60/20 Tour: The Brookdale Divas, Arrowhead Stadium, and Diners with Allison

August 21, 2019

Brookdale Overland Park and Little Sisters of the Poor Kansas City

Our first visit to a Brookdale community gets us off to a great start Brookdale Overland Park in Kansas.  How appropriate that Juliet Holt-Klinger was on site! Juliet has been a driving force behind Brookdale’s implementation of iN2L over the years, and it’s cool (but not surprising) to see her continually pushing the envelope.

Speaking of pushing the envelope, Brookdale residents Sandy, Darlene and Betty (the Brookdale Divas) took center stage in today’s Cruising and Crooning, to my delight reinforcing what is becoming a theme for the tour – changing the perception of what people living with dementia are capable of.  These ladies personify in spades the reality that we all want to stay engaged, stay connected, and keep having fun.  I particularly connected with Sandy, who wore very stylish sunglasses for our cruise (I dubbed her Jackie O.). She talked, and sang, and talked,  and sang…she has such a good sense of humor. And all in good fun while we were dancing later in the visit, she made a few references that she liked tall men!

It was wonderful to have Hassan Hadjian in the car with us. He’s the creative force behind Brookdale’s programming at this community (and a big fan of iN2L).  I was fascinated by his story of immigrating from Iran to the U.S. and how he wound up thoroughly enjoying a career in senior living. The journeys of the caregiving staff into their positions are fascinating to hear.

Off in the afternoon to Little Sisters of the Poor in Kansas City.  A chance encounter with Brittani at the Pioneer Network led to this visit, and it was a great stop.  The grounds of the community are magnificent,  and we had a raucous trio for Cruising and Crooning.  This was our longest venture so far of the tour,  a combination of me missing a freeway ramp,  late afternoon traffic and a detour to cruise around the parking lot at Arrowhead Stadium.  The staff we met at the community are remarkable,  a mix of laypeople and nuns full of spirit (like Sr. Michael!).

Allison Hart,  our VP of Marketing (I’ll write more about her in a later post) has joined the tour for a few days and we are taking on some diners in Missouri. For a petite young woman she can pound a chicken fried steak with the best of ‘em.  And she expands my musical horizon outside of Springsteen as we roll around to the next stop on the tour. I never knew Justin Timberlake dated Brittany Spears!

Off to Nebraska, adventures at Vetter I could never have predicted await us…