St. John's Living- Fall 2019

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Fall 2019

Strong Results with Rehab Services page 2

From Boat House to Fitness Center page 4

Inclusive Communities for Older Adults

Building Better Care with Virtual Reality

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Regaining Independence with Rehabilitation Services 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 Meghan Little

Vice President of Marketing Jennifer Lesinski

Chief Executive Officer Charlie Runyon

Executive Director, St. John’s Foundation Anne Mc Kenna

Brittany Godin has worked with a variety of patients—both young and

old—during her career as a physical therapist. For her, there is just something about working with older adults that stands out. “The resilience and drive of the senior population to improve,” says Brittany. “(They) really persevere to continue maintaining their level of independence.” That drive to return home and preserve a high level of autonomy when they get there is often cited by therapists working with guests recuperating at the St. John’s Rehabilitation Center. Consider this common scenario for many short-term rehabilitation guests: an unexpected fall causes an injury that sends the person to the hospital, often leading to surgery. While still in the early stages of the recovery process, patients are discharged not to their own home, but to another unfamiliar setting for further therapy and support. “Sometimes a patient’s ability to go home and desire to be independent can

seem out of reach,” explains Brittany. “However, that’s why we set goals, both short and long-term, so that there are benchmarks we can measure.” Short-term rehabilitation provides a safe, supportive setting for those who are unable to immediately return home following an illness or surgical procedure. By choosing St. John’s Rehabilitation Center to continue their recovery, guests complete physical therapy sessions in the Rochester area’s largest rehabilitation gym. The rehabilitation gym at St. John’s features a large set of stairs for guests to practice stepping up and down based on their therapy progress. Additionally, there are several other inclines and surfaces that simulate situations both indoors and outdoors that a person must be able to master. Physical therapy is just a part of the rehabilitation process. Occupational therapy—a specialized therapy that involves the performance of activities similar to tasks one would complete at home—is another crucial step in the road back to independence. Exercises test a person’s ability to complete household chores like cooking, laundry, and medication management. Occupational therapy exercises not only mirror movements and tasks a person regularly must perform in everyday life, they can also help identify potential hazards at home. Certified occupational therapy assistant Karen Schillinger gives the example of having a guest practice putting on socks and other clothing and seeing difficulties that raise red flags. That information can then be taken back to the care team. “Sometimes I will see things that the PT (physical therapist) won’t,” says Karen. She emphasizes the importance of collaboration among the therapy team that includes physical, occupational, and speech therapists. If one of the therapists notes something that could put the patient in danger, that person communicates this to teammates who can then incorporate that task or skill in future therapy sessions.

As a result of this collaboration, clinical outcomes for St. John’s Rehabilitation Center patients show strong improvements in the types of categories that help guests safely navigate the home environment waiting for them. Improvement in mobility for those discharged home in 2018 increased by 133% based on Medicare’s standardized care tool. More recently, functional outcomes data showcases significant improvements in areas such as “Taking one step with a curb,” “Taking 12 steps with or without a rail,” and “Walking 10 feet on uneven surfaces.” When they are not attending therapy, the day-to-day needs of guests are met by compassionate caregivers. St. John’s realizes that prospective rehabilitation guests have a choice as to where they bridge the gap between hospital and home. That is why St. John’s has implemented a hospitality approach to rehabilitation services with each patient’s comfort in mind. Upcoming modernization updates will bring even greater improvements to the gym while enhancements will make guests feel more comfortable and connected in their rooms. One of the most rewarding parts of the job for our rehabilitation therapists is seeing these guests come to St. John’s facing a difficult road to recovery and then putting in the work to achieve their goals. “They (guests) inspire me with how hard they will work,” says Karen. “Many of them take real ownership over their therapy and will be as much a part of the process as they can.” From the physical therapy end, Brittany agrees. “Seeing a patient from day 1 to their last day and knowing all the barriers and obstacles they have overcome—being a part of that process—is really gratifying and why I love what I do.” To learn more about St. John’s rehabilitation services:


Fitness Center Gives Active Residents

Peg Williams made a decision to reclaim control of

her health. It happened soon after she moved with her husband Ken back to Rochester from North Carolina earlier this year. “I had this moment where I said to myself ‘okay, I need to do something,’” recalls Peg. Prior to her recovery from knee replacement surgery three years ago, Peg and Ken were avid walkers. Since that time, she had struggled to remain committed to staying fit.


