At Oakmont Senior Communities, we believe that Assisted Living & Memory Care is not just enriching lives, but is also about making new memories for each and every resident we serve. That’s why when innovative and unique programs, partnerships and collaborations present themselves for our residents, we’re excited to participate.
One such program was the Intergenerational Pen Pal Program that paired seniors from our Oakmont Sterling Assisted Community with students from Angus Elementary in Sterling Heights. Thanks to a great from the Extra Credit Union, the students and their senior pen pals were able to share letters, make new memories, and even spend some time talking in person.
This kind of program is just one example of the fantastic work our activity staff is organizing in our Assisted Living and Memory Care units. Stay tuned to Oakmont’s News for more highlights from our one-of-a-kind care programs.
It’s no surprise that when asked what she’d like to talk about in her resident spotlight interview, Betty replied that she’d like to talk about her religion. “I think it’s the most interesting things about me,” she said, smiling, “and I can talk about it, it’s not weird.”
Born in Philadelphia to a loving mother and father and three sisters, Betty was brought up in the Church of Christian Science – an American-born religion that sports about 85,000 members worldwide. Her early memories involve sitting with her mother and reading Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy’s famous book: Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, along with passages from the bible.
“Both my sister and I stammered when we were younger,” she said, “so reading from the bible was good practice for me because there were quite a few tongue twisters in there,” she said, laughing. “And I liked it [Christian Science] until I became an adolescent and started to question things.”
Despite growing up in the depression, moving from apartment to apartment, and dealing with nagging questions about her faith, Betty was an exceptionally happy child – seeing each move as a new adventure. “I was always happy,” she said, speaking of when the Great Depression impacted her family. “I wasn’t aware that suddenly we were poor and had nothing – and you don’t know about depression until you know nothing – we had nothing.”
From Nothing to Everything
Despite hard economic times, Betty wasn’t about to let outside circumstances determine her fate. She enrolled at Wayne State University, eventually earning a Bachelor’s Degree as well as a Master’s Degree in Library Science and a Master’s Degree in Geography. Inspired by her love for learning, she began teaching at Oakland Community College – lecturing about her favorite subjects to many interested students.
It was during this period that she met the man she’d eventually marry – and stay married to for 23 years. He was a fallen-away Catholic, and immersing herself in his religion re-invigorated her quest to finally feel comfortable in her own. It was then that she seriously began to consider leaving the church of her youth and converting.
“I had a perfect life,” she said smiling. “Two children – a boy and a girl. I loved my husband. We had a nice house and we were happy. We had a little doggie and everything.”
Finally a Catholic After 83 Years
After the death of her first husband and divorce from her second (a colleague who was also a Catholic), Betty realized it was now or never to fulfill her dream of converting. Neither of her spouses was particularly fond of their religion, which kept her from officially making the plunge all of those years. “With both husbands gone, I thought, I could do it now,” she said. And after talking to a priest, she officially converted at the age of 83 – and now gets to live a faith that inspires her every day.
“It’s so real,” she said when asked what about Catholicism moves her. “I mean, what lasts 2,000 years? Not much. But the bible – best seller all these years. It’s fascinating. It’s more real. You can talk about it.”
And talk about it she does. Her life has come full circle now, from reading the writings of Mary Baker Eddy with her mother to scripture readings at the Oakmont Northville chapel – the words of faith continue to not only move Betty but pique her intellectual curiosity on a daily basis.
“You know, they often say about converts that they’re more interested, more moved by things because it’s new and it’s splendid,” she said. “I love ritual when it’s beautiful. I love it. I just love it.”
Listen to Betty describe why Catholicism moves her in her own words:
Whiskey is a service dog rescued and specially trained by Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, INC located in Williston, Florida. He will spend his adult life in service to a veteran experiencing ongoing effects of the tolls of service.
How did funding for Whiskey become available?
Oakmont Senior Communities residents, staff, veterans, friends, and families participated in an organization-wide fundraiser, raising $22,000 to facilitate Whiskey’s training and donation to a deserving veteran.
Who will get Whiskey?
Whiskey will be awarded to a Michigan veteran of the United States Army in a ceremony at Oakmont Rochester in November. His adoption will be at no cost to the veteran thanks to the funds raised by Oakmont.
What is Whiskey trained to do?
Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs are trained to do the following:
Alerting for help
Alerting prior to a seizure
Open/close doors, drawers and refrigerators
Pick up dropped items
Assist with balance issues
Mitigate the challenges of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) including shielding, grounding from anxiety/panic attacks and flashbacks, and waking from nightmares
Assist those with autism and so much more
Where is Whiskey allowed to go?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), state and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally, must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital, it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.
Who is Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, INC?
Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, INC is one of the nation’s most trusted and highly-rated 501(C)3 non-profit medical service dog organizations operating today. Having paired more than 200 individually trained medical service dogs with deserving recipients since beginning in 2010, Guardian Angels depends on the support of the community to continue their mission. Find out more on their website.
On Friday, September 22nd, Oakmont Livonia Enhanced Independent Living was presented with a certificate by the Livonia Chamber of Commerce in recognition of five years of continuous membership. As the premier Enhanced Independent Living senior community in Livonia, Oakmont is proud to be a resource for the citizens of Livonia and the surrounding communities, and participate in such a great community-focused organization.
With a passion people, business, and community, the Livonia Chamber of Commerce supports its more than 900 members with marketing guidance, referrals, credibility, and advocacy. To learn more about the chamber, click here.
On Saturday, September 23rd, Oakmont Rochester Independent Living, and Oakmont Rochester Assisted Living were proud to serve as presenting sponsors for the 1st Annual Bloomfield Township Active Compassion 5k Walk. Participants of all ages and abilities participated in this family-friendly walk around the Bloomfield Township campus, with all proceeds going to benefit Senior Services in and around the Township.
With more than 100 participants and thousands of dollars raised, the inaugural event proved to be a big success. The money raised will go to benefit both Bloomfield Township’s Meals on Wheels program, which provides hot, nutritious meals and safety checks for those in need, as well as the Friendship Club, which provides essential adult daycare services to those suffering from dementia and memory loss.
For more information about the great work being done for seniors in Bloomfield Township, click here.