Surviving Caregiving Conference

Surviving Caregiving Conference – A Map Through The Maze –
Age Smart Community Resources, St. John’s Community Care and Hospice of Southern Illinois to host the 2017 Surviving Caregiving Conference

Collinsville–  The annual Surviving Caregiving Conference: “A Map Through The Maze”. The free conference is open to the public and will offer valuable information and resources for those caring for aging or disabled loved ones. The conference will take place on Saturday, April 29 at St. John Church – Faith Hall (rear) located at 307 West Clay Street, Collinsville, IL.

The not-for profit agencies involved will provide this conference to anyone in the community who would like to attend and gather information to aid them or an aging loved one.  The conference will be begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 2:30 p.m. A continental breakfast and light lunch will be provided compliments of Age Smart Community Resources and Hospice of Southern Illinois. To register call Age Smart Community Resources at 618-222-2561. This is a free conference, but registration is required.

“We are delighted to be able to offer this conference. We hope that everyone who attends will leave with a sense of hope and lots of helpful resources and tips,” said Nancy Berry, Executive Director for St. John’s Community Care. “St. John’s is providing complimentary care in our Adult Day Program to enable families to attend while their loved one enjoys a day out”.

          Keynote Presentations:

♦ Legal and Financial Issues – Heidi Dodd, Attorney, Harter, Larson and Dodd
♦ Medications – Benefits and Cautions – Brad Rea, Pharmacist
♦ Hospice of Southern Illinois, Pharmacy Fellow
♦ Caregiver Tips to Make Your Life Easier – Amy Sobrino, MSW
♦ Memory Care Home Solutions
♦ Benefits of Therapy for Your Loved One – Rehabilitation Professionals, Inc.

To register call Age Smart Community Resources at 618-222-2561. The conference is free, but registration is required. Box lunch included.

Cardinals Reminiscence League

Cardinals Reminiscence League Expanding to Serve More People with Memory Loss
St. John’s Community Care partners with Alzheimer’s Assoc. to host early memory loss program

Edwardsville – In partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, St. John’s Community Care is proud to announce the start of the 2017 Cardinals Reminiscence program for people with memory loss: Cardinals Reminiscence League (CRL). CRL builds on the reminiscence therapy concept that memorabilia and other prompts can be used to stimulate conversations about shared memories of past experiences. Individuals with mild memory loss or in the early stages of dementia meet to share pleasant baseball memories in hopes of enhancing their mood and communication skills.

St. John’s Community Care will provide this free program, launched and supported by the Alzheimer’s Association, to those with Alzheimer’s and related dementia, as well as their care partners.

“We are extremely happy to be able to offer this valuable program in Edwardsville. Cardinal Reminiscence League is a bold, optimistic and innovative approach to aid people with memory loss. Programs like this are a vision for how we can change the way we think and care for people with memory loss,” said Nancy Berry, Executive Director for St. John’s Community Care.

“The Alzheimer’s Association has had success hosting the Cardinals Reminiscence League and is excited to partner with St. John’s Community Care to expand this group and reach more people,” said Stephanie Rohlfs-Young, Alzheimer’s Association St. Louis Chapter Vice President of Programs.

The CRL program was originally developed in 2011 as a partnership between the Alzheimer’s Association St. Louis Chapter, Saint Louis University, St. Louis Veterans Administration (VA), St. Louis Cardinals baseball organization and the Cardinals’ Hall of Fame Museum.

The first session of the new program hosted at St. John’s Community Care will be on April 20, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at St. John’s Community Care Adult Day Center located at 1015 B. Century Drive – University Pointe II in Edwardsville.

The program is the brainchild of John Morley, M.D., director of geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University.  Dr. Morley was inspired by the Football Reminiscence Partnership of Scotland, where soccer is more than a pastime. Much like Cardinals baseball, it is a passion.

Art is the expression of the soul

During the last year, participants at St. John’s Community Care Adult Day Center have been receiving individual and group Art Therapy sessions with SIUE masters level practicum student, Ashley Ramm. Participants from both the Collinsville and the Edwardsville Adult Day locations meet once per week for different themed groups. A Ladies Art Therapy Group meets in Edwardsville to reminisce about past interests, make friends, and learn new art skills. The Ladies Art Therapy Group recently created their own scarves. The women learned how to dye fabric using shibori techniques, and experimented with surface design. After completing the scarves, the women showed off their master pieces at the Day Center.

