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Thoughts on Generosity – Many Ways to Be Generous

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By: A Wake Robin Resident

Generosity of Patience – So important, as we are called upon during our present community illness. Continuing on through our flexibility, as the many construction changes are completed, and new ones arise.

Generosity of Time and Talents – Consider the hours freely given, talents and skills engaged, in the functioning of the multitude of activities we are blessed with.

Generosity of Spirit– The smiles with greetings, the helpful hands, the focused attention to another’s joys, needs and concerns, the admiration for those whose inner being shines unquenched despite the burdens they bear. The gift of laughter and joy brought to interactions with others.

Generosity of Thanks Giving – Beginning with sincere and joyful “Thank You’s” to loved ones, friends, and neighbors for their many daily gifts of just being; on through thoughtful notes (or an email) after an act of kindness; then to offers of help and assistance; up to generous monetary contributions to the employee appreciation fund. Think of it as a tangible hug of thanks for the many ways they make our lives so wonderful here at Wake Robin.

Wake Robin Honored at Vermont Health Care Association Annual Convention

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Wake Robin is proud to announce that several members of its staff were honored at the VHCA (Vermont Health Care Association) annual convention, held September 24-26 at the Killington Resort.

The Environmental Services team was recognized as the 2018 Outstanding Environmental Services Team. Environmental Services at Wake Robin includes the Security, Maintenance, Housekeeping, Laundry, and Transportation Departments.  In addition to the regular day-to-day operations of a large campus comprised of independent living, residential care and nursing care, the Environmental Services staff is tasked with keeping Wake Robin operating smoothly in the midst of the expansive construction and renovation project currently underway.  The staff is managing this task through extraordinary teamwork, while keeping focused on the needs of Wake Robin residents in every setting within the community.

In addition, two Wake Robin staff members were individually honored at the convention.

Tasia Benham was named Occupational Therapist of the Year. Ms. Benham is not only dedicated to her role as an Occupational Therapist, but also delivers challenging and motivating wellness classes on a weekly basis including Tai Chi in Wake Robin’s therapeutic pool (known as Ai Chi) as well as a cardio based aquatic class. Tasia is skilled at modifying and adapting to new ideas, challenges, and resident feedback in a positive and seamless way that continues to drive the success of Wake Robin’s programming.

Amy Lyman was named LPN of the Year. In her over 20 years at Wake Robin, Ms. Lyman has worked every shift, and in every neighborhood, in numerous roles.  The VHCA award recognizes Amy’s organizational skills and ability to transform chaos into functionality and purpose.  Her nomination to this award was submitted by her team, attesting to her leadership skills.

The Vermont Health Care Association is committed to advocating on behalf of residents, staff and communities that depend on Vermont’s nursing, residential care, and assisted living homes as an integral component of the long-term care continuum

Congratulations to all!

Breathing Exercises to Relieve Stress with Jena Necrason

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This time of year, we often get a bit overloaded and time seems to move more quickly. Our to-do lists grow, and we tend to over commit.  Sound familiar?  One way to de-stress is by simply focusing on breathing for a few minutes. Here are a few tips from Wake Robin’s Program and Events Coordinator Jena Necrason.

You deserve to take five minutes for yourself!  Find a comfortable place to sit. Close your eyes.  Bring your focus to your inner self.  See if, for a moment, you can simply go inward and focus on your breath.  How are you feeling today? Answer this question without judgement.  Allow yourself to shut out thoughts of work or to-do lists.  If you bring your full focus to observing your breath, all else will fall away.  Try counted breathing: inhale for a count of four, and then exhale for a count of eight.  Do this as many times as you can.  Breathing in and out through your nose will allow for a slower intake of oxygen to the brain, which will have a calming effect.  Breathing through your mouth is fine too, whatever is comfortable for you. The most important thing is to give yourself 5 minutes to do this. This exercise can be done anywhere- your living room, your backyard, your office, your car (ok, but don’t close your eyes in the car!).

Pro tip: If you are feeling fatigued, while you are breathing try placing your hands on your thighs with the palms facing up, this will assist with gathering energy into your body.  If you are feeling stressed or agitated, while you are breathing try placing your hands on your thighs with the palms facing down, this will assist with gathering grounded/calming energy into your body.

The Wake Robin Honey Harvest

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As summer transitions to fall, gardens full of fruits and vegetables are producing the last of their harvests. There is another type of harvest that Wake Robin residents and staff anxiously await every year. The honey harvest!

