Seniors Helping Seniors: American House Residents Spread Holiday Cheer

At American House, ’tis the season for giving. For the fourth year in a row, our residents are spreading the true meaning of the season by helping their less fortunate neighbors through the Holiday Hope for Seniors campaign.

The campaign, which started with a tree-lighting event at 25 American House communities Nov. 29, raises money to provide 710 local senior citizens with basic necessities like soap and toothpaste this winter. Our residents are thrilled to be able to harness their charitable spirit and raise money by selling paper ornaments for donations to the Holiday Hope for Seniors campaign!

While donations range from $5 to $20, every penny goes directly to help other seniors. According to MyTV20, a new study shows that 37 percent of senior citizens in the area are living in poverty — and we want to help. Our residents at American House know that it’s important all year long — but particularly around the holidays — to show others that someone cares.

“Each year, the scope of Holiday Hope for Seniors becomes bigger, and the impact becomes more noticeable,” said Rob Gillette, chief operating officer of American House. “We are excited about the opportunity to provide dignity and hope for senior citizens outside of our own American House walls, and help individuals in the community.”

This year, the Holiday Hope for Seniors campaign partnered with Lighthouse of Oakland County, The Senior Alliance, The Information Center, Adult Well-Being Services and The Luella Hannan Memorial Foundation to identify seniors in need of personal items this holiday season, and the goal is to raise $50,000. The Holiday Hope for Seniors campaign is run by the American House Foundation, which was founded in 2007 to invest in outreach for older adults in need of assistance along and in research opportunities through a partnership with the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University.

For more information about Holiday Hope for Seniors, or to pledge a donation, please contact Danielle Bruce at dbruce@americanhouse.com or (248) 203-1800.

The residents and staff at American House believe it is truly better to give than receive. Give us a call today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to find out what we can offer you (or your loved one) at one of our close-knit communities.

American House Family Member Review and Testimonial

Our residents at American House Senior Living really do love living here — and here’s some of the proof:

Clare and Bill, upon moving Bill’s mother into American House Lakeside, saw her laughter return once again. The couple observed how caring the staff is and loved seeing how Bill’s mother’s spirit lifted once she was in the “cheery, upbeat atmosphere” that is evident at American House.

You can read their true testimonials here and find out for yourself how much our residents at American House truly enjoy living here.

“To the Wonderful Staff of American House – Lakeside,

I apologize that this letter has taken me so long to write, but I truly feel that some things are better late than never, because I knew that, at some point, this letter had to be written.

My dear mother-in-law, Nancy Duross, moved to your American House assisted living facility last December, shortly after Christmas, as a result of the progression of terminal cancer, and our family’s desire to ensure that she was well taken care of in the final months of her life. After she had surgery last November and lived in a nursing home for a month, her spirits were low, as were her stamina and energy. After all, she was only 68 years old, but this terrible disease aged her, and robbed her of the last vestiges of her youthful spryness. She was now, sadly, finding herself having to rely on a small staff of people to do the most basic tasks in her day – tasks that most of us do without a thought, and tasks that we take for granted.

However, upon moving to American House, my husband and I were amazed to watch her spirits lift, and a bit of her energy return. She made friends, and enjoyed going downstairs for mealtime. Her laughter returned, as did a bit of her lightheartedness.

I do not think that this is a coincidence. In fact, I know that this was a direct result of the caring staff at American House, and the cheery, upbeat atmosphere that you work so hard to cultivate. Like my mother-in-law, many people enter your facility knowing that they will live the final months or years of their life there, but I want to commend you for creating an environment that makes it feel like a place that is anything BUT that.

One could argue that your staff members are, “just doing their jobs,” but I would disagree, because what my husband and I saw was so much more than that. There are people who just do their jobs every day, and then there are people who pour their hearts into their work, and truly care for the people that they tend to on a daily basis, and that accurately describes so many members of your staff. They got to know Nancy as a person, and cared for her well in her final months, and I hope you will believe me when I say that it was a beautiful thing to witness, and it did not go unnoticed by our family.

We all hope that our health never declines so much that we need assistance using the bathroom. Or taking a shower. Or wiping food from our chin after a meal. Or getting around via wheelchair. Or getting up from a couch. Or dressing ourselves. Or combing and styling our hair.

Unfortunately, cancer and old age aren’t so kind.

Although these two words feel a bit inadequate, from the bottom of our hearts, my family says thank you. Thank you for caring for Nancy. Thank you for getting to know her, and asking questions about her life. Thank you for making her laugh. Thank you for allowing her to maintain her dignity, despite not being able to care for herself. Thank you to Wanda, especially, as your kindness was always able to lift Nancy’s spirits and make her smile, even in the middle of the night when it was time for a dose of pain medication. Thank you for working with the Hospice team to carry out her final wishes. Thank you for not helping her to die, but for helping her to live as fully as she could, even at the end. Thank you for your heartfelt condolences and kind words about her when she passed in July.

