Black History Month holds a special place in the heart of Helen Rayon, Health and Wellness Coordinator at the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center. It conjures up memories of the civil rights movement many years ago, specifically a day at the age of 20, when she and a group of friends courageously carried out lunch counter sit-ins across Sumter, South Carolina.
When we are stuck inside due to the cold weather-maybe sitting around more than we would like- a daily stretching routine is something that can keep our bodies warm and mobile.
Dot and Jaime from Liberty at Home have put together five tips to keep you moving this winter.
Lack of flexibility is something that can occur as we age due to less mobility and changes in our body’s make-up. It’s important to keep your joints moving. Some of the muscles that can become tight include the muscles in the back of the thighs, called your hamstrings, as well as your calf muscles, hip muscles, and your chest and shoulders.
Sitting can cause these muscle groups to become shortened and less flexible and frequent change in position is ideal for prevention. If you find yourself sitting for long periods of time, make sure to stand up intermittently and walk around if you are able.
Remember to follow the advice of your doctor or health professional when you are walking or standing, and use your assistive device if needed.
- Hamstring stretch – You can stretch your hamstrings simply by just extending your leg fully in a seated position. This is called an active stretch because it stretches the muscles while you are moving. Try to do at least 20 repetitions on each side. This is a safe way to stretch your hamstrings without hurting your spine or hip joint. For a more intense stretch, and to involve your calf muscles, try pulling your toes back toward your head. You will feel a more intense stretch in the back of your hamstrings and calf. You can also perform ankle circles to get those feet moving.
- Hip flexors – These are the muscles in the front of your hips. To stretch your hip flexors, stand in front of your kitchen counter or sink, with feet staggered, one in front of the other. Shift your weight forward as if someone was pulling you by your belt buckle, bending your front knee and keeping your back knee straight and heels on the floor. Try to keep your back straight and avoid arching it. You should feel a slight pull in the front of the hip on the back leg, as well as a calf stretch on the back leg. Hold your stretch for up to 30 seconds, performing 3 repetitions on each side.
- Chest stretch – To stretch out your chest, in either a standing or seated position, sit with good posture and perform a rowing motion, pinching your shoulder blades together and pushing your chest out and up. Try to perform at least 20 repetitions. If this is rough on your shoulders, try doing backward shoulder rolls. Roll your shoulders up and back for 20 repetitions to open up the front of your chest and shoulders.
- Back stretch – Sitting is hard on our backs too. To stretch, try standing up at your kitchen counter with your hands on the counter for balance. Try slightly arching backward to extend your spine. If you are unable to do this in standing, you can also do this in a sitting position by alternating between a slouched posture and then moving to an over-exaggerated upright posture, slightly arching your back. Try to perform 10 repetitions.
- Shoulder stretch – In either a standing or seated position, with good posture, reach your arms overhead as high as you are able to perform without pain or pinching in your shoulders. Posture is key when performing this movement, as you will want to keep your shoulder blades back to minimize pinching and to maximize your range of motion. Try performing 10-20 repetitions in a pain free range.
As always, before beginning a stretching program, consult your doctor or physical therapist to make sure that these movements are safe for you and your body. “No Pain, No Gain” is not necessarily true, so you should never stretch through pain or discomfort. You should not feel your muscles trembling or need to hold your breath when stretching either. You should feel a gentle pull in the muscle group you are working on. While many recommend stretching at least 3 times per week, a daily light stretching program will provide the most benefit and keep your body moving and grooving.
Jaime – Outpatient Therapy Manager for Liberty at Home
Dotty – Clinical Manager for Liberty at Home
Liberty at Home empowers Philadelphia-area seniors to confidently remain in the home they love. If you want to live independently, or you are a caregiver struggling to take care of a loved one, you will find that Liberty at Home provides the services you need.
Longevity in life can be associated with what you eat. Longevity in your career can be associated with the example you set and how you treat those you employ and serve. For Duane Leitzell, Director of Dining Services at The Village at Penn State, his love of food, his staff, and the residents at The Village come together to form a lasting bond.
