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LeadingAge honors senior care service providers


LeadingAge PA, an association representing more than 370 aging services providers, announced the winners of the 50th annual LeadingAge PA Distinguished Service Awards.

The awards honor exceptional people who give their time, talents and abundant energy to their communities and demonstrate a deep commitment to serving seniors.

Manager of the Year, Michelle Posch, is the regional manager, staff development, of Phoebe Ministries, Lehigh County.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and in the midst of staffing issues, she organized an initiative to creatively train existing employees and recruit potential employees to become temporary nurse aides. Posch took on the management of Phoebe’s TNA program without hesitation. Currently, she supervises a team that instructs more than 300 nurses, nurse aides and many other front-line employees across four eastern Pennsylvania counties, while also playing a significant role in new employee orientation.

The Spirit Alive Program, Spiritual Care for Individuals with Dementia, at Phoebe Ministries, Lehigh County, received the Innovation of the Year award.

The program, led in part by Scott Stevenson, Rev. Dr. Scott Brooks-Cope and Emily Southerton, draws on the real cognitive effects of dementia, pastoral care practices and spiritual direction theory to create an interactive, small-group spirituality experience. It utilizes sensory experiences, creative arts, interpersonal spiritual direction and familiar stories to facilitate expression among individuals with dementia.

Staff Member of the Year, Linda Plunkett, is an administrative assistant, at Phoebe Allentown Health Care Center, Lehigh County.

For a quarter century, she has managed numerous projects, notably her leadership of the Allentown Basket Social Committee. The committee has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars that goes directly to programs benefiting seniors of Phoebe Allentown, and she has been integral to its success. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Plunkett led efforts to create lifesaving equipment during a time of scarce supplies. Her leadership resulted in a volunteer effort to cut and sew thousands of masks and hundreds of gowns for her team members.

The honorees were recognized and presented with their awards on stage at LeadingAge PA’s Annual Conference on May 17 at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions in the Poconos.