Category Archives: Lakewood

Dr. Franklin T. Fowler, missionary physician, dies at 100

By Ann Lovell

RICHMOND, Virginia—Franklin Thomas Fowler, M.D., died Sept. 10, 2017, at age 100 at Lakewood, a continuing care retirement community in Richmond’s West End. Dr. Fowler grew up in Argentina as the child of missionary parents. After college at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee, Dr. Fowler went on to Vanderbilt Medical School in Nashville where, thanks to the start of World War II, he and his class earned their medical degrees a few months earlier than planned. In 1947, Fowler and his wife, Dorcas, were appointed to Paraguay as medical missionaries with the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board (FMB, now International Mission Board). Their task was to build a hospital. In an interview shortly before his 100th birthday in March, Dr. Fowler credited the Baptist Medical Center in Asunción, Paraguay, as one of his greatest accomplishments.

The Fowlers left Paraguay in 1956 to accept an assignment in Mexico, and in 1960, the family moved to Richmond where Dr. Fowler served as the FMB’s first medical consultant. During his tenure in FMB’s home office, Dr. Fowler focused on missionary health and started the Baptist Medical/Dental Fellowship, which remains active today.

The Fowlers moved to Lakewood in 1987, where they quickly became active in the community. They started a worship service for healthcare residents, and Dr. Fowler continued to write and paint, chronicling his life in “From There to Here: The Story of a Missionary Child,” which was published in July. Dorcas, his wife of 70 years, died June 26 at the age of 96.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday, Oct. 14 at 11 a.m. at River Road Church, Richmond, where Dr. and Mrs. Fowler’s ashes will be entombed.  Arrangements by Woody Funeral Home, Parham Chapel. Condolences may be offered at woodyfuneralhomeparham.com

 

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email alovell@lifespireliving.org or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

Helpful Tips for Downsizing in Retirement

One of the main reasons older adults put off downsizing or moving to a retirement community is the need to deal with all the “stuff” they’ve accumulated over the years. Yet, if done right, the process of downsizing may not be as daunting as you think. It may even be enjoyable — even refreshing. A lot of the physical work can be done by others, so your main role is to categorizeorganize, and direct. Here are six tips to get you started:

Start now

If you are thinking about moving, whether to a retirement community or to a smaller home, now is a good time to start the downsizing process. Don’t wait until you are ready to move. At that point, the process and emotions may be overwhelming, and you will have other things that require your attention. Even if you ultimately choose not to move, your family members will thank you! There will be less stuff for them to deal with one day.

Recognize you can’t keep it all

To know what items you can and should purge, you first need to know which items you absolutely cannot part with. But here’s the key: After you have created the initial list, pare it down even further. This can be a tough exercise, but the reality is that some of the things you think you need to save may not be necessary to keep after all. For example, that sport coat in the closet you’ve held onto for 15 years because you are sure you will wear it again? It’s probably time to part ways. That stack of magazines with holiday recipes dating back 10 years? Those can go, too. Your most cherished recipes will not be hidden in a tall stack of magazines anyway, right?

Prepare yourself: Your kids may not want your stuff

Another popular reason for hanging on to various items is that kids or grandkids will want them. But many people eventually discover that the things they thought would be coveted by their adult children were not so desirable after all. To help sort this out, consider inviting your children over for a day to go through your things and find out what they actually want.

Sort by large and small

Once you know what you want to keep, make a list of big and small items. The big items are anything that will not fit in a regular size moving box, such as a sofa or table. As you consider these items, be sure to think about the dimensions and style of your new home so you will know if they will fit. Many CCRCs have move-in coordinators who can help you with this.

Obviously, it could be tough to list out every single smaller item, but you want to think about your most utilized items first. Consider things like silverware, pictures, kitchenware, books, etc.

Sell, donate, or discard?

Once you’ve decided what items are no longer needed, it is time to decide what to do with them. Create a separate list with three columns: Sell, Donate, and Trash. As you consider what you want to sell, remember that items rarely bring in the amount of cash the owner thinks they will. In some cases it may simply be easier to donate or discard an item than to go to the trouble of trying to sell it.

