Forty-nine campuses recognized for their exemplary efforts in creating a culture of engagement and satisfaction in their communities, despite the COVID pandemic.
Holleran, the nation’s leading research firm specializing in engagement and satisfaction studies for residents and employees, has announced the recipients of the Choice Community Awards for 2020. Holleran’s Choice Community Award recognizes organizations with strong cultures of engagement. These providers have cultivated an environment where resident voices are heard, connections are rich, well-being is enhanced and personal fulfillment can be realized. Employees are highly engaged, with large numbers of catalysts on campus who embrace culture change, plan to stay with the organization long term and are passionate about the organizational mission and vision. These award-winning campuses are in the top 15th percentile of all campuses in Holleran’s massive benchmark.
“This year has been exceptionally challenging within the senior living industry – which makes the recipients of Choice Community Award all that much more extraordinary,” says Michele Holleran, Founder and CEO of Holleran. “The Choice Community recipients have emerged from the pandemic in spite of the odds, finding creative ways to engage both residents and employees.”
“Engaging senior living communities are fundamentally stronger in collaboration and connection to other residents, employees, the community, and life goals,” remarks Katelyn McCauley, Senior Research Analyst. “During the coronavirus pandemic, these areas all took a backseat to the general health and well-being of the residents and employees. To be a Choice Community this year, these campuses exceeded all expectations and continued to provide a unique and valuable environment focused on the successful aging of older adults, and paying attention to the well-being of their employees.”
Holleran has the largest benchmark of its kind, measuring both resident and employee engagement/satisfaction in the senior living space. Currently, the benchmark comprises more than 200,000 resident and employee surveys, all completed within the last three years. This enables organizations to compare their performance to their peers, whether they are across the road or across the country. Utilizing this extensive body of research, Holleran recognizes the most engaging senior living organizations in the nation.
About Holleran: Holleran is a full-service community engagement research and consulting firm with
offices in Pennsylvania and Colorado. Learn more at http://www.holleranconsult.com.
It’s all in the family at St. Catherine’s Village, where sisters Nancy Gilbert and Carolyn Cooper are following in their mother’s footsteps by living in the all-inclusive Life Plan Community in Madison, Mississippi.
Nancy and her husband Spencer moved to St. Catherine’s Village first. About five years ago, the couple retired to an independent living apartment from Jackson where Spencer had practiced law. They were already familiar with the community because they both had loved ones who had lived at St. Catherine’s Village before. In the early 1990s, Nancy’s mother had experienced multiple levels of care, initially moving into independent living then transferring to Marian Hall assisted living and finally Siena Center skilled nursing. Spencer’s father lived in Siena Center from 2000 to 2002.
“My dad was not here as long as Nancy’s mother—only for about two years in skilled nursing—but the care he received was outstanding,” said Spencer. “We had tried a few other places to accommodate dad’s unique situation and St. Catherine’s Village really was the best.”
“We always knew that when the time was right for us, we’d move to St. Catherine’s Village, as well,” said Nancy, adding that the couple was so impressed by the care their parents had received that they never considered moving anywhere else for their retirement years.
“Our children are far away—one is in Seattle and one is on another continent—so we didn’t have family locally,” she continued. “I became so accustomed to driving from our home in Jackson to St. Catherine’s Village to see my mom that after she was gone, my heart would still lead me in this direction.”
In fact, Nancy started volunteering at Siena Center in 1999, singing hymns at Campbell Cove for residents in memory care. After moving in in 2017, she was able to expand her volunteer work on campus.
Joining her in her musical volunteer work was Bill “Slim” McCulloch, a musician who played for the skilled nursing residents and during happy hours. Born in Chicago, Slim grew up in Washington, DC, then came back to Chicago in the 1960s to launch a career in print journalism. Working in Michigan, Massachusetts and eventually North Carolina, Slim also moonlighted as a blues musician. He met Carolyn, Nancy’s younger sister, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina when they were both in their 50s.
“We hit it off immediately and have been partners ever since,” he explained. “We knew pretty early in our relationship that we wanted to retire to a Life Plan Community but the financial crisis of 2007 pushed out our prospective date to move. After seeing how happy Nancy and Spencer were at St. Catherine’s Village, we took another look in 2019 and realized we could afford it.”
