Atlanta Habitat for Humanity and National Church Residences are partnering to offer additional services to Habitat’s Repair with Kindness program participants who are age 55 or older. These benefits can help them live independently and stay in their homes for life. The Repair with Kindness program helps qualified homeowners make critical home repairs that reduce health or safety hazards or improve weatherization for residents.
A National Church Residences Service Coordinator meets with homeowners identified by Habitat for Humanity and uses Care Guide to assess the needs of community seniors. This program is a great addition to what National Church Residences is doing in the building in Atlanta. This program enables us to reach those who may not live in our buildings but need help identifying services.
Many seniors prematurely enter nursing facilities because they are unaware of the services that are available to them or they have no one to assist them. Our Service Coordinator visits these residents in their homes and helps determine what each person needs. Recognizing that every person is unique, the Service Coordinator takes time to get to know the resident’s health and social needs. They then can arrange a variety of services, including Home Health, Legal Aid Referrals, Budgeting and Financial Literacy training, Emotion Support and more.
This partnership with Atlanta Habitat for Humanity allows us to extend our reach in the Greater Atlanta and surrounding communities, helping us to continue with our mission to enable seniors to stay home for life.
At National Church Residences, our vision is to advance better living for all seniors, enabling them to remain home for life. Through this blog, our goal is to allow you to see the heart and soul of who we are as an organization. We will do this by sharing the National Church Residences way with you, inviting you into our stories and providing resources that educate caregivers, enabling seniors to enjoy their lives.
In this section, you can find stories about our residents, our volunteers, and our mission. The residents of National Church Residences have incredible stories to share. From war veterans to pillars of the community, to the formerly homeless, sharing the stories of our people will allow you to get to know who we are.
Here you’ll also meet our wonderful volunteers. Our volunteers make up the fabric of our organization and are an integral part of all we do.
Sharing stories of our mission invites you to connect with what we do. Our mission drives everything we seek to accomplish as an organization, and we can’t wait to share it with you.
Health and Wellness
In Health and Wellness, we want to engage senior citizens. Here we will provide solutions to common healthcare issues to help seniors find the answers they need.
With the number of seniors rapidly increasing, many adult children are caregivers to their aging parents. Here you’ll find information and resources to help care for your special senior and keep them home, engaged, happy, and healthy.
Look for a new blog post every week. Don’t miss a post. Subscribe and get blog posts directly in your inbox. In the meantime, feel free to read previous posts.
We want you to be a part of the National Church Residences mission. Feel free to leave a comment, suggest a topic, ask a question, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re excited to share National Church Residences with you!
Conversations between an aging parent and their grown child can be frustrating as the parent ages. Roles have reversed and the grown child is now taking the place as the caregiver for their parent. Instead of asking a parent a question such as, “How was your day?” or “Can you give me advice on…”, grown children will ask “Did you take your medicine today?” or “Why would you do that?”
When communicating with aging parents it’s important to remember their life is rapidly changing and they are trying to maintain a sense of independence. It’s difficult for seniors to rely on others for care and to help solve their problems when they maintained control of their own life before.
Here are helpful tips to keep in mind when communicating with aging parents to keep your relationship healthy and to make the most of your time together.
Take time and be respectful. While adult children are caught up in the demands of family, work, and finances, their parents’ lives have slowed down. They have less of a sense of urgency to get things done and may take time to make decisions. It’s not always about being slow or a diminished capacity. This can be frustrating, but remember, parents have a lifetime of experience to draw from and want to make the best decision, instead of the fastest. Be respectful of their slower approach so they won’t think you are trying to control them.
Make time and listen. A quick phone call to check-in or help out with chores is helpful for your parents, however, these aren’t quality moments to build your relationship. Make time to have quality days with your parents, even one-on-one, to talk and listen. Let your parents guide the discussion and listen and ask open-ended questions. You’ll be surprised what you will learn about your parent, their life and present concerns
Reminisce about life. Adult children may think they know their parent, but when you take the time to reminisce about life with them you’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn. Ask questions to learn more about the situations they faced, people they met or places they lived or visited. These life stories are important for families to understand and appreciate who they are.
