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Spiritual Services Role Created at Waveny

Spiritual Services Role Created at Waveny

Posted on May 31, 2016

Reverend Tom Lilly has been named Director of Spiritual Services for Waveny LifeCare Network, a non-profit continuum of eldercare in New Canaan, Conn.

“Reverend Lilly joins us in a meaningful new role created in response to the community’s feedback and our desire to provide on-site spiritual support to those we serve,” said Bill Piper, Chief Executive Officer of Waveny. “Following a far-reaching national search led by our town’s clergy association,  Tom was the clear choice for Waveny – not only due to the rich depth of long-term care and hospice experience he brings to this new position, but because of his passionate calling to help people deal with the most challenging moments of life. He will provide spiritual counseling, comfort and guidance to all our residents, patients, Adult Day participants, families and friends, and notably, those whom we serve within the community through our home-based services.”

“The welcome has just been incredible,” said Lilly. “Everyone has been so open and excited, and it makes me take to heart the words of the parable, ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’” Reverend Lilly relocated from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to join the Waveny organization. “To have been selected among so many well-qualified candidates is a humbling honor. Between our staff’s compassionate approach to care and immense respect for personal dignity, and our organization’s incredible integration into the greater community, it’s clear that Waveny was built upon the golden rule right down to the littlest things. I’ve never seen an organization work so hard, but make it look so easy.”

A graduate of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and Marshall University of Huntington, W. Va., Reverend Lilly most recently served as Staff Chaplain for VITAS Hospice of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. for nearly six years. He is a Board Certified Chaplain who is ordained and has standing with the United Church of Christ, but whose role at Waveny is self-described as an Interfaith Chaplain. “My most important role, but most basic function, is to embrace and support people of all faiths and traditions,” he said. “My mission is to help them feel nurtured, supported and validated from within, and to apply a great sense of respect to each and every unique situation. If at any time the experience becomes more about my faith than about reaffirming their faith, I've veered wildly off path.”

Lilly says that restoring, renewing and nurturing a sense of spiritual connection is a key priority. “Seniors can experience disconnects from their faith amid life changes or when they feel internally isolated,” said Lilly. “My role is to remind them that despite the challenges of aging, their faith and spirituality still undergird them. And, that a divine, caring and supportive presence is still strong within and around them.”

Caring for his great grandmother decades prior inspired Reverend Lilly’s calling to eldercare service. “I have sat where our families sit, and I will always support them with empathy and sincerity,” he said. “Our elders are our roots – they’re the story of where we came from.” For struggling or grieving families, Reverend Lilly seeks to empower confidence in their choices and decisions, while also facilitating access to Waveny’s many caregiver support resources. “By entrusting Waveny with the care of those whom they love, families have chosen a place of great honor and dignity. I seek to let them let go of any feelings of guilt they may have,” he said. “There’s no room for shame in asking for help. I call it ‘regret management,’ and it’s truly one of the best ways families can deliver upon the sacred commandment to honor thy father and mother.”

Waveny LifeCare Network provides a comprehensive continuum of healthcare to serve the changing needs of older adults from all areas. Waveny is a non-profit organization that offers independent living at The Inn, assisted living and respite care for people with memory impairment at The Village, and skilled nursing, inpatient and outpatient Rehabilitation Services at Waveny Care Center. It also includes the Brown Geriatric Evaluation Clinic, an Adult Day Program that provides free door-to-door transportation throughout most of lower Fairfield County, and an array of community-based services through Waveny Home Healthcare, Waveny at Home and Geriatric Care Management. For more information, call 1-855-WAVENY-1 or visit www.waveny.org.