541.747.4858 | SPRINGFIELD, OR

541.747.4858 | SPRINGFIELD, OR

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Sweetheart Party

 

We had a wonderful time at our annual Sweetheart Party!

So nice to see staff & families having such a good time together, thank you to everyone that joined us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profound Moment

We want to share with you a very powerful story about a moment between Winifred, a resident at the Mt. Vernon Home, and Vanesa, the Resident Coordinator in that home. Vanesa first shared this story with Winifred’s family and they gave their permission to share it with the rest of the staff and our community. The story is a profound first-hand testimony of what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s from a person who is living with it.

 

Here is the story, from Vanesa’s perspective: Winifred seemed troubled and kept looking around her room, so I went in and asked her if she was okay. She told me no, so I asked her what was going on. She said, “You know it’s the pits.” I asked what and she said, “This disease, the way it makes me feel inside.” I replied, “I know.” Immediately she said to me, “No, no you don’t know. You watch us, take care of us, feed us, and you know how we are and what we do all day. You might know us but you have no idea what goes on inside of us.” I had no words after that so I just listened.

 

Winifred then stated, “You know my brain is deteriorating, smaller and smaller every time and I can’t do anything about it. I am speaking to you now and I know you are here now but in five minutes I will not remember that you were even here or that we spoke of this.” I said that she could count on me, that when she forgets, we will be there for her. She replied, “I know it now but I won’t in a few minutes, I trust you because I am forced to and because I see you have good hearts. Whoever invented this disease is cruel and had no idea what they were doing or how this would affect us.” I tried very hard to hold my tears in. She then promptly stated to me, “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking good care of us and I want you to know that I love you all. I want to tell you this now because in a few minutes I will forget about this.”

 

 

In my 10 years of being a caregiver I thought I knew what dementia was like, but Winifred showed me that no one really has any idea; not the doctors, not the nurses, and not the caregivers. Only the ones that are going through this know. She shared with me a small sliver of what was going on in her brain at that time and it has changed my life as a caregiver, and most of all as a human. I can’t explain how intense this conversation was. It made me realize that, at times, they do know what’s going on inside of them and that when they remember, it really is the “pits”. Winifred has changed every way I see dementia. 10 years of this and I had never heard a single residents describe what it felt like. I will never forget those five minutes of real life conversation we had in her room. It is an honor to care for such a great woman.

 

Creating Joy

 

For people living with memory loss, having moments of joy in their day is an important way to combat frustration, anxiousness, and/or boredom. For family members and caregivers it can sometimes be a challenge to find fun or enjoyable events that a loved one with memory loss can still enjoy. Often what it takes is redefining a fun event. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate party or outing, as that can often be overwhelming for the person. Looking for simpler ways to create moments of joy can be more successful and have a big benefit. Pleasant activities that people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia might enjoy could include going for a short walk and looking at nature, singing, having a snack, or going for a scenic drive.

 

From daily van rides, afternoon activities, and sing-a-longs, to walks around campus and our park, EHL is committed to finding ways to create joy for our residents on a daily basis. Lifting their spirits and putting a smile on their face is our goal, whether a resident is attending a performance by Elvis, having their nails done or hair combed, or sharing a snack or meal, we are always looking for those moments of joy.

 

 

Staff Spotlight: Meet Amee

“Sunday Blues” is a term psychologists coined to describe the dread and anxiety that many people feel on the eve before the work week. However, we believe the cure in this infliction lies in finding something that you love to do.

 

Meet Amee Hughey…the love and dedication she has for her job and this facility makes us almost think that “Sunday Blues” could never exist. Amee, for those of you who may not know, is the Administrator here at ElderHealth & Living. She oversees pretty much everything that happens on campus. She takes note of changes or improvements needed here on campus, and there is not much that occurs that she isn’t aware of. This may be because of her long standing commitment to EHL, staff, families, and most of all the residents who live here. Interesting fact about Amee: she has held almost every single job title at EHL! Phew, that in itself is impressive. Since her hire date in 2006, Amee has dedicated herself to our model of “Person-Centered Care”.

 

So how does one start out in a Direct Care Staff position and progress to the Administrator of the company? Well, after being promoted from Direct Care Staff to Resident Coordinator, Amee began to take on even more projects and enjoyed the challenge in doing so. Amee herself said, “I began to love not only focusing on small detailed tasks but looking at the global picture of EHL, reviewing our systems, helping to fix and create better ones which directly impacts our residents quality of life and our staff’s wellbeing and sense of belonging to our family at EHL.” If you know Amee, than you know that her attention to detail and organizational skills are impeccable.

