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Families Friends

A Newsletter for St. John's Skilled Services February 2019

“I felt like I was going home.”

For many people, change is hard. Five years ago, Larry and Harriet Weiss made the life-changing decision to move to Rochester to be closer to family. With Larry’s health failing, their daughter Ilene urged them to consider moving. The Weiss’s made multiple trips back and forth from Yonkers to Rochester to look for a place to live locally. “We had high expectations, but when we visited we felt as if we were home,” says Harriet. Shortly after Harriet and Larry settled into their new home in Chili, Larry’s Alzheimer’s worsened. “I always swore I would never put him in a [nursing] home,” says Harriet. However, Larry’s current health situation warranted a change in her thinking. Harriet looked at a few local nursing homes with her daughter before deciding on St. John’s Home. “The first thing that struck me when I got of the elevator was that there was no smell,” recalls Harriet. “It was very clean.” Over the next several years, Harriet would often visit Larry on the Lilac neighborhood. “He received such great care,” says Harriet. With first hand experience of the caring and friendly staff, Harriet chose St. John’s for rehabilitation following her knee replacement in 2017. When Harriet fully recovered, she returned

Go to to read the entire feature. home, only to find herself driving to St. John’s every day to see her husband. In October of 2018, Larry passed away. “After that, my life sort of went downhill – I didn’t realize that every day I was going to St. John’s to visit him,” says Harriet. When Harriet needed a second knee replacement in December 2018, she returned to St. John’s for rehabilitation. “I felt like I was going home,” explains Harriet. She spent 3 ½ weeks at St. John’s Home and received physical therapy and occupational therapy 5-6 days per week. “I looked forward to Sundays,” Harriet says smiling. After three weeks in rehab, Harriet moved back home to her apartment in Chili, where she was greeted by her cat Sherlock. “I really didn’t want to leave St. John’s,” explains Harriet. “Between the friendly staff, the people, and the food – it’s hard to pick just one thing that I will miss.” Harriet has enjoyed gaining most of her independence back and looks forward to driving again. “Once the doctor gives me the okay, I’m outta here!”

Families Friends

Dear friends, family, residents, and staff, Over the course of this next year, I will be contributing some thoughts and observations to our blog. One thing that really interested me about coming to St. John’s was the company-wide commitment to the brand characteristics, so I decided to use those as a framework for writing. In this post, I wanted to focus on the brand characteristic of being “responsive.” One way that we strive to be responsive is to bring forth voices that we might not always hear. We try to do this by having multiple sources of information and communication available for residents, families, and staff. This past fall, we had some great growth in the response rate for our Resident and Family Satisfaction Survey. St. John’s Home Assistant Administrator Chris Minicucci was the lead for this project and shares the following information: “St. John’s recently completed our Resident Satisfaction Survey during the month of October. We saw a significant improvement in survey participation this year versus previous year’s efforts, which has helped us identify some key areas we would like to focus on. Our number of responses increased from just 54 in 2017 to 118 in 2018. We continue to search for more efficient ways to have our survey reach more of our residents and families. A combination of offering surveys both online and in paper format proved to be more helpful this year and we will continue to do that moving forward. Another possibility for next year’s survey may be exploring the use of tablets and other technology devices.” Overall, 73% of respondents said they would recommend St. John’s and 70% of respondents said they were satisfied with their experience. What I liked best about the survey process is that it gave us information and data down to the neighborhood level, so that each neighborhood administrator could see how their own parts of the community were doing. In such a large organization, and with such a large building, being able to respond to localized concerns and praise helps us to improve things overall for tomorrow and beyond.

Nate Sweeney, Vice President of Skilled Services

Residents Enjoy a “Day at the Spa” Residents kicked off the new year with a relaxing “day at the spa” at St. John’s Home. For the third consecutive year, residents were welcomed by staff members and soothing aromas as they entered the auditorium. “Self-care is an important practice of well-being for anyone, especially our elders. Providing a relaxing, social environment where our elders can venture out of their everyday space, feel good about being pampered, connect with their friends and neighbors, and leave with a sense of renewed confidence, is a win all around,” states Tracy Koflanovich, director of therapeutic recreation. Koflanovich, along with other staff members from various departments, spent the afternoon providing a variety of services from manicures to hand massages to friendly conversations. Residents also enjoyed music and refreshments. Subscribe to the St. John’s YouTube channel and view dozens of videos of the great people who live and work here.

2019 Road to Renovation Big changes are on the horizon for St. John’s Home and renovations are well underway. In the Reservoir building, all of the neighborhoods have added a second dining room as well as new lounge furniture and wall décor. Towards the end of 2018, half of the 5th floor in the Reservoir building was renovated with updates to resident rooms. A hearth room has also been added next to the dining room. In the Hastings building, new furniture and décor were added to the lobby and fireplace lounge areas. For 2019, renovations will continue throughout the Reservoir building as well as the ground floor. “The renovations taking place in the Reservoir building are aligned with the small homes model,” states Vice President of Corporate Strategy Joanne Braeunle. As funding becomes available, the Reservoir building renovations will continue with resident room updates. “Our foundation has also donated a significant amount of money to help fund the construction,” says Braeunle. In anticipation of the renovations, administration offices have been relocated, with nursing administration in the transition phase. There will also be major changes to the entrance of the Hastings building, with a larger, more open welcome center expected. “Our next big effort is the implementation of the first phase of the ground floor community center,” explains Braeunle. “While there will be some inconveniences and rerouting, the end product will be worthwhile –there will be increased resident space to get together with family.”

Centenarian Luncheon Honors Eleven Residents Eleven centenarians gathered together with their family and closest friends to enjoy an afternoon of great food, music, and good company this past January. Residents ranged in age from 100 to 104 tallying up to over one thousand years total. “I don’t feel like I’m aging at all,” states resident Doris Shoemaker (100). “I can’t dance a fancy dance anymore, but I’ve enjoyed being part of this wonderful life.” Doris also explains that helping others and staying positive can help one to live a long and healthy life. For 102-year-old Jeri Quirk, it’s about associating with the younger generation and keeping busy. Her words of wisdom? “Keep in touch with your past and listen to others.” Jeri also enjoys her crossword puzzles, reading, and playing bridge. While residents enjoyed their meal, staff members were able to sit with family members and friends to listen to the amazing stories from their generation. Nearly 30 family members and friends gathered together to celebrate the longevity of the 11 centenarians. “I’m still going and I don’t know enough to quit,” concludes Doris. “I feel well. I am well. I hope that continues.” Follow us on social media and visit our photo galleries at to keep up with our busy residents!

Almost Tee Time! Annual Golf Tournament Approaching Save the date for St. John’s 30th Annual Golf Tournament on Monday, July 15, 2019. Join us at beautiful Midvale Country Club for a fun way to benefit the residents of St. John’s. Supporting this year’s event as a sponsor, golfer, or contributor will help improve the lives of residents across St. John’s. Help us ensure that each resident, no matter the circumstance, can truly “embrace living.” For more information visit tournament or contact Taylor Freitas, development manager, at 585-760-2464 for additional details.

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150 Highland Avenue Rochester, NY 14620

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Also follow us on: Editor Keaghlan Morrissey

Vice President of Marketing Jennifer Lesinski

Marketing Communications Manager Tom Harner

President and CEO Charlie Runyon

Vice President of Skilled Services Nate Sweeney

Calling all Volunteers! Want a great opportunity to get to know our residents? Become a transporter for St. John’s Volunteer Services and help wheel residents from their room to their daily activities and appointments in our building. For more information, contact Sandy Ferguson at 585-760-1293.

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Families and Friends February 2019  

Families and Friends February 2019