“Your husband has very serious heart disease and needs open heart surgery as soon as possible.” Referring to a man who never had a cardiac symptom, this doctor’s shocking statement inaugurated our six-month journey to Lenbrook.
You could say I founded the "Geezer Squad" here at Lenbrook. When my wife and I moved here about six plus years ago, and being the "computer geek with no formal training" that I am, I quickly rounded up a handful of fellow geeks to be "on call" to assist residents with their computers.
I admit it. I love to exercise but that hasn’t always been the case. In high school a friend of mine was a dancer and she invited me to join her rehearsals. I loved the freedom I felt and moving with the music was magical - I was hooked! ” Wellness" hadn't fully entered the mainstream yet.
It's funny what you can learn about someone when you invite them to chat with you. At least that's been my experience with the "community chats" we host here at Lenbrook – an intimate weekly meeting in which residents of a particular floor are invited to come chat with me, members of our management team and officers of our Residents Association over coffee.
Listen, Share and Learn
Pictured Above: Chris Keysor (Lenbrook President and CEO, Jackie Durant (Lenbrook Resident) and Linden Longino
How much is a “thank you” hug from a Nobel Peace Laureate worth? What is the value of a letter from a teacher in Afghanistan who says, “Because of your work many children here have some hope that their cries for peace will be heard somewhere.” Are twenty years of volunteer work worth this? Yes.
Pictured above: Clarence and Kathleen Kemper
My wife Kathleen and I lived in the Boston area for over 55 years and absolutely loved it. We're often asked, "Why did you move to Lenbrook?" It's a short question, but there are really three parts to it:
Why did we choose to move from our home to a retirement community?
Having had the opportunity to work with senior adults over the past 13 years, I count myself truly lucky. It's given me such incredible perspective about life and aging that serves me well not only professionally, but also in my own life with my aging parents and with my friends who count on me for advice regarding their aging parents.
When I became president and CEO of Lenbrook after serving as its chief financial officer for almost five years, people would ask, "What's different about being a CEO than you might have expected?" The simple answer is, I expected my "new job" to be more about people. But what I have found is it is all about people.
My husband and I were wanderers. We have moved over 29 times, leaving old friends, making new friends, learning to laugh again, learning to socialize again, learning to have fun again, and learning to live again.
Living and working with seniors has taught me simply this: “So much of the very essence of life is realizing what you have in real time.”