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Jan McGillick Celebrates Over 25 Years of Advocacy As a Geriatric Social Worker

With over twenty-five years of dedication and service to the geriatric community affected with dementia, Jan McGillick has tipped her hat and is off to retirement. Dolan Memory Care Homes has worked closely with Jan, while she served as Director of Education at the Alzheimer’s Association for twenty years and even more intimately when she joined Dolan’s team in 2014.

Jan’s commitment and mentorship to the geriatric community is unparalleled. She possesses an eloquent gift of communication, whether it was broaching a tough or sensitive subject with a peer or family member. She consistently maintained a high regard of professionalism, which was always intertwined with humor. Jan is respected and admired in the geriatric community due to her tenacious advocacy and fearlessness to speak up. Jan’s ability to walk the walk and talk the talk garnished tremendous respect. She excels in a classroom setting educating students, care partners and nurses, but is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and provide hands-on care as a learning experience for nurses and care partners.

Since 2014, Jan has been a member of the Dolan Leadership Team and is responsible for dementia specific staff development, a graduate internship program and engaging with assisted living residents, their families and staff as well as the larger community in meaningful, person centered, residential care. Utilizing her geriatric social work skills, community and academic resources, Jan together with Dolan staff, builds programs that meet the psychosocial needs of Dolan residents from move in through aging in place and end of life care.

Prior to joining Dolan Memory Care Homes, Jan served as Education Director and Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Education Institute at the St. Louis Alzheimer’s Association for over 20 years, serving a 38-county, bi-state region. She received her Social Work degree from the University of Missouri and MA (SW) from University of Chicago. Jan is also a licensed nursing home administrator.

Jan’s lifelong passion is to advocate with and for older adults. During her career, she’s developed numerous award-winning programs addressing all stages of Alzheimer’s disease, for caregivers and professionals. She educates hundreds of health care professionals and students, and has been active in culture change movements in Illinois and Missouri.

The Older Women’s League (OWL) St. Louis honored Jan with a Woman of Worth award in 2004. In conjunction with many committed professionals, Jan recently developed and delivered a curriculum for hospital staff aimed at systems and practice changes that result in “dementia friendly care” in hospitals. She is an active field instructor for social work interns, university instructor in long- term care management and Gerontology Capstone, and is a frequent lecturer and collaborator with academic institutions, health and long term care consultants, and community based organizations and Alzheimer’s Association Chapters. Jan was one of ten selected as a Practice Change Fellow, 2009-2011 a program funded by the John A. Hartford and The Atlantic Philanthropies foundations.

In 2018 Jan received an award from the Friedman Center for Aging at Washington University for Excellence in Service to Older Adults. The Foundation supports the award for Barnes-Jewish Hospital from the Harvey A. and Dorismae Hacker Friedman Fund. https://publichealth.wustl.edu/centers/aging/friedman-lecture-awards/

Her colleagues commemorate her retirement with a few sentiments:

“You’ve given your heart and soul and now is time for your heart and soul to be filled back up.”

“You have been such a great mentor and friend since I started at Dolan as an intern. Thanks for everything you’ve done for both me and Dolan as a whole. Please don’t be a stranger, we will miss you greatly.”

“I couldn’t begin to express my gratitude and love for all your friendship, mentoring and goodness you’ve brought to my life.”

“Dolan is just not going to be the same without you. I’m sad for our loss.  You have been a well of knowledge and information and have always been there for so many people.  When I needed a social worker I always knew I could come to you.  I know over the years we have had to agree to disagree professionally at times…but that never once affected the amount of respect I have for you.  I hope you have a long, loving, and fun filled retirement! I hope we see you again professionally and please don’t be a stranger! You’re leaving behind a big set of shoes that I’m afraid we will struggle to fill… I just don’t think there is another Jan in this world quite like you!! Miss you already!”

“I feel so blessed to have worked with you! You have such a big heart and I have learned so much from you!”

“Just wanted to say working with you has been GROOVEY!  You are a COOL Social Worker and a FAR OUT resident Advocate. We have had some OUT OF SIGHT experiences, and political debates have been a TRIP.  Always stay TURNED ON and TUNED IN, just don’t DROP OUT!”

“You’ve helped so many with so much for so long!  Congratulations on your retirement!”

Jan, we hope you are not a stranger at Dolan Memory Care Homes, and we wish you the best! It feels fitting to part with an Irish blessing: May your troubles be less and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through your door!

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