Warm Hearth Village Blog
Dementia Friends is a global movement that is changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. Developed by the Alzheimer's Society in the United Kingdom, the Dementia Friends initiative is also under way in the U.S.A. Warm Hearth Village (WHV) recently achieved its goal to become the first dementia friendly business in Virginia. LeadingAge Virginia, the state association of nonprofit providers of aging services, congratulates them on this achievement. “What an incredible accomplishment for Warm Hearth Village, their staff, volunteers, board and residents. This success is a testament to their leadership and the organization’s commitment to those they serve,” says Melissa Andrews, LeadingAge Virginia’s President and CEO.
To receive this recognition, LeadingAge Virginia confirmed that Warm Hearth has met all of the requirements set forth by Dementia Friends, including:
- · Dementia Friends information sessions are included in all new employee orientation sessions
- · 50 percent of the employees have become Dementia Friends
- · All Board Members will become Dementia Friends in July
- · The organization is a third of the way toward a minimum of 50 percent of its Independent Residents becoming Dementia Friends
- · All incoming volunteers are becoming Dementia Friends and 100 percent of existing volunteers will also be Dementia Friends
- · The Senior Management team has become Dementia Friends
- · Dementia Friends information sessions and refresher sessions are added to the annual staff education offerings
- · The education department will review the information annually to assess for changes in information and consider improvements
- · The Continuous Quality Improvement Committee will produce a document highlighting the multiple ways in which Warm Hearth supports employee caregivers and provide that document to the staff.
WHV serves many seniors who are impacted by dementia, and strives to be a community leader in terms of advocacy and resources for those affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Part of their advocacy is helping residents and staff better understand and care for those with the disease. Marie Swink, Social Worker at the Kroontje Health Care Center (KHCC) and Dementia Friends Champion, coordinated this effort and defined a dementia friendly community as being “informed, safe, and respectful of individuals with dementia.” Swink added, “Our Dementia Friendly Champions’ next steps are to collaborate with stakeholders in Blacksburg to become a Dementia Friendly town.”
Warm Hearth also offers these support groups:
- · The Memory Café – a safe and welcoming environment for seniors learning to deal with Alzheimer’s Disease is held the last Thursday of every month from 1:30 to 2:30 pm at the Village Center. Laura Peery, Social Worker at the Kroontje Health Care Center (KHCC) and Dementia Friends Champion, is overseeing the group. “Members of the group share experiences and coping mechanisms and offer support to one another, which has proven to be highly effective in helping them maintain normalcy in their day-to-day lives,” she said.
- · Alzheimer’s Association Support Group – held the second and fourth Thursday of every month at 3 pm at Warm Hearth’s Village Center. “This group is a judgement-free space where caregivers can lean on each other for support and gain insight from one another with the hope that they will learn new strategies to help with their loved ones,” said Swink.
Radford and Christiansburg branches of BB&T have chosen the Warm Hearth Foundation Micah’s Program for their 2019 Lighthouse Project. The Lighthouse Project is an opportunity for BB&T employees to participate in an annual service effort to address community needs. This year, the associates purchased $1,000 worth of laundry pods for The Micah’s Personal Care Program that helps approximately 150 low-income seniors living at Warm Hearth Village. In May and June, in conjunction with Micah’s Meals, associates will also volunteer to deliver shelf-stable groceries and hot meals to approximately 70 residents in need on the WHV campus.
Karen Nelson, Associate Director of Development said, “We are so thankful to have BB&T as a partner. Thanks to the dedicated support of local companies like BB&T, we are changing the lives of seniors.” Danielle King, BB&T Teller and Lighthouse Project Team Captain says that her group chose Warm Hearth because they enjoy community involvement & volunteering. She says, “We enjoy interacting with the folks at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church (they launched Soup for Seniors from which all the other Micah’s programs have grown), Karen and the residents. Our work there is so rewarding.”
