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By: Marissa Salvesen on December 14th, 2013

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Middlewoods of Newington Wins Two CALA Awards for 2013!

assisted living community | Middlewoods of Newington | News

assisted Living CALA awardsMiddlewoods of Newington Assisted and Independent Living Community is the proud recipient of two prestigious Connecticut Assisted Living Association Awards (CALA), including one “Young Leader of the Year” award and one Best Practices award in the category of Managed Residential Services.

The awards were presented at CALA’s 18th Annual Meeting and Awards Program held at The Aqua Turf Club in Southington on Wednesday, December 4th.

Congratulations to Jeanie Banh, Young Leader of the Year


Jeanie Banh, an LPN at Middlewoods, was recognized as “Young Leader of the Year.” This award is presented to “an assisted living professional in a leadership position who has been in the field of services for the aging for five years or less that exhibits exemplary leadership skills, maturity, and vision that inspire residents and staff members.”

Jeanie Banh has taught the community of Middlewoods of Newington that leadership begins with relationships. Stepping into a very busy Wellness Department, Jeanie has worked as an LPN for just over a year but manages the details of our daily routine with flexibility and competency. Always willing to learn and take on new projects, Jeanie is honest and teachable and never afraid to ask questions. Aspiring to become a registered nurse and having began her career as a CNA, Jeanie has great goals and relates well with our CNA staff, communicating openly and working together with them when an extra hand is needed. The staff, in turn, seek her out for answers and direction. Jeanie is the “go-to” nurse for any medication questions and has developed an excellent rapport with residents, families, pharmacies, and healthcare professionals who rely on her efficiency and consistent follow-through for answers.

In the midst of a recent resident crisis, Jeanie was the first staff member to arrive at the scene and handled herself and the emergency situation like a true leader, with maturity and skill. Still new to Assisted Living, Jeanie not only followed the appropriate procedures to care for the resident, but was also instrumental in calming down the residents who had witnessed the event. Her calm, empathetic manner reassures residents, families, and staff and they feel comfortable seeking her out when they are upset or are in need.

With her Chinese and Vietnamese heritage, Jeanie has brought a new sense of cultural diversity to the community. She regularly shares her customs and traditions with residents and staff, bringing in Vietnamese coffee and talking openly about her ethnic background. Staff of other ethnic backgrounds have followed her example in sharing their own traditions, inspiring the activities director to organize an international Pot Luck Dinner (with everything from pot stickers to pierogies!) during Assisted Living Week. No longer known as the “Asian Nurse,” amongst the residents, Jeanie has captured the hearts of residents, staff, and families alike!

Congratulations to Lynn Tracey and the Middlewoods Team, Best Practices Award, Managed Residential Services

In addition, Middlewoods of Newington won a Best Practices Award for its innovative program “The Little E,” a fabulous mini-version of the annual “Big E” Eastern States Exposition. When thinking about the joy people experience when attending the seasonal fairgrounds and carnivals, our Activities Director, Lynn Tracey, got to work re-creating the experience for our residents….in the comfort of their own home! She began with first things, first, considering that aside from arts and crafts booths, entertainment, musical shows or tractor pulls, most folks seem to intentionally congregate around the various food stations and animal barns at any fair. And so the vision of hosting a miniature version of the “Big E” began, centered around the hope of finding someone who could help with animal visits.  After speaking with many recreation specialists, the Sharon Family Farm from Tolland, CT was mentioned and within a few weeks they were happy to help us make our vision a reality! Much to their surprise, our residents were absolutely delighted by the company of a little piglet, two hens, two baby goats, a sheep, an alpaca, and a donkey….. who all travelled to Middlewoods for one full hour of pure cuddle time with our residents !!! While many people love animals, the ability to pet and/or hold one of these furry friends can offer endless amounts of joy.  Memories returned and stories were awakened as residents remembered growing up on a farm, working on a farm, or even living near a farm. And while we often have many opportunities to visit with dogs and cats, it is truly a rare occasion when a donkey or alpaca walks through our front door!

And of course any fair or carnival experience can never be complete without food! We got to work planning our food booths and one of our longtime volunteers excitedly committed to make her famous fried dough and homemade sauce. Our kitchen crew helped with the rest and prepared other favorite fair foods, such as onion rings, loaded potatoes skins, apple fritters and beverages.  With carnival music to serenade the event, our residents could imagine themselves on the ferris wheel as if it were only a few steps away. The stilt walkers, clowns, jugglers, and magicians are already in the works for next year!

The program proved to be a powerful tool to awaken memories and allow residents to reminisce and connect with their past.

Congratulations to all of our Award Winners!

In addition to Middlewoods of Newington’s two awards, United Methodist Homes (UMH) also received three awards for their Crosby Commons community in Shelton, CT, for a total of five out of eight awards. Congratulations to all of our award winners! Middlewoods of Newington is owned and operated by UMH, a local, faith-based, not-for-profit organization located in Shelton, Connecticut. 

For more information about our award-winning Middlewoods of Newington community, please contact us at 860-667-1336 or visit www.middlewoodsofnewington.org.  For information about UMH, please visit www.umh.org.

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About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

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