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The Importance of Friendship in Senior Living Technology Making Life Better for Seniors Starting an Exercise Program After Age 60

A New Era Begins at Trail Ridge: Dawn Patten New Trail Ridge Administrator

On February 2nd, 2017, Allen Svennes retired after 13 years as Trail Ridge Administrator. Stepping into the role is Dawn Patten, formerly Assistant Administrator, becoming only the third Trail Ridge Administrator in our 21-year history. As Dawn takes over the role of Community Administrator she will be leading the Trail Ridge of the future and providing services to residents with more diverse lifestyle and healthcare needs than ever before. Residents and families can be confident that the recent redevelopment, expanded services and experienced leadership positions puts Trail Ridge at the forefront of senior living. A few words from Dawn on her journey and the future of Trail Ridge:

I started at Trail Ridge in the fall of 1999 just after construction was completed on the 48 apartments in the B-Wing. During my first year, working alongside Bonne Reynolds, Marketing Director at the time and Earl Gerlach, a marketing consultant, we reached our goal of selling out all available apartments.

SPRING :: 2017

Several years later in 2003, I transitioned to Director of Resident Services, and was responsible for planning activities and events on campus, as well as handling some social services duties. Some residents may recall during that time I also led some exercise classes. Today, of course, the Wellness program at Trail Ridge looks very different with the addition of the fitness room, pool and of course the certified trainers.

In January of 2014, after receiving my nursing home administrator’s license the prior year, my role changed again and I accepted the Assistant Administrator position. The position was created to provide much needed administrative support throughout the redevelopment project. One key responsibility, as Assistant Administrator, was coordinating the transition of residents from one level of care to another. With the completion of the new assisted living building in November of 2014 the transitions really picked up and by July of 2015 we had 45 internal moves. It was a very busy time! As I make the transition into my new position I cannot say enough about the support I have received


from residents, staff and of course Allen. His incredible vision and leadership over the years have been instrumental in guiding my career, creating a positive work environment for staff and making Trail Ridge the great community it is today.

On a personal note, similar to my growing career at Trail Ridge, my family has grown as well. In our home near Harrisburg we now have three children Cole a sophomore, Mia in 8th grade and Jesa 3rd grader, needless to say I am just as busy at home as I am at work.

~Dawn Patten, Trail Ridge Administrator

A Friendship A Day Keeps the Doctor Away! Throughout our lives maintaining social connections is necessary for physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. For seniors, social bonds are more important than ever, but too often social networks begin to shrink just when they are needed most. By choosing to live in a senior living community residents are surrounded by a network of friends, family and peers. Activities, events, entertainment and mealtimes make it easy to meet new people and when living on a senior campus or in a community setting, friends and neighbors are close by therefore eliminating the transportation barrier that causes many seniors to feel isolated in their home. Social isolation can lead to unintended psychological and physical health risks. For example, depression, cognitive decline, impaired mobility, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and dementia. In addition, those who are socially isolated are less likely to be proactive about their health, leading to poor diet, decreased physical activity and a lower likelihood of seeking medical care. In American Baptist Homes of the Midwest (ABHM) communities like Trail Ridge, seniors can create a lifestyle of their choosing and easily maintain or expand their social circles, increase interaction and prevent the consequences isolation can have on overall health. The social aspect of a senior community is one of the key benefits our residents receive during a stage of life when many experience social isolation. New friendships form every day across ABHM communities and are often the first thing residents mention when describing how their life has improved through community living.

“It was scary leaving my home of 32 years to move to a senior living community,” said one longtime resident, “but I’ve discovered that in the sharing of memories and the daily adventures of retirement, I’ve formed deep new friendships that bring me great joy. I find it impossible to clearly express the many blessings that are freely shared here each day, person-to-person and friend-to-friend.” Paulette Webb moved to ABHM’s Mountain Vista Senior Living Community in Colorado during July of 2016 and said her new friendships have been an unexpected blessing. “I have made good friends here and really enjoy being social”. Paulette continues, “It’s something I didn’t even realize I was missing when I was living in my house, but now I don’t know how I lived without it!” Though they may initially feel reluctant to change, most seniors find moving to a senior living community transforms their overall quality of life. If you are experiencing social isolation, talk to a loved one about transitioning to a senior community in your area. Already living in an ABHM community and looking for more? Ask your community’s activity coordinator how you can get more involved in community life.

Technology At ABHM Communities,

Is Changing

Senior Living

For the Better

n his 18 years with American Baptist Homes of the Midwest (ABHM), IT Director Roger Hennen has seen technology transform the lives of residents, as well as the way ABHM communities manage and deliver care.


This transformation follows a trend across the senior living industry. Communities all over the country are adopting new technologies in order to create more efficient processes, provide more personalized care, and facilitate communication between families, providers and community staff. At ABHM, Roger spearheads IT initiatives and helps the senior living communities implement and adapt new systems that streamline care and enhanced resident experiences. For example, digital health records enable staff to more carefully monitor resi-

dents’ progress over time, while health information exchange systems simplify patient transitions between hospital stays, rehab and discharge. Even the dining services team has technology on their side, using software to manage dietary plans customized to the needs of each individual resident. Perhaps the most dramatic change has come from the residents themselves, and how they adapt to new technology. Roger states, “Today, many new residents arrive at our communities with laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones in tow. Eighteen years ago, that rarely happened, people just didn’t have the interest and some of the technology didn’t even exist.” He continues, “In my time with ABHM there has been a dramatic change, I see residents in their 80s using

a wide variety of digital devices and computer systems, it has become the new norm.” The use of technology has been especially lifechanging for residents who do not have family nearby. These new means of communication give residents the opportunity to talk face-toface with family and friends hundreds and even thousands of miles away. “The biggest thing now is social media,” says Roger. “I’m seeing more and more of it each week. Facebook, Instagram . . . residents are using social media to stay in touch with family.” For those who don’t own a smartphone, tablet or laptop, ABHM provides access to computers so residents can use FaceTime or Skype with distant family members. Over the last five or six years, the access and use of technology has become a routine part of daily life for residents and families. ABHM communities have Wi-Fi installed throughout all the common areas and in the health centers, networks for guests and visiting family to access, and walk-up computer stations are available in each community for those who don’t have a personal computer. “People coming to our communities have grown accustomed to having access to technology,” says Roger. “It’s part of their lives.”

