Home Is Where Your Heart Is
P.A. Peterson Center for Health
Eye on LSSI, Spring 2005 ( Download PDF of entire publication)
Before moving to Lutheran Social Services of Illinois’ P.A. Peterson Center for Health in Rockford last August, Darleen Stites felt alone, burdened by the upkeep of her house and afraid of going out by herself, especially at night.
Today, Darleen, an 87-year-old widow, lives in one of P.A. Peterson’s 13 independent-living apartments. She has new friends and participates in many of “P.A.’s” activities and outings. She now has more time to do the things she enjoys, such as volunteering each week at a nearby hospital and at P.A. Peterson’s gift shop, and training to become a commissioned Barnabas minister. An added bonus of living at P.A., she says, is the scenic view she has of Sinnissippi Park.
“When the sun shines, my apartment is [especially] beautiful,” she says. “…P.A. Peterson is a blessing from the Lord, straight down from heaven.”
Like Darleen, Marshall Grans, an 85-year-old widower, lives in one of P.A.’s apartments. Marshall says he appreciates the new friends he has made since moving two years ago, the friendly staff, “excellent” food and variety of activities, such as summer cookouts at P.A. and excursions to White Pines State Park, in Oregon.
“Living here has made a big difference for me,” Marshall says. “I’ve met so many people, and I get out and do more. If I were still at home, I wouldn’t have all of that.”
Darleen and Marshall are typical of 125 residents who call P.A. Peterson home. P.A. offers a wide range of living options, from apartments, to long-term nursing and hospice care. P.A. also offers many services, including in-patient and outpatient rehabilitation, a community fitness program, chapel services and numerous special events, outings and activities.
Darleen and Marshall first came to P.A. Peterson through P.A.’s Pathway Rehabilitative Care. Darleen had broken her hip and arm, and Marshall had undergone a quadruple bypass. Both received physical therapy, nursing care and other treatment to help them recover. While there, both Darleen and Marshall discovered P.A. Peterson offered apartment living. Both were eager to make the change from the loneliness of living by themselves and the responsibility of maintaining their own homes to a more carefree lifestyle.
Continuum of Care
Peggy Holt, administrator, says as residents’ needs change, there’s still a place for them at P.A. “We can meet the needs of our residents because we offer a full continuum of care,” Holt says. “Residents can maintain the lifestyles to which they have become accustomed and can continue with the relationships they have developed with staff and other residents. They can stay right here in the same place where they have made their home.”
That continuum of care is reassuring to Donna Devries, whose 87-year-old mother, Johanna Krahenbuhl, receives nursing care at P.A. Donna says her mother has developed friendships at P.A. and continues to enjoy various activities and social events.
Donna says her mother considers P.A. Peterson “home.” Johanna has lived at P.A. since 2000, joining her husband, Earl, who came a year earlier. They shared a room at P.A. until Earl died in January. Donna says the activities and people at P.A. Peterson comfort her mother as she grieves.
“The activity people have really been great,” Donna says. “They try to get her out of her room as much as possible. Otherwise, she would sit by herself and think [about her loss]. At mealtime, she sits with friends and converses. That helps, too.”
Overall, Donna says she is satisfied with the care her mother receives. “The staff really cares — and is dependable,” Donna says. “The care she receives, the activities and outings make her stay as enjoyable as possible.”
Jan Stenstrom also is happy with the care that her 87-year-old mother, Lillian Manning, receives in P.A.’s Bergmark Villa Alzheimer’s Unit. “Since Mom’s gone to P.A., we have peace of mind,” Jan says. She says it is P.A.’s “total care” — from offering fun activities to providing “above-and-beyond special care” — that gives her that peace.
For example, staff members and residents recently celebrated Chinese New Year, singing karaoke and enjoying egg rolls and fortune cookies. They have monthly birthday parties, and each Christmas, staff members become “secret Santas,” giving gifts to their chosen special residents.
Jan says “it’s the little things,” like staff putting on her mother’s make-up, cleaning her glasses and offering her special treats, like her favorite — candy — that make life as pleasant as possible for her mother. “When I see mom saying, ‘I love you’ to a staff member — and she says it with such sincerity — I can tell the staff is so good to her … we’ve always been happy we chose P.A,” Jan says.
For information on P.A. Peterson, call Chris Hintzsche at 815/399-8832.