Thursday, October 22, 2015

Know your fall risk!

Autumn is here in all it's beauty and splendor.  Autumn is a great time to discuss fall prevention and learn good practices to keep us on our feet.

Falling is not a natural part of aging. If you know and manage your own risk factors you can live a full and active life without fear of falling.  Following are some tips from the Ohio Department of Aging:

As the temperature starts its downward trend, and the days get increasingly shorter, it's time to start thinking about autumn and winter falls risks and how you can eliminate or reduce them.
  • Leaves, branches and other debris from trees due to the change in seasons can make walkways slippery or hide tripping hazards, like uneven surfaces, edges and steps. Keep walkways clean, and if you can't see that the surface is clear and flat, pick another path.
  • If winterizing your home includes cleaning gutters, changing light bulbs or other tasks that require you to get up high, use a step ladder or a step stool with a handle, and maintain three points of contact (two feet and a hand, or two hands and a foot) at all times. Do not climb on chairs or other furniture that was not designed for that purpose.
  • Shorter days mean less direct sunlight and less sunlight overall, meaning you may need more light to get around your home safely. Invest in extra lamps, nightlights and exterior pathway lights to make sure you can always see where you are walking, especially around doorways and stairs. Use the highest-wattage bulb recommended for your fixtures.
  • Don't let the cooler weather and shorter days limit your activity. Exercise that builds and maintains strength and balance is important to prevent falls year-round. Ask your doctor or physical therapist about indoor exercises that can help you maintain strength and balance when you can't venture out.
  • As the temperature drops, bundle up to stay warm, but make sure you can see in all directions and move easily and freely.
  • Keep shoes and walking aids (canes, walkers) free of dirt and mud. Dry them off immediately upon coming in from wet conditions. Remember, wet shoes are just as dangerous as wet floors.

Whether you are taking the "grand-ghouls" out trick-or-treating, or indulging in some adult fun this Halloween season, make sure your "trick-or-treat" doesn't become "TRIP-for-Treat."
  • If you'll be accompanying little ones on beggar's night, carry a flashlight and watch for uneven sidewalks, curbs, debris and other tripping hazards.
  • Fancy dressing is what Halloween is about, but avoid costumes with long gowns, robes or capes that can snag on objects or get tangled up with your feet.
  • Put on a scary face, but avoid masks that limit your peripheral vision and cause you to miss tripping hazards. Use make-up instead.
  • That fabulous footwear might be the thing that sets your costume off, but sensible shoes will be less likely to send you tumbling.
  • Your costume may fit your personality, but does it fit your body? Too loose, it can cause you to trip. Too tight, it can limit your movement.
  • Accessorize for success, but avoid dangling bits of costume that can be tripped on and ensure that props you are carrying won't cause injury if fallen on.
  • If you decorate your yard for trick-or-treaters, make sure walkways are far enough from decorations so that visitors don't trip on them, and are free of cords and debris.
  • If you're going for that "big scare," make sure the area is level and clear of objects to prevent falls when people react.
  • Know how alcohol affects your balance and perception, and drink responsibly.
  • Eat a balanced, nutritious meal before partying or trick-or-treating to make sure you have plenty of energy and to help curb the urge for sweet treats, which can affect blood sugar levels and cause dizziness.

Friday, August 7, 2015

You don’t have to handle your grief alone

Grief is a very hard emotion to overcome.

When you are in love, there is a mixture of emotions and feelings that make you feel invincible. Together you can conquer the world.

Grief is an entirely different matter. When you lose that person you loved so dearly, it is hard to let go. Or, you feel guilty if you try to let go.

If you have suffered a loss, whether it is a spouse, a child, family member or a friend, you don’t have to deal with it on your own. There are others who can help you navigate through the process of overcoming your loss. They can offer support and encouragement on your journey to healing.

West Liberty United Methodist Church offers a program called GriefShare.

GriefShare is a special 13-week course that is designed to help you rebuild your life by offering help, encouragement and hope.

Two sessions are being offered, choose wither a a morning or evening session, to accommodate your schedule. You can choose between 10 a.m. Mondays or 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays. There is a $5 registration fee that covers the cost of a workbook.

GriefShare is a network of more than 12,000 churches worldwide equipped to offer grief support groups. The program is nondenominational and features biblical concepts for healing from your pain.

