Christmas (and the month of December preceding it) is filled with buying presents, decorating trees, and looking at festive holiday displays. It’s about baking cookies, walking in winter wonderlands, and reconnecting with family and friends. But these aspects of the holidays are not the most important. The reason for the season, after all, is celebrating the birth of Christ and all of the miraculous things that are made possible through Him. Among the many beautiful and sacred lessons Jesus taught us, he instilled in humanity the commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself. This commandment places generosity and kindness above all else, and it’s a commandment that MCH residents are living both in word and in deed.
Here are just a few of the ways our inspirational residents are sharing their gifts with others this holiday season.
Being a parent to a newborn child simultaneously exciting and overwhelming. Being a parent to a child experiencing health problems, especially at the beginning of their life, can be downright heartbreaking. That’s why Anne Goode knits hats for premature babies staying at Children’s Hospital.
Connecting architecture and decoration is vital to the tradition of Faith, especially during the Advent season. Pauline Judy lends her design eye to making sure the decorations in the St. Anne Chapel inspire MCH worshipers to make a visual connection to the Divine.
“I’d rather knit than eat,” said Trudy Klapperich, who at 107 years is the oldest resident at the Milwaukee Catholic
Home. She was ten years old when her mother taught her to knit and though there were stops and starts over the years, it remains her favorite way to pass the time. This Christmas season, Trudy has donated hats to students at St. Josaphat School, where principal Karin Strasser states that for many of these children, Trudy’s donation is not just an extra hat, it is their only hat.
MCH residents are finding ways to keep their minds and spirits active and engaged while social distancing. That means engaging in events participating in events such as Musical Theater Hour with Paul Salsini. This event is a great opportunity to learn more about the history of popular Broadway musicals while to find common ground in a shared passion.
When times get tough and life becomes lonely, a kind voice and a sympathetic ear is the answer to any prayer. As a volunteer for Eastside Senior Services, Cynthia Sommer frequently calls to check in and socialize with Milwaukee residents who need a friend this Christmas.
Alice Stollenwerk is generously donating her time and expertise by leading MCH residents in a discussion on the all-important and complex topic of justice in today’s world. This relevant subject is especially poignant during the holiday season, where we all reflect on how we can better serve our fellow man.
Vaccinations are Coming- What Does that Mean?
The immunization advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overwhelmingly affirmed on Tuesday, December 1st that long-term care residents and healthcare workers (those living and working in skilled nursing, assisted living and other resident care facilities, pharmacies and in-home health care settings) will be given first access to a COVID-19 vaccine once it has been authorized by the federal government.
Health leaders expect vaccines to be ready for distribution at long-term care facilities in about two weeks
It is noted that initial doses may be limited and there could be a need for sub-prioritization within the groups. The CDC will provide guidance on how to prioritize and the State of Wisconsin will have final distribution control. If sub-prioritization is needed:
What plans are in place at Milwaukee Catholic Home for distribution of the vaccine?
We will partner with CVS pharmacy, our assigned Pharmacy partner, to guide the process of distributing the vaccination at MCH. At this time, we do not have all the answers about how and when distribution will take place but, this news gives us all hope for the future and we will continue to provide updates as details become available.
Please note, the vaccination process will take time and that means we need to continue doing everything we can to control the spread of the virus. We need to continue following the strong infection control practices we have in place. These things have not changed:
The most wonderful time of the year has officially arrived; Milwaukee’s East Side landscape is starting to look like a winter wonderland, and the city’s sidewalks are dressed in the finest holiday style. It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
While it’s still acceptable to roast chestnuts on an open fire and dream of a white Christmas, there’s no denying that the holidays will look much differently this season. Time once spent with family and loved ones, exchanging presents by the tree, singing carols, or enjoying a holiday dinner, may have to wait until next Christmas. It seems hard to believe and frankly, heartbreaking, to think that something as simple as hugging a relative is a luxury we simply can’t afford right now.
Despite the challenges this year has brought us, we at Milwaukee Catholic Home continue to make concerted efforts to ensure our residents feel that they are engaged, healthy, and connected. While much of what we do this Christmas may not be what we’re used to, the spirit of connection is alive and well as we stand together while staying apart.
Santa’s elves (aka the A Life Engaged staff at Milwaukee Catholic Home) have been hard at work thinking of ways to still make this time of year merry and bright to all who live here. In addition to Christmas movies being shown throughout the month, here are just a few of the ways that Milwaukee Catholic Home residents and staff will be getting into the holiday spirit this season.
