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The Value of Self-Care

Turn on the television or pick up a newspaper and not much has changed since the initial news of the pandemic outbreak in 2020. The isolation, social distancing and quarantine still remain and they have taken a toll on our mental health. According to a Washington Post article, a federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress registered more than a 1,000 percent increase in calls in April 2020 as compared with the same time last year.

The following self-care strategy will help you navigate through the uncertainty of the pandemic and its effects. Self-care is defined as, "a multidimensional, multifaceted process of purposeful engagement in strategies that promote healthy functioning and enhance well-being." (source) There are five types of self-care:  physical, social, mental, spiritual, and emotional (source). FSA members have remained resilient and pivoted to meet these challenges. They have continued to offer current programs with a twist or added new virtual programs to support their residents.

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Member Spotlight: Rowntree Gardens

Rowntree Gardens was seeking how to best serve their Memory Care community and a September 2018 visit from Dr. Cameron Camp launched a pivotal shift to their approach. Dr. Camp has taken the Montessori teaching method that is traditionally used on young children and retooled it to help people with dementia and other memory disorders to regain some of their skills. Rowntree Gardens received their gold level Montessori Inspired Lifestyle® certification in December of 2019.

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Member Spotlight: Barclay Friends

New on the campus of Barclay Friends is the Preston Building, which is named after the 19th Century Quaker activist and physician, Ann Preston. This project was fast-tracked and went from design to construction within a year. On August 20, the community celebrated the grand opening, with more than 150 people raising their glasses for a virtual toast at the ribbon cutting ceremony. 

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Diversity Builds Strong Communities

Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization. ~Mahatma Gandhi

As member organizations seek to understand and foster conversation about diversity and inclusion, FSA has aimed to support their efforts from a perspective anchored in values. To underscore our commitment, we have offered several workshops and partnered with members to facilitate conversations in order to understand diversity, equity and inclusion.
In June and July, nearly 200 participants joined in a Virtual Community Gathering to discuss “Race in America.” FSA members were able to pause, reflect and engage in meaningful dialogue about race in America through the lens of Quaker values. In addition, FSA offers tools and resources for members to initiate race conversations that incorporates the Quaker Values.

Many FSA member organizations have concentrated on diversity efforts throughout the years.  Here are a few shared in the Diversity Peer Group.  We welcome you to join us for the next peer group on Ouch that Stereotype Hurts on February 25.

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Tech Talk

More than one-third of adults aged 45 and older feel lonely, and nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated*. Loneliness and social isolation in older adults are serious public health risks, putting them at risk for dementia and other medical conditions.

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FSA Internship Summer 2020

FSA’s Internship Program offers the next generation the opportunity to work and live in a Life Plan Community/CCRC. This unique experience allows students to align their interests and career paths as well as to develop practical skillsets, teamwork and industry knowledge.

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Policies and Procedures and the Code of Conduct

Elements of an Effective Compliance and Ethics Program
The First Element: Policies and Procedures and the Code of Conduct

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Grants Awarded to FSA Members for Employee Innovations During Pandemic

Last week, 11 senior care organizations across the United States, including seven FSA members, received Innovation Mini Grants from Friends Foundation for the Aging. These grants were created to recognize problem-solving efforts and ideas of front-line staff members during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

FSA congratulates members Broadmead, Chandler Hall, Friends House Retirement Community, The Hickman, Kendal at Home, Kendal~Crosslands and Medford Leas. Please read the full press release below for details on their efforts. 

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Pennswood Village Transportation Department: Values in Action


The transportation staff at FSA member Pennswood Village in Newtown, PA, used to fill most days with upwards of 50 scheduled trips. They’d drive the organization’s residents to doctor’s appointments, cultural events, shopping excursions—wherever they wanted to go. As COVID-19 safety precautions became increasingly strict, the number of rides dropped to a mere 1-2 per day for emergencies, but a number of other needs surfaced. Mail and package receipt and delivery, employee screening and campus monitoring became essential duties, among other adjustments.

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Values Ignited at Foxdale Summits

Values Ignited
Foxdale Village Summits Reinvigorate Personal Connections to Core Values


Community. Inclusion. Engagement. Acceptance. Caring. Stewardship. Fulfillment. These are the seven core values of Foxdale Village Retirement Community in State College, PA.

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Member Matters: News from FSA Member Organizations

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Diversity Peer Group

Earlier this month, a group of FSA members gathered with co-facilitators Marsha Wesley Coleman and consultant Michael Gagné to talk about their organizations’ efforts to implement diversity programming. Gagné presented the following guidelines to assist organizations.

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In case you missed it...

