Jon Morgan being presented with his award

Jon Morgan: An Inspiring Story

Jon Morgan is the Maintenance Director at Compass Senior Living’s communities in Green Bay, Wisconsin. And this is his story.

Dennis Garboden and Will Forsyth, Compass Senior Living principals, traveled to Green Bay last week to present Jon with the newly created Jon Morgan Award. When presented with the award, Jon said, “Thank you all again so much. You caught me off guard but it’s a real honor to have my name attached to your award. Without the support of all of you and my coworkers, who helped me mentally, I couldn’t have done it, so those are the true heroes to me. Thank you so much.”

These are Dennis’s words about how the award came to be:

On Labor Day of 2016 Jon had his foot amputated above the ankle due to unknown circulatory problems.  It was a situation that may have left most people devastated.  Jon was different – demonstrating uncommon optimism and courage.

Jon immediately started talking about learning to walk with a prosthesis and getting back to his life and to work.  As soon as was possible – Jon was visiting the communities – and if not quite able to do a job himself, was supervising and assessing and making sure things got done.  Jon had the attitude of “well, what can you do?”, as well as “other people have it worse”.  He even had a better sense of humor about himself and his situation surrounding this – than most others did.  He jokes about it and has even has a name for his stump:  Odie.   He also said that he thinks his golf game may have improved since!

Jon teaches us that adversity is inevitable, but difficulties or misfortune don’t have to keep us from achieving our intended goals and finding happiness in work and in life.  It’s how we overcome these adversities that can make all the difference. Every challenge successfully conquered serves to strengthen not only our will, but also our confidence, and therefore our ability to confront future obstacles.

Jon Morgan is the inspiration for the new Morgan Hero award.   His selfless acts of goodness for those he serves, inspires greatness, and demonstrates Compass Senior Living’s values of goodness, loyalty, faith, and fun. We have many Morgan Heroes working with us, and we are very proud and humbled to honor Jon as the inspiration for our first Morgan Hero Award.

Jon Morgan, we are grateful for your example to all of us.

For years to come, Compass communities will be given the opportunity to nominate other deserving employees based on Jon’s inspiring story from which the following criteria has been developed:

  • Maintains a strong work ethic and it is recognized by others
  • Has a sense of humor, makes us laugh, and takes things ‘lightly’
  • Takes notice of others and lends a hand to help, expressing kindness
  • Explores and seeks solutions for the greater good
  • Shares the workload and knows what needs to be done–and does it with grace and a generous spirit
  • Has open, spontaneous, comfortable, and uplifting communication with others
  • Gives heartfelt support and encouragement, genuinely caring for the team, families, and the elders
  • Has others’ backs during hard times and good times
  • Is a calm, inspiring leader and friend when things go wrong and when things go right
  • Does not blame or complain, embracing lessons learned
  • Thinks optimistically in the face of challenges encouraging and cheering on the team
  • Sees the True North qualities in other people– demonstrating humility and appreciation for the greatness in others
  • Communicates with goodness, confidence, and a positive spirit– expecting excellence
  • Has a welcoming smile, knows how to have fun and is a good listener
  • Has faith that if we do the right things, the right things happen
  • Takes ownership for mistakes, accepts responsibility, and seeks innovative solutions when things go wrong
  • Views each new situation as an opportunity to take initiative and make a difference or improvement
  • Even when things are stressful, has the ability to focus on what needs to be done, expressing gratitude to others as an example and role model of a True North Leader


We look forward to many years of honoring these amazing people in our midst. Thank you Jon for your inspiration!

Rhinestone Cowboy released last-ever album “Adiós” – recorded after diagnosis of Alzheimers – Hear the song here!

On Friday, the legendary singer-songwriter Glen Campbell bid a final farewell to his fans by releasing his last-ever album. Titled Adiós, it was recorded in 2012, when the “Rhinestone Cowboy” formally ended his music career after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease the year before.

Glen Campbell has been open about his experience with Alzheimer’s. In 2012, he embarked on a yearlong farewell tour, which was captured in the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me. The film, available on Amazon, also documented some of the singer’s offstage struggles as the disease progressed. Produced by his friend and longtime banjo player Carl Jackson, he says his friend’s attitude towards his ailment was extraordinary.

“Glen’s whole approach to having Alzheimer’s was pretty much different from anything I’ve ever seen before,” Jackson says.  “If he forgot something, he would laugh about it, rather than get sad. And we just went about recording the album that way, as a fun thing to do, and it was a total joy.”

Campbell, who is in the last stages of Alzheimer’s, is no longer able to communicate well, and so no one will know exactly what he thinks of his last-ever album. But, according to Jackson, he seems to approve.

