Susan Cooper A Message from the President & CEO

Susan C. Drabic on COVID-19

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Susan Cooper

A Message from the President & CEO

In all that we've been through over these last months, March 2020 seems like a distant memory. It was at that time we introduced many restrictions to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spreading within our communities. Over one weekend (I will never forget), we put together a COVID-19 Daily Crisis Management Team to deal with the myriad of changes and precautions that needed to happen immediately. We closed our communities to all visitors and halted the movement of residents and staff between our different styles of living. In short, we changed every aspect of the way we've worked so hard to perfect the delivery of services to the residents living in our communities. We closed dining venues and our hair salon, we canceled group events and activities, we discouraged travel for vacation and we re-directed our housekeeping and maintenance services to focus on frequent deep disinfecting and sanitizing of high touch surfaces.

Overnight we developed our own grocery shopping and delivery service for residents, we invested substantially in PPE and in the installation of isolation materials and equipment to construct isolation areas for safety precautions. We conducted exercise classes in hallways outside of resident apartments and we delivered happy hour fun, games and refreshments to our residents living in our cottage community. We also invested in a lot of new technology to bring employee team meetings online and allow those who could work remotely from home to do so. And we restricted access to our community to one designated area where screening of all employees for symptoms and possible COVID-19 exposure is completed before any team member can enter our buildings to work.

Thankfully, our vigilance and early implementation of restrictions at both of our communities paid off. While there has been a lot of negative national publicity about nursing homes throughout the country where COVID-19 has spread like wildfire, we've been doing everything possible to prevent the spread of this virus in our communities. We've had minimal cases of employees and residents in residential living and personal care test positive for the virus. And we are so grateful that we've had no cases of COVID-19 among our most vulnerable population of residents who live in our nursing home. And that isn't the result of good luck, good fortune or happenstance…it's the result of a dedicated team of professionals working together towards one common goal…to protect the health and safety of our residents who we care about deeply.

As we entered the month of May, we quickly realized this pandemic wasn't going to be resolved anytime soon. That meant we needed to begin planning for how we were going to create a "new normal" at Morningstar Living. To make that happen, the COVID-19 Daily Crisis Management Team evolved into what we call our "New Normal Transition Team" (NNTT). This team works together every week to develop, implement and communicate detailed plans to move our communities forward again, toward some semblance of a "new normal." One of the most beneficial aspects of living your life in a community is the ability to socialize, engage and be connected with others. And this virus was forcing us to keep residents from doing this. Additionally, residents could not see family members and friends for months, and this was really hard on them. And so, in May for Mother's Day, and then again in June, for Father's Day, we planned and orchestrated "drive-by" visitation parades of cars with family members and friends for our residents.

As we enter the final months of summer 2020, the NNTT is no longer thinking about "post-COVID-19." Instead, this team is now focused on developing ways to adapt our operations to living safely with the threat of COVID-19 until there is a vaccine or other treatment. We've already developed and implemented a phased strategy for re-starting services and re-opening various amenities at our communities. And as we continue to follow the recommendations and guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the PA Department of Health (DOH), the NNTT has developed and communicated safe, limited and cautious in-person visitation policies and procedures for resident visitation. A strict masking policy is in place. We continue to screen visitors, staff and residents for symptoms and possible COVID-19 exposure. We've re-purposed some of our office space for designated visitation areas where physical distancing can be achieved. And we continue deep cleaning and sanitization of all touch spaces. And what a joy it has been seeing our residents reunited with their loved ones again!

In spite of all of the fear and negativity surrounding this pandemic, I've had the unexpected joy of witnessing the very best of humanity at work. Residents and their families have extended so much support and patience to us as we put some very restrictive plans into place. And employees have put their own fears aside and showed up for work, placing their concern for our residents ahead of their own families. We have a banner on the front of our administration building that reads: "Heroes Work Here." And that is truly an understatement. And it is truly evidence of the commitment and dedication to the mission and core purpose of Morningstar Living…

"Making a enriching life's journey for all we serve."

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COVID-19 Mask Force 2020

How are you filling your day under the COVID-19 stay-at-home order?

Moravian Hall Square resident Carol Freese heard about the shortage of face masks for medical professionals and she immediately got busy to make them. Within a very short space of time Carol had completed 164 masks and is continuing to produce them.  Masks have been shared between staff at Moravian Hall Square and medical professionals at hospitals in Warren and Bethlehem. Carol used fabric that she had on hand and some that was donated by other residents. 

