First Community Village offers residents a personal path to wellness

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Jackie Metro, Director of Wellness at First Community Village, teaches a tai chi class for residents in December.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                               lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS – When Dale and Glinna Fretwell arrived at First Community Village in September 2014, Dale was in bad shape.

“He got a blood infection in Florida,” Glinna recalled. “He was in bed for so long, he just lost his muscle strength. When he left the hospital we went to a rehab center. We were just very unhappy there.”

Natives of Virginia, the Fretwells had retired to Florida many years before. But now, with Dale’s illness, the difficulty of being on their own – and in a facility that did not meet their needs – made life particularly hard.

One of their daughters suggested that they consider moving into a community closer to where she lived in Columbus.

“There were four or five places that she visited,” Glinna said. “She has two little boys that came with her and she would ask them what they thought of each place. They told her First Community Village was their favorite. She asked them why. They said because they had candy at the front desk. It’s the little things that are important.”

In addition to the candy, First Community Village had the support services the facility in Florida was lacking.

“We put (Dale) on a plane in Tampa and we brought him straight here,” Glinna said, sitting just outside the physical therapy rooms at First Community Village. “The difference here is night and day. We hadn’t been here 30 minutes when a physical therapist came in and gave him an evaluation.”

“We offer a wellness assessment and we look at each new member holistically and determine their individual needs,” said Jackie Metro, the Director of Wellness at First Community Village. “We work specifically on whatever their needs for improvement are and work to get them to their optimal level of fitness.”

Dale spent about three months in physical therapy before he was able to get back on his feet and move into the manor home the Fretwells purchased.

“This place practically saved my husband’s life,” Glinna said. “He is so thankful for the good healthcare that we have had here.”

First Community Village has always had a wellness program, but in early 2016 National Church Residences enhanced what it had to offer.

“We expanded the program,” said Sarah Dalton Ortlieb, National Church Residences Vice President of Rehab Services. “We wanted to do wellness from all the domains, not just physical, but intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, occupational and environmental. We wanted to have more comprehensive wellness opportunities for the residents there.”

“I am able to tailor their care and make it appropriate to what they need,” Jackie said. “I like to think of it as a nice cycle. There is always a place for each resident.”

For residents who need the most care there is physical therapy. For those who need less, there are group exercise classes and activities.

“You can go from physical therapy and graduate into a group exercise,” Jackie said.

Between five-to-eight classes are offered each weekday at First Community Village, ranging from aqua aerobics in the pool, balance classes, tai chi, yoga, dance, range of motion classes and classes specifically for those with Parkinson’s disease.

“We are regulars at the gym. We use it three days a week,” said Glinna. “And we love the pool. We use it three days a week. It has kept us walking, literally. My husband has had both knees replaces and I had knee surgery, too.”

Jackie said that since the expanded services became available, she has seen a 45 percent increase in the number of physical therapy visits and a 35 percent boost in the number of participants who come to the fitness center.

“We love it here,” Glinna said. “They care for you and go out of their way to make sure you are as comfortable as you can get.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Lifetime of Service to our Country

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Jerry Bullock, a Marine Corps veteran, at home at National Church Residences Lincoln Village in Columbus.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                                lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS – Really, the only people out there who can poke fun at a Marine and get away with it are other Marines.

Jerry Bullock, a resident at National Church Residences Lincoln Village, joined the Marine Corps in 1962 when he and two friends decided to sign up together.

“Me and a couple of other guys at Marion-Franklin High School went in on the buddy system,” Bullock said. “We went to boot camp together, but we were never in the same Quonset hut.”

Bullock excelled as a Marine and began training in Advanced Infantry. It was the location of the boot camp, however, that got them their nickname.

“We went to boot camp in San Diego, California,” he said. “They called everybody who went to San Diego a ‘Hollywood Marine.’”

While he may have jokingly been ‘Hollywood’ at first, Bullock proudly served his country as a Marine, and later a member of the Navy and the National Guard, before a post-military career in civil service.

The memories of his long career?

“I wouldn’t trade them,” Bullock said.

His military experience truly began when after boot camp he was stationed in the Pacific.

“I went to Hawaii where I went into the weapons platoon,” he said. “Anti-tank assaultman. We trained and learned to fire the 3.5 inch, well, they call them bazookas now.”

Essentially a small rocket launcher, Bullock recalls the aftermath of repeatedly firing the weapons.

“I didn’t care for shooting them,” he said. “Wires would hit you in the face after they fired. You’d spend days picking those wires out of your face.”

