Update from Health & Resident Services Director Meagan Buckley

By | Blog, News

Dear Friends of Wake Robin,

From the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Wake Robin has been focused on creating and implementing a fluid plan of prevention for our community. We have moved forward while consistently gathering information from multiple resources to review, revise and implement future planning with the objective of keeping this community safe and sound. I am pleased to say that as of this writing there are no cases on campus. We feel very fortunate, yet realize, we must continue our vigilance for the well-being of our campus. 

Health Services show their love for the residents.

Communication of our plan has been key. Our regular updates that go out to residents and their families offer an inside look of what is happening in the community as we respond to any new developments.

During this past month, there have certainly been difficult times … after all, who would have thought the campus would ever need to be secured with programing, events and even dining temporarily halted. However, it is amazing to witness the strength of each individual, who call Wake Robin home, meet to this challenge.

Residents are engaged in a variety of ways. In the Linden Health Center, just this past week, the residents have recorded over 16 hours of video chatting with their families. Equally important, residents are interacting and having fun in creative ways. We have music in the courtyard, virtual meetings for committee work and over 60 residents are participating in an Independent Living-Health Center Pen Pal program.

I am also happy to share that residents feel well cared for and have expressed to me that they consistently witness staff doing everything they possibly can for the residents’ well-being. The staff are all fully aware that this is a group effort and they continue to be mindful of how to help and support the residents as well as each other.

Around the community there are all kinds of encouraging signs.

I can’t thank staff enough. They show up every day with courage, spirit, and humor, and they are working in ways like never before, collaborating with other departments and rising to each and every occasion. It’s remarkable to witness. I am proud to be able to work alongside them and be part of their team.  

Stay safe….stay well!


Meagan Buckley, LNHA

Director of Health and Resident Services

Staying Positive During Isolation and Social Distancing

By | Blog, News

A resident and her teddy bear video chat with a grandnephew from Maryland

A blog post by Wake Robin Physical Therapist Alexis Mittelstadt

The isolation precautions from the Coronavirus pandemic have certainly changed our daily routines and many experts warn of the risk of feeling isolated and lonely. The widely accepted guidelines for decreasing stress from isolation involve taking care of yourself and putting your wellness first. This means: practicing mindfulness via meditation or prayer; exercising; and regularly keeping in touch with friends and family.

Wake Robin is a community full of creative and innovative minds so I thought I might enter in a few of my own “offbeat” ideas and you can all take it from there!


  • If you have a balcony or patio, take a note from the Italians for an impromptu outdoor concert or performance!
  • Have a Facetime/Facebook/Skype/speakerphone “happy hour” with a friend or family member.
  • Call 3 people you haven’t talked to in a “LONG” time. I did this and reconnected with 2 people I hadn’t talked to in years! Yes, it was a little awkward at first, but we got through it and it was great to catch up!
  • Make signs of encouragement, funny quotes, funny messages, etc. out of found objects (paper/fabric/compostable containers/etc.) to hang in your window for passersby to enjoy.
  • Call the kids and grand kids…most of them are probably home.
  • If you have a grand kids, ask what they are learning that day. Perhaps you will learn something new!
  • Pet the cat or dog a little longer…some say it can lower stress and anxiety. Probably depends a little onyour pet’s personality ?.


A resident doing in-home yoga with a campus-wide broadcast

Whatever the right fit is for you…find it! We’ll all be eager to reconnect once this is over!


Welcome Martha Maksym as Wake Robin’s new President and CEO!

By | Events, News

The Board of Directors at Wake Robin, Vermont’s first lifecare community, have announced that Martha Maksym will succeed as President and CEO following Patrick McKee’s
retirement from Wake Robin next month. The Board of Directors, Wake Robin residents and staff thank Mr. McKee for his five years of dedicated service to the community, and are pleased to begin the next chapter with Maksym as leader. Martha began her tenure as Wake Robin’s President and CEO in January 2020.

“Martha Maksym comes to us with a strong background in the skills and outlook that are a close fit with Wake Robin’s traditions and culture,” said Eric Hanson, chair of the Board of Directors at Wake Robin. “Over the course of her impressive career, Martha has demonstrated her commitment to community on all levels. Her background of proven service makes us very excited to welcome her to Wake Robin.”

