About Dori Mendel

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So far Dori Mendel has created 29 blog entries.

The Season for Inclusion

The holiday season is a perfect time to celebrate diversity and inclusion. We at Morrison Community Living value diversity and want to create a workplace where all employees feel welcomed and valued. And we’re pleased to see how our teams are engaging one another. On our annual associate survey, we saw an 11 percent increase in diversity and awareness. We believe in the power of ongoing programming to encourage collaboration and learning, two things we feel are critical to building a successful diverse workforce. The holidays are a time of reflection and good will, a perfect setting for celebrating our uniqueness.

Here are a few extra things you can do to celebrate diversity and inclusion this holiday season:

  • Take advantage of holiday parties. Holiday parties can help you meet and grow your network, which in turn can lead to more knowledge about the business and those you work with.
  • Reach out to those individuals who look or normally sit alone. Invite them to sit with you at lunch or invite them to dinner; you never know a little act of kindness can go a long way.
  • Research and learn about other holiday celebrations. There are a variety of religious beliefs, cultural traditions and customs celebrated during the holiday season. Watch a TV special about other celebrations, or check out books at your local bookstore while gift shopping. The more we learn about each other, the more we understand.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask co-workers what they enjoy about the holidays and what they find challenging. Use this opportunity to share what you like about the holiday season as well. Let it be an opportunity to learn about different cultures and religions.
  • Avoid any negative comments or conversation and maintain an attitude of gratitude and joy. It will prove contagious!

We’re all responsible for creating a culture of inclusiveness. A reminder to everyone to celebrate our differences as we move forward into the New Year!

Residents Get a Taste of 12 Cultures Through “A Meal In The Life”

Serving more than 350 senior living communities across the country, we offer an annual themed dining program to create culinary experiences for residents. Our 2015-16 fiscal year dining program, A Meal In The Life (AMITL), took residents on a year-long journey visiting 12 different cultures. From authentic cuisines to songs, dances and customs, AMITL celebrated diversity and the backgrounds of many of our residents and associates.

“The majority of our residents enjoyed the different menus and the education we provided them,” said Steve Scranton, Director of Dining Services for Presbyterian Communities of South Carolina. “One of our residents served a mission in India and he was really excited. He purchased some spices and candy from an Indian store and brought them to me three months prior to the scheduled month for that culture.”

AMITL also garnered national media attention, including being featured in the FoodService Director Magazine and the Memphis Business Journal.


To get a better picture of this dining event series, we created a fun video (see above) highlighting some of the cultural celebrations that took place in our communities throughout the year.

Overall, AMITL brought to life our purpose of enriching the lives of seniors every day. It also showed that at any age you can have new experiences. We are grateful to all of the communities who took part in AMITL and we are looking forward to the next dining event series, Heirloom. Stay tuned!

Social Media Use Has Physical, Mental Health Benefits for Seniors

Use of email, instant messaging and social media can result in less loneliness and fewer chronic illnesses and symptoms of depression for older adults, according to new research published online by the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.

And, Michigan State University researcher William Chopik, Ph.D., and his coauthors found, seniors like networking in such ways. More than 95% of participants in their study (average age: 68) said they were either “somewhat” or “very” satisfied with such technology, and 72% said they were not opposed to learning new technologies.
Read the full story on McKnight’s Senior Living website.

How MCL Residents and Associates Keep Connected

A common misconception about seniors is that they don’t use technology nor have a willingness to want to learn. However, today’s seniors are well traveled, well informed and well connected. With National Assisted Living Week upon us, we sat down with our Senior Director of Technology, Karen Taylor, to explore this year’s theme “Keep Connected.”

MCL: What are your job duties and responsibilities as the Senior Director of Technology?

KT: I manage the technology strategy for Morrison Community Living, working with corporate IT to strategize and share innovative technology processes and solutions. Part of that involves looking at new and exciting emerging technology trends. I also look at how existing technologies are being used in other industries to see how those same technologies can best be used in our senior living communities.

MCL: How are assisted living residents staying up to date with the latest technology? Any challenges?

KT: One of the challenges with technology solutions is the range of awareness and comfort among the senior community, be it independent living, assisted living or memory care.  A growing number of seniors are technology savvy, continually learning from younger generations and through the internet on their own phones.  At the other end of the spectrum, there are more passive users who require much more coaching or engagement. 

The introduction of new technologies like TVs and media walls will continue to bridge this gap.

MCL: How are associates using technology and innovative tools to enhance care to residents?

KT: We are on the cusp of an exciting time for technology use in our senior communities.  Associates are currently using technology devices and applications to manage the residents’ dining experience. Doing so allows for personalized attention with menus catered to their individual preferences and dietary requirements.  Behind the scenes, technology is also being used to manage operational functions including tracking meals, inventory management and environmental support services.  Moving towards the future, the end goal is to increase automation and efficiencies as well as reduce paper and dual data entry.  In addition, we will continue to explore ways to manage personalized care through technology (e.g. facial recognition).  We will also continue to look at other applications as they relate to regulatory compliance and resident safety.

MCL: What innovative changes can we look forward to in Morrison communities and in the assisted living industry in general?

