Get to Know

December 14, 2017

in Organization News

Get to know Sara Elizabeth Hamm, MS, BSN, RN, CDP, CADDCT, FACDONA

Senior Vice President of Successful Aging and Health Services

Following in the footsteps of her mother, who was a registered nurse and long-term care leader, Sara is an accomplished nurse executive with a passion for senior living and more than three decades of service. She’s always searching for innovative clinical best practices that lead to excellence in care delivery. In 2018, she will receive her doctorate degree, a goal she said would not have been possible without the support of her Lifespace Communities colleagues.

Q: As the senior vice president of successful aging and health services, could you describe that role and what it means?

A: In my role, I provide leadership and strategic oversight for all our clinical and resident care programs in our licensed health entities, including our health centers, assisted living, memory support and private-duty home health programs. I’m responsible for assisting our teams in developing and implementing new and innovative resident care programs and best-practices at Lifespace Communities.

Q: Who inspired your career path into senior living?

A: My beautiful 85 year-young mother, Elizabeth, who’s also a registered nurse, inspired me. Some of my earliest memories are of me standing in front of a mirror wearing her white nurse’s cap, dreaming of the day I could also become a nurse. She was a pioneer in senior living and long-term care beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, and she worked as a director of nursing and executive director for over 30 years before she retired.

Q: What do you enjoy the most about your career?

A: I have been blessed to provide care to thousands of aging adults who have really taught me that aging can be an incredible journey of continued discovery and learning. It’s an honor and a privilege to work with our dedicated team to positively impact the ageism that remains pervasive in our society, and change the face of aging.

Q: Given your extensive background in the health care industry, what’s your best advice for someone looking to get into the field?

A: Many of the most important skills I possess as a registered nurse developed during my work as a nursing assistant. Working in nursing or an ancillary department such as lifestyles, dining or housekeeping can expose you to the variety of opportunities available in senior living and post-acute care. Given the exponential growth in aging adults around the world, many opportunities will exist for students and professionals seeking a career change.

Q: As we enter the holiday season, would you share a favorite holiday memory?

A: My mother would take a few days off before Christmas, and we would bake about 20 different kinds of cookies together as a family. I grew up in Upper Michigan and Wisconsin, so I really enjoy snowy winters as well as living my family’s traditions from Finland handed down over the generations. I’ve collected ornaments since I was a child, so decorating the tree each year brings back many wonderful memories.

(In the photo: Sara Hamm says her greatest role model is her own mother, who was a nurse and a pioneer in senior living. Hamm is pictured with her mother, Elizabeth.)

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