This Executive Q&A from the Jan. 8, 2017, edition of the Wisconsin State Journal is reprinted here with permission.
Nurse enjoying life's work caring for seniors
Thirty years ago it may not have been important that Attic Angel Place have a sophisticated IT setup.
But today, according to Judy Hinze, residential care apartment complex manager, seniors are asking for different types of services to handle aging.
“They want and need more options for how and when they do the things they want,” she said. “Advancements with medical treatments, pharmacology and people living longer with chronic conditions make the provision of services diverse.”
Hinze said it is important that seniors continue to enjoy all life has to offer on every level. “As we all do, they, too, have more electronic devices. Just like me, they often times require more support with this technology. We have a wonderful IT department that provides all kinds of support.”
Hinze has been a nurse at Attic Angel Place for 20 years, starting as a staff nurse on the night shift and moving up to eventually manage residents in 74 apartments with personal services and 56 assisted living apartments.
Question: You have a staff of 51 full-time and part-time people reporting to you. What’s the hardest part of managing that many people?
Answer: The staff is a joy to work with and manage. I am in awe of them. They do make magic happen. I have a considerable amount of support. We have a director of nursing, a full-time staff enrichment RN, RN shift supervisors and a strong human resources department. The support provided helps immensely. I am able to get to know the staff.
Getting to know the staff for who they are and what makes them tick is fun. It is easier to manage situations when you know the people you are managing. Even the president of Attic Angel, Mary Ann Drescher, and COO Derek Buckley visit our units and residents often.
Q: You have been an Attic Angel Place employee for 20 years. What’s the biggest change in client demographics that you’ve witnessed?
A: The enhancement of technology and advancement with the treatment of disease processes has changed how people approach their own health. They expect, as they should, more options with how conditions are treated. Clients are more informed of their health conditions and treatment options through electronic communications. My Chart, the Internet and email have supported them with communicating with their providers in a more efficient manner.
Q: Attic Angel Place offers four levels of care—apartment living with services, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care. What’s the difference?
A: Here, our residents have access to four levels of care, providing a safety net of both comfort and security for residents. In addition, our skilled nursing facility and rehabilitation therapy programs also accommodate the short-term stays of hospital patients transitioning to living at home again. We can also provide respite care for short-time living needs and/or relief of home caregivers.
Each level of care offers a host of services that can support a person to live the most independent life as possible. There are several things that are universal within this community no matter where a resident lives. Access to activities, the Art Studio, continuing education opportunities and a variety of meal options makes moving for increased services happen more naturally. Residents move through the continuum. Each decision to move is very individualized and need-based.
The apartments offer a more independent lifestyle with options for scheduled services such as medication management, assistance with activities of daily living. That can also include licensed nursing services. The assisted living households support unscheduled needs while allowing the highest level of independence and choice. Residents may need help getting up and moving to another location in their unit or the building, for example. Our memory care is committed to enrich the lives of those affected by memory loss. Skilled nursing offers rehabilitation and long-term care support for a variety of individualized needs.
Q: Do you think social media and the Internet have changed the way people handle their later years?
A: It has changed greatly. Being able to tap into Netflix and being able to DVR programs makes life more fun. Podcasts, audio books, iTunes, reading the newspaper online, YouTube and online games are definitely a part of the culture. Family photos downloaded onto devices for immediate viewing bring everyone closer together. Seniors and their families are using this avenue to be better informed and more closely connected.
Q: Do you find that older people are younger than they were 20 years ago?
A: I have heard that. As I age, I’d like to think that is true. I have had the fortune of watching our residents in their 80s and 90s move here and develop new skills and talents they never knew they had. Many have discovered artistic talents such as charcoal etchings, water colors, making jewelry in our studio. Also, many residents have fine tuned their leadership skills working on various committees. They wish to remain active, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically and psychologically. I find them to be very inspirational.
Q: What do you do to relax?
A: I enjoy devotional reading, musical genres from classical to classic rock and a variety of exercise classes. Spending time with our granddaughter takes me to a great place.
Q: If you had to pass on one bit of wisdom, what would it be?
A: For those considering a nursing or caregiving field, consider geriatric. It is incredibly rewarding and full of challenges. Never underestimate the power of embracing each moment. The lives you can touch will change the lives of others and ultimately yours. I have a retired nurse friend who, when she looks back on her career at Attic Angel, remembers this time spent as one of the good things in life, working with the best while being able to care for others.
Title: Residential care apartment complex manager at Attic Angel Place, part of the Attic Angel Community, a not-for-profit continuum of care facility for seniors on Madison’s far west side
Personal: Married to Kent for 28 years. Two children; Vanessa (27) and Zach (18).
Education: Registered Nurse
Experience: I grew up in Madison. One of my first jobs was as assistant manager of Brat and Brau. Shortly after high school, I moved to Minnesota and worked at Rochester Methodist Hospital as a dietetic technician. Upon moving back to Madison, I worked as a certified nurse assistant at Meriter Health Center and later transferred to Meriter Hospital while going to school for my nursing degree. I have been a nurse at Attic Angel Place for 20 years.
I started in the Attic Angel Health Center as a staff nurse on the PM shift, transferred to the day shift, and then to the night shift while raising my family. I worked in the Attic Angel Health Center for 11 years before accepting a position in the assisted living apartments as resident services coordinator. Seven years ago, I was promoted to manager of the state-certified residential care apartment complex.
Company: Attic Angel Place
Address: 8301 Old Sauk Road, Middleton
Description of company: Attic Angel Place offers 194 full continuum senior living options and services including apartments, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing/rehabilitative care. Our love for serving seniors at Attic Angel grew from a longtime commitment to filling the unmet needs of Madison families. Back in 1889, Elva and Mary Bryant descended from their attic, armed with goods to share with children less fortunate. When their father called them his “attic angels,” history was born.