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In the blink of an eye, another summer has come to an end. While there is plenty to miss about the summer season, there is certainly much to look forward to in the autumn months ahead (Packer football, pumpkin spice lattes, and trips to the apple farm, to name a few!) But perhaps the thing people most associate (and most look forward to) about the autumn season at Milwaukee Catholic Home is the Fall Harvest Festival.   

Our annual Fall Harvest Festival on Tuesday, October 12th from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm celebrates the harvest from Clare Gardens, our organic farm-to-table community garden!  

There are many ways you can participate in this beloved event both virtually and in person! Many items, such as pumpkins, chili, soup kids, spiced pecans, Thanksgiving pies, honey, and charcuterie boards will be available for sale on the A Life Engaged website! Simply place your order online and pick it up curbside at Milwaukee Catholic Home! You can step inside our front door of The Residence at 2462 to purchase a raffle ticket for a chance to win the Bountiful Harvest Basket, a handmade quilt crafted by residents and MCH volunteers, and a chance to win cash as part of our 50/50 raffle! 

Should you be able to join us in person on Tuesday, October 12th, in addition to all these fabulous items being available, you can also purchase a variety of fresh vegetables from Clare Gardens, homemade resident crafts and specialty items, participate in fun activities on the patio (pumpkin bowling, anyone?) and even take a hay ride! 

All proceeds raised at the Fall Harvest Festival benefit MCH resident programming. 

“At Milwaukee Catholic Home, we emphasize whole person wellness, and healthy eating is a significant part of that,” says Amy O’Connor, Director of A Life Engaged. “The Fall Harvest Festival is a great way for our residents and for those in our community to reap the many benefits of the Clare Gardens project. You can feel the true spirit of community that is so alive and well here at Milwaukee Catholic Home!”   

Although another summer has come and gone, there is so much to look forward to about the autumn months ahead, including Milwaukee Catholic Home’s Fall Harvest Festival. For more information on this signature event, contact Amy O’Connor at aoconnor@milwaukeecatholichome.org or visit the A Life Engaged website. 

If you plan on attending the Fall Harvest Festival in person, please RSVP with Amy O’Connor!

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior, where symptoms eventually grown severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Sadly, as many as 50 million people around the world are living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of life altering dementias.  

As the globe recognizes World Alzheimer’s Day on Wednesday, September 21st, it is important to remind ourselves to not only be vigilant of the early signs of dementia and memory loss, but to consider what can be done in our everyday routines to potentially delay the onset of serious symptoms. 

Look at these five easy steps from the Mayo Clinic that can help sharpen your memory! 

  1. Participate in Frequent Physical Exercise-According to The Department of Health and Human Services, exercise increases blood flow throughout the body, including the brain! Such stimulation is great for keeping your mind active and sharp. That means riding a bicycle, taking a brisk job, or even taking a leisurely stroll around the block. For optimal results, it’s best to have 150 minutes a week of moderate activity be part of your routine.   
  1. Socialize Regularly-Although it’s been difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s amazing how technology can help bring us closer to those who mean the most to us. Social interaction with family and friends is a great way to fight depression and stress, both of which can be contributing factors to memory loss.  
  1. Stay Organized-a cluttered and chaotic mess in your home leaves ample chances for you to misplace things. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution! Stay organized and fight memory loss by making sure tasks, meetings, to do lists, and special events are written down and updated. Use your phone, a wall calendar, or an electric planner-whatever system works best for you, use it and use it often! 
  1. Try Puzzles-Participating in quiet yet stimulating activities such as crossword puzzles, sudoku puzzles, or word puzzles is an excellent way to stay mentally fit and challenged. You can also experiment with alternative routes while driving to familiar places, or even learn a new instrument to also accomplish this.  
  1. Eat and Sleep Well-A healthy diet is just as good for your brain as it is for your body! Implement a diet that is rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat protein sources. Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol, which can lead to confusion and memory loss over time. And be sure to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night; sleep plays a vital role in helping you consolidate your memories so they can be easily accessed down the road. 

Alzheimer’s and severe memory loss is a horrifying truth many pray they and those they hold most dear will never have to face. To know that life’s most precious moments might soon be forgotten is a terrible fate no one deserves. But taking small steps today to help improve our minds and sharpen our memories is key to enjoying the most out of the time we are given. 

To learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website here 

Since Milwaukee Catholic Home’s founding by a group of Catholic laywomen in 1913, our identity as a Catholic institution has informed and guided everything we do here at Milwaukee Catholic Home. 

From daily Mass and the rich sacramental life offered on our campus, to our commitment to responsible investment and stewardship of our resources, to the caring and supportive community found among residents, staff and friends, our Catholic culture is evident and is at the heart of who we are.  

One of the ways our commitment to fostering spiritual life is most seen is at our annual retreat. The Milwaukee Catholic Home retreat offers our residents, staff and families an opportunity to grow in their relationship with Christ through a series of talks and guided prayer. 

This year’s retreat, “Three Stories of Jesus,” begins on Wednesday, September 8th and runs through Friday, September 10th. Led by Fr. David Shields, SJ and Fr. Philip Sutherland, SJ, “Three Stories of Jesus” will offer an opportunity for residents to combine their spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius with a closer look at scripture.  

Each day of the three days of the Milwaukee Catholic Home retreat, all of which begin at 10 am and conclude each day with 4:00 pm Mass, has a special theme. The first day will center on Jesus as the Son of Man. While the second day will focus on the suffering servant, the third day will examine Jesus’ return. 

