Judson Park Awarded Best of the Best Award for Inclusivity from Masterpiece Living

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In August, Judson Park was awarded the Best of the Best Award from Masterpiece Living for all of the ways in which they demonstrate purposeful inclusivity.

The Best of the Best Award recognizes truly outstanding practices and programs that are more comprehensive and systematic than typically found in the aging field. As we know, resting on the laurels of previous accomplishments is never an option, and those in the Masterpiece Living network continually strive to become more creative and more dynamic, inspiring the aging field to push the limits of what is possible with age.

Judson Park is leading the way in the approach to inclusivity through their "Affirmative Action" approach.

“A recent study revealed a stigma surrounding levels of living, where those in assisted living or memory support were described as living in ‘the Twilight Zone’,” Masterpiece Living Director of Operations, Teresa Beshwate, told us during the August Network call.

“The study showed that those in independent living tend to avoid those in higher levels of living, often concealing their own signs of decline for fear of how others might perceive them. Judson Park’s approach to inclusivity demonstrates to us that it is possible to create a culture where everyone, regardless of challenges, is honored, respected and welcome.”

There are several key elements that differentiate Judson Park from other organizations.

  • A shift from the initial, more prescriptive approach to inclusion, to one that is organic and cultural.
  • A fundamental change in perception from residents.
  • A relationship-first approach to event planning, where people are not just going to an event – they’re going to connect with people.
  • The ongoing, creative refinement of inclusive purposeful programming over the years, creating opportunities for more resident-led activities that engage everyone.

“As human beings, we tend to seek out others who are like us – similar goals, similar values, and people who look like us, So, if we see someone different from ourselves, we won’t necessarily reach out right away," said Ken Ray, fitness coordinator for Judson Park.

“But once people start recognizing that we all share similar goals and dreams, they begin to say, ‘Hey, I have a lot more in common with them than I thought.’ When that happens, we start to break down the barriers of stereotyping.”

Judson Park follows a three-step plan for inclusivity in all activities and events on campus:

1) Picking the Event and Assign Roles – It can be a large scale, annual event or a smaller event. We invite residents to oversee the planning and hosting, making sure to give those in higher levels of living an integral role. One example is a masquerade ball that Judson Park held where residents from The Village (Health Center) made masks and hosted the event.
2) Go Beyond Putting Up Signs – It’s not enough to post a sign advertising an event. Residents need to be actively inviting other residents from varied geographic areas within your organization (e.g. The Village, The Grove (memory support), The Lodge (assisted living), Residential Living) to attend. Additionally, we try to host events in a different location each time – not just in one main area of your community. This will encourage residents to visit other regions of your campus where they may not automatically plan to go.
3) Generate Exposure – We look for opportunities to show inclusivity in action during and after your event.

Congratulations to the Judson Park team for this honor!


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