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“This really speaks to our commitment to continuing an exceptional program as our staff changes,” said Tony Madl, executive director of GreenFields of Geneva. The senior living community, which has earned a reputation for offering an outstanding lifestyles program, has hired Karen Tomko as the new life enrichment manager. Karen will be replacing the current manager, Emily Abrahamson who is leaving next month to have her first child. “Emily’s team has launched some extraordinary programs and activities that our residents love. Karen, who started two weeks ago, will be working together with Emily for the next several weeks. This way, we can ensure that the transition between the two is flawless,” said Tony.
Karen is new to GreenFields but not to the neighborhood, nor to senior living. “We have lived in the Mill Creek subdivision in which GreenFields is located for 14 years. We remember watching GreenFields go up. Through the years, our three kids have been here for choir concerts, scouting events, and more,” she said.
Karen, who is a former teacher and special education job coach, started working in senior living several years ago. “One of my sites as a job coach was at a retirement community, and I got to know the residents there. I enjoyed interacting with them and eventually started working as a life enrichment coordinator. I loved it,” she said. “When I learned there was an opening at GreenFields, I was excited. It seemed like a perfect opportunity for me. It’s a larger community than where I was, and I knew I was ready for more responsibility. I thought this would be a lot of fun. And it helps that it’s 90 seconds from my house.”
Karen said that in the few weeks she’s been at GreenFields, she’s been tremendously impressed by the culture of the retirement community. “The residents are so active and engaged. That says a lot about the community.” She said that she’s been particularly amazed by the large number of different programs available, and how resident-driven the activities are. “It’s outstanding that the people who live here and call this their home, have such a tremendous role in determining programming. Before they moved here, they planned their days and activities and what they wanted to do. It makes sense that when they move here, they still want to pursue what’s important or fun to them.”
The lifestyles program at GreenFields has introduced innovative programming not often found in retirement communities. Programs like eWOW, GreenFields’ virtual travel series; fireside chats, a pen pal initiative with neighborhood schools, and events such as goat yoga have been embraced by the residents. “The residents have grown to love having outside-of-the-box type programming, and we want to make sure that this continues,” said Tony.
“It’s impressive that they’re permitting both Emily and me to overlap for six weeks; I don’t think that’s a common occurrence. It’s spectacular. It’s clear that they want me to be successful and are doing what needs to be done to make that happen,” said Karen.