Karen Schalte, administrator of The Timbers of Cass County, wore her hair in curler Wednesday for "Pajama Day" for National Nursing Home Week, May 12-18. With her is Gay Waterman, marketing director. (Leader photo/JOHN EBY)
Karen Schalte, administrator of The Timbers of Cass County, wore her hair in curler Wednesday for "Pajama Day" for National Nursing Home Week, May 12-18. With her is Gay Waterman, marketing director. (Leader photo/JOHN EBY)

Nursing home celebration carries funky themes

Published 6:38pm Sunday, May 19, 2013

A woman in night clothes, her hair in curlers, greeted visitors to The Timbers of Cass County on Wednesday as part of a week-long celebration of National Nursing Home Week.

Administrator Karen Schalte maintained “proper professional decorum” by wearing a string of pearls around her throat to complete her startling ensemble.

Friday might be an interesting sight, too, with cowboys and barbecue.

Anyone not dressed in Wild West togs is asked to wear purple.

“I’m going to wear a purple cowboy outfit,” she said. “Each department is responsible for a day. Dietary is sponsoring Friday and wanted everybody to wear purple.”

Monday was Fitness Day (therapy), Tuesday (business office) was a red-and-white Italian theme with pizza, Wednesday’s Pajama Day included waffles for staff and residents, today is M&M Day (nursing services), with City Councilman Bob Schuur sharing his collection of chocolate candy dispensers and staff dressing as their favorite M&M.

What if they come garbed as Eminem and start rapping like Michigan’s Marshall Mathers?

“That might be fun,” Schalte laughed. “I hope somebody dresses like that woman M&M with white gloves and big eyelashes. Maybe I’ll go buy some big eyelashes. We’re going to have candy all over the building and serve M&M cookies. We’re going to raffle off an M&M collector’s item. It’s a caddy with a golf bag. When you move the golf club, M&Ms come out of the bag.

“Up until Florence Nightingale, no one paid attention to how the sick and infirm were taken care of. She was the first infection control nut. She was a rich aristocrat who went into these wards at night with a candle and got everything cleaned up and scrubbed down,” Schalte said.

The Timbers, 55432 Colby St., employs 138 people and currently cares for 80 residents.

The Timbers, coming up in July on its third anniversary in Dowagiac, recently received a Five-Star Quality Rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services based on health inspection results, adequate staff and quality measure data.

“There are 180 quality measures,” Schalte said. “It’s a considerable accomplishment for any facility. We have some openings available for Medicaid. Sometimes people are in their homes and things become too much and they welcome coming to a community with hugs, smiles and things to do. A lot go through rehab and want to stay because they’re tired of being in their homes by themselves. At home, if they can’t drive, all they have to look forward to is watching TV and wondering if they have enough energy to make a sandwich for lunch. This community can be very welcoming. We certainly don’t fit the old stereotype about nursing homes. In April, we sent 21 people home. We have a therapy team that does home evaluations of how the person functions so we can plan for success. Balance in this population is a big issue so they don’t fall and break a hip. Typically, falls happen in the bathroom with wet, slippery surfaces. We have an 11-passenger van to go to parades, out to dinner or on color tours. We took a group to the Senior Olympics at Lakeland Berrien Center and had three winners.”

There are 15,000 skilled nursing centers across the nation.

 — Dowagiac Daily News

 

 

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