A Shared Language

November 27, 2023

Janie Morales lives with hearing impairment. Due to this disability, she is completely reliant on sign language or technology for communication. After moving to Bayview in La Porte in early 2021, it became a source of frustration. She was struggling to communicate in her new environment and was feeling more and more discouraged. That was, until she met Erica.

 Erica Ysaguirre joined the Affordable Housing team as a housekeeper a few months after Janie moved in. While her job title was housekeeper, the team soon learned that Erica was a bit of a communication specialist too. While Erica doesn’t know sign language in the traditional sense, she grew up in an environment with many older adults who were either blind or deaf. Along the way, Erica developed a shorthand version of sign language that made communication with Janie possible.

 When Janie and Erica met, it was like an instant friendship was born. Erica just seemed to know what Janie was trying to say and vice versa. From that day forward, Janie began participating more and more in the daily offerings at the community with the assurance that Erica, her translator, is nearby to help out when needed.

 “Erica is magical. She connects with people despite communication barriers,” said Amanda Goode, Bayview’s Service Coordinator, “Whether it is a hearing impairment or a foreign language, Ericia is somehow able to get through. She is the main reasons so many residents with communication barriers are so deeply engaged with the lifestyle at Bayview.”

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