MCH Advent Retreat
Fr. Domenic Roscioli is a priest on a mission. He has a God-given knack for storytelling and brings each story home to the spiritual aspect of these stories, touching the lives of those who listen. We will begin Advent here at MCH on Monday, November 30th and Tuesday, December 1st with a two-day retreat, God’s Story, Our Story. There will be two virtual sessions each day at 10AM and 1:30PM.
While we will be enjoying them virtually this year, there will be a special touch for each Christmas concert this season! Residents will have the option to gather, socially distanced, to enjoy the concerts in our large community spaces, or they can experience the performance from the comfort of their own apartment. Our concert line-up includes:
Michael Buble Home for Christmas (2011) – (Thursday, Dec. 3rd – 7:00 PM)
Carolyn Wehner’s A Classic Christmas (Thursday, December 8th -7:00 PM)
Addison Teng and Paul Hauer – The classical violin powerhouse will perform Mozart, Shubert, and Christmas carols – (Sunday, Dec. 13th – 7:00 PM)
Frederick Moyer – (Tuesday, Dec. 15th – 7:00 PM) –The renowned Classical and Jazz pianist will honor Beethoven’s 250th birthday. His holiday concert will feature the complete “Waldstein” Piano sonata, one of Beethoven’s greatest piano works. The program will also feature a beautiful collection of Romanian Christmas Carols arranged by Bartok, and Fred’s jazz arrangements of some seasonal favorites.
Tom and Evan Leahy present a “Celtic Christmas” – (Tuesday, December 22nd–7:00 PM)
Deck The Halls (and by “Halls”, we Mean the HCC Courtyard)
Families of Milwaukee Catholic Home Health Care Center residents were invited to lend their hidden holiday gems to the A Life Engaged Christmas elves this year, and this call to arms was enthusiastically answered! From treasured ornaments to cherished family heirlooms, plenty of family keepsakes will be on display throughout the holiday season in the Health Care Center Courtyard.
There will be a chance for residents to see these decorations up close and personal during MCH’s Winter Wonderland from Tuesday, December 15th to Thursday, December 17th. For three consecutive evenings, guided outdoor tours will be offered by the MCH Life Engaged Elves. Cookies, cocoa, and campfires will be enjoyed during this special event.
It’s displays like this (made possible by the kindness and generosity of our friends) that truly prove that our days will be merry and bright.
MCH Christmas Marketplace-Wednesday December 16th to Thursday, December 17th
The Christmas shopping experience is being delivered to the Residence this year as we create a Christmas Marketplace for our residents to shop safely and conveniently from the comfort of their own home! For two days, residents will be able to purchase “best sellers” from local small businesses as gifts for friends and family or themselves! In an effort to support local businesses, we will feature items from independently owned neighborhood businesses such as Boswell Book Company, Beans & Barley, Sendik’s, Downer Liquor and more. The Marketplace will be open to staff as well. Packaging, wrapping and delivery is also part of the service if desired!
Resident Community Christmas Tree Decorating-Friday, December 4th
A favorite tradition continues as residents enjoy adorning their Christmas tree with both community and personal ornaments. Christmas music is enjoyed and stories of wonderful family traditions are shared!
Nativity Gallery-Friday, December 11th
Residents will have the opportunity to experience a unique collection and display of one-of-a-kind Nativity scenes as residents are invited to share their personal Nativity scene(s) with our community. A gallery of these scenes will be on display for all to enjoy at their leisure.
Christmas Fashion Show-Friday, December 18th
All staff and residents are invited to walk the runway in their favorite and finest Christmas outfit! Serious or silly, casual, cocktail or formal, what’s not to love about showing your Christmas spirit with some fashion fun!
Holiday Lights Tour-Dates to be Announced!
Residents will tour the festive streets of downtown Milwaukee and beyond, enjoying the wonderful display of Christmas lights and decorations. Our MCH Christmas Express (bus) will be their sleigh for the experience and they will be socially distanced for the ride! We will take as many tours as needed to accommodate the interest level and maintain safety protocol.
Resident Christmas Party-Tuesday, December 22nd
Residents can expect a day filled with surprises and special moments to remember as we celebrate this most wonderful time of the year! Special deliveries and visits will create a personal connection. A delicious and savory menu with delightful desserts will most certainly be part of this day! MCH staff have some Christmas plans to surprise and delight residents, which involves singing, dancing and of course an appearance by jolly old St. Nick himself!
We can’t wait to celebrate and share the magic of Christmas with our MCH community!
These are unprecedented times, and our deepest concerns go out to you as well as those directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those on the front line keeping our communities safe. These dedicated women and men and their families are making extraordinary sacrifices in these difficult times to protect and serve the most vulnerable among us. Thankfully, Milwaukee Catholic Home has its own “angels,” who work in their unique and caring ways each day.