An Eco-Art Therapy Group was led at the Collinsville location, where participants reconnected with the natural environment through engagement with nature. Eco-Art therapy techniques stimulate the mind and body through the five senses, to allow for deeper intellectual processing about the seasons of life. They used natural
objects such as fresh cut flowers, twigs, stones, bark, soil, and sand to create art. During the fall of 2016, participants established a new flower bed in the courtyard and planted flower bulbs to have spring tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. The flower bed is surrounded with stones the participants have painted.

To celebrate the five year anniversary of offering art therapy services at St. John’s Community Care, both locations are participating in a community arts project. Each location is creating a tree of life mixed media painting. Stay tuned for images of the finished art works in the next newsletter!

Working with older adults or adults with limited abilities can present quite a challenge for any anyone in the health field but particularly for art therapists.  Many participants have limited physical functioning and visual problems.  Often they are in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s or have brain trauma injuries.

At St. John’s Community Care the art therapy program creates the art therapy intervention to the special needs of each participant.  Group and individual sessions are held weekly.   One of the participants, “C” was severely brain injured in an accident when he was only 9 years-old.  He needs a walker, has trouble speaking and is limited developmentally.  Because he was such a young age, his ability to reason and understand  was compromised.   This resulted in his focus on his hometown and back to the time before he was injured.

His constant repetition often left the staff frustrated and at a loss to help him with a new topic.  Sarah, the art therapist, at that time held individual sessions with him to allow him to express his frustration.  With art therapy they then created a whole town out of cardboard, paper and paint.  They included all of the landmarks he remembered and even added a park for sledding.  This resulted in a marked decrease in his repetition.   With his permission, the staff was able to look at his work of art and talk to him.  When he wanted to discuss his hometown, he and staff now had a visual forum to engage with him.

“M” is a participant whose husband was in Chicago and dying.  He was also suffering from Alzheimer’s and on her last visit did not recognize her.  She was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but had the capacity to fully understand what it meant for her prognosis.  She was very angry.  She often snapped at the other participants or was impatient with those who had some form of dementia.

Individual Art Therapy focused on helping her to express her anger and fears.  She started with painting huge swaths of color almost viciously on the easel paper.  As the weeks went by her art took on more form.  She started painting train tracks and discussing her life in the city.  “M” began to reminisce about the wonderful parts of her childhood and living with her parents.  Her anger appeared to dissolve along with the paint.

It was very important to “M” to be able to process her past and do a life review.  The paintings are now with her daughter so they can have her artwork as a window into “M’s”  history.   For those participants who are experience memory loss, being able to pull from their past is a way for them to engage with others and feel positive about themselves.

Art Therapy can be tailored to each specific participant to help them address the particular needs  of being in adult community care.

St. John’s Community Care Art Therapy Program is supported in part by a grant from the Employees Community Fund of Boeing St. Louis.  This fund is made up of employee-managed funds which are distributed by the local ECF board in accordance with the best interest of the community and membership. The Madison County Mental Board and donations fund the balance.

For more information about St. John’s Art Therapy Program, please contact Stacey at 344-5008.




Insight To Repetition

By Gail J. Shaw,
Home Services Care Coordinator – 

Members attending our Alzheimer’s Support Group discuss many different types of challenges they have in caring for their loved ones with memory loss. Two of the challenges most discussed have been their loved one asking the same question over and over and then not remembering or being able to retain information.

It can be hard for a family caregiver or others to look at a person with memory loss and think they have a disease. Individuals with memory loss will appear to look normal to everyone, in the beginning. You may not even suspect a person has a problem until you spend some time talking to them. After a while, you may start to notice your friend or loved one repeats a lot or asks the same question during the conversation.

As the brain becomes more compromised due to Alzheimer’s, plaque and tangles form, the brain shrinks and the cells slough off and do not replenish themselves. Over time it becomes harder for the brain to remember or retain new information. We will notice individuals repeating questions, words or even activities. It’s not that they are trying to be difficult. They simply do not remember they have already asked the question or completed the activity. These behaviors are due to the disease.

As a family caregiver, you need to understand why your loved one keeps asking the same question after you have given the same answer for the umpteenth time. As the memory becomes worse, it will be harder for them to communicate with you. You may want to explore why they are asking the same question repeatedly. They may be trying to communicate a problem, ask for help or dealing with an anxiety. Maybe they are simply frustrated with a situation.

The Alzheimer’s Association has a few ideas
as to how to respond to repetition.

Look for a reason behind the repetition.

Does the repetition occur around certain people or surroundings, or at a certain time of the day?
Focus on the emotion, not the behavior.
Rather than reacting to what the person is doing, think about how he or she is feeling.

