Joy in Mudville: Casey Goes to Bat at The Piper

Yes, pitcher Casey Barnes was on the Kansas City (KS) T-Bones disabled list in 2015 after catching a sizzling line drive with his bare hand, injuring a thumb.

No, that is not why he moved into The Piper Assisted Living and Memory Support for the 2016 baseball season. Continue reading “Joy in Mudville: Casey Goes to Bat at The Piper”

Airing of the Quilts

This story was shared with us by Susan Clark of Uniting in Australia

Airing of the Quilts quilt

Recently our home, Caroona Kalina, hosted a two-day event showcasing a large selection of quilts. Our residents had expressed how much they love quilts and would love to have more involvement. This involved inviting residents, staff, families and the public – including our local Quilting Club – to air their quilts. In the end, we had nearly 200 handmade quilts on display! Many of our residents spent weeks preparing for the event during their art and crafts sessions. Our local Mayor officially opened the event, and we had an overwhelming response from the public, with people traveling significant distances to attend. Continue reading “Airing of the Quilts”

Healthy Living Community Breaks Ground in Liberty, MO!

NORTERRE UPDATE November, 2016: The first phase of Norterre is on schedule and projected to open next summer. Norterre developers and team members are getting out into the community to share the mission, values and lifestyle with the public. In October Norterre showcased its focus on healthy living with others at
Liberty’s Fall Festival and the Clay County Senior


Beverly Brandon & Heather Callahan share the Norterre message

Resource Fair. These two events kicked off the team’s plan to develop relationships and paint a picture of life at Norterre. The team will continue to participate in area educational events to further its goal of breaking down the silos that exist between health care and wellness for all generations.

Interest is continuing to grow at an encouraging rate, and there are already reservations for assisted living and long term care. Preparations are now being made to take reservations for the Healthy Living Center as well, due to the amount of interest. Although there is also a great deal of interest in Independent Living, this is currently planned for Phase II. The sales office is scheduled to open in February 2017 and will be located in the Liberty Clinic.

Action Pact and partners Liberty Hospital and Healthy Living Centers of America broke ground on a revolutionary multi-generational wellness and residential living neighborhood in Liberty, Missouri, on May 17, and announced its name:  Norterre.

NorterreAfter two decades of applying ground-breaking concepts to create households for frail elders, Action Pact and its partners have broken ground for an entire multigenerational community based on the same household principles of normality, relationships, privacy, choice, and self-determination.

The $66 million first phase of the Norterre Healthy Living Community in Liberty, MO, will bring together adults and children of all ages with a healthy-living fitness center, a café, assisted living and skilled nursing households, and short-stay rehabilitation suites.  The 50,000-square-foot healthy living center will offer a yoga and Pilates studio, cardio and strength area, spin room, track, lap pools and a children’s area.

“An athlete will work out next to a senior recovering from a stroke while a mother drops her daughter off in the children’s area so she can meet a friend to participate in a yoga class,” says Steve Shields, Action Pact CEO and Norterre Chairman/Managing Partner. “Seniors in memory support and assisted-living households will spend time in the greenspaces, healthy living center and café alongside young adults and families. A strong sense of connection will fill the campus.”

The project eventually will include apartments and homes for residents of every age along with full amenities found in most neighborhoods. Cafes, beauty shops, and a library – usually available in retirement communities but reserved just for elders – will welcome everyone, says Shields.

“Over the last two decades, we’ve guided hundreds of organizations across the country in their transformation from institutional care settings into vibrant households.  Now we’re expanding this revolution to intergenerational neighborhoods and services within a fully integrated healthy living community,” says LaVrene Norton, Action Pact founder. “Norterre brings us a step closer to redefining not only the culture of aging, but the culture of living.”

The master-planned community will be the first of its kind in the country, consisting of a significant residential component for all stages of life, including young families, active adults and seniors. The first phase of the project will include the healthy living center, a café, households for seniors and short-term stay rehabilitation suites.