However, if you feel sure it would be worth the time to try to sell some of your belongings, then you have a number of options. You could try to sell them online with sites like Ebay or Craig’s List. (Please take caution if you use Craigslist or a similar website. If possible, meet the buyer in a public place and take someone with you.) Sometimes a good old-fashioned yard sale could do the job, but you will want to get someone to help you with the set up and break down. Alternately, if you have more than a few valuable items, any number of local companies will be willing to administer an estate sale for you.

Hauling the junk

Finally, after you have gone through the above-mentioned steps, you may be surprised by the amount of left over junk. This would include things that have piled up in a garage or crawlspace over the years, such as old paint cans. Many national companies will come by and haul these things away for you. All you have to do is point to the items you want removed, and they will recycle or trash the items accordingly.

If you are considering moving to a LifeSpire community, our move-in coordinators are happy to help you think through what you might or might not need in your new home. Give our marketing departments a call and set up an appointment today!

The Chesapeake (Newport News): 757-223-1600
The Culpeper (Culpeper): 540-825-2411
The Glebe (Daleville): 540-591-2100
Lakewood (Richmond): 804-740-2900

 

 

Content provided by MyLifeSite.com

Fowlers demonstrate a century of faithfulness

07/10/17

By Ann Lovell

Dr. Franklin and Mrs. Dorcas Fowler pose with an early proof of his autobiography in April 2017. Dr. Fowler celebrated his 100th birthday March 28, 2017. Mrs. Fowler passed away June 26, 2017.

RICHMOND, Virginia—Franklin and Dorcas Fowler had been married 70 years when Dorcas died peacefully June 26, 2017, in her home at Lakewood, a LifeSpire of Virginia community in Richmond’s West End. She was 96. Just before Franklin’s 100th birthday in March, the couple was asked how long they’d been married. They exchanged a puzzled glance and then laughed.

“We don’t remember!” Dorcas said. “Forever.”

In that same conversation, Franklin reached for his Bible, opened the front cover, and pulled out a photo of Dorcas as a young woman. He didn’t say much, but his message was clear. His God and his wife are his two most important relationships.

The Fowlers epitomize lives of faithfulness. From childhood, both sought to share God’s love through medicine. Franklin grew up as the child of missionary parents in Argentina, and committed his life to Christ at age 10. After college at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee, he went on to Vanderbilt Medical School in Nashville, where, thanks to the start of World War II, he and his class earned their medical degrees a few months earlier than planned. Franklin served in combat in France, Luxembourg, and Germany as a doctor with the 110th Evacuation Hospital, semi-mobile. He returned from the war and married Dorcas, a registered nurse, on Aug. 25, 1946.

Dorcas was born in Oklahoma City and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri; a nursing degree from St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri; and a Master of Arts degree from The Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Virginia.

In 1947, the couple was appointed to Paraguay as medical missionaries with the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board). Their task was to build a hospital. Two years later, after surveying the needs, deciding on a location, and purchasing property, Dr. Fowler sent a cable to the FMB: “HOW DO YOU BUILD A HOSPITAL?” He soon received a simple reply from Dr. Everett Gill, FMB’s area secretary for the Americas: “WE ARE PRAYING FOR YOU.”

Looking back on his 100 years, Dr. Fowler credits the hospital in Paraguay as one of his greatest accomplishments. He has reason to be proud. Today, the Baptist Medical Center in Asunción treats about 16,000 patients a month. Under Paraguayan leadership, the hospital has a reputation for excellent medical care and fair business dealings. In 1995, the Baptist Medical Center expanded to include a heart institute, and the next year, doctors there performed Paraguay’s first successful heart transplant.

The Fowlers left Paraguay in 1956 to accept an assignment in Mexico, and in 1960, the family moved to Richmond where Dr. Fowler served as the FMB’s first medical consultant on the home office staff and Dorcas worked as director of the nursing school at Johnston-Willis Hospital until it closed. During his tenure in FMB’s home office, Dr. Fowler focused on missionary health and started the Baptist Medical/Dental Fellowship, which remains active today.

The Fowlers moved to Lakewood in 1987, where they quickly became active in the community. They started a worship service for healthcare residents, and Dr. Fowler continued to write and paint, chronicling his life in “From There to Here: The Story of a Missionary Child.” The missionary life is mobile, and ironically, the Fowlers have lived in retirement at Lakewood for 30 years — longer than anywhere else in their storied and very active lives.

