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Working with Seniors is “Like Having 340 Grandparents”

Kelli Cox often pinches herself to make sure her experience is real. “I have always had an affinity for seniors. I’m drawn to them, and here I am, being paid to sit down and talk to them and learn their stories. How cool is that?” she said. A resident of Naperville, Cox is the Director of Resident Life and Wellness for Monarch Landing senior living community in Naperville. “I have the opportunity, working with my team, to make positive differences in the residents’ lives however we can.”

Cox, who has always known she wanted to be in senior living, has never worked in any other industry. “I began volunteering at a nursing home when I was at Western Illinois University,” she said. Cox earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology, with a minor in psychology, and her master’s in healthcare administration.

Cox began her 20+ year career as a case manager, constantly adding new experiences and responsibilities to her roles which subsequently included volunteer coordinator, director of resident and family services, and executive director at area retirement communities.

Most recently, Cox had started her own business providing senior concierge services. “Through KMC, Senior Services, I helped seniors with errands and other services, and also helped identify housing and navigating different communities. At the same time, I had my real estate broker license and became a senior real estate specialist,” she said.

Earlier this year, when Cox learned that Monarch Landing was looking for the Life and Wellness position, she got excited. “I knew their great reputation and it’s always been important to me to be affiliated with an organization I respected. I missed being with seniors in person on a regular basis. I saw this job post for Monarch Landing and met with leadership right away. The rest is history,” she said.

“I was anxious to get to know the residents and staff and to start making a difference in their daily lives in whatever way I could,” she said. Cox oversees social workers, the concierge, and staff in community life, activities, and spiritual wellness in her current role. “My role is always evolving,” she said, “but my overriding goal is to make sure residents are pleased with the lifestyle and wellness services they’re receiving.”

Cox concluded, “What’s not to like about working with seniors! I have 340 grandparents. I love to hear their stories; we have so much history in the community. This is a highly educated population. Knowing that I get to help them, and even if I’m not able to help them, communicate with them to make sure they feel heard is so fulfilling. I’m thrilled to be here to see all the good things that are happening and planning more great things down the line.”