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Be Happy. Love Your Home.

March 14, 2022 | Associates

Choosing a new home for you or your loved one, is not an easy decision. At Poet’s Walk, Leesburg, they fully understand – You want to Be Happy! With a new team in place, led by Executive Director, Erika Young, LNHA,CDP, Poet’s Walk Leesburg will be the perfect place to call home!

Erika, a licensed nursing home administrator, preceptor and certified dementia practitioner, chose to work with the adult population at a very young age because her grandparents lived just a couple of doors down and she was always visiting and spending time with them. When both of her grandparents died in a nursing home, she vowed to them and herself that she would work to make an impact in the lives of the older adult population. As her career in senior living unfolded, memory care became her passion.

Erika is a results-driven healthcare leader with over 24 years of long-term care experience; working in all venues of senior living. Originally from Upstate New York, Erika attended Syracuse University and pursued a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She then furthered her education, obtaining a master’s degree in healthcare administration. For Erika, her motivation in memory care is advocating for those with Alzheimer’s and/or dementia because it is simply rewarding on so many levels.

Erika resides in Loudoun County with her husband, 3 children, and 5 fur babies. Outside of work, Erika focuses on her family and can be found on various sporting fields watching her children play the sports they love all year long. She loves to cook, bake, volunteer and is passionate about animals. Erika says, “My family & I strongly believe in giving back to the community where we are privileged to live. These opportunities allow us to appreciate everything we have”. “To the world, you might just be one person, but to one person, you could be the world.”

Poet’s Walk Leesburg proudly participates in intergenerational activities.  By inviting children in for various activities, the two generations can interact, have fun, and really bond. The residents love when the children come in and the children are just enamored with the love they receive from the residents.  Erika says “The smiles on everyone faces are heart-warming and priceless!”

Erika and her Director of Nursing, DRC Sandra Kuhn, believe in finding the right team members, who are skilled and compassionate. They believe ongoing training is essential to enhance customer service and provide the highest level of quality care, especially for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Erika and Sandra had a similar inspiration growing up. For Sandra, it was a combination of working as a laundry attendant at age 15 in a local nursing home and her grandmother encouraging her to apply for nursing school. With over 41 years of experience, Sandra says “I am blessed to have a diverse nursing career. I started my career in Long Term Care, working with adult, child and adolescent mental health patients as well as adult addiction.” Assisted Living and Memory care in particular, are a passion of hers because “Every day for most of the people in her care is a new day.” Sandra just loves reminiscing with the residents and being a part of their daily lives.

Sandra is truly motivated by the residents, families and staff to lead by example every day. As a result, she feels she has hired and trained the right team to increase resident engagement. That

increase in happy, engaged residents has had a profound effect in decreasing the risk of falls at Poet’s Walk Leesburg. Unfortunately, individuals with cognitive / memory care deficits are also at risk for malnutrition, creating negative effects both physically and psychologically. Weakness muscles and deceased bone density can increase risk of falls, which is one reason Malnutrition Prevention is a focus at Poet’s Walk.

Erika says “Happiness in our community is something very important to me as the leader.” Happiness can be defined in many ways.  For many, happiness is sitting with friends over a great meal. Having an amazing dining experience can help prevent Malnutrition too! When you enjoy your experience, you take your time to savor your meal and time with friends.

Kevin Berry, the Director of Dining Services, has worked his way up from line cook to Sous Chef to his present position. Kevin started his career in 2011 working as a prep cook at a fine dining Restaurant in Charlestown, WV. In 2015, he began his journey working with assistant living and memory care communities because he wanted something different. He loves making people happy through cooking great meals with fresh foods. Kevin believes fresh food is the best because there are no additives or preservatives. Kevin is excited to be preparing the community garden. Currently, the Poet’s Walk Aeroponic Tower Garden is up and running. This season, Poet’s Walk Leesburg is growing bock choi, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce green peppers and a variety of herbs.

Poets Walk Leesburg provides meaningful work that greatly impacts the lives of others and has a solid team where teamwork is not only expected but lived each day. The team works hard together so everyone can achieve a better work life balance. When you feel refreshed going back into work every day, you can grow and discover new and exciting roles all while having fun.

The entire team has dedicated themselves to the culture of Spring Hills and to the principles of trust, respect, and integrity; giving our best to the remarkable people we serve. As a team, they plan to continue to move forward with the implementation of new technologies for resident safety, exciting advances with engagement and of course, staying focused on the Spring Hills holistic approach to senior living they call Signature Touches.

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