Peg and Ken’s new town house at Brickstone by St. John’s is just steps away from a state-of-theart fitness center, which supplied Peg with extra motivation to get moving again. “I had no more excuses,” she says. “I knew the ball was in my court.”

And, while the fitness center—originally a boat house used mostly for storage before being refurbished in 2017—would be an important place for Peg to put in the work needed to reach her goals, it turns out that the hiking trails located on and adjacent to the Brickstone campus would be just as significant. She was in a great situation to succeed. Peg has more than kept the promise she made to herself that day. She also joined Weight Watchers and connected with a physical trainer to develop a workout regimen, both of which she manages and monitors through applications on her Fit Bit. Getting back to regular walking—often with Ken in tow—got Peg moving again and she has not slowed down since.

Year Round Opportunity to Stay Fit Implementing a nautilus and weight training routine at the Boathouse Fitness Center has made a world of difference for Peg. “I am here at least three times a week,” she says while stretching before a recent mid-morning workout. She uses the elliptical machine, tread mill, and four different weight machines—all part of the workout plan that Valerie—her personal trainer—updates regularly.

among neighbors led to the renovation of the boathouse to accommodate the increased resident demand for workout space. “I think it’s a great addition,” Peter says of the Boathouse Fitness Center, which is now utilized by dozens of residents like him. “For me at this age, I think it’s a bonus to be doing the things I can do. I feel that I am amply rewarded for keeping fit.”

Her hard work has paid off, as Peg has lost close to 30 pounds in a little over three months. Yet, she is far from finished. Peg hopes to lose at least another 30 pounds over the next few months. Her new peers at Brickstone are sure to provide even more motivation for her to meet her goals. “One of the great things about being here is that there are a lot of other residents—many of them older than me—who are in great shape,” says Peg. “It’s inspiring.” One of those inspirational Brickstone residents is Peter Swift. Twenty years Peg’s senior, Peter does not fit most stereotypes of men in their late eighties. He plays golf regularly throughout Rochester’s warmer months. He is an avid cyclist, and in recent years has biked in charity events like the Tour de Cure and travelled with his bicycle to places like California and Europe. “I try to get my heart rate up,” says Peter, who turns 89 later this year. “I’m a believer that if you have a strong heart, everything else should work better.” Peter is a regular at the Boathouse Fitness Center, particularly during the winter months. “I’m in there every second day and I try to do an hour on the elliptical,” Peter says. There’s no impact—it’s a pretty good workout.” These workouts were even more important for Peter this past winter, as he was training for a summertime bicycling trip to the Burgundy region of France, where he climbed the legendary Col de Tamié mountain pass as well as some other of what he calls the “lesser climbs” of the Tour de France. A Brickstone resident now for several years, Peter was one of the people who proposed the development of adequate exercise facilities when asked about what the community was missing. This consensus

St. John’s Vice President of Senior Housing Paul Bartlett poses with Brickstone resident Peter Swift following the 2018 Tour de Cure cycling event. Together, the pair raised $2,000 to prevent and cure diabetes.


Impactful Work Every Day at St. John’s Individual employees and specialty teams recognized for outstanding contributions

Don Rector, Janet Fontanez, and Ken Pettis When called to provide care, the St. John’s Meadows Protective Services team responded in the manner described by the resident’s daughter as “professional, caring, and sincere.” She could not be more thrilled with the care her mother received.

Dementia Care Excellence The results are in following the completion of a three-year Dementia Quality of Life program funded through a generous grant from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation. The grant report shows high marks through the implementation of increased staff training, enhanced resources for families, and the supportive environment provided by our small homes neighborhood model. Check out the notable ways in which St. John’s delivers higher quality of life outcomes for seniors living with dementia in our communities:


Joanie Goulet and Barbara Russak Barbara, a retired nurse, describes Joanie as “capable and responsive to the needs of the resident. She communicates well, and you anticipate a better day when she is on.”

