MCH residents live by the “A Life Engaged” philosophy of service; this means that an engaged life is a full life, and the more aspects of your life that you engage, the happier and healthier you age. But every resident at MCH lived this way even before they first moved in; each resident has lived a unique and exciting life, a life that is fascinating. A life that is not only fascinating, but a life that has been full of love, surprises and accomplishments.
This is the inspiration behind the series ”These Hands” at Milwaukee Catholic Home. “These Hands” is a combination of snippets of stories that residents have shared about how they have used their hands throughout their lives, as well as a photograph of their hands taken during the interview process.
“I initially started this project 10 years ago during a small group art therapy session here at MCH,” says Becky Prusko, who manages the project. “I wanted to incorporate photography into the session with the focus being our hands. The residents had wonderful stories to share during this process, and this was evident as their peers, family, and staff admired the final pieces of artwork. ‘These Hands’ is just one way to share their stories with others and celebrate their lives!”
Here, we highlight just a few of the many exceptional stories that MCH residents have to tell about their lives:
These hands grew up on a dairy farm in Illinois
These hands milked cows with my 6 siblings every evening.
These hands carried school books, as I attended German school for 2 hours every morning, before attending school at the one room schoolhouse for the rest of the day.
These hands worked in a factory for a while before working at a discount store.
Then, these hands bought a hardware store.
This was my greatest achievement.
These hands married, and raised 2 children.
These Lutheran hands turn the pages of the daily newspaper and of the many novels that I read.
As a child, these German hands enjoyed playing with dolls.
These hands attended private school for only 7 years because of WWII.
These hands took care of the home, and raised 3 kids;
These hands moved to America in 1961.
These hands have enjoyed playing games with family and traveling together to Las Vegas and San Francisco.
These hands traveled back to Paris, France twice.
For a hobby, these hands enjoy knitting while watching movies.
These hands played with my friends in Deerfield, Illinois and walked ½ mile to the ice rink.
These hands loved my cute little dog, Peggy.
These hands did office work at the Co-op.
These hands did a little gambling at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
These hands swam and enjoyed cookouts at the Cottage in Big Bay Michigan.
These hands raised twin girls.
These hands call my friends and family, and talk almost every day on the phone.
These hands carefully put on my jewelry and makeup every morning.
These hands hold my vodka on the rocks as I relax at the end of the day.
Currently, Milwaukee Catholic Home is lucky enough to be hosting some exceptional interns, whose skills and dedication are a living example of the mission of the organization. For a university student, an internship is a way to get entry-level exposure to a particular field or industry. Ideally, interns spend their time working on relevant projects, learning about the field, making industry connections, and developing skills needed to professionally succeed. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, recent studies have shown that students graduating with internship experiences are more likely than those without internships to secure full-time employment after graduation.
But an internship at Milwaukee Catholic Home provides many more benefits; our hands-on experience not only provides students with an exceptional learning opportunity, but it also seeks to foster understanding and mutual enrichment across generations. Our internship offerings are just part of the robust and exceptional intergenerational programming here, which have been long recognized among other senior communities. Milwaukee Catholic Home is currently in partnership with Nurturing Nook child daycare on our east side campus and several local grade schools, high schools, and universities.
We’d like to introduce you to a few of our college interns currently sharing their exceptional gifts with our residents and staff.
Lauren Nylund is a junior at Mount Mary University who is studying social work. Lauren’s time here will be focused on familiarizing her with senior living options and providing her with the opportunity to engage with residents from a psychosocial perspective. Additionally, Lauren will learn about case management and A Life Engaged programming at Milwaukee Catholic Home.
“So far, my experience in the Residence has been very positive and beneficial,” says Lauren. The staff here is great, and I have really enjoyed the opportunities I have had to connect and develop relationships with the residents in independent living.”
Karla Genett is a Therapeutic Recreation Major from UW-LaCrosse. Working at Milwaukee Catholic Home full-time until May, Karla is responsible for planning, implementing, and documenting programming for the Skilled Care Unit in the Health and Rehabilitation Center. Due to quarantine restrictions, Karla’s accomplishes these tasks through one-on-one visits with residents.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world. This Gandi quote serves as a personal reminder to always bring forth a positive attitude,” says Karla. “During my internship here at Milwaukee Catholic Home, I hope that I can spread that positivity and bring joy to the residents every day. I am so grateful to be working alongside wonderful people in the A Life Engaged department.
Emma Lewis is a student at UWM who is majoring in social work and minoring in psychology. She primarily works with Director of Social Services Elizabeth Depp with long-term care residents. Despite Emma having only been at MCH for a short time, she has shown both residents and her fellow team members that she is a hard worker, is persistent, and has an unfailing positive attitude.
“In the two months that I have been here, I am really enjoying my experience at MCH,” says Emma. “This placement is showing me all of the different opportunities that are available to me and its certainly helping me broaden my view of social work with older adults.
From exceptional interns like Lauren, Karla, and Emma to the management team who help pave the way for a bright future, the staff of Milwaukee Catholic Home continue to prove that this is a vibrant, multi-faceted senior care community, whose “A Life Engaged” philosophy is dedicated to bringing out the best in people by providing an environment of living, learning, wellness and engagement.