“After we hosted a virtual retreat last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am thrilled to say that an in-person Milwaukee Catholic Home retreat is once again being offered this fall, ” says Terri Adrian, Pastoral Care Coordinator. “This spiritual offering is something that residents have greatly missed this past year, and I know that everyone will grow in their faith due to the outstanding leadership of Fr. David and Fr. Philip. We are truly blessed to have these men at Milwaukee Catholic Home and leading us in our individual spiritual journeys.” 

Fr. David Shields, SJ, a Midwest Province Jesuit, has been involved in retreat and spiritual direction ministry for over 40 years. Fr. Shields was professionally involved for over 20 years with the Oglala Sioux in South Dakota. His more recent ministry includes 23 years at Casa Romero Renewal Center in Milwaukee, WI where he served as the Director of Spiritual Programs. Fr. Philip is a doctoral student in philosophy at Marquette University and from the Jesuits West Province. His specific area of study is ancient philosophy, particularly Aristotle. Fr. Philip has both a Master’s of Divinity, as well as a Licentiate of Sacred Theology. 

For more info or to RSVP, contact Terri Adrian at 220.8468 x.3416 or tadrian@milwaukeecatholichome.org. 

We are proud to announce that MCH has been recognized for its clinical excellence with a deficiency-free clinical survey from the State of Wisconsin. This rare achievement is a testament to the strength of our team and our ongoing commitment to the highest level of clinical quality and to always making the needs of our residents our top priority.  

To give a bit of background about what exactly this accomplishment means, nursing homes in Wisconsin operate under rules enacted by the Federal government (for the Medicare and/or Medicaid programs) and by the State of Wisconsin. Surveyors from the Wisconsin Division of Quality Assurance conduct unannounced inspections at each nursing home at least once every 9 to 15 months to determine if the nursing home complies with all State and Federal rules. State surveyors also conduct follow-up visits to ensure that violations have been corrected, investigate complaints, and conduct other surveys, as necessary.

When state surveyors determine that a nursing home is not in compliance with a Federal regulation, the nursing home is cited with a violation or “deficiency”.

We sincerely congratulate and thank all of our incredible staff for their hard work, dedication, and compassionate care for the older adults who call MCH home! We celebrate and honor their present-day successes to aspire towards future achievements. 

Clare Gardens started out as a project of the Milwaukee Catholic Home in 2015, growing produce on six acres of land rented from the Franciscan Friars in Burlington. It became food shares provided to senior living communities in the area. 

Today, it has grown to provide food for residents at Milwaukee Catholic Home, St. John’s on the Lake and Clement Manor in Greenfield. Plans are in the works with School Sisters of Notre Dame and Mount Mary to add Trinity Woods, an intergenerational housing project set to open this fall.

Read the full article here!

The Longest Day, the summer solstice, is the day each year with the most sunlight. On June 21, thousands of participants from around the world came together to fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, more than 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia, and this number is set to skyrocket to 75 million by the year 2030.  

“Everyday Amazing” Milwaukee Catholic Home’s Dementia Care Excellence program, is an integral framework we use in caring for those with memory loss.  Our “Everyday Amazing” philosophy features a variety of approaches that are evidence-based and research-driven. We make it a priority to continually update our programs and offerings to include elements of the latest research in cognitive health and overall wellness that meet the individual needs of our residents.   

To honor The Longest Day, Milwaukee Catholic Home hosted a variety of special events not just on June 21st, but throughout the entire month of June, to raise funds and awareness for the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Thanks to the generous support of the MCH community, $644 was donated to the Alzheimer’s Assocation! 

In addition to this contribution, here’s how residents, family, and friends of MCH helped make a difference! 

  1. A themed “Brain Healthy Raffle Basket” a $345 value, was available for one lucky winner to win! Some items from this coveted prize included an outpost gift card, 3 classes at Empower Yoga, Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Book, “Build a Better Brain at Any Age,” a Smart Watch Fitness Tracker, and two hours of professional organizing! 
  2. A 50/50 raffle drawing was held on June 21st-Tickets were available for sale for $1, and all proceeds benefited the Alzheimer’s Association.  
  3. On Monday, June 21st friends and resident family members were invited to take a walk with their loved one at MCH. A large purple balloon arch on Prospect Avenue helped mark the #MCHPurpleParade!  
  4. Staff, residents, and friends wore purple, the color of the cause, on Monday, June 21st. 
  5. All enjoyed purple smoothies during their lunch hour-a delicious, healthy and symbolic treat! Purple is the signature color for the Alzheimer’s association as it combines the calm stability of blue and the passionate energy of red to represent their unrelenting fight against the disease.  
  6. EVERYDAY Amazing t-shirts were handed out to all Milwaukee Catholic Home employees to create a unified approach to the cause and support our dementia care excellence program! 

By raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Association and by strengthening our Everyday Amazing dementia care program, we at Milwaukee Catholic Home will continue to do all we can to fight the darkness often associated with Alzheimer’s! 

Watch the video below to find out more about Everyday Amazing at Milwaukee Catholic Home.  

MCH residents live by the “A Life Engaged” philosophy of servicethis 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 fascinatingA 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: 

Resident A: 

These hands grew up on a dairy farm in Illinois

These hands milked cows with my 6 siblings every evening. 

These hands carried school booksas 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. 

 

Resident B: 

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. 

 

Resident C 

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 benefitsour 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! 

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! 

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! 

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 LaurenKarla, 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, learningwellness 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.

Chair Yoga

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

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.

Zumba

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.

Fitness Center

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!”

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