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t. John’s is grateful to all who contributed to St. John’s Foundation from February 1, 2019 through July 31, 2019. Your gifts support our vision of enhancing the lives of St. John’s residents 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.

ANNUAL FUND Highland Park Society

Patrons ($2,500 - $4,999) William & Sheila Konar Foundation Benefactors ($1,000 - $2,499) Louis P. and Betty A. Iacona Fund Ms. Dianne P. Lochner Ms. Margaret E. Richards Sponsors ($500 - $999) Erwin Delano Revocable Living Trust Mr. and Mrs. C. John Matteson Women’s Club of Pittsford

Friends of St. John’s

Contributors ($250 - $499) Dr. Kenneth V. Dodgson Mr. and Mrs. David Penney Mr. and Mrs. Edward Shaw Trinity Emmanuel Lutheran Church Friends ($1 - $249) Ms. Margaret Buckel Ms. Harriet Caputo Ms. Carolyn M. Daniels Ms. Jacqueline A. Davidson Ms. Sherri Delong Mr. and Mrs. Mendal W. Dick Mr. and Mrs. Sam DiStasio Ms. Monica Epps ExxonMobil Foundation Ms. Patricia Fine Ms. Alice J. Fishbeck Mr. Richard S. Fitts Ms. Jeanne Flye Mr. and Mrs. David Foster Mrs. Joyce J. Henck Mr. Frank Hodgetts Ms. Elisabeth P. Howard Mr. and Mrs. Thomas J. Johnston Mr. and Mrs. David Jolkovski Mr. and Mrs. Edward Kingsley Ms. Donna S. Lawrence Ms. Jane Levin Mr. and Mrs. George C. Magin David & Shirley Petherbridge Charitable Gift Fund Ms. Barbara L. Rafoth Ms. Frances Ratcliffe Ms. Lois J. Rogers Ms. Christine Rosica Ms. Susan Sanow Ms. Reva Sipser Ms. Angelina F. Snyder Mrs. Amy Stadnyk Mr. and Mrs. Brian W. Sullivan Ms. Jana Thompkins Mrs. Peg Wetzel Mr. Lawrence E. Witmer Zonta Club of Rochester


Ames Amzalak Memorial Trust Ms. Carolyn Bailey

Ms. Merithew H. Benington The Bonadio Group Ms. Patricia M. Brogan Ms. Betty J. Collins Harper Danesh, LLC Mr. and Mrs. Joseph T. Lapczenski Mr. and Mrs. Clark Parker Rev. Denise L. Smith Mr. and Mrs. Thomas J. Spina SWBR Underberg & Kessler, LLP


Anonymous Ms. Nancy H. DaMore Ms. Janet C. Hickman Ms. Elizabeth M. Knox Mr. and Mrs. Rheanolte LeBarbour Mrs. Joan S. McIver Ms. Patricia J. Pauly The Lucretia Richter Memorial Scholarship Fund Ms. Claralee C. Rosenbauer


ADP Mr. and Mrs. Tom Agostinelli Mr. Michael A. Aiello Jr. Alesco Advisors, LLC Mr. Francis R. Antonelli Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. B. Giambrone & Co. Veteran Food Sales Mr. Jeff Bagley Ms. Elise Banser Mr. and Mrs. Paul Bartlett Mr. Donald W. Bentley Bergmann Associates The Bonadio Group Ms. Melissa Bortle Ms. Cynthia L. Bradshaw Ms. Joanne and Mr. Ed Braeunle Ms. Tiffany Bridgeman Ms. Sharon Brognia and Mr. Tony Brognia Ms. Eileen and Mr. Douglas Brooks Mr. Brian Buckman Buffalo Pharmacies Ms. Michelle Bullock Bunzl Distribution Mr. Kevin Burke Charity Golf International Mr. Ben Cheung Chudy Paper Company Mr. Jhon Cifuentes Mr. Jamal Clark ComTec Solutions Cool Insuring Agency, Inc. Crosby-Brownlie, Inc. Ms. Annette Cucchiara Rev. Sarah Culp

