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Tai Chi is becoming a popular fitness activity for seniors. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that features gentle and flowing movements. It can help seniors strengthen muscles and improve physical stamina. Seniors will receive much-needed relief from their arthritic pain by strengthening the muscles that surround the joints.
Compared to other fitness exercises, Tai Chi offers seniors a better opportunity to increase their mobility and reduce arthritic pain as they age instead of walking, which can be jarring to the knees and hips.
Elderwood, a leading provider of senior care across the North East, began implementing a Tai Chi program in March for their assisted living facilities, which will start in the summer of 2021 and will be offered a few times a week.
The program will follow Dr. Paul Lam’s Tai Chi for Arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation and the Center for Disease Control support Dr. Lam’s program for arthritis pain relief. The program is broken down at a slow pace that allows seniors to learn and focus on the core movements of Tai Chi. As the program progresses, core movements will be introduced with the implementation of movement extensions of the arms and legs. Helping seniors build a strong foundation assists in reducing falls and strengthens the quality of life.
“There is a definite interest in Tai Chi and given the current pandemic situation that we’re in; we want to still be able to provide the residents an opportunity to practice Tai Chi in a seated format. Besides the physical benefits of Tai Chi, there are also benefits to mental health,” said Elderwood Wellness Coordinator Steven Johnson.
There are many positive benefits to exercise besides the physical ones. A decrease in anxiety and depression are the biggest benefits to mental health that someone can experience from exercise. Improved sleep quality is another one.
Tai Chi emphasizes these benefits over traditional forms of exercise by connecting the breath to movement. This enables people to get the relaxing benefits of deep breathing meditation techniques, which have been shown to help treat depression and anxiety.
It’s important before starting an exercise routine to consult with your physician. A physician’s assessment will help determine what fitness routine is right for you.
If Tai Chi is something you’re not interested in, there are other ways to stay fit as a senior.
Elderwood has launched a new website to enhance the user experience and provide additional resources for current and prospective residents and their families. The new website has been completely redesigned to align with the expectations of today’s online users and Elderwood’s updated branding.
“Elderwood is here to help people navigate through life’s transitions, whether planned or unexpected,” states Chuck Hayes, vice president of marketing and communications. “As more people go online first for answers, our website must serve as a guide for families and residents.”
The website features an all new location finder, which integrates with Google maps and includes several filters to help people identify nearby locations that offer the services and levels of care they need.
“The website was designed to reach people at all phases of their journey, from those just starting to explore senior care options, to those who have an urgent need for skilled nursing or subacute rehabilitation,” said Hayes. “The new website focuses on location first to help users find their preferred community faster.”
Community pages now feature additional information to bring each location’s offerings to life digitally. On each community page, users can now find key staff photos, contact information, activities calendars, as well as beautiful exterior and interior photos.
New resources have been added to help assist people through the process, including admissions applications, FAQs, a budgeting worksheet and links to view informational articles on Elderwood’s Living Well blog.
Elderwood.com was designed and developed in partnership with Buffalo-based digital agency Clevermethod. The new website is part of several marketing and communications initiatives to enhance Elderwood’s brand and support the organization’s business objectives.
Elderwood’s Right Moves® wellness program has received the 2020 Program of Excellence Award from Network in Aging of Western New York. Elderwood Wellness Coordinator Steven Johnson, who manages the Right Moves program, accepted the award in a pre-taped segment aired during the Network’s virtually-broadcast annual conference. The Program of Excellence Award is presented yearly for “outstanding and innovative contributions to the geriatric citizenry of Western New York.”
Right Moves was created to encourage Elderwood’s assisted living residents to take a more active approach to their health, with a goal toward preventing falls, injuries and hospitalizations. Led by staff who are trained and certified through the American Council on Exercise, Right Moves focuses on maintaining physical activity, function and mobility through exercise, therapy, home safety and other initiatives.
Across the 13 Elderwood assisted living communities, about 30 percent of residents participate in Right Moves. Many of those who regularly attend the program experience improvements in strength, balance and overall health. In some communities, falls among residents have significantly decreased. By avoiding falls and injuries and concentrating on their health, seniors are better able to successfully age in place and maintain their independence.
“We thank Network in Aging for recognizing Mr. Johnson’s commitment to improving resident health and the efforts of the wellness directors in our assisted living communities for keeping residents motivated and moving,” said Dennis Ng, Elderwood Director of Rehabilitation Services.
With photo EAS Steve Johnson NIA Program of Excellence NOV2020 – Steven Johnson, Elderwood Wellness Coordinator, accepts the Network in Aging 2020 Program of Excellence Award from Suzanne Desfosses-Gilliam. Photo by Kevin Krisnosky, Streamline Digital Media.
Six Elderwood communities – four in Western New York; one in Burlington, Vermont, and one in Wakefield, Rhode Island -- have been recognized as a “Best Nursing Home” for 2020-21 by U.S. News and World Report. The communities achieved the publication’s highest possible rating, “High Performing,” for long-term care and/or short-term rehabilitation.