“I just know in my heart that it means the world to him … because of the peace that comes over him when he hears the music,” Jackson says. “It just means the world to me that we can do this for him and have him go out on something I believe just reaffirmed that Glen Campbell’s the best — period.”

 Jean Garboden is the Director of Education and Innovation at Compass Senior Living, located in Eugene Oregon. Jean is an Elder Advocate and Eden Alternative Educator with over 30 years’ experience in not-for-profit and for-profit health care organizations. She is honored to lead the mission and values culture development for Compass Senior Living. Jean lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where she enjoys the weather and volunteers with the Nevadans for the Common Good, advocating for caregivers and elders in southern Nevada.


Aging Gracefully with Yoga

Senior woman in meditation by ocean
Elder woman doing yoga on beach – aging gracefully, peacefully, and joyfully.

I came across this video of yoga instructor Tao Porchon-Lynch recently. She is not the typical teacher you might find in a yoga studio, however. She is in her late 90s and is more agile than most people half her age. I find her message of aging gracefully inspiring, and can only hope that some day you will find me at age 90 on my yoga mat.

Porchon-Lynch teaches about elderhood: that it is a time of learning, growth, and porchon-lynchvibrancy; inviting elder adults to grow spiritually, strengthen physically, and find the very best within themselves through a yoga practice accessible to anyone.

It is important to note that yoga is more than a physical practice. The word yoga itself is translated as “union.” It is the drawing together (or union) of heart, mind, and body that integrates all parts of ourselves into a unified whole. Just as a team performs best when all members are focused on a common goal, we become our best selves when every part of our being is in alignment with every other part.

The research available about yoga’s health benefits is vast, with more information and research data specifically about yoga and elders showing up almost daily.

Of particular interest is a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, linking yoga to the reduction of older adults’ risk of mild cognitive impairment—considered a precursor for developing Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Imagine that we can help reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s by practicing yoga!

Besides reducing risk of dementia:

  • people who practice yoga regularly have more energy, vitality, and better moods.
  • yoga also improves muscle strength and flexibility, preventing further breakdown of cartilage and joints and reducing arthritis pain.
  • the wonderful social connection with others is an added benefit when people attend group yoga classes.
  • people who practice yoga regularly have more energy, vitality, and better moods.
  • yoga improves stress resilience, boosts immunity and reduces instances of depression.
  • yoga improves balance and sharpens the mind.
  • medically, yoga can help control blood sugar in people with diabetes, enhances respiratory function, relieves arthritis pain and minimizes hypertension.

It is no wonder Tao Porchon-Lynch has achieved the honor of becoming the world’s oldest yoga teacher. Tao says because of her yoga practice she has never felt old. She shows us that through yoga she is aging gracefully, enjoying how good her yoga makes her feel. As a yoga practitioner in her late-nineties, it is safe to say that feeling good is powerful medicine.



Guest author Carrie Gallahan

Carrie Gallahan is the Director of Operations for Compass Senior Living, Midwest Region.  She is also a dementia practitioner and passionate elder advocate. carrie-sideplankCarrie  is a Registered Yoga Teacher and a Certified Chair Yoga Teacher. Carrie is the co-founder of Joyful Yoga, located in Peru, Indiana.   Joyful Yoga is an innovation partner with Compass Senior Living and has developed a signature chair-yoga program specifically for Compass Senior Living – True North Yoga.  Carrie has seen first hand what yoga can do for people of all ages and physical abilities. She loves to share the joy and wellness that yoga brings to lives.

What shall we do? Let’s do what is right, and proper, and good

Every morning at Shorewood Senior Living  in Florence Oregon, we start the day with our True North stand-up meeting.  It is my favorite time of the day!  It gives us a moment to pause, make direct eye contact with one another, communicate, laugh, focus on on our core values,  express appreciation for the work we do, and to seek solutions as a team.

Last week as we came together a staffing shortage on our dining services team was a hot topic. One server quit, and two others had given notice.  We had placed ads in the newspaper, Facebook, the unemployment center, and craigslist.  We only received three applicants. All three candidates were not qualified for the position and we knew they wouldn’t last long if we hired them.

We discussed the option of going ahead and bringing one of them on as a ‘warm body’ to just get us through until we could find the right person.  Being from a small town, we knew the candidate pool was small, and several people spoke up, saying they could see problems may arise if we selected the wrong person.

At Shorewood, we remind ourselves every day that our decisions are guided by goodness, loyalty, faith, and fun.  So, I asked the team, “What should we do? Is there no one else to choose from? Is this the only option?”

One by one each person on the team began to speak up.

