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CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. – Sharon Pepper, Senior Vice President of Senior Living Services at Thompson Health, has received the NYAHSA James W. Sanderson Memorial Award for Leadership. NYAHSA – the New York Association of Homes & Services for the Aging – presents the award to an individual who is dedicated to the long-term care industry and its residents; admired and respected by colleagues; creative and practical; and shows personal leadership and strong values. Ms. Pepper, RN, LNHA, has guided the expansion of Thompson Health’s clinical and residential services to seniors. She leads both Thompson Health’s skilled nursing facility, the M.M. Ewing Continuing Care Center, and F.F.T. Senior Communities, Inc., comprised of independent and enriched living facilities. Ms. Pepper recognized from the beginning of her career that the traditional “nursing home” was a thing of the past. She helped develop the skilled rehabilitation program where the focus is on returning people to their home and maintaining them at their maximum level of quality of life. When Ms. Pepper took leadership of the Thompson Nursing Home in 1991, on average only one person annually was discharged home from the 108-bed facility. The facility, which has grown to 190 beds and is now known as the M.M. Ewing Continuing Care Center, discharges over 200 people home each year. Through her detailed therapeutic program of care for those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia related illnesses, Ms. Pepper has been influential in developing what is now recognized by New York State as “Special Care Environment” guidelines. Ms. Pepper has broadened the residential and therapeutic options available to seniors to provide them the best care and quality of life. She guided development and completion of independent living at Ferris Hills in Canandaigua and enriched living at Clark Meadows. Ms. Pepper is also responsible for the development of the Medical Adult Day Program known as “The Brighter Day,” where 36 participants come daily to receive personal care and medical supervision, as well as social, recreational, and therapeutic programming. “It’s wonderful that Sharon has received this recognition,” said Linda Janczak, President/CEO of Thompson Health. “She has devoted more than 40 years to health care and long-term care, and she is committed to the dignity and quality of life for all residents. Sharon’s exceptional leadership skills and depth of caring set her apart. Her leadership and vision have enhanced the quality of life for so many.” The Sanderson award is named in honor of the late Jim Sanderson, NYAHSA’s longtime counsel and friend. The award will be presented May 23 at NYAHSA’s Spring Training Institute in Saratoga Springs.
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