December 2020

Thank you to our Diamond Sponsors

Thank you to our Platinum Sponsor

Thank you to our Gold Sponsors

Thank you to our Bronze Sponsor

Conversations with Ginny

"Follow the Light Unflinchingly" JRR Tolkien

In May of 2020, fifty-one percent of all Covid related deaths in Georgia were in nursing homes and assisted living homes.  Fast forward to now and thirty-three percent of deaths are in long-term care. This reflects how much we’ve learned and the diligence of teams in long-term care.  We celebrate every individual who has given the gift of caring so that older adults and staff can be healthy and feel part of a community during the pandemic.

We’ll drive that percentage even lower as we roll out the vaccine which will be in our communities very soon.  I’m hearing that member communities are having more success currently now with Walgreens than with other pharmacies for signing up.  This includes independent living communities.  Please let us know what you find is working for your community in terms of getting residents and staff vaccinated so we can share it with other members.

We celebrate having a great LeadingAge Georgia board who has provided solid guidance throughout the pandemic.  One of the things I appreciate most about the board is that the members interact with incredible grace.   They strive to find ways to fortify members, share solutions and lead the way for creating and sustaining cultures of well-being of older adults and staff.

Our board chair Chris Keysor, CEO of Lenbrook is rotating off as chair and will serve as past chair on the executive committee.  We are very grateful for the incredible insights Chris has and his ability to cut through any situation and focus on what is truly important.  His commitment to championing the significance of community – even in the midst of a pandemic is an inspiration.  John Sims, Executive Director of The Lodge in Columbus will be rotating off of the board. We’ll miss his wisdom and warmth which were always a delight.

We welcome Gwen Hardy, COO of Presbyterian Homes as our board chair.  Her passion for strengthening the workforce will guide our efforts and together we’ll make changes that are critically needed.  We also welcome Mark Todd, CEO of Magnolia Manor, Inc. to the board.  His extensive background in long-term care, his commitment to caring for persons with dementia and his interest in public policy will help drive great efforts for us.  Dawn Dunbar, Chief Administrative Officer of Carlyle Place is also joining the board. Her strong background in innovation and advocacy and will help propel us forward as well.

We thank Karon Winston, Director of Operations for Lutheran Towers and our outgoing board chair for her leadership of the Georgia Institute on Aging.  Karon led us with quiet grace in our efforts to develop innovative educational opportunities for members.  Carolyn Roper who provided, talent inspiration and a voice for consumers is rotating off the GIA board.  Kevin Shaw, Executive Director of Kings Bridge Retirement is also rotating off of the GIA board. Kevin has been supportive of LeadingAge Georgia, hosting educational opportunities and the key legislator for the assisted living legislation!

We welcome Weyman Perry, President of Personal Care Inc. as the new Georgia Institute on Aging chair.  Weyman has been a great champion of our annual golf tournament.  He has a great pulse on needs of both the in-home and long-term care organizations and is already leading efforts to have a full calendar of educational opportunities for members.   We welcome Alexandria Giles, Service Coordinator and valued member of the Georgia Institute on Aging Professional Development Committee.  We also welcome Robert West, resident of Lutheran Towers who will represent consumers on the Institute Board.  You might remember Robert who was honored last year at the Profiles in Positive Aging event for his incredible paintings of trains.

We celebrate the winners of this year’s LeadingAge Georgia Awards.  The winners included Park Springs who won our highest award, the Award of Honor; Ceceile Belmore of St. George Village who won the Caring Heart Award; Caroline Miller & Alpha Torres with Carlyle Place who won Volunteers of the Year Award; Patti Kunselman of Carlyle Place who won the Innovation in Care and Services Award; Justin Wilde, resident of Lutheran Towers who won the LeadingAge Distinguished Service Award and Julie Parker of Canterbury Court who won the Allison Cuba Award.  Please read the full article to learn more about our winners.  Thank you to our winners for all you did to deserve the awards, to the individuals who nominated them and to our great awards committee.  

We hope you take time to read our 2020 in review.  It’s interesting to review what we accomplished together during the pandemic.  Click here to read the review.

Next year, we have important work to do together.  We’ll focus on the policy changes we need to fortify members and address the hardships the pandemic brought. We’ll work to fortify staff because that’s our biggest challenge, we’ll offer training throughout the year mostly in virtual formats and we’ll offer the topics you request.  Please consider an end-of-the-year gift to fortify LeadingAge Georgia to keep us strong and effective.  

Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus said “give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.”  As we take a short break for the holiday, we celebrate the light within each of you that propels you to be of great service to older adults and others who serve alongside you.



