St. John's Living- Fall, 2017

Page 1


Fall 2017

Portrait of a Small Home page 10

Meadows Celebrates 20 Years page 2

St. John’s ‘Stars of Wellness’ page 5

NYS Employee of Distinction page 9

Residents, Employees, and Friends Vision St. John’s will lead and inspire a shift in society’s views of elderhood by embracing and celebrating life’s experiences.

Mission St. John’s embraces life with vibrant, caring, and life-affirming relationships.

We embrace living by being... Friendly Respectful Responsive Compassionate Innovative Fun

Editor Tom Harner

Contributor Keaghlan Morrissey

Vice President of Marketing Jennifer Lesinski

Chief Executive Officer Charlie Runyon

Executive Director of Foundation Anne McKenna

Celebrate Two Decades of St. John’s Meadows Charlie Runyon had a front row seat to watch as

what is still the Rochester area’s largest independent living community—St. John’s Meadows—was built from the ground up 20 years ago. As you might expect, the experience left him with a lasting impression. “I learned so much from those three or four years that we worked on this,” said St. John’s President and CEO. “I was able to sit back and watch Vince take this from a thought to people moving in.”

Vincent Parks, Jr., pictured at left with Charlie Runyon, served as president of St. John’s for 24 years. In 1993, he brought on Charlie as an executive vice president. Around that time, Vince started envisioning a senior housing community that was much more than just a brick-and-mortar apartment complex. After originally considering a location further east on Elmwood Avenue adjacent to Temple B’rith Kodesh, St. John’s embarked on a $36 million construction project to be built on the former site of the Maxion estate. Several other independent living communities were built around that same time, but the combination of multiple apartment complexes and cottage homes set Vince’s vision apart from the rest. The project started with a groundbreaking on October 17, 1996. The following month, the marketing center opened in a trailer on the grounds off of Elmwood Avenue where prospective residents would meet with the sales team to discuss what life would be like at St. John’s Meadows. By the time new residents

started moving into the cottages in 1997, the St. John’s sales team had commitments for all 45 of them and half of the independent living apartments that would open the following year. “I think we’re fortunate,” a modest Vince told the Rochester Business Journal in 1999. “We hit the market at the right price at the right location.” Perhaps there was indeed some luck involved. However, as we look back two decades later, it is hard to argue that Vince’s intimate understanding of older adults and his commitment to providing them with an array of choices to fit their own lifestyle was not the driving force that set the tone for what remains a truly unique community. In 1999, St. John’s Meadows received the prestigious Merit Achievement Award from the National Council on Seniors Housing of the National Association of Home Builders. The judges cited “the range of lifestyle options and living choices available to seniors on one campus.” “It’s hard for me to believe that 20 years have gone by,” Vince said during remarks that kicked off the St. John’s Meadows 20-year celebration on August 12. “I remember all of the people who came and all of the festivities we had to celebrate. I want to thank all of the people who came aboard to keep the St. John’s spirit and vision alive.” Peggy Commauf is one of those “people” that Vince referenced in his remarks. She has been working in the dining services department at St. John’s Meadows since it opened. Peggy vividly remembers a conversation that has stayed with her almost 20 years. “Mr. Parks stood with me in Briarwood and was telling me about the dream he had of this place. Continued on page 4


And then he was telling me of his vision. As he was speaking . . . his dream became true to me and his vision became my vision.” Peggy is not alone. There are over a dozen employees who have spent the last two decades of their careers helping to make St. John’s Meadows such a special place. Their level of buy-in was on full display during the 20-year celebration as the entire team came together to put on an extravagant party for the hundreds of residents and guests in attendance.

Subscribe to the St. John’s Senior Services YouTube channel and view dozens of videos of the great people who live and work here.