Ask for advice. Parents are used to their children coming to them for advice or help, and it’s tough to no longer be consulted by your grown children as you age. While the type of advice a grown child is looking for may have changed, look for opportunities to ask “What do you think of this Mom?” or “Dad, what’s more important to you?”
While these are simple tips, these will help you understand more about your parent’s past and what they are going through day-to-day as they age.
Harvard University researchers released the results of a study performed on housing in the United States. The researchers found that the number of households headed by Americans who are at least 70 years old will jump by 8.3 million from 2014 to 2025 – a 42 percent increase. Most of those seniors will choose to stay in their homes.
“The Harvard researchers note that a majority of those households will be aging in place, not downsizing or moving to retirement communities. That will have implications for an array of support services people will need as they age,” wrote Mark Miller, a Reuters’ journalist who reported on the study.
Researchers also note the increase of aging homeowners coincides with a decrease in government funding for programs that assist the elderly. National Church Residences, however, is positioned to address the needs of seniors who want to age in place in ways that are cost effective for them and their community.
Our Home & Community Services is a Medicare- and Medicaid-certified home health care agency serving Ohio seniors, and offering affordable alternatives to institutional skilled nursing and assisted living care, with the objective of keeping seniors active and independent in their own homes, at a fraction of the cost. We provide multiple options for individual needs, so you decide on the approach that’s best for you.
Our services include: 24-hour response; round-the-clock care; skilled nursing; assisted living; homemaking service; service coordination; personal care (bathing, grooming, dressing, medication reminders); Hospice; physical, speech, occupational and rehabilitative therapies; private duty; and adult day services (in Franklin and Delaware counties).
The next time you take a video game away from your teen, instead of putting it on a shelf or letting it collect dust, consider giving it your parents – to play!
Studies conducted by separate institutions, the University of Iowa and the University of California-San Francisco, and published in 2013, showed that playing video games improved memory and other cognitive functions of the brains of the studies participants.
Cognition has to do with how a person understands and acts in the world. It is a set of abilities, skills, or processes that are part of nearly every human action. Cognitive abilities are brain-based skills we need to carry out any task from the simplest to the most complex.
The University of Iowa study involved nearly 700 adults 50 and older. A control group was given computerized crossword puzzles, and the other groups played a video game called Road Tour for various amounts of time. Over the course of a year, those who didn’t play the game at all saw no improvement in their brain capabilities, and those who played the game the most saw the big improvements – three to four years of cognitive improvement, according to the Iowa study.
At the University of California-San Francisco, adults ages 20 to 85 were involved in the study. First, 20 to 70-year-olds played the video game NeuroRacer to establish a baseline on how they played. Younger players were found to multi-task in the game far more than older players. Then a separate group of 60-85 year olds were trained how to play the game.
After the four-week training, some players as old as 80 were beating players as young as 20!
Road Tour and NeuroRacer were specifically designed for their studies. Researchers of the studies say their findings build upon research performed in the 1990s on improving memory, reasoning, and visual processing speed. They warn against sitting on your couch and playing video games for hours at a time with a bag of chips by your side and expect brain improvement.
The brain, like the rest of your body, needs challenges to stay healthy. But their findings are an indication that we are not helpless bystanders while our brain functions decline. It may be possible to prevent that decline, or even improve our brain functions as we age.
Extended families are often scattered and it’s expensive to travel to be together for the holidays. If long distance, work, or other family obligations prevent you from being with your aging parents for the holidays, you can still celebrate the holidays with them. With a little creativity, you can make the holidays special for your parents by using Facetime, Skype, Google Hangout, or another mobile video-conference service.
The next time you visit your parents before the holidays, teach them how to use Facetime or Skype. This is a great way to keep in touch throughout the year, and allow your elderly parents to enjoy different aspects of the holiday season with you. Some holiday moments that you can enjoy together are Christmas concerts for grandchildren or opening gifts together.
