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FSA New Board Members

FSA Appoints New Board Members, Board Chair

 

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Member Matters: News from FSA Member Organizations

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Diversity Peer Group

Earlier this month, a group of FSA members gathered with co-facilitators Marsha Wesley Coleman and consultant Michael Gagné to talk about their organizations’ efforts to implement diversity programming. Gagné presented the following guidelines to assist organizations.

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In case you missed it...

FSA Annual Meeting and Dementia Symposium. View photos here. Video of they keynotes and panel to come! 

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Meet the FSA Board: Dianna Rienstra

Dianna Rienstra has been reflecting on her career. As she finds herself on the verge of retirement from her position as Chief Financial Officer with Friends Life Care, she can say with certainty that she feels satisfied with the path she has taken and the impact her work through the years has had on others.

She’s come a long way. Starting off as an Accounting graduate from Montclair State University, flexibility was key as she made her way through a male-dominated industry. In one of her first positions, Rienstra was one of just two females in her entire company. When it came time for her to go out on maternity leave, there was no policy set. “The head of Human Resources—who was the other female employee—said to me, ‘how long do you think your leave should be?’ We figured it out from there!”

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Member Stories: If you give a horse a haircut...

Who would have thought that a horse could change a life? Andy Switzer did. Though he’s been Director of Health and Wellness with Broadmead for three years, it was at his previous job where he first saw the benefit of involving residents in Equine Therapy. So, when the opportunity presented itself for Broadmead to begin working with horses, the organization collaborated with John Hopkins University to develop an individualized Equine Therapy program.

Now, in partnership with locally based  Rose of Sharon Equestrian School, Broadmead runs five-week therapy programs in the spring and fall. Residents who are diagnosed with Dementia or another cognitive impairment are chosen because of their interest in or experience with horses. Residents’ families are involved in the decision-making process in conjunction with a sign-off from Broadmead's Medical Director.

Participating residents get the opportunity to participate in the care of the horses with a focus on groomsmanship: one resident even got to give a horse a haircut! During their time in the program, each resident gets to work with one particular horse for the duration of the five weeks and receives a photo of their horse to take home with them. Those who are wheelchair bound, or those who may have trouble standing for long periods of time, get to work with one of the program’s two mini-horses.

According to Andy, the most exciting thing about the program is seeing evidence that patients are benefiting. In the two years that Broadmead has been running the program, Andy noted the vibrancy of the residents who participate. He shared the story of a mostly non-verbal gentleman who became more verbal when he was with the horses, including sharing details of memories from working with horses earlier in his life. The gentleman’s wife was particularly astonished as they were details she herself hadn’t heard. This experience was not limited to this gentleman alone, Andy remembered another woman who was non-verbal who began to smile more, put sentences together, and remember the horses' names during her time in the program.

If you give a horse a haircut – the residents might benefit!

Meet the Board: Jeremy Vickers, CEO of Medford Leas

Through his career, Medford Leas CEO Jeremy Vickers has experienced the cultures of senior living organizations across the United States. In his travels, he has noted similarities among them: the way the organization is structured, the types of work they do. The most successful ones offer services that are reflective of their particular area’s standards and desires. “They have a local flavor that shines through,” he says.

He has also seen the differences. From simple contrasts like architecture—“in Los Angeles, everything is vertical”—to deeper distinctions such as an organization’s values and the philosophies that guide the way they go about their work. And how, despite seeing success in one region, a particular program or approach may fall flat somewhere else. 

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Values in Action: Chef Steve & Stewardship

Chef Steve Plescha is not afraid to try something new. A highly ranked graduate from the Culinary Institute of America in 1977, he has been bringing his culinary innovations to Pennswood Village for the past 13 years.  Anyone who has dined there would have no doubt of his technical ability, but his passion cannot be quantified. After speaking with him for just a moment, Chef Steve’s passion for his work is evident – his robust sustainable fishing program is bolstered by his knowledge, local connections, and the support of the community in which he works.

To ensure the quality of the seafood he serves to residents, Chef Steve takes a number of things into consideration. While being mindful of habitat, the effects of weather, and trends, he works locally with Samuels and Son, a Philadelphia based restaurant-quality supplier. “They have someone on the boat telling me the quality of the fish, the conditions in which they were caught, and how many they brought in.”

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Member Success Stories

Member Success Stories
FSA Internship Program Leads to New Career Path

Emily Vassoler was on track to work within the hospitality business. As a Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management major at Penn State University Park, she had gotten some experience working within her chosen field. And she was frustrated.

What Emily was coming to find was that the industry she was striving to become part of was not quite suiting her. There did not seem to be much room for relationship building in the jobs she had tried. It was during her junior year when a professor gave her the best advice she could have gotten. “He told me that if I didn’t love the industry, that I’d never be happy.”


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