Duane, a State College native who graduated from the distinguished Penn State School of Hospitality Management, shares his experience in our ongoing “A Day in the Life” series.
In April I began working at the Village, which was prior to opening day in August 2003. And almost 15 years later, I’m here with the same vigor as when I began this journey. I’m also proud to say that my first two hires, Executive Chef Craig Hamilton and Lead Utility Coordinator Don Nyman, are still here at The Village as well.
The most important time of our day is service time; whether that is breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We managers are always visible and present. It’s important for us to balance multiple responsibilities at once and provide support where it’s needed most. We work in the dining rooms and in the kitchens and go where we’re needed. For instance, if the chefs need help in the kitchen, I’ll pitch in on the line. If the servers need help with a rush, I’ll be there with them bussing tables. It’s also my responsibility to perform quality control in order to ensure that our residents have the best possible service and dining experience.
Pretty much every night before dinner, I’ll pop behind the bar and serve drinks. One of the rules for front-of-the-house managers is that we must visit each table every night to ensure residents are having the experience they deserve.
When it comes to overseeing the cuisine and menu, Chef Craig and I create a monthly full menu for everyday dining. We then help craft the chef’s daily featured entree, a featured sandwich, featured omelet, and a featured salad. The biggest driver for culinary folks is creative expression. Many times we will turn these featured items over to our chefs to see what they can create. The chefs have freedom to explore and devise features based on locally grown, in-season produce, or however they want to set the parameters. We might help them refine the dishes, but the dishes start with the chefs’ own imagination.
A distinguishing aspect of The Village is the Chef’s Table private dining experience. This is held once per month or upon request if a resident has special guests visiting. Chef Craig and I will team up to create a menu based on the requests of the resident, or sometimes we’ll have carte blanche to create a menu from scratch that the resident won’t even see until we deliver it to the table. While I’m not a wine expert by trade, through the years there are some learned skills that help me pair almost any meal with the perfect wine.
There is locally grown food, and then there is food that you can actually watch as it grows. The Penn State Farm Club is now in their second growing season. We’ve partnered with them to buy produce directly from them. One can see their farm from my office window. Each Friday, we receive an email from the Farm Club detailing what will be harvested on Monday morning. I’ll email our order and the students deliver it Monday afternoon fresh from the field. Our team can then have it on the menu as early as Tuesday. We make sure that everyone knows that their fresh vegetables are grown by students right at the base of The Village. Chef Craig and I also travel to local Amish farm stands and buy direct depending on what is in season and what was harvested that day.
Having come up through the culinary ranks—I am still passionate about being on the line, sautéing, and in the deep. Through the years, I’ve learned that the front-of-the-house managers, servers, bus boys/girls, and back-of-the-house chefs, line cooks, and dishwashers, are equally important and mutually inclusive. You need the balance.
I am proud of the experience and lifestyle The Village provides to its residents, and I am equally proud to stand by the mission I created when I started here – “High quality, fresh food, and heartfelt service every day.”
Learn more about university-based living at The Village at Penn State by visiting RetireAtPennState.org.
The winter of 2017-18 has been a rollercoaster of extremes in Pennsylvania- drastic cold snaps, ice storms, flooding, snow and even more snow. With February 4th being the midpoint of winter, now is time to make sure you are prepared for the second half of the season.
“Searching for resources during a crisis can add extra stress and take valuable time,” said Julia Menzo, Liberty Lutheran’s director of community outreach. “Even if you didn’t take the time in late fall to prepare your home, car or family for winter, you can still be ready for whatever February and March bring.”
Julia also serves as Coordinator for Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA (LDR-EPA). Tasked with overseeing disaster preparedness and response for Lutherans in 19 counties of eastern Pennsylvania, Julia has culled resources to help you through the second half of this truly unpredictable winter.
- What you need to know about hypothermia: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothermia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352682
- How to making a family emergency plan: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
- How to winterize your car: https://www.dmv.org/how-to-uides/winterize-car.php
- Winter driving tips: https://exchange.aaa.com/safety/driving-advice/winter-driving-tips/
- Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning at home: https://www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm
- Preventing winter fires: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/heating.html
- Preventing & treating frozen pipes: http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/winter-storm/frozen-pipes
- Shoveling snow the right way: https://www.wikihow.com/Shovel-Snow
For more information, contact Julia Menzo, Coordinator, Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-430-1299.
