Will Today Be The Day

Jodee Bock with her mother, Maurene

As I drive the five minutes from my house to hers, I wonder to myself:

“Will today be the day she no longer recognizes me?”

I greet Kim at the front desk and linger a little too long chatting about my haircut and my decision to let it go gray, and then turn left, peeking down the familiar hallway.

Today I spot her sitting in her wheelchair in the lounge area. The TV is on, and she’s sitting about a foot away from it, staring, but not really watching.

“Hi, Mom,” I whisper as I come close to her left side.

“JODEE!” She looks surprised, but grateful to see me. And I breathe a sigh of relief.

It’s not today. She still knows me.

“How did you find me?” She thinks she’s so elusive.

“I walked right down the hall and here you are!”

I wheel her over next to a comfy chair and we settle in for a conversation about something that doesn’t involve choices or decisions. Those are difficult for her, and really good for me as I learn to be a better decision-maker.

“We are coming here for Thanksgiving,” I tell her instead of asking whether she’d like to come to my house instead.

“That will be nice. Will your sister be here?”

She’s having a good day. We chat about our Thanksgiving plans, the weather, the Bison and Viking football teams, and my upcoming travel plans.

The nurse aides stop to chat and give hugs. They have become like family. I am more grateful for them than I know how to express, so smiles and hugs will have to do.

On another day we might explore the hallways or, if it’s nice, venture outside.

But today, we just chat. I show her pictures on Facebook of her friends and relatives. She still hasn’t gotten the hang of my smartphone as she tries to touch the screen, making the photo go away.

“Don’t worry, you didn’t break it.” She’s always worried about that.

A couple of months ago my sister brought some old (really old) photo albums of Mom’s that were in storage. I decide to go get one and see if she remembers anyone.

Mom spent her entire career as an elementary teacher, and her first job was in a one-room rural school. This particular album appears to be from that time.

Thankfully she was really organized and detail-oriented, and she has written the names of these students on the front of the black and white photos.

“Who is this, Mom?”

“Oh, that’s Colleen. And this is her brother. Oh and that’s my first car, the Green Hornet.”

She remembers everything, and I learn details I’ve never heard before about the car she bought and then loaned to her friend who was also teaching in a one-room school.

The CNAs are as fascinated as I that Mom remembers these kids, many of whose own kids and grandkids Mom probably also taught during her nearly 40-year-career.

I can tell she’s getting tired. Her eyes give her away when she’s tired.

I wheel her back to her room and let the aide know she’s sleepy.

“Mom, I’m teaching a class tonight, so I’ve got to go and get ready.”

“Yes, you better go.”

I lean down to hug her and always end up squishing her face as she is saying “I love you, Jodee” and we laugh about it.

“Good night and God bless you.”

She’s said that to me since I was a baby, and it’s comforting to know she still does.

I leave her in the capable hands of whoever is on duty tonight, knowing that my Sheyenne Crossings family will take good care of her.

And I walk down the hall, stopping to greet Kim on the way out.

Today was a good day.

Jodee Bock is a certified Life Purpose and Career Coach and the author or co-author of seven books. She is the founder of her own company, Bock’s Office Transformational Consulting, and is also the Dean of LifeWorks University, an online learning portal that uses the principles of Think and Grow Rich as the foundation for creating the life of your dreams

When she’s not writing, coaching or speaking, you can find Jodee singing with the City of Lakes Chorus, an award-winning barbershop chorus, keeping busy as the head scorekeeper for the North Dakota State University men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Her mom, Maurene Bock, is a resident of Sheyenne Crossings in West Fargo.

 

 

Looking Good, Feeling Good!

Volunteer Cindy Johnson

At the end of every Forever Fit class led by volunteer Cindy Johnson, Eventide Sheyenne Crossings residents lift their fists in the air and shout in unison, “Looking good, feeling good!”

