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Introducing Crystal Packard

Crystal Packard’s tenure as executive director of Parsons Presbyterian Manor is also a homecoming.

Back in 2005-06, Crystal served as a social worker in our community before leaving to pursue an opportunity in senior living administration.

“I really want to be part of a change in senior care, and I thought going into administration would allow for that,” Crystal said.

In the intervening years, Crystal has worked as a senior living administrator for multiple communities.

She credits her involvement with LeadingAge Kansas for much of her professional growth. Learning from and serving on the board of the association of not-for-profit aging service providers has enabled her to learn from “the best of the best.”

“I feel very blessed that I was able to do that,” she said.

Crystal has also contributed her own valuable perspective as an administrator in a more rural area, where communities often function with smaller staffs and employees who juggle multiple roles.

Over the course of her career, she has developed strong beliefs about the value of independence and autonomy for people living in congregate communities.

“I feel very strongly about person-centered care, and that residents should be in charge of directing their lives,” she said.

That commitment was rewarded with a PEAK Award from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) for Prairie Mission Retirement Village, where Crystal served as administrator.

KDADS issues the awards to reward aging service providers who demonstrate person-centered care. According to its website, the program focuses on five domains essential to person-centered care, including resident choice, staff empowerment, home environment and meaningful life.

Crystal’s background in social work helped instill those values. After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southern Illinois University, she pursued graduate studies in social work at St. Louis University.

Her original plan was to work in education, but she changed her mind after working in a school while she was a student.

“Aging services seemed like a good fit for me, and once I started working in the field, I realized that’s where I belong,” she said.

Her then-husband’s job brought her to the Parsons area. Crystal has since remarried, and she and her husband of 13 years have six children between them, plus four grandsons.

They keep busy with a small farm, and they plan to add cattle in the spring.

Crystal has also served on the local school board.

Arguably, her varied interests and busy life are good practice for her leadership role in a senior living community.

“In a small community, the administrator has to be flexible and wear a lot of hats,” she said.

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