Bullock spent two years in Hawaii – which was considered overseas duty at the time, even though Hawaii was a state. He followed up his time there for a brief training in Okinawa, Japan, before rotating back to the United States mainland.

“I ended up being an MP (Military Police) at Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station,” he said. “I was a Desk Sergeant in the Military Police.”

Bullock became part of the team that raised and lowered the flag every morning and night and also assisted other Marines with keeping their military IDs up to date. And then there were also the regular duties that came along with being an MP.

“You had to go to the enlisted club where the guys would get rowdy,” he said. “Have to go and keep them from breaking stuff up.”

With his four years of active duty coming to an end, Bullock was transferred back to southern California and Camp Pendleton.

“They wanted to send me to Vietnam,” he said. “But I only had seven months left to serve, so they kept me at Pendleton.”

There he was tasked with helping train Marines to swim while wearing their full equipment.

“It was to simulate abandoning a ship,” he said, adding that he had to act as a lifeguard on more than one occasion when soldiers struggled to stay afloat. “Lots of them. We let them take a little water first. If you don’t, they’ll grab onto you and drown you.”

Bullock was discharged in October 1966 and served two years of inactive duty before joining the Ohio National Guard and then the Navy for a year.

“When I came home I got a job in construction building the new post office here in Columbus,” he said. “With the weather the way it was and construction, I was only working about two days a week. So I took the post office exam and I passed in both Columbus and Grove City.”

Bullock accepted the position with the Columbus Post Office, where he would spend the next decade.

“I carried mail for 11 years until I injured my knee slipping on the ice. So I got disability from the post office. While I was in the Marines, with all the shooting we did, I lost hearing in my ears. So I get a pension from both the post office and the VA.”

‘Home for Life’ to expand and serve Columbus’ Near East Side

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Christine Leyshon, National Church Residences Community Program Manager, and Rosemary Mathes, National Church Residences Service Coordinator, will be part of the team that will bring Home for Life to Columbus’ Near East Side seniors.

COLUMBUS, Ohio ­– The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation has awarded a Healthy Aging Initiative grant in the amount of $254,209 to National Church Residences to help the organization expand the Home for Life program to residents of Columbus’ Near East Side.

“The project is a combination of strategies,” said Jeff Wolf, National Church Residences Senior Vice President of Philanthropy and Mission Impact. “It expands the reach of our Home for Life model to seniors who live outside of our affordable housing properties, while the model itself is an innovation designed to help seniors in the community age in place.”

The Healthy Aging Initiative grant, administered over a two-year span, will touch the lives of nearly 700 at-risk Franklin County seniors. According to Wolf, “The grant is significant beyond its financial investment. A partnership with the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation provides an opportunity to launch innovative solutions that encourage community collaboration and the development of replicable programming.”

“The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation is proud to partner with National Church Residences to share the Home for Life program with residents of Columbus’ Near East Side,” said Susan Beaudry, Director of Programs at the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation. “This innovative program has great potential to provide older, vulnerable adults with the care and support needed to remain in their homes and communities of their choice.”

National Church Residences’ Home for Life program is an outcomes-focused service model, using evidence-based assessments and evaluation tools to identify an individual’s needs and risk factors. By engaging those we serve where they live, Home for Life can identify and overcome social determinant factors that impact an individual’s ability to best manage their chronic diseases, leading to higher satisfaction and engagement, better health and cost savings.

“The objective is to improve access to care and self-management skills of older vulnerable populations by giving them the tools to understand and manage their own care, allowing them to remain in their homes as they age,” said Wolf.

This program will bring the Home for Life model to seniors on Columbus’ Near East Side who do not reside in a National Church Residences facility. The focus is on an area that surrounds the Champion Intergenerational Enrichment and Education Center, at 240 N. Champion Ave.

Mill Run resident turns donation into gifts for Memory Care patients

Mill Run resident Delilah "Dee" Beeman is sewing stuffed animals that she will give out as gifts to the facility's Memory Care patients

Mill Run resident Delilah “Dee” Beeman is sewing stuffed animals that she will give out as gifts to the facility’s Memory Care patients

By LANCE CRANMER                                            lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

HILLIARD, Ohio – It’s an unspoken lesson learned quickly by folks who grew up on the farm.

If a neighbor needs a helping hand, you give it to them.

“I’m an old Iowa girl,” said Delilah Beeman, better known as “Dee” around National Church Residences Mill Run. “That’s what we were taught to do on the farm. We help each other.”

As far back as the second grade, Dee remembers her mother teaching her how to sew.

A quick glance around her apartment at Mill Run and her handy work is obvious.

