Be the Change at Wildewood Downs
– Anterica Thomas –
What is your position at Wildewood Downs?
How long have you been at Wildewood Downs?
I joined the team at Wildewood Downs in March of 2020 after being with Senior Living Communities since 2017. While I was studying for my undergraduate degree, I did my internship at their sister community, Brightwater, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and later went to join the team at their other community, Wellmore of Daniel Island, in Charleston, South Carolina.
What excites you the most about this position and this company?
This opportunity excites me because I am provided with the chance to create and implement my own wellness programming for Members.
What is your favorite thing about working for Senior Living Communities?
My favorite thing about working for Senior Living Communities is getting to know each Member and their life story!
Describe a time that a Member had a positive impact on your day?
I remember when I was the Wellness Associate and I was helping a Member with her Exercise Therapy. She felt so discouraged when we first started, but as weeks went on, she improved her overall fitness! One day at the end of our session she looked at me, told me “thank you” and how much she appreciated me for believing in her. That day she told me about the impact that I had made in her life, but to be honest she made a positive impact on my life. She helped me to realize that this is where I need to be.
Have you utilized the Elevate program? If not, do you know someone who has?
Yes! I have used the Elevate program for continuing education. This program has allowed me to obtain certifications that help me with the position that I’m in.
How have you grown professionally and personally since joining the Team?
I have grown in many ways, but one that really stands out to me is that I am not as shy as I used to be. Working in the wellness department, I must always speak, whether it’s instructing a class of 20 people, or leading a lecture. Now, I am not only speaking up, but I also am speaking with more confidence than I have ever before. This is a skill that is useful in my professional career as well in my personal life.
What about your position allows you to pursue what makes you feel the most passionate in life?
Through my education and career path, I am able to assist others and help them to live “The Weller Life”. I enjoy motivating others to reach their goals.
When it comes to your programming, what is the motivation behind specific classes that you do with your Members?
The motivation behind my programming is each component of fitness. As people age, we lose strength, endurance, balance, etc. and within my programming, I work to rebuild that. My goal is to create programming that focuses on having fun while staying active. Playing golf and tennis are things that the Members enjoyed and still enjoy doing, so they don’t even realize they are exercising because they are having so much fun!
Your community has a monthly social event called Signature Experiences; how does wellness play a role in these themed days?
Signature Experiences are one of my favorite things about working at Wildewood Downs and within Senior Living Communities. Wellness plays a role by contributing something fun and beneficial for the Member’s health that is a part of the theme! It doesn’t always have to be an exercise class, it can be a trip to see a professional team play, a craft that focuses on finger dexterity, fun games that help with their skills, and so much more!
The wellness program has won three Argentum Best of the Best Awards over the last few years. What was that feeling like and how does it motivate you moving forward.
To hear that the wellness program has won those awards makes me proud to be a part of the team. It helps motivate me to create unique programs that can win more awards and while continuing to utilize award-winning programming for our Members.
Tell us about WAVES, C.L.I.M.B, or Purpose-Based Wellness. How does it benefit the Members, what does the program look like, and how did it come to be?
WAVES is one of my favorite classes, it’s an aquatic therapy program for our Members who have Alzheimer’s and dementia. While we do not have a pool at Wildewood Downs, I plan on taking our Members to a local pool and we do our aquatic class there. Research shows that doing exercises in the pool is one very beneficial. In the class, I do one-on-one sessions with each Member and we do about 12 low impact exercises that work, mobility, endurance, and strength.
C.L.I.M.B is another amazing class that is great for the lower body. I love this class because it focuses on strength for the lower extremities and strengthens muscles that may get weak or tight.
What makes Wildewood Downs Wellness programming stand out compared to others?
Wildewood Downs Wellness Program stands out because there’s a class for everyone’s goals and needs. There are not only classes but one on one sessions. Wildewood’s Wellness program will always tailor to a person’s specific needs, but most importantly we want them to have fun while doing so!
Talk about the impact your wellness program has had on the Members at your community, big wins, maintaining independence, and more.
I am proud to say that I am the very first Wellness Director here at Wildewood Downs, and just getting started! There’s a lot that I am excited to teach out Members about living The Weller Life!
What is your favorite thing to do to maintain your fitness level?
My favorite thing to do is to take a hike and dance! I love being outdoors in good weather, taking a walk or hiking up a trail! I also love to dance! Dancing is great cardio, and you have so much fun while doing it.