Celebrating Walter O. Coffey Leadership Academy Graduates

Theodore Roosevelt said “the most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” Members of the 2020 Leadership Academy spent a year focusing on personal leadership including developing emotional intelligence, learning conflict management and effective listening skills. Attendees of the academy were able to benefit from tools that included the Keiresy Temperament Sorter, Kraybill Conflict Styles inventory and the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal. One of the most appreciated components of the academy was the one-on-one coaching by David Sprowl.  We thank our instructors Walter Coffey and David Sprowl.

We are very grateful to Alliant Health Solutions who provided funding to support the cost of the program.

We congratulate the graduates (shown below) who completed the Walter O. Coffey Leadership Academy and we thank the LeadingAge Georgia member organizations who provided the opportunity for staff to attend the Academy.

Row One:  Corlette Bailey, Asbury Harris Epworth Towers; Angela Benitez, Gwinnett Christian Terrace; Andrea Bowens; Caylin Broome; Christopher Calhoun, Canterbury Court; Jaquez Carr, Clairmont Oaks; Tisha Crawford, Lenbrook

Row Two:  Keyaki Dean,Lutheran Towers; Johnette Dorsey, Canterbury Court; Nakisha  Evans, Lenbrook; Latandra Garrett, St. George Village; Angela Gattison, Asbury Harris Epworth Towers; Michelle Griffin, Campbell-Stone Buckhead; Ginny Helms, LeadingAge Georgia

Row Three:  Leonardo Herrera, Lenbrook; Jacquie Hurt, Park Springs; Gloria Lewis, Lutheran Towers; Hablain Maurice, St. George Village; Sherika Mincey, Lenbrook; Kelsey Morren, Clairmont Place; Melissa Myers-Bristol,Clayton County Senior Services

Row Four: Rebecca Noll, Visiting Nurse Health System; Chelly Nyirenda, Clairmont Place; Kama Oyeshiku, Briarcliff Oaks; Carlos Porter, Cathedral Towers; LaChricia"Coco" Turner, Lenbrook; Lisa Woods, Lenbrook

Register NOW for the 2021 Walter O. Coffey Leadership Academy

The Academy seeks those who will collaboratively and innovatively create the future of aging services in America.  Successful organizations want strong leaders thriving throughout their organizations.  We recommend investing in yourself and your team!

Click here for application. 2021 class is limited to 32 participants

New Virtual Format & 2021 Leadership Academy Calendar of Events

Kick off with individual team Zoom Gatherings will be held February 3 or 4 depending on your group time

Events using Zoom will be on Wednesday mornings 10:00am – noon and you must participate in 4 of 6sessions to graduate:

         March 9
          April 13
          May 2
          August 10
          September 14
          October 12

 Depending on COVID, there may 1-2 face to face events toward the end of summer

TWO Individual Coaching Sessions approximately one hour each

Spring (March)and Summer (July); participants will register for dates/times

About 2021:  

The 2021 Virtual Leadership Academy has been enhanced in order to: 1) reach more LeadingAge Georgia members around the state, 2) save travel time/expense (participants can spend more time in their work environment), and 3) be more efficient (include shorter, more focused sessions, participants will prepare ahead of time, participate in webinars for instruction, utilize zoom groups for dialogue,shared learning and networking, etc.).  

As in the previous three years, individual coaching will play an important role.  It has been demonstrated that coaching supports staff development by focusing each individual’s goals, anchoring the concepts presented, and ultimately helping them become more successful.  Some of the benefits of coaching are that it empowers individuals and encourages them to take responsibility, increases engagement and satisfaction, and helps individuals work more productively in their teams.  

Participants Will Gain:

·      A realization that leaders are found at all levels of organizations

·      Knowledge of who they are as a person and as a leader

·      Individualized growth opportunities through coaching

·      Tangible tools to help them further develop their skills

·      The confidence to lead and grow others around them

·      An understanding of trends, changes, and innovation in aging

·      Valuable relationships within LeadingAge Georgia membership

Leadership Academy Facilitators & Coaches:    

Facilitators:  Walter Coffey & David Sprowl, Managing Partners, WD International Consulting; Ginny Helms, President/CEO, LeadingAge Georgia/Georgia Institute on Aging

Guest Guides:  Andy Landrum (Clairmont Oaks), Karon Winston (Lutheran Towers), and Deke Cateau (A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab).  Guest guides will share their personal leadership journeys.  This has proven to be a valuable opportunity for participants to hear from leaders in senior management positions.

Facilitators will provide information and activities related to developing and implementing a personal action plan, emotional intelligence strategies, time and stress management, understanding temperament, mastering conflict, understanding the continuum of aging services, each of the five practices of exemplary leadership, person-centered care/services (culture change), influence and public policy, and overall leadership in action.