St. John’s Green House Homes Turn 5 Years St. John’s Meadows was not the only St. John’s community with a significant anniversary in 2017. Earlier this year the St. John’s Green House Homes marked 5 years. As the nation’s first standalone nursing home of its kind located in a suburban neighborhood, the St. John’s Green House Homes has set the bar for excellence in skilled services. The success of these two beautiful homes set the example now being used to transition floors throughout St. John’s Home into individual small homes.


‘Stars of Wellness’ Set Positive Example

As you travel throughout the Rochester area, keep

an eye out for three St. John’s staff members who recently stepped up to share their stories in an effort to promote better wellness! Yolanda Colon, Linda McCoy, and Omar Fleming are featured on posters and other promotional materials in support of the High Blood Pressure Collaborative’s My Reminder Project. The posters use each individual’s plan for taking their medication as an example for others challenged with remembering to take their prescriptions on a consistent basis. These customized posters appear not only throughout St. John’s but in workplaces and other public areas across the Rochester area. The My Reminder campaign started in January with billboards, transit advertising, radio ads, and posters in doctor’s offices, worksites, pharmacies, and community settings. The High Blood Pressure Collaborative is a health initiative spearheaded by the region’s largest employers, hospitals, and insurance companies and managed through a partnership between Common Ground Health (formerly Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency) and the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.

St. John’s is proud to have these three employees participate in such an important community-wide initiative. Programs like these reinforce our commitment to offering support and guidance to help our valued employees maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Join Us as St. John’s Walks to End Alzheimer’s Field and we are looking to add members to our team: the St. John’s Onward Marchers. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to help fund the Alzheimer’s Association’s efforts to eradicate Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. There are several ways for you to help! You can register to walk and ask family members and friends to sponsor your efforts. Or if you are unable to attend, you can make a donation to the St. John’s team. Additionally, there will be several fundraising events leading up to the walk where you can contribute. The St. John’s organization is committed to building a coalition of staff, elders, friends, and family members to participate in the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer’s campaign. The walk will be held Saturday, October 21 at Frontier

To learn more about supporting this cause that affects us all, contact Katie Caligiuri at 585-242-7050 or Linda Double at 585-292-5229. You can also visit the Walk to End Alzheimer’s website at and join the St. John’s Onward Marchers team!



t. John’s is grateful to all who contributed to St. John’s Foundation from February 1, 2017 through July 31, 2017. Your gifts support our vision of enhancing the lives of St. John’s elders through social programming, physical fitness activities, creative and recreational arts therapy, and spiritual programming. Donors who give a minimum of $500 per year to the Annual Fund are acknowledged as members of the Highland Park Society.



Benefactors Mr. Christopher Priest and Ms. Rebecca K. Priest Estate of Martha Schmidt Mr. and Mrs. William C. Wallace, Jr. Ms. Ann Marie Wood Sponsors Ms. Ann C. DeFazio Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church Mr. and Mrs. Joseph T. Lapczenski Mr. and Mrs. C. John Matteson


Contributors Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Penfield Overeaters Anonymous Trinity Emmanuel Lutheran Church

Friends Anonymous (2) AmazonSmile Foundation Dr. P. Miller Ashman Bank of New York Mellon Mr. Ronald P. Bansbach Mrs. Joann Chalfant Ms. Cynthia Christa Mrs. Jackie Davidson Mr. and Mrs. Mendal W. Dick Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dixon Ms. Sharon A. Entress

Ms. Patricia Fine Mr. Richard S. Fitts Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Heary Mr. and Mrs. Lionel E. Herbeck Mr. and Mrs. David Jolkovski Mr. and Mrs. Charles Krusenstjerna Nicotine Anonymous Mrs. Arletta Porrazzo Mrs. Lois J. Rogers Ms. Claralee C. Rosenbauer Ms. Reva Sipser Ms. Jana Tushingham Mr. and Mrs. James Underwood Ms. Diane Wiley Mr. and Mrs. James Williford Zonta Club of Rochester

CELEBRATION GIFTS PROGRAM Ms. Judith Carlton Ms. Mary Ann Carpentier Ms. Zoe Kirton Ms. Marci Miller




