Yolanda, tell us how you contribute to serving GoodLife’s population?
I’ve been working with Mike Strouse since 1984, in the early days of implementing the family teaching model in Western Kansas. In 1986, I started working for GoodLife (CLO in those days) and their community living programs for individuals with I/DD. Back then we served 20 people, today it’s over 500.
Today, I am senior vice president of Neighborhood Network (NN) services. I oversee the NN’s existing programs and am involved with the further development of senior services with the goal to support independent living through iLink technologies and Professional Neighbors.
What does a typical day include for you?
I like to spend as much time as I can with individuals in our programs. I’m not in my office a lot; I observe, join activities, and work alongside staff. For example, I recently sat in on a grant-provided master cooking class with a Johnson County NN, I am taking another resident of the NN next month to see a performance of Peter Pan, and I was present during a new resident move-in. It helps me to really understand what’s working and what’s needed, so I can provide quality assurance, effective feedback and vital training.
Why do you believe in GoodLife’s vision to redefine what’s possible?
Our name says it all! We’ve been talking about helping people live “the good life” for quite some time. From day one, Mike has led the way with innovation, always looking outside the box for ways to meet needs and help people to live their best life in the most efficient, cost-effective and creative manner.
Our hope is to help those we serve, and their families, feel like they are truly living a safe, fulfilling and good life. Every time I see residents achieve goals and make progress, I know Mike’s vision is working.
Why is GoodLife’s technology + service care model important?
I am especially interested in the development of more innovative and higher quality services for seniors because I assisted my parents first-hand as their health and support needs increased. They went from owning their own home to moving to independent senior living then to assisted living and finally to a nursing home in a matter of 2 years. I witnessed their quality of life diminish as they moved to more and more restrictive environments with less self-governing.
I know that we MUST create better options for our loved ones. They have contributed so much in their lives and want to continue giving back their time and talents, make their own decisions and live their preferred lifestyle as much as possible throughout the last years and days of their lives.
What are you looking forward to for 2019?
We are working hard to develop the systems within our NN’s for individuals with I/DD to utilize technology as much as possible. I’m also excited to watch how we’re truly changing how seniors live independently through our innovations. The way we are harnessing technology for the benefit of individuals, to allow them to make decisions and live independently, has been incredible to watch.
Learn more about GoodLife’s staff here.