Meet Megan Henderson, Manager of Lifecare Coordination, who has been with Willow Valley Communities since 2006, joined SmartLife VIA Willow Valley in 2014. A native of Lancaster County, she has more than 15 years of experience working with seniors in a long-term care setting. Megan earned her master’s degree in social work from Millersville University and her BSW from Shippensburg University. She has completed internships in mental health and with seniors in different settings. During her time at Willow Valley Communities, she’s won the Circle of Excellence Award in 2010 and the Team Spirit Award in 2013.
Megan oversees the entire Lifecare Coordination department — truly the heart of the SmartLife program. It is the Lifecare Coordination department that Members call when their situation has changed or if they need assistance. If a SmartLife Member’s status changes, SmartLife Lifecare Coordinators will assist in determining what services are needed. This could be meal delivery, a home healthcare nurse, non-medical caregivers, or therapy. “We coordinate everything,” Megan explains. “This removes stress from the Member and their loved ones so the Member can concentrate fully on getting well without having to deal with care logistics.”
Megan says that absent membership in a comprehensive program like SmartLife, the services Lifecare Coordinators arrange typically fall upon a spouse or an adult child. Instead, her team takes care of all the phone calls, arrangements, and paperwork, thereby alleviating the stress and burden on Members’ families and loved ones. Lifecare Coordinators have the experience to get the job done, set everything up, and not get bogged down by confusing logistics.
“Family relationships remain intact and don’t morph into a caregiving role. A spouse remains a spouse, and a son or daughter remains a son or daughter.” Megan says she loves seeing that. “Very often we use Connections at Home VIA Willow Valley for non-medical care, so the services are really easy to arrange and seamless.”
But Megan doesn’t sit around waiting for the phone to ring. She proactively reaches out to SmartLife Members to see how they are doing or simply just to catch up. She’ll visit them in their homes or, if needed, in the hospital. Megan says checking in and getting to know the Members and their families is what she enjoys most about her job.
And she’s learned that SmartLife Members appreciate that as well. Megan recalls an experience where one Member was sitting on a panel discussion during a SmartLife event. The Member spoke glowingly about her to prospective Members and explained how she saw Megan as a trusted friend.
“I was really very touched by that comment,” Megan says. “But it’s so true! I’ve been with SmartLife for over eight years, and over that time, I’ve gotten to know our Members and their families quite well.”“That’s what sets SmartLife apart,” Megan emphasizes, and then adds with a big smile, “and I wouldn’t have it any other way!”