Vista Grande Villa - Grande Living Magazine - Summer 2020

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Grande LIVING SUMMER | 2020


a word from

OU R L E A DE R SH I P Welcome back to Grande Living Magazine. First, we must acknowledge that no one could predict a summer like the one we are experiencing. The threat of the spread of COVID-19 forced us all to rethink how we live our daily lives. Although our campus functions differently today, our residents are resilient, and have accepted these changes and new ways of daily habits. We look forward to the day that our restaurants are full again, and our friends and families fill the common areas with smiles and laughter. We have taken this opportunity to reexamine our strategic initiatives and vision for the future of senior living at Vista Grande Villa. As you may imagine, infection control and technology enhancements top the list. Vista Grande Villa is committed to enhancing the lives of all we serve, and will take this time of uncertainty to make adjustments that are more robust and continue to provide excellence in quality for many years to come. Although Vista Grande Villa caregivers’ friendly smiles are now covered with face masks, their compassion and care for our residents’ safety remains unchanged. We have always believed that Vista Grande Villa is More Than a Building. It’s about the kind, considerate people who live and work here making it a home. We’re now having to find new ways to adjust to this “new” way of life and provide alternative accommodating solutions to offer our residents comfort during this period of isolation. We also stay committed to bringing peace of mind for families in knowing that those they care about are being well cared for during this time. Cheers to you, our resilient residents and dedicated staff. Let us all pause to be thankful, feel grateful and count our blessings. Together we are stronger…


Ron Markowski Chelsea Eisele President Executive Director

Grande Living in Jackson, MI........................................ 3 Did You Know? .......................................................... 4 Events and Summer Recipe........................................... 5 Russ Youngdahl, Sr. .................................................... 6 Confronting COVID-19............................................... 8 Healthcare Hero, Mary Rentschler ................................. 9 Kay Bills . ................................................................10 Extraordinary Living Fund Recap ................................. 11 Our Staff and Volunteer Board of Directors .................... 12

mor e t h a n or di na r y.

2251 Springport Rd. Jackson, MI 49202 (517) 787-0222


Managed by Presbyterian Villages of Michigan

Grande Living


While You Were Away...

Living the Grande Life just keeps getting better and better! For nearly fifty years, Vista Grande Villa has remained a premier Life Plan retirement community with a full continuum of lifestyle and care choices. We offer exceptional quality and excellent variety of senior living options; each home designed for your own, individual needs. We are conveniently located in Jackson, MI, where you’re just a short courtesy ride away from nearby Mid-Michigan shops, dining and hospitals. Every full-time Vista Grande Villa residence becomes a resort-like staycation offering you a healthier, happier, carefree lifestyle. Our residents agree, Vista Grande Villa is More Than a Building! It is an experience. It’s about the skilled staff, kind caregivers and enjoying the best that senior living has to offer. Now with new pricing points and financing plans available. Learn more about the maintenance-free Apartment Homes, free-standing modern and spacious Carriage Homes and all other living options that make us more than ordinary. We’re Extraordinary!

A Life Plan community for all lifestyles Independent Living—A home you love, but without the upkeep! Assisted Living—Your own apartment with a helping hand when you need it. Memory Care—Security, dignity, and meaningful moments. Health & Rehabilitation—Round-the-clock care, physical/ occupation/speech therapy following an injury or illness. Skilled Nursing—Competent, compassionate, long-term care. | 3

OU R M I S SION Vista Grande Villa, a non-profit senior living community, exists for the purpose of providing a quality continuum of care to enrich the lives of those we serve in a family environment.


Even while we’re all maintaining social distancing, wearing face masks and washing our hands frequently, there are still plenty of ways for residents to be active and stay connected! MIND AND BODY. KEEP IT MOVING, PEOPLE. During this pandemic seniors still need to continue with an appropriate exercise program. We offer several “stay fit” options for every fitness level. Want to get back outdoors? Join in and participate with fresh air fitness activities.

with ways to keep residents connected to their families and friends. Helping them with technology to have a video chat allows our seniors to both see and hear their children (“Wow, you need a haircut!”), and grandchildren (“Look how big you’re getting!”) on computer screens in their own units.

For residents with limited mobility, discover a hobby like knitting, crocheting, painting, or coloring, (Yes! Adult coloring books are being enjoyed by crayon & colored pencil artists of every age for their meditative, calming effect).

Maintaining a good sense of humor is also vital when the going gets rough. That’s why Vista Grande Villa is focused on bringing joy to our residents with recreational events like socially distant sing-a-longs, celebrations and parades to celebrate special milestones “just for fun.”