Anonymous (2) Mr. Peter Adams and Ms. Nancy J. Adams Mrs. Elizabeth Affolter Alesco Advisors, LLC Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. B & H Piping Systems B. Giambrone & Co. Veteran Food Sales Ms. Jane M. Barnette Mrs. Dorace Belknap Bergmann Associates Mr. Tony Brognia and Ms. Sharon Brognia Buffalo Hospital Supply Buffalo Pharmacies Bunzl Distribution Burke Group C.O.P. Security, Inc. Crosby-Brownlie, Inc. Ms. Nancy H. DaMore Dixon Schwabl Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Donaloio EFPR Group, LLP Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield Farmington Company Generations Child and Elder Care Global Health Products Mrs. Dorothy B. Haelen

Your Gifts Help Elders Embrace Living In the month of August alone elders in communities throughout the St. John’s organization engaged in dozens of special programs like day trips to restaurants, museums, and the Finger Lakes as well as live concerts, picnics, and spiritual programs. Thanks to generous donors like you, residents are treated to these activities and events throughout the entire year. Donations to St. John’s Foundation—by way of the golf tournament, annual fund, or in honor of a loved one—benefit St. John’s all year long and make these meaningful programs possible. Please look for St. John’s annual appeal letter to arrive this October and consider your gift to St. John’s Foundation. Or, visit to make a gift at any time. Donors who give a gift of $500 or more to the Annual Fund will be honored and acknowledged as members of the Highland Park Society. On behalf of everyone at St. John’s—our many thanks!


St. John’s Golf Tournament Raises $80,000 Our heartfelt thanks to 150 golfers, volunteers, and friends that came together at Midvale Country Club on July 17 to enjoy a day of golf and friendship, while raising a total of $80,000. Net proceeds of $60,000 will greatly benefit St. John’s residents throughout the year. Our appreciation to Sharon Brognia and Tom Donaloio, who served as co-chairs. Title sponsors included Alesco Advisors, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., and Lawley Insurance. Congratulations to tournament winners: Rich and Jay Baker, Pete Stoller, and RG Stockmeister. Please save the date—July 16, 2018— for St. John’s 29th Annual Golf Tournament.

Harper Danesh, LLC Health Direct Pharmacy Ms. Tanya Henderson High Falls Advisors Home Leasing Services HSA Bank Jacobstein Food Service Karpus Investment Management K-D Moving & Storage, Inc. Ms. Mary Kniep-Hardy Lawley Services, Inc. Mr. Daniel Lesinski and Mrs. Jennifer Lesinski Lifetime Care LMT Computer Systems M&T Bank M/E Engineering Mr. and Mrs. Jack Maniloff Dr. Amy J. Mason and Mr. Thomas DeRosa Mr. and Mrs. Francis Mc Kenna Medicab of Rochester, Inc. Medline Industries Northwest Bank Mr. Dan O’Brien and Mrs. Sheila O’Brien Optum United Healthcare Pathfinder Engineers, LLP Mrs. Rosemary I. Pautz Mr. and Mrs. David A. Petrone Postler & Jaeckle Corp Pro Flex Administrators LLC R.L. Kistler, Inc. Radec Rel Comm, Inc. Mr. Bill Sheridan Siemens Building Technologies Special Care Systems, LLC SWBR Architects The Bonadio Group The Hartford Tipping Point Communications Ultramobile Imaging / EZaccess MD Underberg & Kessler UNUM Rochester Mr. Louis G. Visco Mr. William C. Wallace, Jr. Ms. Diane Wiley

Ms. Ann Marie Wood Mr. George H. Yeadon III Mr. Anthony Zaccaglino


Charles J. & Burton S. August Family Foundation


The Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation

ST. JOHN’S SPIRITUAL LIFE Anonymous Mrs. Joyce J. Henck Ms. Mary Monefeldt Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Spina


