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Making a Difference in the Lives of Seniors

Working in senior living is not easy. Staff become very close to residents who can become ill.  At times care needs are high and the work pace is normally very quick. Resident care can be very complex and at times there are many external challenges to getting what is needed to care for folks in a timely fashion. The demands of senior living are great and the staff of Appleton Retirement Community is not immune to them.
As difficult as working in senior living is, most people working in this career continue in this career because they truly care about the people they serve. Many feel greatly rewarded by being able to make a difference in the lives of seniors. The lessons seniors teach are quite valuable and applicable to daily life.
Some residents at Appleton Retirement Community shared a few recent comments:
One recently told a caregiver, “You take such good care of me!”
Another resident came back from the doctor’s office and reported the following: “The doctor said I’m doing GREAT and it’s all because of YOU folks! I was in rough shape when I came here but I’m so much better now and it’s all thanks to you folks.”
Those words of praise, appreciation and gratitude go a long way and are heard often. These words evoke such a feeling of pride for a job well done in our continued effort to live out our mission of passionately enriching the lives of seniors each and every day. These words will carry us through when cares get heavy and moments of discouragement result.

Remembering 9-11

Few people will ever forget where they were or what they were doing 14 years ago when our nation experienced a terrorist attack that resulted in lives lost and lives changed forever.
On Friday, September 11, 2015 residents and staff of Appleton Retirement Community shared stories of where they were and what they were doing on September 11, 2001.
One resident recalled that she and her husband had flown to visit her sister in Colorado on September 10, 2001. The next day she turned to her sister’s husband and commented that she and her husband might just be staying with them through the winter. Many will recall the days after 9-11 and all the uncertainty about flights and whether people wanted to even fly again.
A few staff members recall being in grade school and having the teacher turn on the television and parents being called to pick the kids up early. Some kids were very scared as they could tell the adults were shaken and didn’t know what to do.
Another staff member recalls being here at Appleton Retirement Community when the bus driver came flying down the hall yelling, “They hit the towers. They hit the towers.”
A staff member who Lawrence University at the time thought the reports of the plane cashes were some type of joke. She found out about the planes as someone who had been listening to the radio told her about it and she just didn’t think it could be real.
As the mother of a brand new baby another staff member was rocking her baby in her arms and standing in front of the television when she heard the announcement and recalls not understanding what went on.
A few residents recalled watching television at the time of the attacks and seeing the live footage of the second plane crash. One resident recalls being so upset that she forgot to call her friend she went to lunch with every Tuesday to cancel their lunch. She was distraught all day.
Another resident recalls coming home from Mass to her husband watching television and seeing the firemen going up the stairs and then struggling to get back down.
A staff member who was to be married later in September of 2001 recalls that a resident announced to her that the planes had crashed. The next moment another resident called for assistance and had her television on when she arrived to help her. She was able to see what was happening and in the days following had reason to worry about how she would get a flight to the cruise ship she was to be married on just 10 days into the aftermath of the attacks.
Sharing stories, listening to patriotic music and socializing afterwards helped many at Appleton Retirement Community to pause and remember the great tragedy that brought our nation together.

Classic Car Discussion

On August 13, 2015 the Appleton Retirement Community Men’s Group centered around one popular topic: classic cars. Prior to the event the men were asked to provide the name of their favorite classic car so that staff could ensure photos would be available for the men to share while they discussed their favorite memories of classic cars they owned or wished they had owned.
Not one man mentioned anything about a Nash vehicle which did surprise one gentleman afterwards seeing as how many of the men’s group members lived through out the state of Wisconsin. One gentleman remarked that his favorite car he owned was the 1958 Pontiac Bonneville. It was a large car but gas so inexpensive back then.
Allen, the volunteer who leads the Men’s Group brought library books with photos of many classic cars. As the men discussed they could look at any old photos of classic Chevys, Olds, etc. The men really knew about the cars they discussed.
As the men shared stories, they had snacks and drinks. There was not one foul word uttered and not one man left early. The topic was a hit with the men.

Veteran Benefit for Assisted Living

Many people are still unaware of a benefit available to Veterans and/or their surviving spouses should they need assisted living care. There is a financial assistance program entitled, “Non-Service Connected Pension with Aid and Attendance” that can assist wartime veterans and their surviving spouses while residing in an assisted living community.
This benefit is “means tested.” The VA reviews several factors to determine eligibility, to include income, net worth and level of disability and medical expenses. Generally those with assets of $80,000 or less (not including their primary residence) are financially eligible for this benefit program. Entitlement to pension benefits is determined on a case-by-case basis and requires the completion of 5 separate VA forms (one of which the assisted living community completes).
For more information regarding this program please contact the Veteran Service Office of the County in which you live in an assisted living community.
Outagamie County Veterans Service Office
Is located at 227 S. Walnut Street
Appleton, WI 54911
And the phone number is 920-832-5697, fax. 920-832-2473

