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.
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.