Sloan Bentley was living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area when she received a call from a recruiter to interview for the chief executive position at Des Moines-based Lifespace Communities.
With 12 senior living communities in seven states, including Deerfield in Urbandale, Lifespace is the seventh-largest not-for-profit senior living provider in the country.
Bentley, who took the Lifespace job in March, has worked in the senior housing industry nearly 29 years. She and her husband, Dan Weimer, recently moved into a house they bought in West Des Moines.
How did you decide on senior housing as a career?
I was blessed to be raised by my grandparents, and I was very close to them. My grandfather walked me downtown in Martinsburg, Ohio, every day, and we'd stop by most of the front porches and visit with his friends. I just got to know their stories and gained an appreciation of seniors and what they've given back, their life experience. I knew I wanted to be in health services, and I went to school and they had a gerontology program, and it just seemed like the perfect marriage.
Do you have a guiding philosophy about what senior living should be?
For me, it's a passion of serving our grandparents. I was raised by my grandparents, and I was taught to "Honor thy grandfather and honor thy grandmother." That was a great lesson that I learned in my grandparents' home, and to be able to dedicate my life to that was what really instilled that passion in me.
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