Ms. Emily A. Curtis Danforth Development Ms. Nancy DeRycke Ms. Christina DiLorenzo Mr. John Dineen Dixon Schwabl Ms. Joyce Downey-Frank Ms. Valerie and Mr. William Drexler Mr. Michael Dunn Empire Kitchen and Bath Ms. Monica Epps Excellus BlueCross BlueShield EZaccessMD Ms. Theresa Fahy Farmington Company FirstLight Ms. Marty Fitch Five Star Bank Mr. Taylor Freitas Generations Child and Elder Care Genesee Regional Bank Ms. Danielle Guillemette Ms. Erica A. Harper Harper Danesh, LLC The Hartford Mr. Patrick Hastings HCR Home Care Health Direct Pharmacy Services High Falls Advisors Mr. Greg Houppert HSA Bank Mr. Jerome J. Infantino Mr. Lewis Irvin Mrs. Lois Irwin JFS/Curtze Ms. Dana Kimberly and Mr. Jason Piurkoski Ms. Michelle Koch-Blood Mrs. Ann Kowal Mr. Maxim Kowal Ms. Eliza B. Kozlowski Ms. Renee Krahenbuhl LeCesse Construction Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Lesinski Lifetime Care LMT Technology Solutions Mr. and Mrs. Robert Loveland M/E Engineering Ms. Krisha MacLean Ms. Margaret and Mr. Gary Makowiecki MatrixCare Ms. Anne and Mr. Francis Mc Kenna Mr. and Mrs. Kevin M. McGrath Ms. Gail McKay Medicab of Rochester, Inc. Medline Industries Messner Flooring Ms. Virginia H. Mullin Mr. Raymond Noone Optum United Healthcare Mr. Mark Pautler Ms. Julie Phillips-Oriel and Mr. Jim Oriel Ms. Sue and Mr. Scott Pizzingrilli Postler & Jaeckle Corp


Mr. Richard Qualderi Radec Electric Corporation Ms. Michelle Redonnet Mr. John A. Reed Mr. and Mrs. Clark Reid R-Options, Inc. Mr. and Mrs. Charles K. Runyon Scaccia Tile & Marble, Inc. Mr. and Ms. Eric Seeber Ms. Catherine and Mr. Richard Sharpe Ms. Bridget Shumway Siemens Industry, Inc. Mr. Thomas Smith Special Care Systems Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. SWBR Mr. Nate Sweeney Mr. and Mrs. Richard Taylor Tipping Point Communications Toshiba Business Solutions Underberg & Kessler, LLP UNUM Rochester Ms. Nathalie Valez Van Hook Service Co., Inc. Visuation Mr. and Mrs. John Wagner Mr. and Mrs. William C. Wallace, Jr. Janet and Tim Wixom Mr. George H. Yeadon III and Ms. Faith D. Adams Mr. Anthony Zaccaglino


Ms. Karen Kindle Perotto Magee, LLP Ms. Kathleen Weinrieb In memory of Fayette Chippero Mr. and Mrs. Gary Sweetapple Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Valenti Ms. Elinor B. Wormer In memory of Jean Gross Mr. Carl Battaglia In memory of Wilma Hill Anthony Funeral and Cremation Chapels In memory of Jule Hodgetts Ms. Kathleen Barnwell and Ms. Claire Barnwell Ms. Joan Law-Arnold In memory of Annette Itkin Ms. Andrea Feldman Dr. Philip Nash In memory of Lorraine Forslin King Mr. and Mrs. Randy C. Holtz In memory of Connie Kless Ms. Patricia M. Brogan In memory of Francis Kunz Mr. Ronald Barber Ms. Elisabeth P. Howard Ms. Stephanie Krebbeks Mr. David Kunz Mr. and Mrs. William Marrero Mrs. Margaret Wegman