“I can’t imagine Lakewood without the Fowlers,” said Eileen Kwak, the community’s director of resident services. “They are an icon here.”

The Fowlers represent a generation of people who understand the meaning of words like faithfulness, loyalty, commitment, and community — values on which LifeSpire communities are built and continue to thrive. Even at the end of her life, Dorcas faithfully cared for Franklin, Kwak said. As Dorcas’ life ebbed away, Franklin sat quietly, holding her hand.

Franklin and Dorcas also believed they could make a difference in the world for the cause of Christ, and they were willing to endure any hardship to do so. Franklin’s autobiography tells of their first trip to Paraguay by boat when Dorcas was eight months pregnant with their oldest child.

“This proved to be a bad time for Dorcas to travel,” Franklin wrote in “From There to Here.” “Eight months pregnant, the rolling of the ship kept her in her bunk most of the way. I’m afraid this was not a pleasant Caribbean and South American cruise for her.”

A few weeks later, she delivered their oldest son in a clinic in Asunción, Paraguay — without anesthesia.

“I asked Dr. Aguire later why he did not use anesthesia,” Franklin wrote. “He said that if he lost a Paraguayan patient, it would be considered the will of God, but if he lost an American patient or the baby, his reputation would be ruined, thus he took no risks. Dorcas wished he had taken a little more risk!”

In spite of the difficulties, the Fowlers laid the foundation for international missions — medical and otherwise — for generations to follow. Southern Baptist missions efforts today rest on the shoulders of men and women like Franklin and Dorcas Fowler. More importantly, in a world shaken by brokenness, turmoil, and violence, their lives are steadfast examples of genuine love and faithfulness.

In honor of Dr. Fowler’s 100th birthday and the couple’s strong legacy of faith, LifeSpire of Virginia is pleased to publish his autobiography, “From There to Here: The Story of a Missionary Child,” including the history of Southern Baptist medical missions, which he wrote in 1975, and a collection of poems and paintings, which he created during his years at Lakewood.

Proceeds from the sale of the book benefit LifeSpire’s VBH Foundation, which raises funds to help LifeSpire’s life care residents who outlive their financial resources remain in their homes. The book is available for $14.99 on Amazon and from the VBH Foundation. Contact Ann Lovell for more information. 

 

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email alovell@lifespireliving.org or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

Lakewood’s ‘Cumberland group’ wins Leading Age Virginia Award

By Ann Lovell

The Cumberland group displays the Power of Purpose award they received from LeadingAge Virginia June 7.

NORFOLK, Virginia—What do these have in common: six sisters, a sister-in-law, a brother-in-law, and a cousin; four housekeepers, three CNAs, an LPN, and a floor tech? At Lakewood, a LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community in Richmond’s west end, they represent 156 years of combined service.

Seven current and two former employees are a family who make up what’s known as Lakewood’s “Cumberland group.” The family received the inaugural “Power of Purpose” award June 7 at LeadingAge Virginia’s annual conference in Norfolk. The award recognizes a front-line caregiver — or in this case nine — who demonstrate remarkable commitment to the people they serve.

The legacy began in 1988 when Dorothy Trent joined the staff of Lakewood as a housekeeper. Her sister, Nancy Wheele, joined Lakewood as a CNA in 1989 and worked there until her death in 2016. Other members of the family soon followed. Sister Annie Trent worked as a housekeeper from 1991 until 1998, and Julie Athey, a third sister, joined as a CNA in 1992. Five years later Becky and Jimmy Edmonds, Trent’s fourth sister and brother-in-law, joined Lakewood in August 1997 as a CNA and floor tech, respectively. Annette Johnson, a cousin, came to work as an LPN in 2003, and Laura Langhorne, Trent’s fifth sister, and her sister-in-law Lucy Langhorne joined Lakewood as housekeepers in 2008 and 2013, respectively. Together, this all adds up to a combined 156 years of service from one family.

“We call the Cumberland group a ‘legacy family,’” explained Patricia Morris, vice president of the Virginia Baptist Homes Foundation who nominated the group to receive the award. “A ‘legacy family’ includes residents or staff families who have chosen to live or work at Lakewood for a number of generations.”

