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Christmas Magic

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By: Trisha Mayhorn

Christmas at The Wesley Communities is always a magical time of year. The halls are full of decorations and employees are full of cheer! As for the residents, you can see how touched they are by all the holiday magic. I couldn’t imagine a better place to work, especially during the holidays. There are so many great people here, but one who stands out around Christmas is Phil Van Walsen.

Phil creates dazzling Christmas displays for us at Wesley Glen. They truly set the stage for the other holiday décor! The tradition started when a neighbor of Wesley Glen wanted to donate her 500-piece Christmas village collection. She was moving to Florida, and although it was hard to part with her things, she knew her collection had found a good home here at Wesley Glen.

Phil accepted the challenge to create the beautiful displays, and he has added another 500 or so pieces to the display over time. Each year residents and friends donate additional items and Phil finds a place for them.

He doesn’t use a blueprint. He just builds as the spirit moves him. This year, it’s a multi-level affair with motion and lots to look at, including custom Wesley Glen painted items! Phil even used the potted plants that are usually in the south lobby and he’s created a fun seek-and-find for specific items too.

Residents, staff and visitors love spending time looking at it. The Wesley Communities has the holiday spirit, and for that we would like to thank all of our residents and staff!

 

One Journey in a Conversation

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I like to meet people, talk to them and learn something unique about them. I learned early on from my father the art of being social. As I look back on my life, I realize that I have met some amazing people. Think about those individuals you knew in your neighborhood, your high school, college, maybe even your first job. We have crossed paths with people who have impacted our lives in some way. But I think the most interesting people I have found are in my own family.

My niece Emma Grace is a freshman at a local high school and was assigned a special project: interview someone and document the conversation. She had to write a list of questions based on who her subject was, and she was even going to videotape it. This is coming from a generation that spends time with their heads down, buried in their phones, and fingers madly typing a thousand miles an hour, not readily engaged nor seeming to care what anyone thinks or says.

And Emma? She chose a subject very near and dear to my heart: her grandmother, my mother. We set everything up in the living room of my sister’s home: lights, camera, chairs and had the microphone ready to capture grandma’s responses. I couldn’t wait to hear what Emma was going to ask her. What was her favorite food? Who was her favorite grandchild? Surprisingly, I was not even close.

Emma had thought diligently about her questions. She knew my mother grew up poor, the seventh child of eight children in a coal-mining town. She knew that she had traveled to Austria a few summers ago to visit her mother’s town. She knew she lost her husband to cancer at a young age. I sat there while Emma interviewed my mother and was captivated. There were things I did not know about my mother. “Grandma, tell me when you knew HE was the one?” “How did you deal with the death of your husband at such a young age?” “What do you hope that your children or grandchildren learned from you?” Yes, these were some of the questions dear Emma asked my mother. I was overwhelmed by emotion.

Too often we wait to acknowledge what someone means to us after they pass away or leave us. And what we miss is the simple fact that someone so close to us fell in love, had dreams, fears and philosophies that we never knew. But we can ask them…now. I ask my mother a lot about her life, and I have many memories tucked away, but I learned so many things that day.

I challenge you to take a moment and go on a verbal journey with someone you love, respect or maybe always wanted to just know more about. Don’t be afraid to ask them thought-provoking questions or just about what makes them tick. We all have that inside each of us. It is amazing what you can learn and how you feel afterwards. One journey in a conversation. Take that trip. If you would like to share a life-changing conversation, share with us.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Helen.

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February 8, 1926. That is the day she was born. She is Helen Jean, and she is my mother’s sister, my aunt and my Godmother. She grew up in the tiny coal-mining town of Glen Robbins, Ohio in a four-room house with her seven siblings and parents. Yes, ten people in a four-room house. She lived there for 88 and a half years until we moved her to a memory care center and sold her house.

Last week, my mother and I visited her. When we walked in she was sitting in the common room with other residents. She greeted us and told us she was going to a dance. She introduced her “sisters” and we walked back to her room. We sat on the edge of her bed and sang “Happy Birthday” to her. She smiled and said we sang so well we should be on television! Then she opened the gifts we brought her and ate some of the candy, especially the Tootsie Pops. She loves the cherry ones the best.

Why do I tell you this? As I grew up, my family always made a big deal about birthdays. We still do. And my dear Aunt Helen never missed one. Not for my four sisters or me. She always sent us a card in the mail, brought us a little gift and stood in our kitchen and sang our family birthday song. Memories. My family celebrates our birthdays and those of our friends, co-workers, etc. Why? Because we believe that each person is brought into this world with a unique gift to give…. Themselves…. and that they should be celebrated.

My aunt is 90! That is almost a century of living…..of moments and memories, of snapshots and dreams. And everyone has their own. How wonderful is that? Individuals who are residing in senior communities, assisted living or nursing centers should especially be celebrated. They have so many stories to tell and knowledge to share.

It does not take a lot to recognize someone on his or her special day. Send a card, make a phone call and sing into the phone, arrange a lunch or dinner with friends, bring a cake to a neighbor or just pick up a bouquet—do something even if it as simple as showing up and saying “Happy Birthday”.

