Preparing for a Scary Good Time

For many people, Halloween is an enjoyable holiday with creative costumes, spooky decorations, and tons of candy. It is customary for children to go around their neighborhoods, knock on doors, and ask for a sweet treat, and many adults love indulging the kids in this tradition. Still yet, this unique holiday may present problems or fears for some, including senior adults. Dominion Senior Living turns what could be a fearful time into an exciting day.

As our Sevierville location states on its main page, Dominion is “committed to providing a secure environment that promotes dignity and maintains physical and emotional health and stability through the engagement of meaningful life enrichment programs.” Part of that programming includes a weekly arts and crafts project that residents spend a portion of each day on.

At Sevierville, this week has been notably special. Bonnie Parton, the Life Enrichment Directory, usually plans the project, but the residents took the initiative in choosing their Halloween costumes. Because they wanted to make their own, they gave her their ideas about what they wanted to wear. She then went to local stores to pick up all the necessary materials—everything down to the blood red nail polish.

The Halloween party is scheduled for Friday afternoon, although, as Bonnie points out, “They want to put their costumes on in the morning. They’ve been talking about this all week long.” After lunch on Friday, she’ll help them with their makeup and outfits. Then everyone will party in their costumes, enjoy refreshments, play games, and win prizes.

The atmosphere is rich with excitement and anticipation, not unlike a high school before an elaborate gala. Bonnie is both proud of and pleased with the residents’ participation. “With other parties, I do the work for them and I arrange the entertainment. But this party, I’ve let them do it all. It really is about them and how they made their own costumes.”

No matter what creepy creature is flying or howling outside this Halloween, the residents at Dominion Senior Living of Sevierville will be celebrating in security and peace. You can bet there will be nothing boring about their way of living or partying!

photo credit: Jan Herbert via photopin cc

The Beauty of Age and the Secret of Style

seniors_and_fashion__resized_4566323491If you search “beauty” on the internet, the main results you will see have to do with skin care, cosmetics, youthful appearance, hair products and, of course, beauty pageants. People all over the globe carve out thousands of dollars from their paychecks every year just to look beautiful. Today, our society continues to harp that in order to be someone of importance, or be noticed, you must exhibit certain elements of beauty. And the younger you look, the more appealing you are.

Contrary to popular belief, studies are showing that senior adults are actually more content with their looks. In a recent survey conducted by Gallup, “66 per cent of Americans aged 65 and over ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that they always feel good about their appearance.” In contrast, “only 54 per cent of those aged 35 to 64 feel great about their looks.” Gallup suggests that senior adults have a different sense of style than youth in America today, and yet they are satisfied when they look in the mirror. Could it be that “as people age, a different set of societal expectations and appearance standards lead to a renewed sense of confidence”?

A new documentary seems to point to that conclusion. Advanced Style, showcasing senior adults and their unique sense of fashion, is now playing in select cities in the United States. Ari Seth Cohen, the creator of this documentary, as well as of the Advanced Style blog, spends most of his time roaming the streets of New York City in search of older ladies and gentlemen that are completely confident in their own look. Cohen believes that the older generation has it right: “personal style advances with age.” Seniors are at a stage in life where they don’t have to worry about impressing others. As a result, they feel the freedom to wear what they want.

Maybe it is the societal expectations that change as one ages, or maybe it’s the beauty found within that continues to grow and flourish, which leads to outward self-confidence. Whatever the case, we don’t have to be young or hip to exhibit the beauty that God has given each of us. Beauty is not skin deep, but soul deep.

photo credit: The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies via photopin cc

Staff Profile: Pam Morgan

Pam MorganHere at Dominion Senior Living, we love our staff, and occasionally we like to include a question and answer piece on one staff member to help you get to know them better. This week we will hear from Pam Morgan, the Executive Director at Dominion Senior Living of Sevierville.

What did you do before coming to Dominion Senior Living?

I have been a nurse since 1971 and throughout my career I have specialized in the care of senior adults. Since moving to Tennessee I have worked in the assisted living industry, in which I feel like I found my niche because it combines all my previous work experiences into something I really enjoy doing.

What brought you to DSL?

I wanted to work with Dominion because it was privately owned, seeks to honor God, and is close to where I live in Sevierville. Previously I have worked for large, publicly traded assisted living companies, and I wanted a change.

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy spending time with my family—especially my five grandchildren and great granddaughter. Every time I get a chance, I love going to the mountains. I also enjoy working in my flower garden, reading, and playing the piano.

What is a little-known fact or something interesting about you?

My Father is a retired minister, my grandfather was a minister, and an uncle and both of my brothers are ministers—so of course I have to behave. Ha!

What is your favorite meal?

Food! I really like the variety of foods in the Smokey Mountains and love good ole southern cookin’!

What is your favorite quote?

My children have heard me say many times, “This too shall pass.” I actually have lots of favorite scriptures and love how the Bible is still relevant today.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and what would you do?

I enjoy traveling. I prefer staying in the country and exploring places I haven’t been, but I would love to go out west again.

Who is the person you most admire?