This sweet endeavor started in 2008. In that span of time, the Wake Robin bees have produced a total of 738 pounds of honey. Since 2008, Wake Robin has been home to over 3 million bees. That’s quite a population! With Wake Robin being situated on over 136 acres of land, the bees are quite happy to enjoy all the wildflowers and clover that stretches throughout campus.

Residents are involved in production from start to finish. Residents visit the bees throughout the year and especially keep an eye on them over the cold winter. During honey extraction, the beekeepers decide how much honey they need to leave in the hives so that the bees can survive the cold winter temperatures. Then there is another group that volunteers to assist with the extraction and jarring process. The honey is extracted from the hives and is then poured into 8 oz. jars that are labeled with the Wake Robin logo. The honey is sold in the Wake Robin corner shop, as well as, given to incoming residents in a welcome basket.

Unfortunately, this winter was not kind to the Wake Robin bees as it was so long and cold; many of the bees did not survive. The beekeepers welcomed fifty thousand new bee residents into the hives.  They seemed to settles in to their new home just fine as this year; the bees produced 42 pounds of honey. The head beekeeper mentioned that they might decide to extract again before winter. They are five residents that helped with the bees this year, including three that were a part of the jarring process.

Beekeeping is certainly one of the more unique activities at Wake Robin. While not every resident is brave enough to don the white beekeeping suit, the beehives represent what it means to be a truly resident driven community. In 2008, when a resident had the idea to place hives in the fields of Wake Robin – that idea flourished into a now 10 year tradition.

 

(information provided by beekeepers of Wake Robin)

Wake Robin Busy Bee – Patrick Krok-Horton

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While walking through the hallways of Wake Robin, you might hear the dulcet tones of an older song drifting around a corner. If you continue onward, you’ll eventually run into Patrick Krok-Horton, a Recreation Services Assistant who has been with Wake Robin for almost 7 years. In 2017, he won the VHCA’s (Vermont Health Care Association) Recreation Services Assistant of the year award, partially due to his dedication and creativity in thinking of new programs and activities to offer here at Wake Robin.

With Wake Robin going through the transition of renovations throughout the community, especially in the Linden Health Center, one would imagine it would make it more difficult to maneuver in the temporary and new spaces. When asked if his job has changed at all since the beginning of the project, Krok-Horton mentions that, “Since the start of construction my job hasn’t changed dramatically. It is sometimes hard to navigate through certain paths when going around the construction, or to support residents when the noise or construction impacts their living area.” However, he goes on to say that helping residents through this time has been a team effort with nursing.

Outside of Wake Robin, Krok-Horton is just as creative! He graduated from college with a degree in Art, focusing on Print Making. His art has been displayed in Burlington during the Art Hop. He says his favorite medium is woodcut, but he has worked in intaglio, silkscreen, and lithography. His artistic talents have been utilized through his work at Wake Robin. Two of his creations have been a “Horse Racing track where I make the track, jockeys, large dice and racing flags”. He has devised a 500-car racing game where he made the cars, track, deck of cards, and prizes.

His next inspired endeavor involves pumpkins! Every Fall, Krok-Horton and his wife set up a huge Halloween pumpkin display at their home. They have quite a following of repeat visitors year after year! This will be their 8th year and every year they have had a different theme. This year’s is Dinosaurs, but some previous themes have been: Pirates, Aliens, and Classic Movie Monsters. Last year they had a record 62 carved pumpkins – which they purchase from a farm down in Rutland. This masterpiece is crafted with Krok-Horton and his dad working on bigger structural pieces, while his wife and her father do most of the carving. He is promising to bring in photo albums to show his handiwork to pass along through the Linden Neighborhoods.

When asked about what makes Wake Robin culture so special, he says, “The sense of community here is a huge part of Wake Robin. Although many people from many backgrounds and lifestyles mix together, the willingness of each person to help others is amazing. The things that people do here when they come together are very inspiring.” Bringing his interests and artistic flair to his work life continues to bring joy to the residents of Linden Health Center and the community as a whole.

Furry Friends at Wake Robin

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Walking along the paths and neighborhoods at Wake Robin, one cannot help but run into a friendly four-legged friend. The Wake Robin  community has always been pet friendly. All furry or feathered companions are welcome!

Mojo pauses for a picture.

