PHOENIX, AZ—Sagewood, a life plan community featuring a resort-style setting in northeast Phoenix, announced the appointment of two new senior staff members for Acacia Health Center and Desert Willow Assisted Living. Nicole Roenius is joining as therapy director and Melissa Alexander will be filling the role of life enrichment director.
Roenius is joining Sagewood after many years of working for a sister life care services (LCS) community in Milwaukee, WI. Prior to that, she worked with stroke, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis patients in a skilled nursing facility.
She received her doctor of physical therapy degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, and since starting her career in health care, she also earned a certification in lymphedema therapy.
At Acacia, Roenius will be managing therapists, providing updates to family members, caring for residents, creating discharge plans and training new team members. She will be in a managerial role, but her goals are to treat residents and stay active in the Sagewood community.
“In her short time in the role, Nicole is already making a huge impact at Acacia Health Center, Sagewood and Desert Willow,” said Natalie Miko, Acacia Health Center administrator.
As the new life enrichment director at Acacia and Desert Willow, Alexander will be providing oversight and support to the community life coordinators in assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. Her role will include administrative tasks, such as assisting with scheduled programs, as well as ensuring that activities offered in all three areas of care adhere to the dimensions of wellness and Sagewood standards and implementing LCS’s signature service, HeartFelt Connections, for residents in memory care and assisted living.
Alexander has worked in senior activity programming for more than 25 years; she began working in long-term care during high school. After this role, Alexander became an activity assistant for several years, before deciding to pursue a higher education. She received a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation and a certificate in gerontology from The University of Northern Iowa.
After completing her education, Alexander returned to her work as activity director for several organizations, specializing in long-term care, skilled nursing, adult day centers, assisted living and memory care communities.
“Adding Melissa to the team shortly after Nicole joined Acacia has made our community even stronger. These two new employees are creating such a welcoming, caring environment for our residents and we are lucky to have them on our team,” added Ed Smith, associate executive director at Sagewood.