Learn more about LDR-PA at Libertylutheran.org/disaster-recovery-philadelphia-pa
As the nation remembers the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., here’s a special note from Luanne Fisher, Liberty Lutheran President and CEO:
The Community Service Club at Liberty’s Paul’s Run senior living community admirably honors Dr. King’s vital call to action. “Our mission is to support ministries that provide food for those facing food insecurity,” says Julie Stumpf, Director of Spiritual Care.
The Community Service Club, which includes residents and staff, prepares 300-400 sandwiches each month for the Social Ministry of New Creation Lutheran Church. “The sandwiches are picked up by congregational members and taken to homeless individuals who live under bridges and along railroad tracks in the vicinity of North Philadelphia,” says Julie.
The monthly meal preparation continues as the Club prepares an additional 400 sandwiches for St. Francis Inn, a ministry that serves meals to some of the most vulnerable individuals and families in Philadelphia. Additionally, a group of Community Service members prepare 100 full-course dinners monthly for Jane Adamms Place, an emergency homeless shelter in Philadelphia for mothers and their children.
Julie says that it’s greatly rewarding for residents and staff to participate in efforts that help to strengthen and support vulnerable individuals and families. Moreover, both residents and staff members enjoy being part of a large community of caring people that encompasses not only Paul’s Run, but volunteers from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, New Creation Lutheran Church, St Francis Inn, and a wide variety of generous food donors that include the Core Group, Whole Foods, Outback Steakhouse, Starbucks, and Weiss Markets.
The initiative at Paul’s Run to support people who cope with food insecurity has been steadily growing over the last few years. The preparation of about 100 meals each month has now grown to 600-900 meals monthly. It’s amazing to witness how this tremendous effort has taken root and awakens a strong sense of purpose and meaning for so many who are involved.
Thank you to Julie and the Community Service Club for the truly impactful and meaningful way you honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Day of Service—on the actual day of this special observance, as well as many days throughout the year.
Sally Wangness, a resident at The Village at Penn State, is the unofficial documentarian of construction of the community’s new connector hallway and community room. Since construction began in August 2017, she has been snapping photos to follow the progress. “The photos are mounted on an easel outside the main dining room with a description,” said Sally. “I love being able to keep everyone informed on the progress of these much anticipated additions.”
The brisk pace of construction on the hallway and community room means the exterior walls are complete and the interior is taking shape. Interior rooms- such as the kitchen area, restrooms, audio/visual space, and the stage- have been roughed out and wiring and plumbing are now being installed. Sally marvels at the pace of the construction. “Each time I come here with Ellen Corbin, executive director of the Village, there is something new to see. Ellen has been so gracious in letting me photograph the progress.”
With a raised stage and seating for up to 165 guests, the new community room will allow more residents to partake in the variety of activities offered at The Village. The new connector hallway will make it much easier to visit family and friends in the Atrium as it links the main residence with the personal care community.
Careful planning on account of the fickle State College weather has kept the progress on track according to Dave DeLuca, Liberty Lutheran’s director of real estate development. “The weather in late 2017 did make it a challenge,” said Dave, “To prepare for that, our team did its homework and we still expect to complete construction by early spring.”
New construction will also being soon on Palmer Park and six park-adjacent cottages. Palmer Park is a first-of-its kind fully landscaped park and gardens, featuring professionally contoured golf putting and practice areas, a village green and a multi-purpose area for many recreational activities. The luxurious cottages will include two bedrooms and two-full bathrooms, an open floor plan with 1,800 square feet of living space, vaulted ceilings, and dramatic windows that feature views of the beautiful Palmer Park.
In 2014, Sally also documented the construction of The Atrium, The Village’s personal care community. When the groundbreaking on Palmer Park and the cottages occurs, Sally plans on being there to capture that progress as well.
You can learn more about the exciting new opportunities of growth at RetireatPennState.org.
