Brookdale employees are unlike any employee you could imagine. They must be kind, they must be caring, they must be competent, they must think on their toes, and they must be a million people in two million places all at once. It’s a magnificent feat to find this kind of person anywhere, but somehow, here they are, walking our halls. Somehow, these diamond-people are drawn to us.
Levi Adgate is a perfect example of the caliber of person you’ll find working at Brookdale.
When Levi started nine years ago he had no idea what he was getting into. Previously working as a manager at Publix, then attending bible school in Dallas, he was preparing for a career in ministry.
It all started at his church one day when a friend told Levi about an opportunity at Brookdale. He warily applied and immediately got the job. Brookdale knew he was built for it, even if he didn’t yet.
Levi was first placed as a Resident Assistant. Being a licensed minister, he didn’t know his life would include sponge baths and food spills. But despite the demanding work and long hours, he quickly fell in love with the community, he loved serving people, and he started to feel like he found his calling.
Because of his passion and dedication, he quickly moved up the ranks, and it didn’t take Levi long to assume the Programs Director position. With this new title, he really hit his stride, finding every day to be a new and exciting challenge.
Eventually, he and his wife felt compelled to move to North Carolina. Though his Florida community would sorely miss him, he was approved to work in Asheville. And not a moment too soon — the day after his transfer was approved, he found out his wife was pregnant with their third child.
Soon to be the father of three, Levi was in for a tumultuous time. After a lengthy moving process, selling their home and a stint living with the in-laws, they finally made it up north. While he described it as a “totally crazy period of life,” he knew he had to follow a calling, the same calling that brought him to Brookdale, then to Resident Programs, then to Asheville. And with his innate ability to lead, motivate and love those around him, his calling was confirmed.
As a self-described “morning person,” Levi starts each day early. Most of the time he’s the first manager on the scene. He enters, makes his rounds, cracks a few jokes with the residents and then creates his event sheets for the day. After the morning routine, he ensures the community is clean, well-lit and full of happy people.
He then leads a program called Brookdale Fitness B-Fit, the most attended activity throughout the community. Levi leads with an enthusiasm not even the most skilled actor could fake. He even goes room-to-room encouraging the second-guessers to come. From balloon toss to chair volleyball, the class is full of goofy, fun activities.
“People really let go of their inhibitions when there’s a balloon around,” he explained. It’s not uncommon for a rogue balloon to hit Levi in the face, and when they apologize, he just replies with a friendly, “I think I’ll live.”
At lunch Levi catches up on emails and deals with anything that comes his way. He described his position as being versatile and flexible, as he’s always needed somewhere. And we can attest to this. During the first 10 minutes of our interview, he was called upon by five different residents for five separate issues. Needless to say, he isn’t putting his feet up and taking two-hour lunch breaks.
Afternoons contain everything from running transport to engaging residents in a game and conversation. Being the head of a team requires a lot of oversight, but because of his adaptable role, he always has a chance to change things up. At Brookdale, there’s never a dull moment, and there’s always something to do. In between a series of guttural laughs he said, “I’m always getting suckered into something.”
When Levi sees a resident who seems to be down, he approaches them armed with this phrase, “We’ve got a lot of money in our budget, and I want to blow it all on you.” Of course, he can’t blow the entire budget on one resident, but this comment almost always results in a smile.
His philosophy is that when you enter a Brookdale community, you are starting a new chapter. You are not in a nursing home. Your life isn’t over. Your new life has only just begun. On top of that, he believes each resident is a complex individual with a unique background and story, who still has much to offer the world.
To celebrate each residents’ individuality, Levi has a refined process of motivation. He comes to every resident with a plan tailored to their personality, interests and passions. Levi wants to find out what motivates each person, what brings them joy, and he wants to encourage (not push) them to be their best selves.
A great example of this is when he had an extremely active former Marine who suddenly fell ill and was unable to continue his highly physical lifestyle. The resident was distraught and felt without purpose. But Levi knew he used to volunteer at a local hospital, so he concocted a plan. He bought a desk for the resident and had him volunteer as a Brookdale concierge. The resident found a new sense of purpose and is now a tremendously skilled concierge. It is exactly that kind of quick thinking and empathy that makes Brookdale so special.
While transitioning to a senior living community can be tough, it’s a comfort to know there are people like Levi. We’re lucky to have him and everything he’s brought to the table. We’re truly glad he found his calling, because Levi always goes above and beyond — and then some.
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