Category: Senior Living

Horse and sunset

An honor, a privilege

Some believe that knowing your life’s journey is coming to an end can be a blessing of sorts. You have an opportunity to say goodbyes and perhaps even let go on your own terms—but knowing certainly does not always make the process easier.

At Manatawny Manor, we recently helped a chronically ill resident and her family members face such a struggle. Our chaplain, the Rev. Roxi Kringle, has a special way of discussing end-of-life issues. She engages in a heartfelt conversation with individuals and their loved ones, asking about wishes and goals. Is there something the person would like to do, a place to visit, favorite foods?

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A simple lesson on aging: What you feel today may indeed be what you feel then

He’d called a former girlfriend of his.
That’s what the older gentleman we sometimes helped by providing transportation to medical appointments told me, in casual conversation in the midst of a return trip home.
Even though his wife had passed away a few years before, I was a bit shocked by this—particularly when he told me he’d last seen the “girl” nearly 70 years before.
Their conversation apparently went nowhere fast, for she was married, he learned. Beyond that, he proffered, chuckling a bit, she still seemed miffed that he had asked her to wait for marriage until he returned from World War II.
Waiting, he mused, had not been in her character.
Fast-forward a few years to this week. As I stood in line to vote, an older man in front of me seemed ready to pick a political fight with another older gentleman standing off to the side. Perhaps they knew each other, perhaps not, but it was certainly obvious one was “blue,” the other “red.”
marie

‘Storied lives’ program helps students learn what it truly means to “live life”

The deepest learning often happens when students are able to connect the classroom experience with the “real world.”  Our winter-term partnership with Manatawny Manor for a project called “Storied Lives” allowed my students to put a face to our learning and make it personal.

My students and their residents cried together and laughed together; they exchanged personal stories, shared life advice, and sat in thoughtful silence together; they held hands and emotionally embraced each other. Their interactions were emblematic of a deep connection that these partnerships built over the course of seven weeks.

blog rlife after retirment

Life after retirement

Retirement.

What images or feelings come to mind when you hear that term? Is retirement something you anticipate? Or something you fear?

As with many topics, retiring means different things to different people. For some older adults, retirement means more freedom and the ability to focus on activities for which there was little time in the past. For others, however, retirement can sometimes represent a break with familiar ties and a resulting sense of isolation.

With these thoughts in mind, we asked some of the residents at Luther Crest, a Diakon senior living community in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to tell us a few things they learned about retirement and how their daily routines and life in general changed.

If there is one common thread, it’s the idea life is what you make it and that activities such as volunteering and taking up interests for which there was limited time in the past can be key to successful later years.

Loretta Lynn Peggy Sue and a friend of mine2

The girl who liked “hillbilly” music

Diakon staff member Anita Bussard, an administrative assistant on the Robinwood Campus of Diakon Senior Living – Hagerstown, supports the organization in a number of ways—including arranging for various entertainers to visit the senior living community for residents to enjoy. Her background has positioned her well for this unique contribution!

Growing up in the late 50s and early 60s, the high time of rock ‘n’ roll, doo-wop, and swing, I was referred to as “the girl who liked ‘hillbilly’ music.”

Classmates, as friends, were few but my admiration and love for the music never stopped.

senior hands

Seniors sharing compassion and creating connections

Even in retirement many people remain active in their communities, especially as volunteers. Our Diakon Senior Living Services campuses are home to many of these caring individuals. Two Twining Village residents offer their experiences on why they share their time and talents with others in need of compassion and connection…

I really had no background or training in volunteering when I came to Twining Village in May 2014, but I’ve been glad to be able to serve. I actually started as soon as I got here.

I visit the residents who have Alzheimer’s disease or similar memory-related illnesses and say the Rosary and the Our Father with them. But I don’t just say it and leave; I stay until I make contact. I touch their arms or look into their eyes. They may not be able to talk, but I’m sure many of them appreciate knowing they have someone there just for them.

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‘Snow’ many opportunities to help others

My 14-year-old daughter randomly shared this thought with me while we were driving last night….

Mom, isn’t it amazing how one tiny snowflake that falls from the sky joins with all the others and creates these huge piles of snow? It’s just amazing.

I agreed with her and then jokingly said, “I’ll bet there’s a life lesson in there somewhere, but I’m too tired of all this snow to think what it might be.”

Later that evening, the lesson dawned on me. Throughout the last few days I’ve heard stories of people joining forces to help others during and after the massive snowstorm that hit our region. Many of those people are my coworkers. Alone they could do only so much, but like those snowflakes, they combined their efforts and the results multiplied into something amazing. Just a few examples:

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Annie paws-es to provide “therapy”

Various research supports the therapeutic benefits of petting cats and dogs. Studies have shown, for example, that interaction with animals can decrease blood pressure, alleviate depression and reduce cholesterol levels.

Maybe that’s why one special resident of The Lutheran Home at Topton has captured the hearts of everyone she meets!

In this blog post, Lutheran Home at Topton staff member Loni Boyer shares her story about “Annie”…

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Stress management for caregivers during the holidays

Oh no … it’s “the Holidays” already ….

As I reflect on what the holidays mean to me, I dig deep into my heart and find peace and serenity and a sense of joy and family—and then the world and life take over.

The house to decorate, cookies to be made, presents to be bought, cards to be sent—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For those who are caregivers of others, the holidays can become even more of a chore, even something to dread.

In fact, during the holidays, the biggest stressors for many people are relationships, finances and physical demands. It’s therefore important to listen to your body, reflect on the true meaning of the season, and do what makes you happy to keep the holiday period a peaceful season.

sweet arrow lake

Living, learning at lake brings reward, award

Living just down the road from Sweet Arrow Lake County Park in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, has been a blessing in so many ways.

The location has made it convenient for my husband, Barry, and me to take advantage of all the park has to offer. The facilities have served as gathering places for family reunions, a way to fish and kayak with friends, and geocaching—an outdoor recreational activity in which participants use a GPS mobile device or other navigational methods to hide and then seek containers—with our children.

The park also has served as a venue for learning how to plant a garden, worshiping at sunrise on Easter Sunday, and just taking a walk to the waterfalls with my Mom.