National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) to Require all Team Members to Receive COVID-19 Vaccination

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the leadership team at National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) has worked closely with applicable state and county departments of health, as well as followed any guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

NLCS has determined the best course of protection for residents and team members is to require the COVID-19 vaccination for all team members.

This requirement extends to all NLCS’ entities, which includes The Village at Rockville, The Village at Orchard Ridge, The Village at Augsburg, The Village at Providence Point, The Legacy at North Augusta, myPotential at Home and Impact1890.

National Lutheran Communities & Services Names Regina Figueroa as Chief Operating Officer

National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) is pleased to announce Regina Figueroa has been named chief operating officer (COO). Figueroa joins NLCS as previous COO Cyndi Walters transitions to the role of NLCS president and chief operating officer (CEO).

Regina brings over 21 years of senior health care and wellness experience to this position. Her experience is vast and includes work with continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), assisted living facilities, long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, home health, outpatient services, hospice, adult day programs and wellness clinic operations with organizations along the Eastern Seaboard.

Most recently, Regina was the chief administrative officer of Stella Maris, Inc., providing oversight for seven senior services business lines under the leadership of Mercy Health Services. Prior to that, she spent seven years in New Jersey as a regional vice president for skilled nursing facilities, assisted living, hospice and home health care. Regina also spent 10 years with Life Care Centers of America in several administrative capacities throughout five states.

As the COO, Regina works closely with NLCS community executive directors in the communities’ master planning, continues to develop NLCS’s home care service line and leads operational process and performance improvement efforts as the NLCS portfolio grows. Additionally, she collaborates with NLCS’s strategic business partners to further enhance operational efficiencies and effectiveness.

“I am very excited to assist Cyndi and the NLCS team in continuing the mission of NLCS to honor, inspire and support choice and opportunity in partnership with older adults,” Figueroa said. She continued, “This is a great organization, and I am also really excited to assist in taking the organization to the next levels of success.”
Cyndi Walters, NLCS president and CEO-elect said, “Regina’s experience is impressive, but what made her the best fit for NLCS is how closely we felt she aligns with our core values and guiding principles.” Walters continued, “Every team member at NLCS contributes to our We CARE program, which stands for creating smiles, attending to details, respecting everyone and embodying excellence. Our leaders, including Regina exude these traits, acting as a role model to all others.”

Figueroa assumed the COO role on June 28. Walters will assume the president and CEO role on August 1. 

National Lutheran Communities & Services Names Cyndi Walters as President and CEO

Walters brings over 30 years of senior living experience to National Lutheran, along with a passion of expanding opportunities for older adults to age as they choose and for inspiring team members who have a heart to serve seniors

National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) is pleased to announce Cyndi Walters as the next President and CEO, succeeding Larry Bradshaw, who is retiring after 12 years with the organization. Although founded in 1890, Walters is only the second President and CEO and is the first woman to assume the role.

Walters has served at NLCS in varying capacities for nine years; first as a consultant before joining as chief operating officer in 2016. Cumulatively, Walters brings over 30 years of experience in the senior living industry including a strong background in strategically growing and diversifying the organization and an enhanced focus on operating as a senior-living system and leveraging its benefits and efficiencies. Prior to joining NLCS, she provided project management and advisory services to senior living organizations through Walters Advisors, LLC. She has also served in a leadership role at Presbyterian Senior Living in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, and during her 19 years at KPMG (a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services), spent significant time as a partner and leader of their National Senior Living Advisory Practice.

Walters is driven by NLCS’ mission to honor, inspire and support choice and opportunity in partnership with older adults. Specifically, she is an advocate for “aging with choice,” which means providing needed resources for older adults to choose how they want to age – whether that means moving to a senior living community or bringing supportive services to those who want to stay in the home they have always loved.