Norterre will be built on a 17-acre piece of land adjacent to Liberty Hospital, with large greenspaces for cross-generational and cultural activities. A 50,000-square-foot healthy living center will be the neighborhood’s “town square”, where young adults, parents and grandparents from all over the Northland can come together to work out, take yoga classes, socialize, build strength, receive physical therapy, learn about wellness, and reach personal milestones in a supportive environment unlike any other. Individuals from near and far can become members to improve physical, mental and spiritual well-being, and doctors can also write prescriptions for patients to take part in physical therapy or specialized programs. Many refer to this concept as a game-changer, as it will unite people of all ages in a way that has never been done before.“We are proud that this first-of-its-kind community will be built right here in Liberty. The concept complements our goals as a city – to help our residents of all ages improve their health, experience a sense of community and enrich their quality of life,” said Lyndell Brenton, mayor of Liberty. “Our city is an outstanding home for people in all seasons of life and health, and this unique wellness concept will connect the generations in a new and exciting way.”

The first phase of Norterre, which consists of the healthy living center, assisted living residences, memory support residences, skilled nursing residences and short-term rehabilitation suites, is expected to open in the late spring/early summer of 2017. The buildings will surround and face a large greenspace where individuals can enjoy local and regional artwork, wellness activities and multi-generational experiences. Construction of the second phase is planned to immediately follow with independent living and non-age-specific housing options.

The healthy living center is an integral component of the development. Any adult can join as a member and use the yoga and Pilates studio, cardiac and strength area, spin room, track, high impact studio, stretching area, demonstration kitchen that emphasizes healthy food preparation and nutrition, as well as warm water therapy and lap pools, spa, and children’s area where parents can drop their children off while they work out or have physical therapy. Companies in the Northland will sign up for memberships for their employees and use the center to create internal health initiatives. Doctors will also write prescriptions for patients to participate in programs such as cardiac rehab, diabetes prevention and physical therapy, and navigation teams will assist patients on-site.

“The project will help us further integrate valuable healthcare services into the community, while focusing on prevention and assisting Northland residents currently managing chronic conditions,” said David Feess, president and CEO of Liberty Hospital. “The concept will allow us to provide an ideal healthcare delivery model. Our clinicians will coordinate with the staff at the healthy living center to create care plans that reduce hospital readmissions and improve health overall in the Northland.”

The first phase of housing focuses on the Household Model which was developed and introduced to the senior living sector by Action Pact, led by Steve Shields and LaVrene Norton. In this model, a smaller number of people live in private residences within a single “household.” Each household can accommodate up to 20 residents and includes an open kitchen, dining room, living room and intimate spaces to relax and visit, as you find in your home. Residents will choose when to eat and sleep, how to spend their day, and explore life with purpose and spontaneity. The master-planned community will have a total of 60 assisted living residences, with 20 dedicated to memory support, 20 skilled nursing/long-term care residences and 40 short-term recovery suites for individuals of all ages going through rehabilitation.

“This concept is truly unique, and it will give different generations the opportunity to improve their health together and inspire one another. Through this development, we will redefine wellness and spark a new way of thinking for all generations,” said Shields. “This is an opportunity to create a model that is unlike anything else in the country – a place where we can break down the barriers that exist in society, share life experiences and motivate each other.”

Visit Norterre’s website for the latest updates: 

Continue reading “Healthy Living Community Breaks Ground in Liberty, MO!”

BITS & PIECES from here, there and all over

Telling Your Story

When good things are happening in your community, it’s a great idea to share the story with the wider communityThe benefits are numerous. You become familiar in the area, with positive associations; employees feel proud, and it’s an opportunity to share the message of culture change. It’s good all around! Here are some examples of campuses or larger organizations telling their good stories. See what they’re doing:

Megaphone crop

  • Sentara Rehabilitation and Care Residence, Chesapeake, VA: Sentara is replacing their current building with a brand new household model community, which will open in November. Irvin Land, Administrator, tells the story to the local newspaper. Read all about the project
  • Fair Haven and Wesley Manor, sister communities within the Methodist Homes of Alabama and Florida, have announced major expansion and construction projects as they move to the Household Model.  Read the press releases.