With conditions changing rapidly, several key events and activities at Milwaukee Catholic Home looked a little differently in 2020 than they did in the past. While the Patio Pops Summer Concert Series and the Fall Harvest Festival were reimagined to follow social distancing guidelines, others, such as the January Annual Partnership Event, have been postponed until further notice. Despite the challenges this year has brought us, we at Milwaukee Catholic Home continue to make concerted efforts to make our residents feel that they are engaged, healthy, and connected. While much of what we do may look different, that spirit of connection is alive and well as we stand together while staying apart!
At this time of year, Milwaukee Catholic Home residents and friends have traditionally been invited to consider contributing to the Employee Appreciation Fund. While this token of gratitude has always been appreciated, this acknowledgement seems especially critical this year. A global pandemic didn’t stop countless staff from coming into work with a relentless commitment to make the lives of every resident better. Their selfless devotion to our mission is truly what makes Milwaukee Catholic Home the exceptional, loving community that it is.
You can be part of our expression of gratitude by contributing in support of our staff who enrich the lives of older adults. Please consider a gift today. 100% of the money collected in the Employee Appreciation Fund goes directly to employees of Milwaukee Catholic Home.
As always, we are grateful for your thoughtful consideration and support. Please continue to keep the Milwaukee Catholic Home community in your prayers as we keep you in ours. More than ever, we wish you God’s blessings at this special time of year.
The Health and Rehabilitation Center renovation at 2330 N. Prospect Avenue first began in late January 2020 and is nearing completion, even in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
Features of the project, which are spread throughout the second and third floors and total approximately 7,600 square feet, include larger and more comfortable dining rooms, a music room, and The William Jermain Jr. Nature Room to nurture creativity. While a new chapel will create a welcoming environment for prayer and reflection, a new art studio will give residents the opportunity to express themselves through a variety of art mediums.
The renovation also has some practical enhancements; conference rooms are being added off both the second and third floor elevator lobbies, allowing for private discussions between staff, residents, and families. In addition, the clinical teams will be moving closer to the residents through an expanded clinical area.
Featured below is the new Meditation Room, the Music Room, and Private Dining spaces.
While being kind, generous, and thankful for the blessings we have is something to focus on every day of the year, let’s face it, sometimes we need a little reminder! I don’t think we need to list the many ways that 2020 has not been anyone’s best year; everyone has a story of how they have been impacted by the global pandemic. It can be easy to get caught up in the negativity and sometimes, sense of hopelessness about the whole situation; When will we experience some relief? Will we ever return to the normal we once knew? What does a new normal look like and when will it start?
In times like these, focusing on the positive can be challenging. But when circumstances seem bleak, that’s where the goodness in humanity truly shines. This is when small acts of kindness leave the largest impression. It’s smiling and greeting someone when they’re having a bad day. It’s buying a cup of coffee to for an unsuspecting stranger in the car behind you in the drive thru. It’s saying a prayer for someone who truly needs support and sympathy in every possible way.
All of these acts and more are the inspiration for World Kindness Day. Formed in 1998, this international holiday is annually observed on November 13th as part of the World Kindness Movement. Celebrated in countries such as Canada, Japan, and Australia, World Kindness Day presents an opportunity to reflect on how everyone can be a positive influence by engaging in both large and small acts of generosity.
While the message of World Kindness Day is something no one can argue with, we at Milwaukee Catholic Home thought, “Why not extend the celebration to be more than just one day?” After all, if the world needs anything right now, it’s an unending supply of kindness, compassion, and love.
Here are a few of the ways Milwaukee Catholic Home residents and staff will celebrate World Kindness WEEK!
All Week Long
Random Acts of Kindness Fishbowl
Science says: Random acts of kindness are good for your health. The warm feeling of wellbeing that washes over you when you’ve done something kind isn’t just in your head. It’s in your brain chemicals, too. Acts of kindness can release hormones that contribute to your mood and overall wellbeing.
So, throughout Milwaukee Catholic Home Kindness Week, it’s our mission to spread joy by encouraging everyone to engage in random acts of kindness. Fishbowls will be placed at the front desks of both The Residence and the Health Care Center. Throughout Kindness Week, residents and staff are invited to pick a random act of kindness from the bowl and carry it out. The thoughtfulness and generosity that one act of kindness will rapidly spread throughout our campus and will surely be felt by many.