This past November, Bob and Beverly Bortz celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Married on November 18, 1967, they saw a golden opportunity to give back. The Bortzes chose to use their celebration as a fundraiser for Liberty Lutheran.
“When you need for nothing materially, it is best to give to others,” said Bob.” We didn’t need another bottle of wine or a gift certificate. We suggested that, if guests wished to recognize our milestone in a tangible way, they make a donation to Liberty Lutheran Services.”
To date their friends and family have generously donated over $5,300. “The outpouring of support is overwhelming,” said Beverly. “I am so grateful to our friends and family for making these gifts. It’s just a neat feeling and it makes you feel so good to do something like this for an organization that both of us are honored to be a part of.”
Bob credits Beverly with the clever idea to share in their good fortunes. Married on November 18, 1967, The Bortzes returned to the historic William Penn Inn exactly 50 years later to celebrate their love and commitment to each other. Through their charitableness, they also showed their commitment to Liberty Lutheran’s family of services.
Milestones of 1967:
Average Cost of new house $14,250.00.
Average Income per year $7,300.00.
Average Monthly Rent $125.00.
Gas per Gallon 33 cents.
The Beatles release Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Rolling Stone Magazine’s first issue was printed.
As one of the Top Workplaces within the Philadelphia region according to Philly.com, Liberty Lutheran offers a number of opportunities for personal and professional growth. As a leader in senior care and community outreach, Liberty Lutheran continues to invest in the health and wellbeing of its employees.
Liberty Wellness Works encourages employees to stay healthy by offering a monetary bonus program that awards up to $350 per year for meeting preventive health care requirements and wellness goals. Employees can earn points by taking part in monthly challenges, joining a fitness center or Liberty’s own Becoming Center, receiving annual physicals and screenings, and more. When an employee gains enough points, he/she can redeem them for a cash reward on a dollar-per-point basis.
Rebecca DiTore, Wellness Program Coordinator for Liberty Lutheran, oversees Liberty Wellness Works. “The commitment Liberty shows to the wellbeing of each employee is spectacular,” said Rebecca. “Liberty offers a 24/7 online health portal with a personalized health activity tracker and self-help modules, monthly wellness challenges, healthy cooking demonstrations, stress reduction workshops, and on-site preventive health screenings.”
Liberty employees are also encouraged to workout at the fitness centers at Paul’s Run, the Manor at York Town and the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center. For a more structured fitness regime, employees can join the Becoming Center at a discounted rate.
To start 2018 off right, Rebecca shared Five Goals for a Happy and Healthy New Year.
- Make your New Year goals SMART. SMART stands for: specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. If your overall goal is to lose weight this year, your SMART goals will be the smaller steps that you take to lose that weight. For example, I will go to the gym 3x/week for 30 minutes after work. Once you determine your goals, write them down and keep them somewhere you will see daily!
- Practice mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. All you need is 5 minutes to begin. This is a time to quiet your mind of scattered thoughts and worries and instead, improve focus and awareness. Use those 5 minutes to focus on your breath. Every time your mind wanders, acknowledge your thoughts and then refocus on your breath again. The more you practice, the less your mind will wander.
- Pick plant foods over processed foods. Cut back on processed and packaged. Instead, prioritize the produce aisle this year. Different fruits and vegetables provide different disease-fighting nutrients so it’s important to eat a wide variety of colors daily!
- Get more sleep. Shoot for about 7-8 hours of sleep each night and try to maintain a regular sleep/wake schedule. Getting enough restful sleep can help with weight management and improve brain function while a deficiency in sleep may increase your risk of chronic health conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
- Get up to date on preventive screenings and check-ups. If you’ve been putting off that colonoscopy or mammogram, call your doctor and make an appointment early in the year. In addition to eating healthy, exercising, managing stress and getting enough sleep, having regular conversations with your doctor and staying up to date on preventive screenings are necessary for overall health and well-being!
Liberty Wellness works will present several exciting changes in 2018. Highlights include an updated and improved web portal, a new structure for earning bonuses, and more team challenges to encourage employees to work together for better health.