Remember — you can always tell your stories by posting a comment on our blog.  All you have to do is “follow” us. 

“Caught” doing the right thing. Has it happened to you?

This story was shared with us by Alison Scott, a Choreography of Culture Change graduate with UnitingCare in Australia. (Note: Terminology in Australia can be a little different than ours in the U.S.)

Community Circle at Narla
Yesterday the Accreditation agency visited for a no-notice site visit. Nothing unusual you say, except that at the exit meeting she spoke about this ‘amazing’ interaction she witnessed between several residents and a couple of staff members – a Lifestyle Officer and the Pastoral Care Worker whilst doing her ‘sophie’. She clearly described a Community Circle, observing that the residents in the circle were of mixed cognitive ability, and those with a cognitive deficit took an active part and could easily follow the process of the discussion. 

The community circle was not a planned event. Residents had cancelled the trivia game originally planned, so the circle was a spur-of-the-moment change of program.

Events like this confirm that what we do on a daily basis makes a difference.

A Hard-Hat Chorus Line?

JSS hardhat lineup-a

Decked out in hard hats are staff of Jewish Senior Services in Connecticut who are
standing in one of the 23 household kitchens of the 
Harry and Jeanette Weinberg campus, now in the final stages of completion, with an expected opening in Spring 2016! The new campus will offer the first household model of care in Connecticut with 14 private bedrooms and baths, shared kitchen, living room, den and patio in each household. The campus also has 28 private rooms for short term care with indoor and outdoor courtyard therapy centers and aqua therapy in the new indoor pool. Assisted Living Residences will offer one bedroom and studio apartments with meals and membership to the new 18,000 square foot fitness center complete with a 25-yard four lane swimming pool. The campus will also offer a host of community services including: Home and Hospice care, Out Patient Therapy, Center for Elder Abuse Prevention, Institute on Aging, Senior Choice at Home Program and Child Development Center.  

Ed:  Now you know why they look so happy!

New WNYT_MUSIC-blog427ays Into the Brain’s ‘Music Room’

If you read the blog article about the “magic” of music, and are fascinated by brain research and what scientists have learned about music, here is a mustread article just published in the New York Times!  Amazing things are being learned.         Read it here.


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The Magic of Music

Music-key to memory-editedEnjoying and appreciating music may still appeal to persons living with dementia, but music may offer a lot more than pleasure: a connection to memory and emotional expression that might not be otherwise accessible. Read these simple but powerful stories to be reminded of the myriad ways we might incorporate music into daily life, to both entertain and ENGAGE!


The following story is from The Piper Assisted living and Memory Care in Kansas City, KS. Steve Harman, a Household Coordinator, is working on his CNA, and during a recent clinical at another community, he had this great experience.

Bologna Song Whets one Appetite!

Recently I spent a few hours with Mrs. B., who has pretty severe dementia and is known for not eating her meals. Usually when Mrs. B. sits down to eat, she is “full” before the meal is even served. The more people try to get her to eat, the more she refuses to eat. My experiment was to ask her about anything but her meal. My niece and I used to sing songs at the dinner table, which kept her from getting bored, so I tried this with Mrs. B. “Mrs. B., do you know any songs?” She replied, “Yes, all of them.” That being the case, I chose a musical masterpiece, the Oscar Mayer Bologna song. “Mrs. B., do you know this song? My bologna has first name...” She sang back to me, “it’s O-S-C-A-R!” “My bologna has a second name…,” I sang, and she replied with a full mouth. She had taken a big bite of food! So I patiently went through all the songs I knew the words for (5 commercials, Jessica by the Allman Brothers, and You Are my Sunshine). Somewhere in the middle, Mrs. B. started making up her own songs about the food on her plate. One was the word Gravy sung repeatedly to the tune of Happy Birthday. Another was a song about how good vegetables would be if they were cake. When she finally finished, she had consumed half of her plate, doubling her intake from the last three meals combined. Throughout this experience, she would occasionally ask to be taken to the front of the room where people congregate to watch television and other things. That was when it occurred to me: Mrs. B. was bored. She never asks to go home, or simply to leave the facility. She wanted to go to the front of the room because that’s where she can be entertained.  I took her to the area where a volunteer had started playing guitar. On our way up there, I overheard one of the staff say, “I’ve never seen Mrs. B. so lively or excited like that. She seems to be excited about music.” I’ve only spent a small amount of time with Mrs. B., but several people have informed me that this was very different from her usual behavior. She was deemed difficult or grumpy. This was such an encouraging experience.