In May, The Corning Incorporated Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to the Warm Hearth Foundation to help provide meals to low-income seniors at Showalter Center and Kroontje Health Care Center. In keeping with its nonprofit mission, Warm Hearth Village provides subsidized housing for low-income seniors (144 apartments), auxiliary grants in cooperation with the Department of Social Services, reduced rent and Medicaid for those who qualify. The Corning funds will help greatly with the subsidy costs and benefit the Foundation as it works to bring new programs and assistance to these residents on campus.
Karen Nelson, Associate Director of Development explained The Corning Incorporated Foundation provides grants to nonprofits in the communities where they operate. “We are so grateful to have a long-term relationship with Corning because they are invested in bettering the lives of seniors in need,” Nelson said.
Our Health Magazine recently featured Michelle Narramore, Administrator of Warm Hearth at Home (WH@H), as a leader in local health care. WH@H offers home health and home care services throughout the New River Valley. Michelle is an emerging leader who stands out in her commitment and contributions to the health care field and the greater community, and in her leadership, professional organization memberships and volunteer work.
Narramore is responsible for more than 50 employees and provides vital care and services to seniors in their homes throughout the New River Valley. She ensures all clients under the agency’s care receive the services they need and that all procedures are followed, including staff supervision and evaluation. Narramore was recently asked to join U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith’s (VA) Alzheimer’s Advocacy Team and has visited with the state’s other Congressional leaders. Narramore considers volunteer activity vital. She is involved in several charitable endeavors including the Salvation Army, the Memory Walk to raise money for Alzheimer’s disease, and the Color Run which raises money for several charities. She volunteers at the local farmer’s market, helps The Warm Hearth Foundation deliver food to low-income seniors at the Village, and rescues senior dogs. In addition, she recently joined Girls on the Run, providing them with transportation, gear and training.
“I was elated to learn that I had been selected for the award by Our Health Magazine! What made it even better was that I was recommended by my peers at Warm Hearth. It is lovely to be recognized and appreciated by your own company,” Narramore said.
Narramore is from Detroit, Michigan and has two degrees from Radford University: a B.A. in History and a B.A. in Religious Studies. She lives in Blacksburg with her husband, two cats and a dog. She is an avid gardener and recently became a yoga instructor. Narramore has worked at Warm Hearth Village for three years.
Warm Hearth Village recently hired Melissa R. Sheppard, BSN, RN, CCRP, EMT-B as the new Director of Nursing in the Willows/Arbor (Assisted Living and Memory Care) at Kroontje Health Care Center.
Sheppard graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Capella University in 2017 and with an Associate’s Degree with a major in nursing from New River Community College in 2011. She comes to us from Lewis Gale Hospital where she was the Clinical Coordinator of Cardiology/Cath. Lab. During her tenure with Lewis Gale she became an Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support/Pediatric Advanced Life Support provider and instructor, is an RN Nationally Recognized Certified Preceptor and an emergency medical technician and is certified in Trauma Nurse Critical Care.
Sheppard started as a Certified Nursing Assistant when she was 16-years old. She looks forward to inspiring her coworkers and providing resident-centered care. “When I was 16, I never would have believed I would one day be a Director of Nursing. I hope my story will encourage others,” said Sheppard
Sheppard lives in Riner with her husband and three children. They enjoy outdoor activities for the whole family including walking and hiking.
Michelle Narramore, Administrator of Warm Hearth at Home, has been appointed to the Dementia Care Cabinet for LeadingAge Virginia. LeadingAge Virginia is the state trade association for nonprofit senior living communities and is leading the way when it comes to serving residents with dementia. As the numbers of persons with cognitive impairments climb, LeadingAge and its members, Warm Hearth Village included, are improving the lives of our elders living with dementia.
Narramore is from Detroit, Michigan and has two degrees from Radford University: a B.A. in History and a B.A. in Religious Studies. She lives in Blacksburg with her husband, two cats and a dog. She is an avid gardener and yoga teacher in training. She has worked at Warm Hearth Village for three years.
“I am looking forward to contributing to the excellent strides the cabinet has made. I thank Warm Hearth for the opportunity to serve and to enrich our Village with what I can learn and bring back,” Narramore said.