Word soon spread and other staff and residents at Moravian Hall Square and at our Heritage Village campus have now joined in the effort.

A friend of the community, Holly Flanders, has arranged for additional supplies to be dropped off and is also working with her family members to produce more masks. What a wonderful way to come together (when we can’t be together) to help meet a critical need for these supplies.

Moravian Hall Square Resident Celebrates 100th Birthday!

Moravian Hall Square resident, Elsie Frey, celebrated her 100th birthday during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff worked to modify the celebration to stay within our COVID-19 precautions and Elsie was able to enjoy a very special day. The big party is postponed for now but residents came for individual visits to wish Elsie a happy birthday. As a special treat a group of Elsie’s church friends came to the entranceway to sing Happy Birthday to this special lady.

Congratulations Elsie as you celebrate this milestone birthday! And thank you to our residents and to Elsie’s friends for helping her to celebrate…from a distance!


Matt Paxton Presents at Moravian Hall Square

We were thrilled to have such a large group come out for our recent EventFULL Living seminar – Matt Paxton, from the TV show Hoarders, presented ‘You Can’t Take it With You: Understanding Generational Relationships with Stuff’.  Matt, who is the founder of WayForth, the nation’s largest downsizing and senior transition company, delivered a very humorous, educational seminar that really motivated our guests to start thinking about their relationship with their ‘stuff’.  Guests left excited to start focusing on life experiences, rather than possessions.  Thank you Matt, can’t wait to have you return!

Enjoying St. Patrick’s Day

Residents enjoyed a visit from the McElligott Irish Dancers in honor of St Patrick’s Day.  The dancers came down from Stroudsburg to entertain us and get us in the spirit for St Patrick’s Day! Thank you to all these wonderful dancers.

Are Your Plans in Order?

A panel of legal and financial planning experts presented a recent EventFULL Living discussion – Are Your Plans in Order.  The discussion was facilitated by Mollie Santee, Executive Director of the Morningstar Senior Living Foundation.  Panel members included Alyssa Lopiano-Reilly, esquire and BethAnn Kowalski, CFP, Raymond James.

Guests were offered advice on making sure their documents are in order and that their assets are directed appropriately.

Navigating the Health Care System

Nothing is more confusing than our country’s health care system today.  The average person doesn’t understand the language or how to move through the many parts of the health care enterprise.  The system’s complexity often results in overuse, underuse or misuse of services.  But for guests attending our seminar, Navigating the Health Care System, the path is a little clearer.  Guest Speaker Sue Himmelreich, RN, MSN, discussed what Medicare does and does not cover and provided a great tool to help reduce out-of-pocket costs, and prevent unnecessary and duplicate use of health care services. Very helpful information and a great reminder that we have to take charge of our own health.

Global Chef Visits Moravian Hall Square

Morningstar Living welcomed Sodexo Global Chef, Marcel Pohle, to its Moravian Hall Square campus.   Chef Pohle’s 2-day visit to the campus in Nazareth was part of a whirlwind U.S. tour to share the Flavors of Germany.  His tour included a number of stops in Wisconsin, Michigan, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware as he visited retirement communities, universities and a children’s hospital.

Moravian Hall Square residents enjoyed a number of opportunities to meet Chef Pohle, to learn about his love of cooking and his life in Leipzig, Germany.  They enjoyed cooking demonstrations and special dinner menus created by Chef Pohle using some of his favorite recipes. 

The Global Chef Program is a month-long international chef residency that provides an opportunity for Sodexo’s top chefs worldwide to travel to other countries and share their native cuisine and culture abroad. In spring and fall of each year, a dozen Sodexo chefs from around the world venture to the United States.

Girl Scout Shadows Sue Drabic for Take the Lead Program

Even though it was a snow day from school, it takes more than a little snow and ice to stop a Girl Scout!  Elizabeth arrived bright and early to spend the day shadowing our President & CEO, Sue Drabic.  Elizabeth was shadowing Sue as part of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania’s Take the Lead program.  A videographer tagged along to record part of the day for the GSEP celebration event in April.  Sue had a full day planned for Elizabeth which included meetings; spending time in the PT dept; visiting different areas of the community and assisting residents in a game of Wii bowling.  At the end of the day Elizabeth left with a whole new understanding of life in a retirement community!

Look Out for Moravian Hall Square on Route 22

Look out for us as you travel Route 22, eastbound between 512 and 191.  A huge thank you to our featured staff – Roxanne, Andrew, Annette, Matt and Loida.  Thank you for being the face of Moravian Hall Square and for your willingness to help us attract exceptional staff.

