Fitbit personal tracking bracelets worn by Mather employees. Photo from Mather Lifeways

Mather LifeWays was the recent recipient of two awards. For the second consecutive year, it was named Illinois’ Healthiest Midsize Employer, and Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging was honored with the 2014 Excellence in Research and Education Award by LeadingAge, an aging industry-leading association.

The Evanston-based, not-for-profit organization serves more than 40,000 older adults each year through its senior living residences, Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging, and neighborhood outreach.

“Our commitment to serving older adults is equaled only by our commitment to our employees. We believe that taking extraordinary care of our employees translates into extraordinary experiences for residents and customers,” said Mary Leary, president and CEO of Mather LifeWays.

Mather LifeWays gives its more than 500 employees many opportunities to grow both personally and professionally, and to nurture good health in body and mind. Its management practices are designed to support employee growth, fulfillment and wellness.

One wellness initiative is a current Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging’s study, which includes Mather LifeWays employees who wear Fitbit personal tracking devices to monitor physical activity and sleep patterns for six weeks. The Institute is collecting anonymous employee data, and will analyze it to determine what effect the Fitbit program had on participants’ behavior and motivation.

This, and other types of research, helped the Institute to receive the Excellence in Research and Education Award for its “outstanding contributions in developing innovative evidence-based research and award-winning education programs, translating research into practice, and its commitment to disseminating new knowledge to the senior living industry for more than 15 years,” according to LeadingAge.

“We’re pleased to continue to be recognized in the Senior Housing industry, as a model for good business and wellness practices for our employees too. There’s really no substitute for fostering a healthy and positive culture, and it’s wonderful when people are provided the opportunity to keep growing both personally, and professionally,” said Ms. Leary.