Kim Elliott, RN, Expert on Healthy Aging

Contact Kim
01 May 2018

If you’re looking for a nursing job at Brookdale, you’ll want to look for the title Health and Wellness Director. That’s what we call our clinical associates in the community setting. We strategically chose this title because our clinical leaders are ambassadors for wellness within their community. Health and Wellness Directors are not only responsible for the health of our residents, but also their entire wellbeing. This creates a culture of wellness in a clinical world, which is the heart of Brookdale.

The National Wellness Institute defines wellness as an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence. What better way to help others make use of their golden years than to focus on a successful existence?

While this sounds like a lofty idea, Brookdale’s developed innovative programming to help residents achieve this level of wellness. Optimum Life is a holistic model that encompasses six dimensions: purposeful, emotional, physical, social, spiritual and intellectual. These dimensions guide us to learn and understand the facets of a senior’s life and wellbeing. Brookdale’s person-centered approach Alzheimer’s and dementia to care allows residents to maintain identity and a sense of purpose in senior living. Our associates are dedicated to really knowing our residents and tailoring care and activities to their likes and interests.

Brookdale Health and Wellness Directors put this into action with these three steps:

Know Me – Get to know each resident by using the six dimensions as a guide so you can help the residents achieve their highest level of well-being.

Ask Me - Ask questions rather than make statements so you can help the residents become aware of and make choices toward a higher level of wellness.

Empower Me - Do things with residents, not for residents so that they can make choices and maintain independence and self-efficacy, which makes for better health outcomes.

When put into action, the positive impact isn’t felt just by the resident, but also by their family and our associates as well. I recently met a woman who helped her mother move into a Brookdale community after living with her for a year. For that year, she noticed her mom rarely changed out of her pajamas and spent most of her time in front of the TV. Once her mom moved into Brookdale, the woman called one evening to say she was coming by for a visit. Her mom told her not to bother – she was getting ready to go listen to live music after dinner in the dining room! She was thriving in an environment that knew her, asked her and empowered her. It made all the difference. Her daughter noted, “The year I thought that I was doing the right thing, was probably one of the worst years of her life.” Although it was a tough realization, she was grateful for the life Brookdale brought back to her mom.

The same is true for the Health and Wellness Directors. What is more fulfilling than helping your residents achieve their highest level of wellness? Yes, there are residents dealing with diabetes, arthritis and dementia, but these same residents also have life-stories, skills and passions. Focusing on the whole person and not just a diagnosis gives Health and Wellness Directors the opportunity to build relationships and change lives for the better. It is a mission our associates find compelling and meaningful. With a culture of wellness in a clinical world, we are truly enriching the lives of seniors. 

Nurse Appreciation Week is May 6-12, but Brookdale is celebrating a Culture of Wellness in a Clinical World all month. Read blogs from Kim Estes Elliott and Carol Cummings, plus meet Brookdale Health and Wellness Superstars at

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