Today we’re excited to introduce you to JoAnn Gilvary, Meadowood’s newest sales counselor. JoAnn joined Meadowood recently after working as a client experience manager at WayForth, a company that helps seniors handle the move process.
Q: Can you talk about your experience working with WayForth?
A: We had just gone through something with my grandfather, and in trying to find a place for him to live, I came to realize that there are so many people in that situation who wait too long to make that decision to move. It piqued my interest to help seniors transition to retirement communities.
I would go into seniors’ homes, listening to their stories, sitting with them, and helping to alleviate that burden and anxiety that comes with leaving 30, 40 or 50 years of memories. There’s a relief for them in knowing that there are people that can actually help them and they don’t have to do it all themselves.
Q: What is the biggest reason people put off a move?
A. It is that people have such an emotional attachment to their things. They feel that if they get rid of the things, they’re getting rid of the memories. But the memories can stay with them — you can keep a few pieces, take photos, tell the stories that go with your belongings to your children and grandchildren. When you move, you’re still bringing the memories, you’re just not bringing all your stuff.
Q: What made you want to work at Meadowood?
A. When I worked at WayForth, I came to Meadowood a lot because we moved a lot of residents in here. It was my favorite community, with 131 acres of greenery and trails and flowers. It was beautiful. The people here are so friendly — it just always felt like home.
Q: How will people know when they’ve found the right community?
A: I tell people that when you’re looking for a retirement community, it has to feel like home.
Q: Do you have any advice for people considering a move?
A: Don’t wait too long — or until something happens. People have a tendency to wait too long.
Q: What would you tell people to keep them from being overwhelmed by a move?
A: Take one step at a time. Don’t look at the big picture — that’s way too overwhelming. Start early and pace yourself. And if you still find that you’re overwhelmed, there are people that can help you. I can recommend vendors that we work with that can help you put a plan in place to move forward. It really does help alleviate the anxiety.
Q: How do you like working at Meadowood?
A: I love being here at Meadowood. I love seeing the residents every day and saying hello, sitting with them for a few minutes to chat. It’s really nice to follow all the way through, to see the residents from when they move in and continue to stay here.
Q: What do you like most about working with seniors?
A: I love listening to their stories — they always have the greatest stories.
Q: What is your background?
A: I worked for a marketing and communications company for many years before I got married and had children. I did event planning and was on the road all the time. After I had kids, I stayed home for several years. I was very involved in organizations — president of the baseball parent club and the cross-country parent club. As my kids got older, I worked part-time. Now I have three kids in college, and it’s time to work full-time. I came across WayForth, and now I’m at Meadowood.
Q: What are some benefits of living at Meadowood?
A: Our residents are very involved. And because we are a single-site, nonprofit community, all decisions are made here at Meadowood. The thing that is really outstanding is our many different residential choices. We have indoor apartments, carriage homes, hybrid apartments at The Grove, and courtyard apartments with a front and back door. There is something for everyone here at Meadowood.
Q: How has Meadowood dealt with the pandemic?
A. Meadowood has vaccinated 98% of their residents and 84% of staff. And because family members come in to visit, we wanted to keep everything safe, so we even vaccinated them if they chose to be — which I think is fabulous.
Q: Why is now a good time to make the move?
A: A lot of people were isolated during the pandemic. When you come here, there’s no more seclusion; you can enjoy life with your peers and participate as much or as little as you want to. It is really the perfect time to make that decision.
Q: How can people get to know Meadowood?
A: We’re going to be having some in-person open houses at The Grove where you can tour the models. In June we’re having a Meadowood walking tour, where you can walk our trails and tour model homes in each of the different neighborhoods. There are so many things going on at Meadowood right now. It really is a great time to come on over and see what we have to offer.
To experience Meadowood at an upcoming event, give us a call at 610.584.1000 or click here.