Her bedspread, drapes, jacket, tea cozy … all products of Dee’s creativity with a sewing machine.

But it’s the little things that Dee does for others – most of the time without even being asked – that makes her beloved among the staff and residents.

“All she needs is for someone to say, ‘this might help if …’ and it’s done,” said Linda Roehrenbeck, the Executive Director at Mill Run. “She doesn’t thrive on kudos. It’s the joy she gets from giving.”

When a resident suffering from a brain tumor lost her hair due to radiation, Dee quickly knitted her a few caps.

“She didn’t like bright colors so I made her black, brown, gray and tan ones,” said Dee, who also makes hats for patients at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus. “I’m a cancer survivor. Twice. So I understand.”

When the shirt-savers, worn by Memory Care patients while they eat, began to show signs of wear, Dee collected them and sewed new Velcro patches on so they once again stayed in place.

Dee is a member of the Knot Just Knitters club at Mill Run. As the program began to grow in popularity, a generous donor dropped off a large amount of material for the group to use.

“When the material came in, it was such nice material, I thought we had to use it for something else,” Dee said. “I make all kinds of little goodies.”

Dee decided to take the material and make a pattern for stuffed animals that she could pass out as presents to the Memory Care residents on Mill Run’s second floor.

“Our Memory Care patients would love to have things to hold,” said Linda. “She got the idea and she just started going. And then she decided that the men shouldn’t have Teddy bears. The men need a football.”

In the first week Dee produced a little more than a dozen small stuffed dogs, bears and footballs. She gave out one at first, but held the others until she made sure Linda approved.

“These are wonderful,” said Linda. “She’s so dear.”

“From the time you cut them out, stuff them and sew them together, it’s a little over an hour each,” said Dee, who suffers from carpal tunnel, but rarely takes breaks from her work. “I enjoy doing it. That’s the important thing.”

Dee arrived at Mill Run in December after many years of living on Columbus’ west side. She moved to the Buckeye State in 1945, married, belonged to multiple Masonic organizations, and raised a daughter and two adopted sons. After 58 years of marriage, Dee became a widow in 2003.

On Halloween, Dee Beeman will turn 93 years old. But to meet her, you would never know it.

“I feel wonderful. My balance is off. So I’m off my rocker,” she joked. “But I feel wonderful. I don’t have a care in the world, really. I don’t have anything to complain about.”

Dee said it is important to her to stay busy. And to find little ways she can help those around her.

“It’s better than sitting around watching TV all day,” Dee said. “If somebody needs a button sewn on, if they come to me, I’ll do it. One lady lost a button on her blouse. I just do little things that don’t amount to much. But she still thanks me for it.”

“She loves doing these things for people,” said Linda, who, like Dee, is a fellow Iowa native and fully understands the way farmers lend each other a hand. “That’s what we do. That’s exactly right. I don’t know why or how, but that’s what our families teach us.”

For Dee, helping others is never work. It’s just the right thing to do.

“I just do things whenever anybody needs something,” said Dee. “I’ll do it if I possibly can.”

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National Church Residences HUD refinance project nearing completion

Ed Zatezalo, Alan Mileti and Dorothy Patsy, all of National Church Residences.

Ed Zatezalo, Alan Mileti and Dorothy Patsy, all of National Church Residences.

By LANCE CRANMER                                           lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS – Roughly four years ago the National Church Residences Housing team began piecing together a plan that would not only benefit the organization financially, but further its mission by providing repairs that will maintain the viability of our HUD properties for many years to come.

“It may have been one of the most forward-thinking, innovative concepts HUD has come up with,” said Steve Bodkin, National Church Residences Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Housing Division.

The HUD 202 refinancing project allowed National Church Residences to refinance outstanding HUD 202 loans on all HUD properties and reinvest in them by providing critical repair work.

“We never got over-budget,” Steve said. “It’s been a real team effort from a lot of different people. But I really have to mention Alan Mileti, Ed Zatezalo and Dorothy Patsy. They are the three people that drove this entire project.”

Alan, National Church Residences Manager, Energy and Capital Planning, worked with contractors on firm pricing and provided oversight of construction work. Ed, a Procurement Specialist, was responsible for providing payments to contractors and handling closing paperwork. And Dorothy, the Regional Manager, supervised critical repairs, prepared budgets for each property and handled HUD paperwork.

“It’s really rewarding to see these needed repairs happen to communities. And the residents are really excited,” said Dorothy. “Really the property managers and maintenance teams are the heroes in all this.”