So I ask you to think about someone you know who is celebrating a birthday soon. Celebrate with them. You will enjoy it. I promise. Do you have a favorite birthday memory? Share it with us.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Helen. I love you.

Charitable Giving 2015

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With the last few days of the year approaching, it’s not too late to make a charitable donation to your favorite charity or to provide collected personal or household items to a local non-profit group. According to the National Philanthropic Trust, the annual American household gave $2,974 to charities in 2014. In addition, non-profits are seeing online donations on the rise. With the ease of technology, here are a few reminders for last minute donations. Remember that contributions are considered to be claimed on the delivery date to the charity:

  • Contributions made by December 31, 2015 will be considered to be made within the 2015 tax year
  • Any contributions that are made with assets that fluctuate (stocks or securities) will be determined by the value on the date made
  • Any mailed donations must have a postmark date of December 31, 2015 to count toward the current tax year, however, post-dated checks and returned/bounced checks are exceptions to the rules
  • Contributions made on credit cards are counted when the processing of the charge is made

Many personal donations are given during the holiday season because of goodwill, however, the tax benefits can also be significant. If you are giving stocks or other assets that have grown in value, there may be a greater tax benefit. Before making any donations, make sure you double-check that the charity you are choosing qualifies for tax-exempt deductions. Make sure to be careful of phone calls or other online scams. There are some great charity search websites, like, “Charity Navigator” and the Better Business Bureau’s www.give.org website allows you to search charities that are accredited.

Columbus Talent Donates Time for Annual Charity Golf Classic

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Columbus, OH (May 4, 2015) – The stars will be out Monday, July 13 for the 6th Annual Wesley Glen/Wesley Ridge Charity Golf Classic hosted by The Wesley Communities.

PGA Senior Tour player, Rod Spittle, will be located at Hole 15 where players will be able to purchase a golf ball and have Mr. Spittle hit for their shot. Columbus’ own Channel 6 news personality, Bill Kelly, will be Master of Ceremonies and will be broadcasting live from the event at 5 and 6 pm.  Professional auctioneer, Mike Albert, will once again be the auctioneer for the silent and live auctions.

Title Sponsors for the event are Corna Kokosing Construction Company and FirstMerit Bank. Proceeds benefit Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare and Wesley At Home.

The event begins with player registration at 8 a.m. and a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. The event is not limited to golfers. Following the outing, guests and players will have a chance to mix and mingle as the event concludes with awards, dinner and live and silent auctions.

•  $1,000 per foursome (includes 18 holes of golf, beverages, lunch, dinner and auction)
•  $75 per person to attend only the dinner and auction
•  The Charity Golf Classic is limited to 30 teams
•  Deadline to register is Friday, July 3, 2015

For more information on securing a sponsorship or forming a team, contact Mary LeMaster (614) 396-4831 or visit www.methodisteldercare.org.

About The Wesley Communities

The Wesley Communities is an affiliate of the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church providing quality housing, health care and services for seniors in the Central Ohio area. Incorporated in 1967, The Wesley Communities is a not-for-profit corporation that that knows its business and understands its customers. For additional information call (614) 396-4990 or visit www.methodisteldercare.org.

June and Dave Harcum announced as Benefactors of New Wesley Ridge Fitness Center

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Columbus, OH (April 15, 2015) – The Wesley Communities (MES) has announced the launch of an $800,000 capital campaign to raise funds for the new Harcum Fitness and Aquatic Center at Wesley Ridge Retirement Community. Lead donors June and Dave Harcum secured naming rights with their generous gift of $500,000.

Plans are being finalized for the $3.5 million project which will include a fitness center, a community space, a gym, a pool, an exercise studio and a cafe. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for June 2015, with construction to begin late summer 2015.

“Senior living at its best includes all aspects of wellness,” commented Margaret R. Carmany, CEO. “Our ultimate goal for the Harcum Fitness and Aquatic Center is to provide a place for residents, staff and the community to increase their quality of life.”

The Wesley Communities is an affiliate of the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church providing quality housing, health care and services for seniors in the Central Ohio area. Incorporated in 1967, The Wesley Communities Services is a not-for-profit corporation that knows its business and understands its customers. For additional information call (614) 396-4990 or visit www.methodisteldercare.org.

6th Annual Wesley Glen/Wesley Ridge Charity Golf Classic Tees Off July 13

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Columbus, OH (March 10, 2015) – The Wesley Communities will host its 6th Annual Wesley Glen/Wesley Ridge Charity Golf Classic on Monday, July 13, 2015 at Pinnacle Golf Club, 1500 Pinnacle Club Drive, Grove City, OH 43123.

Proceeds from the event will once again benefit Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare and Wesley At Home. PGA Senior Tour player, Rod Spittle will again be in attendance. Last year players were able to purchase a golf ball and have Mr. Spittle hit for their shot.

“We are very grateful for the support of our sponsors, players, volunteers, the community and Wesley Glen/Wesley Ridge residents and staff who have helped make this event not only possible, but very successful,” said Dinah Cason, Executive Director of Development. “The 2014 Charity Golf Classic netted more than $113,000 for Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare and Wesley At Home. We hope to do ever better than that in 2015.”

