By Janee Law
It was a dreary Thursday morning, but Carillon Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Huntington could not have been more alive. With brightly lit hallways, vibrant artwork of landscapes on the walls, welcoming smiles from staff members and the scent of peach crisp pie in the air, residents are meant to feel right at home.
“People are pleasantly surprised when they come in [because] it’s not the nursing home they expected to see,” said Joseph Carillo, owner, director and CEO of Carillon. “They walk around and they say they’re shocked on how bright and cheerful it is. They’re shocked that people are smiling and laughing and music programs are going on.”
The family-owned and operated nursing home has been around for 46 years.
“I think most people think they’re going to go to nursing homes, sit around and die,” said Carillo, 55, of Centerport. But that’s a misconception, he quickly adds. “People don’t sit around…we have excellent services and activates.”
Those services include rehabilitation for physical, occupational and speech therapy, adult day health services, an on-site renal dialysis center, therapeutic recreation and more.
The 110,000-square-foot nursing home, which sits on 12.5 acres, houses 315 residents between who range in age from their 50s to over 105, and 60 people for adult day care.
“We have all of those services here and the residents are thrilled,” said Geraldine (Gerry) Albers, 54, of Amityville and administrator at Carillon Nursing.
Along with this, Carillon organizes several activities, from car shows, a winter ball, religious services, music programs, educational programs, happy hour, the opportunity to take trips into the community and more.
With 400 employees and 35-40 volunteers, Albers said the staff is devoted to the residents and enhance their lives, whether it’s arranging their outfits, buying supplies or bringing in animals as visitors.
“Our mission is to give the highest quality of care to people and let them feel like this is their home,” Carillo said, adding that one of their mottos is, “Let our family of professionals take care of your family.”
Carillo’s father, Ferdinand, uncle, Joseph Jr. and grandfather, Joseph Sr., began the nursing home back in 1969. The family was homebuilders and, when they were trying to make the lot into a shopping center, the land was only zoned for a church, a library or a nursing home.
“They got into nursing home by default…but they just thought that it was good business for the community [and that] there was a need for it at the time,” Carillo said.
However, the single-floor establishment has since grown, starting with a skilled nursing facility and then a second health-related facility in 1975.
“The best way to convince a family to come in to a nursing home is take them on a tour and, [as] they walk around, they see the place is clean, they see that the residents are cared for,” Carillo said.
Through the years, Carillon has continually renovated.
Now, it has private enclosed courtyards with gazebos, outdoor sitting and a miniature golf course.
“Nursing homes are not what they were thought of 30 years ago. They’re rehab centers. They’re community centers. They’re people coming in and people go home,” Carillo said. “The people are happy to be here and most importantly their family members are happy that they’re here, comfortable and confidant.”