Thoughts on the New Year From CEO, Tim Mallad

When this issue of “At the Forefront” was imagined, the team asked me to highlight 12 meaningful stories from 2021. A retrospective glance seemed like a great idea! After all, we were at the cusp of a new year. One many thought would herald the end of pandemic.

Instead, we began to experience new COVID-19 cases in December. Just a few, “here and there.” The “here and there” soon became “everywhere” as we entered 2022. As this new spike developed, our leadership team took great comfort in the many good things, more than 12 to be exact, that happened in 2021.

2021, much like this year, began with a spike in the COVID-19 cases and like this year, our Forefront Living family rose to the challenge. Teammates covered shifts and put their shoulders to the wheel as their peers recovered from the virus. Residents encouraged each other and lent a helping hand to those in need. They, along with family members and patients, encouraged and supported those at the frontlines.

Our values of diversity, integrity, stewardship and compassion, based in faith, guided us all into the new year and the unknown. A new value, transparency, emerged over these many months. We shared information, even when not certain, and clung to the message that we are all in this together.

While I would love to be able to share my selections for the top 12 highlights of 2021, I would rather wait until another year when it is easier to select ONLY 12 highlights to focus on! What I do know is that our organization weathered the last 20 months with grace and emerged stronger. Presbyterian Village North (PVN) remains vital, and with the opening of The Hawthorne, is setting the standard for senior living in the metroplex. Faith Presbyterian Hospice (FPH) continues to grow its footprint and serve patients and their families with the love and compassion. The Outlook at Windhaven (OAW) is off to a tremendous start and other new Forefront Living retirement campuses are on the horizon. The team is more united to each other, and we are especially more connected to those we serve.

I remain in awe of the spirit of philanthropy that brings the extraordinary to our organization. The T. Boone Pickens Hospice endowment reached over $9 million dollars 2021. The PVN Foundation continues to provide caring funds to residents, enhances programming and makes the physical environment for our residents the best in Dallas. Our donors maintain their financial support, but continually give their time and talents whenever needed.

While many people grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic and other external factors, we have the certainty as an organization that we will be there for each other. I look forward to another year of growth, health and success for us all. Happy New Year!

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PVN “Sew N Sews” Spread Comfort and Joy

As far as folks can remember, the Sew N Sews have been a part of the fabric of Presbyterian Village North (PVN) dating back to when the community was built in 1980. Some of the ladies are quilters; some have no sewing experience whatsoever. Regardless, their lovingly handcrafted items bring smiles to thousands of recipients of all ages – from infants to hospice patients – for more than four decades.

This holiday season and throughout the year, the dedicated group of 10 to 15 senior women can be found each Tuesday from 9 a.m. until noon in a room at the community that looks and sounds remarkably like Santa’s Workshop. Surrounded by colorful swatches of cloth, stuffing, ribbons and bows, the Sew N Sews produce a wide range of items designed to bring comfort and joy to the recipients. Through the years these items have included pillows, clothing protectors, walker covers and bags for assisted living residents, activity/stimulation blankets for memory care patients, keepsake items for hospice patients and their families and infant receiving blankets.

The Sew N Sews love all of their sewing projects, but those closest to their hearts are the ones for PediPlace, a nonprofit pediatric healthcare practice for children from birth through 18 who are uninsured or who receive Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) benefits. Since the Sew N Sews began keeping records of their donations in 2015, they have delivered an impressive 11,000 bears, stuffed animals, and other items – an output that translates into 5 bears a day or 35 bears a week for six years.

PVN’s Sew N Sews in their workshop
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Forefront Living Receives Grant to Increase COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake and Education

Forefront Living is pleased to announce it has been selected to receive a $10,000 grant through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vaccine Equity and Access Program (VEAP) to increase COVID-19 and influenza vaccine confidence and access among older adults.

The $10,000 grant was offered as part of a national partnership between LeadingAge, a national association of nonprofit aging services providers, and CDC partner Community Catalyst to strengthen vaccine education through community outreach and community-provider coalitions. Forefront living, a LeadingAge member, will use the grant to continue educating teammates about the importance of receiving the vaccine.

“Flu vaccines have long been a critical tool for long-term care providers—and the COVID vaccine has been the most important development of the pandemic,” Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO, LeadingAge. “LeadingAge is committed to increasing vaccination rates using every available resource, which is why we are pleased to partner with Community Catalyst on the Vaccine Access and Equity Program. Our mission-driven members are working hard to ensure that everyone who needs a vaccine can get one—particularly people in communities of color, who have been disproportionately impacted throughout the pandemic. This initiative brings us one step closer to achieving this goal.”

Forefront Living is one of 42 LeadingAge members that have received a grant via an application process earlier this year.