Register NOW and Become a Certified Eden Associate in 2021!

The Eden Alternative is known for creating empowered cultures.  LeadingAge members who’ve been through the training recognize the value that the training has brought to their staff AND their communities. Deke Cateau, LeadingAge Georgia board member and CEO of Wesley Woods believes in the Eden training so much that he’s joined the board of Eden!  I plan to attend the training starting in January and invite you to join us! Ginny Helms

The Eden Associate Training is Life Changing!
Certified Eden Associate Training conveys the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of person-centered/ person-directed care. The new regulations highlight person-centered practices as the new standard of care needed to achieve and sustain quality improvement and effective change over time. This training offers practical tools that are the heart and soul of person-centered care planning, as required by CMS (The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services).

Scholarships are Available!
$500 Scholarships, that covers the full registration fee, are available for Georgia Nursing Home staff and related stakeholders. We are awarding a limited number of scholarships, so apply today! Download a scholarship application here.  

If you are NOT a Nursing Home Staff Member/Stakeholder, you can still participate in the certification.  The registration fee is $500. Space is extremely limited.  

Register today. Use discount code CCNG to save $$$.

Eleven On-Line Sessions
2021 Georgia Training Dates: January 12, 2021 until March 23, 2021
1.5 Hour Sessions Every Tuesday afternoon, 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Who Should Attend?
We recommend sending a team (including C.N.A.s) from each organization so they are inspired and prepared to work together to implement what they learned when they return.

Members Sharing Vaccination Efforts

A life plan community reported that Walgreens agreed to vaccinate independent living residents along with those in the assisted living and nursing home units.  An affordable housing member reported making arrangements with Caremark pharmacy.  If you haven’t already reached out to your local pharmacies to arrange for vaccinations we encourage you to do so.

Join a LeadingAge call this Tuesday at 1 to Hear from CVS Regarding Vaccinations

LeadingAge and experts from CVS/Omnicare will discuss the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program for COVID-19 Vaccinations this Tuesday at 1 pm. They will provide the most up to date information on how CVS is managing the vaccination process and will answer questions from LeadingAge members. They will also provide the latest set of resources for providers to help educate staff and residents as well as elements of distribution of the COVID-19 Vaccine. Register for the webinar here.

LeadingAge National is firming up a similar conversation with Walgreens.  It is tentatively slated for January 29th.  They’re firming up details and we’ll let you know when the details are confirmed.  

LeadingAge reports many providers have been asking for written evidence that Walgreens and CVS will accept verbal or email consent. They have updated their websites, forms and FAQs to reflect this.

• Updated new landing page.
Consent guidance with instructions saying they will accept verbal or email consent
• WAG’s FAQs that are a bit confusing but still say you can accept verbal consent. They are saying the facility staff will have to sign to say they confirm verbal or email consent.

• CVS link to vaccine clinic website.
• Updated instructions on consent.
• New PDF form to use to obtain consent.
• New responsible party PDF to complete for consent:  
• Link to download initial set of FAQs

LeadingAge National continues to update the FAQs regarding vaccinations daily.

DPH also shared a consent form.  Your pharmacy will likely have their own form but here is one in case you need it.  It was provided by the Hospital Association.

In Case You Missed Who Won LeadingAge Georgia Awards This Year…

There were so many nominations for LeadingAge Georgia awards this year and the awards committee had a difficult task – one they gave much thought to and they chose our winners.  In case you missed it at our annual business meeting, here’s a recap of the winners.

The Award of Honor Goes to Park Springs Staff & Residents with Honorable Mention for Ginger Hansborough for her Leadership During Covid-19

The Award of Honor, the Association’s highest award, is presented to a distinguished individual or organization who has provided outstanding leadership to the Georgia Association and whose exemplary service and commitment to quality have advanced both the association and the aging-services field.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, all LeadingAge Georgia members have put the needs of older adults first.  Members have worked tirelessly with little breaks, have reached within themselves and found the strength to meet the needs of residents in order to keep them safe and to encourage a sense of community despite the pandemic.  Mission-driven LeadingAge members have truly been a blessing to residents during this time. Without a doubt, the older adults have felt the professionalism, care and compassion of our members and some have even expressed appreciating living in such a caring bubble.

The Park Springs community stands out during the pandemic for their commitment to the older adults they serve.  Seventy-five employees of this community put their lives on hold and although they only planned to do it for two to four weeks, these individuals were locked in on campus 24/7 for 75 days.  They tested their relationship-based household model of care and culture of always putting member needs first. Some of the staff missed important events like birthdays and anniversaries and they all missed being with their children, spouses and loved ones. Way to go Park Springs!

