Category Archives: Chaplain Happenings

Hanukkah Comes Early

Hanukkah comes a little early this year at our Winter Park facility!

In the words of our chaplain, Larry Limbaugh:

Hanukkah came early to Winter Park – seventy plus ate latkes, raisins, cookies, and chocolate. We sang, danced, laughed, sang, and span the driedel. Fifteen of that group was youth who formed a choir and sang traditional holiday songs.

Three of the youth presented solo performances with two on piano and one on violin. These youth were accompanied by about thirty parents and others from the community. The Jewish Pavilion and Winter Park continue to join together to provide residents, stakeholders, and community with the very best in religious celebrations.

Light Therapy for the Wintertime Blues

The following is from our Chaplain in Brookwood, FL, Eddie Santana:

Now that the winter months are upon us, we will all notice certain changes in the behaviors of a lot of our residents, at least I have, especially given the new time change which occurred this past weekend. The nights are longer and the cold weather will hinder many of the residents, as well as our stakeholders from enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

What seems to occur is a sense of sadness that often times leads to anxiety and depression. Its a common thing for many during this season to experience what is called the winter blues. Below you will find a therapy that I found helpful in assisting residents and stakeholders who are facing this type of symptom. I myself have used it and found it very helpful. Hope you do too.

“The Spiritual Benefits of Eternal Light Therapy.”

Several months ago I read an interesting article about SAD. SAD stands for “seasonal affective disorder,” which is a medical condition similar to depression, except that it manifests itself only during the winter months. In colloquial terms you might call it “the wintertime blues.”

SAD, unfortunately, has existed for a long time, but it was first identified as a medical condition back in the 1980’s, by people like Dr. Norman Rosenthal, who’s a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University.

Is there any hope for people who may be suffering from this emotional disorder? The good news is, yes. As Rosenthal and his colleagues have discovered, there is something which is highly effective in battling it. It’s called “light therapy.”

Listen now to 3 paragraphs from this article on SAD. There are some very important insights here:
“The exact mechanism by which light affects mood is unknown. Dr. Rosenthal believes that when light stimuli are carried to the brain, they may stimulate or suppress the levels of certain brain chemicals. But regardless of how it works, he says the key to treating SAD is getting more light.

‘First and foremost, bring more light into your life,’ he says, ‘This can be done naturally by getting outdoors on a bright winter day or by bringing in more lamps. The light can be just general ways of lighting up the room, but there are some specific light boxes or light fixtures that have been specifically produced to deliver the amount of light that has been used in research studies that have been shown to be effective.’

Typical light therapy involves sitting in front of a lamp for an hour or so every day. Dr. Rosenthal says most patients will see the benefits from this therapy within a week. The benefits will remain as long as they use the light; but as soon as they stop, the old symptoms of sluggishness and depression can return relatively quickly.”

Eddie Santana,Director of Spirituality
Brookwood, FL

“My View From The Road” – Day 1

Our chaplain in Palm Bay, Basha Zackavich, recently had foot surgery and as a result she found herself temporarily in a wheelchair.

After “running into” several people, it was mentioned that perhaps she should write about her experience. And so begins a new series of posts here on the Spirituality Blog she calls” My View of the Road.”

DAY 1:

I was faced with lots of new obstacles (better expressed as “challenges”) and I learned a lot about “gratitude” when people would stop and notice an “obstacle” before I did.

My day starts a lot earlier now, and in order to make it all work it takes a lot of planning –and energy! It amazes me how quickly I tire as a result of being wheelchair-bound.

I was amazed at the new opportunities and conversations I was suddenly able to have because I was now able to meet so many people now at their level. Residents (and stakeholders) eagerly welcomed me into their little “space.” While it took time to learn how to maneuver my chair, we all had a good laugh, and God provided lots of new opportunities for

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As the day progressed, I began to recognize the limitations that my wheelchair brought which kept me from doing stuff that normally I would do. I had to just sit, wait and listen and it was during that time while waiting that I was able to hear a resident sing, or hear another voice their frustrations, or pray with another in a special way as she shared her feelings with me about the unexpected death of a loved one.