Shared by Stephen Harman, Household Coordinator

The next four stories are from WindsorMeade in Williamsburg, VA

The Tide is Changing….

A few weeks ago I worked on an evening shift as a CNA on the HealthCare unit. When I came on to the shift, which wasn’t my regular shift or job duties, I was very task oriented. I was focused on what needed to be done: who needs vitals taken, who gets a shower, what time is the meal, etc. After dinner I went to give a shower to one of our residents. The resident, Mr. W., was not happy about me interrupting his evening; he was quite happy just flipping through his magazine. This resident usually doesn’t speak words, and if he does speak them, it is normally just a few that don’t make a complete sentence. Many times he communicates only with sounds like bee-bops. It had been a few days since his last shower, though, and he needed one. I was too focused on what I had to do next and the tasks of the evening, but then I just stepped back, looked at his blue eyes and smiled. The tide had changed… I started singing “ I got the whole world in my hands….” He started humming and by the third verse he was singing with me, teary eyed. I have never heard him sing before. Then I quickly thought about what other songs he might know. So I started singing Amazing Grace, and he began singing with me — and we sang all the way to the shower. We sang during and after his shower until he was all clean, dry and cozy in his pajamas, under his warm blankets and off to sleep.

Shared by Angela Peay, LPN, AL Nurse Manager

Our Song

Working in the Health Care dining room, I have had the pleasure of witnessing many beautiful moments.  This one brought tears to my eyes.

Mr. D has both memory and hearing loss.  His wife, Mrs. D, is an independent living resident, and comes to visit him regularly.  I have heard her say many times that she knows he recognizes her as his friend, but she isn’t sure if he remembers the life they made together.

Recently, WindsorMeade installed a new piano and placed it in the resident lounge next to health care dining.  On the weekends, we have volunteers come and play the piano during lunch and dinner services so the residents get to enjoy music while they dine.

A few weeks ago, Mr. D was already seated in the dining room and Mrs. D was walking up the hallway to join him.  The pianist was playing a song that I don’t know the name of, but Mr. D certainly did.  As he listened to the music, he stood up and called Mrs. D out by her nickname.  I had never before heard him call her by any name at all.  As she answered him from across the room, she stopped, looked at the pianist and said, “They played this song at our wedding 65 years ago.”  As they hugged each other, it was obvious that in that moment of clarity brought on by a familiar song, he knew exactly who she was.

Shared by Brian Eck, Health Services Dining Supervisor

Happily Lost in Music

I worked upstairs today in the HCU and ALU areas for the first time again in about two weeks. During lunch, a woman named Mrs. Kathy came in to play the piano. She started in the HC dining room and ended in the AL dining room. In HC, a few of the residents nodded their heads as she played. Mr. W. was one who stood out to me the most. He was nodding his head with his eyes closed, tapping his feet, and lightly tapping a fork on the table, enjoying the music. To be quite honest, I haven’t seen him this happy in such a very long time. His mood nearly brought tears to my eyes — tears of joy that is. Mrs. Kathy’s music generated so many smiles today that I asked her to return to us soon and to come more often.

Shared by Marquera Delk, Lead Server

Music Makes the Body Move

One of our residents loves music! Whenever he hears music, he is clapping his hands, moving his feet, and sings a long. We have purchased an Ipod shuffle for him and have downloaded music (Elvis is one of his favorites) onto the device. Family members have also brought in CDs for us to download music. Throughout the day, we give the resident his Ipod and he absolutely loves it! When he hears the music come on, he gives you the biggest smile and hug. When you walk onto Healthcare you will see him with his Ipod just dancing away. We are in the process of becoming “Music and Memory” Certified, where we will receive Ipods for the residents to listen to their preferred music. When that happens, I will sing, dance and clap, too!