Throughout her time at NLCS, Walters has spent time interacting with team members at every level, from the executive council to those on the frontlines. She says, “My passion goes much deeper than the mission of NLCS. It is also about the team we have built over the past several years. Our team embraces our culture and has ensured we remain a Great Place to Work®.” Walters continues, “I believe we have the best team in the industry, and I am just as committed to their experience with NLCS as I am the experience of residents and clients.”

Walters’ appointment as President and CEO was voted on unanimously by the NLCS Board of Trustees. “We are extremely excited that Cyndi will be stepping up to the CEO position and building upon the amazing visionary and quality-focused ministerial leadership NLCS has enjoyed under Larry’s leadership,” commented Donna Duss, MSN, RN and NLCS Board Chair. “Since being founded in 1890, our organization’s goal has been to seek the best and the brightest at all levels of the organization, and we have done just that in naming Cyndi our CEO,” Duss added.

“National Lutheran Communities & Services will be in very capable, skilled and dedicated hands under Cyndi’s expertise and vision. She understands and lives the NLCS ministry of keeping quality care at the focus of our day-to-day operations and mission,” retiring CEO Larry Bradshaw stated. “I am incredibly pleased by the Board’s decision, and look forward to continuing to hear wonderful things about new accomplishments and mission-focused service. I wish the organization the best always, and applaud the outstanding efforts of my fellow team members who will be carrying on in support of Cyndi’s leadership,” he added.

Walters will assume the President and CEO role on August 1, 2021.

Impact1890 Announces Special Rapid Response Grants

Grants awarded to three Lutheran congregations to help ease social isolation of older congregation members

Impact1890–A National Lutheran Program is pleased to announce that it has awarded three “Rapid Response” grants totaling $10,325 to St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Williamsburg, VA; Muhlenberg Lutheran Church, Harrisonburg, VA; and Trinity Ecumenical Parish, Moneta, VA.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has lengthened, many older adults have found themselves cut off from one of their greatest sources of companionship and comfort, their regular worshipping communities. Executive Manager Kathryn Baerwald stated, “With funds made available after all staff travel and in-person meetings were canceled, we informed synods of the availability of the grants. We received three nominations and after reviewing the proposals, the Board of Directors decided to award grants to all three.”

Baerwald continued, “Although congregations are offering on-line worship services, some older adults need additional support in order to access these worship services. In other situations, normal recognition of the importance of older adults in congregational life may need to be done in different ways, such as small gatherings with appropriate distancing or continuing regular programs but modifying them to fit current circumstances.”

Impact1890 conducts periodic needs assessments to identify areas of critical need facing seniors who are aging in their homes. All grants must address at least one of the six areas of needs. Since 2014, the number one, most critical area of need has been social isolation. Older adults who are aging in place, whether in an apartment or a house that has been home for many years, have long faced the issue of being alone. However, the pandemic has caused increased social isolation which can lead to declines in both mental and physical health.

The 2020 rapid response congregational grant recipients are:

Muhlenberg Lutheran Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia
$4,000
To gather the stories of their older adult members to recognize their lives and then honor these members in a socially-responsible way

St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Williamsburg, Virginia
$2,325
To upgrade the sound system to enable older adults to better participate in remote worship services

Trinity Ecumenical Parish in Moneta, Virginia
$4,000
To assist their 18 geographically-based ministry groups which support, in particular, socially isolated older adult members.

In 2019, Impact1890’s grants supported approximately 20,000 older adults. To read stories about the work of these grant recipients, please visit https://www.impact1890.org/impact-2/impact-stories/.

 

National Lutheran Communities & Services’ COO Cyndi Walters Joins International Council on Active Aging Task Force to Lead Senior Living Transformation After COVID-19

National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) Chief Operating Officer, Cyndi Walters joins more than 160 industry thought leaders as they prepare to emerge from a period of quarantine and plan for a new post-COVID-19 era. 

