There are no pictures to accompany this outing because it was a private time for our elders. We don’t think of elders in our nursing home grieving for others, but they do. If they weren’t in a nursing home this Memorial Day weekend they would be planning a visit to the cemetery to decorate the tombstone of a spouse, child, parent, sibling or friend. So why do we put limitation on them when they are in a nursing home?
Today we took some elders to decorate the tombstones of their spouses, with flower arrangements they had made this week. It was such a rewarding experience that touched the hearts of the Quality of Life staff and Chaplain. Words cannot describe accurately the gratitude these elders had to have this moment of remembrance. One elder went to her husbands grave for the first time since he had passed away two years ago. It was the first time seeing the tombstone, the first time decorating and the first time talking with him. As we assisted her with putting the flowers in the ground she stated “These are for you Sweet Man!” We then gave her some time alone. As we returned to the grave she was admiring the engraving on the back of the tombstone on her husbands side it had baseball bat and glove because he loved baseball. We chuckled when we saw that on her side of the tombstone was a UofK shirt — because she LOVES the University of Kentucky Basketball team. Once back in the van she started to tell us the story of how she chased him down and she knew that he was the man she was going to marry. They were married 61 years.
A group of stakeholders from Signature facilities in Kentucky, along with members of the home office team, gathered in Lexington, Ky., this week to attend the ‘Best Places to Work in Kentucky’ awards ceremony. Signature has received the award for two consecutive years and this year came in fourth place in its category!
More than 1,000 Signature staff members registered for the recent Spirituality LearnFEST, a virtual learning conference that encouraged participants to consider the impact of spirituality, if fully activated, in a long-term care environment.
And that number doesn’t even include the many who joined in groups, in offices, breakrooms and wherever there were TVs or computers at Signature centers across 10 states to view the live broadcast. The event featured sessions that tied spirituality to numerous aspects of long-term care and health care, from clinical care to legislative involvement and the impact of spirituality in the workplace.
Six couples celebrated Valentine’s Day with a Sweetheart Luncheon hosted by the Quality of Life and Medical Records departments. We served pork tenderloin, hash brown casserole, green beans, dinner rolls, and fancy cheesecake. The residents reminisced about their first dates and how they met.
An interesting fact about everyone involved is that they were married in either December or January. Could it be that the longevity of a marriage depends upon the wedding taking place in the winter?
Even after all these years, in sickness and in health, these couples enjoyed telling their stories about their lives together. You could tell by the hand holding and smiles they all were still very much in love.
Ms. Lura Walsh turned 102 years old today! She enjoyed her chocolate birthday cake, stakeholders singing “Happy Birthday,” and most of all she enjoyed Sonny! Our facility dog brings such joy to our elders. They love for him to do tricks for snacks. Ms. Walsh doesn’t like to get up in a wheelchair, but with some encouragement from Sonny, she got up and went to the beauty shop to get her hair done for her birthday. As she got her hair fixed, she had Sonny doing “high fives” and “shake” for treats. Her giggle was priceless when he took a treat.
When I think about our culture change journey, I am so blessed that we have Sonny for our elders.He brings them joy, security, meaningm and connectedness, which enhances their quality of life.
As we celebrated her birthday, Sonny hopped up in bed and laid his head in her lap. Ms. Walsh smiled, petted his head, and love filled the room.
“Magical” was the word of the week as 85 Elders and Stakeholders from various Signature HealthCARE communities arrived at Walt Disney World for the final vacation of 2014.
This is the fourth consecutive year we have taken groups of nursing home residents on the vacations of their dreams. In past years, large groups have traveled to a single destination. However, last year, in an effort to accommodate a wider variety of preferences, Signature took smaller groups to several different destinations, including Boston, Atlantic City, Panama City Beach and Gatlinburg.