For most of the year Oak Trace Care & Rehab and Terrace Oaks Care & Rehab, which share a campus in Bessemer, are friendly rivals. But each October for the past five years Oak Trace and Terrace Oaks have put their rivalry aside for a good cause. They come together to raise money and awareness about breast cancer with the Walk and Roll for a Cure.

Walk and Roll was created to honor Sheree Walker, a former Oak Trace activity director who died from breast cancer. Over the past five years it has grown into more than a fundraiser. It’s an opportunity for residents, staff, and the community to come together and build relationships.

Oak Trace and Terrace Oaks staff prepare for Walk and Roll.

Oak Trace and Terrace Oaks staff prepare for Walk and Roll.

“One of the things we struggle with is our public perception,” said Trina Vines, Oak Trace administrator. “We invite the senior citizens centers to come on our campus and participate in Walk and Roll. So they’re here to know where we are and become comfortable with us prior to needing rehab or long term care. As a profession, I think we struggle with history and stories and a lot of fear about what nursing homes are about. I think for people to come in and see our home it really makes a difference. I think it breaks down that barrier or fear of a care center. It makes us almost partners because we have some of the senior center attendees also volunteer at our nursing home so it gives us more partners in the community and gives the seniors a viable choice should they need skilled nursing care.”

Through Walk and Roll for a Cure, Oak Trace and Terrace Oaks have raised about $7,000 for breast cancer research. At the same time, they’ve raised awareness and understanding of the important role nursing homes play in the local community.

“It’s just a win-win event,” Terrace Oaks Administrator Kelly Pendleton said. “It’s a fun activity for our residents, a team building event for our staff and helps all of us celebrate the long term care profession.”

Oak Trace has a track record of success with best practices. It was an Alabama’s Best Practices presenter in 2014 for its “Music and Memory” program.

Oak Trace and Terrace Oaks will present “Walk and Roll” at Alabama’s Best Practices on August 27, 2015.

Click here for detailed information on how to implement Oak Trace and Terrace Oaks’ best practice in your nursing home.