For eight years, Johnson has led the exercise class at Eventide Sheyenne Crossings for 30 minutes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. With a background in physical education teaching primarily working with kids, Johnson never saw herself working with older people. It wasn’t until she was faced with health issues preventing her from working full time that she was prompted by a friend to look into volunteering.

Johnson met with the Eventide Sheyenne Crossings Senior Living Director to learn about what opportunities there were available. Although initially apprehensive of the role of leading the Forever Fit class, she agreed to check it out for a week. She quickly grew to love leading the class.

“I love it. It’s been an amazing adventure and I never would have envisioned this ever,” said Johnson.

Now, eight years later, Forever Fit has grown from 8-10 residents to 25-28 residents per session. With exercises that are adaptive to both standing and sitting, every resident is able to participate. The benefits for the residents are difficult to measure exactly, but they include increased physical activity, social interaction and mental stimulation.

Johnson’s philosophy has always been, “Come, do what you can. If there are days when you can’t do something just sit, watch, and laugh w

ith us. We have a blast. Even if you just sit and laugh, your stomach is getting a work out from laughing! It works for everybody. And, a lot of this is just social. For me, too. They can come down here, be with their friends, talk and laugh. We just have a good time.”

“Some of them are talking each other into coming so there’s accountability, which I think is cool. It’s almost like a little team. In fact, we have shirts that say “Team Flamingo” that we wear on Wednesdays. It’s a team effort,” said Johnson.

Eventide Sheyenne Crossings residents make a consc

ious effort every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to get up, come down to the class and spend time with friends exercising. “I look at all of them and my heroes are in this group. They don’t have to come. They come because they say, ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it.’  They tell me, ‘Not only do we know that we need to come, it also makes us happy,’” said Johnson.

Similarly, Johnson has benefited greatly from volunteering to lead the Forever Fit class. After each class she leaves feeling inspired, encouraged, and appreciated. Throughout the years that Johnson has been volunteering, she has experienced several health issues including having a pacemaker placed, dealing with thyroid cancer and having a brain tumor removed.

“I tell the class that I sometimes feel like I get more out of it than they do. We push each other.  Volunteering for this class has carried me through all of my health issues. The support and love from these guys is amazing. They’re my reason and volunteering here gives me a purpose,” said Johnson.

“They know my family, they’ve met my husband. It’s kind of like everyone is intertwined and it’s so cool. I think people are put in your life for a reason. I truly believe I’m supposed to be here. I’ve been told by a lot of people in the class, ‘Hey, you’re making a huge difference.’ I say, ‘You’re making a huge difference in my life. This is amazing,’” said Johnson.

Eventide to Host Kim Campbell, Widow of Glen Campbell

JOIN US ON SEPT. 16 FOR THIS FREE EVENT!
Doors open at 6 pm, Event begins at 7 pm
The Avalon Events Center | 2525 9th Ave S | Fargo
Event will be moderated by Kevin Wallevand
Eventide Foundation is pleased to announce our speaker for the upcoming Leaders in Living event is Kim Campbell, widow of Glen Campbell! It’s the 5 year anniversary of Leaders in Living and the first year featured a viewing of Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me at the Fargo Theatre.
Kim Campbell’s marriage of more than three decades to pop-country music legend Glen Campbell is a testament to devotion and overcoming adversity. Kim helped Glen beat cocaine addiction and alcoholism only to face their greatest challenge when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011. Kim supported her husband through the tumultuous hardships that accompany the disease and has become a tireless, influential voice for all people living with Alzheimer’s. In 2011, Kim, Glen and their children went public to courageously share Glen’s battle with Alzheimer’s. They invited filmmakers James Keach and Trevor Albert to document Glen’s Goodbye Tour, which produced the award winning documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me. The documentary helped to break the stigma that accompanies Alzheimer’s and provides hope and comfort to families who are facing the same challenges.

Announcing Streed Commons!