On February 22, Warm Hearth Village (WHV) celebrates the 45th anniversary of its incorporation. Employees and residents there will use it as an opportunity to pay homage to Warm Hearth’s founders, their unique history and its deep roots in the New River Valley community.
Wybe (Vee-ba) and Marietja (Mar-ee-cha) Kroontje (Croon-cha – means little crown), Dutch immigrants from the Netherlands, were dissatisfied with the conditions they observed in “typical” nursing homes and were eager to give something back to the country that had given them so much during World War II. In 1974, they received the official stamp on their vision and many years of planning and hard work to build a nonprofit community with a variety of living options. This one official milestone gave way to a flurry of activity that included the donation and purchase of land and the formation of what would become the 100-year plan for the development of the NRV’s only comprehensive retirement community.
Leaders at Warm Hearth strive to keep the Kroontjes’ dreams moving forward by using the 100-year plan as a roadmap for the growth and development of the Village. In recent years, an active adult community, Village Center for community gathering and fitness opportunities, home health and home care services and a Carilion clinic have all been added to the 220-acre campus to meet the increasing demands of seniors.
February celebrations will be more intimate and internally focused while additional festivities will be held later in the year as the weather warms.
On January 31, The Alzheimer's Advocacy Team and board members from Warm Hearth Village hosted Congressman Morgan Griffith to share experiences and their vision for helping seniors throughout the New River Valley with Alzheimer's Disease and dementia. Heather Gearhart, Warm Hearth’s V.P of Health & Wellness and Volunteer Ambassador for the Alzheimer Association, thanked the Congressman for his support of the BOLD Act, asked him to get behind The PCHETA Act and to consider the Congressional Task Force for Alzheimer’s research. The team talked about the growing numbers of seniors affected by this disease and the impact it has both financially and on community resources. They relayed Warm Hearth’s desire to be a leader among providers as these numbers are expected to spike with the aging of the Baby Boom generation.
Michelle Narramore, Administrator for Warm Hearth at Home shared some of the innovative programs on the team’s to do list and they include:
- · The Memory Café – a safe and welcoming environment for seniors learning to deal with Alzheimer’s Disease is held the last Thursday of every month from 1:30 to 2:30 pm at the Village Center. Laura Peery, Social Worker at the Kroontje Health Care Center (KHCC) and Dementia Friends Champion, is overseeing the group. “Members of the group share experiences and coping mechanisms and offer support to one another, which has proven to be highly effective in helping them maintain normalcy in their day to day lives,” she said.
- · The Purple Table – an effort to create space at local restaurants where staff are trained to create the same welcoming environment and how to work with seniors with dementia.
- · Dementia Friends – involves being a resource for our community by reaching out to educate business owners, volunteers, family, students…anyone about the issues surrounding dementia and how to support those in our community with the disease.
- · Alzheimer’s Association Support Group – held the second and fourth Thursday of every month at 3 pm at Warm Hearth’s Village Center. “This group is a judgement free space where caregivers can lean on each other for support and gain insight from one another with the hope that they will learn new strategies to help with their loved ones,” said, Marie Swink, Social Worker at KHCC.
The Memory Café and support group are open to the public and we welcome them to join. Warm Hearth Village is a nonprofit senior living community in Blacksburg that provides a full continuum of living options on our campus and in the home.
Photo: Left to right: Row 1 Hing-Har Lo, Elaine Smith, Ferne Moschella, Heather Gearhart. Row 2: Jonathan Tate, Michelle Narramore, Congressman Morgan Griffith, Amy Webb and Ed Lawhorn
Employees of Warm Hearth Village (WHV) and Global Partners in Peace and Development (GPPD) are working together to provide money, medical supplies, clothing, and daily necessities to impoverished nursing home residents and special needs children at Jehovah Rapha House in Haiti.
Heather Gearhart, Vice President of Health and Wellness for Warm Hearth Village, initiated the effort after a mission trip to the area. She leads the collection and delivers items to GPPD in Bonsack, Virginia, who then transports the items on their regular trips to Haiti.
