Families and Friends February 2022

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St. John’s Dementia Specialist’s Work Featured Locally disease and other forms of dementia. “I have a genuine love for working with people with dementia,” DeVinney recently told In Good Health. “They are unique and fun to work with and it is just a rewarding part of my life.”

For over two decades, Mimi DeVinney has supported residents living at St. John’s Home. That has meant finding innovative ways to engage those who call St. John’s home—particularly those residents living with Alzheimer’s

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A Newsletter for St. John’s Skilled Services February 2022

“Mimi brings a deep understanding not only of dementia, but how it impacts the elders living here and the employees who work with them,” St. John’s Director of Nursing Diane Bogaczyk told In Good Health. Bogoaczyk and DeVinney were both involved, with others, in the development of the Beyond Memory program at St. John’s Home. “We are extremely fortunate to have Mimi on our team.”



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Dan Seil’s Story Dan Seils is a pretty well-known resident around St. John’s Home. In his almost two years here, he has made a lasting impression on residents, staff, and visitors alike. He attributes this positivity to those with whom he surrounds himself—“the Nate Sweeneys and Holly Powells of the world,” as he says.

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Editor/Marketing Coordinator Devin Andrieu dandrieu@stjohnsliving.org

Vice President of Marketing Jennifer Lesinski jlesinski@stjohnsliving.org

Marketing Communications Manager Tom Harner tharner@stjohnsliving.org

President and CEO Charlie Runyon

Vice President of Skilled Services Nate Sweeney

A Rochester native, Dan is no stranger to the area or St. John’s Home. In fact, his late father Herb and step mom Jean were long time volunteers at St. John’s Home through their local church. Although Dan was already familiar with St. John’s, moving during the uncertain time of the pandemic was scary initially he said. Dan found solace in the St. John’s staff members whom he came to meet, was able to build foundational relationships, and eventually recognized the good that surrounds him. Now that Dan has a lay of the land, he has discovered the activities that bring him the most joy. After a suggestion from St. John’s Home Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Holly Powell, Dan has rediscovered his love for art by joining the on-site offered, art workshop. Dan is also gaining quite a reputation around the community for being extremely kind and was even noticed by visiting Fine Arts Miracles Instructor Melissa Olson for his radiating positivity and for constantly helping others.

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When Dan is not creating art or spreading joy, he enjoys utilizing our library to read up about spirituality, law, and medicine. Dan is a frequent participant in most of the offered activities around St. John’s Home and finds purpose in volunteering to help whenever possible. Whether it is something as simple as folding newsletters, or as exciting as his recent debut on our new commercial, Dan is always one of the first residents on whom staff members can rely to lend a hand. Dan was even given the honor of switching on the lights at our annual Illumination of Love ceremony this past holiday season. Dan’s advice to those who wish to emulate his positive mindset is simple, “dig deep in your lowest moments and look for the good. Create a gratitude list and remember to always choose to be patient, loving, and kind.” Lastly, Dan says to, “always say please, thank you, I’m sorry, and I love you as you never know what tomorrow will bring.” Dan takes his own advice, being sure to call his twin brother Rick twice a day to tell him he loves him. Dan Seils is an inspiration to so many of us at St. John’s. No matter how much pain he is in that day, Dan remains kind and always remembers to embrace living. Read Dan’s full story here: https://bit.ly/34YIMOA

Inspiring Community-Wide Change: Julius D. Jackson’s Story One face that just about everyone at St. John’s Home recognizes is that of spiritual life partner Julius D. Jackson. Whether you refer to him as “JD,” “Selfie King of St. John’s,” or simply “Julius”—almost everyone is well acquainted with the positive and encouraging attitude he brings into the work place. On a day-to-day basis, Julius can be found leading worship services or enjoying one-to-one meetings with residents; all the while ensuring to document a good day with a photo to share on Facebook. Julius also goes beyond assignment, regularly visiting residents and checking in on staff members outside his assigned floors. “It is a beautiful thing when work relationships grow into personal friendships,” says Julius.

