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HOME, a place to nurture the well-being of others

Well-Being Coordinator Katie Harich, third from left, spends time with sisters and others at the Woods, during a HOME activity.

It is rare that a Sister of Providence going to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods doesn’t say, “I’m going home.”

It is rare that visitors to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods campus don’t remark on the beauty, the peace and comfort they experience on the campus.

It is rare that the Woods isn’t described as a special place or as welcoming.

What better place, then, for the Sisters of Providence and Providence Health Care, Inc., to build a HOME whose mission is: “. . . to create a campus-wide, positive culture of aging that is life-affirming, person-directed and enhances overall well-being.”

What better place to nurture the well-being of others, to honor the value of each person and to insure that the most vulnerable persons can continue to be meaningfully engaged with others. Of special concern are those persons experiencing neurological challenges such as Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia.

Currently, Providence Health Care serves not only Sisters of Providence but also persons from neighboring Terre Haute and beyond. This varied population creates a rich and welcoming experience for all residents, and it will continue into the future.

Since there is no better place for HOME, what makes this HOME?  A firm foundation is being laid.

  • Enthusiastic Katie Harich, has been hired as Well-Being coordinator to direct the initiative’s multifaceted planning and to ensure that stated goals are implemented. Katie’s team-building, “let’s do this together” approach is contagious and makes others want to create HOME.
  • Dedicated and competent health care professionals designed and implemented a variety of educational programs specific to the well-being of elders. An exciting achievement is the commitment and enthusiasm of many staff members in earning certification as Certified Dementia Care Practioners. Being certificated practioners required these health care professionals to participate in a rigorous seminar titled “Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care.” Topics included were: Dementia: Diagnosis, Prognosis and Treatment; Communication and Feelings; Aggressive Behaviors; Personal Care; Staff, Family Support; Spiritual Care and End of Life Issues.
  • Diverse ways of engaging elders in activities are being offered. A sampling of these activities is: Tai Chi, chair yoga, drumming, outings, participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
  • Therapeutic, life enrichment activities include: the Music and Memory program, music therapy, massage and pet therapy (including alpacas!).
  • Creation of an enclosed courtyard at Providence Health Care that’s elder friendly. The courtyard’s shade garden, bird feeder area, butterfly garden and an attractive pergola delight the senses.

HOME building takes time and dedicated builders. The Sisters of Providence and Providence Health Care, Inc., certainly qualify as skilled and dedicated builders of this extraordinary HOME. Stay tuned for on-going progress reports!

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Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise was the general superior of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods from 2006-2016. She previously served as a high school teacher, college administrator, postulant/novice director and director of advancement and communications for Congregation. From September 2017, Sister Denise serves as Donor Relations Associate in Mission Advancement office.

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