Memorial and Tribute gifts to St. John’s Foundation are a meaningful way that elders, their families, and their friends can honor the people who embrace life with vibrant, caring, and life affirming relationships. In memory of Charles Avallone (designated for the Penfield Green House Homes) Mr. Robert Daitz Ms. Cathryn Fischer Ms. Jane Fischer Dr. and Mrs. Richard Gangemi Ms. Elisabeth P. Howard Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Kaufman Mr. and Mrs. Martin Penn Underberg & Kessler Your Neighbors at Powder Mill Court In memory of Irma Borsching Mrs. Edna M. Bellis Ms. Marquita L. Peterson and Mr. David M. DiRaddo (designated for the Penfield Green House Homes) Mr. and Mrs. Tom Piekunka In memory of Marilyn Brophy Mr. and Mrs. John H. Auer

In memory of Marguerite Bruno Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Cooper In memory of Adele Brzowsky Ms. Esta Richter In memory of Eileen Chada Mr. Joseph B. Chada In memory of Anne Coniglio Ms. Barb Cripps Mr. Ernest Cripps Mr. John Cripps and Mrs. Barb Cripps Mr. Bill Radley and Mrs. Bea Radley Mrs. Marion Roth Mr. and Mrs. James Segerson In memory of Helen Davis Ms. Betty Glover In memory of Steve Dobbins Mr. Brownlie Graham Mr. and Mrs. Gilden Van Norman Mr. and Mrs. Gary Wood In memory of Jean Entress Ms. Michelle Giancaterin In memory of Bob Eustance Ms. Renee Rosenbaum In honor of Karyl Friedman’s 80th Birthday Mr. and Mrs. Paul McKenna In memory of Norma Gaden Mr. James Gaden In memory of Thomas LaSpina Mr. Donald T. Campanelli In memory of Patricia Lerner Ms. Sarah Metzger Ms. Valerie G. Moliterno Ms. Donna Porcelli In memory of Katherine Lonobile Mr. and Mrs. Chuck F. Borzilleri In memory of Mary Marrese Ms. Alice R. Knittel Cheryl Marrese (designated for Hastings 2 and the gardens)


In honor of Jim McBride’s Retirement Mr. Robert Spindler In honor of George McVey’s 90th Birthday Mr. and Mrs. Charles Krusenstjerna In memory of Jack Michie The Michie Family In memory of Ruthie Near Ms. Barbara G. Mestler and Ms. Pamela Mestler In memory of Marie Parker Mrs. Ella Briskie

In memory of Frances Stadtmiller Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Boehme Ms. Alice M. Coon Hilton Central Schools Ms. Susan Holland Ms. Julie LaVaque Mr. and Mrs. Edward Levy Mr. Duane Lockwood and Mrs. Lisa Lockwood Ms. Audrey L. Luxemberg Park Central LLC Ms. Carla Pontarelli Mr. and Mrs. Carl Wagner

In memory of Henrietta Tucker Mr. and Mrs. James DiMarsico In honor of John Van de Wetering Mr. Antonio Rivera and Mrs. Dawn Rivera We strive to publish accurate recognitions and apologize for errors or omissions. To make a correction or a donation please call Anne McKenna at 585-760-1333 or email

In memory of Thomas Pautz Mrs. Rosemary I. Pautz In honor of Kit Pollicove Mr. and Mrs. Francis McKenna In memory of Concetta Sabatini Ms. Katherine M. Bellanti Ms. Mary Borrelli Mr. and Mrs. Philip Borzilleri Mrs. Jacqueline Colicchio Ms. Debbie Corbett & Ms. Claire Corbett Mr. and Mrs. James Corke (designated for the Ice Cream Shoppe) Ms. Kathy DiStefano Ms. Stella Giuliano & Family Ms. Linda R. Goldthrite Mr. and Mrs. Merrill Greenstein Mr. and Mrs. John Kirkland Mr. Salvatore Mistretta Mr. and Mrs. Dave Morland Mrs. Alice K. Sidoti Mr. and Mrs. Ronald F. Steffler Ms. Joan Van Velson Mr. Carmen Zecchino In memory of Justine Siesto Mr. and Mrs. Steven M. Cottingham Mr. and Mrs. John Mazzarella Mr. and Mrs. Russell Schaeberle Mr. and Mrs. Bruce and Fran Tepper