 

There are many activities at Wake Robin that are dog friendly. Dogs are welcomed to cruise along the over four miles of walking trails, accompany a resident collecting their mail inside the community center (except during meal times), or visit a friend living in Linden. The front desk is always equipped with an assortment of dog treats and pats from staff members. There are dog waste containers located around Wake Robin for convenience and even a dog park located right on campus.

When a resident’s needs increase and they are thinking of moving into the Linden Health Center, there is a worry of – what happens to my furry companion? Residents can choose to move their feline or canine friends into their new homes in Linden with them. If they are still able to care for them, they are welcome! There was even a guinea pig that lived in Linden for a period of time!

A resident and her dog, Sadie, going for a walk along the trails.

Wake Robin is an active community with residents that are walking, hiking, swimming, kayaking, or just enjoying the outdoors. This might be one of the reasons that there are so many dogs spotted walking around the community.

According to a study published in Scientific Reports, people who live alone and own dogs are more likely to live a longer life. Maybe Wake Robin is on to something!

Just to note, there are many feline companions that call Wake Robin home. Cats are not as seen and heard, since all cats live inside. While they are not mentioned as much in this blog – There are 25 cats that live here at Wake Robin that are just as loved as their canine counterparts!

 

How Seniors Can Safely Stay Active, Even in Extreme Heat

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Article By Katie Rosenbrock

(Originally posted August 4, 2015 in The Active Times)

From swimming in your backyard pool to enjoying long evening bike rides, there are so many things to love about summer. But one downside to the season that we don’t discuss often is the increased risk for heat-related illnesses that comes along with extreme summer heat.

Everyone should be aware of the dangers, but Linda Phypers, R.N., L.N.H.A., director of health services at Wake Robin, Vermont’s first Continuing Care Retirement Community, says the elderly community should take extra precautions.

“High heat and humidity can be dangerous—and people may feel differently on different days regardless of what the thermometer reads,” Phypers explained.

When it comes to engaging in physical activity on hot and humid days, she suggests choosing cooler times of the day, like in the early morning or late evening, or if it’s really a scorcher, opting not to exercise at all that day.

What should seniors be most concerned about when it comes to staying active in the summer?

“Dehydration and overexertion,” Phypers said. “Take extra breaks, remove gear and clothing to let the body cool down. Drink lots of water and give your body extra time to recover after exercise in extreme heat — the body gets overexerted and fatigued more quickly in high temps.”

She also suggests exercising with a friend so you can keep an eye on each other and said that these tips apply not just to seniors, but really anyone who wants to be active when it’s unusually hot and humid.

But what if it’s really just too hot outside and you want to fit some form of activity into your day?

Phypers suggests making use of an indoor pool if you have access to one.

“The number one indoor activity — if you have access — is to use an indoor pool,” she said. “ [It’s a] great way to get a good workout while keeping the body temperature down.”

If you don’t have a pool, Phypers suggests exercising inside where there are fans or AC.

“Do gentle resistance exercises with free weights or resistance bands,” she explained. “There are lots of free videos on YouTube focused on active seniors. Local fitness centers and senior centers have training and exercise programs indoors. Try yoga or tai chi. These are excellent activities in any weather. They build muscle, improve flexibility and improve balance — all important as we age. There are lots of videos for these exercises, too.”

Also, you could reach out to local senior centers. Phypers said they often plan activities to accommodate summer weather and usually have AC.

Her final piece of advice: if you take any medications, be aware of their side effects.

“Sometimes older people are taking medications that make them more susceptible to the heat — and make it harder to stay hydrated,” Phypers said. “Seniors should be aware if this is the case for them and either avoid strenuous exercise in the heat and take extra measures to stay hydrated.”

Wake Robin Takes on Boston

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blog post by Jena Necrason, Resident Program Coordinator (pictured above)

Twenty Wake Robin residents enjoyed a three-day trip to Boston on October 16-October 18. The fall foliage made for a scenic ride from Shelburne to this beautiful and historic city. We boarded our coach bus Monday morning and by early afternoon we were experiencing the thrilling art and rich history of Beantown. Half of our group ventured into Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market to take in the sites and eat lunch. The other half spent the afternoon in the immersive experience of the famed Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, enjoying art, flowers and plants, textiles, furniture, and architecture.

That evening we were welcomed to the place “where everybody knows your name” eating dinner at the original Cheers restaurant in Beacon Hill, which inspired the TV show. A busy first day, we all collapsed at our hotel in Bunker Hill for a good night of rest!