“But, Chaplain,” you might ask, “don’t already do that?”

“Yes, I do,” I would reply, “but maybe not as well.”

Celebration Of Life

November is often a time for remembrance of both the joys and the brevity of life. As the leaves change and wintertime approaches, it is customary in many faith traditions to think of those who have passed on and the take some special time to remember them.

Such as is the case in our Brookwood FL facility as Chaplain Eddie Santana explains:

“On November 2, 2011, The Spirituality Department of Brookwood Gardens, located in Homestead, Florida, celebrated its annual Celebration of Life Memorial Service in honor of all those deceased residents who passed away during the year 2011.

Together with the celebration of this event, The Spirituality Department of Brookwood Gardens, joined by members of its Chaplain Advisory Board (CAB), inaugurated and blessed the facility’s official outdoor prayer space and garden created by Brookwood’s maintenance director, Mr. Troy Evans and members of the Nursing Staff.

Brookwood Gardens Prayer Space in Homestead, Fl

Family, friends and stakeholders gathered on this beautiful Tuesday afternoon, traditionally known as All Souls Day by many Church traditions, to celebrate and remember over 76 residents who during the course of this year honored the Brookwood Facility by allowing it to care and serve them, especially during the last days of their lives.

After prayers and reflections expressed by the facility’s Director of Spirituality and members of the CAB, along with the ringing of bells after the reading of the names of all those who passed away, members of the activities department handed each participants  balloons filled with a sunflower seed and the name of a deceased resident tied to them by a white ribbon. As the participants gathered in a circle to pray the Lord’s Prayer the balloons were let go, allowing them to sail into the blue sky’s carrying along the seeds and the names of our beloved residents in hopes that where they landed a seed will be planted in their name.”

Eddie Santana, Director of Spirituality
Signature HealthCARE of Brookwood Gardens

Spookiness At Fentress

Linda Page-Montgomery had a wonderful Halloween event with residents which was a unique event indeed.

She explains:

Recently we had six residents head to Stearns, KY for a “Spooky Train Ride”.  Dinner was a delicious affair at KFC and everyone was braced to face the cold night ride.

Wrapped up like Eskimos and cuddled together to stay warm, we enjoyed ghost stores, spooky music, bumps and jerks of the train, headless creatures and much, much more.  One resident especially got into the mood and put on his scariest face.

But at the end of the journey as we were enjoying a warming cup of cocoa, the proprietor recognized one of our residents as her aunt whom she had not seen for some time.

They enjoyed a wonderful conversation as we all were warmed by the hot drink and friendly atmosphere before heading home.  This was the ‘topper’ to a great outing.

Linda Page-Montgomery, Chaplain
Signature HealthCARE of Fentress County

The Bible Walk

Chaplain Nathan Thomas from Prestonsburg, KY has made a new twist on an old favorite.

One of the components of our “Breathe Life” program in many facilities is the “Prayer Walk”, which is used to get residents out and about within the facility as best they can.

Chaplain Nathan turned his into a “Bible Walk” – as he explains:

We started our Breathe Life program today and I modified the “Prayer Walk” portion into a “Bible Walk”.  I posted several Scripture verses throughout the building, and we walked from location to location and read the verses.

We only had 3 participants at the beginning of the walk, but we finished with 8!

I conclueded the walk with playing a couple songs, prayer, and requests for resident’s and stakeholder’s favorite verses with the hopes that if their favorites were displayed, we would have a guaranteed participation next time.

Also, I found, that because we were reading the verses aloud and together, the interest of several others was peaked and thus our number grew!

Nathan Thomas, Chaplain,
Riverview Health Care

Autumn Memorial Service

As the year grows older and the leaves begin to fall and the world around us nears the end of its life giving cycle for this year, we cannot help but think of the brevity of life – and all those we have known who are no longer with us.

Nancy Penton, Director of Spirituality at our Buckhead Facility in Georgia, recently held an Autumn Memorial Service to remember loved ones who have passed away within the last year – and it was awesome to say the least.

