I’ve had the opportunity to visit a sizable number of the senior living facilities in the Orlando area since taking the job of Jewish Pavilion publicity director almost a year ago. Besides the obvious differences such as décor, building layout, or even the population of seniors who live there, each one has a different feeling when you take the time to look around the place: each has its own culture and rhythms and way of doing things. Considering that these communities have the same general purpose and aims, it really is striking how different they seem! But one thing I’ve noticed that they have in common is the remarkable dedication of their key staff.
You can see it in the way these staff members relate to the seniors they serve. Most of the rest of the world doesn’t take the time to get to know or give their full attention to seniors—to slow down to whatever pace they set; to meet their eyes at their level, if they are sitting or laying in bed; to talk to them about what is important to them; to listen when they respond. But time and again I’ve seen such expressions of genuine concern and understanding from members of the executive staff, the marketing staff, and the activities staff of buildings I’ve visited.
And I’ve seen that this is especially true of key staff members of buildings that sponsor the Jewish Pavilion. Okay, granted—I’m not an entirely unbiased observer. But if you think about it, it makes sense that key staff of Pavilion sponsors would be especially caring and gifted at what they do. Buildings and their parent companies that sponsor the Jewish Pavilion do so because they value the dignity of their Jewish residents, or of those who may choose to move there in the future. Sponsorship is an expression of a commitment that, rather than merely ignoring or even failing to recognize the cultural norms and heritage of the Jews who live there, these residences choose to accommodate and celebrate those differences. From this, it’s clear that their corporate cultures are ones in which the residents they serve are valued for who they are as individuals. So naturally the employees they retain would reflect such values in the way they interact with seniors.
I had the opportunity to enjoy a delicious meal with representatives from a number of our sponsors last week. Some were people I already knew, but many were people I hadn’t yet met. The occasion was a Jewish Pavilion Sponsors’ Luncheon hosted by Westminster Towers downtown, in a beautifully appointed and light-filled dining room, and arranged by its director of church relations, Rev. Walk Jones.
These informal and enjoyable luncheons are held twice a year as a perk for Pavilion sponsors and as opportunities for their representatives to learn about what’s on the horizon at Jewish Pavilion as well as meet each other and network. Pavilion sponsors are a diverse group, including not only senior living facilities but also companies that serve seniors in other ways, such as insurance, hospice, medical equipment, home staging and moving, and more. The atmosphere is relaxed and collegial, with attendees using the time to catch up with old acquaintances and make new ones.
Following the luncheon, Westminster Towers marketing staff offered attendees the opportunity to tour their beautiful facility, and many people happily took them up on it. The group was so large that it was split in two, with one group touring the independent living floors and another group touring the assisted living floors.
I followed the assisted living group, which was shown a handsomely appointed studio apartment. The tour group, other than me, was comprised of marketing staff of other facilities—people who could be considered competitors. But this group could not have been more friendly to each other, sticking around to talk together following the tour. It was clear from the conversation that each of them was genuinely concerned for the well-being of the seniors they serve and went to great lengths to make certain that they were only moving in seniors who were a good fit for their facilities.
That was very heartening for me to hear, but it really wasn’t a surprise to hear it from the representatives of the excellent facilities that sponsor the Jewish Pavilion.
Click on this link to see the list of our wonderful sponsors, and be sure to consider them as friends when you are looking for senior services: https://www.jewishpavilion.org/we-appreciate-our-sponsors