ABHOW’s Judson Park has been awarded the ‘Best of the Best Award’ from Masterpiece Living (MPL) for Purposeful Inclusivity. The Best of the Best Award recognizes truly outstanding practices that are more comprehensive and systematic than typically found in the aging field. Judson Park is a standout in the Masterpiece Living network because of their continual efforts to become more creative and more dynamic, inspiring the aging field to push the limits of what is possible with age. Judson Park (a Masterpiece Living partner and Certified Center for Successful Aging) received the Best of the Best award because of their “affirmative action” approach to purposeful inclusivity. Not long ago, the senior living industry witnessed segregation across different levels of living within retirement communities (e.g. independent, assisted, memory care and skilled nursing), to include lodging, dining, and activities. Then, a shift began as policies and practices within these communities began welcoming all residents, no matter where they laid their head at night. While this marked a dramatic improvement to the way in which we approach retirement living, more action was still necessary to create and nurture meaningful relationships among all residents, despite differing abilities. “A recent study revealed a stigma surrounding levels of care, where those in assisted living or memory care were described as living in ‘the Twilight Zone’,” Judson Park Executive Director, Nikole Jay, said. “Those in independent living tend to avoid those in higher levels of living, often concealing their own signs of decline for fear of how others might perceive them. Our approach to inclusivity demonstrates that it is possible to create a culture where everyone, regardless of challenges, is honored, respected and welcome.” Key paradigms that differentiate Judson Park from other organizations include:
- A shift from the initial, more prescriptive approach to inclusion to one that is organic and cultural.
- A fundamental change in perception from residents. Those who used to say, “They don’t belong here” are now the biggest advocates of inclusivity.
- A relationship-first approach to event planning, where people are not just going to an event – they’re going to connect with people.
- The ongoing, creative refinement of inclusive purposeful programming over the years, creating opportunities for more resident-led activities that engage everyone.