When a property was chosen to participate in the program, Dorothy worked with Regional Property Managers and site managers on a budget to submit to HUD.

“Every time we had to refinance, we had a list of critical repairs we had to do before closing. The manager and maintenance team would have to get those complete before we could close the loan,” she said. “They would work on those diligently.

“After the loan closes, we are given a set of projects to be completed within the one-year construction timeline.”

The initial list of 55 properties in 15 states were mostly owned by National Church Residences, though there were some managed sites and even a few owned by National Baptist Convention that National Church Residences was brought in to take the lead and oversee the refinancing of.

“HUD goes over cost review questions, and when the loan closes, the money comes, we accept the (construction) bids and the work starts,” Alan said. “From a property standpoint, it makes them sustainable.”

Separate contractors – one for interior work and one for exterior – were brought in for each project.

“We did all this in occupied buildings,” added Alan. “We never moved any residents out.”

Up front the benefits of the project are obvious.

“There are $38 million in repairs. Thirty-four are completed. There are another 16 we are working on,” said Ed.

The 50 properties that have closed to date represent 2,514 units. The repairs have averaged $766,000 per property, or $15,235 per unit.

Another benefit to the refinancing was an innovative concept that HUD approved.

“They allowed additional proceeds from some of the refinanced properties to be moved to other HUD properties,” Steve said. “We were able to move $3.6 million from 11 properties to benefit 11 other properties that didn’t have the funds to complete repairs like replacing roofs, windows, boilers, and settling issues. This forward thinking approach by HUD was a real blessing.”

In the long run, National Church Residences will also save money thanks to the refinancing itself.

Ed said the previous average interest rate for the properties involved was 6.5 percent. The new average interest rate for the properties is 3.3 percent. This has generated $1.7 million in annual debt service savings or mortgage payments. This means additional cash flow for these properties.

The project, which began in 2012, will continue into 2016 before wrapping up.

“It’s still pretty busy right now,” said Dorothy. “The ones we’re finishing up now are the ones that are more challenging. In three or four months we should see it tapering off. With Steve, Alan and Ed and everyone else, this has been an amazing team to work with.”

“The refinance initiative has been a real benefit for our residents,” said Steve. “The repairs that have been made make the properties sustainable as affordable housing for another 15 years.”

Ohio State doctoral student pioneers study on resilience with National Church Residences

Matthew Fullen and Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake at a ceremony recognizing the Schweitzer Fellowship.

Matthew Fullen and Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake at a ceremony recognizing the Schweitzer Fellowship.

By LANCE CRANMER                                          lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS – Working in the mental health field and specializing in providing care for aging adults, Matthew Fullen began to notice a recurring theme.

“A lot of health care is focused on dealing with physical concerns that older adults express,” he said. “Other psychological, emotional and spiritual concerns are made into second-class citizens.”

A doctoral student at the Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology, Fullen was awarded with an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, and used his sponsorship to create a study on resilience that he brought to National Church Residences.

“I reached out to Dan Fagan (Vice President of Home and Community Services) and Terri Allton (Senior Vice President of Home and Community Services) and they were both supportive,” Fullen said. “The three of us identified the Adult Day Center on Livingston Avenue as a great place to pilot some of these new ideas.”

The project had two prongs: first, to focus on acknowledging the staff at the facility and finding their individual strengths, and second, to work with the clients and talk to them about what it means to be resilient.

“Sometimes we don’t recognize that in older adults,” Fullen said. “We don’t give them a chance to notice the ways they’ve been resilient.”

Thirty clients at National Church Residences Livingston Avenue Center for Senior Health in Columbus, Ohio, participated in the nine-week program with Fullen and Sean Gorby, a fellow Ph. D student at OSU and the co-facilitator and co-researcher.

“We allowed clients to talk about ways they’ve been resilient and to hear stories from other clients there who have also demonstrated resilience,” Fullen said. “The way we implemented it was by framing our discussion through different areas of wellness. What about physical wellness? Next week, how have you been resilient through relationships? We cycled through several categories that allowed people to think about resilience in a way that was holistic. They were able to think about ways they’ve been resilient in their lives and it broadened their picture of resilience.”

The more the clients began to participate, the more excited they became for each weekly session.

“We had some really lively discussions,” Fullen said. “At the start of every Friday there was a palpable energy in the room. People were excited to talk about their lives, the challenges they’ve been facing and the ways they’ve been resilient.”

“It has really helped me because you know your situation but you find that others … we’re different but we’re all alike,” said an 83-year old Livingston client who participated in the study. “I’ve learned a whole lot, and it’s just a blessing being together and everybody sharing what’s happened to them or what is happening to them and to know that you’re not alone.”

