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VMRC Professionals Deliver Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy

June 13, 2017

A team of more than two dozen professionals provides therapy and rehabilitation services on both an inpatient and outpatient basis at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community (VMRC).

“We offer physical, occupational and speech therapy to meet the needs of the community,” said Betsy Peake, Therapy Program Manager at VMRC. “What many people don’t know is that we not only work with VMRC residents on both an inpatient and outpatient basis, but we also provide outpatient therapy services to people of all ages in the local community.”

Every patient is evaluated and treated by a licensed therapist, who then develops treatment plans based on unique needs, goals and lifestyles. VMRC Therapy Services helps patients with a variety of needs, including orthopedic, neurological, pain management and specialty rehab.

“It’s common to need therapy after injuries due to falls, surgical interventions or overuse as well as due to neurological changes from stroke, dementia or Parkinson’s,” said Betsy, who has been with VMRC since 2008.

Physical Therapy assesses and treats pain, mobility, balance and strength and is the kind of therapy someone might undergo for a knee or hip replacement, ankle injury or broken bone. Many such patients benefit from Aquatic Therapy in VMRC’s warm water pool.

“For some people, exercising on land increases pain, but doing rehabilitation in our senior Olympic-sized pool eliminates gravity and helps many who are suffering from arthritis or joint problems,” said Betsy. “The natural buoyancy of the water reduces stress on joints.”

Occupational Therapy focuses on assessment and treatment of activities of daily living includes activities like self-feeding, bathing, dressing, cooking and cleaning.

And finally, Speech Therapy helps with speech, communications and swallowing issues that may arise after someone has had a stroke, has been under anesthesia or is suffering from dementia.

On a typical day, Peake plans and coordinates her staff’s delivery of outpatient and inpatient services. Inpatient treatment may occur in residents’ rooms while outpatient treatment may happen in the therapy gym or pool. “We have 28 staff members currently, with another three joining us by July 1. Most of our staff are physical and occupational therapists, and a few are speech therapists,” said Betsy.

To book an appointment with VMRC Outpatient Therapy Services, get a prescription from your physician, then contact 877-506-4952. Most private, worker’s compensation and and Medicare B insurances are accepted.

Public Invited To Attend Juried Art Exhibition at VMRC

May 31, 2017

Every year for the past decade, Anne Pauley has helped bring original works of art from talented artists all around the country to VMRC’s campus. The 14th Annual Juried Art Exhibition - featuring watercolors, oil paintings, photographs and sculpture - opened at VMRC on May 28 and will run until the end of June.

“Art and older adults are a good match. Even when our residents don’t like a piece of art, they are engaged in talking about it,” said Pauley. “Over the years, we’ve noticed an increase in the appreciation of residents attending the show. Their tastes have changed, too.”

Pauley stepped up to become the Director of the Show 11 years ago after the previous director had to resign due to health reasons. She now heads the show’s planning committee, which is made up entirely of VMRC residents. “I don’t come from an art background, so I had a lot to learn,” she said. “By training, I am a mathematician, but the artists needed someone like me who can help organize.”

Getting into the show isn’t easy. This year, 205 artists from 30 states submitted entries for 559 works of art. 100 artists from 20 states were ultimately selected by jurors to show their work, which is on display in the Park Gables Gallery.

“We issue a call to artists on five different websites, but many artists hear about the show by word of mouth,” said Pauley. “The submitted works must have been made within the past two years. Our jurors - three professional artists from Virginia and Maryland - reviewed digital images of all the submissions. They got a ballot scoresheet on which they rated each item as ‘definitely’, ‘maybe’ or ‘not this year’”. Out of the first round, more than half of the show’s works were selected. Two more rounds of review followed until all the spots were decided.”

This year, one VMRC staff person had his work of art accepted into the show. Also, five past jurors made it into the show, including five retired James Madison University professors.

“Creativity and productivity do no not have to end when you retire, and for me, it’s an honor that past jurors value the show so much that they then submit their own work in subsequent years,” said Pauley.

More than just bragging rights are on the line: 10 awards will be given out to outstanding works of art.

All three jurors meet at the show to select one Best in Show winner, who will take home a $1,000 prize. Four Excellence Award winners will also get $500 each, and Five Honorable Mentions will earn $250 each.

But perhaps the most fun awards are the People’s Choice Awards. “Everyone who visits during the first week gets to vote for their four favorites to get an award. The four with the highest votes then get the award.”  Anyone can vote - you don’t have to be a VMRC resident or an art expert. Simply come to the exhibition between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and submit your choices to the desk staff on duty.

All but one show item is for sale and may be purchased by residents and visitors. Last year, 42% of the show’s works of art were sold. Since there is no commission on the sales, the entire price of each item goes directly to the artists.

VMRC’s Juried Art Exhibition is free and open to the public through May 30. Check out the preview.

Wanted: VMRC Volunteers

May 15, 2017

Volunteers play an essential role assisting VMRC employees in providing exceptional care for residents. In the past year, for example, 662 volunteers contributed 46,079 hours of service. However, with the opening of five additional Woodland Park homes in the coming months, more help will soon be needed.

“We don’t have a typical volunteer at VMRC,” said Emily Weller, Volunteer Services manager. “We have a mix of students, community members and our very own residents. It’s a diverse, intergenerational group.”

The public is invited to attend one of two volunteer information sessions on Monday, May 22 at 2 p.m. or Tuesday, May 23 at 6 p.m. Both will be in VMRC’s Detwiler Auditorium.

“At our info sessions, we’ll explain the Green House concept on which Woodland Park is based. We’ll also educate potential and current volunteers about ways volunteers already help at Oak Lea as well as new ways they can help at Woodland Park,” said Weller. “Some of our existing volunteers may want to transition to new roles.”

The two most common volunteer jobs at VMRC have been Wheelchair Escorts, who assist residents in getting to and from on-campus life enrichment activities, and Auxiliary Express Cart Drivers, who provide indoor point-to-point transportation around campus. Last year, the cart drivers gave 6,256 rides. Other popular volunteer roles include accompanying residents to doctor’s appointments or giving one-on-one visitation through the Caring Friends Program.

“Our most exciting new position will be for Woodland Park House Friends. We’re looking for volunteers with a longstanding connection to our community and who can be a great resource for relationship building,” said Weller. “They will be like the neighbor who pops by without an invitation and does whatever’s needed. That might be sweeping the kitchen floor or playing a game with a resident. House Friend positions are not so task-specific, but offer a lot of variety and flexibility and potential for deeper connection with residents.”

Many people become volunteers at VMRC after hearing about such opportunities from friends and family. Some just want to help out; others may be thinking about their own future.

“Lots of our community volunteers are what I call ‘secret shoppers’. They want to get connected with our community and might be shopping for their retirement coming up in the next 10 or 20 years,” said Weller. “Some end up moving here much sooner than they would have expected after they get involved and love the community.”

Volunteer candidates are invited to fill out VMRC’s Volunteer Application. Weller or one of her team members will then interview applicants about what they want to do and what openings are available.

“Sometimes a person loves their first volunteer role; sometimes he or she will try out a few before they find the one they love,” said Weller. “With over 40 different volunteer opportunities, there are so many from which to choose!”

All volunteers receive orientation and training for their positions and are subject to a criminal background check.

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