Eventide on Eighth is excited to announce a new addition to the campus. The new space will be called Streed Commons, in honor of Chaplain Stephen Streed, who has faithfully served the Eventide residents for the past 29 years. Streed Commons will be a warm, welcoming area close to the south entrance.
The new space will offer:
·        Connection between the Linden Tree apartments and the chapel, for easier access to our spiritual offerings.
·        Reduction in excess traffic for residents dining in the Care Center dining room.
·        Chaplain office to offer private conversations/counseling.
·        Coffee corner that welcomes family/visitors to sit, relax and socialize.
·        Funeral gathering space for families of those that have passed.

·        Construction is slated to begin this spring.

A fundraising initiative has been established to support inspiring space. Our goal is
$300,000. Your gift can be made in one payment or payments over 3-5 years. There are various levels of giving.
The Levels of Giving are:
Diamond, $75,000
Sapphire, $35,000
Ruby, $15,000
Emerald, $10,000
Garnet, $5,000
Topaz, $1,000
Friends of Eventide, $1 – $999

 

If you would like to make a gift to this project to honor Chaplain Streed, contact Trudy Latozke, Executive Director of Foundation for more information: 218-291-2287 or Trudy.latozke@eventide.org. Thank you!

5 Miles a Day? No problem! Eventide Resident Devoted to Being Active

Until Avis Lokken broke her heel and a hip, she seldom thought about exercise. Now those injuries inspire her to move daily.

In the winter, you will find her cycling in Eventide Sheyenne Crossings’ exercise room. She pedals for 30 minutes at 8 a.m. and another 20 minutes in late morning or early afternoon.

When the weather is warmer, she walks a two-mile loop around campus twice a day. In the cold months, she walks laps inside. Each day, year round Avis averages five miles! In addition, she participates in regular exercise classes at Eventide Sheyenne Crossings.

She lives out the mantra: “use it or lose it.” Avis is devoted to staying active.

When Avis moved to Eventide Sheyenne Crossings in 2012, she didn’t even ask about exercise programs or mobility assistance. She moved because she couldn’t see well anymore. Macular degeneration made driving impossible, and her hometown of Tioga, North Dakota, didn’t have bus or taxi services.

She decided to move to the Fargo metro area to be closer to one of her children, to have easy access to more public transportation, and to be closer to large medical facilities.

Soon after she made Eventide Sheyenne Crossings her home, Avis broke her heel and needed surgery to insert screws. She knew from earlier bone density scans that she was at risk for breaks, but it hadn’t been something she worried about.

Then, shortly after being released from the hospital, Avis fell and broke her hip.

“After that, the doctor wouldn’t guarantee that I would walk,” she says. “And, if I did walk, it would be with a limp or pain.”

But Avis was determined to walk pain-free again. That determination combined with rehabilitation assistance at Eventide Sheyenne Crossings supported her healing.

“I bounced back,” she says.

Once she was walking again, Avis decided to reduce the chances of repeat breaks. That meant making exercise a daily priority. Those exercise goals also helped her fill her days.

“I’m legally blind,” she says. “All I can do is walk and exercise.”

Avis’s dedication to the gym took her family by surprise, but they are very supportive.

“Mom never used to be into exercise, and now nobody can keep up with her, except my younger sister,” says Avis’s daughter Deb. “It’s a marvel that she is so active!”

Couple Thrives at Eventide Linden Tree Circle

Don Rice and his wife, Naomi, were living in a second-story condo when his knee began to wear out.

Don’s doctor suggested fewer steps and more walking to strengthen the accompanying muscles.

“I was going downhill because I couldn’t get out to exercise,” Don says.

The couple decided it was time to move. They knew exactly where they wanted to be – Eventide.

Naomi’s father was one of the pastors who participated in Eventide’s original groundbreaking ceremony. Don, a college student at the time, was hired to mop the floors of the first unit before residents moved in

Still, they didn’t realize how quickly they would feel safe and comfortable in Linden Tree Circle, Eventide’s assisted living facility.

They don’t need any extra services right now. But the couple appreciate knowing that staff check in to

make sure they’re doing okay and that services – like help dressing or bathing – are easily available should they ever need them.

