Leading Sugar Hill Retirement Community has been an eye-opening experience for Executive Director Pam Bigwood.
After spending more than 30 years in the hospitality industry, Pam wanted to return home to New Hampshire.
“I had no preconceived ideas of what Sugar Hill was when I walked through the doors. I knew it was a retirement community, and that’s it,” she says.
She was, admittedly, surprised by the vibrancy of the residents.
“It’s eye-opening to get to know the residents. They’re happy and healthy. They’re hiking, they’re working out at the fitness center, they’re active in the community. They still have a lot of life to live.”
Her experience in the hospitality industry enables her to focus on what attracts residents to Sugar Hill, as well as its role in the community.
“I’m here to help the residents and help the community as a whole,” she remarks.
Robert Smith is Sugar Hill’s new Life Enrichment Coordinator, a position created specifically for his skills and experience with retirement communities. Robert is presently pursuing studies in history and secondary education with a concentration in recreational therapy. He hopes to use his knowledge of recreational therapy to improve the lives of residents.
He describes his responsibilities: “I run the day-to-day activities here at Sugar Hill Retirement Community. I’m also responsible for creating and providing programs that benefit the physical and mental wellness of everyone here.”
His past experiences working at the cooperative community are sure to come in handy as he works with residents. “I got to know the residents very well. I thought I could better serve them by working with them directly,” he notes.
Robert says one of his goals is to introduce community members to new experiences. Another is to engage personally with each and every resident. “We try to meet the personal needs of everyone one on one. I think that’s the most important part of my position.”
Elena started her career at Sugar Hill the day it opened as a part-time cook. Working her way up the culinary ladder, she became the Chef Manager in 2002.
Over the last 13 years, she has brought the dining experience and food quality to such a level that many residents describe our dining room as, “the best restaurant in the area”.
Priding herself on using only fresh ingredients, the Sugar Hill menu changes daily. Elena and her team, are always looking for ways to improve the dining experience, often using resident’s recipes of their own favorites. Elena oversees a kitchen that serves three meals a day for Assisted Living and dinner six nights a week, with brunch on Sundays for the independent residents.
Keeping it in the family, Elena’s husband is also a chef. When she is not at Sugar Hill, Elena enjoys spending time with her three grandchildren.
John was described by one resident as having, “boundless energy and enthusiasm and a penchant for sweets.”
John has been a part of the Sugar Hill team since its inception in 1997. John joined Sugar Hill as a Facilities Assistant and is credited, along with the previous Facilities Manager, of “creating what you see today.”
From stonewalls, landscaping, and walking paths to the continuous upkeep of all the facilities – John is a jack of all trades. John was promoted to Facilities Manager in 2006 and has not looked back. John along with his team, oversees the maintenance and care of the entire facility, inside and out.
John enjoys the “family feeling” at Sugar Hill with both the residents and the rest of the Sugar Hill team.
John is a native of Wolfeboro, and along with his wife Andrea, is raising two boys, Jacob and Joshua.
“We are one big family here at Sugar Hill”.
Anne joined the Sugar Hill team in December of 2012. Her initial title was “Nurse Manager”, but in 2015 was promoted to “Administrator of Assisted Living at Sugar Hill.”
Anne brings a wealth of experience to the Assisted Living operation at Sugar Hill. Prior to arriving at Sugar Hill, Anne was the Director of Nursing at a Neuro-Rehabilitation facility. Anne oversees the fifteen unit facility and a staff of ten.
Anne enjoys the holistic nursing approach to her resident’s health and well-being. Anne says it is the combination of administrative and clinical nursing that makes the job so enjoyable, not to mention the wonderful residents, their families and the staff.
Everyone at Sugar Hill Retirement Community knows Jennifer Weaver. Her open door is an invitation for residents to ask questions, get her aid to copy or fax documents, and help them any way possible.
“I’m right here. My door’s open,” she remarks, adding she enjoys talking with residents about their lives and being able to help them with their needs.
Although Jennifer formerly worked at Huggins Hospital, her position at Sugar Hill is giving her knowledge she’s putting to use as she works on her bachelor’s degree in business administration.
In her capacity as administrative coordinator, she does bookkeeping, organizing, and helps Executive Director Pam Bigwood with marketing. Her goals are to ensure records are up to date and organized.
Jennifer has a lot of organizing experience, not only as part of her employment experience but as a wife and the mother of two sons.
When she’s not lending a hand to the residents and other staff at Sugar Hill, she enjoys gardening, being outside, and what she describes as “never-ending house renovations”.
Sugar Hill’s newest Resident Service Coordinator, Gina Colantuono, is a familiar face around the community. She worked in housekeeping and maintenance for a total of 15 years, getting to know each and every resident of the cooperative retirement community.
She says her familiarity with residents and her knowledge of housekeeping and maintenance will make meeting the residents’ needs more efficient.
“I thought I would be a good fit, seeing as how I know the properties and the residents. Most of the time, I have the answers they need, and I can take care of things they need to have done,” she says.
Gina’s duties include everything from signing up residents for meals and informing kitchen staff if they can’t make a meal to maintaining personal emergency response systems to notarizing resident documents.
She says she treats residents with the respect and care she would show to her own parents. She finds their accomplishments enlightening, too.
“Working with them has taught me to really respect my elders even more,” she says.
Gina lives in Wolfeboro with her partner.
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