(Alexandria, Va.)—This week, Argentum recognized extraordinary senior living employees and innovative programs at the 2023 Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The Argentum Hero Awards and Argentum Senior Living Community Leadership Award, sponsored by Benchmark, honor employees who represent the highest levels of excellence, caring, and dedication across the industry.
Edwin Funes was honored with the 2023 Argentum Senior Living Community Leadership Award for his work as the executive director of Arbor Terrace Fairfax in Fairfax, VA. Described as a “calm, comforting force in the community,” Edwin is a servant leader and worked to unite the staff to provide the best memory care possible. Since receiving this honor, Edwin has been promoted to Regional Director of Resident Care, a reflection of his effective leadership.
This year, four individuals received Argentum Hero Awards:
- Janny Flores, caregiver at Belmont Village Buffalo Grove in Buffalo Grove, IL, has a genuine heart of gold and easily builds positive relationships with everyone she encounters. She takes the caregiver role to an entirely new level. Janny does not miss an opportunity to help Belmont’s residents and families continue to make memories. Janny sets a standard for personal service excellence that inspires the rest of her team to follow on a daily basis. She takes any task that is given to her and creates memorable and personalized experiences for as many residents as possible.
- Marivic Reyta, Garden House supervisor for Merrill Gardens at Ballard in Ballard, WA
The Merrill Gardens mission statement calls for everyone to “provide an inspiring environment for residents, families and team members where every life is defined by the possibilities”. For the past 15 years, Marivic has demonstrated her innate ability to do so, and how powerful one person’s impact can be on a community and a company. The most remarkable thing about Marivic is her ability to stay in the moment, no matter what else is happening. She always pays full attention to the person in front of her. She is also an incredible role model, demonstrating radical customer service at all times. This is true not only with her residents but also with her coworkers. Marivic goes out of her way to ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page and the department runs like a well-oiled machine regardless of whether she is present. Her team is much like a family.
- Patt Fuller, medication technician for the night shift at Cogir Senior Living of Rohnert Park in Rohnert Park, CA, was a fixture at her community where she worked for 30+ years. Pat had an outstanding career at the community and was definitely a “behind the scenes” hero. Despite the fact that she was a 73-year-old fantastic employee, she would never miss one single day of work. All of the Cogir residents knew that they would be safe and well taken care of at night when Pat was there with them. While Pat was on vacation a few weeks ago, unfortunately, she unexpectedly passed away leaving her husband and family behind. The entire community was grief stricken and shocked. In an effort to honor her memory and remember how incredible she was with the residents, the team at Cogir planted a symbolic tree in her honor at the community. The entire community participated in this special moment to honor and commemorate Pat for the last time.
- Robyn Baron, health and wellness coordinator at Brookdale Williamsville in Williamsville, NY, received the Leadership in the Face of a Natural Disaster Hero Award—recognizing an employee who went above and beyond during a time of crisis. During Winter Strom Elliott in 2022, Robyn was able to avoid any disruption to the residents all while maintaining their health and wellbeing. Robyn wears many hats and faces every challenge with ease and confidence. She acts fast and takes the necessary steps to minimize any potential hazard. The Brookdale community is beyond fortunate to have such a beam of light on theor team. She is the epitome of what dedication, compassion, leadership and teamwork are like.
Argentum’s Best of the Best Awards recognize innovative new programs and services that are working to improve the future of senior living. This year, four companies were recognized:
- CarePredict, AI-Powered Predictive Platform
CarePredict’s AI-Powered Predictive Platform collects unique activity and behavior data that correlates with an increased risk for a fall, UTI, or depression. Such behaviors as skipping meals, increased frequency or duration in bathroom visits, increased nighttime activity, and reduced activity — without requiring self-reporting by the resident or human observation. This actionable information allows care staff to provide more prompt care and avoid a more serious health outcome.
- Senior Living Communities, emPowerD
Parkinson’s Disease is progressive and there is no cure, but we can battle residents’ symptoms and provide better quality of life. Senior Living Communities’ emPowerD program does this through its whole-person focused program so those residents afflicted with Parkinson’s can live well in all areas of life. Stretching, cognitive exercises, fine motor movements, handwriting and dexterity, voice training, hand eye coordination, education, and the opportunity to share their fight and connect with others can all play a part in the program. Senior Living Communities out of Charlotte, NC has incorporated the program into a number of its communities. The result of this class has allowed it’s Parkinson’s residents to stay independent longer by being self-aware, understanding and acknowledging limitations when needed, and keeping engaged with others that can help them adjust to a different type of living.
- Arbor Grows, The Arbor Company
The Arbor Company wanted to go next-level in the way their hire, train, and maintain their workforce, so they created a program that enhances recruitment, provides opportunities for mentorship and development, and places its people in advanced positions of leadership within the company. The result: Arbor Grows. The program includes career growth and increased wages, stronger relationships between employees and mentors, and critical employee assistance for staff in need through WorkWell services. Program graduates appreciate having a roadmap for career growth, are taking advantage of opportunities for promotion and earning potential, and feel more supported by their employer, allowing them to find more meaning in their work serving residents. The Arbor Company is looking forward to expanfing the program due to these initial and promising results.
- Retirement Unlimited, Inc., RUI University
RUI University was designed to create opportunities for intellectual and social engagement for residents, and connect all RUI communities together through the love of learning. Developed by RUI’s own CEO Doris-Ellie Sullivan for her father full curriculum of learning engagement through lecture classes taught by subject matter experts, learning lab activities dedicated to all four learning styles, opportunities for residents to teach classes through the RUI Resident Fellows program, educational events, and more. RUI University had 18,765 total attendees in 2022.
- Merrill Gardens, Truewood by Merrill
Merrill Gardens is addressing senior living’s affordability challenge with Truewood by Merrill, a new brand offering a moderate-priced senior living alternative to middle-income seniors. In 2021, Merrill took a group of existing communities and rebranded them as Truewood and began implementing a new operating model to create efficiencies on the expense side. Today, there are 25 Truewood communities offering over 2,800 apartments of independent, assisted, and memory care services. Merrill Gardens is excited about the future of the Truewood brand and providing an attainable option for those who don’t want to compromise comfort and security for affordability.
“We are thrilled to present these awards and celebrate these deserving individuals and companies. The dedication and innovation exemplified by the honorees is what continues to raise the bar in the senior living industry,” said James Balda, Argentum president & CEO.
All award winners will be profiled in the June/July issue of Senior Living Executive magazine, set to be published in mid-July.
Argentum is the leading national association exclusively dedicated to supporting companies operating professionally managed, resident-centered senior living communities and the older adults and families they serve. Since 1990, Argentum has advocated for choice, independence, dignity, and quality of life for all older adults.
Argentum member companies operate senior living communities offering assisted living, independent living, continuing care, and memory care services. Along with its state partners, Argentum’s membership represents approximately 75 percent of the senior living industry—an industry with a national economic impact of nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars and responsible for providing over 1.6 million jobs. For more information, visit www.argentum.org.
Patrick Connole, Content Director & Editor
ARGENTUM | Expanding Senior Living
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