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May 31, 2024

Cultivating Community Culture

Category: Culture & Traditions

Author: Jacqueline Hendershot, Resident Services Director

As Resident Services Director at Vitalia North Olmsted, I am the energy and engagement designer of the community. My job description specifically states I am to be a “Culture Creator.” Each day, I work to set the perfect tone for our community events and resident engagements.

Providing socialization opportunities in senior living is more than just playing the beloved game of bingo. Beyond the events, essential amenities, and daily care lies the heartbeat of every community – a culture that fosters connection, purpose, and a sense of belonging.

A man in a wheelchair proudly holds up two tree paintings, each a unique masterpiece from a successful sip-n-paint event.

Each monthly calendar features events tailored to the residents’ interests, focusing on key programming elements: physical, cognitive, spiritual, sensory, and social. We always celebrate major holidays in a big way, incorporating traditions from various cultures based on our residents’ backgrounds. Unique to Vitalia North Olmsted and Arrow Senior Living, each month, we also celebrate several Arrow Traditions. These include focusing on Black History Month, Mom and Pop Small Business Day, Be Kind to Humankind Week, and so many more!

Fostering Connections Across Communities: Creating Meaningful Experiences

Resident Services plays a vital role in shaping our community’s culture by fostering personal connections that may not have existed previously. It’s truly gratifying to contribute to cultivating a sense of community that transcends individual backgrounds, ages, and personal experiences.

A heartwarming moment as two women connect, one sitting in a chair, engaged in a heartfelt conversation. A celebration of nurses and gratitude.

Our efforts include organizing outings and events that unite residents from various neighborhoods, breaking down barriers and stereotypes while creating opportunities for shared experiences among independent living, assisted living, and memory care residents. We meticulously plan and accommodate residents to ensure everyone can participate and enjoy themselves. It’s incredibly rewarding to see these efforts appreciated.

While grand events can be memorable, sometimes it’s the simpler experiences that leave the greatest impact. For instance, a recent picnic lunch at the park required careful coordination but resulted in heartwarming enjoyment for our residents.

Intergenerational events are another cornerstone of our community’s culture. Partnering with a nearby elementary school provides residents with opportunities for social interaction. They can enjoy mutual activities such as reading and crafting. It’s fulfilling to facilitate meaningful connections between individuals of different ages and backgrounds.

Bridging Generations: Creating Lasting Connections

One memorable instance was when our centenarian attended the 100th day of school celebration as a guest speaker. She shared personal memories and offered insight into the evolution of education. The students were captivated by her perspective on schooling across different eras.

Our partnership extends to the school’s special events, including their annual Halloween costume walk, where students parade through our community, spreading cheer and interacting with our residents. They also engage in craft projects, sharing their skills and creating holiday decorations alongside our residents.

Building personal connections across generations brings immense fulfillment, creates lasting memories, and fosters a more cohesive and interconnected community. It’s incredible to witness the power of shared experiences in bringing people together!

Every senior living community has its own culture built around the engagement and interactions of the residents. I am proud to set the stage for socialization and events for my residents as we continue building and expanding our culture at Vitalia North Olmsted. 

An elderly man in shades and a green shirt enjoying the eclipse party at Vitalia North Olmsted.

VITALIA® North Olmsted in North Olmsted, OH offers independent senior apartments, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include restaurant dining, 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Centrally located near St. John West Shore with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Crusher’s Stadium, Crocker Park, North Olmsted Senior Center, North Olmsted Library, Bradley Woods Park (Cleveland Metro Parks), and Cleveland Zoo.

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