‘ROC the Day’ for St. John’s! Tuesday, November 28 is ROC the Day and Giving Tuesday 2017. ROC the Day is a unique and fun, one-day, 24-hour period of online giving taking place throughout the greater Rochester community. St. John’s Foundation is one of thousands of non-profit organizations that will participate in this tremendous community effort. On November 28, please visit and consider an online contribution to St. John’s.

Save the Date: Illumination of Love is December 3 Our annual Illumination of Love event will once again light up St. John’s this holiday season and you can dedicate a light to honor someone special! A gift of $5 to St. John’s Foundation will purchase a light in honor or memory of a loved one. Join us for Illumination of Love on Sunday, December 3 at 6:30 p.m. as we light up the Skalny courtyard, celebrate honored friends, and enjoy refreshments and holiday music together. Proceeds support resident activities throughout the year, as well as residents’ personal needs. To purchase a light, look for your Illumination of Love mailer coming this November. Or, visit


Longtime Employee Receives Statewide Recognition “The people I work with, as well as the residents I work with are the best,” said Jean Loomis as she accepted the prestigious Employee of Distinction Award from LeadingAge New York during a ceremony on August 21 in the Wintergarden at Brickstone by St. John’s. Always one to deflect praise and pass it along to

others, Jean spent most of her time thanking those around her. “This is the best team I’ve been a part of in a long, long time. The reason I get up in the morning is to come in and see all of you.” Jean has served as volunteer coordinator at St. John’s Meadows since the community opened 20 years ago and took on the same duties at Brickstone in 2012. Jean supported nearly 200 resident-volunteers responsible for over 10,000 hours of service in 2016 alone. Overall, Jean has spent 43 years at St. John’s.

Pictured left to right: St. John’s President and CEO Charlie Runyon, New York State Senator Joe Robach, St. John’s Volunteer Coordinator Jean Loomis, LeadingAge New York CEO James Clyne, and St. John’s Vice President of Senior Housing Paul Bartlett

According to LeadingAge New York, which is an organization that represents over 600 not-for-profit, mission driven, and public continuing care providers, the Employee of Distinction Award “recognizes the extraordinary dedication of direct service and indirect service staff.” Congratulations to Jean on receiving this honor!

Volunteer Spotlight: Liz Walker Any successful volunteer program is made up of a wide variety of contributors. For some, volunteering is a major part of their life and they dedicate several hours each month to multiple projects. Others choose projects that either align with their strengths and interests or those that fit into the limited amount of time they have to volunteer. Liz Walker belongs in the latter group, yet she is still able to make a significant impact. “I am very conscious of not saying ‘I can help out every Tuesday for the next three years,’ but I do what I can.” Liz helps fellow residents fill out paperwork each year at the community flu clinic in September. A retired registered nurse and educator from the University of Rochester School of Medicine, helping out at the flu clinic is important to her. “Anything I can do to get more people vaccinated is a good thing.” Liz—who has lived in a bungalow at Brickstone with her husband John since the community opened in 2012—also stepped in last spring to serve as chair for the Resident Council Nominating Committee. Today, Liz finds helping at the flu clinic and participating in the pen pal program with Hillside Family of Agencies allows her to enjoy volunteering in a way that fits her lifestyle. “I think most people like to think they help people and contribute to the well-being of others,” says Liz. “I do think it makes you feel good.”


Portrait of a Small Home:

The Daisy Neighborhood

Convivium: The ritual of sharing good food with people we know well, nourishing both our body and soul.

