Category Archives: The Chesapeake

LifeSpire seniors to ‘bike for benevolence’ Sept. 28

Bob Hill, 80, a resident of The Culpeper, regularly runs and bikes to keep in shape. Hill will participate in “Biking for Benevolence” Sept. 28, a wellness event hosted by LifeSpire’s Virginia Baptist Homes Foundation.

By Ann Lovell

RICHMOND, Virginia—Never underestimate the strength of a senior. Five LifeSpire of Virginia residents — ranging in age from 70 to 80 — will bike the Virginia Capital trail Sept. 28. The event for LifeSpire residents, staff, trustees and families will highlight Active Aging Week and raise awareness of the mission of Virginia Baptist Homes Foundation, said Patricia Morris, a LifeSpire vice president and head of the VBH Foundation.  The ride offers starting points at mile posts 42, 27 or 20, and the group of 17 riders will finish in Jamestown at mile post 0.

The International Council on Aging designated the last full week in September as Active Aging Week beginning in 2003.  Held this year from Sept. 24-30, Active Aging Week celebrates aging and showcases the capability of older adults. Through the bike event, LifeSpire of Virginia is linking senior wellness with the opportunity to support those who outlive their financial resources, Morris said.

“Last year, VBH Foundation gave more than $1.1 million to 59 life care residents across all four LifeSpire communities. Thanks to the support of our donors, no life care resident has ever been asked to leave a community because they ran out of money,” Morris said. “The support of our foundation provides LifeSpire’s residents the peace of mind that allows them to flourish.”

Riders may start from mile post 42 or 27 at 11 a.m. or at mile post 20 at 12:30 p.m. Riders are expected to finish around 3 p.m. at mile post 0 in Jamestown. The Cap Trail shuttle is providing free shuttle service to event participants.

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

 

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia. Contact her at alovell@lifespireliving.org or (804) 521-9192.

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

LifeSpire awards staff scholarships

06/15/17

By Ann Lovell

 

Kristen Peters, a dining services employee, receives a scholarship award from Jim Jacobsen, The Culpeper’s executive director.

CULPEPER, Virginia—LifeSpire of Virginia recently awarded its first-ever employee scholarships to staff and family of The Culpeper, a LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community in Culpeper.  Kristen Peters, a dining services employee at The Culpeper, and Brandi Houck, daughter of Paula Bolton, The Culpeper’s assisted living administrator, each received $1,500 to continue their education. Peters, a graduate of Culpeper County high school, plans to pursue a degree in nursing. Houck, a graduate of Eastern View high school, will attend Christopher Newport University in the fall.

Brandi Houck and her mother, Paula Bolton, The Culpeper’s assisted living administrator, display her scholarship award from LifeSpire’s Virginia Baptist Homes Foundation.

The scholarships are funded through donations to LifeSpire’s employee education fund and administered by the Virginia Baptist Homes Foundation, LifeSpire’s benevolent arm. Scholarships are available to employees and children or grandchildren of employees.

“We are pleased to provide scholarships to these students, and we are grateful to our donors who helped make these inaugural awards possible,” said Patricia Morris, vice president of the VBH Foundation. “We wish Kristen and Brandi the very best in their future studies.”

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.

Loop selected to lead The Chesapeake

05/19/17

By Ann Lovell

RICHMOND, Virginia—LifeSpire of Virginia is pleased to announce the selection of David Loop as executive director of The Chesapeake, a LifeSpire continuing care retirement community in Newport News.

Loop brings more than 25 years of senior housing experience to The Chesapeake and has valuable involvement with expansion and renovation projects, hospitality program development, strategic planning and fiscal management.  Loop has worked in both large and small retirement communities; with single-site and multi-community organizations; for non-profit and for-profit companies; and with start-up and existing properties. He has also served on numerous professional committees, state association boards and the LeadingAge House of Delegates.

“David’s broad experience will serve The Chesapeake well as the community goes through a major renovation project and strategic planning over the next few years,” said Jonathan Cook, President and CEO of LifeSpire. “We believe he is the perfect fit for The Chesapeake and for LifeSpire.”

Originally from Ohio, Loop holds a bachelor’s degree from Miami University of Ohio and received a certificate in nursing home administration from The Ohio State University.  He has a passion for excellent customer service and has received training from Disney, Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons. He and his wife, Vera, have five children and four grandchildren with a fifth grandchild expected soon.

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 The Chesapeake

May 5, 2017

RICHMOND, Virginia—LifeSpire of Virginia is seeking to hire an executive director for The Chesapeake, a not-for-profit life plan community in Newport News, Virginia. The Chesapeake is one of four communities owned and operated by LifeSpire of Virginia, based in Richmond, Virginia.

The Chesapeake currently consists of 252 independent living apartments/cottages, 57 assisted living beds, 15 assisted living memory support beds and 52 skilled nursing beds. Beginning this summer or early fall, an $8 to $10 million common area renovation project will take place over the next few years.

The community has an outstanding reputation in the Tidewater market and currently provides service to 390 residents and employs 280 staff members.  The health center provides excellent care and has a four-star rating with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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 result 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 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 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 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.

 

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 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.