FSA Annual Meeting and Dementia Symposium. View photos here. Video of they keynotes and panel to come! 

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"The More You Do For Me, The More You Take From Me."

The Montessori Approach to Dementia Care, in Action at Rowntree Gardens

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FSA is now Friends Services Alliance

Dear FSA Members, Partners and Friends,

I am thrilled to announce that, effective today, Friends Services for the Aging has a new name: FSA | Friends Services AllianceThis change has been a long time coming. Updates to our strategic plan and various measures have been in the works so we can reposition FSA as the organization it truly is:  A growing collaborative of organizations that serve seniors: Rooted in Values. Driven by Excellence. 

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FSA Internship Program Leads to New Career Path

Emily Vassoler was on track to work within the hospitality business. As a Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management major at Penn State University Park, she had gotten some experience working within her chosen field. And she was frustrated.

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Meet the FSA Board: Dianna Rienstra

Dianna Rienstra has been reflecting on her career. As she finds herself on the verge of retirement from her position as Chief Financial Officer with Friends Life Care, she can say with certainty that she feels satisfied with the path she has taken and the impact her work through the years has had on others.

She’s come a long way. Starting off as an Accounting graduate from Montclair State University, flexibility was key as she made her way through a male-dominated industry. In one of her first positions, Rienstra was one of just two females in her entire company. When it came time for her to go out on maternity leave, there was no policy set. “The head of Human Resources—who was the other female employee—said to me, ‘how long do you think your leave should be?’ We figured it out from there!”

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Member Stories: If you give a horse a haircut...

Who would have thought that a horse could change a life? Andy Switzer did. Though he’s been Director of Health and Wellness with Broadmead for three years, it was at his previous job where he first saw the benefit of involving residents in Equine Therapy. So, when the opportunity presented itself for Broadmead to begin working with horses, the organization collaborated with John Hopkins University to develop an individualized Equine Therapy program.

Now, in partnership with locally based  Rose of Sharon Equestrian School, Broadmead runs five-week therapy programs in the spring and fall. Residents who are diagnosed with Dementia or another cognitive impairment are chosen because of their interest in or experience with horses. Residents’ families are involved in the decision-making process in conjunction with a sign-off from Broadmead's Medical Director.

Participating residents get the opportunity to participate in the care of the horses with a focus on groomsmanship: one resident even got to give a horse a haircut! During their time in the program, each resident gets to work with one particular horse for the duration of the five weeks and receives a photo of their horse to take home with them. Those who are wheelchair bound, or those who may have trouble standing for long periods of time, get to work with one of the program’s two mini-horses.

According to Andy, the most exciting thing about the program is seeing evidence that patients are benefiting. In the two years that Broadmead has been running the program, Andy noted the vibrancy of the residents who participate. He shared the story of a mostly non-verbal gentleman who became more verbal when he was with the horses, including sharing details of memories from working with horses earlier in his life. The gentleman’s wife was particularly astonished as they were details she herself hadn’t heard. This experience was not limited to this gentleman alone, Andy remembered another woman who was non-verbal who began to smile more, put sentences together, and remember the horses' names during her time in the program.

If you give a horse a haircut – the residents might benefit!

Meet the Board: Jeremy Vickers, CEO of Medford Leas

Through his career, Medford Leas CEO Jeremy Vickers has experienced the cultures of senior living organizations across the United States. In his travels, he has noted similarities among them: the way the organization is structured, the types of work they do. The most successful ones offer services that are reflective of their particular area’s standards and desires. “They have a local flavor that shines through,” he says.

He has also seen the differences. From simple contrasts like architecture—“in Los Angeles, everything is vertical”—to deeper distinctions such as an organization’s values and the philosophies that guide the way they go about their work. And how, despite seeing success in one region, a particular program or approach may fall flat somewhere else. 

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Values in Action: Chef Steve & Stewardship

Chef Steve Plescha is not afraid to try something new. A highly ranked graduate from the Culinary Institute of America in 1977, he has been bringing his culinary innovations to Pennswood Village for the past 13 years.  Anyone who has dined there would have no doubt of his technical ability, but his passion cannot be quantified. After speaking with him for just a moment, Chef Steve’s passion for his work is evident – his robust sustainable fishing program is bolstered by his knowledge, local connections, and the support of the community in which he works.

To ensure the quality of the seafood he serves to residents, Chef Steve takes a number of things into consideration. While being mindful of habitat, the effects of weather, and trends, he works locally with Samuels and Son, a Philadelphia based restaurant-quality supplier. “They have someone on the boat telling me the quality of the fish, the conditions in which they were caught, and how many they brought in.”

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