Participants in the ICAA COVID-19 Senior Living Task Force include representatives of for-profit, not-for-profit, and affordable housing — organizations providing active-adult and independent living, continuing care retirement communities/life plan, assisted living, long-term care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation Participating industry associations include, among others, LeadingAge, American Senior Housing Association (ASHA), Argentum, American Medical Directors Association (AMDA), Pioneer Network, National Council on Aging (NCOA), The National Association Directors of Nursing Administration in Long-Term Care (NADONA), and the American Society on Aging (ASA).

Walters stated, “COVID-19 has truly ushered in a new normal for senior living providers. Our normal from four months ago cannot exist anymore. I am honored to join other leaders in the industry to work together on how to safely continue providing care, engagement and support for residents and team members, while continuing to safeguard communities from COVID-19.”

“The health, wellness and quality of life of our residents and staff are paramount as we chart a path forward in the midst of uncertainty,” said ICAA founder and CEO Colin Milner, who conceived the initiative. “The Task Force will generate and provide ideas, tactics, strategies and messaging suggestions that organizations can consider as they begin to plan for a new post-COVID era.”

Milner will co-chair the task force with Richard H. Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS, 17th US Surgeon General, Chief of Health Innovations, Canyon Ranch, and psychologist/gerontologist Ken Dychtwald, PhD, best-selling author, founder and CEO of Age Wave.

“Organizations need to make their way through the pandemic and have a game plan to come out of it,” Milner said. “Importantly, all key stakeholders are coming together as a group to address COVID-19’s impact on the industry, and help ensure that organizations will continue to be viable and meet residents’ expectations and desires while also ensuring their safety now and into the future.”

Task force members and panelists at the May 27 and May 28 sessions addressed fundamental issues such as social distancing and its impact on the built environment, infrastructure needs and engagement.

About National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS)
Based in Rockville, Md., NLCS is a not-for-profit, faith-based ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) Delaware-Maryland, Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and Virginia Synods, serving people of all beliefs. With 130-years’ experience, NLCS honors, inspires and supports choice and opportunity in partnership with older adults. Entities sponsored by National Lutheran include The Village at Rockville in Rockville, Md., The Legacy at North Augusta in Staunton, Va., The Village at Orchard Ridge and myPotential at Home in Winchester, Va., The Village at Augsburg in Baltimore, Md., The Village at Providence Point in Annapolis, Md., subject to Maryland Department of Aging approval, and Impact1890 in Rockville, Md. For more information, visit www.nationallutheran.org

About the ICAA COVID-19 Senior Living Industry Task Force
ICAA COVID-19 Senior Living Industry Task Force will generate and provide ideas, tactics, strategies and messaging suggestions that organizations can consider as they begin to emerge from a period of quarantine and plan for a new post-COVID era. This includes, but is not limited to, the impact of the built and virtual environments, social activities and food/beverage services, technology, education and security that impacts the health and well-being of staff and residents; challenges to current and future business models; and approaches to build confidence in living in and visiting senior living properties.

About the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA)
www.icaa.cc
ICAA is a professional association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry and supports professionals who aspire to develop wellness cultures for adults over 50. This support includes creating wellness environments, programs and services. The association is focused on active aging-an approach to aging that helps older adults live life as fully as possible within all dimensions of wellness-and provides its members with education, information, resources and tools. As an active-aging educator and advocate, ICAA has advised numerous organizations and governmental bodies.

 

 

The Village at Rockville Volunteer Alexis Bentz wins an Extraordinary Teen Award from “Bethesda Magazine”

Recently, “Bethesda Magazine” recognized Thomas S. Wootton High School Senior, Alexis Bentz, as one of the winners of their annual Extraordinary Teen Awards. Her journey to this award started when she was just 12 years old. Inspired by her close relationship with her grandparents, Alexis wanted to create a column called “Generations Together” to bridge the gap between older adults and teenagers, creating relationships of mutual understanding. She pitched her idea to the editor of “The Beacon” newspaper, an area publication for adults over 50 in Washington, D.C. region, and her column was born.