How to Start an Exercise Routine AFTER AGE If you haven’t made exercise a regular part of your life by the time you’re 60, you may think it’s too late. Fortunately, it’s not! Many people associate aging with physical decline that makes it difficult to exercise. In reality, physical decline is a by-product of not being active on a regular basis. And far from being too late to get started, adults over 60 actually stand to benefit from exercise even more than younger adults! Regular physical activity lowers your risk for almost every chronic illness, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and strokes. Exercise has also been proven to slow mental decline, improve mood, and increase your body’s ability to recover from injury or surgery. Increased strength and dexterity reduce the risk of falls, which are a leading preventable cause of senior hospital visits. With all these potential benefits, what’s stopping you? Here’s how to get started.


3. Consistency Over Intensity

You don’t need to run marathons to gain the benefits of regular physical activity. Even a daily walk is enough to see improvements in your overall health. The key to establishing an exercise routine at any stage in life is picking something that you can commit to doing consistently. Find something you enjoy and exercise won’t seem like such a chore.

4. Work with a Trainer A physical trainer can help you set realistic goals, find exercises that fit your body and limitations, and practice exercise safely. For example, lifting weights without proper training and guidance can risk injury. ABHM’s staff of physical therapists and trainers will work with you to design a customized fitness program that will help you reach your goals.

1. Get Approval

5. Know When to Stop

Before you start any kind of exercise program, it’s important to get clearance from your doctor. Check with your physician to make sure they don’t have any concerns about you participating in certain forms of exercise. Take any advice they offer seriously. A sudden change in activity level can be dangerous if you have a heart condition or joint problems.

When you push your body beyond what it’s used to, it’s normal to feel some soreness and discomfort. However, if you experience pain or illness during a workout, that’s a signal from your body that you should stop and rest or slow down. Warning signs include chest pain or pressure, dizziness, nausea, cold sweat, sharp joint pain, and racing or irregular heartbeat.

2. Start Small If exercise hasn’t been a regular part of your life, you’re not going to jump up off the couch and start running down the block. Assess your physical fitness level to determine an appropriate starting point. Without knowing your baseline, it’s easy to overdo it and cause an injury. Take it slow and work up to a more strenuous routine.

With spring just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start a new exercise routine. There’s almost nothing better for your mental and physical health than spending time outside moving your body, so get out there and go! Wellness and Fitness programs are offered for residents of all ABHM Communities, including Trail Ridge. Contact our Wellness Director Traci Karst today to learn more.

Trail Ridge Resident Spotlight:

Dorothy Duesis If we mention creating a profile about a resident named “Dorothy,” the other residents of Trail Ridge might wrinkle their brow and wonder, which one? We have 11 Dorothy’s listed in the Trail Ridge directory! But today’s profile features Dorothy Duesis (pronounced Do-iss).

Born and raised right here in Sioux Falls, Dorothy is the middle child of three sisters. She and her sisters attended Washington High School along with her future husband Dwane. However, it was not in the classroom, but at church, where she and Dwane eventually met. For a brief time after graduation Dorothy held a unique job at the VA as secretary to the Chief Attorney and Dwane worked at the phone company. For the first several years of their marriage Dwane’s position kept them on the move. However, after 5 years


the couple decided they had moved around enough and settled down in Sioux Falls, where they raised their family of five children, including a set of twins! While the children were growingup Dorothy was a stay-at-home mom to her four girls and one son. During those years the family looked forward to vacations together. When asked what her favorite vacation was she responds, Glacier National Park, and their trip through the Canadian Rockies, both were very beautiful. Before moving to Trail Ridge Dorothy was fairly familiar with the community, particularly the Trail Ridge beautician, Vicki. Dorothy had been Vicki’s customer for many years and would come see Vicki at Trail Ridge even before she decide to become a resident. While visiting Trail Ridge Dorothy was able to experience the friendliness of the community first hand,

Trail Ridge Golf Tournament


Dorothy Duesis, Trail Ridge resident

see all the activity taking place and the wonderful smells coming from the kitchen - she was sold! Today, Dorothy is an active Trail Ridge resident and loves playing bridge and mahjong with friends and neighbors. She also enjoys meeting new people moving into the community, watching musicals and the other performances at the community. With all that is offered here, Dorothy could not be happier with her decision to move to Trail Ridge.

Trail Ridge Bistro

50 OFF %


Any Coffee Drink

Save the Date!

When you present this coupon. 605-339-4847

3408 W. Ralph Rogers Road, Suite 100 Sioux Falls, SD 57108

Trail Ridge Senior Living Community is owned and operated by American Baptist Homes of the Midwest, a not-for-profit provider of senior health care since 1930.



Trail Ridge is a faith-based, not-for-profit senior living community. Our mission is to create healthy Christian communities that empower older adults. We provide choices for housing, services, and technology that enrich body, mind and spirit.



The Importance of Friendship in Senior Living Technology Making Life Better for Seniors Starting an Excercise Program After Age 60

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Trail Ridge Magazine Spring 2017  

Trail Ridge Magazine Spring 2017

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