“I’ll help!”

“Tell us the hours that need to be filled and we will step in and help.”

“We want to hire the right person.”

“Our team, our residents, and our community are too important to do something we know will not ultimately be good for Shorewood.”

Together we decided and committed to hiring the right person for the job. It was awesome to come together as a team like this. More ideas came out as to where to advertise for the position and how to spread it through word of mouth.

It was exciting to see what can happen when we evoke our core values, and focus on what is right, and proper and good. From a place of goodness this team stepped out in faith that if they do the right things, the right things will happen. They demonstrated loyalty to one another and to the residents in their commitment… and through it all, we are having fun!

This was a great step in our growth as a team as we came together to overcome an obstacle, knowing that we did the right thing for those we serve. This next person we hire will be the perfect fit for Shorewood!


BethwebbAbout the Guest Author:  Bethany Webb, Executive Director at Shorewood Senior Living in Florence, Oregon has worked in Senior Housing for 3 years. Bethany is inspired by  the elders she is honored to serve, and embraces her leadership role. Bethany recognizes that the responsibility of leadership is not to come up with all of the great ideas, but to create an environment where good ideas can thrive!  When not working, Bethany loves spending outdoor time on the Oregon Coast with her three daughters.

Visit us on Facebook to learn more about what is happening at Shorewood, a member of the Compass Senior Living family.

What do Millennials and Zillennials (Generation Z) know about old people

 Millennials and Zillennials (Generation Z),  are the next generation of workers in eldercare!  They will reshape the workplace, bringing with them energy and a desire to make a difference.   Millennials and Zillennials matter!

If you’re not familiar with the term “Generation Z or Zillennials,” you will be soon enough. It refers to a wave of young people on the verge of supplanting Millennials as the prime movers in the workforce and society at large.

 I  teach and grow care teams and their leaders in the senior housing industry, and I often hear Senior Housing leaders lament the lack of work ethic of those under age 35.  The reality is that 78% of new hires in senior care in the United states are Millennials as reported by McKnights Long-term care survey in 2015.

It is time for us to reexamine and understand these generations, and embrace new leadership styles and cultures as thought leaders in the industry.

Today, we have 4 generations working together in long-term care, serving our greatest generation (average age 84 years old). This gives us opportunities to harvest and unleash the power and creativity of a multi-generational team that may inspire and transform eldercare as a vibrant, interesting, and forward thinking community of people.

The Millennials and Zillennials, along with the Boomers and Generation X have the honor to work and learn together to support elders on their life journey at this wonderful developmental stage of life called elderhood. A bonus for all of us is a chance to  learn from the wisdom and experience of elders – the 5th generation in our workplace!

  • The Traditionalist (born between 1900 – 1945 – The elders we serve! ages 70- 100+)
  • The Boomers ( ages 52-70 in 2016)
  • Generation X (ages 36-51 in 2016)
  • The Millennials (ages 22-35 in 2016)
  • The Zillennials (ages 4 – 21 in 2016)

As I have been teaching, listening, and learning with the millennials, and their younger counterpart, the Zillennials, I  recognize that they have some particular characteristics  that will reshape the workplace  – such as their ambition and desire to keep learning and move quickly upwards, as well as their willingness to move on quickly if their expectations are not being met.  Millennials want a flexible approach to work, and very regular feedback and encouragement. They want to feel their work is worthwhile and that their efforts are being recognized.

The companies that have already been the most successful in attracting talented Millennials are naturally innovative employers who are never restrained by ‘how things used to be done’. These companies are not specifically targeting Millennials, but their culture, leadership style, and approach to recruitment and retention naturally appeal to the Millennial generation. And because of that, they are able to take their pick of the best younger talent around.

It is not too late for those of us in senior housing to gain the loyalty  of Millennials who seek employers with similar values according to the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016Thus, those organizations that are guided by strong core values may be less likely to lose their Millennial employees. We have an opportunity now to connect with these next generations to work alongside us as innovators and shapers of the future!

Millennials show us what ‘old’ looks like, and their lives and perceptions are changed!



About the Author:    Jean Garboden is the Director of Education and Innovation at Compass Senior Living, located in Eugene Oregon. Jean is an Elder Advocate and Eden Alternative Educator with over 30 years’ experience in not-for-profit and for profit health care organizations. She is honored to lead the mission and values culture development for Compass Senior Living.  Jean lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where she enjoys the weather and volunteers with the Nevadans for the Common Good, advocating for caregivers and elders in southern Nevada.  She spends her leisure time with her husband Art, her dog Max, her cat Molly, and a 50-year-old desert tortoise named Myrtle.