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.
Based on the Milwaukee Catholic Home Philosophy of Service, we believe there are many ways to be healthy and we want to offer our residents opportunities to grow in each of them. Our approach to wellness is supported by five pillars of health including social engagement, cognitive health, nutrition, spiritual health, and physical wellness.
Research tells us that maintaining a well-balanced fitness routine as we age positively impacts all aspects of our being and contributes to optimal living and life experiences. Renowned neurosurgeon and CNN Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta says: “Think of inactivity as disease. Exercise boosts blood flow to your brain, tamps down inflammation, and promotes the growth of new brain cells.”
MCH currently offers 11 exercise opportunities per week in addition to the availability of our Fitness Center. Classes are both virtual and in person. The options we offer are an intentional variety of modalities to accommodate a wide range of interests and address all areas of physical fitness, including, but not limited to: Strength, balance, flexibility and aerobic capacity/endurance.
The following is a list of the classes Milwaukee Catholic Home residents participate in to maintain and improve their health and wellbeing.
Strength and Balance
Maintaining functional levels of strength throughout one’s life is essential to optimal health, safety and life experience. In order to have a solid sense of balance, you need strength. This class offers a variety of sitting and standing exercises, which will both challenge and develop overall strength and balance. Like all of our classes this is intended for a wide range of abilities and is easily modified to meet the needs and goals of each participant.
Offered both virtually and in person, residents are guided through a series of yoga postures, while simultaneously becoming aware of the importance, power and benefit of the breath. The chair is used for support, stability as well as a helpful prop with some of the poses. This way, residents can experience the many benefits of yoga, including increased range of motion, flexibility, and stress reduction, without needing to get up or down from the floor.
Out and About Walking Group
We recognize that there is immense value in getting outside! Fresh air, a change of scenery, sunlight, and experiencing nature have all proven to lift the spirits and change one’s perspective almost immediately as one steps outside. This group is both physically and mentally stimulating for this very reason. With the exception of extreme weather conditions, participants head outside for a walk at their pace, to receive the countless benefits of movement in the great outdoors!
Tai Chi is a self-paced exercise consisting of gentle, physical exercise, movement and stretching. Accompanied by deep breathing, each unique posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body remains in constant motion. This class, facilitated by a Certified Tai Chi Instructor, can be done sitting or standing and is appropriate for all levels of fitness and mobility.
If dance is your thing, Zumba is for you! Having fun while exercising is one of the key ingredients to a successful and sustainable fitness program. Led by a certified instructor, Zumba is an energizing dance form of exercise that can be done sitting or standing.
Overall Group Fitness Classes
These classes are offered in concert with our fitness schedule to provide the opportunity for total body fitness. The emphasis is on aerobic activity, strength and flexibility. Done both/either sitting and/or standing and accompanied with upbeat, inspiring music, participants warm up toward a level of target heart rate which is then safely maintained and monitored throughout the class until the cool down phase, where the focus becomes flexibility through stretching and gentle movement.
We realize that there are a variety of preferences for the exercise experience. If participating virtually or in a socially distanced group exercise program isn’t ideal for a particular resident, our Fitness Center offers an excellent option for a very effective workout! Our state-of-the-art facility includes recumbent bicycles, treadmills, weight machines, and free weights, with TV’s available in full view of the aerobic equipment.
MCH Resident Jim Stollenwerk says: “My doctor is always telling me how important exercise is and that I need to keep moving. I assure him that I have more than enough opportunity to get my exercise in at Milwaukee Catholic Home. The programs are excellent!”
“We are excited to announce another tool in our fight to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus through the use of proven technology” – David Fulcher, CEO
Milwaukee Catholic Home has installed Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization units in all of its air handling units in the Health Care Center. In addition, the unit was placed in the common area ventilation system of The Residence Building which includes the main dining room and Flatley’s club lounge.
These units acting together with our HVAC and filtration systems are designed and have been proven to purify the air by significantly reducing airborne particulates, odors and pathogens including the COVID-19 virus. They are able to produce a large amount of positive and negative ions that travel through the air into the occupied spaces, cleaning the air everywhere they travel, even in spaces unseen.
These are the same type of ions found abundantly in nature, for example, forests, ocean shorelines and high mountain elevations. These ions and the technology creating them are 100% ozone free and 100% safe for humans and the environment. All of this while lowering our carbon footprint and reducing our energy consumption up to 30%.
This system is currently in a wide range of environments, including The White House, Harvard University, Mayo Clinic and many others.