobby, entrance and grand parlor as a gathering area. Some of the walls have been pushed out by 15 feet to accommodate a brand new fitness and wellness center which will offer yoga, Tai Chi and exercise classes as well as gym equipment. The wellness center is scheduled to open in September or October of 2018. Cedarwood is also taking the opportunity to renovate many of the 179 apartments that they have between assisted and independent living. 

Buntjer attributes much of the community’s success with residents over the last 30 years not only to the feeling of family that they strive to offer, but to many of the amenities put into place over the last few years, such as private care services for residents so that they don’t always have to take a trip to the hospital for minor health issues. 

“We’re the only community in the state of Utah in independent living that does private care services for residents,” said Buntjer.

In addition, the community offers all-day dining from a chef that has been cooking there for 18 years. Residents have a choice of the entire menu and dining times throughout the day.