Help Our Garden Grove Residents Recover from the Heartbreak of Flooding

While our prayers are with the families and first responders impacted by Hurricane Florence, the town of Manhattan, Kansas experienced its own devastating flooding due to recent torrential rains in the region.

Help Our Garden Grove Residents Recover from the Heartbreak of Flooding - nationalchurchresidences.blog

Heavy rains caused a creek to burst its banks and flood the Kansas town of Manhattan, forcing more than 300 people to evacuate their homes, including some who were ferried to dry land in boats.

Nearly 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain fell from Sunday night into Monday over Labor Day weekend, causing extensive flooding to National Church Residences Garden Grove senior affordable housing community. All of the residents were evacuated and moved to higher ground as the water on the first floor rose as high as three feet, which resulted in significant loss of personal possessions. It is estimated that it will take weeks to fully restore power to the region – and it could be even longer before these residents can return to their homes.

Help Our Garden Grove Residents Recover from the Heartbreak of Flooding - nationalchurchresidences.blog

The average age of the 62 residents at Garden Grove is 70, and all have modest resources. Most are frail and suffer from one or more chronic conditions. They do not have the means to easily replace all that was lost, and insurance will only cover so much. Our residents need your help.

We are asking you to help us “Restock the Fridge” for the residents of Garden Grove. Your donation will provide food and personal care items to these residents once they are able to return to the building.

This simple gesture to restore a basic human need to these residents certainly will ease their worries as they begin to rebuild their lives.

Visit the Garden Grove Flood Relief crowdfunding page to start a fundraising campaign, or give now.

 

 

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 communications@nationalchurchresidences.org.

Care Coordination reaches seniors’ mind, body and soul at Atlanta’s Panola Gardens

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Care Coordinator Sharon Dawson Reid, center, with two residents before a play at Panola Gardens.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                                lcranmer@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.”

Bristol Village Olympians bring home 27 medals

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Several of the members of the Bristol Village Senior Olympics team pose with their medals in the courtyard of the Glenn Center in Waverly. Pictured are, left to right, Judy Doll, Otto Zingg, Betsy Hall, Marj Andrus, Ken Love, Mary McElhaney, Sherry Sapienza, Frankie Rinehart, Len Nasman and Gareth Baker.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                              lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

WAVERLY, Ohio – When Marj Andrus stepped to the podium to receive her gold medal, the Senior Olympian from Bristol Village ran into an issue.

To combat the hot summer sun in her events – the 1500- and 5000-meter racewalk – the 98-year old is never without a large, colorful hat.

“That’s the problem,” Marj said. “You can’t get the medal over your head with the hat on. You just need a longer ribbon!”

Marj is one of 17 senior athletes who represented Bristol Village earlier this summer in the Ohio Senior Olympics in the Columbus suburb of Westerville. Altogether, the Bristol Village Olympians brought home 27 medals – including 13 gold, seven silver and seven bronze.

“I had to learn a new walk,” said Marj, who for many years has started each day with a long morning walk to McDonald’s for ice cream. “(For the racewalk) you have to walk with your knees stiff. I had to focus so much on my knees that I didn’t have time to get nervous. Then someone stuck out their hand and stopped me and said, ‘you’re here!’”

“They told us Marj probably had a Senior Olympic record in the 5,000 meters,” said Betsy Hall, who organized the athletics team at Bristol Village. “At 98-years old, they don’t know of anyone else that age who has done it.”

“They told me the record for just for the US and Canada,” Marj added. “I thought, ‘Canada? That’s big enough!”

Betsy, a marathon runner for 21 years, has competed in four National Senior Olympics, winning three gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

Thanks to her enthusiasm for the competition, several of her friends began participating as well.

“It was Betsy,” said Otto Zingg, a medalist in golf and pickleball at the Ohio Senior Olympics. “She started to promote it and encouraged us to participate.

“I thought, well, I’ll do it.”

Otto teamed with Gareth Baker to earn a bronze medal in doubles pickleball – a tennis-like sport played with a wiffleball and paddles – and earned a silver in golf.

“I just turned 80 in June,” he said. “I figured there were not too many others in that age category so I had a good chance to medal.”

Frankie Rinehart also got involved with the Senior Olympics with Betsy’s encouragement.

“Good thing I have this friend,” she said, pointing to Betsy. “I’m kind of an athletic person. So when she said, ‘let’s go,’ I just went.”

Frankie won a gold medal in the 1500-meter and 5000-meter racewalk, a gold in women’s singles table tennis and a silver in women’s doubles table tennis alongside Betsy.