Anonymous Ms. Karen A. Hagberg

In memory of Dorothy Kuzma Mr. and Mrs. Bruce F. Ferrel Rev. Mary E. Martin


In memory of Victor Mellen Mr. and Mrs. Mark Hamilton

Tribute gifts to St. John’s Foundation are a meaningful way for donors to honor or memorialize loved ones. In memory of Patricia C. Appleby Mr. Richard Stein In memory of Mickey Bayer Ms. Anne and Mr. Francis Mc Kenna In memory of Adele Brzowsky Ms. Esta Richter In memory of Ernestine Chandler Bailey, Carr CPAs, P.C. Mr. William A. Garofalo

In honor of Barbara Outterson Mr. and Mrs. Charles Krusenstjerna In memory of Jennifer Paradise Ms. Anne and Mr. Francis Mc Kenna In memory of Vincent Parks Mrs. Patricia J. Parks In memory of Thomas Pautz Ms. Rosemary I. Pautz In memory of Disa Powell Ms. Anne and Mr. Francis Mc Kenna

Charlie Runyon: A CEO You Should Know St. John’s President and CEO Charlie Runyon was recently featured on CEOs You Should Know, a radio program and podcast with host Paul Guglielmo. Charlie shared several great stories from his career in long-term care and discussed how he ended up at St. John’s in 1992. You can hear Charlie’s “CEOs You Should Know” by visiting


In memory of Jeraldyn Quirk Brand USA In memory of Ruth Reed Mr. James G. Reed In tribute to Carl and Betty Ruh Mrs. Barbara McHenry In memory of Martha Schmidt Frederick F. O’Connor Trust In memory of George Smith Ms. Kathleen Fish Ms. Janet N. Hecker Ms. Noreen K. Karg Ms. Angelica S. Meyer Mr. and Mrs. Stephen J. Nalbach Ms. Donna M. Phillipson Mr. Gerald A. Tilio Sr. James C. and Santina C. Triolo Living Trust In honor of St. John’s 5 South Staff Mr. and Mrs. Edward Leva In memory of Jackie Swift The Odd Lots In memory of Ruth Templeton Ms. Patricia M. Brogan Ms. Karyl P. Friedman Ms. Suella C. Habbersett Occam Capital Management, LLC Ms. Carol R. Pearson Ms. Daryl Sharp Mrs. Ida Sharp In memory of Joseph Tronolone Ms. Ruth Espinosa-Barone In memory of Mary Trotter Ms. Jean McClure In memory of Robert Whitman Ms. Anne and Mr. Francis Mc Kenna Tops Friendly Markets #288 In memory of James Williford Mr. and Mrs. Joe Munski We strive to publish accurate recognitions and apologize for errors or omissions. To make a correction or a donation please call Celeste Siringo at 585-760-1291 or email

Well-Travelled Couple with Unique Perspectives Make St. John’s Home “This just seems right,” Betty Keely remembers the feeling that overcame both her and her life partner, Loretta Bergen, when touring St. John’s Meadows.

“We were looking for a community that we could be involved in, not just sit around in our apartment,” says Loretta. “We also wanted a place that was open to new ideas we could propose–that was important.” The couple also kept in mind some of the more standard concerns of aging: mobility, long-term placements, and assistance. “We loved that St. John’s is a nonfor-profit and a continuum of care. Bill Thomas’ philosophy was something we agree with and really like the Green House Homes model.” Loretta and Betty reflect together on the factors that contributed to choosing St. John’s Meadows. “And of course we had to bring Angel,” says Loretta as she smiles at their 17-year old dog sitting on the couch between them. After moving to St. John’s, Betty and Loretta both jumped into Connections Committee and volunteering at the front desk. Betty particularly loves music and is grateful for the variety of music programming offered at St. John’s Meadows. She also says, “the downtime I have to relax in our apartment has given me ample

time to organize music on my iPod, go to the library for more, and download new songs.” Betty and Loretta’s unique past living experience in co-housing has given them fresh ideas to recommend at St. John’s Meadows. “We want to get to know our neighbors better and find out the little ways we can all help and support each other,” says Betty. Since moving in a few months ago they have helped coordinate some neighborhood gatherings and even a couple of birthday parties for residents living in their hallway. “We have always assimilated into the community we live in,” says Loretta, and that is certainly true of their new life at St. John’s Meadows. Today, after 58 years together, the couple chooses to use their experiences to bring innovative ideas to improve life for their neighbors. People move into independent living communities from all walks of life and we are thankful that Betty, Loretta, and Angel chose our community to share their ideas and immerse themselves into the community. To learn more about Betty and Loretta:


