Compassion, dignity, and service are in Rondi Wightman’s heart. As the Director of Social Services at Residences at Coffee Creek in Chesterton, and Residences at Deer Creek in Schererville, Wightman provides support and guidance to the residents and families, maximizing their quality of life through respect, compassion, and excellence.
“Working with individuals or families is always delicate work,” Wightman said. “Needs change throughout the lifecycle. Expectations can change or be challenged as we age, especially if health is compromised or begins to decline. There is an opportunity for an experienced social worker to help restore balance and to provide reassurance and resources to these families.”
Wightman’s passion for helping families with aging loved ones stems from her personal experiences as a young child. With a belief that the aging community of Northwest Indiana can continue to lead fulfilling lives as active, engaged members of the community, Wightman works hard to enhance residents’ lives at the two facilities.
“I was always very, very close with my grandparents and my friends’ grandparents,” Wightman said. “At a very young age, I was very interested in the history and the things they had seen and had lived through. That’s where a lot of it started. The senior population has always just had a very special place in my heart.”
Wightman has an impressive background of experience as a clinical medical social worker. She obtained a master’s degree in social work and holds the highest level of licensure a social worker can have, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Reflecting thousands of hours of social work in a supervised, clinical environment, the LCSW licensure exemplifies Wightman’s commitment to social work. Additionally, Wightman holds her Clinical Medical Ethicist Certification from the University of Chicago Department of Medicine and is both a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor and Certified Dementia Practitioner.
Wightman loves hearing individual stories at Residences at Coffee Creek and Deer Creek, and forms bonds with the residents that provide a valuable connection.
“I think some people have a hesitation to get involved with seniors,” Wightman said. “Sometimes people hold back a little bit because they don’t want their heart to be broken when someone that they care about passes. I almost think about it in the complete reverse. I want to get to know these folks and their history and their stories so in depth so that I know all of that when they are no longer here to tell it and share it. Seniors always have such rich stories to tell if we have the time to listen and the heart to listen.”
Wightman was instrumental in forming the Duneland Senior Center, an activity center for seniors in Porter that allows the aging population of Northwest Indiana to enjoy the company of other active adults. The Duneland Seniors meet on Wednesdays at Hawthorne Park in Porter. All area seniors are welcome to join in the fun.
The center was born when she and Cathy Ellis from Life Care Center of Valparaiso, with support of the Park Board, reinvigorated a group of seniors who used to meet socially, but whose group dissolved after its founder passed away. Today, the Duneland Senior Center is thriving with about 104 paid members.
“It makes my heart so happy that the group has survived,” Wightman said. “We’re going on our 8th year this year. It cracks me up because people won’t make other plans on Wednesdays. They reschedule their appointments saying, ‘That’s my senior day!’”
With a love for the residents and family at the Residences at Coffee Creek, Wightman is enriching the lives of the senior population in Northwest Indiana. She invites all those who are interested in social work to reach out to the Residences at Coffee Creek.
“I would love to host social work interns at Coffee Creek,” Wightman said. “Our journeys are not always smooth. Social workers help identify and illuminate the strengths of those we encounter.”
For more information on the Residences at Coffee Creek, please visit https://residencesseniorliving.com/residences-coffee-creek/.