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Dedication, Engagement, and Fun: Sparking Lives in Senior Living

  • Feb 25th, 2022
  • Cathy Gasiorowicz
  • 4-min Read

What made the transition from Tealwood Senior Living to Lifespark so easy for the staff was their shared mission and values, said Niki Dwyer, Lifespark Senior Regional Director of Senior Living Operations, who spent 15 years at Tealwood before joining Lifespark in 2021. “We all believe in doing whatever we can to help seniors live as independently as possible so they can age magnificently.”

The staff of The Legacy of Farmington, one of the Lifespark Senior Living communities Niki supports, is dedicated to living that mission every day. “Our team loves creating opportunities that get the residents engaged and energized,” she said. “It’s so important that our staff are involved, because this is truly a community. It’s our seniors’ home but also our staff’s second home.”

Joy Jacobson, Director of Marketing for Lifespark Senior Living, has been instrumental in developing what has become a creative hothouse of DIY videos. “Our residents love being part of these projects,” she said. “They work with the staff to plan out the shots, locations, music, and costumes, and have a blast doing it.”

Everything but the mosh pit

An epic example of one of these collaborations is “Rockin’ Robin,” an MTV-style jam session/dance party produced by the Farmington staff and residents. Masked, vaxxed, and socially distant “band members” and “fans” boogied, lip-synched, played air guitar, rocked, and rolled (some in wheelchairs) like it was, well, 2019. “We posted the video on Facebook so friends and family could enjoy it, and according to our residents, it’s gone viral,” Joy said.

The work being done in Lifespark Senior Living and across all of Lifespark has hit a ‘chord’ with employees who desire more flexibility and room for creativity when it comes to helping people age magnificently. This purpose-driven work addresses a greater issue plaguing many senior living providers and health care professionals nationally – burnout. “When we find what sparks people – both employees and clients – that has staying power,” said Joel Theisen, RN, BSN, CEO of Lifespark. “Something as simple as creating music videos can reignite someone’s passion for going into nursing, caregiving, and other much-needed fields. It’s why our culture overflows with people who love what they do and aren’t afraid to ROCK it! This is a perfect example of how our team brings humanity back into health care.”

The Farmington community was thrilled to win first place in Lifespark’s “More Rockin’, Less Chair” music video contest, earning them the grand prize beer and wine social. But they’re not resting on their laurels—they recently filmed a Valentine’s Day video and are already planning out their next project.

Adjusting to meet individual needs

Not all residents are comfortable with this level of engagement, of course. What has made a difference for people who struggle with anxiety or loneliness is the comforting presence of Ganther, a trained facility dog placed at Farmington in March 2020.

Joy, the human member of the facility dog team, said that since Ganther joined the family, residents who never wanted to leave their rooms now ask if Ganther is going to be involved. “Having him here helps quiet some of their anxieties and encourages them to be more social,” Joy said. 

While there’s no single approach to helping people live their best lives, Niki said that the staff is well-trained to meet people wherever they are on their life journey. “Anyone going into this career has to have a passion for seniors and an understanding that they’re all at different places in life,” she said. “It’s up to us to adjust to their needs and find different ways to spark their lives.”

We want to know – how are you rockin’ it out with your clients? We’d love to help you spark their lives.

To learn more, visit Lifespark Senior Living.

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