Shared by Caroline Kaliris, Recreation Therapist

Dancing:  It’s not just for feet!

<p>Lakewood Hand Dancer from <a href=”″>Marsha Poulsen</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


The following story is from Uniting Wontama Orange in NSW, Australia

Love for Dancing Remembered and Shared

Last Friday evening we held our Annual Cocktail party with the theme of ‘Mad Hatters’. All of our residents across the site were invited along with their families and participated in making a hat to wear. We had a wonderful turnout and brought many smiles to many faces. We also had our Old Time Dancers come along and dance for and with our residents. It was heart-warming to see our residents enjoy themselves so much, and to watch those people who either have limited mobility or changed cognition ‘come to life.’ Once the music and dancing started, a gentleman who faces some of the more challenging aspects of living with dementia, was on his feet and danced the night away. The conversations that were possible with him during this time were both insightful and emotional, especially his ability to talk about his love for dancing in his younger days. An important objective we have been working towards focuses on making every moment count, even in the smallest of ways. This felt like a big success.

Shared by Helen Mobbs, Service Director

This sound of life – music –  is SO IMPORTANT for us all. The common thread in these stories is that someone took the time to notice. The observations shared and then more people notice and are encouraged to provide music, share in the joy of music, or use it to help someone feel better and/or engage in a way they might not otherwise. So go out and look, listen and find ways to share music with those folks you serve. You will make life better in big and small ways, as Helen says above!

If you are fascinated by brain research and what scientists have learned about music, you must read the article “New Ways Into the Brain’s ‘Music Room’,” just published in the New York Times!   Read it now.



I was recently interviewing a team member at a CCRC campus, and I asked for her thoughts on what she felt the organization does well. Her answer was tea. Wait… what? Turns out they had a new client moving in, and when the admission interview was done, a few things were learned, one being that the woman was English and that she had a customary love of tea. Upon returning to the facility, this information, along with all the medical needs, was shared with the nursing team. Move in day came, and as the woman was settling in the nurse came in to see her and introduce herself. Normal stuff, but instead of a clipboard or a blood pressure cuff, this nurse was carrying a shiny silver tray with a fancy tea set full of piping hot water. I’m not sure what words wereTeacup handoff-2 spoken in greeting, but I don’t think she had to say anything. Her actions spoke louder than words, and those actions offered the warmest welcome possible.

A cup of tea. Now mind you this cup was served in style and with forethought; imagine the difference in the story above had it been a Styrofoam cup with a tea bag soaking in it. How powerful though, that this affinity for tea was something that the nurse grabbed onto and followed up on. Sometimes in our rushed worked day we complicate things too much – we get tied up in our tasks and our documentation and…and…and. Stepping back and taking the time to honor another person like this nurse did is the real heart of the matter. The old saying is really true – It is the little things that matter the most. What opportunities are there in your normal day to seek out and then follow up on making someone’s day in some simple way? What do you do in your organization to encourage and recognize staff who routinely act in ways that make life better for those around them? Challenge yourselves to take some time to work on building stronger relationships with those around you – staff and resident alike. Use tools like Action Pact’s Daily Pleasures interviews to discover the little things that would put a smile on someone’s face – and then follow through on it. Be bold and visible, be anonymous if that is what you prefer, but work to create a climate where random acts of kindness become the norm rather than the exception. And remember – it can be as simple, and important as a cup of tea.

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Honoring Dining Traditions in the New Year

No doubt our thoughts during this past holiday season turned to home and rekindled wonderful memories of special treats, meals, and rituals around the food in our lives. Whether we recreate the memories and carry on established traditions or start new traditions of our own, food remains at the heart of our celebrations.

Recent stories from Action Pact organizations at varying stages in the transformational journey illustrate the unlimited opportunities to start new traditions and honor the old.


