Making Brain Health a Wellness Priority
An Interview with Vi’s Jolene Moore About Total Brain Health
By Barbara Peck
An Interview: Jolene Moore of Vi senior living communities details what she’s learned about implementing the Total Brain Health Toolkits, a series of “out of the box” courses on memory improvement and brain fitness.
As Corporate Director of Lifestyles, Jolene Moore works with Lifestyle Directors at the 10 Vi senior living communities, all of which are using the Total Brain Health (TBH) Memory 1.0 Toolkit. Jolene is based in the Chicago corporate office; the Vi (pronounced “Vee”) communities are located in six states, with almost 4,000 residents.
Q: How did you choose TBH for the Vi communities?
A: I’m constantly looking at industry trends to see where programming is going in senior living. Three years ago I started seeing more about brain health in the news. That told me it was something I wanted to bring to our communities—to educate our residents about dementia and Alzheimer’s.
We were already doing really well with intellectual programming, but our lineup was missing science-based programs. I researched “brain health programs” and found that there are many ways to interpret this topic. I was intrigued by TBH from the beginning, so I talked to Dr. Green [the leading brain health expert who founded Total Brain Health] and attended her sessions at conferences. I liked that she uses evidence from previously proven strategies to help users learn the science behind the toolkits, and the reasons for implementing the program. I also liked the structure: the training and the toolkits support the science in a very logical manner.
I contacted some other TBH clients and learned that the program had been well accepted in their communities. Finally, I got buy-in from our corporate office to purchase the program.
Q: How does TBH fit your strategic goals?
A: In 2016 I rolled out our wellness philosophy, “Living Well: Mind, Body and Spirit.” To get residents to embrace it, I wanted to offer evidence-based programs in each of the three areas—mind, body and spirit. That was essential to stimulate and engage our residents, who are very sophisticated and well educated. And from my research, I knew that TBH addresses whole-person wellness, which was exactly what I was looking for.
Q: How did you roll out the TBH Toolkit in your communities?
A: I chose one of our communities to do a pilot because I knew that the team there would be very open-minded about a new type of classroom program, and would put a sincere effort into making it successful. Later, they were my advocates when it came to rolling out to the rest of the communities. The pilot instructor was always available to offer advice and strategies in implementing the program.
In introducing the TBH program, I made it clear that I wasn’t promising to improve everyone’s brain health. But, I told them, this program will inspire you to attend to your brain health: To be aware, to think about ways you can prolong your brain health, and to engage with one another in the memory strategies you’re learning.
Q: What was your experience of the training process?
A: It was tricky to ask my team to do something they hadn’t done before. Teaching in a classroom setting isn’t everyone’s desire or talent—my team members excel at working with residents, but that doesn’t mean they have the desire to teach a class based on science. But Dr. Green was there to support me all the way. She led the training calls, and whenever my team had questions, they could discuss it over the phone with her.
We especially liked having our fitness coordinators act as TBH trainers. They’re used to teaching and being in front of people, so they’re more comfortable with that than our lifestyle directors might be. Besides, they totally get the connection between brain health and exercise. They’re cross-selling TBH in their fitness classes—and also cross-selling fitness in their TBH classes!
Q: What do you like about being a TBH client?
A: When I roll out a program for my team, I want to put them in the best possible position for success. I don’t want my team to fail, because if they fail, I fail. The TBH team seems to feel the same way. They don’t want my team to fail at rolling out their program, so they’ll do whatever’s necessary to put us in a win-win position.
Q: How have your residents received the program?
A: As I said, this type of program is new to Vi. We’ve led discussion groups, brought in lecturers, and formed relationships with universities for learning opportunities, but we’d never had this type of structured classroom social learning, week after week. So it was very new for our residents, but they really enjoyed learning and engaging in a different way. They told us that it was not only a great experience, it was also fun!
Want to learn how Total Brain Health courses can make a difference in your community? Visit
TBH Toolkits to find out more about our group-based brain training programs with engaging social-based workouts that both entertain and inform.
Click HERE to read the final article in this series.