NCAL names 2017 top assisted living caregivers

The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) today announced the recipients of the 2017 NCAL Awards Program, which recognizes exemplary assisted living caregivers and programs annually. The NCAL Awards Program has four distinct categories: Administrator, Nurse, Noble Caregiver, and National Assisted Living Week Program of the Year. The award winners represent the best of the assisted living profession, a sector of long term care that fosters choice, dignity and independence.

The four award recipients for 2017 are:

  • Administrator of the Year: Erin Jones, Executive Director of Emerson House in Portland, Oregon
  • Assisted Living Nurse of the Year: Esther Nederhood, RN, of Belle Oaks Assisted Living Center in Lake City, Michigan
  • Noble Caregiver in Assisted Living: Lauri Morris, Life Enrichment Director of Prestige Assisted Living at Kalispell in Kalispell, Montana
  • National Assisted Living Week Program of the Year: Brandywine Living at Pennington in Pennington, N.J.

“It takes a special person to work in assisted living, but Erin, Esther, Lauri and the entire team at Brandywine Living at Pennington take it to a whole other level,” says NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle. “NCAL is privileged to recognize these individuals who consider it their life’s work to serve seniors and individuals with disabilities.”

Erin Jones, executive director of Emerson House (a 55-bed memory care community), has implemented culture change to the satisfaction of the residents, staff and the state survey agency. She has worked in long term care for over 20 years, starting her career in a skilled nursing center, while still in high school. Jones helped make Emerson House an ongoing host to medical residents as part of Oregon Health Sciences University’s Medical Student Learning Collaborating on Cognitive Impairment program. In 2016, she was named Administrator of the Year—Community-Based Care by the Oregon Health Care Association.

Esther Nederhood, a registered nurse for more than 40 years, values ongoing educational opportunities. She is a certified assisted living director, a certified dementia practitioner (CDP), a certified assisted living nurse (C-AL), and a certified gerontological nurse. In 2003, she opened Belle Oaks Assisted Living Center to help meet the elder care demand in the Lake City community. Since then, the community and Nederhood have earned numerous awards, including in 2013, when she received the very first Ethel Mitty Scholarship from the American Assisted Living Nurse Association.

Lauri Morris has been the life enrichment director of Prestige Assisted Living at Kalispell for only two years, but has already created memorable and impactful programs for the residents. One of her recent initiatives is called “Celebrate Your Neighbor,” where each month, Morris works with a select resident to share their life story with other residents, family members, and staff. Part of the initiative also involves Morris searching for acquaintances to surprise the resident at the sharing event. Additionally, Morris has integrated technology to enhance activities, as well as organizing a monthly volunteer activity for the residents to give back to the local community. She is a certified cognitive stimulation instructor.

The staff members of Brandywine Living at Pennington put together an engaging National Assisted Living Week (NALW) program for its residents in September 2016. The community embodied last year’s theme “Keep Connected” by linking residents to good causes, such as Christine’s Hope for Kids and the Breast Cancer Resource Center. Residents also explored new technology by video chatting distant family members. Lastly, staff and residents shot a music video to the tune of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” that was revealed to residents during NALW.

The award winners will be recognized Oct. 15, 2017, at a special awards ceremony during the 11th Annual NCAL Day, held as part of the 68th Annual AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention & Expo.



Topics: Activities