Slim and Carolyn found the right fit in a cozy, third-floor independent living apartment that overlooks one of the lakes at St. Catherine’s Village.
“What appealed to me the most was the beauty of the place,” said Carolyn. “The apartment was completely renovated and is aesthetically very pleasing but I adore the gorgeous grounds—there are 160 picturesque acres and it has a real college campus feel.”
And, she remembered how comforting St. Catherine’s Village was, especially at night.
“When I used to come and visit my mom, then when Nancy and Spencer moved in, sometimes I’d stay in a guest room,” she said. “Walking down to their independent living apartment I always felt so safe and secure.”
Carolyn, a former nurse, and Slim continue to appreciate the level of care they receive.
“We’ve both had medical emergencies and nurses responded immediately—as did security,” she explained. “Everyone was just marvelous and when Bill took a tumble, it was a great comfort to know that such a high level of service is offered.”
Carolyn and Nancy grew up about 40 miles away in Yazoo City, but Carolyn moved away and eventually came back to live closer to her son.
“It has been such a joy to be here with my sister,” she said. “We fought as kids and never dreamed we’d so happily share this stage of our lives.”
“Being a resident here has given us a feeling of security that will carry us right on through because no matter what level of care we need, we know we’ll get it and be well served,” said Nancy.
Madison’s pre-eminent all-inclusive Life Plan Community, St. Catherine’s Village is the first retirement community in Mississippi to earn accreditation by CARF-CCAC. This “commitment to excellence” seal signifies that the campus exceeds the standards established by the only international accrediting body for CCRCs. Living options include independent living in apartments and garden homes, assisted living in Marian Hall, memory care in Campbell Cove and Hughes Center, and skilled nursing in Siena Center and Tuscany.
In partnership with CVS Pharmacy, St. Catherine’s Village began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to residents at the all-inclusive Life Plan Community on January 21, 2021.
“We are so grateful, and excited, to take this extremely important step to protect our residents and combat the Coronavirus,” said Felichia Fields, assistant executive director of the Madison, Mississippi senior living community.
Fields noted that during the pandemic—which was particularly devastating for the elderly—seniors were hesitant to move to independent or assisted living, often opting to stay in their current homes, even if that meant living alone. She hopes that these vaccinations help bring peace of mind to seniors and their loved ones so they feel more comfortable making the decision to move and find the care they need.
The CVS team is on-site at St. Catherine’s Village as part of the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care Program, which was created by the CDC to facilitate safe vaccinations and provide end-to-end management of the process. In addition to administering vaccines to residents and staff, CVS is:
- scheduling and coordinating on-site clinic dates;
- providing vaccines and associated supplies;
- ensuring cold chain management for the vaccine; and
- reporting required vaccination data to the local, state/territorial, and federal jurisdictions within 72 hours of administering each dose.
As Madison’s preeminent all-inclusive Life Plan Community, St. Catherine’s Village provides the right care at the right time for those in their retirement years. The private, gated community boasts a caring staff, person-centered care, and a mission-focused environment. Adults age 62 and older are welcome and encouraged to enjoy fullness of life, health and faith.
St. Catherine’s Village offers independent living in apartments and garden homes, assisted living in Marian Hall, memory care in Campbell Cove and Hughes Center, and skilled nursing in Siena Center and the new Tuscany building.
The all-inclusive Life Plan Community was the first in Mississippi to earn accreditation by CARF-CCAC. This “commitment to excellence” seal signifies that the campus exceeds the standards established by the only international accrediting body for CCRCs.
To learn more about vaccinations or schedule a virtual tour of St. Catherine’s Village, call (601) 856-0123.
One drive past the glorious grounds of St. Catherine’s Village and Barbara Dorr knew it was where she wanted to retire. Fast forward a few years and she and her husband Lee were fortunate to have the opportunity to move into independent living at the Life Plan Community in Madison, Mississippi.
Residents since 2011, Barbara and Lee have made the best of their experience at St. Catherine’s Village, even during a time when restrictions and guidelines have been put in place because of COVID-19.
