Be The Change at Marsh’s Edge

– Annsley Felton –

What is your position at Marsh’s Edge?

Social Director

How long have you been at Marsh’s Edge?

I have been at Marsh’s Edge for a year and a half.

What excites you the most about this position and this company?

The thing that excites me the most about Senior Living Communities is how much they invest in programming and truly understand the importance of providing quality programming for our Members. With this as a priority, I get to collaborate with Social Directors from across our communities and they are truly some of the best in the industry.

What is your favorite thing about working for Senior Living Communities?

I love what this company stands for through their guiding principles, ‘People First, Always’, ‘We Exist to Serve Our Members’, and ‘We Have a Responsibility to be Full’! With those guiding principles, all the Team Members are servant leaders, and it’s amazing to work alongside Team Members who are as passionate about providing ‘The Weller Life’, as I am.

Describe a time that a Member had a positive impact on your day?

Our Members are always just as excited about activities as I am, any time participation is down, the Members rally together to encourage each other to participate. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Members have continuously said, the thing they look forward to the most, is our Happy Hour Cart! We have recently started incorporating outdoor concerts as well, I love knowing that I am able to provide a bright spot to their day always has a positive impact.

Have you utilized the Elevate program? If not, do you know someone who has?

I have not, but I do know several people who have. I think it’s amazing that as a company we are always striving to build our Team Members up.

How have you grown professionally and personally since joining the Team?

We have great leadership throughout our team, seeing others lead, and being encouraged to lead not just in my professional life, but also in my personal life has allowed me to grow exponentially. Senior Living Communities believes in investing in their team members, not just as employees, but as people.

What about your position allows you to pursue what makes you feel the most passionate in life?

I’m passionate about people, and the quality of life they have. I love that my position allows me to bring joy, entertainment and fulfilment to the lives of our Members.

When it comes to your programming, what is the motivation behind specific activities, events, programs that you do with your Members?

My motivation behind specific activities is always providing our Members with something joyful and engaging. Whether it’s an event for 8 people or 80 people I want our Members to walk away feeling better than they did when they walked in.

Your community has a monthly social event called a Signature Experience, what is your favorite part of planning, executing, and experience itself?

My favorite part of planning is the brainstorming piece, working together with our wellness and dining teams, watching all of our ideas flowing together. We have a larger than life population here at Marsh’s Edge, so the bigger the better when it comes to Signature Experiences. Executing is always great to witness, watching all of our ideas coming together to provide a true experience for our Members. Seeing our Members enjoy the day, there is nothing like that, our Members have the time of their lives!

Tell us about your favorite Signature Experience from your time at Marsh’s Edge?

My favorite signature experience was out, Out of This World Signature Experience! We had two days packed full of things our Members never experienced before, laser tag, and astronaut ice cream! We had a mobile planetarium come out and an oxygen bar. Members got to dine on a meal based around the first meal eaten in outer space and enjoy live entertainment and a black light magic show!

How does your community come together to work together to provide a vibrant social life for your Members? Dining, Wellness, Social?

 Dining, Wellness and Social work closely together to create a social life that’s all inclusive, from theme dinners, and happy hours, to exciting wellness programs like axe throwing! We share lots of ideas and work together to make them happen!

A common misconception is that senior living social activities are all bingo all the time. How do you break that stereotype?

We actually rarely play BINGO, and when we do, the BINGO program is completely member lead, takes place in our bar with sophisticated cocktails and appetizers. Mostly our social activities are grand parties, happy hours with live entertainment, lecture series, outings to upscale restaurants, and we frequently attend concerts. Our events are something you would see hosted as an elite event in the community. We always strive to bring something new to the community to give our members the opportunity to experience something they have never done before.

How do you incorporate your Member’s feedback, personal lives, preferences, etc into your daily programming?

The Social Life activities are for the Members, so it is very important that I provide things that Members are interested in. We have an activity committee made up of Members who provide me with feedback, requests for certain programs, and approve the monthly social calendar. We often host functions for several organizations that our members are a part of such as Rotary, Ivy League Organization, and various local community groups.

Fun Fact: What are a few of your favorite hobbies? What is something many people don’t know about you?

My favorite hobbies include cooking, boating and spending time with my husband and kids. Something many people don’t know about me is that I have travelled to 28 of the 50 states, and it’s my goal to see all 50! 

How has COVID-19 impacted your programming? Why are activities important during this time?

COVID-19 has impacted programming significantly, we have had to get creative with how to safely provide a social life for our members. This has included having activities outside where those in attendance can spread farther apart, and reducing the number of people who can attend, and sometimes hosting activities in a staggered time frame. Additionally, we have had to be creative in how we do happy hours, since that’s one of our members most favorite activities we did not want to do away with all together. Instead we have a themed happy hour cart that comes around door to door bringing some sort of food item and a specialty cocktail for them to enjoy, we make it extra fun by always being in costume! Activities are crucial for our members physical and mental health right now. We know our members are safest here, so we want to do everything possible to make these times as enjoyable as possible while continuing to keep our members safe.