 

LifeSpire residents participate in Active Aging Week … and stay fit year-round

By Ann Lovell

Since 2003, the International Council on Active Aging has promoted Active Aging Week during the last week of September. LifeSpire residents in each of its four communities participated in a variety of activities, Sept. 25 – Oct. 1, including walking tours, aquatic exercise, glow-in-the-dark games, Segway outings, drum circles, and mystery walks.

nustep-marathonNuStep Marathon: Forty-three residents participated in The Glebe’s NuStep marathon. Each signed up for a 30-minute time slot on a NuStep machine, keeping two NuSteps occupied continuously for about 11 hours! A few residents who had never tried the NuStep joined a team, prompting Rachel Carson, The Glebe’s wellness coordinator, to proclaim the NuStep marathon the “biggest success” of this year’s Active Aging Week.

lakewood-active-aging-allen-brownLakewood’s drum circle: This interactive event allowed Lakewood residents to enjoy making music while reaping the health benefits of ensemble drumming. While research suggests learning any new skill diminishes and even prevents senile dementia, the physical act of drumming has additional advantages, including improved circulation and loosening stiff joints in the shoulders, arms, and hands.

Research shows that an active lifestyle lessens the challenges and increases the opportunities associated with aging. In addition to celebrating Active Aging Week, LifeSpire seeks to provide an environment within its four communities that offers aging adults programs, guidance, and support for healthy aging — all year long.

the-culpeper-mr-bob-hill Bob Hill, a resident at The Culpeper, is one example of a LifeSpire resident committed to wellness. Hill stays fit by running three times a week, and his fitness goals give him the strength, energy and stamina to volunteer with a number of humanitarian organizations. In the past, Hill’s volunteerism led him to North Africa where he helped build dams, repair schools, and mentor the children of female prisoners who lived in the prison with their mothers. He has also served the needs of low-income people through World Changers in Norfolk by inspecting homes and offering needed repairs to make the homes safer, warmer and drier.

jesse-hughesJesse Hughes, a resident of The Chesapeake, is another example of LifeSpire wellness. Hughes participated in the Virginia Senior Games May 17 – 21 with more than 2,100 participants. Hughes won a gold medal in basketball and three silver medals in the 50-yard run, 25-meter backstroke, and the broad jump. Since moving to The Chesapeake, Hughes has made sure to keep his body in top shape by participating in the many wellness programs the community offers.


LifeSpire owns and operates four continuing care 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.

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
Helen Burnett, The Glebe in Daleville, 540-591-2100
Liz Gee, The Chesapeake in Newport News, 757-223-1600
Donna Buhrman, Lakewood in Richmond, 804-740-2900

Ann Lovell is corporate director of communications for LifeSpire of Virginia. For more information, contact her at alovell@lifespireliving.org or (804) 521-9192.

‘We are family’ says The Chesapeake’s Dining Room Manager

08/03/2016

By Ann Lovell

George Moore HiRes CroppedNEWPORT NEWS, Virginia—George Moore believes in putting others first. As the dining room manager at The Chesapeake, Moore understands that the quality of the food and the attitude of the dining room staff give seasoned, new, and prospective residents a sense of The Chesapeake’s unique hospitality.

“From the time they walk in the door, I want them to feel they can be happy and safe here,’” says Moore, who has worked at The Chesapeake for 15 years. “I especially want new and prospective residents to see our community as a place where they want to spend the rest of their lives.”

Moore has a long history of experience in food service, including several well-known Fortune 500 restaurants. Prior to joining the staff of The Chesapeake, Moore was the dining room manager at Lakewood, a LifeSpire community in Richmond. He enjoys preparing and serving delicious, nutritious meals that promote overall wellness, and he believes The Chesapeake’s dining room staff is central to the community’s success.

“We have great, dedicated employees,” Moore says. “Our first priority is service, and our goal is to do the job the right way.”

Moore’s customer service is exemplary, says Tammy Slowikowski, The Chesapeake’s director of dining and hospitality services.

“George and his staff touch each resident every day with food and hospitality,” Slowikowski says. “Here, they don’t come and go” like they would in a traditional restaurant. “This is their home. George understands that.”

The feeling of family is important to Moore, and he trains his staff to see the residents as family as well.

“I tell our younger employees that our residents are like their grandmothers and grandfathers,” Moore says. “We will treat them with the utmost respect because they are part of our family.”

 

LifeSpire advances its relationship with the National Institute of Fitness and Sport

07/18/16

By staff

RICHMOND, Virginia—LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes, is advancing its relationship with the National Institute of Fitness and Sport (NIFS) as NIFS assumes management of the fitness program at The Chesapeake, a LifeSpire continuing care retirement community in Newport News. NIFS currently manages the fitness program at Lakewood, a LifeSpire community in Richmond’s West End.

“We are pleased that NIFS is now managing fitness in two of our communities,” said Mick Feauto, LifeSpire’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “They will be very instrumental in developing a comprehensive wellness program that will be implemented in all of our communities.”

NIFS is an industry leader in designing and executing holistic wellness programs for seniors. In January, NIFS signed an agreement with LifeSpire to provide the following services:

  • Personal training, personalized exercise programs, fitness testing, and equipment orientation
  • Group fitness classes
  • Data analysis
  • Health-Related educational sessions, life-long learning opportunities, nutritional coaching, and weight-loss programs
  • Cross-department collaboration
  • Implementation of Incentive and Wellness programs

Research shows that an active lifestyle can lessen the challenges and increase the opportunities associated with aging. LifeSpire seeks to provide an environment within its four communities that offers aging adults programs, guidance, and support for healthy aging. The partnership with NIFS helps LifeSpire residents take charge of their health and wellness and improve their overall quality of life.

For more information on NIFS, visit wellness.NIFS.org.

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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.”

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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.