Be The Change at Wellmore of Lexington

– Justina Pilkonis –

What is your position at Wellmore of Lexington?

Social Director.

How long have you been at Wellmore of Lexington?

I have been at Wellmore of Daniel Island for three and a half years.

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

On a personal level, I love the way that this company continuously invests in me and all of the other employees. Due to this, I have been able to grow tremendously in my career. On a working level, this company truly understands the importance of programming and the benefits that good programming provides to our Members.

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

My favorite part about working for Senior Living Communities is the sense of community they foster. The community that I share with Members. The community that I have with my teammates, and the relationship with my fellow Social Directors. While we are all at different locations, there are so many resources that keep us all connected. We are all able to collaborate on different programs to make them the best for Members.

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

The Members at Wellmore of Lexington are truly like friends and family, and they impact me daily. I come into work looking forward to spending time with them and trying to enrich their lives as much as they impact mine. At the beginning of this year my grandmother passed away unexpectedly and I didn’t have an opportunity to tell the Members before leaving for a few days. Many of them noticed that I was gone and once I arrived back on campus, I had several of them give me sympathy cards. They also stopped by to tell me that they had been thinking and praying for myself and my family. That was such a wonderful moment for me knowing that I had that love and support from the Members.

Have you utilized the elevate program? If not, do you know someone who has.

Senior Living Communities has constantly supported my educational growth as well as many of my team Members. The company has allowed me to attend programming conferences around the country. I have personally obtained my CADDCT and ACBC certifications.

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

Professionally, I am reminded regularly how much I have grown since joining the team at Wellmore of Lexington. I appreciate the support from my mentors who are always pushing me to be my best self. While working at Wellmore I have grown as a manager, knowing that managing people is about providing support to them and constant communication. I have grown in my knowledge and skill set. Professionally, I have also been provided many opportunities from those who believed in me and I have been able to work with and help train some of our other Social Directors, I received my CADDCT certification and now teach CDP classes at some of our communities, and also received my Activity Educator and Consultant certification.Personally I have made so many wonderful connections and relationships not only with Members but also with my co-workers, other social directors, and people who with our community.

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

I truly get to come to work every day and do what I love. My passion has always revolved around being surrounded by others. The purpose of my job is to bring joy into people’s lives and make sure that they have the opportunity to let loose and find happiness each day.

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

Motivation can and often down come from just about anything. A picture I see, a song that comes on, or even an advertisement on TV. If I keep my eyes open I can always find an idea and you just roll with it. My Members also have a big say. I want to make sure that they enjoy what we plan so I always make sure to listen to their ideas.

Your community has a monthly social event called a Signature Experience, what is your favorite part of planning, executing, and experience itself?

Typically, my favorite part about Signature Experiences is the aftermath. I love being able to see everyone leaving excited and happy and having the opportunity to reflect with all of my team Members. Being able to celebrate all of the work that went in and knowing that we had a positive impact.

Tell us about your favorite Signature Experience from your time at Wellmore of Lexington?

My favorite Signature Experience since my time at Wellmore was our Down in the Bayou event! This was truly a collaboration from all of our teams. Each department had the chance to truly shine on its own and as a whole. From a 20 piece jazz band to creole food to our swamp scavenger hunt. One of my favorite things about my job is when something is new to my Members. When someone is 85 and has never tried something before us being able to provide a new experience is so exciting. For that event, we had a tarot card reader and none of my Members had ever had a reading before. There was a line out of the door just waiting for a chance to sit down and have their cards read.

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

I think this comes down to having good relationships with the other departments and knowing that we are all in it for the same goal. To serve our Members, ‘People First, Always’ is one of our company Guiding Principles. Our departments can always come to compromise and come up with a good game plan to serve our Members. We work together not against each other.

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

My simple answer: Take a look at any of our calendars and you will quickly see that Bingo isn’t all that we have to offer!!! We do so much more than Bingo. It’s important too to know that when you are serving over 200 Members that everyone has different interests and it’s my job to make sure that everyone has something to do that they are interested in. The biggest way to break this stereotype is by talking about it. Talk with prospects and family Members and even the community. We do a little bit of everything around here!

How do you incorporate your Member’s feedback, personal lives, preferences, etc into your daily programming?

Whenever we try something new we are always looking for feedback. Our programs are designed for the Members and if we are doing something that they don’t enjoy then we are doing them a disservice. One of my favorite programs that we have that allows our Members to talk about their personal lives is Show and Tell. Our Members will bring something from their rooms and they get to have 10 minutes to tell everyone about their items. Sometimes it’s a picture of the family, a wedding veil, artwork, a book, etc etc. They have so many interesting items and even more interesting stories to follow!Fun Fact: What are a few of your favorite hobbies? What is something many people don’t know about you?

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

I love music and I get to bring my hobbies to work. I love drumming and do a pound fit class and drum circles with our Members. I love playing the ukulele so I do hymns during our devotional and we sing-alongs regularly. I am also an avid reader. Something that many people don’t know about me is that I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen.