Adam Berman Chelsea Jewish Foundation

Meet Adam Berman – President of Chelsea Jewish Foundation

Adam Berman Chelsea Jewish FoundationAdam Berman has been asked the same question, or a variation of it, for several years and the answer is always, “No, healthcare wasn’t my career plan.” As the son of Chelsea Jewish Foundation’s CEO, Barry Berman, Adam does admit that he had much exposure to the residents and the operations of Chelsea while growing up, but he really had no aspirations for a career in the “family business.” In fact, he originally wanted to be lawyer.

H realized that he didn’t have a passion for law when he couldn’t express why he wanted to be a lawyer. Adam wanted to do something that would be centered around helping people. His dad encouraged Adam to study to obtain a nursing home administrator’s license.

Adam explained, “Dad was a great mentor. We have always had a wonderful relationship, but I wasn’t intrigued by the day-to-day operations of the nursing home. He helped me to understand the dynamics of the business – at its core our mission is to help people. Being president allows me to exercise different abilities from financial to interpersonal and management skills.”

Adam attended Roger Williams University and holds a degree in Sociology. He worked side-by-side with his father and became assistant administrator, getting a broad perspective of the nursing homes from both the operational and the organizational sides of the business. He likes to think of himself as bridging the two areas of finance and operations, bringing a broader outlook to decisions.

His philosophy is simple. “I believe that you take care of people as you would your parents; you treat them as you want to be treated. I have faith in the goodness in people. I don’t micromanage every single move … managers have to be responsible. I set systems and operations in place that allow people to do their best work. The principles are the same, whether we have a staff of 5 or 500,” he said.

The tree of life logo of Chelsea Jewish Foundation exemplifies the attitude and values of the company. Adam explained, “The tree of life is an image in religion that goes beyond Judaism. We want people to grow… Chelsea is a place for living, no matter the ages of our residents. We are here not to just take care of them, but to create the best environment for them to live their lives. It is incumbent upon us to care for people of all faiths and to offer services for all faiths. Our goal is to help heal the world and make it a better place… starting right here at Chelsea.”

One of the accomplishments of which Adam is proudest involves the Leonard Florence Center for Living, America’s first and at its inception was the only permanent residence dedicated to caring for individuals living with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Here residents receive all the services they need in a non-traditional nursing home with private rooms in an environment designed to look like and be a real home. Here residents are able to open doors, turn their bedroom shades up or down, adjust room temperatures and call for the elevator … all made possible with the latest computer-operated technology that allows residents the most amount of independence possible. A computer and a sensor that tracks head and eye movements for instructions makes it all happen.

Adam said, “Our nursing home facility gives ALS and Multiple Sclerosis patients a quality of life that allows these individuals to live with meaning each day. They are physically challenged, but they do not have diminished mental capacities. Our staff is expressly trained to meet the special needs of this population. An example is the professor of Louisiana State University with ALS was invited to an academic conference in California. He flew there with a nurse so that he could present to his colleagues with all the dignity and respect he has earned as an expert in his field. We can’t cure the disease, but we can do all we can to bring significance back to their lives.”

Balancing his professional and personal lives is important to Adam and he is proud of his ability to do just that. He is married to Sondria and has a three-year old daughter, Sasha – and another daughter due in late July!

As Adam and Sondria celebrate the addition of a new life in their family, Adam is acutely aware of the importance that as a society we not neglect our seniors. He urged, “We need to understand better the end-stage of life and to honor people by learning what their needs are and creating an environment that is more than just a place to live out their days. They still have the capacity to do so much more and it is our responsibility to help them to succeed.”

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