Naperville Resident Finds Passion Working with SeniorsAugust 24, 2022
What she likes best is the culture.
“When you walk in the door, there’s so much going on. Everybody is lively and social, out and about. It’s an active place,” said Margaret Scanlon-Dalke. Margaret has been the life enrichment manager at Monarch Landing senior living community in Naperville for almost a year.
A Naperville resident, Margaret’s first career out of college was teaching elementary school. After several years she decided she needed a change. Her priorities were to continue to work with people, make a difference in others’ lives and explore and utilize her creativity. She found those qualities were important and appreciated for working in senior living. Furthermore, she said, “The skills I developed as a teacher still come in handy in senior living. I do a lot of planning, not only for activities but also for special events, day trips and conferences.”
Margaret came to Monarch Landing with several years of experience managing programming for an area retirement community. She had heard about how unique and vibrant Monarch Landing was and decided to pursue an opportunity there. Margaret was astonished at the energy, interests, and experiences of the people in the senior living community. “The residents are amazing. They have such extensive backgrounds, expertise, and interests,” she said. “One of the things I like here is that the residents take ownership of our activities and events, and there’s tremendous variety. They have an astronomy club, fitness activities, art classes, an amazing woodshop, a model train club, meditation programs, and so much more. I love the variety. The residents have input into everything on the calendar.” Margaret noted that the residents’ involvement in planning ensures that there’s something that appeals to everyone. “It’s important to me that the residents have choices. I want everyone to have things that they can look forward to attending.” She added that the residents being so invested in programming “means I can spend more time exploring more possibilities.” The challenge, she said, “is trying to find time to fit everything that’s going on into a day.”
At Monarch Landing, “I have creative freedom. I can plan anything that the residents want. Every day is different. It’s never the same from day to day. The residents have a real say here. If they’re interested in something, they can tell me their idea and then I can try to make it work,” she said.
Margaret is impressed with the technological savviness of the residents. “We have in-house television and a resident portal for sharing and broadcasting fitness activities, games, movies and lectures.”
Margaret said that she also loves the amenities to which the residents have access. “We have a state-of-the-art fitness center, pool, beautiful grounds, a billiards room for cards and games, an art studio, music room, patio, a restaurant, café and marketplace.”
“Margaret is such an asset to our team and the Monarch Landing residents! She constantly is looking for new ways to enrich their lives with their suggestions, or with exciting ideas of her own. She has brought so much energy to the community in the past year, and we couldn’t imagine Monarch Landing without her!” said Kelli Cox, Associate Executive Director.