Plug in to entertainment for educational enjoyment. Go back and re-watch favorite films on cable TV, or get hooked on a new documentary series. Large print books and audio books are also great ongoing learning options for the vision-impaired, (sometimes read aloud by the actual author).

VIDEO CHATS. THE NEXT BEST THING TO BEING THERE. Our Vista Grande Villa staff has been creative

UNTIL WE ALL (ARE ABLE TO) MEET AGAIN. As we all to do our part to “flatten the curve,” we will also continue to lift each others’ spirits. We’re proud of our residents for their remarkable resiliency, and our caring staff for going that extra mile. You are all the true foundation that makes Vista Grande Villa More Than a Building.





This summer, Vista Grande Villa has welcomed some of the leading experts in senior living, real estate, downsizing and organizing, estate and financial planning. Our Vista Virtual Summer Presentation Series is free and online using Zoom. Tuesday, June 30, 2020 | How to Plan in an Uncertain Environment with Brad Breeding

Summer recipe

A cool & quick


Nothing says summer like a refreshing, chilled gazpacho soup! Here is one you may want to try.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020 | Preparing to Sell Your Home in Today’s Market with Bill White


Tuesday, July 14, 2020 | Staging, Downsizing & Organizing with Leigh MacCready

2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes

Tuesday, July 21, 2020 | Let’s FLIP the Script! The Science and Savvy Behind Aging in America with Kelly Scheer

½ cup water

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 | Estate Planning with Amy Tripp We want to thank these guest presenters for sharing their expertise and hope they can come back and join us again!


1 seedless cucumber, diced



2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Don’t miss our Fall Vista Virtual Presentation Series. We have more great guests and FREE presentations coming your way! We’ve got it all this summer and fall at Vista Grande Villa! Enjoy our free online ZOOM series with engaging presenters from the comfort of your own home. Participate in socially distanced fun events around the campus. It’s all happening here, so stay tuned and get involved with these exciting events!

1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced 3 stalks celery, finely chopped 4 green onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced 2 tablespoons vinegar 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro 1 pinch salt (optional) and freshly ground black pepper You can garnish with a sprig of basil and add a dash of your favorite hot sauce, to taste but that’s optional, of course!

DIRECTIONS: Process a 1/2 cup of tomatoes, the water and oil, in a blender or food processor until pureed. Transfer into a medium-size bowl, along with remaining ingredients. You may season with salt (optional) and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until you are ready to enjoy! | 5


Russ Youngdahl, Sr.


f Vista Grande Villa is More Than a Building, then Russ Youngdahl, Sr., age 96, could be called a corner stone in helping to build toward its continued success. As a resident for the past 16 years and former Villa Board Chair, Russ, Sr.’s multigenerational family story at Vista Grande Villa begins when his parents decided to take up residence there. “Our paternal grandparents, Nellie and Harry Youngdahl, were the first Youngdahl generation to move to the Villa,” his daughter, Kate Stauss said. “Sadly, my grandfather died just 6 months into their residency. Fortunately, he had gotten my grandmother well established. She remained living at the Villa until she was just shy of 102 years old.”

The Villa Board Brings on a Power Player His family says it was while visiting his mother there that Russ, Sr. decided to get involved with the Vista Grande Villa board. Back in

those days he held the position of Executive Vice President for Consumers Power, was an active member with the Kiwanis organization and was regarded as a leader in the Jackson community.

“Once he moved into the Villa himself, he got great satisfaction representing his fellow residents, making sure that their concerns were heard and attended to,” Kate proudly stated.

It was also during this period that he and his wife, Mary, started to consider making the Villa a home for their elder years.

His daughter Karen Pawlick agreed, “Dad always enjoyed helping others and was able to continue working with committees and socializing with people.”

“Our parents’ decision to move there was based on the good experience our grandparents had there,” his daughter Ann Finn explained, “and our father’s confidence in the financial and operational stability of the Villa and the Villa’s singular opportunity for Life Plan residency.” Russ, Sr.’s leadership on the Villa Executive Committee transitioned seamlessly when the couple decided to take an apartment at the Villa. Here, he was able to continue to bring his knowledge of business operations to the board and help to put the organization on firm financial footing.

“For the things he cares deeply about, like Vista Grande Villa, he goes above and beyond to serve with his time, talents, and treasures,” added granddaughter Leslie Youngdahl McAndrews.

