18 July 2018

As she rings the doorbell at Brookdale Tullahoma in Tennessee, President and CEO Cindy Baier is armed and ready with rolls of Lifesaver candies and “Thank You for being a Lifesaver” cards to give to associates.

These are just a token gift to express Baier’s personal thanks for the contributions they make every day. Since moving into the top role at Brookdale, she’s been traveling the country every chance she gets to visit with residents and families, associates, and shareholders.

Brookdale Tullahoma, about 75 miles from Brookdale’s Nashville-area headquarters, is freshly updated with happy and welcoming residents and associates. Once inside, she quickly turns to the dining room and kitchen, wanting to connect with the staff there, share her Lifesavers and chat.

A Generational Community

One remarkable thing about Brookdale Tullahoma, and what first drew Baier to visit the community, is resident Dr. Annette Gregory. It turns out that Dr. Gregory’s mom was the very first resident of that same community. Katherine Sharp lived there for four years back in 1986, and so when Dr. Gregory was looking for senior living for herself last November, she knew where she wanted to be.

“This is home to me, I didn’t look anywhere else,” Dr. Gregory told Baier during the visit. “It’s the people who bring everything to life.”

Dr. Gregory meets with the same group each day, who the staff affectionately calls the “Golden Girls,” and loves that she can bond with new people, play music, and do something for others, such as reading to children at local schools.

Dr. Gregory is an award-winning educator, children’s author and an avid pianist. She created the “Leaping into the Classroom with Music” program that many who grew up in the Tullahoma area remember from elementary school. At the end of the visit with Brookdale’s CEO, Dr. Gregory graciously shared her piano skills, playing renditions of “Tennessee Waltz,” “Love Me Tender,” and a sample from her “Leaping into the Classroom with Music" program.

Baier was moved by this opportunity to connect. She shared, “It’s visits like this that showcase the true meaning behind what we do at Brookdale, and the positive impact we have on so many people every day.”

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