In her words:

Our Autumn Memorial Service was well-received. I had been doing individual memorial services for specific residents, but yesterday was the first group memorial service I conducted here in Buckhead.

I prepared invitations and name cards that we used to mention the names of those who were being honored at the service. We opened with prayer and a musical selection, followed by a responsive reading and then a reflection and benediction. At the end of the service, we released white balloons, white symbolizing purity and prayers.

The Responsive Reading used was composed by Nancy herself and is presented below. they are indeed moving words, making us feel as if we had been present:

Responsive Reading

For all of the laughter through the years

We remember you

For all of the times we shared your tears

We remember you

For all of the dreams we together shared

We remember you

For all of the prayers we hoped were heard

We remember you

For all of the adventures that we took

We remember you

For all of the places we dared to look

We remember you

For us as we repeat your name

We remember you

We honor you with hearts aflame.

We remember you

©Nancy Penton 2011

Some pictures from the event:

Memorial Service in Buckhead, Georgia

Revival at Courtyard FL Facility

A Revival is a proven way of lifting spirits and reenergizing the faith and wellness of everyone!

The Courtyard Facility in Marianna, FL is currently hosting an Old-Fashioned Tent Style Revival at their facility and it is indeed a spelndid occasion.

Quality of Life Director Anna Neel explains:

Last night we started our 3 night Tent Revival, our tent was full. What a blessing it was to see our residents enjoying a religious service they way they did growing up. We also had Stakeholders, family members, and people from the community in attendence.

We had our regular Sunday preacher, Rev. Henley speak, along with a member of the Chamber of Commerce, a pastor, Dallas Ellis, from Provenance Baptist Church, as well as several music talents from our local churches.

Signature HealthCARE Courtyard Tent Revival in Marianna, FL

We have 2 more nights to go, please send up a little prayer!

Hodgenville Hosts It’s First Revival

One of the most effective ways of promoting spiritual involvement, excitement and renewal in our facilities is by hosting a Revival. While this is a practice most common to Baptist or Protestant denominations, similar types of events have been shown to be wonderful for all faiths and denominations.

The Hodgenville facility is now hosting their very first Revival and it has been a rousing success so far. Chaplain Judy Hensley explains:

Just wanted everyone to know we are having a wonderful revival at Sunrise Manor. God is really blessing we are having great attendance from residents, families, volunteers, and a lot of community involvement. We are averaging around 40 residents and 40 to 50 of other people. We have had great preaching and singing and it is wonderful to see the smiles on our residents faces. Thanks to everyone for your prayers.

Judy Hensley, Chaplain,
Hodgenville, KY

Sabbath Comes To Winter Park

Chaplain Larry Limbaugh recently wrote us to tell of a special arrangement he made with a resident to make sure she celebrated her Sabbath properly!

As Larry relates to us:

Sabbath is here!

The idea to observe the Sabbath with a celebration of the eating of Challah bread came about on the heels of  discussions with the Executive Director of the Jewish Pavilion in Orange County, who told us all about this simple yet effective way to display appreciation for Jewish residents.

Today, 10 residents and 10 Stakeholders ate a slice of this delicious Challah bread slathered in butter and chased with hot coffee.  Before we ate, we had a discussion of the importance of the Sabbath in the traditions of Judaism, Islam, as well as Christianity.

Our resident, Ms. Goldfarb possesses a deep knowledge of Judaism and I regularly consulted her as I prepare to celebrate Jewish events at our facility.

The Challah quickly disappeared and we plan to honor the arrival of  the Sabbath in both this and other special ways going forward. Reverend Diaz is a great resource for us. He is a wonderful and kind person who speaks Spanish and the people love to hear his infectious preaching.

Larry Limbaugh, Chaplain,
Winter Park Care & Rehabilitation Center

Rev. Victor Diaz, resident Frances Goldfarb, and Spiritual Director Larry Limbaugh anticipate the Sabbath

Rev. Victor Diaz, volunteer chaplain with the Assemblies of God, resident Frances Goldfarb, and Spiritual Director Larry Limbaugh joyously anticipate the Sabbath with prayers, greetings, and golden, egg-washed Challah.