To date, WHV has sent three deliveries. “The donations from the team at Warm Hearth Village will make a difference in the lives of those living in poverty by offering the tangible blessing of much needed resources. Warm Hearth Village is providing Global Partners with resources for those who seem to have been forgotten in Port-au-Prince Haiti,” said Steph Elliot, Administrative Assistant with GPPD.
The Warm Hearth Foundation, Sodexo and The Campus Kitchen at Virginia Tech (VT) are working together to reclaim excess food from the dining room at the Kroontje Health Care Center (KHCC) and the dining halls at VT to serve to seniors who live on low, fixed incomes at North and South Trollinger and New River House apartments at Warm Hearth Village.
Starting Wednesday, December 5, and then the first Wednesday of each month, a complimentary Noon meal will be provided at Karr Activity Center on Warm Hearth’s campus. Residents can dine in or have a meal delivered. Fifty-five people turned out for the first offering and organizers are hoping to see that number grow as they estimate there are more than 150 seniors who could benefit from the program. “The soup was really good, and the servers were so gracious,” said resident Kathy Westfall. “As word gets out more and more people will come and I think this will be a real success.”
The idea originated with Steve Watkins, Sodexo Dining Manager at KHCC and, with the help of staff in other areas, soon became part of the many offerings under the Micah’s umbrella for seniors at the Blacksburg-based retirement community.
The Community Foundation awarded two grants to The Warm Hearth Foundation to help fund two new programs for seniors at the Blacksburg retirement community.
One grant will help with the costs associated with bringing The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) for low-income residents to Warm Hearth. The Warm Hearth Foundation and Feeding America Southwest Virginia are partners in this program to improve the health of low-income seniors, ages 60 and over, by supplementing their diets with nutritional foods from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Once a month, 83 eligible residents receive a 30-lb. package containing dry milk, canned vegetables, canned fruit, cereal, rice, healthy grains and proteins. While the packages do not constitute a complete diet, they do help provide nutrients beneficiaries may be lacking. The grant money will pay for food transportation and storage, and annual membership with Feeding America for five years.
The second grant will go toward the Seniors & Kids In Play (SKIP) Program formerly known as Foster Grandparents and help with the costs of museum staff, program development, admission, transportation and supplies. The Children’s Museum of Blacksburg and Warm Hearth Village expanded the existing program to work together on this intergenerational collaborative endeavor that also includes Head Start children from Blacksburg and Christiansburg. Village residents and children from Head Start meet at the museum, and all benefit from the social engagement through creative play, crafting, and games.
Amy Webb, Associate Director of Development says, “We are thrilled and grateful to receive this funding from the Community Foundation. The programs these grants will help to support provide enrichment to our residents in ways that far exceed the associated costs.”
Ellen Rorrer, Marketing Consultant for independent living, recently received her Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) certification through the National Association of Realtors. The SRES certification provides unique skills when working with older adults (50+) who wish to sell or purchase properties.
Rorrer, who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Radford University, has more than twenty-seven years of experience working with older adults. She has been working at Warm Hearth Village in marketing and sales for the last 12 years. Ellen has been a real estate agent with Graham and David Real Estate since 2015.
In addition to other spiritual opportunities on campus, Warm Hearth Village (WHV) is hosting Hope Chapel Blacksburg for non-denominational services on Sundays from 10:30am to 11:30am in Karr Activity Center.
Senior Pastor Joseph Volpi, ordained pastor, said the chapel is an interdenominational independent Jesus Christ-centered church. In addition to Sunday service, the church offers coaching, mentoring, pastoral counseling, connections, fellowship, Bible studies, and prayer meetings.
Mardy Baker, Life Enrichment Director at the village, contacted Volpi and suggested moving the three-year old church from the Lyric Theater and a college-age community to WHV’s senior community. Volpi agreed and explained, “In general the American Church has a challenge with the elderly, especially as the body struggles with physical aging. Many find their old places of community don't have ways for them to continue to participate. In addition, generations tend to segregate, fighting over musical style, or doctrine, or personal values, further creating cliques and hurting unity.” Volpi wants to bridge generations, economic categories, and cultures. This goal synchronizes with Warm Hearth Village’s mission and vision.
