Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

January 9, 2012

PLEASANT HILL RAMBLINGS: Fletcher House residents enjoy holiday festivities

CROSSVILLE — The holiday season just passed provided a great excuse to get together with old and new friends. When you live with those friends, it makes it easy to do this often.

Fletcher House of Assisted Living is home to 52 residents. There are three levels of care from independent status to those needing some help with medications or personal care. In addition, there are a few people in apartments close by who avail themselves of Fletcher services. Weekly activities include movies, Wii physical sports, Wii mental games, bridge, pinochle or other card games, flex and stretch and ping pong three mornings. Monthly, they enjoy birthday and wine and cheese parties. Other residents in the Uplands Village often join the Fletcher residents in these regular activities and especially when talented visitors come to entertain with music, poetry readings, story telling or other special events.

Before Fletcher House was constructed in 1984, sheltered care was available in the Van Dyck House, which had housed the tuberculosis sanitorium in the days when the hospital was in Pleasant Hill. The facility was named for Elizabeth Fletcher, who with Alice Adshead, was a co-worker with Dr. May Cravath Wharton and helped found Uplands in 1922. In 1999, Fletcher House was expanded with a new kitchen, dining room, a health services clinic and a new fellowship hall named for Alice Adshead. It then became licensed as an assisted care facility.

The four Wharton Homes in Uplands Village were developed as Eden Alternative care centers, opening in 2010. The four homes were named for former medical directors, and each home has a household coordinator, Dr. Braun (present medical director), Dr. Munson, Dr. Dougherty and Dr. Lake. Each home houses 15 or 16 residents and is served by its own team. Two homes join into a “neighborhood” with access to an outside garden and have common areas where the residents may come together for special activities.

This year each home decided to have its own Christmas party with staff and their children. Volunteers from the Uplands Village and Wharton Home residents participated together. Different Santas delivered the presents at each party. Dave Harsh and John Barry appeared for all the world like Santa himself. Roy and Evelyn Siewert convinced the young ones that they were indeed Mr. and Mrs. Santa.

Carolyn Rogers, Marian Ziebell, Ruth Mackenzie and Dick Braun provided instrumental music at different parties with carol singing led by Connie Begley and Duncan Everett. The songs were mixtures of the children’s requests and old favorites from the residents. Residents shared stories and children provided entertainment with their lively interactions.

Ahead of time, the residents were asked what present they might enjoy best. In addition to the usual slippers, perfume, jewelry and lotion, the list included a yo-yo, chocolate pie, Coke Zero and a fruit basket. Pat Robbennolt did the shopping for the children and volunteers purchased the adult gifts, provided by the Wharton Association. With a little help, Wharton inhabitants wrapped all of the gifts. The children presented the gifts to the residents, often giving them hugs as well. In turn, the residents handed presents to the children. Each helped the other open and enjoy the presents.

Wharton dietary staff provided refreshments that rivaled homemade goodies. Each home was uniquely decorated by staff, volunteers and residents. These small personal parties really lived out the Eden Alternative concept. The Eden Alternative aims to develop an elder-centered community committed to creating a human habitat or home where life revolves around close and continuing contact with other people, plants, animals and children. It is these relationships that provide elders with a pathway to a life worth living.

***

The GRAB thrift shop on West Main St. in Pleasant Hill is open for business once more. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Reminder to all patrons that if Cumberland County schools are closed, so is the GRAB.

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