Many of our Twin Cities’ senior living communities are beautiful. But what makes many of them exceptional is the staff that create the atmosphere, culture, and SOUL~
Choice Connections is introducing its new feature in Choice Voice, our monthly E-newsletter. SOULcial SALUTES. In so doing, we aim to honor the folks who show the love to our loved ones. Therefore, I invite you to send suggestions for more Marvel-Comic-worthy job titles that better describe the awesomeness staff bring to their work, the communities and loved ones they serve.
We regularly visit senior living communities throughout the twin cities. And when we do, we’ll keep an eye out for staff who set great examples of making their communities places where families know their loved ones are living their best lives. Each month we intend to shine the light on one of these great folks who always bring their A game to work. And there are many!
Send me your suggestions for those we should feature. Then we can look forward to meeting them and sharing their stories.
Here is our first SOULcial Salute…
GWEN THOMAS, CNA
NorBella Senior Living, Prior Lake
Gwen was raised by her Godparents. With their thoughtfulness she had the opportunity to play piano in Kindergarten. And Gwen really took to it because by high school she’d become the regular organist at church and an avid “Band Kid”.
After several years working in home-care Gwen made the move to senior living and hasn’t looked back. Gwen reflected saying “Opening a new community is nice. I like helping set the pace for the atmosphere being created”. In 10 plus years she has always done so by bringing her music with her in serving seniors. Whether played on a resident’s keyboard or a community’s piano Gwen knows music is calming and helps make connections of all kinds. She has held on to her liturgical sheet music and knows Lutheran as well as Catholic hymns and others.
“Memory care needs a distraction” Gwen told me. Then she described how she mixes her ability to be a little silly and wearing funny hats and shoes with the music. She often goes along with whatever her memory folks are discussing, even if it requires some editorial license with minor facts. Being interested in their background and families helps in her creative interactions and deepens connections all around.
Gwen loves what she does and it shows. She was once invited to attend the funeral of one of her late residents by the family. “I really love my memory care folks. I have lots of Grandpas and Grandmas!”.
Gwen’s approach helps her fellow staff as well. As a result, her creative approach enlivens everyone around her. In conclusion Elizabeth Dahlen, Norbella’s Director of Sales, said it very simply, “Gwen is really a joy to work with!”.
Gwen, it was a pleasure meeting you on the phone for this piece and I look forward to meeting in person. Thanks for letting me talk about your great work.
To offer any suggestions you can reach Greg DeMarco at 952-687-1700, email@example.com.