LEXINGTON, KY — Sign language was Greek to Morning Pointe of Lexington-East associates, especially when resident Ed Richardson — who is deaf — moved in to the personal care and Alzheimer’s memory care community a few months ago.

The associates made their best efforts to keep Richardson in the loop, picking up the language for themselves, using mobile apps and marker boards as aides to keep the lines of communication open.

But the leadership team had a special surprise for Richardson. The associates planned a potluck in his honor, inviting family and friends — some of whom are also deaf — to enjoy quality time together at Morning Pointe.

“It was good that he was able to have this interaction with those who share that common link with him,” says Derek Combs, life enrichment director at Morning Pointe. “Just watching everyone interact and engage with one another spoke to what we are all about here at Morning Pointe.”

Dawn Pittman, Lantern program director, knows Richardson’s language by heart. A daughter of two deaf parents, Pittman shares a common link with the non-hearing community.

“Sign language was my first language,” Pittman says. “I was kind of like the parent to my parents. As a six-year-old kid, I would order at restaurants for them. It’s kind of an interesting scenario.”

She attributes her deaf upbringing as inspiration for her current role as a caregiver at Morning Pointe.

“Compassion and patience, I say, were the two things I learned from a very young age,” Pittman says. “It’s definitely made me who I am and I’m thankful for it. I’m thankful for my deaf parents.”

About her experience at Morning Pointe, she says Richardson’s move in was the “cherry on top,” bringing her two worlds together.

Tuned in to the unique needs of deaf people, Pittman plans to host sign language classes at Morning Pointe. The residents and associates are also making their efforts to learn how to communicate with Richardson, with plans to hold future events to bring the deaf community together. Morning Pointe never misses an opportunity to make residents feel special and loved. The life enrichment and Meaningful Day™ programs are designed to ensure each residents’ needs are heard loud and clear.

“Hopefully we’ll have many more events to come,” Pittman says. “He loves that. Although we are all hearing here, we want to make sure he feels included.”

Photo: Lisa Stone, community relations director at Morning Pointe, and Ed Richardson, Morning Pointe of Lexington-East resident who is deaf, enjoy the Deaf Pot Luck event at the personal care and Alzheimer’s memory care community.

Photo: Morning Pointe of Lexington-East resident Ed Richardson, who is deaf, is greeted by 25 friends and family members during a Deaf Pot Luck at the personal care and Alzheimer’s memory care community.