Day two started with a ‘Windshield Tour’ of the city with an energetic and knowledgeable guide named Debbie. We saw many of the city’s most important historic sites such as the Old Granary Burial Ground, Paul Revere’s House and Trinity Church just to name a few. We enjoyed the gorgeous architecture, and how each neighborhood had its own distinct history reflected in every detail of the buildings. Our tour ended in The Old North End where we selected traditional Italian restaurants to dine in for lunch. Everyone raved about their homemade pasta’s and wood-fired pizza’s as we boarded the bus for our afternoon excursions. A small group went on a tour of Fenway Park, seeing the in’s an out’s of how the stadium works from the bottom all the way to the very top. Others spent the afternoon at Boston’s gorgeous Museum of Fine Arts, losing themselves in the museum’s 450,000 works of art. Next was dinner at the Union Oyster House where a raucous and delicious time was had by all. Did you know that the Oyster House has been running continuously since 1826?

Our third and final day brought us to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The museum’s comprehensive exhibits were highly educational and deeply inspirational. We all boarded the bus moved by his legacy of political action and public service based on courage, service, inclusion, and innovation.

Our ride home, helmed by our fantastic coach driver Hugo, was filled with laughter and chatter and a few naps here and there! We arrived home at Wake Robin just in time for dinner.

Snowshoeing during a Wolf Moon

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Written by Wake Robin resident, Ann

Did you ever think it would be fun to celebrate the full January Wolf Moon and full February Snow moon with an after dinner scenic snowshoe walk? Living at Wake Robin folks can do that as long as the weather cooperates.   full moon in the woods

Members of Wake Robin love sharing their passions. Bill’s passion was winter fun. Bill was part of the 10th Mountain Division in WWII and saw action against the Germans at Riva Ridge in Italy. After the war he wrote a book on snowshoeing and x-c skiing. It was basically his idea to gather Wake Robin friends for this after dinner snowshoe walk. Now others carry on his leadership.   Wake Robin has the ideal location for this one-hour adventure. Those interested gather in the Community Center. A short walk through the woods on the one of Wake Robin’s trails, with the moon making tree shadows on the snow, brings one out to our South Meadow Hill. From there one looks down on Lake Champlain and lights along the shore.

Another trail on the return brings one to a field with a view of Camel’s Hump.   On one occasion we were out ahead of the moon on a very clear night. My how the stars do shine brightly! After picking out many constellations, we turned around and found a huge moon rising from behind the top of the hill and some tall evergreens. Such a sight!

Bill started a tradition on these walks of our howling at January’s Wolf moon – even though it is a myth that wolves howl at the moon. Why do we do it?  Simply because it is fun. On occasion we have howled if the group gets separated to locate each other, which wolves will do also. Howling is quite satisfying. So is being outside on a beautiful winter evening.

snowshoe - from A Hiltz resized

 

Wake Robin Receives Green Award

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The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) has awarded Wake Robin their 2016 ICAA Innovators Green Award.

icaa-awardICAA’s goals are to change society’s perceptions of aging and improve the quality of life for older adults. The organizations that were considered for this award were judged based on their excellence in making a positive difference in the lives of older adults in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way.

Some green initiatives at Wake Robin:

  • Instead of using bleach in the laundry and Aquatic Center – Wake Robin uses Ozone. It saves 316,090 gallons of hot water and over $24,000 in one year alone.
  • Wake Robin releases 100,000 lady bugs in the spring instead of spraying pesticides to control the aphids and scale bugs.
  • Wake Robin sources food from local farms. 100% of the milk purchased is rBGH free. 100% of the ground beef used is local, hormone and antibiotic free. 100% of our bread is locally sourced. 90% of the cheese, yogurt, pudding and other dairy foods are local Vermont products. 27% of the fruits and vegetables served are sourced from local farms
  • 90% of food waste from Wake Robin’s kitchens is composted. Residents throughout the community compost – in fact, composting at Wake Robin was initiated by residents.
  • Wake Robin uses solar power from a solar farm in Monkton, VT. This reduces on-site energy costs by 24%.
  • Employee ride sharing is encouraged. Carpool employees can add their names for a gift card raffle that is drawn every month.

Environmental Services Director, Leslie Parker remarked; “The success of our green initiative – and the practices we have in place to preserve and sustain a healthy community – would not be possible without the commitment of the entire Wake Robin community – from the Board and Staff to the dedicated Residents.”

Wake Robin is proud to have been recognized for its initiative and will continue to keep this a part of the fabric of our culture.

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