Each of the Bristol Village residents who brought home medals from the Ohio Senior Olympics is now qualified for the upcoming regional Senior Olympics event to be held in Portsmouth, Ohio, in September.

“I can do it. Up to 10 miles. After 10 it’s too much,” Marj said with a smile as she turned to look at Betsy. “If you think I can, Betsy, I will!”

Those who medal at the regional event have the chance to qualify for the 2017 National Senior Olympics in Birmingham, Alabama from June 2-15.

Bristol Village 1500m racewalk medal winners
The 1500-meter racewalk winners at the Ohio Senior Olympics.
Table Tennis
The Bristol Village table tennis team at the 2016 Ohio Senior Olympics.

Staff satisfaction soars at Lincoln Village

By LANCE CRANMER                                                               lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS — A little over a year ago, National Church Residences Lincoln Village needed a helping hand.

The staff turnover rate at the assisted living facility on Columbus’ west side was unexpectedly high and overall moral was heading in the wrong direction.

At the time, Sally Grote was serving as the Assistant Executive Director at National Church Residences Chillicothe campus. But when the organization’s leadership reached out to her to lend a hand at Lincoln Village in April 2015, she was up for the new challenge.

“It’s hard to talk about how it was before, because I wasn’t here,” Sally admits. “We had to work hard to get the right staff in the right positions. It took some time.”

Sally spent two months lending a hand at Lincoln Village. Then in June, she was officially named the facility’s new Executive Director.

“I was definitely worried (about the new challenge), but just personally, I have a certain standard of how I expect things to be,” Sally said. “It’s definitely getting better. There were days where I didn’t want to leave at the end of the day. But now we have the right staff and the right procedures in place.”

After nearly one year on the job, Sally got some exciting news. According to information gathered from organization-wide surveys, staff satisfaction at Lincoln Village had increased by 24 percent in one year – the largest increase by any community in the National Church Residences family.

“We have a really strong leadership team. We worked really hard to establish relationships with everybody here, especially the staff,” Sally said. “We tried to work with the staff to find out what they’re seeing. We’re all together trying to provide quality care for these residents.”

Sally said that embracing National Church Residences President and CEO Mark Rickett’s concept of “shared leadership” has been a key to success.

“Nobody is trying to figure this out alone. We’re doing this as a team,” she said. “Our staff has owned their positions and responsibilities. We foster a learning environment. We’re trying to make our staff successful.”

Sally added that the addition of Lynette Garcia as the new Director of Nursing at Lincoln Village has also been a great help.

“We both started at the same time,” she said. “We had a lot of new staff. Maybe five employees were here before. There was a lot of turnover and we did a lot of trying to find the right people for our open positions.”

In 2016, Sally is happy to report that staff turnover at Lincoln Village is officially at zero percent.

“We have one person leaving in June, but she’s retiring,” Sally said. “We have a pretty good culture here now. It’s family-oriented and is a place where relationships matter. We’re building and growing together. We don’t have all the answers, but we seek to find them.”

Sally credits having a successful first year as an Executive Director to what she learned working for four years under the direction of Chillicothe Executive Director Karen Steinbrook.

“Working under her I learned so much. She’s an amazing woman,” Sally said. “I learned so much about this organization from the Chillicothe campus. It was a great place to learn about all things senior.  They really have it all there.”

“Sally is a wonderful person and leader,” Karen added. “She soaked up information like a sponge. I truly liked working with Sally, and I was sure that she would not last long as an assistant.”

Unique health care partnership signed to benefit central Ohio residents

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(Dr. William Wulf, CEO of Central Ohio Primary Care, and Mark Ricketts, President and CEO of National Church Residences, sign a joint venture to provide primary care physician services for National Church Residences’ central Ohio facilities earlier this month at First Community Village in Upper Arlington.)

COLUMBUS, Ohio ­– The nation’s largest independent primary care group and the nation’s largest non-profit provider of affordable senior housing have officially joined forces to offer a one-of-a-kind health care partnership.

Central Ohio Primary Care Physicians (COPC) signed an agreement earlier this month to provide primary care services in coordination with National Church Residences’ continuum of senior health care services, aimed at helping seniors in Central Ohio avoid unnecessary admissions and readmissions to hospitals or nursing facilities.

“In National Church Residences we have found a partner that puts the patient at the center of every decision,” said Dr. J. William Wulf, M.D., the CEO of COPC. “Over the last three years we have worked together on multiple initiatives and felt that it was time to formalize our relationship in a joint venture.”

The partnership will focus on National Church Residences “Home for Life” program that allows seniors to live healthier lives in their own homes, reducing the need to enter nursing facilities.