Keeping Traditions, Making Memories and Enjoying a Vodka & Fresca When Russ, Sr.’s beloved wife, Mary, passed away, he remained at the Villa. Today, everyone has a favorite past time with him in and around his apartment. Kate enjoys walking the campus grounds


together. When Ann is in town, it’s the late night talks they’ll have before she heads down the hall to a Villa guest room. Karen helps him to write birthday cards to his eight grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren! Russ Youngdahl, Jr. is Russ, Sr.’s only son. Living in the Jackson area he enjoys visiting his father often and jokingly adds, “Just let it be known that I am the rock of the family. They (his sisters and daughters) couldn’t do it without me.” Like Leslie, granddaughter Lauren Snyder followed in Russ, Sr.’s former career path and currently works at Consumers Energy. Because of this, they share a unique tradition. “During lunch, early in my career, I’d meet Grandpa for a hot dog and chips at the Hidden Garden Café,” she said, “Working for the same company we’d share stories and he’d offer advice.” Family members still gather together with Russ, Sr. to pay tribute and say,

“Cheers,” with the same “house drink,” a Vodka & Fresca, that he and his wife enjoyed each evening for years. “Within those four walls, we’ve celebrated birthdays and Christmas Eves with takeout and cocktails,” Leslie added, “We’ve watched baseball games, shared news of engagements and babies. Many memories have been reminisced upon and made at Vista Grande Villa.”

Appreciating the Villa Home Comforts The whole family agrees it’s the comfort and community the Villa represents that Russ, Sr. finds most satisfying. It’s also reassuring to his loved ones knowing he’s being well cared for. Ann confirmed, “I am reassured to know that Dad is in the daily company of a group of loving staff, some of whom helped care for our grandparents.” “Vista Grande Villa staff are some

of the hardest working people. Their patience and attention to care is admirable,” Leslie praised. “I appreciate them working 24/7 to watch over and protect not only my Grandpa, but the hundreds of residents who they serve.”

A Parent’s Influence and Legacy Will Live On Russ, Sr. will always be, first and foremost, a true U of M man having received his undergraduate degree there. He then went on to receive his master’s degree at MIT as a Sloan Fellow. Both parents were role models to the children growing up, and they’re grateful to them for instilling the values and drive to succeed. Russ, Sr.’s compassion for others, strong business acumen and desire to help make the world a better place has always been an example they will continue to follow. As the beloved patriarch of the Youngdahl family, Russ Youngdahl, Sr. continues to inspire and impress everyone around him. | 7



aggie Reason has the unique opportunity and perspective of seeing two important sides in dealing with COVID-19 at Vista Grande Villa. As a three year apartment resident she understands the concerns her friends and neighbors have had. “I chose to come to the Villa for several reasons, including personal safety,” she said, “In my wildest dreams I could not have imagined that in 2020 personal safety was going to have a whole different meaning.”

responsibility to relay any questions or concerns they may have regarding community issues.

health organizations ensuring that the decisions made are appropriate, necessary and based on fact.”

“As spokesperson for the residents, I am pleased to share everyone’s praise for all that is being done here at the Villa,” she assured.

This issue of Grande Living Magazine’s “Healthcare Hero,” Mary Rentschler, (see story on page 9) also gets a proud shout out from Maggie in helping to advise staff on staying compliant with COVID-19 state-mandated guidelines.

Maggie credits Vista Grande Villa Executive Director, Chelsea Eisele, and her team for acting early in trying to remain ahead of the virus curve when it first hit in the new year emphasizing, “She and our staff had discussed and made plans before the need to implement them became obvious.”

“We have our own infection control nurse (Rentschler) at the Villa, continually disinfecting of common areas by staff, along with on-going education about the things residents should be doing.”

Serving as the Vista Grande Villa Resident Council President, Maggie She also confirms that Eisele, The issues of coping with also witnesses the “remains in touch with numerous COVID-19 are ongoing, but thanks daily struggles Vista to people like Maggie Grande Villa staff Reason, the Vista Grande endure in dealing As spokesperson for the residents, I am Villa leadership team, with COVID-19. In conscientious caregivers pleased to share everyone’s praise for all that is her role as liaison and safety rule abiding between the residents being done here at the Villa. residents they’re giving it and the Vista Grande their best. – Maggie Reason, Villa Resident Council President Villa staff it’s her

Mor e t h a n or dina ry. E x t r aor dina ry.


Mary Rentschler

Unit Manager, Infection Preventionist

We asked Mary about her position at Vista Grande Villa, and what she likes to do when not on duty.

