St. George Village Blog
Category Archive: Independent Living Knowledge Center Lifestyle News Partnerships Wellness
Posted on October 11, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Fifteen St. George Village care partners and two of the community’s residents attended the 6th Annual Culture Change Summit on Sept. 26. The purpose of the Summit is to bring together interested parties for a discussion of how to effectively change the way people think about seniors and the aging process.
Keynote speaker and a “Regulator turned Educator” Carmen Bowman spoke to conference attendees about her experience as a nursing home surveyor and discussed how to make senior care communities feel less institutional and more like home for residents.
St. George Village was well represented, with care partners from Culinary, Dietary, Skilled Nursing (Treasures of Lakeview), Personal Care (The Springs), and Independent Living attending. SGV Social Worker Meredith Swinford participated in a Speakers Panel, where she shared the progress St. George Village has made on its Person-Centered Care journey.
One of the highlights of the day was celebrating a declaration from Gov. Nathan Deal, designating September 26, 2013 as “Culture Change Day in Georgia.”
Posted on October 4, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
The St. George Village Crusaders participated in the 2013 Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Atlantic Station on September 28, 2013. Together, St. George Village residents, their families, and SGV care partners raised over $6,300 for the Alzheimer’s Association.
During the year, SGV holds two additional major fundraisers for the Alzheimer’s Association. Residents, their families and friends, and SGV staff can “Sponsor a Flag” in the annual Flag Display on Memorial Day weekend, in honor of or in memory of a loved one. And on Casual Fridays, care partners can make a $5 donation in exchange for the casual comfort of wearing jeans to work.
To learn more about the mission to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease, visit the Alzheimer’s Association online.
Posted on June 14, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
One of the volunteer activities St. George Village resident Mary Apps loves most is making blankets for the Linus Project, a national nonprofit organization that provides homemade blankets to children in need. (The concept is based on the Peanuts cartoon character, Linus, and his trusty security blanket.)
Mary and several other SGV residents had been making the Linus blankets and giving them to a group at St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church, who then distributed the blankets to area shelters. When a teacher at nearby Queen of Angels Catholic School heard about the Linus blankets, she approached Mary about getting some of the younger students at the school involved in the project.
“Each class at Queen of Angels works on a project during the school year. The first graders help make the Linus blankets and the second graders distribute them,” Mary explains. “In November every year, the children come over to St. George Village and we show them how to tie knots and finish off the blankets so that they don’t ravel.”
“The blankets that our children make are given to local organizations like the Drake House, the Ronald McDonald House and the Catholic Charities’ prenatal program,” Mary explains. “A supply of blankets is also given to first responders and emergency workers, who often encounter children who are affected by disasters and other emergencies — children who don’t have as much as they need to stay warm.”
After the blanket-making session, the children go to the chapel, where a priest blesses them and their blankets, and then they enjoy a reception with refreshments.
Mary says that the Linus blankets have become a beloved tradition at Queen of Angels, both for the good feeling it brings to do something for someone else and for the fun of partnering with SGV residents.
The students have fun making friends with the St. George Village residents and they learn how their Linus blankets will help other children in need of comfort.
“So many of the children have older siblings who participated in the project and have talked about it,” she says. “They look forward to being in first grade so they can work on the blankets and come over to spend time at St. George Village!”
Posted on May 27, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Today, Memorial Day, we remember our nation’s fallen heroes, the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect and preserve our freedom.
Every spring, St. George Village holds a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association — residents, their families and SGV staff members can “Sponsor a Flag” for $5.00, in honor or memory of a loved one. Each sponsored flag is planted on our front campus during Memorial Day weekend, and a list of those who sponsored flags and the people they honor is on display.
This year, SGV raised $1,395 for Alzheimer’s research and 279 flags were placed on the front lawn during the dedication service.
We thank our friends at Roswell Funeral Home, who generously donate the flags for our annual Memorial Day service!
Posted on May 20, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Once again, court reporters are making sure that the stories of America’s veterans are recorded for future generations.
2013 marks the tenth consecutive year that the Veterans History Project (VHP) has worked with the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) and the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA).
The mission of the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress American Folklife Center is to collect, preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.
U.S. Representative Ron Kind (WI-3) proposed the Veterans History Project after interviewing veterans in his own family at a reunion. His wife, Tawni, a court reporter, knew that transcriptions would ensure the accessibility of interview content.
To date, more than 2,800 interviews in the VHP collection have been transcribed by court reporters. Once a court reporter transcribes an interview, the transcription is sent to the Library of Congress to be added to the veteran’s collection, and in many cases, it is digitized so that the public may access the transcript online.
Not only do court reporters serve VHP by transcribing oral histories that are submitted to the Library of Congress, they also dedicate their time as volunteer interviewers.
“I can’t tell you how rewarding it’s been to me to work with such dedicated professionals at VHP, and with court reporters who unselfishly volunteer their time and talent to ensure that these stories will be preserved so that future generations of Americans will know of the sacrifices made to preserve our freedom,” said Beth Kilker, NCRF’s Oral Histories Program Coordinator.
NCRF is also an ardent ambassador for VHP, and has promoted “VHP Days on Campus” at various court-reporting schools and firms. Most recently, NCRA held a “VHP Day” during the 2012 NCRA Convention in Philadelphia, and is planning a VHP Day during the 2013 NCRA Convention in Nashville, Tenn.