You can find more information about Liberty Wellness Works at https://www.libertylutheran.org/employee-wellness. To learn more about the benefits of working for Liberty Lutheran visit Libertylutheran.org/careers.
At Liberty Lutheran, we are keeping a close watch on the proposed changes to the United States tax code. While the changes have yet to be finalized, there are aspects being proposed that may affect the residents and members of our communities.
For the seniors in our care, there are two major changes that could affect their wellbeing and their carefully constructed budgets that were planned years in advance.
Any proposed changes in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, services many of our residents rely on, would mean more out of pocket expenses. Changes in medical deduction allowances affect seniors disproportionately as many have come to rely on those deductions.
Combined, these changes could be devastating to our residents who live on fixed-incomes. As they exhaust their savings much earlier than ever expected, this could lead to more residents depending on Liberty’s benevolent care program.
You can provide security today for residents worried about their financial resources. Click here to give today to our benevolent care fund.
There are two other ways to make a gift and save on taxes by the end of the year.
Consider donating appreciated stock, bonds or mutual fund shares, which allows you to take a charitable deduction for the fair market value of the stock and avoid the capital gains tax that you would pay if you sold the shares and then donated the proceeds to Liberty Lutheran. Click here for more information.
Some people have found that a convenient way to support Liberty Lutheran is through a tax benefit known as the Charitable IRA Rollover. For those who are 70½ years of age or older, this benefit allows you to give up to $100,000 from an IRA to a charity, with the donation counting towards your minimum required distribution. The benefit – the donor can deduct the full amount of the donation from gross income for tax purposes. Click here for more information on IRAs.
We are truly grateful for your support and friendship, and hope you will consider Liberty Lutheran Services among your year-end charitable giving decisions.
This past October, the First Youth Program at First Moravian Church in Easton, PA was host to their inaugural class for the Make It, Take It Kitchen program for kids. The six week course aims to teach kids about cooking, nutrition, and food safety. For most of the children in attendance, it was their first time in a professional kitchen, and their first time trying to cook.
Nancy Walters, founder of Make It, Take It Kitchen, was inspired to create the program when she learned that Easton’s West Ward was designated as a USDA food desert and low-income area. According to the American Nutrition Association, a food desert is defined as a part of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers in the region. With this in mind, Nancy saw a need for a resource that could teach residents about nutrition.
“Food insecurity can lead to poor nutritional habits, which can lead to health problems as well as obesity, from relying upon too easily available processed or fast foods,” said Nancy. “I believe that if we support individuals and families in practicing cooking healthy, nutritious meals at home, we can impact the overall health in our community.”
Liberty’s Lutheran Congregational Services (LCS) was instrumental in securing key grants to make the Make It, Take It Kitchen program possible. “Building the initial connection between Make It, Take It Kitchen and the funders was a role LCS gladly accepted,” said Julia Menzo, Liberty’s director of community outreach. “Many organizations don’t realize what grants and funding are out there to help programs start and thrive. LCS connects the dots between like-minded organizations to make successful connections and spur growth.”
LCS staff and Nancy worked together to secure grants from First Presbyterian Church of Easton, Arndt’s Lutheran Church of Easton, and Cooking Matters, a national program that provides nutrition info and cooking classes for low income children teens and families helped the Make It, Take It Kitchen start off strong. “The grants are the route to our success because this was designed to be volunteer driven, with no paid staff,” said Nancy.
At graduation in November, the once kitchen-naive chefs showed off their new found skills by cooking for their families at a special ceremony. They also received a backpack with a booklet of all the recipes they made, plus the kitchen tools they used each week so they can keep cooking at home. “If you want to make a nutritious soup for your family but you don’t have a cutting board, a knife and a soup pot, then how do you continue to make that nutritious meal?” said Nancy.
“The program was designed to be replicated by other faith-based or service groups,” said Nancy. Make It, Take It Kitchen classes are not just for kids; three classes for adults were held in the past year at various locations in Easton. As the program builds, Nancy would like to expand the number of classes taught, and translate all materials to Spanish to reach a wider audience.