The hope is that you will see your group as an oasis on your journey through grief. The three key parts to the program include a video seminar, small group discussion about the weekly video content and a workbook for journaling and personal study exercises to reinforce the weekly session topics.

All are welcome to attend the group meetings at any point. Each session is “self-contained” so you do not have to attend the sessions in sequence. You will be able to pick up any sessions you missed in the next 13-week cycle.

The cycle of Monday morning sessions starts Aug. 31. The Tuesday evening sessions begin Sept. 1. If you are not able to attend, the 13-week cycle repeats in January.

All sessions are at the West Liberty United Methodist Church, 202 W. Newell Street, West Liberty.

For more information or to register, call 937.441.3592.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Angels from the Past

The "senior citizen village" is now more than a dream.  The funding has been established and the groundbreaking set.  This was not the time to relax though.  The board of trustees was formalized and the articles of incorporation were established.  And Lois Bratka, chair of the development and service committees implemented the Green Hills Auxiliary.

The Auxiliary members represented the sponsoring churches.  Each church had one congregation member on the Auxiliary board and several volunteers. Early on the Auxiliary bought those non-essential items that made the center more like a home, which was part of the original mission.  Later after the apartments and then the care center opened the Auxiliary led crafts with the residents, planned parties and helped raise money for those items that make life more comfortable but wouldn't be considered a necessity. Things like an oven for the community room, patio furniture, garden plots, furnishings for the care center and so very much more.  They visited residents in health care, and folks who spent time in the hospital.  They offered transportation to those who wanted to get off campus as well.  They were the face people saw when they waked through the door seven days a week including holidays!

As you read their by-laws and expectations it is very clear that they continued the whole person wellness philosophy as well as what we call person directed care today.  Ella Kauffman reported to the Auxiliary the following statement in 1976:

     "One of the biggest problems I see for those coming to the care center is having to part with so many of life's material goods.  They may not feel like they can do as much, and therefore feel un-noticed or unimportant.  It is our job to to care, to listen and make sure they feel worthy and accomplished. No one can take away memories but we can give the gift of listening to those memories.

The Auxiliary became a key part of every project that benefited the residents for many years.   They were the volunteer base from 1974 until the mid 1990's.  They were truly angels of Green Hills Community!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Perseverance Pays Off

The dream to build a "senior citizen village" was shared by an entire town.  The news of the $1.5 million price tag didn't deter them.  The women got the ball rolling with their bake sale. Later, Loren King took on the responsibility of the fund raising.  

The consultants said a town the size of West Liberty couldn't raise the dollars needed to see their dream become a reality.  That did not deter the townspeople.  They continued to meet and plan as if they already had the funding needed. Seven churches joined together to comprise the corporation. Those churches were Bethel, South Union, and oak Grove Mennonite congregations, Church of God, Mt. Carmel Friend church, Grace Chapel and the United Church of Christ.  (all continue to be sponsoring churches today) Two members of each of these churches formed the original board of trustees.  

It's so interesting that this first board of trustees was so creative in their fund development strategy.  
They learned that the Farmer's Home Administration had money for building in rural areas.  They worked with them to receive a $1 million loan.  This was the first of it's kind given to a senior housing and nursing campus.  Once again a group of people who had no experience in senior housing or nursing care lead the way with an innovative idea. That particular idea got them 2/3 of their funding!

The bulk of the final $500,000 came from 447 individuals.  Each of the seven sponsoring churches asked every member to give.  (see picture of pledge cards they kept) The gifts ranged from $5 to $5000.  The equivalent of those gifts today would be $25.14 to $25, 412.55.

This part of the Green Hills story continues the progressive thinking that still sets Green Hills apart today.  It also highlights the fact that ordinary people gave what they could to build a dream.  One church alone couldn't have done it, but the power of those seven churches built the Green Hills legacy.  

Friday, July 17, 2015

“Our purpose is to meet the total needs – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – of the older person, to offer a secure environment, a sense of dignity, and to help him/her retain his/her life style.”

This is the original purpose statement written by the founding fathers of Green Hills Community. In 1972 they had this vision for their senior citizen village. They wanted their elder loved ones to age in a place like home, with dignity and was focused on their entire well-being.

Wow, that is what every aging services provider strives for today. Some are good at it, others are still striving to reach that goal and still others just don't get it. But Green Hills has been doing it for 40 years, and doing it well!