In addition to recorded interviews, VHP also depends on volunteers to donate veterans’ original photographs, letters, military documents, diaries, journals, two-dimensional artwork and unpublished memoirs.
NCRF is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and the philanthropic arm of the 18,000-member professional association for stenographic court reporters, NCRA.
To learn more or participate, visit Veterans History Project
Posted on April 19, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Many retirees are looking to volunteer at organizations that can benefit from their work experiences and expertise. Perhaps surprisingly, that’s not always easy.
“One out of three retirees leave their volunteer posts within months because organizations are not properly prepared to utilize the volunteers’ professional experiences and knowledge,” a recent study released by the Corporation for National and Community Service revealed.
Fortunately, there’s a new website that can help organizations tap into the professional expertise that recent retirees can offer.
The Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative is designed to help agencies prepare for and take full advantage of the volunteers they have.
The Collaborative is a full-service support center designed to help the agencies of the Aging Network engage older adults in meaningful service. Its website provides tools and resources to build a strong volunteer program.
To learn more, visit www.agingnetworkvolunteercollaborative.org.
Posted on March 10, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
St. George Village is all about building relationships — not only the relationships between staff and residents and their families, but also in the fostering of friendships among residents and in building partnerships between SGV and the community. One such partnership brings students in from neighboring Blessed Trinity Catholic High School to participate in activities with SGV residents.
The teens help out with a variety of regular activities like serving refreshments at weekly parties and as callers on Bingo night, but they’re also a wonderful resource for special events that entertain and inspire residents.
For example, students have participated in two fashion shows at St. George Village, modeling their attire for the Spring prom and then for the Homecoming dance in the fall. SGV Activities Coordinator Helen Hendricks says that the fashion shows are interesting for both students and seniors.
“The students had great fun talking to our residents,” she says. “They enjoyed answering questions about their clothes and the dances, but they also enjoyed hearing the older people’s memories of their own high school days. Some of the students actually seemed even more engaged than the residents.”
SGV Healthcare Activities Manager Renee Krosner says she has noticed several friendships springing up between the seniors and the teens because of the opportunities these activities present for intergenerational interaction.
“A lot of these students want to help seniors because they’ve seen what their own grandparents needed. They just have that calling,” she states. “So, when they’re here at St. George Village, they do build relationships.”
These friendships, many of which last even after the students graduate from high school, are beneficial for both generations.
“The interaction with the younger generation really helps keep our residents interested and thriving,” says Hendricks. “But the students also get a lot out of these events. It’s fulfilling for everyone.”
Posted on February 8, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
St. George Village resident Gene Stelten says his granddaughter, Allie, was the inspiration for A House for Wally and Me, a children’s book that he wrote about the process of building a Habitat for Humanity home. The story is told through the eyes of seven-year-old Allie, who is helping to build a Habitat house in which she and her family will live.
“My granddaughter has always loved helping people in need, so I named the main character in the book after her,” Gene says.
Since the book’s main message is to help children understand the importance of people coming together to work on a common goal of helping others, Gene thought it would be helpful to distribute copies to local school children. He enlisted the help of fellow SGV resident and professional storyteller Mary Apps, and together they read the story to students at local elementary schools.
After reading the book and distributing copies on a recent visit, Gene recalls a little girl who came up to him and asked if she could really take her copy of the book home and keep it. “When I said, ‘Yes, you can,’ she was so excited! I don’t know if she’d ever had a book of her own before,” he says.
In addition to helping children see how much fun it is to work together to help others in need as well as discovering the joys of reading, A House for Wally and Me has another important purpose. All proceeds from sales of the book (which costs $13.95), go to Habitat for Humanity.
Gene, a long-time volunteer for Habitat, wrote the book for free and the illustrator donated her services as well. He says that friends often give him monetary donations, which he uses to purchase copies of the book.
“I buy the books and then Mary and I take them to the schools to give to the students,” he explains. “Habitat gets the money from the sale of the books for its building projects, and the children get a free book of their own and learn about the rewards of helping others.”
If you would like more information about A House for Wally and Me and this worthwhile project, contact Gene Stelten by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on November 23, 2012 by Stacy Anthony
Although Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, the risk of developing the illness rises with advanced age. Current research from the National Institute on Aging indicates that the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years beyond age 65.
Residents of retirement communities that offer a full continuum of care have peace of mind in the event that they require memory support services. At St. George Village, residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s have access to Friendship House, a neighborhood devoted to their special needs. Friendship House features a person-centered approach that allows family and caregivers to relate to the person for whom they are providing care as they would to their own best friend. This “Best Friends” approach seeks to maximize the strengths of the memory impaired person — caregivers as well as SGV staff are taught techniques and interventions that help them understand what types of situations motivate, stress or relax their Best Friend and how to respond accordingly.
Recognizing that caregivers often “lose” the person they are caring for in the diagnosis and the bizarre behavioral expressions of dementia or Alzheimer’s, this training helps them provide a better life for their family member or spouse. Oftentimes, caregivers must realize that they need to be care “assisters” rather than care “doers.” By realizing that prompts and cues are more important than doing a particular task, everything becomes an activity done with a special “knack,” allowing caregivers to focus on the joy of the moment.
The Best Friends approach to care seeks to reclaim the unique personhood of those we care about and allow them to be successful each and every day.