The participants in the study ranged from 59 to 94 years old with the average age being 78. Eighty percent were African-American and more than half were both Medicare and Medicaid eligible.

After the nine week study concluded, 96 percent of participants reported enjoying the class and feeling a higher level of wellness and 92 percent said they felt generally happier than they previously had.

“Many individuals said they had no idea what some of the other folks in the room had been through and that allowed them to really appreciate their own resilience,” Fullen said.

In working with the staff, Fullen organized a “SPA Day” with SPA meaning “Strengthening Pride in Aging.”

“It was a way of giving the staff a chance to be celebrated,” he said. “We had massage therapists, a catered luncheon, and they learned about each other’s strength inventories. And in some follow-up surveys, 100 percent said it was helpful … and it made them feel proud of their work at Livingston and that they would recommend the strengths assessments to their friends.”

Fullen’s decision to bring his research proposals to a National Church Residences facility did not happen by chance. A decade before, he had been employed by the organization in a much different role that allowed him to work directly with aging adults in a time of need.

“It really started in 2005 when I worked for National Church Residences. That started me down this path that, now, 10 years later I am very committed to. I see it as a calling,” said Fullen, who worked as a Relocation Coordinator, helping residents transition into temporary homes during periods where National Church Residences facilities are being renovated. “It was a brilliant way to put a human touch on the whole relocation process. It gave me a lot of opportunities to interact with older adults in a time of somewhat crisis for them. That was a lot of built-in practice in helping even think about overcoming adversity. When you’re in your 70s and thinking you’re never going to move again, that requires some convincing.”

After a few years with the organization, Fullen chose to go back to school.

“I got my Master’s Degree in clinical counseling and another in Divinity. Really my professional focus has been thinking about how to help older adults maximize satisfaction with the feelings that come with aging,” he said. “I help them think about again and see it as an opportunity to grow and continue to be involved in their families and their communities.”

Later, when Fullen had the chance to study his ideas through the Schweitzer Fellowship, the 32-year old Hilliard, Ohio-native, knew National Church Residences would be the perfect partner.

“It’s been a privilege to work alongside National Church Residences,” he said. “National Church Residences is a leader in thinking innovatively about how to navigate the aging process.”

The results of the research will eventually be compiled into a manuscript and will be published.

“We hope this will lead to other opportunities to replicate this study at other sites,” Fullen said. “Currently I’m in some conversations with National Church Residences about how to expand this program and how to continue the positive momentum that’s taken place at Livingston.”

Fullen said that focusing his education through the years on not only health care but also religion has been a blessing.

“That fit so well with this resilience idea,” he said. “You look at how people’s bodies are changing and it’s easy to be discouraged. But you look at a whole person, their spiritual vitalogy, and you see aging as something not to be afraid of. It can be very hopeful. You think about again in new ways that can be very important to all of us. We’re all going to go through it at some point.”

Matthew Fullen with National Church Residences Vice President of Home and Community Services Dan Fagan.

Matthew Fullen with National Church Residences Vice President of Home and Community Services Dan Fagan.

Stygler Road is hiring! Multiple STNA positions in central Ohio

Stygler Road Hiring Event Flier MAY 2015

Are you an STNA? National Church Residences is hiring!

On May 15, National Church Residences Stygler Road in Gahanna (Ohio) is hosting an STNA Hiring Event from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

“It’s a great facility and it’s a great location,” said Stacey Gates, National Church Residences Director of Recruiting. “They have a great sense of teamwork.”

With an excellent benefits package that includes vacation, retirement, medical and dental insurance, team scheduling, an attendance bonus and a $500 retention bonus, Stygler Road is one of central Ohio’s premiere facilities for skilled nursing and rehabilitation.

Applicants are encouraged to pre-register for the hiring event online by visiting https://nationalchurchresidences1.wufoo.com/forms/m1ifhnap1jsbrpm/ and submitting information. Walk-ins will also be accepted.

“As an STNA your career is limitless,” Stacey said. “There are so many opportunities depending on your skills and experience. And National Church Residences has a number of different locations right here in central Ohio.”

Stygler Village is located at 167 N. Stygler Road in Gahanna, just minutes northeast of Columbus.

What makes being an STNA at National Church Residences unique is that we are a non-profit, mission-driven organization that offers flexible scheduling, career mobility and a great life/work balance.

“We have compassionate and caring managers,” said Stacey. “They really embrace the idea of shared leadership. We continually strive to include the staff members and listen to their ideas before making decisions.”