Both of them use the facility’s wellness center. Don rides a stationary bike three times a week. With the help of staff, they’ve been able to personalize their workouts.

“I’m regaining strength,” he says. “That makes it easier for me to get around.”

The couple is involved in activities at their home church in Moorhead. They belong to several community book clubs and regularly attend concerts at Concordia College, a block away.

“We’re doing the things that have always been part of our lives,” Naomi says.

Naomi taught English and worked for Lutheran Social Services Minnesota with the Unaccompanied Minor Program. Don was an ordained pastor who also worked at Concordia in church relations for 14 years.

When they moved into their apartment, they asked if they could swap out the dining room chandelier for something that better matched their style.

Maintenance staff happily exchanged the fixture.

They also were pleasantly surprised to learn they could have visitors any time of day. A grand-daughter is at Concordia, and they wanted to make sure she could visit whenever she wanted.

“They told us, this is your home,” Naomi says. “It is.”

This summer, the couple plans to spend time at their cabin in the lakes country.

“We’ll keep doing what we want to do until we can’t,” Don says. “And we know our needs will be met so we can stay in our apartment for a long time.”

 

Finding Light During a Blue Christmas

As songs of joy and cheer fill the air, not everybody greets the holiday season with jolliness.

Even in the midst of celebration, some seniors experience a feeling of depression referred to as Blue Christmas.

While there are lots of things to love about the holidays, some seniors may struggle with the season. Health problems or mobility challenges may keep them from participating fully in certain holiday traditions. They may have lost loved ones who made the season special.

In these cases, Christmas and other holidays can be a reminder of what has been lost.

“For some people, they’re not where they want to be,” says Sarah Sjaaheim, director of social services and admissions at Eventide Fargo.  “Maybe they needed to move where they could receive more care. It’s not what they imagined for Christmas, much less for their future. They’re mourning.”

Holiday depression can happen at any age, but seniors are especially prone to it if they have suffered serious physical challenges, lost a loved one, or lost their social network.

In addition, the cold, dark days of winter mean many elders don’t go outside as much. Ice and snow can make getting anywhere, including medical appointments, difficult. This contributes to feelings of isolation and sadness.

At all Eventide campuses, staff regularly screen residents to make sure depression doesn’t go unnoticed, Sjaaheim says. If residents are struggling in the wintertime, staff may recommend the use of a Sad light or aromatherapy. Residents will be encouraged to meet with a chaplain and to participate in appropriate exercise. If necessary, medication may be prescribed.

“We look at how we can help our residents cope with where they’re at,” Sjaaheim says.

At times that is as simple as offering a listening ear.

“Some of our residents just want to be heard,” Sjaaheim says. “They want to know it’s okay to feel sad. And, it is.”

Over the holiday season, Eventide campuses host resident Christmas parties and encourage residents to participate in traditions like decorating, baking cookies and watching favorite seasonal movies.

At Eventide Fargo, gifts are purchased so that every resident receives something personalized – even if they don’t have family and friends nearby. Thanks to suggestions from the resident council, Eventide Fargo even serves holiday meals family-style, bringing warmth to special holidays.

“We make things feel as cozy as possible,” Sjaaheim says.

Family and friends also can help loved ones in a senior community adjust to changing realities.

If possible, invite your loved one to participate in as many holiday activities as possible. Send cards and letters.

If he or she can’t leave an assisted living or long-term care residence, you can help make the holidays more joyful. Attend holiday activities and parties at their residence. Join them for a holiday meal.

Be sure to bring them something that symbolizes a favorite holiday tradition. For example, if your family always makes lefse, bring a plate of the special treat. If your family tradition is belting out Christmas carols, spend time singing together.

Above all, don’t feel guilty or bad if your loved one doesn’t embrace your efforts with enthusiasm, Sjaaheim says. Visits from family and friends can be another reminder that things have changed, that old family Christmas traditions will be no longer. That said, don’t stop visiting.