KT: There are so many existing and emerging technologies that can be applied in our communities. From wireless home automation and connected home devices to video and voice technology – the sky’s the limit. There’s also a number of mobile applications to make it easier to connect friends, family, associates and residents. Topics can include education and learning, healthy living and beyond. In the near future, for example, a resident could use a voice command on a smart TV to submit meal requests for lunch/dinner in the cafe, schedule a room cleaning, review the day’s community activities and events, share photos on social media and much more.  

With technology evolving daily, it’s a great opportunity for our residents, associates and communities to connect in a whole new way. We’re excited to see what the future has in store for our communities and the assisted living industry as a whole.

Japanese City Takes Community Approach to Dealing With Dementia

Early mornings are routine for 69-year-old Hiroyuki Yamamoto. He’s typically at a busy intersection in the city of Matsudo, near Tokyo, where he volunteers as a school crossing guard. But one rainy morning a little over a year ago, an old woman caught his attention.

She was pushing a bicycle. She was kind of disheveled. Despite the rain, she didn’t have an umbrella. When Yamamoto spoke to the woman, she said she was trying to get to the city of Kamisuwa. That’s about four hours away by train.

Yamamoto recognized that the woman had several signs of dementia he’d learned about when he took his city’s dementia awareness training.

Read the full story on npr.org.

Morrison Community Living Celebrates National Dance Day 2016

Saturday, July 30th marks National Dance Day. Launched in 2010 by “So You Think You Can Dance” co-creator Nigel Lythgoe, National Dance Day is an annual celebration that encourages Americans to embrace dance as a fun and positive way to maintain good health and fight obesity.

At Morrison Community Living, the well-being and health of our residents is a top priority. We are always looking for fun ways to encourage our residents to exercise and stay active, which is why we are happy to join the National Dance Day celebration this year. As seen in the above video, several communities displayed ways their residents stay active including line dancing, belly dancing and much more.

Regular physical activity and exercise are important to ones physical and mental health, especially older adults. That’s why health experts say that older adults should aim to be as active as possible. Exercise and physical activity help you stay strong and fit enough to perform your daily activities, get around and maintain your independence.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), older adults who are inactive lose ground in four areas that are important for staying healthy and independent:

  • endurance
  • strength
  • balance
  • flexibility

Research suggests that you can maintain or at least partially restore these four areas through exercise and physical activity. NIH offers several tips on how to make exercise a habit.

So as you participate in National Dance Day, remember it’s important to get moving and stay active all year long!

A Solution to Worker Shortages: Develop An Employer Brand

Business leaders across the globe – especially those in healthcare and senior services – are in search of the workplace trifecta: attracting, retaining and developing the right associates. With worker shortages topping the list of worries, having a strong employer brand has never been more important. Morrison Community Living Chairman Gene Dolloff recently sat down with LeadingAge magazine to share how businesses must take action to position themselves as an employer of choice. Read the article here:  http://bit.ly/2akbnN5

Associates Stay #EveryDaySafe for National Safety Month

At Morrison Community Living, safety is always top of mind for our residents, guests and associates. We are always looking for creative and engaging ways to promote safety among our associates.

In honor of National Safety Month, we recently held our annual social media safety contest. We were excited to extend our safety contest to include TouchPoint Support Services.

Click below to see how our associates and accounts stay #EveryDaySafe.


Chefs Cook Up Some Fun in the Food Fight Finals 2016

We just wrapped up our third annual Food Fight Finals. This year, the bar was raised even higher as the competition extended to chefs from TouchPoint Support Services. With the support of business partners – Hormel, Rich’s, Kraft Heinz and Chef Works – the 2016 Food Fight drew dozens of nominations. Eventually, we narrowed down the participants to four finalists: Chef William Rodimon, Chef Dennis Rodgers, Chef Shawn Hunt and Chef Matt Luangla.

Organized by Senior Corporate Executive Chef John Rifkin and hosted by Chef Jet Tila from The Food Network, this year’s Food Fight Finals took place on June 15th at Hillcrest in La Verne, CA. We further increased engagement by once again making the competition available via live stream.

Food Fight’s styled after Food Network’s “Chopped” and “Cutthroat Kitchen.” During the finals, chefs received several creative challenges including having to use foil and a golf club as cooking utensils as well as wearing a PB&J suit. Residents also participated in the challenge by deciding how much time the chefs were given for certain challenges. They even enjoyed watching and judging a Pad Thai competition between Chef Rifkin and Chef Tila.

After surviving elimination rounds and creating stand out dishes throughout all three rounds, Chef Matt Luangla from TouchPoint’s St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appelton, WI took home the first place title. Overall, all of the chefs and residents had a great time and the event even garnered national attention.

(Chef Matt Luangla and Chef Jet Tila)


Born from the idea of melting fun with engagement and competition, the Food Fight is a unique event that showcases culinary talent and career opportunities within the healthcare and senior living space. Additionally, it’s received some outside recognition. Our 2015 Food Fight video recently won a Bronze People’s Telly Award. We’re extremely honored and excited that this unique video was recognized with this prestigious award.

We looks forward to next year’s competition and is excited about finding unique ways to enhance this program and foster camaraderie against its associates.

Happy Father’s Day Message: Thank You!

This Father’s Day, we put together a fun video to say ‘Thank You’ for all of the special things our fathers do. Check it out and share it with your dad!