Wit and Wisdom Blog for Atria Senior Living

      Wit and Wisdom      

a new view on growing older

Caring when it matters most


Posted on September 3, 2020 by Mari Evans


At Atria Senior Living, we take pride in hiring employees who show their dedication and work ethic even in the most difficult times. Here, we shine a light on Roxan Mitchell-Powell, a housekeeper at Atria Willow Wood in Fort Lauderdale, FL, who recently received the Employee of the Year award from the Florida Senior Living Association (FSLA).

“I am honored, and a little surprised, to receive this award,” Roxan said. “I enjoy taking care of our residents and it comes natural to me.”

An extremely warm heart

The FSLA is an organization that represents companies operating professionally managed senior living communities. According to their guidelines, a nominee for the Employee of the Year award must "treat residents with dignity and respect, provide outstanding customer service, demonstrate extraordinary dedication, and contribute to the work environment personally and professionally." If you ask Robin Miller, Assistant Executive Director at Atria Willow Wood, all those qualities describe Roxan perfectly.

“She has an extremely warm heart,” said Miller. “She cares about her job. She is a team leader. She works well with her peers. She likes to take the time to get to know the residents’ stories. Nominating Roxan was like applying for a grant you know is worthwhile – the words just easily came out.”

Stepping up

One reason Miller admires Roxan is her performance when Atria communities first implemented COVID-19 protocols. Roxan volunteered to go beyond her housekeeping duties to make sure residents were being properly cared for while quarantined in their apartments. As a certified nursing assistant, she checked their temperatures, delivered meals she knew they would enjoy, and treated them with warmth and sensitivity to keep them from feeling isolated.

The FSLA presented Roxan with the Employee of the Year award on July 30 via their 2020 Senior Living Virtual Conference. About 50 Atria Willow Wood employees – including the honoree herself – gathered in the community’s dining room to watch the ceremony on a large-screen TV – wearing appropriate PPE and social distancing, of course. “It was a great way of bringing the staff together and taking a moment to celebrate Roxan’s success among her peers,” Miller said.

Roxan has worked at Atria Willow Wood for five years. In 2019, she was a recipient of Atria’s Exceptional Service Award, an honor given to just 65 outstanding employees nationwide twice a year. Despite the recognition she has received, Roxan remains self-effacing. “I have great team members. I was surprised when they said I was nominated for the award because there were so many of us working during that time, so I was surprised I was elected,” Roxan said. “I wasn’t working to get an award – I just love my job.”

Learn more about how Atria is helping residents stay safe, connected and engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic at AtriaSafeTogether.com.


Category: Community, Our Team, Wit & Wisdom

Safety and Service Make a Big Difference During and Evacuation – Atria Senior Living Blog

Safety and Service Make a Big Difference During an Evacuation


Posted on September 27, 2017 by Atria Senior Living


Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 storm, bringing with it unprecedented amounts of rain and flooding in Texas and surrounding areas. Two weeks later, Hurricane Irma caused widespread destruction to the Caribbean and the Florida peninsula. And, Hurricane Maria recently devastated the Caribbean.

With nearly 200 communities across the U.S. and Canada, Atria operates in nearly every region of North America. That means we’re exposed to just about every type of weather scenario imaginable. No matter the circumstances, we’re committed to the safety, comfort and well-being of our residents – which means we have a robust natural disaster response plan.

Our emergency preparedness protocols pay off when it really matters. During Hurricane Harvey, we safely evacuated three of our Houston-area communities to area hotels on higher ground. While still navigating the aftermath of Harvey, Atria spent a week preparing for Hurricane Irma. We relocated 633 residents – and more than 50 pets, including a rabbit – from six of our communities across Florida.

Having faced similar storms in the past, we have a sheltering agreement with the Walt Disney World Dolphin and Swan Resort. We chose this location as a safe haven because it is 80 feet above sea level and its electricity and other vital services are installed underground, preventing loss of power. The structures are designed to meet the stringent Miami-Dade building codes established after 1992’s Hurricane Andrew.