Mother Teresa, who said, “There is joy in transcending self to serve others.” She was famous but remained very humble.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’m personally proud of raising four daughters, all of whom are helping others in service-related fields. Career-wise, I started a home care and saw it grow over ten years to where we were one of the largest women-owned businesses in Indianapolis, Indiana. We had private duty, Medicare, we bought a building in which we started an adult day care, wellness programs, pharmacy, and a home health aide training program with around 180 employees.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

The family trips we took every year.

What are you daily duties at Dominion?

The objectives are to oversee the planning, direction, and implementation of all programs and policies of the company; and to ensure the efficient and effective administration and execution of all facility business. I view it as being on call 24 hours a day with the responsibility of making sure my residents are happy, safe, and well cared for, and making sure the families are satisfied because it is very difficult for them to trust someone else with the care of their loved one. I also feel a responsibility to ensure the employees like their work and feel valued. As an example of 24-hour-a-day responsibility, recently I was called at 3:30am when the fire alarms malfunctioned, and I was at the building in 15 minutes. I love my job most days and would not choose to do anything else!

What is the best part about working at Dominion Senior Living?

I have so enjoyed starting at ground level here in Sevierville at Dominion Senior Living. It’s like birthing a child. I had the privilege of putting a team together that I enjoy working with. I share the vision Dominion Senior Living has of honoring God through service to seniors, as that has been my life calling. There is no greater satisfaction than helping others and making a difference.

National Assisted Living Week: “The Magic of Music”

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Last week, Dominion Senior Living celebrated National Assisted Living Week. It was a time filled with entertainment, fun, and a chance for family and friends to visit and see what life is like for the residents. Every year since 1995, the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) comes up with a great theme to give seniors something extra fun to look forward to. This year’s theme was “The Magic of Music.”

According to the NCAL, “The transformational effect of music continues as individuals age and can provide joy, comfort and in some cases, memories long ago experienced.” This past week, residents got to participate in a variety of activities: making musical instruments, dressing in their favorite 1950s attire, and attending a sock hop.

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Official proclamation for Dominion Senior Living

One day in particular was meaningful for the residents and staff at Dominion. On Wednesday, September 10, Tennessee State Representative Dale Carr stopped by to give a proclamation for National Assisted Living Week. In keeping with this year’s theme, Mr. Carr joined several of the residents in singing a few hymns before he spoke. He then read the proclamation, which praised Dominion for its “extraordinary professionalism” and “outstanding record of high quality care.”

Representative Carr shared how much Dominion Senior Living at Sevierville meant to him personally, seeing as how he has family members who live here. When asked what sets Dominion apart from other senior living centers, he answered that it was “its friendliness, attention to detail, and willingness to conform to basic needs.” He also noted that all its services are supervised and handled onsite.

The proclamation ceremony only lasted a couple of minutes, and Mr. Carr spent most of his time visiting and talking with the residents. He appreciates this year’s theme of music because “it helps with reminiscing and keeps the residents more alert.” The event wrapped up with a resident playing selections on the dining hall piano.

You could consider National Assisted Living Week a success because of the reading of the proclamation, or because of the uniqueness of the sock hop and other events. You might consider it a success because of the smiles on the faces of residents who know they live in an extraordinary and outstanding community. Or maybe this year’s “Magic of Music” week was a success simply because Dominion Senior Living always strives to hit the right note!

photo credit: Tekke via photopin cc

Providing a Season of Rest for Those Who Have Labored

Labor_Day_2014Labor Day can serve purpose in different ways to different people. For some, it’s a day to be off work or school and on the lake. For others, it’s the unofficial end of the summer season and the last day for the pool. Still yet, for some it’s a day to simply rest from all of the time and labor they have put in over the past year.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Day was established in 1882 as “a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” No matter how it is spent, Labor Day has always been dedicated to those who have served and worked to make our nation what it is today, and usually rest is involved.

At Dominion Senior Living, every day is like Labor Day. Not in the sense that the residents take a trip to the pool, but for the fact that their time at Dominion is a season of rest from the years of labor they have given to provide for their loved ones. These senior adults are the very people who poured their energy and efforts into their chosen line of work and contributed to America’s great state. Dominion provides every resident with wonderful living quarters, but more importantly, amazing care from a staff with the heart to serve those who have served us.

Just because this is a season of rest for Dominion’s residents doesn’t mean they are bored or sleep the whole day. In fact, it is just the opposite! Each senior adult has their own daily schedule based on their healthcare needs. They also have ample opportunity for activities, social interaction, games, and other great events to keep them active and alert. Their individual schedule may need to remain consistent each day, but you can bet there are a few fun Labor Day activities planned every year. This season of life should be enjoyable for the residents because, after all, they put in years of hard work and service and deserve the break. Guests, family, and friends are always encouraged to stop in for a visit to help brighten someone’s day, too.

Just as this holiday serves as a way to bless the hard-working society of our nation, Dominion Senior Living strives to bless the great people of the Southeast for their many years of dedicated labor. This year, as you enjoy Labor Day, take a minute to thank a senior adult for their dedication and service to this country. As you enjoy this holiday, remember the true reason we take a day off work.