Who’s Who of Wilmington Today: Meet Adam Hyatt, Executive Director of Elderhaus, Inc.
As the newly elected executive director for Elderhaus, Inc., a community-based senior care organization, Adam Hyatt brings a youthful presence and dedicated spirit to serving the elderly in the greater Wilmington area. Since 2013 Adam has worked with Elderhaus in different management positions, most recently as the former PACE program director. After starting his new role in July of 2018, he says he is eager to “continue moving forward with this dedicated team of professionals.”
Wilmington Today: Tell us a little about yourself.
Adam Hyatt: I was born and raised in Kannapolis, N.C., and grew up in a Christian home with my parents, Frank and Cathy, and my sister, Jennifer. I lived on a street full of relatives; I was constantly surrounded by family. After graduating from high school, like previous summers, I made my way to Holden Beach. My plans were to attend the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Fall 2003. After some deliberation, I landed in the Health & Applied Human Sciences building where I started working toward my degree in Therapeutic Recreation.
WT: What’s your professional background and how did that lead you to working with Elderhaus?
AH: I was very fortunate to complete my Recreation Therapy Internship at The Davis Community in Wilmington. Before college, and during, I was driven to work with children and young adults with different abilities. After my time at Davis, I decided I wanted to work with geriatrics and the aging community. Prior to working at Elderhaus PACE, I worked in the service industry for over a decade, working with the public and learning to build relationships. I believe everyone should work in the service industry at some point.=
WT: Was there a specific person or event that inspired you to work in eldercare?
AH: I grew up very close with family. My mother’s parents lived next door and we spent summers and many holidays together. The summer of 2002 my grandfather’s life changed drastically due to a stroke. Over the next 10 years I recognized the struggle my family faced as they succeeded to juggle doctor visits, medications, therapy visits, and much more. For my grandfather, there was no continuity of care.
WT: What is your vision for eldercare, and do you see it changing in any way in the future?
AH: Continuity of care is vital, especially in seniors. I may be biased for obvious reasons, but programs like Elderhaus, Inc. are going to become a bigger necessity in the future. Elderhaus, Inc. consists of three companies: PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), The Alper Center (Adult Day Care/Adult Day Health), and Elderhaus Home Care. Our goal is to provide coordinated, community-based healthcare and socialization for adults. With our services, and a team-based approach including the family or friends, we can maintain your loved ones in the home, where they want to be.
WT: As the former PACE program director, what did you accomplish and how did that position prepare you for your role now?
AH: Operating as the PACE program director, I was able to be more involved in decisions and operations. Former CEO Rick Richards was more than a boss; he was a mentor. He taught me that no matter how hectic the situation or how serious the problem seemed, maintaining a calm demeanor will benefit others around you.
WT: What are your goals for Elderhaus and how will you reach them?
AH: We want to grow! Elderhaus was started in Wilmington 35 years ago by Linda Pearce. In April 2018, Dr. Marsha Fretwell successfully incorporated the PACE program with Elderhaus. We were the first PACE program in North Carolina! Elderhaus is a hidden gem in Wilmington and we want to grow – not just for the company, but because we know how many people in the community need our resources.
We want to educate. Our wide range of staff are experts in the field of geriatric care. We want to educate community members, potential caregivers and participants, and continue educating our staff.
We want to be involved. There are many companies, organizations, and schools in our service area that we want to partner with and build lasting relationships. Every business, charity, and organization, is a part of this community, and our community is amazing!
WT: How does Elderhaus impact the local community?
AH: Elderhaus impacts the local community in many ways other than the direct care we provide. We work with families, as a team, to provide care to these loved people. It also allows caregivers to work, reduce stress, run errands, or just take a breath.
Elderhaus is directly involved with other non-profits and charities to raise awareness on a local and national level. We currently work with multiple universities and colleges to provide community-based learning opportunities. Many students and adults complete volunteer hours, practicums, and internships at Elderhaus. As we continue to grow and to educate our surrounding communities, we look forward to building new relationships that will enhance the overall community.
WT: What has been fulfilling to you about working with Elderhaus?
AH: The population we serve may not have many filters, but they have experience; they will tell it like you need to hear it. Our participants may come here to receive care from our team, but many of them end up looking after us like family.
Elderhaus is a place filled with incredible, passionate employees that go beyond what is expected. Spend 30 seconds or 10 years with our staff and its obvious how dedicated they are to our participants and families.
WT: What have you learned from the participants and families at Elderhaus?
AH: One of my favorite lessons is slow down and spend time. In life we are often taught “rise and grind” or “get up and go,” but we forget to “stop and smell the roses.” In the middle of a busy workday, the best thing for my soul is to sit down and take a moment with a participant. Also, working at Elderhaus reinforces what I already knew – family is the most important.
For more information on Elderhaus, visit elderhaus.com