What are some other responsibilities regarding your position? “I’ve been a nurse for twelve years, and cannot imagine any other profession,” says Mary Rentschler. As Unit Manager and Infection Preventionist at Vista Grande Villa, it’s her responsibility to make sure the facility is in compliance with all Infection Prevention guidelines at both the state and federal level, ensure policies are up to date and that her team are using best nursing practice to prevent as many infections as possible. “Mary is amazing!” says her direct supervisor, Julie Babcock, Nursing Home Administrator, commenting on her nursing performance at Vista Grande Villa. “Her work is constant, she does a remarkable job, remains positive and has guided the Vista Team through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Babcock praised.

“I also monitor residents who have either developed or been admitted with an infection. I keep track of these infections, track any possible correlation between them, and also monitor staff illness and any possible correlation with resident illness. I develop care plans in relation to these infections, and change those plans of care if necessary.”

What sort of infection control procedures are now used to combat COVID-19? “Following PPE guidelines is important in making sure that we are protecting ourselves and our residents from any exposure to the virus. Hand washing, early recognition of symptoms, screening and monitoring of both residents and staff are all major factors in fighting the spread of the virus.”

How has your job changed when interacting with Vista Grande Villa residents now? “Communication with residents has become challenging. It takes longer as it can be difficult for them to hear us through our masks, and they cannot read lips as our mouths are covered. It’s so important to take those extra minutes to ensure that we are communicating properly.”

How do like to spend your free time? “My whole family (husband, Roy, two boys, Brady, 10 and Dylan, 8, a stepson Roy, 19, and stepdaughter Allyssa, 21) loves outdoor activities like, swimming, hiking, kayaking, and riding four wheelers.” Sounds like Mary keeps as busy even when she’s off-duty! Thanks Mary, for your care and attention with Vista Grande Villa residents and staff.

Her work is constant, she does a remarkable job, remains positive and has guided the Vista Team through the COVID-19 pandemic.

– Julie Babcock, Nursing Home Administrator | 9


– Kay Bills

Caption to go here…

Two of our Carriage Home residents, Kay Bills and John Wells provided us with their personal testimonial of what their experience has been like living here at Vista Grande Villa. For Kay, the decision was easy; she simply followed in her mother’s footsteps.


hen Kay Bills and her sister, Joan, were helping her mother, Margaret Coates, search for senior living accommodations Vista Grande Villa made the top of their list.

“It just felt like the right fit for her,” Kay thought. Margaret moved into a two bedroom apartment, made some new friends and began playing her favorite game of bridge again. A few months later Kay called her sister and said, “You know, Joanie, mother has lost her frowning face. Now she’s our regular, happy mom again.” It was some years later, after Kay also found herself widowed, that she began to consider Vista Grande Villa for her own senior years. Her mother had since passed, but she recalled how she had thrived while living there. When Carriage Homes became available, Kay chose her favorite. After settling in, she realized she and her mom had even more in common. “I like to keep active with the library here, where I’m currently the chairman. My mother had worked in the library, too.” “I’m also kind of social,” she admitted, “I love the camaraderie of having a lot of people around me.” This is when Kay’s good friend, John Wells, joined the conversation. He moved to Vista Grande Villa a year after she arrived ten years ago. “Before I decided on Vista Grande Villa I did a preliminary trip here,” he confessed, “I saw a monthly newsletter with a picture of Kay in it and thought, man, she’s pretty cute!”

Kay laughed, “It’s been great companionship for me. He has his Carriage Home, and I have mine. It’s the best of both worlds. I did not expect to meet someone here, but I did.” And, where John goes, so does his other best friend, “Dino,” his little Havanese dog. “His breed is the national dog of Cuba,” John proudly stated. “He’s our adorable, little protector,” added Kay. Campus recreation also keeps them busy. Kay enjoys participating in the exercise classes. John is a champion 300 Wii bowler, having had 13 perfect games. They’re also involved with the activities committee, particularly the monthly TGIF gatherings where both have served as bartenders. Dining out at the Vista Grande Villa restaurants is also a favorite past time with these two. “We’d go to the Rose Room often with friends,” Kay said. “It was a group of ladies and me,” John boasted, “It was called, ‘John’s harem’. I loved it!” The two good friends also agree about recommending Vista Grande Villa to other seniors looking for a carefree, maintenance-free lifestyle. “We’d like more people to come and visit here as a place to live,” John said. “But, you don’t want to wait too long,” Kay encouraged, “Come while you can still enjoy all the nice amenities. It’s a great place to be!”

Having Kay and John as neighbors sounds fun.

