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Families Friends

A Newsletter for St. John's Skilled Services November 2016

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Staff Recognized for Years of Service At our Employee Recognition event in October, we honored many St. John’s employees who reached milestone work anniversaries in 2016. A special thank you to this group of ladies who celebrated 40 years at St. John’s! Congratulations to Jane Barnette, Ginny Mullin, Gail McArthur, and Valerie Drexler. If you know of a special person interested in making a difference in elders’ lives, tell them we are hiring! For a complete list of our open positions go to stjohnsliving.org/careers.

“I have come to embrace this idea of a bridge builder, especially since coming here.”

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Building Bridges Through Care

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The Dementia Resource Library at St. John’s Home is constantly being updated and features resources for all interested in learning more about dementia. Located in the neighborhood lounge, the library features books, articles, DVDs, and activity items to support elders with dementia, as well as their families and staff.

Also follow us on: Marketing Communications Manager Tom Harner tharner@stjohnsliving.org Vice-President, Skilled Nursing Rebecca Priest

Support for Dementia

Vice-President, Marketing Jennifer Lesinski jlesinski@stjohnsliving.org President and CEO Charlie Runyon

In addition, the Dementia Family Support Group meets the third Thursday of every month at 7:00 p.m. in the neighborhood lounge. For more information, contact Mimi DeVinney at 585-760-1294 or by email at mdevinney@stjohnsliving.org.

Learn more at stjohnsliving.org/shareyourstory.

“I don’t know where I’m going in this life, but I know I’m going to be a bridge builder.”

compassion of our leadership is very gratifying,” she says. “I feel really good about being here.”

These words were written 30 years ago by Sarah Greenfield Culp—then a junior at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana—in a letter home to her parents. “My major was human development and social relations, and I knew I wanted to do something to help build connections between people,” recalls Sarah. “I just didn’t know how I was going to do it.”

Spiritual care at St. John’s means organized services and prayer sessions as well as spontaneous gatherings. In addition, the team recently launched a new program meant to provide the same type of opportunities to St. John’s employees.

Reverend Sarah Culp was named Spiritual Care Practice Partner at St. John’s in July. Here, she leads a team of dedicated chaplains to provide pastoral guidance to the nearly 1,000 elders and residents who call St. John’s home. While considering this opportunity, Sarah was impressed with management’s commitment to pastoral care as a part of a holistic view towards the lives of the elders. “The dedication and

“Soul Food” is an intentional move towards developing even more of those non-traditional connections. Again, that is what Sarah has been doing throughout her entire career. “I have come to embrace this idea of a bridge builder, especially since coming here (to St. John’s). I think about all of the ways we are headed from one place to another. To be a part of that is very exciting for me.” Go to stjohnsliving.org/shareyourstory/sarahculp to read the entire feature on Sarah Culp.


Families Friends Embrace Living with Rebecca Priest Rebecca Priest was among a small, select group of speakers featured at the 2016 TedxFlourCity event held the first weekend in November. An excerpt from her talk entitled “The Planting of My Purpose” has been reprinted here. Go online to tedxflourcity.com to learn more. Have you ever faced a challenge that seemed insurmountable in your life, your work, or your community? A challenge that seemed too big to tackle, too ingrained in cultural norms, and too deeply rooted? In the 1970s in Buffalo, New York— where my family is from—my sister was born with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Knowing the mountain of challenges that would ensue, the doctor told my parents to seek institutional placement and move forward. “You can’t raise a child with this level of need.” My parents refused to accept this, and said, “There’s no such thing as can’t. We will find a way.” A seed was planted within them to figure out a path forward. My parents connected with other parents facing the same decision and they took control of this insurmountable challenge and rejected an option for institutional care. Instead they planned a way of providing care, spiritual growth, and pursuit of self-determination in a community for their children with complex 24-hour needs. You see, the reality of institutional life that these parents rejected some 30 years ago was that we cohort people with the greatest needs, separate them from their families and their community supports, and staff in such a way that meeting their basic care needs consistently is a challenge. This was done in the name of efficiency of care and fear of cost burden to families and societies. These parents had to create a better way.

And they did—they looked at options, reviewed the laws, payment, and quality structures that had taken hold to lead to this unacceptable model, and they began creating a different option by reframing the solutions imposed by years of unexamined tradition. They were re-interpreting the rules to create space for something different. “We can,” they said, “and we will create a different way.”

Green Thumbs Are Active Meeting on the first and third Wednesday of each month, the Green Thumb Society helps keep the gardens inside and outside of St. John’s Home looking beautiful. “The society is meant to give elders who have always enjoyed gardening the chance to express that,” explains Holly Powell, who left St. John’s Home in September to be reunited with her husband Darryl, also a beloved former employee. “It provides them the opportunity for digging in the dirt, planting, potting, and nurturing flowers.”

Forty years later, the organization they developed, Heritage Christian Services, continues to set trends for how to support people with 24-hour needs in a community today.

National Healthcare Food Service Week honors the contributions of professionals in the health care food service industry. St. John’s recognized its own dining services employees in October by featuring a number of special ways to say “thank you” to this dedicated work force for their contributions. Food is an important part of the lives of our residents, this team creates quality of life for those who call St. John’s their home.

Because of this experience, I grew up in a house where “can’t” wasn’t an option. Abilities didn’t define the capacity for a meaningful life or one’s contribution to a home or a community. This seed planted in me would come out years later in my work in long-term care. I cannot accept the idea that institutional care is the answer. We have to do something different. We can do something else, and we must, and a solution exists. The shahbazim role is about the right staffing, with the right training, and the right compensation. The indirect support roles will shift to grow shahbazim, so that in partnership with elders, they can achieve the experience we need. We have the start of something special right here in our small homes. I understand the skeptics because changing 150 years of tradition is hard. It is, however, undeniable that the direct care workforce in every industry is inadequate today and tomorrow—so providers must move to something different. St. John’s has moved. We have a team that believes in this model and against the odds, we have taken a hospital where 455 people lived at the mercy of the institutional wheel and we are transforming it into 20 small homes.

Special Week Honors Dining Services Team

View more photos of our dedicated team in our online gallery at bit.ly/2e2IM53.

Support Annual Fund Today! The true spirit of St. John’s lies in the lives it has touched—the elders, volunteers, staff, families, and friends. Few things give greater joy than moments which embody the true impact of St. John’s work. Proceeds support activities such as day trips to the Finger Lakes, live concerts, themed holiday parties, and spiritual and religious programs. St. John’s is a vibrant community.

Elders Host the Chamber

When you make a gift to the St. John’s Annual Fund, you support the vibrancy of the elder experience in all St. John’s communities!

St. John’s Home elders and staff hosted Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce CEO Bob Duffy and members of his staff on October 21 in a visit that showcased our Small Homes model.

Visit stjohnsliving.org/donate-gift to make your gift today.

More photos can be found online at: http://bit. ly/2fii5VU.

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Families & Friends- November, 2016  

A look inside all of the fun events and happenings at St. John's Home

Families & Friends- November, 2016  

A look inside all of the fun events and happenings at St. John's Home