Charles enters the dining room and is immediately

greeted by name. Diane Lochner—whose husband Larry also lives at St. John’s Home—asks Charles how he liked the neighborhood picnic in the nearby Trinity Courtyard the day before. “It was nice, but I think I may have overeaten,” Charles says with a laugh. The discussion between Charles, Diane, and Larry soon turns to Larry’s recent shoulder surgery and his continued recovery. Across the table, Michelle sits and eats with Mary. They trade stories about their families while enjoying the day’s lunch of crab cakes and soup. Glen Campbell’s Gentle on My Mind plays in the background. As a group, elders and staff agreed to pay tribute to Campbell on the day following his death by playing his greatest hits. This is a typical day on the Daisy neighborhood— the smallest of the small homes at St. John’s Home.


Located on the first floor of the South building, Daisy is home to just 11 elders. As it is in every small home throughout St. John’s, the concept of convivium is practiced, making meal times an important part of daily life. This conscious effort to bring together the entire support system of elders living on the neighborhood has made for much more closely knit, family settings. In the case of the Daisy neighborhood, a truly intimate atmosphere has been created, giving a unique appeal to this small home that has yet to benefit from physical renovations, which have been experienced throughout several other neighborhoods in the building. “We enjoy dining with the other residents and have come to know them and their families quite well,” says Diane Lochner. “We like the sense of community and familiarity.” Larry has been at St. John’s Home since last spring and Diane points out that he and

the entire family have seen obvious benefits to living within the small homes model. “I believe it is less institutional here. The staff is more like family. When I have a concern, they listen to me and do their best to take care of the problem.” Donna Johnston’s mother Sally also resides on the Daisy neighborhood. “It was a very difficult decision to place her in long-term-care,” she says. “But I have not for one moment regretted that decision.” Donna references an instance a few months into her mother’s stay that reinforced her belief that she made the right move. Donna had been noticing a change in her mom over several days and brought it to the attention of Robin, one of the nurses on Daisy. Donna recalls that Robin was very attentive to her concern and the two then discussed options to address the issue, which has since subsided. “I so appreciated her stopping everything she was doing to listen and problem-solve with me. As a daughter, that meant so much to me.” Michelle Bullock—a nurse leader in the neighborhood— believes that the practice of convivium has contributed to the development of greater relationships between staff members, elders, and their loved ones. However, she feels it goes beyond that. “It is the way we learned to do things,” she says, noting that the Daisy neighborhood staff was the first group to go through shahbaz training at St. John’s Home. “Because of that, we’ve had a vision, and we’ve run with it.”

Michelle is quick to point out that although the dedication of the staff to the small homes mission and the support of administration have both played a pivotal role in creating this uniquely intimate setting, it all starts with those who choose to live on Daisy. “It is the elders that make this such a special place. I personally try to learn things about the people who live here so we can highlight them. We do everything we can to showcase them and make them feel important, because that’s exactly what they are.” Like many family members of elders on the Daisy neighborhood and throughout St. John’s Home as well as the Green House Homes in Penfield, Donna believes that the concerted effort to truly know her mom as a person equips the staff to better care for her. That approach also brings greater comfort to families struggling with the decision to move their loved ones to long-term-care from their homes. Donna believes a quote from physician Atul Gawande’s bestselling book Being Mortal captures the essence of the neighborhood nicely: A ll that we ask is to be allowed to remain the writers of our own story. That story is ever changing. . . Our concerns and desires may shift. But whatever happens, we want to retain the freedom to shape our lives in ways consistent with our character and loyalties.

To read more about St. John’s small homes, go to small-homes-project.


Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage


Rochester, NY Permit #87

150 Highland Avenue Rochester, NY 14620

Delicious Dishes That Remind You of Home Bistro 150 at St. John’s Home would like to cater your next celebration or special event. Catering is available seven days a week with local delivery offered. Choose from a range of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and appetizer options by downloading the St. John’s Home Catering Menu at

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