Warm Hearth Village and its employees work hard to support our community in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
On September 29, at 9:30 am, a Warm Hearth Village team of 26 is walking in the New River Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s. To date the team has raised $1,210 to further the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association.
Warm Hearth Village is also pleased to launch the Memory Café — an opportunity for seniors with early-stage memory loss to engage with peers in a relaxed social setting. The Memory Café, our Alzheimer’s Support Group and residential options are just a few ways we work to support seniors and their families affected by Alzheimer’s and related dementia.
The Warm Hearth Foundation and Feeding America Southwest Virginia have partnered to offer The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) to low-income residents at Warm Hearth Village. This new Virginia program aims to improve the health of low-income seniors, ages 60 and over, by supplementing their diets with nutritional foods from the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA). One hundred and nine residents are eligible for the program and fifty-six percent have enrolled to date. Cindy Wiley-Lamb, Resident Services Coordinator for Warm Hearth Village said she expects more residents to register for the program after the first delivery.
August 8, local electrical distributor, Capitol Tri-State delivered 61 packages from the Feeding America Southwest Virginia warehouse in Salem to Warm Hearth Village in Blacksburg. Kevin Beard, Area Operations Manager for Capital Tri-State said, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Warm Hearth Village and Feeding America to help seniors in need in our community.” Subsequent deliveries will be the second Wednesday of each month.
Warm Hearth Village staff members from departments across the retirement community went door-to-door delivering the 30-pound packages containing dry milk, canned vegetables, canned fruit, cereal, rice, healthy grains and proteins. While the packages do not constitute a complete diet, they do help provide nutrients beneficiaries may be lacking.
Recipients showed their appreciation with many thank-you’s and hugs. Warm Hearth Village resident Arnold Naff said this assistance would help him and his wife with their monthly grocery budget by providing many of the items they already purchase.
Feeding America Southwest Virginia began offering the program in May 2018 and currently has 3 sites operating in their service area, with planned expansion in the coming months. Warm Hearth Village is the first agency, and its residents are the first recipients, of a distribution in the New River Valley.
The Warm Hearth Foundation is the charitable fundraising entity for Warm Hearth Village and operates a range of programs that help low-income seniors on campus. Karen Nelson, Associate Director of Development for the Foundation said, “Six years ago we partnered with St. Michael Lutheran Church in Blacksburg to offer programs to help low-income seniors in our community. This partnership created the Micah’s Soup for Seniors program to provides shelf-stable grocery items once a month. Since then the Warm Hearth Foundation has expanded its programs to help our residents meet basic needs.”
Last year the Micah’s Soup for Seniors, Garden, and Personal Care Items programs provided over $48,000 in charitable assistance to approximately 100 seniors living at Warm Hearth Village. In 2018 the Warm Hearth Foundation added a pet program in addition to the CSFP expansion. None of these programs could have been established and sustained without many generous contributions from donors throughout the community.
Warm Hearth Village is pleased to announce that David Jones, Licensed Assisted Living Administrator (ALF), has been chosen as the new Administrator for Showalter Center. He will fill the position vacated by William Lester as he was promoted within the organization. Jones has been with Showalter Center Assisted Living residence for nine years. He started as the Activities Director and has been the Assistant Administrator for two years. Jones has a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education and a Master of Fine Arts Degree, Organ Performance from Radford University. Jones lives in Christiansburg and in his free time he enjoys playing the organ and piano. “I look forward to continuing my career with Warm Hearth Village and feel this is a wonderful step in that direction. I am currently completing the Leadership Training Academy through the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce which will aid in my leadership abilities at Showalter,” he says.