“The family carpools about an hour each way from their home in Cumberland County to Lakewood,” Morris said. “They are dedicated people who show up on time and work hard.”

Barrett Way, Lakewood’s Executive Director agreed. “Residents depend on them, and they answer the call of service happily. Their commitment to the Lakewood family is evident every day, and we are grateful they chose to join us.”

“We are very honored to have been nominated for this award,” said Jimmy Edmonds, speaking on behalf of the family at the awards ceremony held at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott. “We are real pleased and even more honored to have won the award.

We enjoy working at Lakewood. We enjoy the residents and consider them part of our family,” Edmonds continued. “We do travel long distances, but we do that because we love our jobs, the residents and the staff. We greatly appreciate this award.”

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia. For more information, email alovell@lifespireliving.org or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

 

LifeSpire selects Executive Director for Lakewood

03/09/17

By Ann Lovell

Barrett Way

Richmond, Virginia—LifeSpire of Virginia is pleased to announce the selection of Barrett P. Way as executive director of Lakewood, a LifeSpire continuing care retirement community in Richmond’s west end.

Way is currently the executive director of Westminster Village in Terre Haute, Indiana, managed by Life Care Services. During his tenure with Life Care Services, Way led a $2 million villa expansion project, oversaw the refinancing of $8.9 million in debt and helped the community achieve more than 400 days in “no lost work.” His efforts led to an overall increase in resident satisfaction to 92 percent, with 96 percent of residents recommending the community to family and friends.

“We are pleased to welcome Mr. Way to lead the Lakewood community,” said Jonathan Cook, LifeSpire president and CEO. “His background in senior living and health care administration, and his proven track record of success in community expansion, financial stewardship and resident focus will serve Lakewood well. We are excited to bring him on at a time when we are expanding our community and increasing our focus on wellness, hospitality and dining.”

Way, who grew up in Richmond’s west end, looks forward to returning to his childhood neighborhood. Way holds a master’s in business administration from the University of Massachusetts’ Isenberg School of Management and a bachelor’s in business administration from Ohio University. He and his wife have one daughter and will welcome their second child in late March.

 

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email alovell@lifespireliving.org or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

 

Now hiring: Executive Director for Lakewood

RICHMOND, Virginia—LifeSpire of Virginia is seeking to hire an executive director for its Lakewood community in Richmond, Virginia.

Lakewood is a not-for-profit life plan community located in Richmond’s West End.  It is one of four communities owned and operated by LifeSpire of Virginia, based in Richmond, Virginia.

The Lakewood community currently consists of 227 independent living apartments, 30 villas, 14 cottages, 60 assisted living beds, 14 assisted living memory support beds, and 96 skilled nursing beds.  The community is in a pre-sales phase for an additional 44 independent living apartments and 20 hybrid homes.  A comprehensive expansion and repositioning project is currently in process that will include the additional independent living units, four new dining venues, a performing arts center, and a comprehensive wellness center that includes an aquatic center.

The community has an outstanding reputation in the Richmond market and currently provides service to 440 residents and employs 360 staff members. The health center provides excellent care and has a 5-Star rating with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In November 2016, Lakewood received the prestigious “Best Nursing Home” rating by U.S. News & World Report.

Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, the Executive Director is responsible for continuing and enhancing the reputation of the community by providing strategic leadership consistent with the LifeSpire mission, vision, and values.  The Executive Director shall provide leadership in the development of policies, procedures and plans which results in the accomplishment of both the organization’s long- and short-range goals.  The Executive Director is responsible for ensuring the development and delivery of appropriate services to the residents, clients, and their families.