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Thankful Thoughts From Tim Mallad

It is hard to believe that we are approaching two years since the beginning of the pandemic. I vividly recall discussing it’s expected duration with our team in March of 2020. Eight weeks seemed to be the longest anyone could project without being called a pessimist! Since then, we’ve lived through cycles of lockdowns, re-openings, restrictions and interruptions. Many of the things we once regarded as ‘normal’ are now considered special events.

During the last two years parents faced the challenges of home-schooling, often while trying to work from home. Hard-working, proud people turned to others for support, many for the first time, as their situations changed. People with family overseas (let alone other states) became separated. Our residents went through periods of seeing their families by windowpanes or via the now dreaded Zoom app. Our patients and their families have longed to see the face under our teammates’ mask. And the list goes on…

Despite the challenges, many good things evolved during the same two years. While aspects of the pandemic are challenging and at times tragic, it also brought out the best in many of us. Let’s not forget the many miracles, large and small, we’ve witnessed. Those who have held out a helping hand to others without concern for the potential risk to themselves. Those who put the needs of their community first, demonstrating a true love of neighbors. Many of these heroes reside in our own organization! I continue to be in awe of all the great things our teammates do to help ease apprehension and fill in when people are separated from their loved ones. As well as the support and care our residents, families and patients extend to our teammates.

Hospice teammates continue to go above and beyond in their daily care, putting patients and their families’ needs, as always, first. It takes great creativity, but platforms are in place to serve grieving children through virtual Faith Kids and Camp Faith. Our teammates have also been a part of the solution by providing thousands of COVID-19 vaccines to ourselves, those we serve and the broader community, for a total north of eight thousand arms “served”! These and so many other stories fill me with gratitude and hope.

While the COVID-19 pandemic changed who we are as a nation it also provided an opportunity for us to become part of a more compassionate community. Compassion is one of our core faith-based values and I am grateful for this. Individual acts of kindness have a huge impact on the lives of many. While I am not certain what the new normal is, I hope this same generosity of spirit will continue to guide us. I believe our mission to “make moments matter for those we serve” is even stronger than ever. The trials and succeeding triumphs of the pandemic re-emphasize our vision and our values and more than anything, they’ve added an exclamation mark at the end of our tag line – Moments Matter!

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Making COVID-19 Organizational Decisions

I vividly recall the day “we” made the decision to close the common space at Presbyterian Village North (PVN) and limit outside visitors to the campus due to a strange virus spreading like wildfire across the globe. This decision came early in the pandemic, and before other communities and organizations would ultimately arrive at the same outcome. This was the first of many monumental decisions we would make throughout the course of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, the way in which we arrived at this conclusion set the course for how our organization would navigate the unknown.

Although Forefront Living had (and has) a crisis plan in place, the daily curveballs of COVID require continual adjusting and fine-tuning of this plan. Every morning, since the onset of the pandemic, a team of individuals meet to discuss the health of our organization and how to best meet the needs of those we serve. This approach allows us to be nimble, make and communicate decisions, policies and status updates quickly. A team of Forefront Living leadership, health services, communications, leadership from each entity and human resources comes together to assist in discernment, gathering information, preparing, clearly communicating and taking action on issues as they arise.

This team has met every weekday morning (and on weekends and holidays as needed) for nearly two years. Each 30-minute virtual meeting begins with a report from our Corporate Director Health Services informing us on the current virus statistics for Dallas County including infection rate, ICU bed occupancy, infections, the UTSW prediction model and any local and national Health and Human Services updates. This data educates the group and provides the facts that drive Forefront Living’s pandemic and phased re-opening plans.

During each meeting the statistical update is followed by leaders from PVN and Faith Presbyterian Hospice (FPH) providing updates on their daily census, testing results, active cases and a general look at the pulse of the well-being of those we serve. Communication needs and critical decisions are then addressed.

The goal of beginning each day this way is to provide accurate information as well as a 360-degree view of the organization to aide in the decision-making process with robust discussions, constant re-evaluating of decisions and determining the correct pathway to best serve everyone. These task force meetings help alleviate uncertainty, rumors, lack of input and stress. I personally feel these conversations have significantly eased the difficulty of dealing with rapid, constant change and help us stay focused and make evidence-based decisions.

While some of the changes resulting from this meeting are not always popular, they have all been made with the best interest of our teammates and those we serve. Mission, vision and values and the goal to be transparent are at the forefront of our minds when making decisions. We have learned that is okay to revisit and adjust as things evolve. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Forefront Living consistently strived to provide timely and transparent communication to our teammates and those we serve. I believe this open communication and active participation in the process will help us navigate the remainder of what the pandemic may bring and beyond.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the entire Forefront Living team, boards of directors, partners and most especially our patients, residents and their families for the support, input and inspiration you provide to us each day. It is an honor to serve with you.