Extraordinary Living Fund INAUGURAL YEAR RECAP


Formation of the Extraordinary Living Fund (ELF) and the ELF Allocation Committee 2019 Chili Cook-Off Event

Vista Grande Villa’s Village Garden Venture is to increase access to fresh healthy produce for 250 economically-challenged senior citizens and youth living in “food deserts.” Program goals include impacting chronic health issues and reducing social isolation.

Thorrez Family Naming Gift for the WoodCraft Shop We raised $700 in funds and had fun! There were more than 15 chili entries, including residents, staff and greater community participants.

Village Garden Venture Program

In August, 2019 Vista Grande Villa was awarded a $148,592 planning and demonstration grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. Under this grant, Vista Grande Villa is convening community partners in the planning and testing of an intergenerational (seniors and socially-disenfranchised youth) community garden featuring multiple growing and distribution sites throughout Jackson County. The overall purpose of

We are truly grateful for their generous gift to the ELF fund, helping to make our wish list come true!


2019 Funds Raised 32 Donors

100% Leadership Participation When we donate to Vista Grande Villa, we unite with people who share the belief that senior citizens deserve to live extraordinary lives.

Donor’s impact after ELF’s first 2020 allocation cycle: Chairs to support Silver Sneakers Fitness Program

TurboChef pizza oven for the Hidden Garden Café

Nu-Step exercise equipment to enhance the fitness room

Grande Room chair tips to ease in sliding/moving

Outdoor staff break areas that enable staff to relax and refresh in a comfortable setting

Independent Living courtyard socializing space: patio furniture, seating, pathway and ground pavers

Individual mailboxes for residents in our Memory Care Neighborhood

Outdoor Bocce Ball Court

Sensory pads for Memory Care Neighborhood residents

For more information or to discuss your great ideas, contact Tim Swope at 517-764-8023 or You can also learn more at

VISTA GRANDE VILLA EXTRAORDINARY LIVING FUND ALLOCATIONS COMMITTEE This resident-led committee was established by VGV’s Board and charged with reviewing and researching ideas proposed by VGV residents and staff requesting support generated through Vista Grande Villa’s Extraordinary Living Fund (ELF) Annual Campaign. The committee makes funding recommendations for VGV Board approval.

W H AT D O ES T HE C O M M I T T EE F UND? Matching Funds – sometimes VGV will apply for a grant and the potential grantmaker will challenge Vista Grande Villa to provide a percentage of the total essential funding. Property Enhancement Projects – projects may include planned and unplanned enhancements that are not 100% funded by other revenue sources. Equipment – purchase of equipment that increases extraordinary living opportunities for Vista Grande Villa residents. Fellowship – assistance for Life Plan residents who have outlived their resources and meet the criteria established for Fellowship Care. Professional Development – support for unique staff professional development opportunities to enhance Vista Grande Villa’s capacity to provide extraordinary living opportunities. Other – support for projects that fall outside of the other categories (projects under this category require 100% approval from ELF Committee members). | 11


2251 Springport Rd. Jackson, MI 49202 (517) 787-0222 Managed by Presbyterian Villages of Michigan

OU R STA F F Our senior leadership team shares a commitment to staff, residents and their families. They bring professional credentials and industry experience to Vista Grande Villa. Each staff member strives to create an authentic and enriching community and home for residents, and for the people who serve them. Chelsea Eisele Executive Director Julie Babcock Administrator

Jennifer Hudson Director of Dining Services

Stacey Olson Director of Sales & Marketing

Nichole Garcia Director of Nursing

Tim Swope Director of Fund Development


Kim Kampf Director of Campus Care and Assisted Living

Amy Tucker Director of Human Resources

Stephen Benkovsky Director of Environmental Services/ Plant Operations Kim Braun Director of Administrative and Hospitality Services

Newton Mulama Director of Finance

VOLU N T E E R BOA R D OF DI R EC TOR S Ron Markowski, President CPA, Markowski and Company Jennifer Kelly, Vice President Attorney, Kelly, Kelly & Kelly Greg Putra, Treasurer Retired, Henry Ford Allegiance Health, Cardio Pulmonary Diagnostics

Ellen Keatley, Secretary Retired, Administration & Education Karen Annable Retired, Church Organist Joe Dunigan Retired, President for Dunigan Corporation

Chuck Medlar, M.D. Retired, Orthopedic Surgeon John Nally Retired, Dawn Food Products

One-Bedroom Petite | Right-size your lifestyle on your own terms. Vista Grande Villa has petite one-bedroom and traditional apartments available with simplified and reduced pricing options.

Call us today at (517) 787-0222 to learn more! Š August, 2020 by Vista Grande Villa. All rights reserved.

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