Be The Change at Summit Hills

– David Pattison –

What is your current position at Summit Hills?

Wellness Director

How long have you been at Summit Hills?

One year!

What excites you the most about this position and this company?

I was very lucky for being able to land a position with this company. They really invest in their employees. I started in 2019 as a Wellness Associate and got marvelous training and knowledge that helped me move up to the director position and there are endless opportunities. I’ve gained so much knowledge and it really got my life on level ground.

Welcome to Summit Hills

What is your favorite thing about working for Senior Living Communities?

No matter how I feel coming into work, I always leave in a much better state of mind. Being able to work with the wide variety of Members we have, brightens my day. I learn so much about them, myself, and they teach me so much because the Members are a wealth of knowledge.

Describe a time that a Member had a positive impact on your day?

Every day. No matter what my mood is or how bad a day I might be having outside of work is, whenever I leave work, I’m a much happier person. Just being able to talk with the Members throughout the day and interact with them just has a calming and happy effect on myself. The old say is true, “do what you love, and you never work a day in your life.”, I truly feel like I’m living that now.

Have you utilized the Elevate program? If not, do you know someone who has?

The Elevate program has allowed me to complete a few certifications to help increase my knowledge in my field.

How have you grown professionally and personally since joining the Team?

I’ve grown both ways. Within a year I was fortunate enough to move up within the company and be promoted to the position of Wellness Director. Personally, this job has saved me. Growing up with type 1 diabetes there was always a countdown to 26 where I would have to get my own health insurance. Without it, I would not be able to afford to live cause of medication costs. I was also lost career-wise, not having a real plan or direction. With 2 months left till my 26th birthday I was offered the associate position and it was like a gorilla lifted off my back. I can afford to live and I have a direction now.

What about your position allows you to pursue what makes you feel the most passionate in life?

My passion is helping people. I am able to touch and improve so many people’s lives in various ways in my position.

Knight & Queen

When it comes to your programming, what is the motivation behind specific classes that you do with your Members?

I believe Members can improve and live full lives. We don’t take “no” or “I can’t do that” as answers around here. Our motivation here at Summit Hills is to keep members moving. If they feel unbalanced, we have balancing classes for them. If they don’t like working out in groups, we do one-on-one personal training. We also try to blend new and exciting things into our classes to keep them fresh. Our water-based class helps with the mobility and loosening of the muscles and joints. We incorporate yoga because as we age our bodies stiffen and limit the range of motion of our muscles, so we work on stretching at the end of every class as well as a whole class for itself.

Your community has a monthly social event called a Signature Experience; how does wellness play a role in these themed days?

We plan out of the box activities that incorporate fitness along with our Signature events. We had jousting for our Medieval Days Event and every time I tell someone we did this the look on their face is priceless. It’s like a “what in the world were you thinking!?” kind of face.  We can modify anything to fit our members. We also dress to the nines and encourage Members to participate in these events. Wellness is not just about the body. It’s mind, body, and soul. Social engagement is one of the cornerstones in health and our Signature Experiences help our Members embrace that.

The wellness programming as 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? 

It fuels my drive to continue to grow and be better. It is such a wonderful feeling to tell friends, family, and prospects about the successes of our wellness program. It also drives me in “how can I continue to evolve and grow this program to keep winning awards”. I want to be able to leave my mark on Wellness here at Summit Hills and hope that years down the road someone will still be implementing what I started.

Tell us about WAVES, C.L.I.M.B, or Purpose-Based Wellness. How does it benefit the Members, what does the program looks like, and how did it come to be?

All our classes begin with some sort of cardio. We then progress to strength training and it is finished off with stretching. Our purpose-based wellness programs focus on exactly that, purpose-based movements. We mimic getting up and down from chairs or out of cars, we will exercise proper lifting motion so our members know how to properly lift heavy objects so they don’t hurt themselves, and we focus a lot on leg and core strength to help improve balance across the board. Most classes come to be from feedback from members. We take what our members have to say and tailor our classes to them.

What makes Summit Hill’s wellness programming stand out compared to others? We push our members.

We don’t just maintain, we improve. Between my knowledge and background and Caroline’s knowledge and background, we have found many ways to push and challenge our members in various but safe ways. We have them do burpees, mountain climbers, deadlifts, squats. Nothing is impossible for them. We have them go through concentric, eccentric, and isometric contractions to get a well-round muscle-building program. Things are always changing because they have this expectation to be challenged in new ways. If we do the same class more than once the Members will let us know that we aren’t meeting expectations.

Talk about the impact your wellness program has had on the Members at your community, big wins, maintaining independence, and more.

When I first started, we had a new Member who was very introverted. I would be lucky to get a few sentences out of here when we communicated. Fast forward a year, she comes to all the exercise classes, has made numerous friends, has a lot more energy, and even helps me run our Jeopardy game now. Seeing changes like this over time really keeps my fire lit. I’ve also had another Member mention to me how she felt awful because she couldn’t get out of cars without the help of their family. 5 months’ worth of C.L.I.M.B classes and she can hop out of the car now and has much more independence. Even small things like our skilled member who comes to waves every time we have it, he can transfer from his chair to any other surface much easier. He has moved from a two-person transfer to just a single person transfer.

Personal question: What is your favorite thing to do to maintain your fitness level?

I am currently training for a century bike ride to fundraise for Type 1 Diabetes, so I am doing a lot of cardio training currently. When I do lift, I will do some high rep, high set lifting.