Clayton Stiver, WFMZ Meteorologist, presents at Moravian Hall Square

A huge THANK YOU to Clayton Stiver, WFMZ Meteorologist, who stopped in to present for our residents and guests. Clayton shared how his passion for weather developed from a young age; his journey to WFMZ; and how he and his colleagues put together their weather reports. Clayton’s passion for weather is trumped only by his passion for his beloved Nazareth Blue Eagles! Clayton’s Lower Nazareth Elementary teacher, Barbara Dietterich, came out to support one of her favorite former students and recalled how Clayton started his broadcasting career in her classroom…delivering the TV Morning News!  Thank you Clayton.

Morningstar Living’s CEO & President, Susan C. Drabic, is Honored by Girl Scouts of Eastern PA

Morningstar Living is proud to announce that President & CEO Susan Cooper Drabic has been named as one of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania (GSEP) 2019 Take the Lead Lehigh Valley honorees.  This year GSEP will recognize four distinguished women from the community.  Take the Lead is a girl-led ceremony that highlights GSEP’s mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, while honoring women leaders whose work and achievements exemplify these values.  Click here to read the full release.


Moravian Hall Square Named Showcase Community by Sodexo

 Moravian Hall Square has been named a Showcase Community by Sodexo. The Sodexo Showcase Community designation represents the best partnerships that incorporate shared values and commitment to improve quality of life for the people served every day.

Moravian Hall Square has had a relationship with Sodexo that spans almost 3 decades and together they are focused on elevating the experiences of residents who live at Moravian Hall Square. This Showcase Community designation is determined through a complex assessment of the value and services provided.

“We are extremely proud to be named a Showcase Community by Sodexo”, said Susan Cooper Drabic, President & CEO of Morningstar Senior Living which owns and operates Moravian Hall Square.  “This designation recognizes the joint commitment of Morningstar and Sodexo for providing what people really want – dining experiences that are enjoyable AND memorable because of excellent service and food that looks appealing and tastes really good!   Residents, employees, volunteers, and our visitors ALL benefit from the camaraderie that results when we enjoy delicious food together”.     

Sodexo’s Quality of Life vision refers to the general well-being of people. There are many factors that impact Quality of Life, including: Health and wellness, Community well-being, Environment, Job satisfaction and Socio-economic status.

 Moravian Hall Square knows how to deliver the value of Sodexo’s resources to the people who live there. As a showcase community, the Moravian Hall Square team is dedicated to using the best of our programs, systems and tools,” said Joe Cuticelli, CEO of Seniors North America for Sodexo. 

Galilee House at Moravian Hall Square is Again Awarded Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s National ‘Excellence in Care’ Distinction

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) has announced that Galilee House at Moravian Hall Square, in Nazareth, PA, has once again earned AFA’s “Excellence in Care” Dementia Care Program of Distinction.  Dementia care settings are eligible to achieve this national recognition after successfully undergoing an extensive evaluation of staff, procedures, and environment, ensuring best practices in dementia care.  This is the third time that Galilee House has been awarded this national recognition. …  Click here to read the full Press Release

Grand Illumination

This Grand Illumination event was the final celebration marking Moravian Hall Square’s 30th Anniversary year. The Grand Illumination celebrated the lives of all those connected to Moravian Hall Square over those 30 years. 

While residents enjoyed a performance by The Grumpy Old Men in Kortz Hall, staff were outside in the Pleasure Garden positioning and lighting the luminaries all along the pathways. A special anthem by the Moravian Hall Square Choir was performed during the placement of luminaries.

When darkness fell on the Pleasure Garden, it was such a beautiful sight!

Breakfast in a Bag

Residents and staff joined forces to pack ‘breakfast in a bag’ for families in need. The bags included all of the fixings to provide a holiday breakfast for the family – bacon, hot chocolate, pancake mix, and syrup. All items were donated by our residents and staff. A total of 250 breakfast bags were assembled and transported to the Nazareth Food Bank to be distributed to the families it serves. What a great way to get in the holiday spirit!

Warm Hearts…Warm Heads

Check out these beautiful hats…a number of our residents who are keen knitters work throughout the year to produce a colorful selection. For the month of December the hats are hung in The Commons. Hats are for sale for $5 in the Good Spirit General Store and all hats that remain at the end of the month are donated to organizations in the Lehigh Valley who serve children in need. Thank you to our residents for thinking of others… Your Warms Hearts = Warm Heads!