Marquette University Law School Restorative Justice Initiative Virtual Conference: “Making it Personal”
This four-day, virtual conference will be hosted in the Astor Room Monday, November 9th through Thursday, November 12th at 12:15 pm during Milwaukee Catholic Home’s Kindness Week. Marquette Law School Restorative Justice Initiative Virtual Conference: “Making It Personal.” This inspirational series will examine the impact of the restorative justice philosophy and focus especially on the spirituality of the healing circle.
Cookies, Coffee and Kindness
Kindness Week officially kicks off at Milwaukee Catholic Home Monday morning with the charming event “Cookies, Coffee, and Kindness.” Residents are encouraged to gather in the Solarium and share their favorite poem, quote, or story that relates to our week’s kindness theme. And we’ve always found that reading a poem out loud is a little bit easier while enjoying coffee!
Strength and Balance-and Kindness!
MCH’s Strength and Balance exercise class is offered to residents three times a week, and improves an individual’s flexibility, overall fitness, and aerobic capacity. The spirited, lively music that will be played during each class the entire week will revolve around-you guessed it! Kindness! After all, it’s a message you can live by and dance to!
Be Kind to Yourself
In order to promote self-esteem, MCH RN Residential Coordinator Beth Bagleman will host a discussion called “Be Kind to Yourself” in the Astor Room on Tuesday, November 10th. Not only will attendees leave with an uplifting message on how we can love and value ourselves, but also a stone with that features a quote or phrase that personally speaks to them.
Capuchin Holiday Food Box Program
On Wednesday, November 11th, residents, staff, and friends of Milwaukee Catholic Home will once again participate in the Capuchin Community Services’ Holiday Food Box Program. The annual Holiday Food Box Program provides central city families in need with food baskets that contain all the fixings for a festive meal during both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The goal is to fill and donate 25 food boxes to the Capuchins for distribution. Cash donations will also be accepted to support this wonderful cause.
Because staying connecting and supporting each other has never been more important, Connections allows residents to support each other through life’s challenges, circumstances, and joys. Connections Group takes place on a weekly basis every Thursday at 2:30 pm, and this week’s meeting will focus on how kindness is transformative and impactful.
Kindness Cocktail in Flatley’s
Kindness is certainly something we can raise an enthusiastic glass to! Residents are welcome to enjoy a specialty cocktail called “Kindness in a Glass” (yes, that really is a cocktail!) in Flatley’s Lounge on Tuesday evening. Care to make one for yourself at home? Simply mix Drambuie, gin, lemon juice, honey simple syrup, and sparkling wine!
Random Acts of Kindness Wrap Up
Kindness Week concludes at Milwaukee Catholic Home on Friday, November 13th. Residents will gather in the Astor Room and share if they received a random act of kindness from the fishbowls that were placed at the front desks earlier in the week. I’m sure we’ll hear some truly touching stories of how a small act of unexpected generosity not only made someone’s day brighter, but inspired them to pass that good feeling along to others.
While making the days of everyone we encounter happier should always be our focus, it never hurts to give this beautiful mission a renewed commitment. That’s why World Kindness Day is something that all of us at Milwaukee Catholic Home will strive to live out far beyond November 13th. By sticking together, staying positive, and doing something for someone else, we help each other, and we become stronger than ever before.
The tradition of the Fall Harvest Festival at Milwaukee Catholic Home will continue!
For years this has been an event open not only to our residents, but to the neighborhood and community, so we’ve come up with a way to still safely include all our MCH friends and family as well! While it may look different than previous years, we are excited to celebrate this most beautiful season and bountiful harvest from our organic farm, Clare Gardens!
Place your order by visiting the A Life Engaged website and choose from our Fall Favorite Festival favorites! Then, visit our “drive-through” on Thursday, October 8th, from 10 am to 3 pm to pick up your items!
If you are interested in either of our raffle baskets, please call Julie at 414-220-3217 to purchase raffle tickets. We cannot sell raffle tickets online. For more information, call Amy O’Connor at 414-220-3214.
The month of September is always a highlight no matter what year it’s in, and for several good reasons. The intense summer heat is starting to lessen, but the days of sunshine and pleasant temperatures are still aplenty. The long awaited football season finally begins, and the state of Wisconsin puts on their finest Green and Gold once a week to cheer on our Packers. And of course, September is the perfect excuse to visit your local apple orchard or sip on a pumpkin spice latte.
But we also must take this beautiful month to focus our attention on more serious topics, topics that impact the health and wellbeing of countless people in our society; those that are 65 and older. For us at Milwaukee Catholic Home, we are always thinking of ways to improve the lives of our beloved residents, and do whatever possible to keep them as safe, as happy, and as healthy as possible. This week in particular, we pay special attention to the topic of falls, as September 21-25, 2020 is National Fall Prevention Awareness week.