  • Buffet Breakfast at Roberts Lodge, shared by Judy Apps of Uniting Care-Australia

 Yesterday Linda and I accepted an invitation to visit Roberts Lodge at Peakhurst to enjoy a buffet breakfast with residents.  What a wonderful experience!  Karyn, the Manager at Roberts Lodge, is experimenting with an extended meal service at breakfast time.  She has adapted her dining area to provide buffet style meals in a very simple and effective way that complies with all food safety regulations and offers a large range of choices.   

Walking into the dining room, we are greeted by the aroma of freshly made toast.  The atmosphere is calm and there is a gentle hum of activity as residents come and go at their leisure.  Conversation flows at the tables and residents are relaxed throughout their meal; there is no rushing to finish before plates are cleared.  When we walk out at 9 am, there are still residents who have yet to rise and come for breakfast.  Others are having second helpings.

Staff serve residents who cannot or do not wish to serve themselves, while others are happy to get their own.  Karyn points out a resident who initially was against the idea but now collects prunes and juices for her table. Another resident takes responsibility for making toast for everyone at the table.  Naysayers are being converted.  A member of staff unobtrusively hand out medications that are required to be taken with meals.

We have a choice of different types of bread, with fruit bread being the most popular. There also are breakfast cereals including hot porridge, and baked beans, spaghetti, scrambled eggs, and omelets, if desired.

Karyn says that prior to the launch of the buffet breakfast she spent considerable time educating staff and addressing their concerns, because, as we know, extending the time for breakfast affects the timing for a range of tasks over the course of the day.

Not everything worked perfectly from the get-go.  Initially, we thought that residents as they came to the dining room would take any available seat rather than sitting where they previously were allocated for all their meals.  However, residents have decided they prefer to continue sitting where and with whom they are used to sitting.  


  • Resident-directed dining at Virginia United Methodist Homes

Patty Thompson shares Soup Sunday:

Lisa Hammer, a member of the Life Happens in the Kitchen action team and a Medication Technician in assisted living, facilitated our first Soup Sunday on November 1. Residents, family members and staff helped create Italian chicken vegetable soup.  Homemade bread also was prepared and served.  Residents have been encouraged to gather their favorite soup recipes for future Soup Sundays. 

          Joyce Jackson shares “Oh My Yummy”

The residents and I recently talked about “Cracker Pie” in a film portraying life at several different nursing homes. In this scene, a resident fondly describes her memories of making and eating cracker pie.  I asked residents if they remembered that scene.  Right away, Mrs. K. asked, “What is a cracker pie?” I explained it also is called Mock Apple Pie. It is made with Ritz or any buttery crackers.  I made one for everyone to taste and offered it for dessert the next day. Most residents sampled the pie with vanilla ice cream, which ignited a great conversation:

Mrs. K.: “I can’t believe it’s made with crackers. What are the ingredients?”  I showed her the recipe.

Mr. W.: “What did you say it is made of?” It was very good.”

Mr. M:. “It’s good, it tastes like apples. How did you make it?”

Mrs. X: “What is it made of again? Did you make it?”

Mr. K.: “It’s real good, it’s apple pie.”

Anneliese, CNA: “You tricked me! I thought it was apple pie. It tastes just like apples and I could see apples in it.”

Mrs. K commented for several days how good the pie was. It was such a simple thing to do, but it became a part of a common thread that everyone enjoyed and talked about weeks after it happened.  If we can just tease out those memories or enjoyable life moments, we will help our elders truly embrace life at home.

Josh Van Auken shares Resident Dessert Cook-off

This is the big day our residents have been waiting for. Dining services took our Dessert Bakeoff“resident recipe of the month” a step further and turned it into a resident cook-off. Residents submitted their favorite dessert recipes at the beginning of the month. Then they voted for their top seven favorite desserts for the cook-off. This week the cooks were busy preparing the top seven desserts, strictly following the recipes submitted. The residents were very excited to finally get to taste all seven desserts and crown our resident cook-off winner! 