Beyond providing a safe temporary home, we ensured the health and happiness of our residents by flying in more than 80 Atria team members from across the country to join more than 200 members of our Florida staff at the resort. We also invited employees to bring their families with them. While our employees tended to the needs and wishes of our residents, we set up an on-site day care center for their children – with a full schedule of daily activities to keep the little ones busy. Our team set up a supervisory command center on the premises to coordinate meals, programs and events to keep all of our residents active, relaxed and entertained.

Atria residents were not the only ones sheltering at the Disney property. Actress Kristen Bell was in Orlando filming a comedy and was also evacuated to the hotel. We were thrilled that she decided to “make lemonade outta Irma,” as she humorously posted on Instagram. She asked to lead programs and spread joy to our residents in the process, joining them for meals, giving out hugs, participating in wheelchair races and calling bingo games. She even posted her delightful duet with John Z., a resident at Atria Park of St. Joseph’s, on Instagram. The recording went viral, and the two crooning buddies, along with other Atria residents, made a heartwarming Skype appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Actor Seth Rogen was also staying at the resort, and he was gracious and generous with his time. He even cast an Atria resident in his upcoming movie. Another couple sheltering at the resort got into the giving spirit, donating 100 10-minute massage sessions for our residents.

But the real heroes are the Atria employees who attended to the needs and wishes of our residents, and are now busy helping residents resettle in their communities. The frontline Houston- and Florida-based employees exercised their disaster response training to keep our residents safe and happy while facing the burdens that Harvey and Irma imposed in their own lives. Fundraising through Atria CaresSM, our nonprofit organization, is helping employees who are experiencing hardships caused by the hurricanes.

Atria founded Atria Cares in 2004, after that year’s hurricanes in Florida, to provide financial assistance to our staff. To date, Atria Cares has raised more than $200,000 to benefit our employees affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

We’re proud of our employees and pleased that our residents can always count on Atria when skies are gray.


Category: Our Team Tags: , , ,

Atria Rewards Determination – Atria Senior Living Blog

Atria Honors Determination


Posted on October 2, 2015 by Atria Senior Living


It would have been easy for her to quit. Numerous injuries kept Nicole Stevens off the balance beam for long periods of time as she pursued her gymnastic goals. But she was determined to succeed, putting in countless hours of physical therapy to build the strength that would carry her to the Junior Olympics National Championships and a top 30 finish. (more…)


Category: Our Team Tags: , , , ,

Atria Fairhaven Creates a Certified Wildlife Habitat

Atria Residents and Staff Create a Certified Wildlife Habitat


Posted on April 30, 2015 by Taylor Rhea


Connecting with nature; it’s why we travel to reach a mountaintop, or go camping in the woods – or simply relax on our back porch. Being in nature is something we crave as humans, not only because of its beauty, but also its affect on our mood and well-being.

Thanks to a few nature-minded staff members and residents at Atria Fairhaven, the community now boasts their very own Certified Wildlife Habitat site®. (more…)


Category: Our Team, We ♥ Pets Tags:

Atria Chandler Villas’ Residents Make Hand-crafted Beer

Atria Chandler Villas’ Brew Crew celebrates two-year anniversary


Posted on April 7, 2015 by Alyssa Ethington


What’s better on a hot Arizona day than an ice-cold bottle of beer? An ice-cold bottle of home-brewed beer!

This month marks two years since Atria Chandler Villas started its beer-brewing club, the Brew Crew. Working hand in hand with Jim Palmo, our Director of Culinary Service, our residents have brewed lagers, ales, pilsners and stouts. And their membership has grown steadily. (more…)


Category: Our Team

Girls Scouts Help Bridge Gap Between Young and Old - Atria Lynbrook

Girl Scouts & Atria Lynbrook – Learning from Young and Old


Posted on March 17, 2015 by Taylor Rhea


In March 1912, a group of 18 girls gathered in Savannah, GA with the dream of bringing young girls out of their homes. They went hiking, camping, studied first aid and learned how to tell time by the stars. This group was the inception of what we know today as the Girl Scouts of America.

During the month of March, we celebrate the Girl Scouts in Atria communities across the country. (more…)


Category: Active Aging, Our Team Tags: ,

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