“National Church Residences and COPC are jointly making a commitment in central Ohio to help seniors remain at home,” said Mark Ricketts, President and CEO of National Church Residences. “You might even say National Church Residences’ commitment to high quality and reliable ‘At Home Health Care,’ ‘At Home Assistance’ and ‘At Home Hospice Care’ is a senior’s partner at home for life!”

“True population health will require physicians to partner with organizations that can deliver services to the most frail in our care,” Dr. Wulf added. “This will include care for our high risk patients at home and in non-hospital facilities. National Church Residences is an organization focused on providing the level of care needed to improve quality and lower cost.”

In the agreement, National Church Residences will proactively identify at-risk individuals through the organization’s revolutionary Care Guide assessment system to provide person-centered care planning that tracks interventions and outcomes. COPC will provide primary care and other diagnostic services to help manage a patient’s health both before and after the need for higher levels of care.

“This joint venture with COPC is unique and exciting,” said Ricketts. “While many senior living organizations in the United States have offered primary care services on campus, few have taken the step of partnering with primary care physicians serving residents in the community.”

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(Dr. John Weigand, National Church Residences Chief Medical Officer, Mark Ricketts, National Church Residences President and CEO, and Dr. William Wulf, CEO of Central Ohio Primary Care, celebrate the signing of a joint venture between the two organizations.)

On-site health care helps save resident’s life at Avondale

By LANCE CRANMER                                           lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

DUBLIN, Ohio — Offering health care options inside senior apartment homes facilities is an attractive amenity when looking for a retirement community.

Sometimes, though, having a health care provider on-site can not only enrich lives, but save them as well.

Julie Sofranko is the Care Coordinator at National Church Residences Avondale, a senior apartment homes community in Dublin, Ohio, that offers access to skilled nursing, rehabilitative therapies and a full range of Home and Community Services.

For Julie, a registered nurse with a background in public health, knowing her residents and providing them general health care services is her daily responsibility.

“(Avondale) is a unique property,” she said. “I’m hoping we continue to expand health care services here. I really believe it is what’s going to keep people healthy.”

As part of her job at Avondale, Julie conducts several wellness sessions and health screenings for her residents to help them stay on top of their own personal wellbeing.

“With the seniors it’s blood pressure and hypertension, heart disease, lung disease … anybody who identifies these disorders, we’re giving them information to try to help them understand what’s going on with their bodies. We are giving them enough knowledge and education that they want to step up and take personal responsibility,” she said. “When we do wellness sessions here, they all show up. I’ll have 40 or 50 people in a room when we do wellness instruction and education. That’s half my population.”

During these health education programs, Julie is frequently joined by Chris Brown, a Nurse Liaison with National Church Residences Home and Community Services.

“Julie and I focus many of our monthly wellness and educational programs around the promotion of wellness as well as chronic disease management in order to help keep these residents as healthy as possible,” Chris said. “Having a nurse on-site is a wonderful benefit for Avondale residents.”

Earlier this summer, an interaction Julie and Chris had with a resident during one of these sessions helped save the resident’s life.

“I have a resident that is 79-years-old. I was leading an activity session and she just didn’t look right. I said, ‘You look tired today.’ I looked at her and saw her ankles were swollen,” Julie said. “She said, ‘I’ve gained 30 pounds and I can’t figure out how I did it. My belly and ankles are swollen, I’m very tired and I can’t breathe.’”

Julie and Chris quickly ran some tests on the resident and found some serious problems.

“When we checked her oxygen saturation it was very low,” Chris said. “Both Julie and I recognized these signs as possible congestive heart failure.”

Normal blood saturation is 95-to-100. Tests showed that the resident’s was dangerously low at 81.

Paramedics were called and the resident was admitted into the hospital, where she stayed for several days.

“She went right into intensive care from the ER,” Julie said. “They told her if she had gone to sleep that night, she would not have woken up.”

Now, weeks later, the resident is back home at Avondale and her condition is being monitored regularly.

“She is home now, doing well and her congestive heart failure is being controlled with medication and lifestyle changes,” said Chris. “Julie will continue to monitor this resident through Care Guide, and we will hopefully prevent future hospitalizations through education and early recognition of symptoms.”

Multiple National Church Residences sites in Ohio and Florida offer on-site health care at senior apartment homes facilities, with an eye on expansion into other markets in the future.

“That little incident was evidence of how important it is to have health care present so you can identify concerns right away and get them addressed,” Julie said. “We saved her life that day.”

(Cranmer is the Media/Public Relations Specialist for National Church Residences. Do you have a great story to tell? Contact Lance at lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org)