Tom Egan, who became president and CEO of Foundation for Senior Living in January, is on a mission.
“I want for us to do a better job of reaching out to people in the pews on Sunday and letting them know who we are, what services we have and how we can help,” Egan said.
Strolling through the FSL adult day health center in Phoenix on a warm spring afternoon, Egan paused in order to greet clients seated around a table working on a craft project. The three centers sprinkled throughout the Valley serve a combined 200 people each day. They’re not all senior citizens, though, as the FSL name suggests.
“Our youngest client was three and our oldest is 100,” Egan said. The 3-year-old was on a ventilator and needed home health care, one of the services FSL provides.
At a picnic last month, Egan noticed the bulk of participants were young adults with traumatic brain injuries. For families struggling to balance the demands of caregiving and employment, FSL is a godsend, he said.
One grateful family member shared that he wouldn’t be able to work to support his disabled brother if he didn’t have a safe, dignified environment where his brother could stay during the work day. FSL’s adult day health center filled the void.
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Open house May 21-22 at the Glendale Adult Day Health Services center
“That’s the mission. It’s not just the individual we serve — the whole family is impacted,” Egan said.
On any given day, there are nine busses driving clients to one of the FSL’s three centers located in Glendale, Tempe and central Phoenix. “Transportation is a huge barrier,” Egan said.
There are trained medical personnel at each center. “I can’t imagine any medical issue we couldn’t manage,” Egan noted.
FSL also helps the elderly maintain their independence and stay in their homes. Egan proposed a hypothetical: asking parishioners for a show of hands of who wants to go into a nursing home.
“I don’t think anyone would raise their hand,” Egan said. “We can help you with a variety of services to stay in your home and age in place. Who doesn’t want to do that?”
From home health care, to adult day health centers, private duty care management and social workers who can help families navigate the system, FSL has a wide array of services to help the community, he said.
After 20 years working in the non-profit sector, Egan follows a servant-leadership management style in which clients are at the top of the pyramid and managers and executives are at the bottom. Everyone who works at FSL, he said, has a part in the mission to serve clients. The Church’s social teaching serves as a guide.
“My personal mission has always been service of the poor and vulnerable,” Egan said. “Who is more poor and vulnerable than our elderly or disabled folks?” He pointed to Psalm 71 as a source of guidance in his work.
“‘Do not me cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength fails,’” Egan quoted.
“It’s easy to fundraise for children and puppies. Well, there are vulnerable populations in our diocese that are forgotten about. And that’s why that verse really spoke to me. Let’s not forget about people when their bodies have stuff happen.”