“Activities may be much smaller…like fewer people in an exercise group or less attendance at church services…but they are still happening,” said Barbara. “And for now, we receive our meals to go rather than dine together but we still have the chance to interact. We believe in making the best of the situation. After all, we’re all in this together.”
Not one to stay cooped up and getting out early in the morning, Lee spends time in the resident garden. And he noted that both residents and staff take the mask mandate seriously and wear them consistently.
“We’re fortunate to have so much space outside. We can walk around the lake and still social distance. That’s a tremendous feature,” said Lee. “If we lived on our own, life would be very different.”
An active member of the St. Catherine’s Village community, Barbara is looking forward to having events reinstated. She has chaired the green team, volunteered for various committees and helped put together Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s programs. Lee also has participated in many activities like the history club and coffee groups. “Lots of folks here socialize more than I anticipated,” he said.
A long-time Mississippi resident, Barbara calls St. Catherine’s Village “the best place we could be. There’s nothing like it in Mississippi. The staff is outstanding…like a family.” While Barbara fell in love with St. Catherine’s Village immediately, it took Lee a little more convincing.
“When we first looked at St. Catherine’s Village, my wife sold me on it because we could move into a patio home,” he said. Prior to meeting Barbara, Lee had never been to the south let alone Mississippi. But more than 50 years later, he feels right at home. And as he deals with some heart issues he is “so glad we are here because of the continuum of care.”
One of Barbara’s claims to fame—she ran the Olympic torch. “AT&T, where I worked at the time, was bringing the torch from New York to Los Angeles for the 1994 Olympic games. As an AT&T Pioneer, I was asked to carry it for a portion of the route. So of course, I said yes!”
Today, the torch is on display in her independent living apartment. The couple have a residence with a balcony so they can enjoy the fresh Mississippi air. And Lee can do what he loves—cooking. As the chef in the family, he finds the kitchen convenient “for one…me.” Barbara jokingly agreed, “The only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the apartment.”
The best thing about St. Catherine’s Village, according to the Dorrs, is that it is truly like no other place. Barbara invites people to come and visit—they have good people to show you around.
“Life really is better when it’s not lived alone,” she concluded.
I feel so blessed to be living at St. Catherine’s Village – especially right now! The people here are doing everything possible to protect us, to keep us safe and, above all, to keep us well!!!!! We have been instructed to abide by all the health precautions given by those in authority concerning the dreaded Corona virus. We use face masks and social distancing, plus safe hand washing practices. We can’t have visitors yet, but we can venture out for necessary errands & Dr. visits. As this pandemic started, we not only had our meals delivered to our rooms, but our mail was delivered to our doors! Now, I call that REAL service!
We are encouraged daily…our administrators don’t want us to get depressed, or feel we aren’t cared for…we KNOW they truly have our best interest at heart!
I only have to look out my windows to see the beautiful lake, with ducks and geese swimming along under blue skies, to know that “God’s in His Heaven – all’s well with St. Catherine’s”. I know this too will pass and God will make everything right!
“I don’t think SCV could’ve done any better.” I’ve told friends I feel like I’m staying at a five-star hotel! We’ve had meal delivery, mail delivery, iced tea delivery and ice cream delivery. You guys have been doing a great job. It’s amazing that there have been no coronavirus cases in Independent Living with this many people. I’m glad I got here before Covid.
As Pastor of St. Francis Catholic Church in Madison (1994-2005) I was responsible for Catholic ministry at SCV. For 11 years I saw the care that SCV offered to residents of all faiths; especially those in need of nursing care. I was inspired with the sense of community among residents. From daily mass to croquet games to social events like the interfaith choir. As I was being transferred to Meridian in 2005, the community presented me with a scrap book to remind me of my years at SCV and to invite me back. I knew I would return as a resident. These feelings have been confirmed and exceeded as we cope with the Coronavirus, I am glad that I am apart of the SCV caring community of staff and residents. I’m grateful for the sense of community and caring. Despite social distancing and multi colored masks, I know we are together. My family in Ireland is also grateful that I will be cared for the rest of my life in a place where I am happy and content.
Continuing Life Care™