There is so much about the Green Hills story that is fascinating, but the fact that this group of pioneers had a vision that was so progressive is the most amazing. These folks weren't in health care or senior housing. They knew nothing about how these industries worked. Yet they wrote a purpose statement that holds up and is even still progressive 40 years later!

So you have to ask, why did they choose this purpose statement? That was not the language used back then in healthcare of senior housing. Perhaps it can be found in the belief statement they wrote at that same time. 

"We believe in a ministry to the aging for those whose personal needs we have special concern. We believe in a ministry with the aging as we seek to involve them as partners in the total program. We believe in a ministry of the aging in which their special gifts of maturity, understanding, vision, concern and experience are recognized and utilized." 

These folks didn't know the "rules" for senior housing or health care.  They simply knew what they wanted for their loved ones.  And they were right on.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

It all started with a bake sale.  I love to tell this story.  A story of big dreams and a small town.  A story of perseverance, dedication and hard work.  A story that changed the lives of elders in and around West Liberty.

In 1968 several men talked about a building a "senior citizen village."   Their vision was a place that would include the residents in how it was run.  A place that would offer complete wellness, an idea far ahead of it's time.  A place that invited the residents to use their own knowledge and unique experiences to make it great.  

They did all the usual things; had a meeting, took a vote, got a quote.  This is where the unusual happened.  The quote was for $1,000,000 to build their village.  While the group forged ahead, there was one moment of despair among two of the original founders, Ira Thut and Walter Lautenbach.  But right in that moment of despair Ira's wife came home from her sewing circle and said, "The ladies are having a bake sale for our senior citizen village. We need to get started."  That bake sale raised $2232, equivalent to $10,505 today.  

That is why we say it all started with a bake sale!

Next up - find out about Green Hills original purpose statement and why it is even more relevant today!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Eat Well, Live Well



When we think of physical wellness we think of exercise. But how we eat goes hand in hand with our exercise routines. Generally, doctors will recommend a well-balanced diet for older adults, meaning that they should eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains to maintain and improve overall health, according the American Dietetic Association.  
   As we age it is important to make sure we are getting enough omega 3 fatty acids.  These acids are proven to reduce inflammation that can cause heart disease, cancer and arthritis. They can be found in flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, walnuts, canola oil, and different types of fish. Elders should have foods rich in this nutrient twice per week. 
   The need for calcium also increases the older we get.  The primary need for calcium is for bone health.  Doctors recommend 1200 milligrams a day.  Milk, fortified orange juice, yogurt and kale are good sources of calcium.  
   If you are finding it difficult to get the necessary omega 3 fatty acids or calcium talk to your doctor about whether a supplement is right for you.   And don't forget to eat all those fruits and vegetables!
   If you want more information about healthy eating visit 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Knitting with Purpose

On her 104th birthday, Dody Patterson spends the morning knitting caps at her apartment at Good Samaritan Society Eugene Village in Eugene on Dec. 3, ...

Dody Patterson likes to be busy.  She loves to knit and makes hats for children that need them, 250 of them a year.  Dody Patterson has purpose!  She is 104 years old.  She tells us that knitting keeps her mind busy, her fingers nimble and allows her to give to others.

Knitting is such a simple thing and it has given Dody purpose for many years. So why is purpose so important as we age?  The same reason it's important for us when we are starting a career; when you have a strong purpose you have a drive, a direction and a passion that gets you out of bed in the morning. People with a purpose thrive!

As we journey through life our purpose will often change.  When we have children they become our purpose.  Our jobs and careers are often a purpose.  When we retire we will see another change and that is a time that it is very important to find our new purpose.

Part of aging successfully is having a purpose, something we love to do and want to share.  It might be knitting, it might be a hobby you haven't even started yet.  Maybe it's reading and sharing your books or sharing your love of yoga.  Whatever it is jump in fearlessly and live it up!  You want to thrive!