For those who have extended family scattered across the country, a virtual holiday party is a great way for everyone to be involved. With Skype or Google Hangout, you can host an audio or video conference with multiple people for free. Prior to the virtual holiday party, make sure there’s a family member responsible for connecting at each location who understands the instructions to join and participate in the conference. During the virtual holiday party, family members can take turns greeting each other and sharing how they’re celebrating at their location. You could even sing a couple of favorite Christmas carols as a group, read the story of Christ’s birth, or pray together.
It’s important to also stay connected after the holidays with elderly family members. You could schedule weekly audio or video calls each week or send weekly email updates with photos. Also, don’t forget the importance of sending handwritten letters with photos. Your aging parents will love sharing these photos with others and placing them around their home.
These are just a few ideas to celebrate with aging loved ones from a distance. Please share additional ideas with others in the comment section below.
By LANCE CRANMERlcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org
COLUMBUS – Last summer National Church Residences began a partnership with Ohio State University to create a geriatric physical therapy residency program.
“Ohio State needed a partner for the geriatric residency so they asked us if we would partner with them,” said Sarah Dalton Ortlieb, National Church Residences Vice President of Rehabilitation Services. “We get to cultivate an expert in the field.”
The first resident in the program is Sarah Kidd, who began the program at First Community Village in July 2016.
“They’re helping me prepare to be a credited specialist,” said Kidd, whose residency program runs through July 2017. “I get to experience the geriatric spectrum in one year.”
“This residency is a geriatric specialization,” said Ortlieb. “Sarah, our resident, is a licensed physical therapist who has graduated with her doctorate from Ohio State. This program is an extra year, similar to what a physician would do. She’s elected to do this residency to become a specialist in geriatrics.”
Kidd’s year-long learning experience is a rarity in her field.
“Most physical therapists who are working in geriatrics don’t have this kind of specialization,” Ortlieb said. “There aren’t many opportunities around the country for people to go through geriatric residency.”
In this program, Kidd will get to experience multiple facets of geriatric care specializations, allowing her to obtain experience in all areas of the field.
“This is great for my development,” Kidd said. “There are various geriatric settings. This allows me to figure out where I do thrive and what I struggle with. Every day and every week is different.”
Last summer Kidd spent most of her time at First Community Village, while also doing lab work and student teaching at Ohio State. In early 2017 she began moving into work with a greater focus on Home Health.
“She’ll be there for a few months learning that type of practice,” said Ortlieb. “The last couple months of her residency will be geared toward outpatient care at First Community and wellness at our Centers for Senior Health.”
The residency program also includes mentoring opportunities, didactic (specific education content) work, and a researched case study that will likely be published in medical journals.
“Its wonderful training and career development in one year,” Kidd said. “I just love that the residency gives me mentoring opportunities. I have these experts around me that I can discuss things with.”
When Kidd’s residency is complete it is possible that she could come to work for National Church Residences full-time.
“If they would hire me, I would want to,” she said.
Ortlieb said that in the long term it is her goal to be able to recruit the people who go through the residency – which is limited to one per year – to join the organization.
“We’re doing great things for our mission of helping seniors and for us, we want to be able to cultivate a long-term potential recruiting pool,” she said.
By LANCE CRANMERlcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org
Before it even opened its doors, the vision for Panola Gardens was a community where housing and health care services came together under one roof. But to make that vision a reality, National Church Residences needed to find the right person.
“When the state agency awarded the important tax credits to National Church Residences to build Panola Gardens, they took a leap of faith that we would commit to an enriched service environment for our residents once we built the building,” said Michelle Norris, National Church Residences’ Executive Vice President of External Affairs and Strategic Initiatives. “That vision does not come to fruition without dedication and leadership of someone on the ground once the building opened.”
The organization found that leadership in Sharon Dawson Reid, Panola Gardens’ Care Coordinator.
“Sharon is an exceptional Service Coordinator,” said Terry Allton, National Church Residences Senior Vice President of Home and Community Services. “We are blessed to have her leading this effort!”
Sharon has been a member of the staff at Panola Gardens since the facility opened its doors in March 2015.
