Advisory Council Spotlight: Kristina Williams

Kristina started working with older adults from a young age and it became clear to her immediately that working with older adults was her passion. She discovered this working in adult day health in her hometown of Seattle.  

During her college studies in sociology and anthropology at Carleton College (a small liberal arts school in Minnesota), she focused in on cultural and societal issues of aging, writing her senior thesis titled “The Third Stage of Life: Retirement and Work?” It discussed ageism’s ties to “retirement”, how the social structure of retirement is outdated with people living much longer life spans now than when “retirement” was created, and finally, how retirement is often not supportive of people’s needs and desires to continue contributing to their community, and thus not supportive of healthy aging nor of the community/society as a whole.

Luckily, people have started to change retirement as we know it!  They’re doing this by finding other mechanisms in their later years to contribute to society – often through volunteerism, such as our many volunteers with Coming of Age! This helps not only the organizations and communities in which they volunteer, but also their own aging. As with continued engagement in later life, people age more successfully. Kristina is a strong advocate for the value of volunteerism in later life as a mechanism of successful aging.

After completing her college degree, she trained and worked as a Certified Nurses Aide at a memory care home providing care to seniors dealing with mid-stage memory loss and Alzheimer’s Disease at a small 10 room home in Minnesota called Three Links Care Center.

This work led her to the realization that she could have the most impact working as an Administrator, directly managing senior homes to ensure the seniors got top quality care and support they needed.  She pursued this at the University of North Texas, where she obtained a master’s degree in Applied Gerontology (a cross-discipline study of aging that focuses on application to practice and “real world”), which also prepared her to obtain her license to be a Nursing Home Administrator.

Kristina ran the healthcare building at Querencia at Barton Creek Life Care retirement community in southwest Austin for 6 years, which came to be known in the community as the nursing home and assisted living of choice.  Under Kristina’s leadership, Querencia’s nursing home was certified by Medicare with 5 star ratings year after year, ranking among the top nursing homes in Texas and the nation. They were also recognized by US News and World Report as one of the top nursing homes in the nation. More important though than certifications and ratings, Querencia’s health care services came to be well known for their customer service to residents and their families, supporting them during a very challenging time of life.

More recently, Kristina has become a mother to two wonderful children (Sawyer and Samantha, now 4 and 2 years old).  This led her to leave her profession of Nursing Home Administration to focus in on family by bringing more balance to her life. From 2016-2018, she worked at A Place for Mom’s Austin office as a technology team product manager, responsible for management of their flagship website – www.aplaceformom.com. A Place for Mom assists seniors and their adult children by assessing each family’s unique needs and matching them with the right resources and senior care options.

Kristina is currently employed by Halcyon Management Group, a local and privately owned Home Health, Hospice, and Private Agency Service company.  She runs the physician and nurse practitioner home visit business, sending physician extenders out in the field to see elderly patients right in their homes to monitor them while on Home Health and Hospice services.  Innovative’s care goals include care coordination among various providers, avoiding re-hospitalization, offering convenience for home-bound elderly, and a high level customer service.

Her passion for supporting aging adults is played out in her volunteer work in her local community to build a more age-friendly neighborhood.  She serves as social media liaison for the Mueller Neighborhood Association’s subcommittee on Aging.

Kristina brings to the Coming of Age Board and Advisory Council both her passion for making aging a better experience for all, as well as her drive to support the Coming of Age organization, it’s staff, volunteers, and the agencies and non-profit organizations they all serve.

 

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