U.S. News gives the designation of Best Nursing Home only to homes that satisfy their assessment of the appropriate use of key services and consistent performance in quality measures. It analyzes publicly available data to evaluate factors that greatly impact patient and resident care, safety and outcomes. Only 21 percent of nursing homes nationwide have been recognized by U.S. News this year as “High Performing.”
Elderwood facilities and their category for recognition are:
• Elderwood at Lancaster, Lancaster, NY – Long-Term Care, Short-Term Rehabilitation
• Elderwood of Scallop Shell at Wakefield, Peace Dale, RI - Long-Term Care, Short-Term Rehabilitation
• Elderwood at Amherst, Amherst, NY – Short-Term Rehabilitation
• Elderwood at Hamburg, Hamburg, NY – Long-Term Care
• Elderwood at Grand Island, Grand Island, NY – Long-Term Care
• Elderwood at Burlington, Burlington, VT – Short-Term Rehabilitation
“I am proud that these Elderwood communities have been recognized by U.S. News and World Report. This achievement is a testament to the consistency of high-quality skilled nursing care and subacute rehabilitation services delivered by our staff,” said co-CEO Jeffrey Rubin, DMD. “The U.S. News and World Report rating reinforces the efforts our team puts forth every day to provide exceptional services and patient care.”
The iCARE Awards of Distinction were created to recognize staff who continuously embody our core values and help bring our mission – people caring for people – to life each day. An acronym for our corporate values of Integrity, Collaboration, Accountability, Respect and Excellence, the iCARE philosophy guides our actions as we work together to provide the best possible care and services.
Earlier this year, staff and managers from across our organization were invited to nominate employees who demonstrated at least one of the iCARE values. The response was astounding, with over 400 nominations received, citing individuals for their selflessness, dedication, teamwork, positivity and compassion, leadership and more.
Please join us in congratulating our 2020 iCARE Awards of Distinction honorees. Click here to learn more about these stellar individuals!
INTEGRITY – Michael Hubschmitt, Regional Nurse Consultant, Elderwood Administrative Services
COLLABORATION – Fatu Borbor, Housekeeping Aide, Elderwood at Amherst
ACCOUNTABILITY – Christine Harte, RN, Director of Nursing, Pediatric Specialty Care
RESPECT – Maria Stran-Martin, PCHA, Administrator, Elderwood Senior Living at Lancaster, PA
EXCELLENCE – Tracy Peters, LPN Team Leader, Elderwood at Lancaster
When COVID-19 first hit the United States there was concern about how the pandemic would impact Western New York’s healthcare system. As our region braced to deal with an overwhelmed hospital system, Elderwood had the foresight to be a part of the solution by opening the first dedicated COVID-19 post-acute unit in the region.
Elderwood converted a 22-bed subacute unit at its Amherst facility into a specialized isolated care center for COVID-19 patients. The unit served as a relief valve for the Western New York healthcare system, allowing hospitals to open up beds for acute care patients. Staff at the facility are committed to helping COVID-19 patients fully recover following hospitalization for the disease.
“Every single day our staff inspire me with their dedication to our patients and the high quality care they deliver,” said Administrator Angela Hauser. “I thank them for their commitment to the job in a time of need. They did not walk away during difficult times, instead they faced the challenges, looking for a way to help. I thank them for taking on more in their role and not walking away from the pandemic. I can see how hard they all are working. Words can’t really capture my gratitude, but I appreciate all that they are doing for the patients, the facility and the company as a whole.”
The unit creates more capacity for coronavirus patients and focuses on providing post-acute care for patients who have been discharged from area hospitals that still require monitoring, but no longer need to be in an acute care setting.
Paul D. is among the dozens of patients who completed their recovery at Elderwood at Amherst’s COVID-19 unit. “Once I got to Elderwood I couldn’t have asked for a better team,” said Paul D., who was discharged to the unit from a local hospital. “Everyone was so great to me. It was a tremendous lift for my mind and body. They worked so well with me and made me feel much more at ease. I felt confident in the care I was getting.”
Having Coronavirus was a scary experience for Paul. He was left confused and disorientated. “I thought it was the end,” he said. Paul has since made a full recovery and according to Elderwood Medical Director Dr. Paul Shields, DO, he’s doing better than ever. Paul is grateful for the care he received at our dedicated COVID-19 unit. “I love them all. They’re tremendous, every one of them,” he said.
Another patient, William F., was in critical condition when he was hospitalized and had been intubated multiple times. While he was fighting Coronavirus, he experienced intense nightmares. “The nightmares felt like you were actually there. You believed you were there,” he said. William is thankful for the wonderful staff that helped him get better. “When I talk to everyone about what happened to me, I bring up Elderwood,” said William. “They’re a very big part of helping me get better.”
There’s a saying that goes, ‘It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish that matters.’ That saying rings especially true in healthcare. Elderwood at Amherst has enjoyed an excellent reputation for subacute care – helping patients discharged from the hospital complete their recovery and get home quickly. That expertise, combined with best practice infection control protocols and a collaborative relationship with the region’s top hospital system, Kaleida Health, is what has made this initiative so successful for Western New York.