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At The Forefront Podcast Published Today

Forefront Living is constantly looking to develop new and innovative ways to tell our stories. In 2020, the onset of the pandemic created opportunities to highlight many “moments” virtually and share them with various audiences. The success of these videos such as Jane Seymour painting with a Faith patient, Tim interviewing two generations of residents at Presbyterian Village North (PVN), Pam Altizer and her mother Betty, a discussion with Kim Campbell regarding music and Alzheimer’s as well as a candid chat with Faith patient/resident and hospice advocate, Rick Czerwinski, have created a new way to share digital content with a wider audience.

We are excited to announce the first episode of a new podcast, At The Forefront, was released this morning. In the first episode, Tim Mallad, CEO of Forefront Living, welcomes Rocky Berg, Principal at three who discusses his love for architecture and designing for active aging, what inspires him, his thoughts on the future of senior living design and predictions of future needs. Tim and Rocky also touch on creating their perfect community, blending luxury hospitality into senior living communities and responding to turbulence in the marketplace.

This show is designed to help highlight special moments through interviews with people from all sectors of senior living and hospice care while highlighting how individuals can thrive no matter their circumstances.

Whether the podcast features a teammate or resident at one of our senior living communities, a patient on Faith services, a future resident, family member or industry professional, our goal is to uncover the stories that dispel the myths of aging and highlight the moments that matter and position Forefront Living as a leader in the industry.

“At the Forefront” is now available for listening via Spotify and Apple Podcasts, and it can also be viewed on our YouTube channel. Look for a new episode at the end of each month.

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Two PVN Residents Go For The Gold

Two Presbyterian Village North (PVN) residents participated in Dallas Park and Recreation Senior Division’s annual Golden Games. Ernie McAfee competed in cycling and track and Paul Wilson represented PVN in the 1500 meter race. Local television news stations took interest in each of these competitors and spent hours interviewing each of them. Watch Ernie’s news segment. Paul’s news feature is coming soon.

“This is my first race in over two years. I’m really looking forward to it.” said PVN resident and Golden Games competitor, Ernie McAfee. When asked how long he will keep riding, Ernie responded “Until I can’t.”

The Golden Games is an Olympics-style fitness competition open to Dallas residents age 50 and up, of all ability levels. Participants can compete in eight different sports including: basketball, cycling, golf, pickleball, swimming, table tennis, tennis and track and field.

These games allow seniors to live active lives and compete at a high level. Those that qualified at Dallas’ Games will go on to participate in the national games in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from May 10-23, 2022. Learn more here.

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The Each Moment Matters Luncheon Surpasses Fundraising Goal

The 12th annual Each Moments Matters Luncheon on September 21, surpassed it’s $600,000 goal with a preliminary total of $635,800 raised for the Faith Caring Fund. The Forefront Living Foundation was able to expand its outreach and engage an expansive group of new sponsors and donors in addition to those who faithfully supported this fundraiser for many years, thanks in large part to the efforts of Co-Chairs Christie Carter, Beth and Dan Plumlee and Junior Villanueva as well as the ongoing backing of Honorary Chairs Sammye and Mike Myers.

“Although held virtually, this year’s event was particularly special because we were able to share real-world stories of three different families who were impacted by the care given at Faith. It turned out to be an incredibly emotional and meaningful event,” said Tena Burley, executive director of Forefront Living Foundation. “Pulling this off virtually while surpassing our goal of $600,000 is a testament to the resourcefulness and teamwork of our co-chairs, teammates, volunteers and boards.” If you missed the live event, you can watch it here.

The programs and services made possible through the Each Moment Matters Luncheon provide care for unfunded patients as well as the special programming and clinical services referred to as the “Faith Difference.” The services include music therapy, massage therapy, pet therapy, child and family bereavement services and charitable care. Quality care is tailored to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of each patient and family.

This year the Each Moments Matters Luncheon recognized 16 individuals who demonstrated an extraordinary difference in the lives of others throughout the DFW metroplex. In addition to the virtual luncheon, the honorees were celebrated with a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News, a billboard and in a live Zoom event on September 13. Watch the reception here.

For more information about Faith Presbyterian Hospice, the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Center and the Each Moment Matters Luncheon, visit eachmomentmatters.org.

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Forefront Living Announces Arrival of Corporate Human Resources Director

We are happy to announce the addition Jamey Musgrove to the Forefront Living team as Corporate Human Resources Director.

Jamey comes to us with over 20 years’ experience in Human Resource management. She was most recently with Morada Senior Living as Regional Director of Human Resources where she was responsible for all facets of HR for 17 senior living communities throughout Texas and New Mexico. She has deep  experience in all human resource-related responsibilities including policies and procedures development and application, performance management, employee relations, benefits, payroll, legal compliance and recruitment.

Jamey received a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska. She is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and has obtained the credentials as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR). Jamey will oversee all aspects of Human Resources across all Forefront Living entities.

Please join us in welcoming Jamey to the Forefront Living family!

For more information about the services Forefront Living offers, please visit forefrontliving.org/our-services.

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