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 difference...by enriching life's journey for all we serve."

Press. As the first Continuing Care Retirement Community in Northampton County, Moravian Hall Square is committed to providing information and resources through the media and our website on a variety of age related topics. The news articles included have appeared in local and state publications.

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Keeping in Touch with our Neighbors

Keeping in touch with local churches during the holiday season. Click here to view the PDF.

Music as Therapy

Music is a powerful force in our lives from lullabies as babies, to the latest craze as teenagers, to “golden oldies” as senior citizens. This is especially true for someone that has Alzheimer’s disease. When a person may not recognize a family member, a hymn or melody from the past can trigger not only fond memories but often have a calming affect.

Music therapy is becoming an integral part of programming for Alzheimer’s residents, says Pat Chuckalovcak, Director of Assisted Living Services at Moravian Hall Square. Residents of Galilee House regularly gather around a player piano to listen to tunes from their past. Often they will sing along and even begin to play, despite the disease that is erasing memory. An old fashioned Wurlitzer Bubble Jukebox that plays familiar tunes from the 40s and 50s can lead to toe tapping, smiles and some impromptu dancing.

Music therapy cannot reverse Alzheimer’s but can improve the quality of life and provide family and caregivers with a bridge to connect to their loved ones when nothing else seems to work. Hymns in chapel services on Sunday have the same affect, according to Chuckalovcak.

A recent article in Time Magazine offers helpful information. The article and additional information on music as therapy can be found on www.musictherapy.com.

Moravian Hall Square offers an Alzheimer’s Association Support Group 9:30-11 a.m., the first Wednesday of each month in Galilee House. For additional information on the support group or Galilee House, please call 610-746-1000 or on line at www.moravian.com.

Maintain Your Brain

When the conversation turns to fitness, one of the first reactions is to look down at a hopefully trim waistline. But the brain needs to be healthy as well, because it plays a critical role that can affect your very existence: thinking, feeling, remembering, working, and playing – even sleeping, according to the Alzheimer’s Association in their “Maintain Your Brain” education campaign.

Their website – www.alz.org/maintainyourbrain – has numerous helpful dos and don’ts. For example: interacting with others by combining physical, mental and social activities may be most likely to prevent dementia. A simple conversation, volunteering, joining a club, taking a class are all positive steps to a healthier mind and body.

What is good for your heart is good for your brain as well – controlling weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Keeping your brain busy increases its vitality and builds reserves of brain cells and connections. Read, write, play games, learn new things, and do crossword puzzles all help, according to the website.

At a facility like Moravian Hall Square’s Galilee House Memory Care, nutrition, exercise, interaction with staff, other residents and family, are essential components of an overall plan to keep residents’ bodies and minds as fit and active as possible.

Located in the center of Nazareth, Moravian Hall Square also has a monthly Alzheimer’s Association sponsored support group for families already dealing with the disease in a loved one. Trained staff offers support, answers questions, and discusses ways to help while the loved one still is at home. Families share their personal experiences and methods of coping. The group meets the first Wednesday of each month from 9:30-11 a.m. in the lobby of Galilee House Memory Care. For additional information, please call 610-746-1000 or online at www.moravian.com

Hydration

Water is the nutrient your body needs most because it carries nutrients to organs; carries away waste; hydrates skin; moistens eyes, mouth, and nose; lubricates joints, and serves as a shock absorber inside the spinal cord.

Good hydration is additionally important for seniors who might be taking a variety of medications that require being ingested with water to distribute the medicine adequately and efficiently throughout the body.

Not getting enough water can also lead to dehydration. That can stress your heart and raise your core body temperature quickly, especially during summer outdoor activities. It can even lead to heat stroke which can be life threatening. Even mild dehydration can make you feel tired.

How much water do you need? The National Institute of Medicine recommends about 9 cups for woman and 13 cups for men every day. Certain health conditions may increase or decrease your individual needs.

You can usually get 20% of your fluid needs from food. You can drink just about any fluid to meet the rest of your needs. Juice, soft drinks, smoothies, coffee, tea, even alcoholic beverages all count. Just keep in mind that caffeine and alcohol can have a diuretic effect that makes you lose water.

How do you know if you are dehydrated? Symptoms include: dry mouth, dizziness, weakness, muscle cramps, weak or rapid pulse, confusion, sluggishness, fainting, inability to sweat, and decrease urine output

During warm months “hydration stations” are placed around the campus so residents and staff have easy access to water flavored with a variety of fresh fruits. “Plain water can lose its appeal, but the addition of watermelon, lemon and lime, or other fresh fruits makes the water more appealing to the eye and palate,“ according to the General Manager of Dining Services at Moravian Hall Square.

68 Years after Battle, a War Medal Arrives

Moravian Hall Square resident, Isabel Miller, was recently presented with a very special gift.  Mrs. Miller’s son, Barry, proudly presented her with the China War Memorial Medal.  The medal was recently awarded to her late husband, Marlen E. Miller in recognition of his service in the Pacific during World War II.  The medal was issued by the Republic of China for those who helped in the war against Japan.  Click on this link to read the Express Times article – http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/easton/index.ssf/2013/03/palmer_township_man_secures_wa.html

 

 

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