Key qualifications, duties, and personal characteristics for this position are:

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Minimum 5 years’ experience as an Executive Director, Officer, or Administrator of a life plan community
  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field
  • NHA license is a plus, but not required
  • Thorough understanding of the senior housing industry
  • Financial management skills; ability to develop and manage the budget for the entire community; identify areas for expense savings or revenue generating opportunities
  • Ability to maintain and strengthen positive working relationships with staff, residents, and leadership across communities
  • With support of the leadership team, develop and implement a strategic plan that aligns with the LifeSpire mission, vision, and values
  • Provide quality programming and services that meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s consumer
  • Develop and sustain a community culture of teamwork, professionalism, mutual respect, continuous quality improvement, and accountability
  • Develop a strong team of competent and committed professionals who are committed to service excellence
  • Articulate a vision, create consensus, and motivate people to build a sense of community

KEY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Support the strategic plan and direction of LifeSpire of Virginia.
  • Direct the overall operations of the facility while complying with state and federal regulations as well as the company’s policies and procedures
  • Ensure compliance and licensure with all licensing agencies
  • Manage occupancy development.
  • Plan, develop, and manage the facility’s operating and capital budgets
  • Develop and monitor all contracted provider services
  • Foster effective communications and teamwork among the facility’s management group
  • Maintain current knowledge about changes in federal, state, and local regulations
  • Focus on achieving and maintaining 5-star status in the community

PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS:

The ideal candidate will be a competent, compassionate, and committed professional who is willing to enter into a long-term commitment of service to the organization and to do so within a team-oriented, collaborative, servant leadership environment.  He/she will be a person of high integrity and ethical standards and have a personal reputation that will reflect well on the organization.  Of equal importance will be a high standard of care and concern for current and future residents. He/she will evidence a commitment to establishing community collaborations. As a relationship-oriented person, the Executive Director will be an excellent communicator and will maintain a visible presence among staff, residents, clients, and within the surrounding community.

 This job offers a competitive base salary with a bonus incentive structure, as well as an excellent benefits package. The full-time benefits package includes options for health, dental, and life insurance, retirement plan, generous paid time off, and relocation assistance.  EOE.

Qualified applicants may apply by e-mailing a resume to:

Mick Feauto, Chief Operating Officer, at mfeauto@lifespireliving.org.

 

 

 

Lakewood residents enjoy new virtual rehabilitation system

By Ann Lovell

RICHMOND, Virginia—Most people may not enjoy the physical rehab required after an accident or injury. But residents at Lakewood, a LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community in Richmond’s West End, are having fun with a new virtual rehabilitation system called Omni VR.

Tania Adams is Lakewood’s Director of Rehabilitation. Lakewood recently introduced the system, geared for rehabilitation and geriatric needs, Adams says. The system allows residents to enjoy the rehab experience while giving therapists information they need to provide quality care.

“We can print the results … and that gives us the functional information we need for Medicare,” Adams says. “It also gives us the accuracy for each exercise … and we can gear our treatment plans to that.”

Sue Watkins, who came to Lakewood for short-term nursing care and has now decided to stay, is one of the first to make use of the new technology. Watkins is learning to use her wheelchair in her new apartment, and one of Omni VR’s games allows her to manipulate the wheelchair to “cut” an on-screen flower.

The virtual system allows residents to play video games while working on a variety of rehabilitation needs, including balance, gait, upper extremities and wheelchair mobility, Adams says. The therapist selects the level of difficulty and adapts the settings to the patient’s needs. For example, screen graphics may distract residents with dementia or neurological impairments, so the therapist can turn the graphic option off.

“This has been great for our residents who tired of using the same machines over and over again,” Adams says. “The residents have so much fun.”


Ann Lovell is corporate director of communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email alovell@lifespireliving.org or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

 

 

LifeSpire communities recognized for excellence

10/18/16

By Ann Lovell

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RICHMOND, Virginia—LifeSpire leadership recognized each of its four continuing care retirement communities for operational and customer service excellence at an awards ceremony Sept. 27. LifeSpire owns and operates four retirement communities serving approximately 1,200 residents throughout Virginia: The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville, The Chesapeake in Newport News, and Lakewood in Richmond.

The awards included:

  • Perfect survey: Presented to the communities that achieved a perfect survey or no deficiencies on annual state health inspections for skilled nursing.
    • Perfect survey 2015: The Glebe
    • Perfect survey 2015: Lakewood
    • Perfect survey 2016: The Chesapeake
  • Spirit of Giving 2016 for highest percentage of employees participating in the employee crisis fund: The Culpeper
  • First Impression 2016 for best appearance of the community: The Culpeper
  • Overall resident satisfaction 2015 for highest resident satisfaction on the 2015 Independent Living resident satisfaction survey: The Glebe
  • Overall resident satisfaction participation 2015 for the highest percentage participation in the 2015 resident satisfaction process: The Glebe
  • Overall employee satisfaction participation 2016 for the highest percentage of employee participation in the 2016 employee satisfaction survey: The Glebe
  • Overall employee satisfaction 2016 for the highest cumulative score on the 2016 employee satisfaction survey: Lakewood
  • Safety First Award for the least amount of dollars spent per claim year: The Glebe
  • Fiscal Management 2015 for the community that performed best compared to budget in relation to campus financial results: Lakewood
  • Fiscal Management 2016 for the community that performed best compared to budget in relation to campus financial results: The Culpeper
  • Graves-Morris Award for largest net gain in independent living occupancy: The Culpeper
  • The Appalachian Trail Award for most independent living move-ins: Lakewood
  • Mount Everest Award for highest sustained occupancy: Lakewood
  • Peak Performance Award for highest closing ratio:
    • Rose Wallace of The Culpeper
    • Dreama Slone of the The Glebe
    • Liz Gee of The Chesapeake
  • The Innovator’s Award for marketing innovation: The Chesapeake

Each LifeSpire community provides a full continuum of care to address the changing health needs of seniors. Readily accessible assisted living, 24-hour nursing care, physical therapy and memory support services combined with a focus on exceptional dining, wellness and hospitality are hallmarks of each LifeSpire community. For more information, contact one of our marketing professionals at the community nearest you:

Rose Wallace, The Culpeper in Culpeper, 540-825-2411 or email rwallace@theculpeper.org
Helen Burnett, The Glebe in Daleville, 540-591-2100 or email hburnett@theglebe.org
Liz Gee, The Chesapeake in Newport News, 757-223-1600 or email lgee@thechesapeake.org
Donna Buhrman, Lakewood in Richmond, 804-740-1900 or email dbuhrman@lakewoodwestend.org


Ann Lovell is corporate director of communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email alovell@lifespireliving.org or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

 

Faith matters

07/18/16

By Ann Lovell

Helen Wood 201606 (1 of 1)
Helen Wood enjoys the fresh air and exercise at Lakewood, a LifeSpire of Virginia community in Richmond’s West End.

RICHMOND, Virginia—Helen Wood wears a Fitbit. She doesn’t always reach 10,000 steps a day, she says, but she tries to go over 5,000. Wood, a resident of Lakewood in Richmond’s West End, recently attended her 60th college reunion at the University of Richmond. She is a member of Virginia Baptist Women in Ministry and also serves on numerous boards, including  the Virginia Baptist Historical Society.

“The key to successful attitudes about aging is to find hobbies and interests beyond your work,” Wood says. “I have many outside interests, but all are within my faith sphere.”

Faith matters to Wood, and for many senior adults like her, the interplay of faith, community and wellness — LifeSpire’s core values — often yields positive results. In fact, a 2010 study on spirituality and aging concludes that faith and religious participation are as important as diet, exercise and social connectedness to successful aging, leading not only to longevity but also to higher satisfaction and a better quality of life.

Tom Crittenden, a resident of The Chesapeake in Newport News, agrees.

“My faith is nourished through my church activities and service on (The Chesapeake’s) worship and spiritual life committee,” Crittenden says. “We are one big family here. … By staying busy in church, overall, I have a better life.”

FAITH DOESN’T CHANGE

But faith is nothing new to Crittenden and Wood. Both say that faith has been an important part of their lives since they were children.

Crittenden grew up Methodist. His mother died a day after Crittenden was born, and his uncle and aunt, whom he describes as “good Christian folks,” adopted him.

“Church was a part of life,” Crittenden says. “My mother taught Sunday school, and I was baptized in the Methodist church.”

Likewise, Wood’s faith has been vital to her throughout her life. “I grew up in faith,” Wood says. “I had Christian parents and grandparents. As a pre-teen, I felt that there was something special I should be doing, and God opened doors for me.”

After college, seminary and marriage, Wood and her husband, Rudy who died in 2008, served 15 years in Europe as international missionaries through the then-Foreign Mission Board (FMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (now IMB). Later Wood served on staff at the FMB mobilizing college students for a variety of international mission opportunities. She also worked with the Virginia Woman’s Missionary Union.