However, Alexis did not stop there with her mission to bridge the generational gap. She also became a long-time volunteer at The Village at Rockville—A National Lutheran Community, where she founded the Generations Together club, an intergenerational group of older adults and middle school aged children that meet on a regular basis to socialize and learn from each other.

When Alexis began her volunteer work at The Village at Rockville, she was a student at Robert Frost Middle School. She became so passionate about serving older adults in her community that after she began high school at Thomas S. Wootton High School, she founded a second chapter of Generations Together. Alexis’ passion for cross generational understanding resulted in 30 students and two teachers from Alexis’ former middle and high schools making a difference in the lives of residents and guests until a few months ago when the groups had to stop volunteering at The Village at Rockville due to COVID-19. Plans were even underway to host an intergenerational prom that has been postponed.

Volunteer coordinator, Isabel Bouchard says she’s not surprised that Alexis was recognized as an Extraordinary Teen. “Alexis is a very mature, well-organized, compassionate and detail-oriented young lady. She understands the aging process and the importance of one-on-one engagement – that’s something she came to The Village at Rockville with, not that we instilled in her. The fact that she had that vision to put an intergenerational program together for us is absolutely amazing.”

Isabel says due to Alexis’s initiative, the Generations Together group meets either every Wednesday afternoon to visit residents in the memory care neighborhood or once a month to visit long-term care residents. Residents are always delighted to see and spend time with the students and look forward to the day they can visit with the students again.

“I have worked with a number high school children, but Alexis is particularly mature,” Isabel adds. “I think her insightfulness and passion for others is definitely going to carry her far in life.”

Congratulations to Alexis from the entire team at The Village at Rockville.

The Village at Rockville Clear of COVID-19 Virus from February Low-Risk Exposure

The Village at Rockville—A National Lutheran Community announced on Saturday, March 14, that they have completed the symptom screenings required by the Maryland Department of Health following a low-risk exposure of COVID-19 that occurred when one of the three positive Montgomery County residents attended an event at The Village at Rockville on February 28, 2020.

“I am pleased to report that our community has remained free of COVID-19 symptoms and that The Village at Rockville had no positive tests for COVID-19,” said Kyle Hreben, executive director at The Village at Rockville. “We appreciate that Governor Larry Hogan offered testing to those individuals, both staff and residents, who attended the February 28 to ensure The Village at Rockville remained free of the virus.” Hreben also praised the Maryland Department of Health for their collaboration with The Village at Rockville over the past week, as well as the team’s efforts to protect residents and each other.

“Our primary focus is to maintain the highest level of wellbeing for our residents and team members,” said Karen Sroka, director of clinical services for National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS), the parent organization for The Village at Rockville. “In this rapidly-changing and evolving world health crisis, we will remain vigilant in safeguarding our residents and team members with precautions of visitation limitations and continued education on best practices for the prevention of spreading any illness.” Sroka said. The Village at Rockville and NLCS will continue to collaborate with the state and federal agencies to reinforce their recommendations.

Earlier this week, The Village at Rockville modified visitation to essential visits only in the Health Center (assisted living and skilled nursing neighborhoods). Essential visits are defined as those visits to residents or guests who experience a significant change in medical condition. Symptom screenings continue for essential visitors and team members as they enter the Health Center. Virtual visits have been implemented using Skype and FaceTime to ease the burdens of visitor restrictions.

“We have a qualified team of health care experts, and I am grateful for each of them as they have demonstrated their continued dedication and the utmost professionalism throughout the past week,” Hreben said. “They daily deliver on our mission by living out our values in the care that they provide to the residents, not just in the past week, but all the time.”

Low-Risk Exposure of COVID-19 Reported at The Village at Rockville

The Village at Rockville—A National Lutheran Community was notified by the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) late this afternoon that a Maryland resident who tested positive for coronavirus attended a public event at The Village at Rockville on Friday, February 28 from noon to 6 p.m. Earlier reports incorrectly indicated the event was on Saturday, February 29.

