It’s been a few months now since we first launched our #BrightenUpLTC campaign, hoping to shine a light on the positive occurrences that are happening in nursing homes across the country.
We’ve received dozens of responses since that initial November call and have highlighted a handful already in our weekly Brighter Side feature that runs every Wednesday. Keep ’em coming and we’ll continue to do so every week until you run out of ideas.
I just wanted to take a few minutes to highlight a few of the lovely notes that we’ve received in recent weeks.
Blizzard won’t stop one all-star employee
Wisconsin was hit hard with snow last week, making it difficult for workers to get to the Lakeview Health Center in West Salem, WI.
But that didn’t stop star nursing employee Alison Haack, a resident care assistant, from coming into work early, using her cross country skis to trek into the office.
“We weren’t able to capture a picture of her in the snow but we were able to get a snapshot when she got inside,” wrote Rebecca Rieber, support systems manager for the facility, sharing this snapshot. “Showing appreciation to employees is often difficult but we thought sharing our story with McKnight’s might be a way to do that. Thank you, Alison!”
Spreading joy in NH
The Northeast Credit Union, in New Hampshire, has developed the Love Your Community Project as a way to encourage people to practice kindness in everyday life.
Individuals involved with the LYC effort visited St. Ann Rehabilitation and Nursing Center on Valentine’s Day, greeting each resident and presenting him or her with a flower.
The North East Credit Union, based in Portsmouth, NH, did so as part of “Random Acts of Kindness” week, with its entire organization working to spread such random cheer to members of the community.
Chelsea Byrnes, a manager of life enrichment at St. Ann, shared several lovely pictures from the visit with McKnight’s, including this one.
Nacho average resident
Jesse Naputi, the activities director for Palomar Heights Post-Acute Rehab, recently reached out, wanting to give a shoutout to one of his favorite residents.
Ignacio “Nacho” Enloe “embodies the definition of the word ‘brighten’” at the Escondido, CA, facility. The Vietnam veteran serves as president of Palomar Heights’ Resident Council and always has a giant smile on his face, and his kindness is infectious among staffers at the facility, Naputi says.
Enloe loves art and his holiday-themed paintings often adorn the walls throughout the building.
“Nacho really is an amazing human being, and anyone who has the great pleasure of knowing him will be a better person for doing so. We are all inspired to shine brighter, every day,” Naputi wrote.
From one special resident to the next
Meanwhile, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation reached out to us to highlight its own special resident.
The New Hyde Park, NY, provider said that it’s proud to be home to Andre Zileron, an 87-year-old Haitian refugee who was once a master jeweler.
Zileron came to Parker Jewish in 2013, after his home country was struck by a devastating earthquake, which left the octogenarian trapped in debris for three days before he was discovered by rescuers.
As his health improved, Zileron began looking for something to keep him occupied. Unable to take up jewelry making, he took to painting in an art therapy class about a year ago.
“Painting got his creative juices flowing again and how we can’t stop him,” says Alycia D’avino, Parker’s assistant director of therapeutic recreation.
Last month, Parker Jewish named Zileron as its “Artist of the Month” to recognize his talents. They’re also submitting some of his paintings for the LeadingAge New York Art Competition, and are cosponsoring an exhibition of his and other nursing home residents’ artwork, in collaboration with the group.
Nursing home helps with daddy daughter dance
Aiming to spread joy and build goodwill in its community, Golden LivingCenter-Knox recently helped spearhead a local daddy-daughter dance.
The Knox, IN, facility sponsored the event, which included more than 200 dads, grandfathers, daughters and grandkids.
Held at the local event center on Feb. 9, the Daughter Daddy Princess Dance was “magical for those who attended” with music, food and pictures with Disney princesses, says spokeswoman Sarah Meche.
The dance also helped raise more than $1,500 for the Relay for Life of Knox County Indiana, she added.
Michigan provider helps resident rock out
Brittany Hanson, a spokeswoman with Trilogy Health Services, recently reached out to us to share how her facility is brightening the life of one particular resident.
Chris Reinert is a diehard fan of Kiss, with the band in heavy rotation on his CD player, and the back of his wheelchair adorned with a license plate advertising his mega fandom.
The 53-year-old resident of the Stonegate Health Campus, in Lapeer, MI, suffers from muscular dystrophy and has been unable to see his idols since the diagnosis.
Trilogy Health Services, however, is granting his wish, buying Reinert four tickets to see Kiss live in Grand Rapids, MI, next month, along with two backstage passes for the show. “All at once, the man who couldn’t stop talking about Kiss was at a loss for words,” the provider said in an announcement. For more on the foundation, you can also check out this video from Trilogy Health Services.
More wishes granted
Amanda Hartman, RN, similarly wrote us recently to share how her facility have been granting residents’ wishes.
Hartman, who is the director of nursing at Senior Villa, said a few years back, they implemented a new program called “Villa Adventures,” looking to improve the quality of life for residents.
With the program, the 90-bed SNF, in rural Utah, meets with residents to determine their dreams, or something they have always wanted to do in life. They took one resident who was once a pilot on an airplane ride, and he even got to fly the plane for a spell, Hartman said. Another resident had a simpler wish, wanting to go to the local Pizza Hut to fold pizza boxes while chowing down on some fresh pies.
“No matter how big or small, our goal is to identify what is uniquely important to each resident and do our best to provide these experiences to them,” Hartman told McKnight’s.
Send your story ideas to and follow Staff Writer Marty Stempniak @MStempniak.