Christmas Tree Lighting in Nazareth

Fun night in Nazareth! Great crowd came out on this beautiful December night to watch the tree lighting ceremony in the circle, and to cheer the arrival of Santa and Mrs Claus. We were proud to sponsor the soft toys Santa gave to all of the children. Our CEO Sue Drabic had the honor of switching on the Christmas tree lights.

Benefits Fair at Moravian Hall Square

During Open Enrollment Staff at Morningstar Living had the convenience of gathering all the information they need to make decisions at a Benefit Fair held early in December at the Moravian Hall Square campus. Several providers were in attendance offering information and advice to employees. What a great opportunity for staff to have all their benefit questions answered…AND enjoy chair massages and ice cream treats!

Scarecrows in the Garden

As part of the 30th Anniversary Year celebrations, Morningstar Living invited individuals, school groups and organizations to be part of a special scarecrow exhibit.  Original scarecrows were displayed from October 15th to 30th in the historic Pleasure Garden at the Moravian Hall Square campus.   We enjoyed having visitors come through the Pleasure Garden to see the exhibit of 15 scarecrows. The winning scarecrows were revealed at a celebration event on October 30th.

Preserving Life Stories        

A big thank you to Lisa Petrocelli and Maria Canfield from Your Words, Your Story for presenting our EventFULL Living program today – Preserving Life Stories.  Lisa and Maria helped our residents and guests to understand the benefits of memoir creation for themselves and also for their loved ones.  They got everyone thinking (and writing!) about memories that may have been long forgotten.  Thank you so much Lisa and Maria for helping us all jump-start our memories and begin the journey to creating those memoirs.

History of the Appalachian Trail   

We had a full house for our EventFULL Living program, The History of the Appalachian Trail.  Author Jeffrey Ryan traveled from Portland, Maine in his vintage 1985 VW Camper to present for us.  Jeff told the fascinating story of the Appalachian Trail and also of his own personal journey to complete the hike, which took a mere 28 years!  Thank you Jeff.  Our guests really enjoyed your presentation and are already asking when we can have you return.  Watch this space!

Miller-Keystone Blood Drive at Moravian Hall Square  

Morningstar Living was proud to partner with Miller-Keystone Blood Center to once again bring a Blood Drive to Moravian Hall Square.  Miller-Keystone is the only blood supplier to 22 hospitals in our region and they need 450 donors to meet the daily needs of transfusion patients.  The Blood Drive at Moravian Hall Square brought in 19 units of blood which will go a long way to help meet the needs of transfusion patients.  Thank you to our residents, staff and neighbors in the Greater Lehigh Valley community for helping to give someone hope for a second chance.

Wonders of Nature  

Morningstar Living was thrilled to welcome Leslie Kingston as our featured artist for August 2018.  Leslie’s display, Wonders of Nature, shows some stunning photography taken at a number of locations around the world.  These vivid images were enjoyed by many guests who came to our Meet the Artist event and learned the stories behind these images.  Thank you Leslie for joining us and for sharing your talent for capturing the perfect shot.

A New Dining Experience at Moravian Hall Square

Residents at Moravian Hall Square enjoyed a new “Pop-Up” dining experience at Moravian Hall Square.  Culinary Services are offering these new dining options at a number of locations throughout the community … locations that would not normally be used for dining.  Residents gathered on a perfect summer evening at the pop-up restaurant set up at the apartment entrance.  They enjoyed a deli style meal and sangria followed by waffles and ice cream.  Looking forward to seeing where the next pop-up restaurant will appear!

Educational Programs from Morningstar Living

Morningstar Living announces a new series of educational programs for people living throughout the Lehigh Valley.  The series is available to groups and organizations in the region and has been developed to provide instruction, resources and support to seniors and their adult children.  Seminar topics include:

  • Are You Becoming a Parent to Your Parents?
  • Retirement Living Options…What are the Choices?
  • Navigating the Health Care System
  • Taking Care of the Caregiver

Program Facilitator, Sue Himmelreich, RN, MSN, is an Outreach Specialist for Morningstar Living.  Sue earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing at Cedar Crest College and her Master’s Degree in Nursing from DeSales University.  She has been providing Health Education to individuals and organizations for over 25 years.  “Working with seniors and their families has given us an insight into the topics that concern them the most,” said Himmelreich, “By providing these educational programs Morningstar Living offers a valuable resource to families and provides them with the answers to many of their questions and concerns.”  For full program descriptions or to schedule one or more of these programs at your organization, call Sue Himmelreich at 610.746.1145.


Continue reading our archive of older news stories here.


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