Elderwood worked with the clinical professionals at Kaleida Health and the Doctors of General Physician, P.C. to plan and develop the COVID-19-unit initiative. This powerful collaboration allowed Elderwood to gain regulatory approval and get the unit up and running quickly. “Knowing what needs to be done and then stepping forward to do it is what sets our team apart,” said Hauser.
Elderwood has partnered with General Physician, P.C. to provide medical staff leadership at six Skilled Nursing Facilities in Western New York. Paul Shields, DO will serve as Medical Director and Harnath Clerk, MD, will serve as Associate Medical Director for: Elderwood at Lockport; Elderwood at Wheatfield; Elderwood at Williamsville; Elderwood at Amherst; Elderwood at Cheektowaga; and Elderwood at Hamburg.
“We are very excited to welcome these respected and highly skilled physicians to our medical staff,” said Jeffrey Rubin, DMD, Co-CEO for Elderwood. “Our alignment with General Physician, P.C. and their network of providers and acute care facilities will help to enhance the high-quality care we provide for our residents.”
A multi-specialty medical practice, General Physician, P.C. was established in 2010 and has grown to be one of the largest and most respected physician groups in Western New York. Dr. Shields is a graduate of Gannon University and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is the Vice President for Post Acute Care Clinical Services for General Physician, P.C. and the Medical Director for the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) of Western New York. He is Board Certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians. Dr. Shields has also served as Medical Director for Fairview Manor Skilled Nursing Facility and Manchester Commons in Fairview, PA and Elmwood Gardens, in Erie, PA.
Dr. Clerk graduated from the M. P. Shah Medical College of India and earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the State University of New York. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Bronx Lebanon Hospital in Bronx, NY. Dr Clerk is licensed as a Physician by the University of the State of New York, Education Department, Office of the Professionals and qualified to practice medicine and surgery.
Elderwood has earned the 2019 Senior Living Bronze Award in McKnight’s Technology Awards for the development of the Activity Utility data tracking system in the category of Quality.
“Tracking data is extremely important to providing quality care for our residents with the various activities and programs they are involved in,” said Clay Bozard, chief information officer. “We are proud of our technology team for their innovation and our staff, who implement the use of this technology daily to help create better outcomes for the entire population of our residents.”
Elderwood was recognized for its innovative use of technology to create an electronic record keeping system that tracks a resident’s involvement in activity programs, attendance and participation. “There was a need for an automated tool that could efficiently track residents’ improvements or declines,” said Director of Memory Care and Programming Elizabeth Laczi. “There wasn’t a tool like this available, so we created Activity Utility to create a more person-center care-plan.”
All of this is done on an iPad to promote efficiency in documentation in activity programs and assessments. Elderwood began implementing the program in the fall of 2018. The technology has benefited Elderwood by offering a more efficient way to track any declines or improvements in the resident’s cognitive, physical, social or emotional quality of life areas. Information with what residents are doing in the facility can be shared with families, as well as with their physician.
The judges weighed value, relevance, impact and originality equally for innovations that have made notable contributions to the quality of care. The data captured in Activity Utility results in better clinical outcomes for residents and more person-centered care plans.
McKnight’s Long-Term Care News is a business news magazine serving the institutional long-term care field, focusing especially on the high-acuity skilled nursing setting.
Two Elderwood employees were honored by Premier, a national health care improvement leader, for their excellence in the nutritional and culinary disciplines. Amy Julicher, Elderwood director of nutritional services and Daryl Cronk, Elderwood regional dining services manager were recognized at the Premier Breakthrough Conference on June 19 in Nashville, TN.
Julicher was honored with the Premier 2019 Illuminating Excellence Award for Continuum of Care. This national award acknowledges a food service director who shows outstanding accomplishments in their department, organization and community.
Julicher was selected to receive this prestigious award following a nationwide nomination process.
"Previous recipients and finalists for this award have accomplished and contributed so much in their field," said Julicher. "It’s an honor to be in their company."
Julicher earned a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Buffalo State College.
She is looking forward to continuing to work with the kitchen staff at Elderwood’s skilled nursing, assisted living and independent living communities, to improve the quality of meals and enhance the dining experience of our residents.
Cronk, was also celebrated at this event. He recently placed fifth among 10 finalists for Premier’s national culinary creation contest Participants submitted classic entrée recipes with a twist for the competition.
Cronk provided a recipe for veggie hash with cilantro crème fraiche and frizzled carrots, which was judged by a group of Premier member chefs. The recipe was made from local organic and sustainable products.
“I was very excited to learn about my recipe placing in the top five,” said Cronk.
Cronk and the other finalists learned the overall winner of the competition at the event was Lyndon Espiritu, director of nutrition and food service at Stern Family Center for Rehabilitation in Manhasset, NY.
Cronk graduated with an associates degree from The Culinary Institute of America, with a concentration in culinary arts and chef training. He has been in the service food industry since he was a teenager, advancing to a chef from a dishwasher.