March 19, 2019

Theresa Guelzow, Hero Award Winner

Tell us about a specific time when the nominee went above and beyond day-to-day responsibilities and demonstrated an exceptional commitment to residents.

One example of Theresa’s dedication to our residents occurred in July of 2018 when our community was forced to partially evacuate our residents due to an explosion that occurred down the road from our community. While we were loading residents into waiting buses, Theresa was a consummate professional, guiding families who were taking their loved ones for the evening, directing and assisting residents, and offering support where needed. Not only did she find ways to comfort and console our residents during the evacuation by providing a listening ear and calm reassurance, she also stayed at the community until all residents were able to be returned to their apartments. Theresa’s strength under pressure, her calm demeanor and her caring spirit made a scary situation much less stressful.

Provide an example of actions taken or attitudes displayed by the nominee that have enhanced residents’ quality of life. Be specific.

Theresa’s unique ability to see past a person’s diagnosis is by far her most admirable quality. Theresa has found ways to draw upon her special education background to personalize techniques that allow our residents to feel successful, proud, and accomplished. Theresa has a knack for addressing even the most difficult challenging behaviors with an open mind, a sense of humor, and a thoughtful and insightful strategy. Theresa loves to know everything about her residents in order to find a connection; this helps her to further develop her strategy for success.

Provide an example of how the nominee has been a positive influence on residents and/or fellow staff.

Theresa’s calm demeanor and confidence are especially valuable when new team members join our team. Theresa takes new team members under her wing and teaches them ways of providing care that respect the dignity and individuality of each resident, giving them valuable tips and tools to help our residents and team members succeed.

What do you consider to be the nominee’s greatest WOW factor? Provide an example in which this was demonstrated.

Theresa has used her background in special education to provide support and encouragement not only to her residents and peers, but to potential prospects and their family members as well. Theresa has toured families through our memory care neighborhood several times when they have visited unannounced. She has discussed how she utilizes her expertise in creating a calm, structured, and dementia-friendly environment for our residents. She listens closely and presents the benefits of our memory care environment in a confident and poised, yet relaxed and welcoming way that immediately takes away the anxiety of moving a loved one into a memory care community. Theresa makes all of us say, “WOW!”

Tell us how the nominee has advanced the mission and goals of the community.

Theresa’s dedication to our residents’ quality of life has been a living embodiment of both our mission: “residents first in everything we do” and our foundational belief that “all seniors deserve to live life on purpose”. Theresa’s attention to the small details that make our residents who they are allows her to develop a deeply genuine and trusting relationship with our residents. Her inquisitive nature, keen eye for detail, and outgoing personality have brought out the true spirit of each resident in her care, going beyond the diagnosis and finding the person within.

Give an example of how the nominee has positively influenced/impacted the overall community culture and/or the community-at-large.

Theresa’s influence has been an inspiration to many of us at our community. Despite the fact that Theresa works in a very demanding full-time job, she always presents a professional and kind demeanor when she is at our community. Her energy level is unparalleled, her warmth unmatched, and the only thing bigger than her heart is her smile. Theresa’s dedication to our residents and her enthusiasm for our mission of service have positively impacted our memory care community in many ways. She is a role model for other team members and a servant leader. We are truly blessed to have someone of this caliber in our ranks!