Position: Outreach Director
Organization: HERITAGE MEMORIAL SERVICES
What role does your nominee have in senior care and senior care issues?
According to Ellie, she got started in the senior field accidentally: “Call it fate, Kismet or good fortune. I accidently fell into the world of Senior Care. In 1994, I lived in Santa Clarita and worked for a major non-profit organization. Non-profit was where I thought I would continue my career. When the company my husband worked for decided to move to Arizona, we knew we wouldn’t like Phoenix. He got an offer from a company in Orange County and we were moving south. At the time there was no lateral move available with the organization for which I worked so I started sending out resumes to Orange County non-profits. I had several interviews but nothing jelled. I was moving on Friday and was busy packing when I received a phone call from ARV, a company based in Costa Mesa which owned a number of Assisted Living communities (neither of which I knew anything about). They had somehow gotten my resume and wanted to interview me. And, they wanted to interview me immediately. Of course I jumped in the shower, jumped in the car, jumped on the freeway. I guess the interview went well because the following Monday when I called H.R. to give them my new address and phone number they told me that I had interviews with the Executive Directors (called Administrators then) with whom they would like me to work the next day. I was hired marketing assisted living in Fullerton and Placentia. I had never been in either city prior to this and knew nothing about the senior care industry nor Orange County. I was on my new learning curve.”
Why should this person be nominated
Ellie Nixon is a legend in the Orange County Senior Industry, everyone knows who she is and what she does. If you do not know Ellie then you need to get out and volunteer more helping seniors. When I told her that I was going to nominate her, she was so humbled and said that she did not want to be recognized for something that she loves to do. She told me, “I have always wanted to help families, but I found my real passion working with dementia sufferers and those who are going through that experience with someone they love. I’ve been a volunteer with both the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Orange County for over 20 years, serving on the Patient and Family Services Committees as an Advocacy Ambassador, and facilitating family support groups for over 15 years. And I have discovered that I don’t just work in the senior care world. My world is making senior care a better experience for everyone. I now work with Heritage Memorial Services to continue that mission.”
During her 23 years of working in the senior industry she had worked in all levels of care communities, including dementia care and home care. Because of her great leadership skills , she became the president of the American Board of Home Care or ABHC for the Orange County chapter. This non-profit organization was created to protect families and patients in a then unregulated area of senior care industry. They had a coalition of educators going to every assisted living, seniors center, sniffs and hospitals educating seniors about the potential risks and liabilities. They also make sure Home Care companies follow the laws and regulations to protect our seniors and family members.
Ellie had helped countless people over the years and will continue doing it until her last day. She is an Outstanding Senior Care Professional not only in her profession, but also as a human being. She is my HERO; she is everyone's hero.