“As a Care Coordinator what I really do is work with the residents’ mind, body and soul,” Sharon said. “It’s a person-centered approach. It’s service coordination with care coordination laid on top of it.”
Using the concept of layering the two approaches has worked well for Sharon, especially when it comes to making partnerships and getting much-needed grants to fund projects.
“I have applied for several grants through Horizon Housing Foundation and they have been most kind to Panola Gardens,” she said, noting that over $16,500 has been awarded to her building. “They provide a lot of these classes for the residents that are free because of the type of grant that I applied for. I composed the grant and layered it with what I wanted to bring to the residents.”
Sharon found funding for Tai Chi classes which provide both mental relaxation and physical exercise.
She also brought in live musicians who provide entertainment, and also a form of music therapy.
“The way I proposed that grant is that (the music) stimulated the mind. They talk about the songs and who the musician was and where they were when they remember that song,” she said. “I’m always layering. It’s multifaceted.”
Other projects Sharon secured grant money for include art classes, live plays, free dental clinics, on-site physical therapists and chiropractors, and regular visits from a registered nurse to do health screenings and personal coaching for chronic diseases and medication questions.
“Built into those grants as well, even though they’re giving us all that money, I like to ask for even more money,” she said. “I have been given a lot of gift cards randomly given to residents for participating in at least one of these services. The residents are taking their time to come.”
As part of her job requirements Sharon hosts at least two educational wellness events per month. She is also required to plan at least 12 socialization events per year – but last year she held 91 of them.
“It engages their mind. Their thinking. It gets them walking. Gets them moving,” she said. “Every time a resident is in front of me I’m giving them something that is person centered. Something for the mind, body and soul. I go overboard trying to make sure these residents are well-rounded.”
Recently, she brought in retired NBA great Terry Cummings to speak to the residents.
“The focus of his speech was hope. It leaned on the spiritual side. Where the residents are in their lives. It is so this vulnerable population does not feel lost,” Sharon said. “It helps them transition through that period, if they are a widow or widower, or if they’re transitioning from a single dwelling or from living with family. Aging is a part of life and there’s a productive way to age.”
By LANCE CRANMERlcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org
COLUMBUS – When Dale and Glinna Fretwell arrived at First Community Village in September 2014, Dale was in bad shape.
“He got a blood infection in Florida,” Glinna recalled. “He was in bed for so long, he just lost his muscle strength. When he left the hospital we went to a rehab center. We were just very unhappy there.”
Natives of Virginia, the Fretwells had retired to Florida many years before. But now, with Dale’s illness, the difficulty of being on their own – and in a facility that did not meet their needs – made life particularly hard.
One of their daughters suggested that they consider moving into a community closer to where she lived in Columbus.
“There were four or five places that she visited,” Glinna said. “She has two little boys that came with her and she would ask them what they thought of each place. They told her First Community Village was their favorite. She asked them why. They said because they had candy at the front desk. It’s the little things that are important.”
In addition to the candy, First Community Village had the support services the facility in Florida was lacking.
“We put (Dale) on a plane in Tampa and we brought him straight here,” Glinna said, sitting just outside the physical therapy rooms at First Community Village. “The difference here is night and day. We hadn’t been here 30 minutes when a physical therapist came in and gave him an evaluation.”
“We offer a wellness assessment and we look at each new member holistically and determine their individual needs,” said Jackie Metro, the Director of Wellness at First Community Village. “We work specifically on whatever their needs for improvement are and work to get them to their optimal level of fitness.”
Dale spent about three months in physical therapy before he was able to get back on his feet and move into the manor home the Fretwells purchased.
“This place practically saved my husband’s life,” Glinna said. “He is so thankful for the good healthcare that we have had here.”
First Community Village has always had a wellness program, but in early 2016 National Church Residences enhanced what it had to offer.
“We expanded the program,” said Sarah Dalton Ortlieb, National Church Residences Vice President of Rehab Services. “We wanted to do wellness from all the domains, not just physical, but intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, occupational and environmental. We wanted to have more comprehensive wellness opportunities for the residents there.”
