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According to Webster’s Dictionary, an All Star is defined as an outstanding or highly-regarded performer within a field. 

In late July, the Geauga County Department on Aging held their annual All Star Luncheon with the sole purpose of giving Geauga County-based Health Care facilities opportunity to recognize their all-star staff.

We are thrilled to introduce our All Stars at the Ohman Family Communities and publicly thank them for being the fabulous care givers that they are!

Elviria Jackson has been employed at Blossom Hill for more than 32 years. Those many years ago, Elviria was struggling with the loss of her teenage daughter, so she was looking for a job that would help with her healing. She changed careers from bookkeeping to taking a caregiver’s position at Blossom. 

Elviria Jackson, 2018 All-Star Caregiver at Blossom Hill.

“This job has done so much for me,” she said. “When you are helping others you have no time to feel sorry for yourself.” Those who know her at Blossom say, “She is one of the hardest working and most compassionate people we know.” 

“I have always been partial to seniors and those with handicaps and considered adopting a special-needs child at one time,” says Elviria. “But after our daughter died, I needed somebody to adopt me. Working at Blossom did that.”

Elviria has never missed a day of work. She is always kind and has such a beautiful way of engaging, sometimes, the most difficult and challenging dementia patients and families, and making it appear so basic and simple. She has a gift and a heart of gold. She has been a gift to all those that she has served, and has taught all by her model of exemplary care, compassion and patience. Thank you, Elvira!

The Geauga County Department on Aging held their annual All Star Luncheon with sole purpose of giving the health care facilities in the county an opportunity to recognize their all-star staff. (l-r) Reba DeBevits, GCDOA; Jessica Bolt, executive director GCDOA; Brenda Lowe, 2018 All-Star Caregiver, STNA Briar Hill; Amy Ulrich, director of nursing, Briar Hill and Kurt Ingersoll, administrator Ohman Family Communities.

Brenda Lowe, an STNA at Briar for almost six years, was introduced to the Ohman Family Communities through her mom. “My mother received wonderful care there,” Brenda remembers. It was her parents’ example that largely influenced Brenda’s career choice. “My mother was a nurse and my father would give you the shirt off his back,” she said, “and my older sister,” – seventeen years her senior – “she pretty much took me under her wing and raised me.” Brenda has 12 siblings.

With perfect attendance, Brenda is always willing to assist in the orientation of new staff, she brings concerns regarding residents to the appropriate staff in order to provide effective care. She is known to re-approach nurses regarding resident care if there is needed follow-up. Brenda is a true resident advocate. Several residents request her to care for them, as they know she is thorough and doesn’t rush. Brenda explains procedures clearly and empathetically. Many residents are admitted during her shift and she ensures they are welcomed and the needed supplies are prepared upon arrival. Her residents and their family members say she is always friendly and on top of things.

Her charge nurse says she is consistently a great co-worker, he trusts her and states, “She wants the best care for our patients.” He has heard many families and patients say “I love Brenda.” Amy Ulrich, director of nursing at Briar, nominated Brenda. “Brenda works on my skilled nursing/rehab wing, where it is very busy. She is always there, meeting the needs of the residents.”

“I do this job because I truly care about people,” says Brenda, “and I admire this generation.” Resident care is her top priority! Thank you, Brenda.

Kris McKenzie, 2018 All-Star Caregiver at Holly Hill.

Kris McKenzie, an STNA for more than three years at Holly, decided after raising her five children, she would follow her desire to work in senior care. “All of my grandparents were cared for at Holly,” she says. “That is why I chose to work here.”

“Kris is one of our nursing assistants who truly fulfills the meaning of our mission statement,” says Kurt Ingersoll, administrator at Ohman Family Communities. “Which is: We are called to serve those who are entrusted to us.”

Kris came to Holly looking for that something that was missing from her life.  She has gained the trust of the residents, families and her peers through her truthfulness, protective nature and her motherly ability to look out for others.  She is reliable and takes pride in her work each day.  Kris has also jumped into help in other areas outside of her regular nursing assistant role, such as helping out in laundry. We are so grateful to have her as a part of our team.

“I especially enjoy serving those with dementia,” says Kris. “I consider it a great day, when I see a resident experience recognition for short time. It is so rewarding.” She says as she gets to know the patients struggling with dementia, she can tell by the smallest of actions that they are aware of the presence of a loved one or friend.

Michelle Bache received the honor for the Hills at Home division but was unable to attend the luncheon. 

“As a child, I went to work with my mom in nursing homes,” she told us. “I loved visiting and spending time with the residents and I knew that this was my calling.”

Michelle Bache, 2018 All-Star Caregiver, Hills at Home division.

Michelle joined the Ohman Family Communities just less than one year ago, but has had a great impact and has been a terrific addition to our team. Michelle has been a caregiver for a long time, but before coming to us, her patients had a lot more fur, because she worked in a veterinary clinic.  

“I worked as a vet assistant for 10-plus years,” says Michelle. “We moved to Geneva/Madison and I decided it was time to follow my heart and start caring for the aging.”

Since joining our team she has worked in skilled nursing, has earned the trust to take on a role with even greater independence in our assisted living and also works in home health. 

“I learn something most every day from my residents and I love listening to their stories,” she adds. 

Michelle is prompt in her attendance and takes on whatever tasks we have put in front of her. We are fortunate to have Michelle as a part of our team and the seniors in our area are lucky as well. 

“My joy comes from knowing that every day I have helped make someone’s day a little better. I do this because I am selfish, really,” says Michelle. “Although I am helping them, they complete and balance me. I love children, elderly and animals.”

 After the luncheon, Kurt Ingersoll added a final thought. “How wonderful it is to have all of these dynamic caregivers in one room,” he said. “It would be great if each would purpose to tell their friends of their career choice and of its incredibly rewarding work. There are so many seniors in this county in need of high quality care.”

Congratulatory remarks from George Ohman Jr., administrator and owner: On behalf of the Ohman Family Communities, I congratulate the GCDOA All-Stars who were honored for their service at Blossom Hill, Briar Hill, Holly Hill and Hills at Home. They’re representative of an entire team of All-Stars who are called to a life of service. Their love for our residents, their excellence in the provision of care are found in our communities where life is celebrated. I am humbled to work alongside this amazing group of individuals who consider others more important than themselves. It is a privilege to be their colleague and co-worker. Thank you for your commitment to serving others.

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