Jewish News Advertiser Profile

August 15, 2014

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Name: Ilene Leibowitz Lipton, admissions and marketing director at Leigh Hall Assisted Living in Norfolk.

Age: 50

Education: University of Georgia, 1985

Children: Seth, 19 and Maya, 15

Hometown: Norfolk

Favorite food: Hmmm, today it’s sushi, watermelon, Nutella and peanut butter pretzels.

Favorite movies: Big Fish, Nebraska, Sound of Music, Titanic, Finding Nemo

Favorite book: I have too many; I have always loved anything by Pat Conroy, John Irving, Paulo Coelho. Right now I am reading Bossy Pants by Tina Fey.

Favorite vacation: Lake Oconee in Greene County, Ga. Every summer for the past 25+ years with great friends from UGA.

Last book read: Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander.

Best decision ever made: To transition my career into the senior industry. After helping my mom and aunt with selecting the appropriate assisted living and then nursing home for my grandparents, and again helping with my dad and his health issues, I felt there was, and still is, a real need for families to get information on how to navigate this process.

Because of that, I have made it one of my missions to be a great resource to any family who comes to see me even if assisted living is not the right option for them. I started out my experience in the senior industry in home health and then felt my calling in assisted living. I feel so fortunate to get the opportunity to help our seniors through my position with Commonwealth Assisted Living, which is based in Charlottesville. We have 20 communities all in Virginia and all assisted living with memory care. We have six communities on the Southside; Georgian Manor in Chesapeake, Churchland House in Portsmouth, Kings Grant House in Virginia Beach, plus The Ballentine, Commonwealth Memory Care and Leigh Hall in Norfolk.

Our company has just gone through a huge culture change and reached out to all our employees to get input on writing our Core Values. They have flipped the triangle and put our residents, care staff and communities on the top and the home office on the bottom.

I am the admissions and marketing director at our Leigh Hall location in Norfolk. The facility was originally built as a suites hotel and our rooms overlook a threefloor sunlit atrium that has the style and charm of New Orleans. Our caregivers can assist with dressing, bathing, medication management and any other needs our residents may have with their activities of daily living. We have very spacious private and one bedrooms with renovated bathrooms for easy bathing. We have wonderful activities and are the only assisted living company I know of that offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

We also can provide short-term or respite stays for caregivers who need a break, are going out of town, or someone who just wants to give assisted living a try.

Worst decision ever made: Summer after I graduated college, I was traveling in Israel and was presented with the opportunity to stay and enroll in the WUJS Program with a friend. The one time I should have been impulsive, I played it safe and returned home to start my first job. That still haunts me!

Hobbies: Napping!

Pets: a rescued yorkie named Daisy

Favorite music: I love Van Morrison, U2, Dave Mathews, Zac Brown Band, Phillip Phillips… just depends on the mood!

Hero: Too many to name! To me a hero is someone whose words or actions come from the heart and their intent is for the greater good of others. I believe we all have those qualities in us and they shine through in the little things we do; smiling at a stranger, being present and listening to another, giving without expectations, just some examples.

Most proud achievement: When I was handed my son and then 4½ years later, my daughter, the day they were born. That was not only quite an achievement but also two of the happiest days in my life.

Favorite quote: I love anything Albert Einstein said. I think I have a crush on him. However the quote that has been with me for a while now and is not credited to him is “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”

Letter to the Editor