Nearly a year ago, Carolyn Rice became the new Director of Wellness at Glenaire. While the pandemic has created many challenges during her first year in the role, Carolyn sees a bright future for wellness at Glenaire.
“Wellness is the heartbeat of our community,” says Carolyn. “It’s such a special role we get to play in the lives our residents and staff.”
Much of this enthusiasm just comes naturally to Carolyn. However, the upcoming expansion and renovations should give residents, residents of the future and staff plenty of reasons to feel good about the wellness opportunities Glenaire will have to offer.
In addition to more apartment homes and dining options, the expansion includes a new fitness center and renovations to existing facilities. The enhancements will give all residents more space for classes and activities, along with more fitness options and overall a wider variety of ways to be active and engaged.
“The expansion will offer so much,” says Carolyn. “There will be an indoor track, a cycling studio, a therapy center, even a full spa. There are just so many things we’ve built into the expansion.”
This variety suits Carolyn and the Glenaire community just fine. Since starting her new role, she has worked tirelessly to create different activities, events and wellness programs for residents both before and during the pandemic.
Along with Lifetime Enrichment Coordinator Hannah Ericksen and Fitness Coordinator Ally Setliff, Carolyn enjoys working with residents to tap into their interests and offer new programs for residents to try. “I love having the freedom to bring new things to the table,” she adds. “I love to keep it fresh.”
During the pandemic, Carolyn, Ally and Hannah have arranged for all kinds of activities to help residents stay active. From “drive-through” parades for health care residents to fitness videos over the community’s TV channel to collecting family video messages to share with residents in lieu of visits, the community is finding ways to thrive. There are in-person fitness classes, held outside in small groups where participants can be safely distanced from each other.
“We’ve had to evolve our events,” says Carolyn. “And we’ve learned a lot about the kinds of activities our residents value.”
Even though she’s been the Director of Wellness for just a year, Carolyn’s history of getting involved in the wellbeing of the residents and staff here goes back more than 15 years.
In her previous role as Billing Specialist, Carolyn dedicated much of her free time volunteering to help with all kinds of activities and events around the community. She was the original committee chair for the annual Glenaire 5K, a role she had done for other nonprofit organizations for years.
So, when the Wellness position became available, many of her colleagues encouraged her to go for it. “Someone reached out to me and said ‘Why haven’t you applied? You’d be perfect,’” she explains. “So I put pen to paper and realized that, yeah, I was doing a lot in wellness.”
The support and encouragement explains, at least in part, what makes the community so special and why staff members tend to stay at Glenaire so long. “The people,” Carolyn adds, “you see them every day and everyone is very open and honest. It makes the community feel like it’s your very own. Glenaire is a very special place.”