The MDH has expressed that the risk of potential exposure during this event was low. However, taking the best practice in precaution, The Village at Rockville is working closely with the MDH to follow their recommended procedures for monitoring conditions of residents and team members who attended the event through March 14, 2020. There are no residents or team members at The Village at Rockville who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus nor are any exhibiting symptoms of the virus.

“Our primary focus is to maintain our highest level of well-being for our residents and team members,” said Kyle Hrebren, executive director at The Village Rockville. “We will remain diligent in taking the necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of our community and the greater Rockville community.” Prior to this notification, according to Karen Sroka, director of clinical services for NLCS, The Village at Rockville has been diligently educating residents and staff members weekly and following both the CDC and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommendations.

As this event also included guests from the greater community, the MDH also requested that those guests contact their health care provider or the Maryland Emergency Agency Call Center at 410-517-3720. These individuals will also continue to be monitored for symptoms through March 14.

“The MDH has confirmed that those who attended the event do not need to be self-quarantined unless symptoms of a fever, cough or a respiratory illness occur,” Hreben said. Additionally, the MDH has also confirmed that those who did not attend the event do not need to self-monitor.”

In an abundance of caution, The Village at Rockville has postponed all gathering and public events until March 14. Additionally, visiting hours will be restricted hours of 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) Adds Augsburg Lutheran Home & Village to its Roster of Senior Living Communities

National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) has added Baltimore-based Augsburg Lutheran Home & Village to its roster of senior living communities. Augsburg Lutheran Home & Village will now be known as The Village at Augsburg–A National Lutheran Community and a new logo, voted on by Augsburg’s team members has been approved.

The affiliation with The Village at Augsburg makes both NLCS and Augsburg part of a larger system, which means both parties have access to strong support services, have an increased breadth of expertise, have access to additional benefits and resources, and receive best-in-class education.

NLCS President & CEO, Lawrence R. Bradshaw said, “Most importantly, this affiliation allows NLCS to collaborate with Augsburg in expanding its mission to honor, inspire and support choice and opportunities in partnership with older adults.”

The transition started almost a year ago, with the Maryland Department of Aging providing official approval in December 2019. Throughout the year, NLCS team members have spent signification time with Augsburg’s leadership team in addition to meeting with team members and residents.

As for the day-to-day, Bradshaw says Augsburg’s residents “can expect to continue receiving the same great care they always have. Augsburg’s team members are passionate and dedicated. I have been impressed with the caliber of care they provide, and I am excited to welcome them to the National Lutheran family.”

Augsburg has served the Baltimore region for over 125 years, first as an orphanage, and then serving a dual population of children and seniors starting in 1929. In 1970, the orphanage was dissolved, and Augsburg began solely caring for older adults. Currently, Augsburg offers independent living, assisted living, short-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing.

NLCS has served seniors for 130 years, starting as the National Lutheran Home in Washington, D.C. In 1980, the National Lutheran Home moved to Rockville, Md., and over the last 10 years has expanded its mission to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and to Annapolis, Md.

About The Village at Augsburg
The Village at Augsburg–A National Lutheran Community located in Baltimore, Md. is a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) offering independent living, assisted living, short-term rehabilitation and long-term care. Augsburg has over 125 years of service in the Baltimore region and is a mission of both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, visit www.augsburg.org.

About National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS)
Serving older adults since 1890, NLCS honors, inspires and supports choice and opportunity in partnership with older adults. Based in Rockville, Md. NLCS is a faith-based, not-for-profit ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) Delaware-Maryland, Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and Virginia Synods, serving people of all beliefs. NLCS is working together to create thriving communities.

Entities sponsored by National Lutheran include myPotential at Home in Winchester Va., and Rockville, Md., The Village at Rockville in Rockville, Md., The Legacy at North Augusta in Staunton, Va., The Village at Orchard Ridge in Winchester, Va., The Village at Augsburg in Baltimore, Md., Impact1890, and The Village at Providence Point in Annapolis, Md., subject to final approval by the Maryland Department of Aging. 

