Providence of Zeeland first in Michigan to use Bionic Leg

ZEELAND, Mich. (February 2015) — We have the technology — and now it’s in Michigan. Providence Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center of Zeeland (Mich.) is now using the AlterG Bionic Leg to help clients 
get moving again — and it is the first rehab center in the state to have this technology. Providence of Zeeland joins its sister rehab centers, Providence of Palos Heights (Ill.) and Downers Grove (Ill.), in using the new wearable robotic trainer. The Bionic Leg is activated when the patient shifts weight, and it provides support to help patients naturally re-learn how to use an injured limb. Read more about the benefits of the Bionic Leg here.

Ivan Van Essen first on staff at Park Place St. John

ST. JOHN, Ind. (February 2015) — Construction crews have started work on Park Place of St. John, the first Providence Life Services community in Indiana, and the first employee for the campus has been hired: Ivan Van Essen has been named Community Relations Director, and his goal is to share information about the complex that will eventually stand on the land. In his new role, Van Essen will be building relationships in St. John and surrounding Northwest Indiana communities, providing information about and generating interest in the new senior living complex. “I like to be of some benefit to other people, to help people,” Van Essen said. “I’m excited to be helping others realize there’s a place for them, a place to make their lives more enjoyable. I certainly think it will meet a big need in St. John.” Van Essen and his wife, Barbara, currently live in St. John, and they have three children and 11 grandchildren who also reside in the St. John area. He comes to Providence Life Services from Crown Point Christian School, where he served 10 years as the development director. His main function was to secure funds for the new and growing school, which […]

Residents show their hearts some love with SeniorFITness

TINLEY PARK, Ill. (February 2015) — Whether you have a sweetheart or not, Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to think about your own heart — specifically, about heart health. Every year since 1963, the President has issued a proclamation declaring February “American Heart Month.” (You can read this year’s official proclamation here.) The American Heart Association notes that there are many things that Americans can do to fight heart disease, and that there’s good reason to do so: heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, and it affects more than one in three American adults. But you can lower your risk by improving your health, and one big way to do that is through regular exercise. At Providence communities, one of the ways for residents to stay fit is with SeniorFITness, a service provided by Symbria. According to the Symbria website, SeniorFITness is designed to improve strength, balance, mobility, and cognitive health. The program is customized for seniors in any setting, from skilled nursing to assisted living to independent living. SeniorFITness is available at Park Place of Elmhurst, Royal Park Place, Victorian Village, Village Woods, and Saratoga Grove. “SeniorFITness is a wonderful program that gets people moving at Saratoga Grove,” said […]

Students, residents benefit from intergenerational classes

ELMHURST, Ill. (February 2015) — When Timothy Christian High School added an interim term, called “Renew,” it was an opportunity for students to experience new things. For some students, that meant intergenerational learning. Timothy teachers created classes for the school’s new nine-day term, and five of them included interaction with residents at next-door senior living community Park Place of Elmhurst. Timothy and Park Place have worked together many times in the past, as part of their intergenerational program, Bridges. The program includes a Park Place booster club that supports Timothy soccer, and Timothy “technical advisers,” who help Park Place residents program their remote or hook up their printer. Student artists can show their work in the Park Place Gallery, and Park Place residents host Ping-Pong games against students every other week. Some students volunteer regularly with the program, but for others, the Renew classes gave them their first experience with intergenerational learning. In some of the Renew classes, Park Place residents were teaching their young visitors: “Beyond Texting” was advertised to teenagers who could learn a few things about interpersonal communication. At the end of the course, they went down the road to try out their communication skills with the resident […]

Elmhurst artist’s mural
honors Park Place residents

ELMHURST, Ill. (February 2015) — Pat loved being a housewife, and she enjoys gardening; Art was a surgeon, tennis player, and golfer. These facts are posted in a freshly painted mural in the Gilead, the memory care area at Park Place Health and Wellness Center. The mural, painted by local artist Donna Castellanos, shares details about the 20 Gilead residents — details about who they were and who they are, details they themselves might not always remember. This information helps visitors and other families learn more about each resident. A quote at the bottom reads, “Time passes … memories fade … but the heart never forgets.” The idea for the mural came from the life enrichment staff — there was a large open wall near the entrance to the area, and they wanted to use it for something meaningful. Health and Wellness Center Life Enrichment Director Kathy Groenendyk had a vision for a tree, because over time, the residents and their families become like one large family. “From when we opened (in 2012), I wanted to put something on that wall, and somehow, the vision of a Gilead family tree came up,” Groenendyk said. “We wanted something beautiful, something that tells about […]