“My faith hasn’t changed over the years,” Wood explains. “It’s who I am. I try to live my life not out of obligation but out of gratitude.”

Julie Walton, who along with Louise Mason serves as chaplain at Lakewood, agrees that faith is life-long. “Faith is important to us for all of our lives,” Walton says. “Faith doesn’t change. It gives meaning and hope in difficult circumstances.”

“Faith takes over when there are no more answers,” says Gerald Carter, chaplain at The Glebe in Daleville. “It’s a belief that the triune God is active in our lives every day.”

“Faith equips us to deal with life’s difficulties such as loss, fear and illness,” says Nancy Hayes, chaplain at The Chesapeake. “Some of the things happening to (our residents) are a slippery slope. Walking through these issues together helps us support, comfort, and encourage one another.”

GOD’S LOVE LIVED OUT

From its beginnings, LifeSpire of Virginia (formerly Virginia Baptist Homes) has been an organization rooted in the Christian faith and centered in Jesus Christ. “Love God and love people,” Jesus told his disciples. “These are the greatest commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40, paraphrased). LifeSpire seeks to promote an organizational culture where God’s love is lived-out among residents, families and staff.

This faith-based distinction is a difference you can feel, says Mason. “The atmosphere here is genuine. People live it,” Mason says. “Nobody here needs to be reminded, and the staff embodies it as much as the residents.”

Carter agrees, “God lives in this place in a special way.”

For Hayes, the faith-based distinction also means welcoming those from a variety of different backgrounds. “We work hard to accept people who have different faith perspectives,” Hayes says. “We focus on what binds us together, rather than what separates us.”

Hayes, who encourages residents to stay active in their local churches, also offers an ecumenical worship service Sunday afternoons. Crittenden, for example, attends his Methodist church Sunday mornings, where he has served as a trustee and is active in the Methodist men’s group. Then, on Sunday afternoons, he helps set up the sound system for the 3 p.m. ecumenical service at The Chesapeake.

“Some of our residents can’t get out Sundays, so they meet with us at 3 p.m.,” Crittenden explains. “We usually have between 65 and 100 people for  Sunday afternoon worship.”

WHEN MEMORY FAILS

While participation in faith-based activities helps provide active seniors with a sense of purpose and well-being, faith is also important to seniors suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, Mason explains. She recalls an instance when she worked on a psychiatric ward early in her career.

“One of the patients had written his own gospel hymns,” Mason says. “He had difficulty communicating, but he sat down at a piano in a commons area and began to play and sing those old hymns. People came out of their rooms to listen. It was a holy moment.”

While dementia and Alzheimer’s disease rob a person of short-term memory, a deeply rooted faith can continue to thrive even as memories fade, Mason says.

“Memory care residents who may not know what day it is can recall a particular church experience from their childhood,” Mason says.

Walton agrees, “Faith taps into a really deep part of you. It transcends day-to-day living.”

Faith also removes anxiety about the future, says Wood, who believes in an afterlife.

“I couldn’t begin to list all the miracles in my life, but they are proof to me that God cares about us individually,” Wood says.

“Today is a gift, and there’s no promise for tomorrow,” she continues. “I’m in God’s hands, and I feel very confident about that.”

–30—

Ann Lovell is corporate director of communications at LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. She can be reached at (804) 521-9192 or by email at alovell@lifespireliving.org.

Lakewood’s Walton endorsed as CBF chaplain

07/13/2016

By Ann Lovell

Julie Walton Endorsement (1 of 1)
Julie Gaines Walton is anointed with oil during a commissioning service for CBF-endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors during the organization’s annual meeting in June.

RICHMOND, Virginia—Julie Gaines Walton, a bi-vocational chaplain at Lakewood, a LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community in Richmond’s West End, received her chaplain’s endorsement from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship during the organization’s general assembly in June.

“These men and women are partners in renewing God’s world as they embody the presence of Christ in these specialized settings,” said Gerry Hutchinson, CBF’s endorser for chaplains and pastoral counselors.

Walton was one of 45 CBF-endorsed chaplains and pastoral-counselors commissioned during the organization’s annual meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina. She also serves on the advancement staff of the Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond.


Ann Lovell is corporate director of communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email alovell@lifespireliving.org or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.