May 31, 2024

Cultivating Community Culture

Category: Culture & Traditions

Author: Jamie O’Toole, Resident Services Director

As Resident Services Director at The Rushwood Senior Living, I am the energy and engagement designer of the community. My job description specifically states I am to be a “Culture Creator.” Each day, I work to set the perfect tone for our community events and resident engagements. Providing socialization opportunities in senior living is more than just playing the beloved game of bingo. Beyond the events, essential amenities, and daily care lies the heartbeat of every community – a culture that fosters connection, purpose, and a sense of belonging.

Each monthly calendar features events tailored to the residents’ interests, focusing on key programming elements: physical, cognitive, spiritual, sensory, and social. We always celebrate major holidays in a big way, incorporating traditions from various cultures based on our residents’ backgrounds. Unique to The Rushwood and Arrow Senior Living, each month, we also celebrate several Arrow Traditions. These include focusing on Black History Month, Mom and Pop Small Business Day, Be Kind to Humankind Week, and so many more!

Embracing Diversity: Using Food to Connect, Celebrate, and Build Community Bonds

My approach to contributing to community culture through food is both heartwarming and enriching. Food has a remarkable way of connecting people and evoking cherished memories. This makes it a powerful tool for fostering bonds and understanding among community members.

Residents at Rushwood Senior Living savor a scrumptious Chinese New Year feast together, creating cherished memories.

By asking individuals about their favorite dishes, you satisfy appetites and spark meaningful conversations. These conversations delve into personal histories, traditions, and emotions. The example of my husband’s family’s traditional Irish Soda bread illustrates how food can serve as a link to heritage and shared experiences across generations. It provides a sense of continuity and connection.

Celebrating culture through food allows us to honor our diverse backgrounds and experiences while also providing opportunities for learning, appreciation, and mutual respect. Through these shared culinary experiences, we can come to understand and celebrate the richness of each other’s cultures. This strengthens the fabric of our community and fosters a sense of belonging and inclusivity for all.

Our dedication to using food as a vehicle for cultural celebration and community building is truly heart-warming.

Two women smiling and enjoying each others coming while celebrating Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Island Month at the The Rushwood Senior Living.

By embracing and sharing the unique flavors and traditions of our community members, we create an environment where everyone feels seen, appreciated, and celebrated.

Every senior living community has its own culture built around the engagement and interactions of the residents. I am proud to set the stage for socialization and events for my residents as we continue building and expanding our culture at The Rushwood Senior Living. 

The Rushwood Senior Living in Wichita, KS offers independent senior apartments, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include restaurant dining, 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Centrally located near Wesley Woodlawn Hospital & ER with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Terradyne Country Club, Bradley Fair, Greenwich Place, Botanica Gardens, Great Plains Nature Center, Tanganyika Wildlife Park, Keeper of the Plains, and World Treasures Museum.

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