A Journey of Exploration at the End of 2015

CEO Jaime Schlegel reflects on the past year

By Kristian Partington

It’s the final couple weeks before a busy 2015 comes to a close and Schlegel Villages president and CEO Jamie Schlegel is in the car alongside Chief Operating Officer Paul Brown. They’re visiting the Village of Taunton Mills on this morning, bringing Christmas greetings while at the same time, conducting meetings related to potential capital investments for the upcoming year.   

Team member leaning over to assist a resident who is sitting in a wheelchair
Engaged team members come together with residents throough events
like the Wisdom of the Elder Festival of Flavours.

These visits are one of the highlights of the year – a chance to look back at past successes while offering gratitude to those who make it happen; it’s also an occasion to look ahead to coming challenges and opportunities. Before heading into the village, however, Jamie takes a minute to share his thoughts with The Village Voice.

“It’s always hard to sum up a year where there’s so much wonderful activity going on,” he says, eventually pointing out that 2015 was really a year for the organization to redouble efforts and expand on initiatives that are already underway to enhance care quality for residents.

The LIVING in My Today dementia education program and Neighbourhood Team Development, which were both introduced in recent years, are two examples of signature programs that are helping to change approaches to resident care for the better.

“We have so much on the plate already so we said, let’s use this year to focus and consolidate that which we’re already working on,” Jamie says. “That, in many ways, was actually the best way to keep moving forward, which meant not standing still. In fact, if anything that meant accelerating those existing areas of focus.”

Paul points out that Neighbourhood Team Development is one of the programs that has had a huge and positive impact on team member engagement results. When team members are engaged and committed to their neighbourhoods and villages, quality of life surveys among residents show a marked improvement as well.

“It’s a journey of exploration,” Jamie says, considering the focus during the past five years on changing the culture of aging in village life. “Everyone is learning at different paces and learning by trying different things, so it’s about learning from each other and getting better at what we’re currently doing.

“The journey,” he adds, “when you step back and look at the big picture, has really only begun and, in many ways, even though we feel like we’ve made a lot of progress – and we have – there’s much more work to be done.”

With that thought, Jamie and Paul head into Taunton Mills bearing gifts, best wishes and the promise of a busy year ahead.