There are two things to which Janee Weinberger is devoted: her Nebraska Huskers and eldercare. (Okay, there is one more: her new husband, Tom Meyers, photographer for CBS Denver news, whom she married this year.)
Janee grew up in Nebraska and attended Kearney State College (now, University of Nebraska at Kearney). She earned her degree in Social Work. Initially, she worked with troubled teens. Frustrated in the work, because “you had to send these kids back to their families and friends who had caused them their troubles in the first place,” she turned to eldercare and has never looked back. “I’ve been working with seniors since my second year out of college.”
She attributes much of her devotion to seniors to her grandmother, Mimi. “She was my best friend. I’d spend weekends with her.” Janie promised herself that “I will never let Mimi live in one of those ‘awful’ places.” She kept her promise; not only to herself, but also to all the seniors she has positively impacted through her years of caring devotion in quality, compassionate facilities.
Janee earned her Masters in Administration and worked in Nebraska for 16 years, where she helped build a privately owned nursing facility in her home town. “It was wonderful. I got to take care of my grandmother’s friends,” she said with a warm smile.
In 2000, Janee moved to Evergreen. She served as Director of Seniors’ Resource Center for 13 years, and has now been at Augustana Elk Run Assisted Living, here in Evergreen, for two years. “Never in 34 years did I find such wonderful alignment with my beliefs and [and employer’s]. Every day they demonstrate their respect, value expertise, accommodate – corporate is always there to support us. They’re very progressive in serving our residents.”
Asked what makes Augustana so special, she said, “I like that we’re so small. I can have individual relationships with the residents, their families, and especially the staff.” She shook her head at the many images in her mind of the caregivers at Elk Run. “Care giving is the hardest job in the world. We’ve got some incredible staff.” Residents at Elk Run know that they are always welcome at her open door. Their families rely on her prompt and courteous support and the staff knows that she cares about each of them.
Janee also involves herself in the community. A member of Rotary and the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce, she finds it important to contribute. “Not only do I think it’s my responsibility, but it’s also very rewarding. I have many wonderful friends from being involved.”
She knows that she is lucky to be surrounded by family. Her mother, children, and grandchildren all live in the area. Looking toward her personal future, she said, “I’m focusing on this new wonderful marriage with Tom and spending quality time with my family.” That’s something that undoubtedly will happen, as Janie has years and years of experience of giving quality time to others.