“I am able to tailor their care and make it appropriate to what they need,” Jackie said. “I like to think of it as a nice cycle. There is always a place for each resident.”
For residents who need the most care there is physical therapy. For those who need less, there are group exercise classes and activities.
“You can go from physical therapy and graduate into a group exercise,” Jackie said.
Between five-to-eight classes are offered each weekday at First Community Village, ranging from aqua aerobics in the pool, balance classes, tai chi, yoga, dance, range of motion classes and classes specifically for those with Parkinson’s disease.
“We are regulars at the gym. We use it three days a week,” said Glinna. “And we love the pool. We use it three days a week. It has kept us walking, literally. My husband has had both knees replaces and I had knee surgery, too.”
Jackie said that since the expanded services became available, she has seen a 45 percent increase in the number of physical therapy visits and a 35 percent boost in the number of participants who come to the fitness center.
“We love it here,” Glinna said. “They care for you and go out of their way to make sure you are as comfortable as you can get.”
By LANCE CRANMERlcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org
COLUMBUS – It was a bit of a shock when Ann Napoletan’s daughter put a hand on her shoulder during the awards presentation at the National Church Residences national conference.
“I didn’t know why she was there,” recalled Ann, an Treasury Manager at the home office in Columbus. “I thought maybe something was wrong.”
Ann was sitting at a table full of colleagues, who had suspiciously made sure their table was toward the front of the room. Little did Ann know that she was the only one at the table – including her daughter – who did not know she was about to receive the National Church Residences “Spirit of Philanthropy” award from Jeff Wolf, Senior Vice President of Philanthropy and Mission Impact.
“I had absolutely no idea,” Ann said. “I was just blown away. Absolutely blown away. I still am.”
From 9 to 5 (and sometimes even longer) Ann crunches numbers as part of the team of accountants who manage National Church Residences’ budgets. But it is the tireless work she does on the side that truly embodies the organization’s “Spirit of Philanthropy.”
Four years ago Ann lost her mother, Marilyn, to Alzheimer’s Disease shortly after her 76th birthday.
“My mom was the most lively, full-of-life person,” Ann said, sitting for this interview on what would have been Marilyn’s 80th birthday. “My daughter doesn’t want to see the words Alzheimer’s or dementia. I’m the opposite.
“I have to know there’s a greater purpose. For me that’s advocating, teaching, writing, helping other families. It’s almost like a second career.”
After her mother’s passing, Ann began a blog called, “The Long and Winding Road” at www.ALZjourney.com.
“The best way I can keep mom’s memory alive is to keep telling her story,” Ann said.
As her writing gained popularity, she was asked to contribute to the online content for organization’s that dealt directly with Alzheimer’s care.
In 2013 she was asked to co-moderate an online support group called, “Us Against Alzheimer’s.”
“This year I launched a non-profit in my mom’s name,” she added. “I had done so much fundraising for other groups, I just wanted to have a little more control of where the fundraising dollars were going.”
Marilyn’s Legacy: A World Without Alzheimer’s is Ann’s non-profit that is focused on not only finding a cure for Alzheimer’s but also providing unique opportunities to benefit individuals currently living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
“I know that I’m making a direct impact on these people’s lives,” Ann said.
The fact that National Church Residences made a point to recognize Ann for her work made it a little more special.
“It was a great experience to be recognized,” she said. “To be at a company that cares about things like that … that it’s not all bottom-line oriented. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Ann added that it is because of her experience in facing her mother’s Alzheimer’s Disease that she found her way to National Church Residences in June of 2014.
“I am at National Church Residences because of my mom,” she said. “I was at Nationwide for 27 years. I was in a good place financially and career-wise, but I wasn’t fulfilled at all.”
With a background in treasury, Ann said that it was like divine intervention that the position she currently holds became available at the exact time she felt the need to make a change.
“This treasury job almost fell into my lap,” she said. “This is where I’m meant to be. Even on a bad day, that over-arching mission is still there. I gave up a lot, but I’m so happy here.”