“Enjoy the time you have together,” Sjaaheim says and then offers good advice for everyone during the holidays: “Don’t stress too much.”

41 Years Later, Char Guthmiller Continues to Touch Lives as Nurse at Eventide Jamestown

On October 19, 1977 Char Guthmiller started her nursing career as an LPN at Hi-Acres Manor, now Eventide Jamestown. Char wasn’t sure if caring for the elderly was something she wanted to do for a long period of time. Forty-one years later, she is still caring for the elders of the Jamestown community. Char truly believes it was God’s calling for her to care for those we serve. There have been many changes and challenges over the past four decades. From pill bottles to a medication card system; from paper and phone calls to computers, email and fax machines. Through all of these changes and challenges the main focus has always been the resident’s well-being.

As Char looks back she cannot believe it has been forty-one years of caring for our residents. It is even harder for her to believe that some of the residents she is caring for now are the sons and daughters of the residents she cared for when she first started her nursing career. Char is grateful for the wonderful families who have entrusted the care of their loved ones to Eventide Jamestown over the last generations.

One of Char’s favorite sayings is, “You’ve either touched someone’s life or someone has touched yours.” This is something that Char sees more each and every day. The blessings of touching so many lives is something Char continues to enjoy after her many years of being a licensed practical nurse. We are so fortunate to have Char as part of our Eventide family.

Ministry of Community and Connection

About Eventide

Caring for body, mind and spirit.

During times of transition, spiritual support can play an important role in comforting people.

That’s true at any stage of life.

At Eventide Senior Living Communities, chaplains lead the way for providing spiritual care to residents. Spiritual care includes worship services, Bible studies, and so much more.

Familiar rituals and traditions like worship and holiday celebrations provide opportunities for fellowship and connection. These help to build community. While Eventide is proud of its Lutheran heritage, worship and Bible studies are inclusive of people from all faith traditions.

But spiritual care is much larger than worship. Eventide seeks to help each resident find wellness in body, mind and spirit. Its chaplaincy services are key to making sure the latter is addressed.

Eventide’s two full-time chaplains accompany residents as they seek meaning in life while navigating through this stage of life’s journey. The spiritual needs of those who move into a senior living community are vast. Some are ready for the change and look forward to joining a safe community. Others struggle with chronic diseases or loss of independence.

“It can be hard for someone to say, I need a little help, and that’s often what happens when someone joins our community” says Chaplain Steve Streed. “We’re here to help them work through fear, loss and anxiety so they can thrive.”

Today’s American culture places more value and emphasis on youth than on the aging, Streed says. But the questions one faces in one’s 70s, 80s or 90s are the same as those faced by someone in their teens or mid-40:

Who am I now? Who do I belong to? What’s my purpose? What is my worth?

Reflecting on these questions gives residents an opportunity to work through stages of grief and loss. Perhaps a loved one has died or maybe someone has broken relationships or disappointments to address.

Streed often starts conversations simply: Do you have regrets? Would you change anything? What advice do you have to share?

Residents with lifetimes of experiences have meaningful responses.

One woman told Streed this advice: 1. Accept aging; 2. Do one thing today; leave one thing for tomorrow; and 3. Get your dander up once in a while.

“The residents at Eventide have experienced the bitter and the sweet, the mountaintops and the valleys,” Streed says. “They have so much to teach.”

Streed sometimes finds residents who are wrestling with an issue that wasn’t addressed earlier in their life. He compares it to Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32.

“God wrestles us to the ground,” Streed says. “We have to face things sooner or later.”

Spiritual care can offer tools for doing that.

Eventide’s spiritual support extends to family members and staff, as well. Families may struggle with a decision to move a loved one into assisted living or long-term care. Chaplaincy services can help them come to peace with their decisions.

Support staff, too, have asked for assistance when a beloved resident passes away – or even for happier occasions, such as weddings and baptisms.

“Our ministry is about connection,” Streed says. “It’s an honor to be part of the journey.”