May 12, 2021 —The Wellness Center at The Admiral at the Lake is bringing more convenience to the residents who live here. Residents can now visit the walk-in clinic with medical director Dr. Eric T. Mizuno five days a week and receive more in-house screenings.
Another new addition (and new face) to the Wellness Center is a social worker who is here to support residents and their families. Colleen Kearney is here for the residents for anything they may need, including health and mental health support or support through any transition to a higher level of care.
Get to Know Colleen Kearney
Colleen grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago and has lived in Chicago most of her life. After moving away for a short time to attend Indiana University and obtain her undergraduate degree, Colleen came back home to Chicago to begin working and attend Loyola University Chicago.
Colleen enjoys being active. When the weather is agreeable, she likes running on the lakeshore paths and taking part in all of the activities along the lake.
Spending time with her family, which includes her mother, father, brother and sister, also tops her list of favorite things to do.
A Passion for Helping Others
“I have always loved helping people,” Colleen said. “When I was in grade and high school, I did volunteer work, and most of that work was spending time with older adults.”
When Colleen attended college, she found that social work would be her chosen career to help her make the biggest impact on people’s lives. She obtained an undergraduate degree in human development and family studies and a master’s degree in social work.
Before graduate school, Colleen worked as an ombudsman paralegal. Traveling to the long-term care facilities in the northern suburbs of Chicago, Colleen interacted daily with older adults and their families. She acted as a resident advocate by educating older adults on their rights while living in long-term care, and was there to help resolve any issues or complaints they might have regarding their care.
After graduate school, she began working with clients of all ages and provided individual, family and group therapy. Accepting her new role as a social worker at The Admiral at the Lake has allowed Colleen to combine her experience as an advocate for older adults and also provide counseling services.
Social Worker at The Admiral at the Lake
Colleen decided to continue her passion for helping older adults by accepting a role as a social worker at The Admiral. Her main goal is to be there to support the overall health and mental health needs of the residents.
A typical day for Colleen includes a morning meeting every day to collaborate with the entire staff at The Admiral. This meeting allows everyone to communicate what is going on among departments throughout the day.
“The rest of my day typically consists of having meetings with residents,” Colleen explained. “Residents will make appointments with me to discuss health concerns or a transition that has come up in their lives. I also meet with the resident’s family members and together with the resident, we come up with a plan to address a health concern or transition.”
Colleen is also a part of the transition team for when a resident moves from independent living into assisted living. She attends meetings to prepare, supports the resident going through the move and sets up the services needed to make the transition successful.
“I have an open door policy. Even if the resident doesn’t have an appointment made and there is something they are going through that needs immediate support, I am there for them,” she said.
Settling in at The Admiral
“My goal since starting at The Admiral has been to get to know the residents and let them get to know me,” Colleen explained. “I really appreciate their willingness to open up and get to know me. The only way I can work with them is to have that willingness to open up and get to know each other. Through that, I am able to learn about their histories and life prior to coming to The Admiral. Everyone has been so welcoming!”
Colleen’s office is located in the Wellness Center, close to the Wellness Clinic.
“The residents have to walk by my office to go to their doctor’s appointments. This gives me an opportunity to introduce myself and have a conversation as they wait for their appointment,” Colleen said. “Getting to know the residents is the best part of my job!”
The staff has also been helpful in Colleen’s efforts to settle into her new role.
“The staff is incredible. They have been very welcoming and have been so helpful in getting me settled into my role,” said Colleen. “They have been around the residents longer than I have, so they are very helpful in helping me get to know the residents as well.”
Join Us Sooner Rather Than Later
There are many benefits of moving to a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) such as The Admiral at the Lake sooner rather than later. Colleen provided great advice to those who are still in the consideration process.
“Independent living at The Admiral is an immense resource to live an incredibly active life. There are so many opportunities within The Admiral at the Lake and the surrounding community. And since this is a resident-driven community, there are so many opportunities to connect with other people,” she said.
“You also have the added benefit of the staff there to support you,” Colleen went on to explain. “There are many added resources that you wouldn’t get living at home. If you do have an accident or health issue arise, The Harbors is there and ready to help. You stay in the same building. Whether it’s a short-term transition or more permanent, you have all of the amenities and your friends here. The transition is much smoother and the convenience is amazing.”
Do you think it may be time to start thinking about moving to a retirement community such as The Admiral at the Lake, but aren’t sure if it’s the right time? Download our free white paper, “I’m Too Young for Independent Living,” to learn about all of the benefits of making the move now.