Not only is Julius active on social media, he is also an active member of the community stemming from his involvement with the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial through his fraternity in 2006. The work he did through Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity encouraged him to, “return home and continue turning the dirt.” Soon after that, he made it his mission to make Frederick Douglass’ story heard throughout Rochester as a local hero. Julius helped organize a celebration at the gravesite of Fredrick Douglass in Mount Hope Cemetery, played a role in the moving of Douglass’ statue to a more prominent location, and was even recently awarded a key to the city for his role in the name change of the local Rochester airport to the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport. It is Julius’ hope to inspire all those around him to follow their passions as he believes that even one person can be the spark that lights a fire of change within a community.

Holidays and Events from Nate “Innovate” is one of St. John’s brand characteristics and throughout 2022 we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of an incredible innovation in long-term care.

Winter Holiday Fun

Julius embraces living in his own way by always being sure, “to not take life too seriously and find humor wherever possible, especially in hard times.”

Volunteer Karen Keilman’s Story Karen Keilman has made volunteering in the St. John’s Home Gift Shop a part of her regular routine three days a week since May 2021. She is one of St. John’s Home’s valued volunteers according to volunteer coordinator Sandy Ferguson. “She goes out of her way to assist our residents,” says Sandy, noting that Karen came in three Saturdays this past December to make sure residents were able to check everything off their holiday wish list. “I enjoy talking to the residents,” says Karen when asked why she continues to volunteer at St. John’s Home. Having the routine ensures Karen gets out of the house and meets new people while making a difference in the lives of our residents. She is always a friendly, familiar face to see behind the gift shop counter.

As she ventured into adulthood and started a family, her passion for photography was trumped by her love for her children. She spent more time with her kids and less time behind a lens. As her children grew up and she had more time to herself, she rediscovered her passion for photography. Today, she continues to photograph nature, with birds and flowers being a few of her favorite subjects. One of her favorite spots to shoot is conveniently right next door to St. John’s Home: Highland Park.

Centenarian Celebrations

After getting to know Karen further over the months, Sandy found out that Karen did not just have a knack for people, but an eye for photography.

For more faces of St. John’s stories like Karen’s and Julius’ go to: https://bit.ly/2ORB9ld

St. John’s decided to embrace this innovation, but take it a step further. St. John’s came up with the idea to move these small skilled nursing environments away from a planned senior campus and directly into the community. St. John’s Penfield Green House homes are built not as an addition to a campus, but as an organic part of a local neighborhood. The two 10-person homes built by St. John’s are indistinguishable from the other single family and town houses that surround them, but are licensed together as one of the smallest nursing homes in the nation. Beyond the physical innovation, the staff members that work at St. John’s Penfield Green House homes have helped to radically reimagine what nursing care can be. Within a completely different environment, the Green House Project launched a model of care where a universal worker team provides the cooking, cleaning, laundry, engagement, and care support to elders. St. John’s employees embraced this initial model as a guideline, but grew in their own leadership and skills to continuously translate that plan into reality.

Throughout the month of February, Karen’s work is being featured on the St. John’s Home Terry Wall Art Display for residents, staff members, and visitors to enjoy. Karen’s prints, which are also available for purchase, make a great gift!

Karen first remembers picking up a camera in high school stating, “As a teenager, I always had a camera on me.” As a lover of nature and traveling, photography provided a way to take her travels with her. With this hobby, Karen is able share the experiences “through her eyes” with those around her.

In 2012, there were about 15,000 nursing homes in the United States, amongst which only a handful of those were Green House homes. Working with the Green House Project, nursing homes initiated partnership projects to build environments for 10 to 12 people that also meet all of the extensive codes and regulations for skilled nursing facilities. Across the nation, these new homes were built on campuses of senior living communities, often a few yards from the ‘mother ship’ nursing home. Sometimes they were stacked upon each other and sometimes they were spread around the senior campus.

Valentine’s Day To view photos from these events and more, visit our Flickr galleries here: https://bit.ly/2XGIpim



Reaching the 10-year anniversary of the opening of the Penfield Green House Homes officially on February 28, St. John’s continues to both learn and teach by finding new lessons from this unique offering and sharing those lessons with others. Congratulations to the whole St. John’s Penfield Green House homes staff team, from friends, from families, and from all of us at St. John’s!


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