 

Amee grew up here in Springfield, Oregon. She moved around some but always came back because in her words, “This is my home.” Coming from a long line of strong women who are artists, musicians, writers, and even carpenters, we can see where Amee gets her creative and ingenious personality. As an artist herself, she spends most of her free time envisioning and creating one-of-a kind pieces of art. When Amee isn’t composing a new project she is often backpacking and discovering the remote places of Oregon with her significant other and their long-haired Akita dog named Cinco, whom she adopted from a resident at EHL. It would be a shame if we also didn’t mention Professor Mister, Amee’s goldfish, who she also adores but we don’t have to explain why he has to stay home. Music is a huge part of Amee’s life as well, which is why if you were a fly on her wall at home you would likely see her partner playing his guitar, with Amee singing and Cinco and Professor Mister at her side.

If you work in healthcare of any sort you know how demanding this career path can sometimes be. However, Amee said it best, saying “It can be challenging to navigate the always changing world of healthcare, regulations, and rules that we must operate by but I feel most satisfied when I walk into the homes to visit the residents and staff and see so many moving and wonderful interactions. I have shared so many wonderful stories, dances, laughs, hugs, and even tears. Our residents are all so inspiring and amazing human beings, they continuously remind me to cherish each day as a gift and live life to my fullest potential.” Amee, like most of us here, truly feels like she is part of something special. We are all a small piece of EHL that together creates joyous outcomes and happiness for our residents, families, and staff.

As you continue your day, just remember the “Sunday Blues” and take inspiration to do something that you love, make an impact, and thrive. Amee’s advice to those who might choose a career in Memory Loss would be, “Be ready to laugh and be silly, keep an open mind and be ready to listen and learn.” We at ElderHealth & Living do not know what we would do without the spirt of such a strong, smart, artistic, and kindhearted human being like Amee as our leader.

 

Happy Retirement to Bonnie Boe

We would like to wish Bonnie Boe, a longtime member of our EHL family, a very Happy Retirement! After more than 11 years with EHL, Bonnie has retired from caregiving. She began her career as a caregiver on our campus before it became ElderHealth & Living in 2006, working here on and off since 1989!

Bonnie most recently worked in the Redwood home on the night shift. Jackie, the Resident Coordinator of the Redwood home, had this to say about Bonnie: “Bonnie was very dedicated to her residents and wanted only the best for them. She would do whatever was needed to ensure they got the very best care. She made it a point to know their likes and dislikes. She was always making some sort of goodies to go with their morning coffee or juice. Bonnie was very calming to the home and I have to say I’ve been very lucky to have been able to work alongside her for many years.”

Brandi, our Shift Supervisor Coordinator, often worked with Bonnie. Brandi stated, “Bonnie was always in the kitchen, and you knew she was working when you smelled fresh bread baking. Bonnie had worked all over our campus and what made her time here so successful was simple… She brought an essence of “home” and family to every home she worked in.”

When asked about what she thought about retirement, Bonnie had this to say: “This has been the best job I have ever had, the Owners really care about us here. I saw this place being built and I will definitely miss it.

We will miss Bonnie, too. Brandi put it best, saying “Bonnie is a soft-spoken lady with a loud heart.”

Thank you, Bonnie, for your many years of dedication and love.

 

Memory Loss Coaching

We are excited to let you know that Liz von Wellsheim, GNP, is now providing memory loss coaching.

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Sweetheart Party

This week we enjoyed a wonderful celebration with sweethearts, family and friends. Thank you to all that could join us for our annual Sweetheart Party.

 

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Food, Friends & Fun at EHL!

We’ve been cooking up a storm in our kitchens this month!  Stay tuned for revamped menus and upgraded recipe books with step-by-step pictures coming in March.

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Winter Menus!

ElderHealth & Living has made the switch to our wonderful Winter Menus.  See a sample menu below:

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News from The Club

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October marks the one-year anniversary of the opening of The Club, our adult day health program for persons with memory loss. We have had a full year of great activities, outings, art, singing, dancing, and laughter. We enjoy our weekly outings, with some favorite locations being Shari’s for pie, golf putting at Oakway Golf Club, and Frisbee in the park. Popular activities include weekly art classes, bingo, ping-pong, and sing-a-longs.  The Club at ElderHealth & Living has around 15 members that have become a wonderful group of friends, enjoying each other’s company, socializing while visiting over the paper with coffee in the morning, and making for a lively group for games and activities in the afternoon. The Club is a wonderful addition to the EHL community and we look forward to many more adventures and good times ahead, with new and old friends alike.

For more information about The Club, contact Bridget @ 541.747.1755