New lifestyle consultant at Trillium Court, Kincardine
By Liz Dadson
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Almost two weeks into the job and Melanie Cooper is thoroughly enjoying her work as the new lifestyle consultant at Trillium Court Seniors' Community, Kincardine.
Originally from London, she and her family now live in Port Elgin. Her husband works at Bruce Power and they have three children, ages 15, four and 13 months.
While in London, she worked in the hospitality industry and for the past three years, she was the director of sales and marketing for the Leadership Centre of the Ivy School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. She went on maternity leave and they moved to Port Elgin.
"I really wanted to return to my career in sales and marketing and was looking for a part-time job," says Cooper. "I want to strike a good balance between family life and my work."
She has found that with the job at Trillium Court. Nicole Markham worked as both receptionist and marketing co-ordinator for the past two years and will now focus her duties as receptionist at the seniors' residence. Revera and Trillium Court have created the new job of lifestyle consultant, rather than marketing co-ordinator.
"I see my role as a lifestyle consultant," says Cooper. "I work with people to help them make the right choices during a time of major change in their lives. I look forward to helping people decide where the best place is for them."
Trillium Court has a lot to offer, she says, the major benefit being that it has three options: independent living, a retirement lodge, and long-term care.
"As people's needs increase, they don't need to leave their home here," says Cooper. "They just move to the next level of care. It's great that they can age in place here at Trillium Court."
She says it's good for couples when one spouse requires more care than the other. "They can stay together under one roof despite their care needs."
Cooper says the community has been warm and welcoming since she began her job Tuesday (Feb. 15). "I'm looking forward to being the outreach person in the community. It's an important aspect to developing relationships. You have to be the conduit with the community at large. It's going to be a huge learning curve for me at the start."
To familiarize herself with the area, she has visited the Davidson Centre, the Kincardine Community Medical Clinic, and several other places of interest in the community.
She has also been visiting with the residents of Trillium Court and discovering their interests. "It's important to talk to the people who live here and understand why they want to live here. They have so much to give and share. It's a privilege to listen to their stories and find out what's important to them, their life's legacy."
Cooper says when she worked in the hospitality industry, the focus was on promoting the benefits of such structural things as a hotel room.
"Here, the focus is on the people. It's not about the light fixtures or the windows and doors or the rooms. It's about the difference between living alone and living here in a community of like-minded people, with access to health and wellness and good meals, where the staff cares about you and ensures you can continue to live a full life," she says.
A big part of her job is building relationships.
"Often, you're meeting with individuals and their families at a time of crisis," says Cooper. "There's been a death in the family or a person's health has declined. It can be emotionally-charged.
Receptionist Nicole Markham (R) of Trillium Court Seniors' Community, Kincardine, welcomes new lifestyle consultant Melanie Cooper
"In this job, you need to be sensitive to that, spend time listening and being supportive. And when they're ready, you provide them with what they need. You have to get them to feel as if this residence is the same as their own home, with benefits."
Her goal is to create more awareness of Trillium Court within the Kincardine community, especially what the seniors' residence has to offer.
"We want to be the place people call when they need us," says Cooper. "We're here for seniors who have just moved to the area, and we're here to help people who have moved here to work and want to bring their elderly parents to this community to live."
To that end, Cooper is planning several community outreach events to bring people into the residence and let them see what it has to offer.
She also points out that Trillium Court has newly-renovated, one-bedroom suites in the leisure-living apartments that have come available and she invites interested members of the community to come and tour them.
"We offer great move-in incentives and have an excellent referral rewards program for friends, family members or professionals who refer potential residents to us," she says.
"Anyone interested in learning more about the independent or enhanced living options we offer, should contact me or drop in for a tour. I look forward to meeting them and welcoming new friends to the warm and friendly community here."
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Tuesday, March 01, 2011