The Village at Rockville Named One of the 2019 Best Workplaces for Aging Services by Great Place to Work® and FORTUNE through National Lutheran Communities & Services

Great Place to Work and FORTUNE have honored The Village at Rockville, through its parent organization, National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS) as one of the 2019 Best Workplaces for Aging Services. The ranking considered feedback representing 223,183 employees working for Great Place to Work-Certified organizations in Senior Housing & Care and At-Home Care in the Aging Services industry. Great Place to Work, a global people analytics and consulting firm, evaluated more than 60 elements of team members’ experience on the job. These included the extent to which employees trust leaders, the respect with which people are treated, the fairness of workplace decisions, and how much camaraderie there is among the team. Rankings are based on employees’ feedback and reward companies who best include all employees, no matter who they are or what they do for the organization. The Village at Rockville and NLCS took the number 19 spot on the small to medium organizations list and was the only provider listed in Maryland and Virginia.

The Village at Rockville’s culture is defined by the phrase We CARE–The National Lutheran Way. CARE means Create smiles, Attend to details, Respect everyone, and Embody excellence. Regardless of job title or department, The Village at Rockville’s team embodies the word CARE in every way—from serving seniors and families to interactions with each other.

NLCS’ Chief Talent & Culture Officer Kathleen O’Halloran stated, “I am honored and humbled to work with such an amazing team of caring people. Treating all people with respect regardless of who they are or what they do has been a guiding principle of NLCS and those who work here.” O’Halloran continued, “I’m inspired to see the way our team members throughout our communities and services care for each other and those we serve. Their continued dedication to NLCS is what allowed us to earn this distinction.”

“The value of creating great workplaces for all is a clear competitive edge in the Aging Services sector,” said Michael Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work. “When organizations like National Lutheran Communities & Services treat their own people with care and respect, you can expect their staff to treat your loved ones with that same care.”

The Best Workplaces for Aging Services is one of a series of rankings by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE based on employee feedback from Great Place to Work-Certified™ organizations.

The Village at Rockville employs 305 individuals from Montgomery County, Md. and the surrounding areas in a variety of roles including nursing, dining, environmental services and administrative disciplines. The Village at Rockville seeks team members who have a heart to serve, enjoy working with seniors and are a good fit for the We CARE culture. For a list of current openings and to apply online, visit www.thevillageatrockville.org/careers.

About The Village at Rockville
The Village at Rockville—A National Lutheran Community in Rockville, Md., is a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) that offers independent living, myPotential short-term and outpatient rehabilitation, respite, long-term nursing care, hospice, assisted living and memory support. To learn more about the campus expansion featuring independent living apartments, visit www.thevillageatrockville.org.

About National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS)
With 128-years’ experience, NLCS honors, inspires and supports choice and opportunity in service to seniors. Based in Rockville, Md., NLCS is a faith-based, not-for-profit ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) Delaware-Maryland, Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and Virginia Synods, serving people of all beliefs.

Entities sponsored by National Lutheran include myPotential at Home in Winchester Va., and Rockville, Md., The Village at Rockville in Rockville, Md., The Legacy at North Augusta in Staunton, Va., The Village at Orchard Ridge in Winchester, Va., Impact1890, and The Village at Providence Point in Annapolis, Md., subject to Maryland Department of Aging approval. For more information, visit www.nationallutheran.org.

About the Best Workplaces for Aging Services
Great Place to Work based its ranking on a data-driven methodology applied to anonymous Trust Index™ survey responses representing more than 223,000 employees at Great Place to Work-Certified organizations. To learn more about Great Place to Work Certification and recognition on Best Workplaces lists published with FORTUNE, visit Greatplacetowork.com.

About Great Place to Work
Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture and Activated Insights (activatedinsights.com) is their senior care division. They help organizations quantify their culture and produce better business results by creating a high-trust work experience for all employees. They recognize Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies and the Best Workplaces™ in the US. Learn more at greatplacetowork.com and on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

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