The Caring Heart Award goes to Ceceile Belmore of St. George Village

Ceceile Belmore has been a care partner at St. George Village for seven years and during that time she has built meaningful relationships with both the residents and their families. Especially during the last several months, Ceceile has proven time and time again just how strong she is and how much she cares about the people she serves. She is in near daily contact with various family members, keeping them updated with texts and calls and pictures to reassure them that their loved one is staying involved and engaged. Battling the three plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom is Ceceile’s mission from the moment she walks in the door to the moment she leaves at the end of the day.

Congratulations Ceceile!

LeadingAge Georgia Volunteer of the Year Award goes to Carlyle Place Volunteers Caroline Miller & Alpha Torres

The LeadingAge Georgia Volunteer of the Year award goes to Caroline Miller and Alpha Torres who began their relationships with residents at Carlyle Place life plan community just before Covid-19 hit.  They came as interns in the music therapy program at Georgia College & State University.  Those who nominated the interns said what is most remarkable about these two individuals is how they responded to residents when the pandemic began. “Restrictions fueled their desire to use creativity and innovation to serve the community and they focused on social interaction, cognitive stimulation and music therapy benefits through virtual visits.  They engaged with residents in a number of ways including being celebrity guests on their virtual town hall meeting.”  

The person who nominated these two individuals said they were the best volunteers she has known in over 16 years. Congratulations Alpha & Caroline!

Innovation in Care and Services Award Goes to Patti Kunselman of Carlyle Place

The Innovation in Care and Services Award recognizes a LeadingAge Georgia member organization for programs and/or services that are models of innovation and excellence and that contribute significantly to the quality of life of the individuals served.

Patti Kunselman was nominated and chosen because of her energy and enthusiasm for providing residents and staff with creative programming opportunities that promote overall health and well-being.  After a resident approached this person about devising a comprehensive plan that would allow the resident to counteract the negative effects of Parkinson’s disease, this person pursued a certification in Delay the Disease Parkinson’s Fitness Program.  Patti was able to not only help that one resident but many others and her commitment to keep the program going during the pandemic has been unwavering. Congratulations Patti!

LeadingAge Georgia Distinguished Service Award Goes to Justin Wilde, Board Member of Lutheran Towers

The Lutheran Towers community nominated Justin Wilde for the Distinguished Service Award.  This award recognizes the achievements of members, Trustees of governing member boards, non-members, or institutions in making outstanding contributions toward the welfare of older persons in areas such as research, education, communication, public policy, or excellence in leadership or governance accountability for member organizations.

Justin has served as treasurer, vice president and president of the Lutheran Towers resident association.  In his role as president, he discovered the prevalence of hunger amongst residents and compelled his community to establish a food ministry.  He has supported his community by fundraising and sustaining the supportive service programs where he resides.  His continued devotion and support serves as an example of a servant leader. Congratulations Justin!

Allison Cuba Award Goes to Julie Parker of Canterbury Court

This Allison Cuba award recommended by LeadingAge Georgia staff recognizes an association member who has provided exceptional service by working directly with the Association in a way that ultimately benefits the good of all members.

This year, the team was delighted to award Julie Parker with the honor. Scott, Susan and Ginny call on often Julie for insights, guidance and favors.  She serves on the professional development team and the Georgia Institute on Aging board, she champions CEUs for all members and routinely provides ideas for cutting edge programming that she thinks members need.  Conversations with her often start with staff asking “will you please.”  Julie is always gracious and most always says yes! Congratulations Julie!

Member Spotlight

When I walk into member communities I often think “this is a special place.”  Our members create warm, inviting, thriving communities.  Our members make that experience possible --- kind of like how our parents made holidays special for us.

One member that always creates a sense of warmth and community is Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home.  They provide palliative care to individuals who have terminal cancer and who no longer have sufficient funds to provide for adequate nursing care.  The foundress of the home stipulated that the home will never solicit funds.  Yet, you always see a smile on the face of their administrator Sister Anne Marie. Well, with the pandemic, you see the smile in her eyes.  Sister Anne Marie said “It has been a hard year for everyone but I have to say the residents and their families have really been troopers.  They have been so cooperative and understanding of any of the restrictions that we have had.”

We celebrate the care this member community provides and we celebrate Sister Anne Marie and her team of compassionate nuns and volunteers.  To learn more about Our Lady of Perpetual Help click here:

Thanks Mom & Dad Foundation

We’re grateful to the Thanks Mom & Dad Foundation and their donor who provided 100,000 masks for residents of our member communities.  We have a few boxes remaining.  If you need boxes please contact Ginny at

Residents of Campbell-Stone Buckhead Donning Masks from Thanks Mom & Dad



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