The Iowa Health Care Association represents 775 Iowa organizations that provide support and services for frail and elderly Iowans. On October 2nd, they recognized the recipients of the 2018 IHCA Excellence in Long Term Services and Supports Award at the annual convention in Des Moines. The Excellence in LTSS Awards recognize individuals’ expertise, service and commitment to quality in their long term services and supports professions.

Diane Watts, Spurgeon Manor’s Activity Director, was the recipient of the - Excellence in LTSS Service Award for Activity Services. The following is an excerpt from information submitted in the nomination:

To get someone to go outside the box, you need to be outside the box yourself. And that is exactly what Diane Watts does. The recipient of the Service Award for Activity Services, Diane never stops looking for new ways to engage residents. At Spurgeon Manor in Dallas Center, Diane is the Recreational Director serving 55 skilled nursing and 30 residential care residents. She is in her 33rd year of service.

Diane is always looking for new ways to enrich residents’ lives. The All Ability Cycles and It’s Never 2 Late Computer are two examples of ways she’s been able to provide new and exciting individual activities for residents. She oversaw the fundraising campaign to buy the cycles and secured grant money for the computer.

She also works closely with the Dallas Center-Grimes schools with an elementary Pen Pal program and junior high grandparent program. Diane is also part of the workforce recruitment program that encourages students to consider health care professions.

Finding individualized activities that appeal to and challenge residents is one of Diane’s specialties. It’s not uncommon to see Diane with a resident “helper” as she goes from one aspect of her job to another. Her endless imagination is always working on new ideas and encouraging residents to try new things.