Thank you for not just treating her like she was the dying old lady who lived in the upstairs apartment at the end of the hallway, but rather, a living, breathing valuable human being who was loved and cherished by so many people.

The many jobs and tasks you perform on a daily basis are thankless ones, and may generally go unnoticed by most of the world, yet they are so important. To you we say, “Thank You.”

The world could use more people like you.”

Sincerely,
Clare and Bill Duross

American House Resident Review

Our residents at American House Senior Living really do love living here — and here’s some of the proof:

For American House resident Marie, living here provides her with even more fun and socialization than living in her beautiful lake house did! Being here makes her life “comfortable and exciting” — a pretty great testament to all the effort we put into making sure our residents are happy and taken care of, don’t you think?

“I love it here.

I was giving up my lake house and surprisingly I have more freedom here than I ever did there.

I can enjoy what I want to do at my own pace whether it’s organizing my new apartment or joining forty or fifty new friends for dinner or a continental breakfast.
My meds appear in my apartment within a day of ordering. No one has to drive to pick them up. My doctor sits on my couch, instead of my going out to his office, and talks to me about my health needs. My physical therapist is down the hall from my apartment. No one has to pick me up and drive me there. They build their schedule for physical therapy around my schedule.

If I want books to read there is a well stocked library, a gym for chair exercising with friends and a billiards room with a fireplace that looks very cozy. There is a chapel for worship and a beauty shop for fixing up. There are any number of little cubbies to meet friends for coffee along with a craft and game room and a pottery room.

Everybody here looks like me. We’re all seasoned citizens as Rush Limbaugh would say and that is a lot of life experiences to share.

If I want to be alone I can sit in my recliner and watch TV or talk on the phone. I can sew, read or do nothing at all. Today was a do nothing day. I took two naps and didn’t feel guilty at all. Tomorrow I can finish putting away my summer clothes as it’s been snowing lately so I probably won’t be needing them for the next few months.

There is a chart of activities for everyday of the month. One of my first “trips” was to a color cruise on the Grand River in Lansing. It was everything and more than I expected. We were entertained by a strolling band that played requests. No hip hop or heavy metal. They fed us a dinner to rival thanksgiving and we cruised slowly down the Grand to the most beautiful sights. It was worth the money and gave me a taste for the well thought out activities available inside and out of my new home at American House.

Since I’ve been here a short time I’ve made a few close friends – some thoughtful and helpful staff from dietary to housekeeping to office.

Everything is done to make my life comfortable and exciting. I love it here.

I plan on writing some children’s stories and a few short stories this winter. I won’t be worrying about snow shoveling or cleaning or cooking. My children and grandchildren don’t seem to mind the smallness of my apartment they just like to get together no matter where I live and they think that I live in a really nice hotel. I haven’t told them that I don’t. To me I live in a new wonderful place much nicer than a nice hotel in every aspect.” – Marie

Becoming a Savvy Holiday Shopper

Melissa, the Bargain Shopper Mom, & Kathy, American House Executive Director.

Many families spend time preparing for Thanksgiving and the holidays by planning meals, decorations and guest lists — but how many have strategies when it comes to shopping for holiday gifts? We’re guessing not many. That’s why our staff in the American House Memory Care Unit partnered with notable blogger Melissa Buckles of The Bargain Shopper Mom to give our residents, families and friends a chance to learn her savvy secrets in a special holiday savings workshop.

Kathy, an American House Executive Director, being interviewed by Local4 about the evening’s holiday savings workshop by Melissa Buckles.

With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday coming one after the other, the Thanksgiving weekend certainly brings with it plenty of opportunities to go out and get that holiday shopping done. But navigating the sales, determining what deals are the best ones and saving as much money as possible can be daunting on these major – and busy – days of the year.

Shoppers learned all kinds of money-saving tips at the workshop, which was designed to help everyone navigate the Black Friday sales and get the most bang for the buck. Melissa offered strategies to develop a plan for in-store shopping and for making the most of sales online, in addition to providing other holiday shopping tips.Holding the workshop at American House Elmwood was a unique opportunity for residents to share in some of the holiday shopping tips and fun with family. Kathy Porman and the rest of the Elmwood staff explained how integral a rich activities program was to the success of her community.

Kathy, an American House Executive Director, sharing stories about the family environment at American House.

Check out the story about the event that was featured on Local 4 WDIV.  At American House, we know saving money is important — especially around the holidays. We want to make sure our residents and their families have all the advantages possible when spending their hard-earned money. Contact us today – or visit us on Facebook and Twitter — to see what other fun and informational activities we offer for our residents and their families!