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Resident Service Coordinators are at the heart of each JCHE community

Posted: March 28, 2013

Jen Miller is Resident Services Coordinator at Shillman House

Whenever I am asked about attributes of Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE) that distinguish it from other senior housing sites, I always include the Resident Service Coordinator (RSC) who is at the heart of each of our communities.  I recently spoke with Jennifer Miller who has been the RSC at Shillman House, one of six JCHE communities, since it opened in June 2011.   It was a good opportunity to check-in and see how she was enjoying her job.

Jen told me that her responsibilities are always diverse and evolving, although the key elements of service management, activities programming, community building and working as part of a team are ever present.  During a typical day she may spend several hours on service management, either educating, assisting or advising residents and families of available resources within JCHE and in the community.  One of her main goals is to facilitate services to meet resident needs so they can remain living independently.  I happened to read a recent e-mail describing her visit with a new resident in which she met with the resident and advised the Fitness Staff, Intergenerational Program Director, Maintenance Staff, Front Desk and Dining group on ways in which they should extend themselves to make help integrate the new resident into the Shillman House “family.”  Even finding canasta players was in the e-mail!

 Invariably, Jen’s day is punctuated by informal visits from residents, meetings with other staff, and calls and e-mails from, or to, local agencies or organizations, almost always on behalf of a resident.  She is a matchmaker (for services only!), problem-solver, activities planner, good listener, and advocate for the residents.  Sometimes she is asked by the marketing director to meet with a prospective resident to assess whether Shillman House would be a good match socially and whether it would provide the proper environment given the person’s health status. 

Promoting programs and activities for residents is another facet of the RSC’s job.  It is a challenge to create the opportunities so that residents may be socially engaged if they want.  The RSC has to recruit volunteers, to identify and schedule performers or speakers, and to host events that occur with some regularity.   On any given day there could be a current events group  and fitness class in the morning, a cooking demonstration or a school group visiting as part of our intergenerational program, and a concert at night. 

We are fortunate to have the RSC position at each of our communities.  As my conversation with Jen reminded me, they are instrumental in promoting the community’s wellness and social engagement. 

 

Written by Carl Zack, JCHE's Chief of Operations

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