The drastic impacts of a fall cannot be overstated; this common and everyday accident can have serious and long lasting impacts, especially for the senior population. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, falls are the leading cause of injury and accidental death in seniors. The most common causes that can cause a serious stumble include everyday distractions, excessive clutter, and an individual’s poor balance.
Luckily, a few simple steps can greatly decrease a person’s likelihood to be injured. Here are some tips that can help older adults effectively risk their reduce of falls.
Remove clutter in the apartment, and walk carefully when there are potential hazards, such as throw rugs.
If something is out of reach-ask for help! Never stand on chairs or similar unreliable structures to get an object you can’t easily access.
Consider a nightlight in the bedroom or bathroom.
Stay active in order to maintain endurance, balance and strength. One of the best ways to do this at Milwaukee Catholic Home is to attend a Strength and Balance exercise class. This is offered for residents three times a week and improves an individual’s flexibility, overall fitness, and aerobic capacity.
Make sure your mind stays active too! One of the best ways to do this at Milwaukee Catholic Home is to participate in one of our Brain Fitness Programs, which focus on keeping one’s mind engaged, attentive and aware.
While it’s understandable that the threat of a fall can cause seniors to stop doing the activities they daily enjoy, fortunately, an occupational therapy practitioner can use your daily activities as a basis of therapy to help ensure that a resident of Milwaukee Catholic Home can still live a life that is fully engaged.
Here are some of the things an occupational therapist will do to prevent the risk of falls in a private residence of an older adult and their living community.
Give recommendations on how to arrange furniture in the apartment so that the resident can move freely.
Ensure items that are frequently accessed by the resident are easily accessible.
Give recommendations on installing crucial equipment such as railings, grab bars, or rubber matts in critical locations.
Increase an individual’s physical conditioning by focusing on their favorite activities.
September is the time of year to enjoy pleasant weather, cheer on our favorite team, and break out the fall sweaters and scarves. But it’s also the time of year to remind ourselves of our duty and our priviledge to keep the residents of Milwaukee Home safe and healthy. During National Fall Prevention Awareness week and every week of the year, the Milwaukee Catholic Home family makes it our mission to ensure that our residents are appropriately protected from falls.
As a continuing care community and skilled nursing facility, MCH has been and will continue to follow the CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid) guidelines set forth to protect the safety and well-being of elders living in our community. However, social distancing has been a direct challenge, as we have always fully embraced community life and the importance of belonging to something bigger than self.
But at MCH, we know that it will take much more than a global pandemic to shake our faith and spirit.
“I feel that this time has been a great gift, as it has given me opportunities to deepen my relationships with residents of Milwaukee Catholic Home and my colleagues.” says Pastoral Care Coordinator Terri Adrian. “I can think of no better way to see the face of God!”
As an organization with a history of over 100 years of Catholic mission and ministry, our Pastoral Care programs lie at the heart of who we are. Miraculously, this has still been the case at MCH even during COVID-19.
Here are just a few of the ways our Pastoral programs have spiritually fed residents and staff of MCH during COVID-19:
We have been blessed by the generous gifts of time and wisdom by MCH resident Fr. Jim Connell. His celebration of daily Mass has been wonderfully sustaining during this difficult time. Not only is Mass open to 15 residents for in-person attendance, but each Mass is also broadcast virtually in resident apartments.
Milwaukee Catholic Home was delighted to welcome Bill Scobey-Polachek as the newest member of our leadership team earlier this month. Bill is assuming the newly created role of Pastoral Care Coordinator in the Health Care Center. “Pastoral care means providing emotional, social, and spiritual support for people of all faith backgrounds,” says Bill. “It means providing opportunities for residents to practice their faith traditions and grow closer to God. It means helping residents become connected as a faith community and supporting them on their journeys. I have faith that God is continuing to form me through my experience as Pastoral Care Coordinator.”
MCH resident Bob Regner has led residents and staff daily in the praying of the Rosary, giving the intentions of many proper attention.
Evening Taize prayer services have provided an opportunity to quiet and calm ourselves, and rest in the assurance that all will indeed be well.
“Faith in Our Lives”, a small discussion group recently formed by the Pastoral Care Team and dedicated residents, serves as an opportunity to look at faith from a broader, more ecumenical perspective.
As members of our community, we know that you care deeply for the continuing success of Milwaukee Catholic Home in its mission to provide faith-filled service to older adults. Thank you as always for being part of our mission and our family.
We will move through this together with brighter days ahead!
In case you missed it! Take a moment to view these very special highlights from the Trinity Woods Groundbreaking Celebration held September 3, 2020!