Wake Robin’s President and CEO, Martha Maksym

Prior to accepting the position as Wake Robin President and CEO, Maksym was the Deputy Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services. Martha spent 22 years at United Way of Northwest Vermont, the last five as Executive Director. She was also formerly Executive Director of the Green Mountain Prevention Projects.

Maksym has deep roots in Vermont, spending her entire career with Vermont organizations after earning undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Vermont.

Following an intensive, nationwide search for a CEO, Wake Robin’s Board of Directors and leadership staff are confident that Maksym’s combination of past experience and dedication to community values make her a perfect match for the top leadership role, and are pleased to welcome her to Wake Robin.

Wellness Philosophy and Active Aging at Wake Robin

By | Blog, News

By Program and Events Coordinator Jena Necrason

This quote by playwright George Bernard Shaw expresses something deeply connected to the joy we find in living and inspires us to keep our spirit of play as we move through the stages of our lives.

We hope that we can inhabit our body with an energetic mind that helps us fulfill our true potential. We hope to give our mind the gift of a body that is strong and resilient.  The synergy of mind and body helps us continue to embrace wellness, even when the going gets tough.

Working as Program and Events Coordinator here at Wake Robin has taught me many new things about active aging.  As part of the team who oversees all wellness programs and fitness spaces on campus, we keep asking two questions:

Is this an innovative way of looking at things?

How can we continue to push ourselves to embrace new and engaging trends in active aging wellness?

people exercising on gym machines

Residents working out on the new Keiser training machines

In December of 2019, Wake Robin opened a new Fitness Center.  Our new space offers diverse options for residents to have their Wellness needs met right here on our beautiful campus. Our Strength Studio is full of state-of-the-art Keiser Strength Training equipment.  Our Cardio Area includes numerous machines ranging from a NordicTrack Spin Bike with technology that connects the user to online workout sessions both at gyms and in spectacular outdoor locations around the globe, to recumbent bikes that support a more rehabilitation-focused workout or a low-impact exercise session.

We look for ways to offer continuing education opportunities as part of our wellness program. Interactive workshops that demonstrate equipment use, ideas for progression of exercises, and how to use newer-trend handheld equipment are a fun way to encourage confidence and motivate residents to use the new space. This initiative is key to offering residents the opportunity to see themselves as active participants, break down barriers, and find community around wellness.  Our goal is to demystify the conversation, so our residents feel included and curious to know more.

Residents are excited to find, or re-connect with, their most-healthy self and this can lead to increased fitness levels, sharper brain health, and a boost in social engagement. Empowered by knowledge and basic building blocks, residents start to envision the Fitness Center as part of who they are.

This is an exciting time for Wake Robin. We are ready to meet the future in health and happiness and just as importantly, with a continuous spirit of play.

Jeans Friday Donation Given to Feed Chittenden

By | Blog, News

At Wake Robin, every Friday is jeans Friday. What does this mean? Each Friday, staff is encouraged to wear their favorite denim, and in exchange, they contribute one dollar to a donation fund. The Jeans Fund started five years ago.

Three people standing in front of a sign

Wake Robin HR Director Anne Levesque donating over $2,419 to Director Rob Meehan, Community Engagment Coordinator Anna McMahon of Feeding Chittenden

Well, as Mr. Franklin said, “a penny saved is a penny earned.”

We are happy to announce that during the past year, The Jeans Fund has continued to grow to nearly $2,500. These funds are then donated to area organizations for the betterment of the local community and this year Wake Robin’s HR Director Anne Levesque presented the annual donation to Feeding Chittenden, the largest direct service emergency food provider in the state of Vermont.

Why Donate to Feeding Chittenden?

Anne summed up why Wake Robin donated to Feeding Chittenden with the following.

“Each year we take donation ideas from the staff. We then list them and ask staff to vote for their preference. In this process we also try to highlight organizations that align with our values.  At Wake Robin, we are aware of how food insecurity can be a challenge for Vermonters who work by our side, but struggle to make ends meet. Feeding Chittenden works at all levels of food production chain, matching Wake Robin’s commitment to Healthy Food in Healthcare, a national initiative to support food sustainability and promote a healthier food system.”

