Every month we invite one of our team members to sit down with us and tell us more about their journey to Elder Care Alliance, their role now, and their insights into older adult care. We are excited to share the expertise and knowledge of our many team members who every day come to work and help our residents live their best lives today with us.
Today we welcome Carol Ricklin, AlmaVia of Camarillo Life Enrichment Director.
Us: Hi Carol, tell us a little about your background and role at Elder Care Alliance.
Carol: I graduated from California State University at Northridge with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. After college, I worked as the Events Coordinator for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. I later married my husband, Steven, and six years later, we welcomed our son, Jeffrey. We’ve been married 32 years, and Jeff is now 25. About ten years ago, I decided that I wanted to make a career change and find a job that was meaningful. That’s when I became an Activity Director in senior living, where I worked elsewhere for five years and then came to AlmaVia over four years ago. I have loved every minute here since I began. My role at AVC is to engage and enrich the lives of our residents with meaningful, purposeful, thoughtful, stimulating and fun programs.
Us: How does your work benefit residents at Elder Care Alliance communities?
Carol: Our residents come to our community to live in a safe environment in their later years as they age in place. I believe the activities we offer benefit our residents in a variety of ways, such as having a purpose in the community, socialization, learning new things, exercise, emotional impact, learning to be creative, being in touch with the environment around them, and living in touch with their spirituality. Our residents might be in the twilight of their years; however, they can continue to grow, learn and develop new friends in their later years.
Us: Tell us more about a specific feature of your job/duties and what residents can expect to gain from that.
Carol: I wear many hats here in the community, from exercise guru, counselor, problem solver, and instructor of many things, but most importantly, they call me their friend. One of the features of my job is to ensure that every day they wake up excited about the possibility of learning new things through activities, cultural events, arts and music programs, intellectual speakers, discussion groups, outings and more.
Us: What is one of your favorite memories/experiences working at Elder Care Alliance?
Carol: I have many favorite memories, but the ones I cherish the most are filled with laughter in our cooking classes, arts & craft classes, games and outings. During these times, I get to spend quality time talking and learning about the lives of our residents before coming to AVC. I see my residents as family, and I want them to live healthy, meaningful lives with purpose.
Us: What is the greatest reward that your role at Elder Care Alliance brings?
Carol: My greatest reward is when a new resident comes to our community nervous and afraid and, in time, see them make friends, be social and thrive in this new chapter of their lives. I love spending time with my residents. They are so interesting and fun and bring me so much joy. I feel very fortunate and blessed to share this journey with them at this point in their lives.
Us: Can you share any insights into new programs/menus/etc. you are planning for the future?
Carol: I am a big fan of experiences. I want to create programs where they are exposed to the arts, music, fun and nature. For example, trips to the theater to see performances such as Shen Yun, art museums, trying new ethnic restaurants like eating with their hands at a Moroccan restaurant, visiting outdoor gardens and attending cultural outings like the Orchid Show in Santa Barbara, the Lavender Festival in Ojai and plan a picnic at the Jazz Festival in Thousand Oaks.