The event begins with player registration at 8 a.m. and a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. The event is not limited to golfers. Following the tournament, guests and players will have a chance to mix and mingle as the event concludes with awards, dinner and live and silent auctions.

•  $1,000 per foursome (includes 18 holes of golf, beverages, lunch, dinner and auction)
•  $75 per person to attend only the dinner and auction
•  The Charity Golf Classic is limited to 30 teams
•  Deadline to register is Friday, July 3, 2015

For more information on securing a sponsorship or forming a team, contact Mary LeMaster (614) 396-4831 or visit www.methodisteldercare.org.

About The Wesley Communities

The Wesley Communities is an affiliate of the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church providing quality housing, health care and services for seniors in the Central Ohio area. Incorporated in 1967, The Wesley Communities continues to be a not-for-profit corporation seeking to promote a positive experience of community and wellness for residents, clients and staff. For additional information call (614) 396-4990 or visit www.methodisteldercare.org.

 

What Will Your Legacy Be?

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Recently, a friend asked me what type of legacy I would want to leave for future generations. It was an unexpected question that really started my wheels turning. Usually when people pass away, there is a huge focus on the things they owned and who gets what, but the idea of handing down ideas and values was a totally new concept for me. I started thinking about the things my loved ones (those still living and those who have passed) have shared with me.

I thought back on my early years and the backyard parties my grandparents hosted during the summers. We played games, roasted hotdogs and listened to the elders tell stories from their childhood. They also reminded us how lucky we are to live in present times than when they were our age. Some things were passed on and taken to heart. These are the ones that I want to continue as part of my legacy.

My grandparents on both sides demonstrated deeply-held faith and never missed church on Sunday. To this day, at 95, my grandmother still enjoys Sunday morning church service, and she says it is the best place to start your week. I have fond memories of my grandfather repairing appliances for family members and not taking payment for the services, telling them that he would collect when they made it big one day.

I have vivid memories of all of these things. They have become a part of who I am, and I hope they will become part of future generations. Knowing the legacy I want to leave behind helps me stay focused on what I am doing in the present so that my goals are in line with that legacy. Planning the legacy you leave behind connects you to those whose lives you touch, and that they touch, and so on, potentially for generations to come.

What is your legacy?

 

Preserving Memories

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On November 1, 1919, my grandmother, Frankie, graced the world with her presence. Over the years of being the oldest grandchild, I heard every story I thought there was to hear. Well, I was wrong. It seems my 95 year old grandmother still has many stories to tell, and for that I am grateful — grateful that my children and grandchildren are able to share in the memories my grandmother still has in that fabulous mind of hers.

At 75, I gave her a journal called “My Grandmother, In Her Words.” A few weeks passed and I asked if she had begun to write in the journal. Her response was that she would much rather talk to me about her life than try to fit it on the few lines allotted in the journal. That afternoon I stopped by for a visit and told her, “I am here…. start talking.” I was hanging on to her every word as she began sharing her life. After 90 minutes of stories, I knew that I could only hope to remember all that she had shared that afternoon.

We both agreed I should start journaling, recording and taking pictures on what we called “Mama and Me Sundays.” I purchased a voice recorder and plenty of batteries. Every time I visited I would ask her to tell me a story from her past. Over the years she has told me things that will stay with me forever and that I have enjoyed sharing with my children. I consider my knowledge of her history fulfilling and priceless.

Buying the voice recorder was the best investment I have ever made. Now, 20 years later, I am able to refresh her memory when something from her past is mentioned that she can’t quite completely remember. Also on the tapes are some of her famous recipes that she no longer makes because she no longer can remember all of the ingredients. When I mention that I can play the tape back for her, she quickly says: “Oh no, you play it back for yourself and drop off dinner later!”

With the holidays in full swing and family gatherings happening all month long, what better time to start preserving your family memories, especially with elderly family members. Sitting in front of a camera is not everyone’s favorite thing to do; a voice recorder or even a cell phone is perfect for beginning the process. Plan to make recordings available for anyone asking for a copy. Having family history documented is priceless and will mean so much to so many for years to come.

Taste of Ridge

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The Guild at Wesley Ridge hosted its first-ever “Taste of Ridge” this past Tuesday night at the Wesley Ridge Retirement Community.  Nearly 100 guests enjoyed food from Cimi’s Bistro at Pinnacle; Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar; Culver’s; The Sunset Grille & Sports Bar; Edible Arrangements; Uno Pizzeria & Grill; Tom + Chee; Starbucks; and Gigi’s Cupcakes.

The Wesley Communities chefs treated everyone to a sneak preview of their Taste of Gahanna entry (check them out there on Thursday, October 9!):  wow!  They knocked it out of the park.  And Walgreens, The Guild at Wesley Ridge, Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare, and Wesley At Home had booths with lots of goodies and raffles.  Mary Beth Quillin was the lucky winner of the beautiful decorated pumpkin and Glenna Collura won the snuggly throw from Wesley At Home.  Congratulations to both!