Friday, June 12, 2015



     70% of the way we age comes from the choices we make.  We get to choose how we eat, what exercise we do, who we hang out with and how we spend our time.  The choices we make when we are 25, effect how successfully we age when we are 40.  Those positive changes we make at 50 effect how successfully we age in our 60's and even 80's.
     It's so empowering to think we are in charge of our aging "destiny".  We can make changes today, that will help us age more successfully within our current circumstances.   A study done by the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) tells us that the three most important components of wellness to age the most successfully are physical, spiritual and social wellness. That makes things pretty simple; a walk with our spouse or friends will benefit us both physically and socially.  Going to church gives the benefit of both social and spiritual wellness.  A healthy meal with friends after a bible study is the trifecta of active aging!
     What choices will you make today that will give you the best chance to age successfully?  A balanced diet, getting up and moving around and getting together with friends and family are a great place to start!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Changing the Face of a Senior Moment

     "Oh, I just can't remember right now, I guess I'm just having a senior moment," a friend of mine said recently.
     I'm not sure when a "senior moment" became a negative, but what would happen if we changed that perception?
     What if a senior moment is when my friend's 96 year old grandmother informs her family she will be skydiving before autumn roles around, and by the way would any of the youngsters like to join her?  
     Maybe it's the moment Harriette Thompson crosses the finish line at the San Diego marathon.  
When she completed her run that day she became the oldest woman to run a marathon by 3 months. Ms. Thompson is a two time cancer survivor that has raised over $100,000 for charity since she started running at 76 years old.
     You could also consider it a "senior moment" when Leonid Hursicz received the Nobel Prize at the age of 90 for his findings in economics.  
     It could be the moment an elder finishes her first painting or her 101st painting.  It's that moment the gentleman down the street finishes his 4 block walk every evening.  It is the couple sitting on the bench reminiscing about their wedding day.  
     Let's change the face of a senior moment and focus on the positive in aging!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Medicare questions answered

Green Hills Community in collaboration with Community Health & Wellness Partners of Logan County are hosting a luncheon event about Medicare on Friday, June 19.

This session is for those who are going to be eligible for Medicare in the near future or have been on Medicare for a while but need to better understand what it offers.

Medicare Part A and Part B benefits, the prescription drug benefit (Part D), Medicare Advantage plans, and Medicare supplement insurance will be explained.

This program is offered by the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program, a service of the Ohio Department of Insurance. OSHIIP staff are trained by the state and do not sell or promote any insurance companies, policies or agents.

Doors open 11:30 a.m. for lunch, program begins at noon.
Reservations required by calling 465.5065 or e-mail

Monday, May 18, 2015

Can you save a life?

There are many people who answer the call to help their fellow man. Every year, many high school students decide to pursue a career in the healthcare industry by either becoming an EMT, nurse, therapist, or doctor.

Not just anyone can go into the healthcare field. After being in the industry for several years, I have learned that it takes a special person to set aside their own troubles to help others.

Is there something that you can do to save a life?

You could take First Aid or CPR classes. You could learn how to operate an AED machine.

But there is another way. The only thing it costs is about an hour of your time. And you could actually help save three people, not just one.

You can do this by donating a pint of blood. The process takes about an hour from start to finish. The actual donation process takes between seven to 10 minutes.

Every two months, the Community Blood Center sets up shop in Foundation Hall at Green Hills Community. The process begins by arriving on time for your appointment. There is some paperwork to review before a nurse checks your vitals and takes a drop of blood to test your hemoglobin. If you pass those screenings then you are then lead to a cot where a nurse will talk you through the actual donation.

The nurses will never hurry you through the process. They treat you with respect and dignity and take their time to make sure that you are comfortable.

At the most recent blood drive, one young man signed up to donate blood with his mother. It was his first time and was a little nervous. All went well for him and he, along with his mother, was proud of his accomplishment.

“It feels pretty good to help save a life,” he said afterwards.

Can you save a life? Yes you can. In fact, you can help save up to three lives every eight weeks by donating just a pint of blood.

The next blood drive at Green Hills is from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 1. To make an appointment, you can go to, call 1.800.388.GIVE, or call Rebecca at Green Hills at 937.650.7117 to make your appointment.

All donors will receive a meal after donating to make sure they replenish their body with lost fluids and regain blood sugar.

For more information about the donation process, go to

We hope to see you in July!




Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Welcome to the new website for Green Hills Community.

Many thanks to Adam Rammel and his crew at COMSTOR Outdoor who made this site possible.

Something new for us is the creation of a blog. We consider ourselves the experts in caring for elders, so why not share that knowledge with the world rather than just those who are currently in our care?

But writing a blog is a little like diving into a pond. You are not quite sure how cold or how deep the water will be. So, for our first Green Hills blog - we will just dip a toe in to make sure that the water is fine.

We welcome your comments and suggestions to make the website a more robust source of information in making decisions for you or your loved one.

Questions or comments may be directed to Rebecca. Her e-mail address is or you may call her directly at 937.650.7117. She looks forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!