Tag Archives: Culture Change

The Meaning of Friendship

Henry David Thoreau once said “friendship is not about words but meanings.”  A powerful statement that declares the inner beauty that friendship in its most simple form can be. In fact, a knowing smile from a friend can brighten our most dreary day and give us cause to celebrate.

In fact, I would say that Marie, an Elder living at Signature HealthCare of Trimble County, experienced the beauty of true friendship this past week. Lana Parisek, Quality of Life Director, recounts the story that touched her heart below:

As I pulled the mail from the box, I noticed a big envelope from the University of Kentucky for one of the Elders in our home.  As I approached Wayne with this envelope, he couldn’t wait to open it! As he pulled the two autographed pictures and a $5.00 bill out of the envelope, he exclaimed loudly! “They did it! They actually sent it and sent my money back too!”  Wayne had intrigued me with his excitement as it was really contagious and I sat down with him to hear what had transpired. As Wayne shared his story, he told me how his friend Marie had been feeling a “little down” lately and he wanted to cheer her up. Knowing that she is one of the University of Kentucky’s biggest fans, he wanted to do something special for her.  In the spirit of true friendship he sent a letter to the University of Kentucky asking for a signed photograph of the team and sent them $5.00 to pay for it. He had explained in his letter how their community had their own “Rupp Arena Club” that met on game nights to watch UK basketball! He had also shared how Marie could be heard yelling and screaming each of those nights front and center because he was sure she was their biggest fan!

The emotion of the story really got to me. I went out and picked up some frames for Wayne so he could give Marie this very thought out present.  When she came out her friends surprised her with her present.  She cried true tears of joy because this experience was so meaningful to her!

I have witnessed many things in the years I have worked in long term care. However, I have never witnessed an Elder go so above and beyond for another Elder. It was so heartfelt and touching.

The beauty of friendship knows no boundaries. It was so meaningful for both Wayne and Marie. The obvious meaning for Marie being that her friends cared so much for her that they wanted to give her something special. The meaning for Wayne being that he was able to express his love and care for another person. The love of a caregiver never stops flowing, no matter the chronological age of the person.

I think Thoreau was right in his assessment. True friendship lies in the meaning that it is given. We can speak with words and feel as if our friendship is good but the meaning given can transcend any words spoken. I am certain Marie and Wayne are both aware of this tonight.


Home Sweet Home At Riverview Health Care Center

DSCN0295-400x4007The idea of creating home. It is a topic that is tossed about frequently in discussing key points of infusing “culture change” in any long term care setting. It seems simple in nature but in reality IS truly like searching for a gem that is always just out of our grasp. Or as we say in Eden Associate Training-pursuing the elusive Tiger’s Whisker.

The past few years I’ve had the pleasure to watch Riverview Health Care Center make this difficult transition from the institution that determined the course of each day to a culture in which the Elders navigate through days filled with choice and autonomy. Recently I was reminded of how far they’ve come on their journey when they opened their new community library.

Phillip Ramey, Director of Spirituality for the home recounts their latest accomplishment below:

DSCN0324-400x400The grand opening of our new Fred Harris Memorial Library was held on Thursday, April 16th.

The library is equipped with a large variety of books, magazines, a smart tv, computers, and of course a real librarian. The library will also be issuing real library cards to the Elders in our communities.

An Elder living there, Marlene VanHoose says “It’s wonderful to have these kinds of things here, it’s just like being at HOME”

DSCN0326-400x400Not only do we have a chapel, café, post office, and beauty shop, we now have a working library!

Marlene said it best. The elusive “home” word that we are all in search of. The feeling that is far reaching above the physical transformation the home has accomplished. The feeling of belonging and acceptance that only comes with really being at home. I would say that Riverview has started to truly make the leap that crosses the great divide between the institution and that place we can call home.