Welcome to the Family

This morning Don* and Mary*, a new couple to Appleton Retirement Community, were approaching their apartment door as a long time resident, Jan* was approaching their apartment door as she walked the hall to breakfast. Jan stopped and said to them, “Hello Don. Hello Mary. How are you today? I hope you enjoy living here because I love living here.” Mary shared very honestly how much she had not wanted to make his move because she didn’t want to leave her house of 60 years.
Residents at Appleton Retirement Community are real and feel comfortable sharing their true thoughts and feelings. Many residents were not excited about the idea of making a move. Many were even scared or anxious about the unknown changes that lay ahead, yet current residents walk the hall smiling and welcoming new people daily.
Why does this occur? After the time it takes to settle in (which is different for everyone) residents start to feel safe, secure, cared for and even loved by their new additional family members consisting of other residents, staff and volunteers.
Residents realize that the family home they once loved served its purpose in its day but that their needs, wants and desires have changed. They adapt well to the new environment over time because they are made to feel very comfortable and at home. Residents tell us they don’t know why they didn’t move in sooner.
Have you or a loved one considered making a move to a retirement community? If you’d like to learn more about the options available at Appleton Retirement Community contact Sara Fawcett, Community Relations Director at Appleton Retirement Community at sfawcett@midwestseniorliving.net or 920-450-3350. We are always ready to welcome our newest residents home.

*Names were changed to maintain the privacy of our residents

Men’s Barbeque

The men of Appleton Retirement Community gather together monthly for Men’s Group. This month the group held a barbeque. Cheeseburgers, hamburgers, hot German potato salad, baked beans and Mr. Rynebeau’s cookies were enjoyed by all.
Each month a special guest speaker shares something interesting with the men as they enjoy learning new things. This month Matt Rynebeau, former principal of Xavier High School, shared his story of the cookie business with about twenty listening ears.
The Men’s Group is open to all male residents of Appleton Retirement Community as well as their guests. Should you or someone you know be interested in participating in the Men’s Group, want to know more about it or, want to volunteer to help with the Men’s Group, please contact Colleen Brickner, Life Enrichment Coordinator by email at cbrickner@midwestseniorliving.net or by phone at 920-954-9990.

At 91, Music Keeps Her Hands Agile and Mind Active, By Wynned Vanden Heuvel, Resident of Appleton Retirement Community

Sing every chance you get. Join in a sing-along. Sing in the shower. Tap your feet, tap your cane, tap out a rhythm on the table top. Let yourself swing and sway.
It will boost your spirits, chase away the blues and improve your breathing and lung capacity. Let music take you on a memory trip back to childhood and happy occasions.
We sing and rock babies to calm and comfort them. We sing and dance around when we are children. As teenagers and young adults, music is a part of all sorts of celebrations and worship services.
Mother nature even brings us the song of the birds; the babbling brook. We notice the pitter-patter or raindrops, the whistling wind and the call of the loon—all the music of nature. We live in a world of musical sounds and rhythms. Let yourself enjoy and relax with the gift of music.
We know that all cultures use rhythm and song in their celebrations. We all celebrate our holidays and religious services with appropriate music. We are never too old to enjoy the benefits of all kinds of music. Retirement homes and nursing homes provide a variety of musical activities and entertainments. You can see residents’ eyes light up, their feet tapping or joining in the an old familiar tune.
Music therapists tell us that music has a great healing power. It is used in many capacities. Research shows that music therapy can positively impact health, which is especially important as we age and experience more health changes.
As we get older, there are many activities we can no longer participate in due to physical limitations. No matter what our age or our health or mobility issues, we can always make and appreciate music.
Music has been an important and active part of my life for well over 75 years. I first began singing in choirs at age 10, sang in many choirs and was a longtime member of the Fox Valley Sweet Adelines and even was their director for a while.
At age 91, music is still something I enjoy every day. I practice my piano daily and play and lead a Saturday sing-along at Appleton Retirement Community, where I live. Music helps me keep my hands agile and my mind active.
So . . . sing and old song, do a little dance, shake a tambourine! Raise your voices, lift your hearts and you’ll be healthier and happier!



Cinco de Mayo 2015

Cinco de Mayo 2015
The Cinco de Mayo celebration at Appleton Retirement Community came as no surprise. Residents of Appleton Retirement Community regularly enjoy celebrations as well as studying other countries, states, ethnicities and cultures. Educational opportunities are highly valued by elders wishing to challenge their minds with daily learning experiences.
The savory aroma of cooked beef with taco seasoning was enough to entice anyone to peer into the dining room to enjoy a walking taco and some mariachi music. Conversations revealed that many residents enjoy guacamole and black olives. Residents were already talking about next year’s Cinco de Mayo festivities.

Free WiFi

The number of residents using the internet on their personal computers has increased in recent years. Many residents email, some Skype with long distance friends or family members, and some even use online banking features to access their financial institutions.
As a result, we have added free WIFI throughout our community as we believe it will benefit our residents and families in a variety of ways.
In addition to providing free WIFI, we have created computer stations on every floor of the community. This station will host a computer connected to the internet with a printer for resident use. Residents who do not have their own personal computer will have access to these community computers.

Car Show at Appleton Retirement Community

Antique Car for Car Show 2014

Appleton Retirement Community hosted our first ever car show on May 10, 2014. The weather was perfect for checking out the 12-14 classic cars in the parking lot. Mike Huff and Band played fun carhop music for all to enjoy. Residents and guests reminisced about the classic cars they drove years ago and the memories that come with them. The Dining Services Department grilled some delicious brats and tours were available for all who wanted to see the beautiful community. A fun time was had by all.