  • Wendy Ager, Administrator at Western Home Communities, Cedar Falls, IA shares:

Since moving into our new cottage households there are so many positive stories to share; like, for instance, the weight gains among residents and how they participate in the daily life of the household – one lady folds the tablecloths and napkins, sets the tables, and helps with dishes; she tells everyone she is a volunteer. Ours is truly an all hands-on-deck approach, with everyone donning their hairnets and helping prepare meals and snacks. And by the way, none of this creates additional costs as some had initially feared. We have much less food waste (despite living with dementia, residents remember to ask for leftovers) and lots more fun. Here are a few of our success stories:

  • In her younger years, our 100-year-old resident would get up at 4 am to make cinnamon rolls and delicious treats for her family.  So, nurses on the night shift assisted her in making Bananas Foster and brownies.  She helped with everything and even licked the spatula clean! 
  • The daughter of a gentleman who lives here says her father was known at home for baking and making fudge for family members and friends.  Our HHC arranged for him to make fudge for the staff and residents while he wore his chef hat.  Another time, he and a CNA also made cupcakes for all the residents and visitors.
  • In resident council, residents tell us in detail the food they want for special events and parties.  One man wants cabbage rolls at Christmas; a wonderful lady asks that HHC make our punch for every party, which, with its blend of sherbet, 7 Up, and pineapple juice, has become a signature item at Nation Cottage; another gentleman requests ham and bean soup.
  • The Hospitality Coordinators [known elsewhere as ‘homemakers’] provide special items at breakfast. Today, we had biscuits with sausage and gravy. One resident wanted a pancake, too, so she made a huge one for herself.
  • We keep special food items on hand that residents tell us they like. For example, one enjoys Nutter Butters and another wants honey buns, so we put those on our grocery list. 
  • Now, anyone approaching the house in the morning can smell bacon frying even before they enter!
  • One resident hosted Thanksgiving for her family.

Thanksgiving the cottages-Western Home2

  • When time came to decorate for Christmas, the residents and Hospitality Coordinator made special treats — pretzel mix, reindeer cupcakes, and more – to share with volunteers who helped decorate.

  • Addie Van Zutphen from The Piper in Kansas City, KS, shares Home for the Holidays

Holidays remind me of being at my grandparents’ house when I was young. I can still smell the pumpkin pies in the oven and see the pure joy on my sweet grandmother’s face caused by her home being filled with the people she loved most. This Thanksgiving I had the opportunity to see that same joy in the face of one of our residents. Norma Jean moved to The Piper recently and very much wanted to have her family over for Thanksgiving. I was so excited that Huron Household was able to host her family. I spoke with her daughter, Phyllis, who was thrilled to be spending Thanksgiving at her mother’s home again this year. Phyllis brought all the traditional dishes and did the final preparations in the household kitchen. I made sure they had enough utensils, plates, and drinks to go around. They invited me to sit down with them, stating that I was now a part of their family. At that moment I looked at our dining room table surrounded by Norma Jean’s family members and realized that this is exactly what home is about.

After Norma Jean had gone back to her apartment, Phyllis pulled me aside and expressed her gratitude. She was so thankful that we welcomed her and her family with open arms. Phyllis said that it was such a comfort knowing that we were in her mother’s home, which Norma Jean showed off with pride. It was incredible to see the joy in her face. At one point Norma Jean’s granddaughter asked if she had an “assigned seat” in the dining room. Norma Jean burst out laughing. She quickly corrected her granddaughter, letting her know that she did NOT have an assigned seat OR assigned meal time, because THIS is her home. Norma Jean retired to her recliner early and I spent time with her family. After many thanks and tearful hugs, they left their mother/grandmother’s home.

Working at The Piper reminds me every day how important it is to serve people in a manner and environment that enables them to be comfortable, at ease and surrounded by people who care about them. This holiday season as we put up our Christmas trees, decorated our mantels, and cuddled up beside our fireplaces, I was flooded with the constant realization that we are all home here at The Piper. May the New Year bring you incredible amounts of joy and laughter.

From all of us at Action Pact, here’s wishing each of you a wonderful 2016.

Let’s all resolve in this emerging New Year to continue bringing the pleasures of individualized, resident-directed dining to each of our elders, whether we are experiencing transformational neighborhood or household life. Let’s further resolve to continue moving forward in our commitment to create home, with all the fond memories of home, with the residents we serve.

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