Be The Change at The Stratford

– Christina Hooks –

What is your current position at The Stratford?

Wellness Director

How long have you been at The Stratford?

7.5 years

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

I love how Senior Living Communities cares about its people, not only the Members but also the Team Members.

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

I am so blessed to be able to spend eight hours of my day with people who are caring, kind, and considerate.

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

I am a full-time working mother to two boys, and the Members in our community have given me the highest compliments. These are women who have been in the trenches of parenthood and their words of wisdom and praise really keep me going. They tell me that I am a great mother, my boys are wonderful, and to keep up the good work. Truly a testament to the impact that our Members have on our lives, inside and outside of The Stratford.

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

I have used to Elevate program to obtain new certifications that I can use professionally but also bring new programs to our Members.

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

Senior Living Communities invests in the Executive Teams in each of their communities. This has a massive impact on not just the individuals, but the Members as well. Senior Living Communities wants us to be the best leaders we can be. The Integreat Program has helped in my professional career as well as my home life. I am also the “CEO” of my house for our family, and with the training, it helps our family to communicate successfully. Understanding what it means to be a servant leader has had such a lasting impact on my life. I have also gotten married and had 2 kids since I have worked here. The Stratford is my home.

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

I believe in the importance of exercise being incorporated into daily life. Life is all about balance, but I feel most grounded when I am able to move my body. Maintaining optimal physical health translates to mental health for me. Through our exercise programming, we are able to move our bodies and enjoy the camaraderie with classmates.

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

Our most successful classes are our Total Body Programming. Our Members want to attend classes that translate to the Activities of Daily Living. They are not running marathons or competing in weight lifting competitions at this point in their lives.  They want to be able to go to the grocery store independently, get up out of their seat at dinner, and maintain the ability to care for themselves. When I tell them that a half-gallon of milk weighs 4 lbs. they reply with “oh I better pick up a heavier weight then!”

Your community has a monthly social event called a Signature Experience; how does wellness play a role in these themed days?

Our Members like to start their days with exercise, so wellness programming is almost always the first activity for the signature experience. Our themes can be pretty adventurous so whether it be a decade, country, color, or era, I try and find a movement activity to incorporate the theme.

The wellness programming as won three Argentum Best of the Best Awards over the last few years. What was that feeling like and how does it motivate you moving forward?

Every day I am aware that we have award-winning programming and that is great. We know that we are bringing our Members the best that the senior living industry can offer. One of our company’s guiding principles “A Responsibility To Be Full” and that is so that as many seniors as possible can benefit from the amazing programming that The Stratford and Senior Living Communities has to offer.

Tell us about WAVES, C.L.I.M.B, or Purpose-Based Wellness. How does it benefit the Members, what does the program looks like, and how did it come to be?

How would it feel if you could not walk on your own anymore? It would a complete change of mentality. Our wonderful therapy pools allow our wheelchair-bound, or Members who need more support, 1-on-1 individualized time in the pool during our WAVES program. A lady said to me the other week “gosh it feels so nice to walk”, as a 33-year old I can’t imagine having that feeling. Knowing that we offer that opportunity to our Members is an incredible feeling. C.L.I.M.B and Purpose-Based Wellness follows the idea that when you’re unable to do things for yourself anymore, it is a harsh reality to face. When you lose the ability to confidently get out of your chair, pick something up off the ground, or doing your laundry, it is a big wake up call. We want our Members to live as independently as possible for as long as possible, even with these changes. I believe that wellness plays a huge part in that. The old saying “use it or lose it” applies to exercise as well. In the 7 years that I have been at The Stratford, the Members utilize all that our communities have to offer.

What makes The Stratford’s wellness programming stand out compared to others?

Other communities have four walls, dumbbells, and fancy machines. I believe what makes The Stratford stand out is our heart. We care deeply about our Members and Team Members. You can train the skill, but you can’t train the heart.

Talk about the impact your wellness program has had on the Members at your community, big wins, maintaining independence, and more.

Anytime a regular exerciser has to take time off due to a trip, commitment, or illness they always tell me “I can’t wait to get back to exercise, I just feel so much better when I come to see you.” Also, it makes me laugh when a Member will come to me and say, “there is just too much on the calendar today, thank you.” There was a time, I answered the phone and it was an adult daughter and she said, “I just can’t get my mother on the phone, have you seen her today?” I was able to tell her that her mom attended morning exercise, followed by a breakfast with her friends in our grill, and now she was off to do a fashion show for lunch. The daughter just chuckled and said, “My mom is too busy for me!”

Personal question: What is your favorite thing to do to maintain your fitness level?

My favorite exercise is HIIT, high-intensity interval training. My 5 and 3-year-old boys do not allow me a lot of time to dedicate to exercising so I like to hit it hard and quick.

Egypt