Technology Provides a Glimpse of Life with Chronic Diseases “Empathy begins with understanding life from another person’s perspective. Nobody has an objective experience of reality. It’s all through our own individual prisms.” -Sterling K. Brown, actor

It can be difficult to truly empathize with a person

and their day-to-day reality without walking a mile in their shoes. That is the idea behind the Embodied Labs program recently employed at St. John’s. This virtual reality tool gives professional and family caregivers a better understanding of what it is like to live with chronic, progressive illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and vision loss. The hope is to build a foundation of empathy for people living with these diseases, resulting in better care for their day-to-day needs. MiMi Devinney, dementia/quality of life specialist at St. John’s, began hearing about Embodied Labs earlier this year after St. John’s staff members returned from an industry conference where they had tried the


program. This past spring, St. John’s Home brought the virtual reality (VR)-enabled learning system on campus as a permanent addition to an already robust collection of continuing education instruments. In the months since, Devinney estimates around 100 employees and family members have donned VR headsets and completed modules that give users a first-person view of living with chronic conditions. Often times disorienting and frustrating, these Embodied Labs exercises successfully put users in a position to react and respond to real life situations. While each session has seen different responses to the experience, Devinney has seen some common themes among participants. “Most frequent is that the person feels they are being excluded from

conversations and being spoken about as if they aren’t there,” she says. She adds that users are typically surprised at the difficulty of doing what would seem like simple, familiar tasks like chopping vegetables and opening a pill bottle. “This often reminds a caregiver of a particular person or similar situation they have encountered in their caregiving.” The California-based Embodied Labs offers several research-based experiences focusing on specific diagnoses. The “Beatriz Lab” is a three-part module concentrating on the early, middle, and late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The “Dima Lab” is a threestep program focused on movement disorders like Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia. The “Clay Lab” takes users through difficult end-of-life scenarios, while the “Alfred Lab” is a two-part module with exercises related to hearing and vision loss. The menu of modules continues to grow with new options being planned for the near future, including an experience centered on the unique needs of the LGBTQ population. Devinney has found Embodied Labs to be unlike any other teaching tool she has had at her disposal over her nearly two decades at St. John’s. With multipart modules for complex diseases, Embodied Labs provides a powerful look at the types of challenges and emotions long-term care residents face each day. While each VR experience lasts just 7-10 minutes, it can be a taxing and sometimes very personal

Does greater empathy lead to better care? You be the judge. Check out news coverage on the roll out of the Embodied Labs technology at St. John’s: encounter. “While some people become frustrated and quite animated in their participation,” Devinney explains, “others become discouraged and quiet.” DeVinney finds that what happens once the headset comes off can be just as important. The conversations that follow give users the opportunity to self-reflect and understand the state-of-mind they were in while completing the exercise. “Discussions afterwards help people imagine how they would personally react to being in that situation.” Moving forward, these teachable moments can have a strong impact on caregivers as they provide comfort and support to older adults at St. John’s.

Mimi Devinney (left) guides a St. John’s employee through the “Beatriz” Lab


Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage


Rochester, NY Permit #87

150 Highland Avenue Rochester, NY 14620

The Gift of Fresh Flowers Visitors to St. John’s Home now have a convenient new way to show their loved one how much they care. Flower arrangements that have been hand-crafted by residents are now available as you enter St. John’s Home through the Hastings lobby. These beautiful mason jar arrangements are sure to brighten anyone’s day! Just look for the refrigerated cooler and purchase an affordable arrangement at the reception desk.

Follow the Fun on Instagram! As the old adage goes, “pictures say a thousand words.” We agree, and now there is a great place to find all of the best photos from across the St. John’s spectrum of senior services. Follow @stjohnsliving on Instagram to catch fun shots from events, activities, and everyday interactions.

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