Men putting canned goods on a food shelf

Filling the food shelf at Feeding Chittenden

So, on a bright January afternoon, Anne and Media-Marketing Coordinator Francis McGill visited Feeding Chittenden, which is located on North Winooski Avenue in Burlington. They met with Feeding Chittenden Director Rob Meehan and Community Engagement Manager Anna McMahon. Rob and Anna gave the Wake Robin representatives a tour of the premises while highlighting the impact and reach of Feeding Chittenden’s programs.

Feeding Chittenden’s Impact

Feeding Chittenden not only serves the community but engages it. Its Community Kitchen Academy demonstrates this. CKA is a culinary job training program led by professional Senior Chef Instructor Jim Logan where students develop the professional and inter-personal skills they need to find and retain employment in the hospitality industry. The meals they prepare in the program are then used to fight hunger in the community.

Man slicing green beans

A CKA culinary student

Besides, the Academy, Feeding Chittenden feeds over 10,000 county residents through its Food Shelf, operates a “Good Food Truck” that goes directly to communities in need, provides groceries to homebound clients and rescues over one million pounds of food waste each year. 

Make a Difference

Like Wake Robin, you can make a difference by joining the fight against hunger. Give your hands and heart by volunteering, or host a food drive.

You can make financial donations to Feeding Chittenden here.

Community Center Meeting Room Opens

By | News

By Leslie Parker, Director of Environmental Services 

Wake Robin’s new meeting room!

Another milestone in Wake Robin’s Phase III construction is complete! The new Community Center meeting room opened in late November. During the first CUP of Conversation held within the space, Leslie Parker, Director of Environmental Services, and Meagan Buckley, Director of Resident and Health Services, highlighted the room’s new features to both residents and staff alike.

The multi-purpose meeting room offers a telecoil hearing loop, acoustical panels, a large projection screen for presentations and Blu-ray movies, plus custom lighting controls. Musical performances are enhanced by the Steinway grand piano that graces the stage and dances are expected to take full advantage of the 36’ by 24’ dance floor.

The Holiday Market recently used the new multi-purpose room to great success. Many Wake Robin committees look forward to utilizing the new space including the Wake Robin Singers choral group, the Hand Bell Ensemble, and English Country Dance. Popular annual events, such as the New Year’s Eve and Kentucky Derby parties, will also take advantage of this wonderful new room.

Holiday Market

Peter Wilder, from Audio Visual Environments (AVE), worked extensively on the meeting room and offered the following insight: “Wake Robin’s multi-purpose meeting room and community space has been designed to facilitate education events with live presenters, dramatic presentations and video content. The loudspeakers have been engineered with considerable ‘headroom’ to offer crystal clear audio reproduction and vocal sound reinforcement, and the easy-to-use touch panel interface for room control simplifies the room’s operation. Finally, because the system is completely programmable and expandable, the room’s AV capabilities can adapt with minimal fuss and hassle.”

Wake Robin is a vibrant, engaged community with a rich history of supporting educational opportunities, social activities, and the performing arts. With the opening of the community center meeting room, we are extremely excited to have a new home to further enhance the resident experience.

Wake Robin Wins 2019 Workforce Innovation Award

By | News

Wake Robin HR Director Anne Levesque accepts the Workforce Innovation Award from the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce

We are extremely excited to announce that Wake Robin was honored as The 2019 Workforce Innovation Award recipient during the 109th Annual Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce Dinner. This was the first year The Workforce Innovation Award had been presented and Wake Robin was honored to be one of many organizations to be nominated.  Human Resources Director Anne Levesque accepted the award and shared with the audience some thoughts on the many creative efforts the Wake Robin community consistently realize.

Anne Levesque poses with Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, LCRCC Chair of the Board of Directors Kurt Gruendling, Vermont Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, U.S. Congressman Peter Welch, Kim Anderson, and Vermont Governor Phil Scott and others at the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce annual awards dinner.

The Chamber’s press release on VT Digger described the Workforce Innovation Award as celebrating a “business that is ahead of the curve in retaining and building their future workforce, recognizing achievements in diversity and inclusion, employee retention and training, collaboration with other institutions and businesses, and innovative practices that benefit their employees, and in turn our community.” Wake Robin’s unique performance reviews, described as  “Job Talk”, and its on-campus opportunities to advance skills, were just a few of the reasons The Chamber delivered the 2019 Workforce Innovation Award to Vermont’s only nonprofit Life Plan Community.