Warm Hearth Village is proud to announce it will be the first senior living community in the state to offer a new fitness program designed specifically for individuals battling Parkinson’s Disease. This innovative program, being offered in partnership with Rock Steady Boxing, is planned to officially launch at the Warm Hearth Village Fitness Center on September 10, 2018.
Thanks to Jim Craig and his wife, Lois who brought the idea to us and small group of interested donors from throughout the community, the Warm Hearth Foundation was able to raise funds to cover the start-up costs and bring Rock Steady Boxing to the Village. The new program will be led by Director of Fitness, Kenny Harrah and relies on exercises such as stretching, running, jumping rope, push-ups, balancing and lots of noncontact boxing. Harrah successfully completed the Rock Steady Boxing Training Camp this year, certifying the fitness center and its staff to offer classes to residents and the community. “Training with the Rock Steady Boxing athletes has been a profoundly moving and inspiring experience,” says Harrah. “We feel very grateful and proud to be able to bring this program to the New River Valley and Virginia.”
Rock Steady Boxing is a unique exercise program based upon training used by professional boxers to help alleviate the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s Disease. Rock Steady Boxing, Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded in Indianapolis in 2006 that has grown profoundly. In 2012, the training camp was launched as a means of sharing the method with people around the world who are fighting back against Parkinson’s.
Recent studies, most notably at Cleveland Clinic, focus on the concept of intense, “forced” exercise and have begun to suggest that certain kinds of exercise may be neuro-protective, i.e., actually slow disease progression. It is estimated that approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease every year. The chronic and progressive neurological condition is the second most common neurodegenerative gaining disorder after Alzheimer’s Disease.
The fitness center at Warm Hearth Village is open to individuals from the greater community who are 55 and older. Amenities include a heated, saltwater pool, strength training room, fitness studio with comprehensive class schedule and personal training. To learn more about opportunities or to sign up for the Rock Steady Boxing program, call Kenny Harrah at 443-3474.
Photo: Amy Webb, Associate Director of Development; Kenny Harrah, Director of Fitness and Jim and Lois Craig, residents of WHV.
Warm Hearth Village is pleased to announce that William Lester, ALFA, LNHA and current Administrator at Showalter Center, has been chosen as a new Administrator at the Kroontje Health Care Center. He will be responsible for ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations and quality of care in the skilled and long-term care residence known as The Cove.
Lester has been with Warm Hearth Village for 17 years, initially as Housekeeping Supervisor and then as the Assistant Administrator and Administrator of Showalter Center. He is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator who holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business.
Lester looks forward to the new challenges this position will bring and is excited to continue working in an organization where the residents come first. “I want to make the Cove the best place possible for our residents to live and receive rehab services and our staff to work," he says.
More than 120 people from throughout the NRV attended “My Way”, a one-of-a-kind theatrical performance at Warm Hearth Village on April 19th . The event represented an innovative collaboration between students and faculty at the Center for Gerontology and staff, residents and family of Warm Hearth where research on the decision-making process of moving from home to a care setting was adapted into a theatrical production with the goal of helping others facing the same decisions and challenges navigate the process.
Dr. Pamela Teaster, Ph.D., Director of The Center for Gerontology led the effort by engaging students and faculty in a research study where more than 30 families were interviewed after having made the transition to a health care setting at Warm Hearth Village. Questions focused on the challenges, fears and obstacles in making the decision and learning how each was overcome as the move took place. The data collected remained anonymous and was used to develop a three-vignette comedy written and directed by Mardy Baker, Life Enrichment Director at Warm Hearth and performed by resident and professional actors. The vignettes focused on the denial of seniors of the need for more help and the stress this places on family caregivers; a comical space-age solution to the decision making process where an impersonal computer program “My Way 3000” makes the tough decisions for you and an intimate look inside a couple’s struggles to acknowledge the effects of dementia on their relationship and living situation and ability to make decisions for their future.
Following the performance, the audience, with the help of table hosts, discussed key messages and personal life experiences in an effort to apply the research in an meaningful way. Audience members were wowed by the partnership and many came away with new insights and appreciation of the trials associated with the aging process.