Be The Change at RidgeCrest

– Jennifer Johnson –

What is your position at RidgeCrest?

Social Director.

How long have you been at RidgeCrest?

I have been at RidgeCrest for 7 months.

What excites you the most about this position and this company?

There are so many things that I am excited about when it comes to working for Senior Living Communities. I love creating an atmosphere that is fun and exciting for all who are a part of it. This company’s diversity and inclusion allow me to be truly creative.

What is your favorite thing about working for Senior Living Communities?

Our Members are the best piece of my job. They become family and getting to build special bonds and relationships with them is the most rewarding part of my job.

Describe a time that a Member had a positive impact on your day?

How can I pick just one? These folks brighten my day every day but one day that stands out the most is when one Member in Assisted Living told me she loved me. That made my heart so happy.

Have you utilized the Elevate program?

I have used the Elevate Program to get Certified as an Activities Professional in North Carolina and will be using it to get my national certification.

How have you grown professionally and personally since joining the team?

I have grown since taking the position of Social Director. I’ve had my challenges and learning how to effectively reach for help has been one of them. The more I grow into our team the more I’ve learned that I don’t have to do it all by myself and that my team is here to support me.

What about your position allows you to pursue what makes you feel the most passionate in life?

Creativity! I am allowed and encouraged to reach for the stars and my team supports me in all my creativity. There is nothing we cannot do when we put our minds together.

When it comes to your programming, what is the motivation behind specific activities, events, programs that you do with your Members?

My motivation every day is our Members. I want to make sure that we are doing things that they want to do. When they speak, I listen because they are the ones who live here and know what they want to do.

Your community has a monthly social event called a Signature Experience, what is your favorite part of planning, executing, and experience itself? Tell us about your favorite Signature Experience from your time at RidgeCrest?

One of my favorite experiences that I’ve done since I started has been the Holiday Walk of Hope. My husband, myself, and our team created an amazing holiday light display to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. We had over 30,000 lights, 2 miles of wire, 102 candy canes, 72 snowflakes, an elephant, a butterfly, and a 10-foot-tall Alzheimer’s Awareness Ribbon. We also had several local artists come and perform. I love taking the ideas in my head and making them a reality and getting to collaborate with another creative person makes my ideas even more magical. Every day the Members would peek out to see what was new. Seeing them get excited and watching them all come to life after being so confined truly made all the hard work worth it. In the end, we raised $2,579.00 which was $1,079.00 over our goal.

How does your community come together to work together to provide a vibrant social life for your Members? Dining, Wellness, Social?

It’s a partnership. We work together to make a flow of events happen where Members are transported seamlessly from one activity to the next whether it be Wellness, Dining, or Social. It comes down to communication and planning to ensure that we have the right ebb and flow.

A common misconception is that senior living social activities are all bingo all the time. How do you break that stereotype?

Our Members do enjoy Bingo, but they like so many other things too! It’s all about listening and getting feedback and paying attention to who comes to what. I have listened to what they like, and I try to provide it. I also try to plan outings that are based on what they like such as Art and History Museums, Dining Experiences, Community Involvement, etc. I have conversations regularly to continuously adjust my activities to the Members wants and needs.

Fun Fact: What are a few of your favorite hobbies? What is something many people don’t know about you?

I love to sing, cook, and anything with Disney. I have been white water rafting 11 times, bungee jumping 9 times with my highest jump at 192 ft off a bridge and I have sung the National Anthem at the Atlanta Dome.

How has COVID-19 impacted your programming? Why are activities important during this time?

I started in this position right in the middle of Covid-19, so to me, our programming is normal. I do often wonder what it will be like when we do not have all the restrictions and we go back to “normal.” We have learned to do group activities at a distance and to be prepared for ever-changing guidelines. It has been about keeping an open mind and being flexible.