We’re grateful for the recognition and will continue to develop innovative ways to attract employees and residents to our caring community. Congratulations to a fantastic, hard-working team!

HR Director Anne Levesque delivers Wake Robin’s acceptance speech

Wake Robin Hosts Autumn Informational Gatherings

By | Events, News

There might not be a better time to visit campus when the foliage is peaking in red and orange colors.

It was appropriate then that Wake Robin held two informational gatherings for prospective residents this October.

Residents sharing their experiences at Wake Robin

Folks interested in Vermont’s first and only Life Plan Community arrived at the Community Center for a breakfast spread, good conversation, and to hear from current residents. Director of Marketing, MaryBeth Dudley, kicked the event off by sharing the history of our Continuing Care Retirement Community. Then, taking center stage by the fireside, a panel of residents discussed what they love about Wake Robin and why they chose this active community. Depositors asked great questions about lifestyle, care, and transitioning into the community.

Potential residents enjoying the lake view from Maple!

After breakfast, the visiting groups toured the Maple apartments (where they had a stunning view of Lake Champlain)…and were even given a tour of the renovated ground floor of the Community Center!

Expect more events like this to be hosted by the marketing department next year. To schedule your own personal tour, send us a message, or please call 802-264-5100.


 Touring a Maple apartment

 Touring the nearly-finished Meeting Room!

Wake Robin Residents Win ChampBot Competition

By | Events, News

It took months of tinkering and testing, testing, testing. But the “Geezer Bot” team was focused on bringing home a victory for Wake Robin.

At the Champlain Mini Maker Faire held at Shelburne Farms, residents Ed Cobb, Steve Silverman, and Jim Wick competed in The ChampBot Challenge, an opportunity in which teams build a remote controlled aquatic robot to swim the waters of Lake Champlain and navigate obstacles.

Some of the challenges included: feeding their baby Champetta (female), setting fire to their enemy robots, and hiding from danger by submerging!

Not only did the Wake Robin squad finish in first place, earning a $1500 prize, but they also won the popular vote cast by the Faire’s audience. It may have helped that there were many enthusiastic Wake Robin residents in the crowd.

Jim Wick at the helm

Champetta and the team were the talk of the town.

The Shelburne News ran a story about their ChampBot victory and the team appeared live on MyChamplainValley news.

Check them both out in their respective hyperlinks!

Champetta breathing fire!

Wake Robin Honored at Vermont Health Care Association Annual Convention

By | Blog, News


Wake Robin is proud to announce that several members of its staff were honored at the VHCA (Vermont Health Care Association) annual convention, held September 24-26 at the Killington Resort.

The Environmental Services team was recognized as the 2018 Outstanding Environmental Services Team. Environmental Services at Wake Robin includes the Security, Maintenance, Housekeeping, Laundry, and Transportation Departments.  In addition to the regular day-to-day operations of a large campus comprised of independent living, residential care and nursing care, the Environmental Services staff is tasked with keeping Wake Robin operating smoothly in the midst of the expansive construction and renovation project currently underway.  The staff is managing this task through extraordinary teamwork, while keeping focused on the needs of Wake Robin residents in every setting within the community.

In addition, two Wake Robin staff members were individually honored at the convention.

Tasia Benham was named Occupational Therapist of the Year. Ms. Benham is not only dedicated to her role as an Occupational Therapist, but also delivers challenging and motivating wellness classes on a weekly basis including Tai Chi in Wake Robin’s therapeutic pool (known as Ai Chi) as well as a cardio based aquatic class. Tasia is skilled at modifying and adapting to new ideas, challenges, and resident feedback in a positive and seamless way that continues to drive the success of Wake Robin’s programming.

Amy Lyman was named LPN of the Year. In her over 20 years at Wake Robin, Ms. Lyman has worked every shift, and in every neighborhood, in numerous roles.  The VHCA award recognizes Amy’s organizational skills and ability to transform chaos into functionality and purpose.  Her nomination to this award was submitted by her team, attesting to her leadership skills.

The Vermont Health Care Association is committed to advocating on behalf of residents, staff and communities that depend on Vermont’s nursing, residential care, and assisted living homes as an integral component of the long-term care continuum

Congratulations to all!