Turn the action or behavior into an activity.

If the person is rubbing his or her hand across the table, provide a cloth and ask for help with dusting.

Stay calm, and be patient.

Reassure the person with a calm voice and gentle touch. Don’t argue or try to use logic.

Provide an answer.
Give the person the answer that he or she is looking for, even if you must repeat it several times.

Engage the person in the activity.
The individual may simply be bored and need something to do.

Use memory aids.
Offer reminders by using notes, clocks, calendars or photographs, if they find it helpful.

Accept the behavior, and work with it. 

If it isn’t harmful, don’t worry about it. Find ways to work with it.

Family caregivers and others can easily become frustrated with frequent repetition. Hopefully by understanding why repetition occurs it will become less frustrating. And that will make your relationship with your loved one better. Just remember, they are probably as frustrated with their memory loss as you are with it-probably more so.

If caregiving has become too stressful, maybe it is time to enlist help from others. St. John’s Community Care has caregivers who can come out to the home and provide care for your loved one while you get out of the home. For more information on our in-home services, please contact us at 618-344-0276.


Aging Brings Challenges And We Are Here To Help

By Patti Haddick, Director of Home Services – The holidays are a time for reconnecting with family and friends.  Daughters and sons come to Mom and Dad’s house for Christmas and families go to visit Aunt Rose and Uncle Bob.

Not only do these visits allow families to reconnect with their loved ones but they also give families a chance to realize the challenges their family members are having due to aging.  Maybe Aunt Rose’s dementia is preventing her from keeping up with the cleaning and is also causing her to wander.  Mom’s bad back keeps her from safely taking a bath or shower on her own.  Uncle Bob may no longer be safe to drive due to his failing eyesight.

After noticing these new needs, families often look at lots of options to help their loved ones.  Should Mom and Dad move to Assisted Living or move in with a son or daughter?  Should Uncle Bob place Aunt Rose in a Memory Care Facility?  St. John’s Home Services can often fill these needs either for short- term, while options are being explored and weighed, or for the long-term because some seniors have saved for this “rainy day” and would rather age in place, in their own home.

St. John’s Home Services can provide respite for Uncle Bob.  Caregivers will stay with Aunt Rose to keep her safe and happy so that Uncle Bob’s buddies can pick him up for donuts and coffee.  St. John’s Caregivers can help with the chores around the house because caring for a loved one with dementia often leaves a spouse too overwhelmed and tired to do the day-to-day housekeeping.  The Caregivers can also cook a good meal for Uncle Bob and Aunt Rose to enjoy later in the day.

Caregivers can help get the towel, washcloth, soap, and get Mom into the shower and wash her back and feet…the areas she can’t easily reach.  They will help her get out of the shower safely and put non-prescription lotion on Mom’s back and legs.  They will then clean the bathroom after the fact.  This is a blessing for anyone who has compromised mobility and energy levels.  And who doesn’t like to be pampered with sweet-smelling lotion after a warm shower!

St. John’s Caregivers are caring individuals who love helping others and receive ongoing training for this type of work.  Caregiver references are checked before they are hired and they receive a fingerprint background check through the Illinois Department of Public Health.

If you see a need after your Christmas visit home, give us a call at 618-344-5008.
We would be happy to help your loved
ones by sending Caregivers from our
Home Services Program. 




































Challenges of Communicating with People with Alzheimer’s

By Gail J. Shaw, Care Coordinator –

“Don’t underestimate me. I know more than I say, think more than I speak and notice more than you realize.” I saw this quote of wisdom on Pinterest and it immediately reminded me of my clients, who are challenged every day as they live life with Alzheimer’s. To me, it speaks volumes on how individuals living with a dementia or Alzheimer’s go about their day, day after day.

A family caregiver faces many challenges while caring for their loved one who has Alzheimer’s. One of those challenges deals with communication. The family becomes frustrated trying to figure out what Grandma is trying to get across to them. Grandma gets upset at trying to get her thoughts out or to be understood. Words just don’t come easily or even come at all. Frustration, stress, and hurt feelings are experienced daily for those who are slowly losing their ability to communicate.

In the beginning, for a person with Alzheimer’s, there may be little to no problems with communication. There could be the occasional misuse of calling something by the wrong word or forgetting the correct word use for an item. One may forget a person’s name or call them by a different name. You and others may not notice any problems with their communication.

As Alzheimer’s progresses through the region of the brain that affects memory and thinking and planning, you will notice the individual having more and more trouble expressing themselves. They will also have problems organizing their thoughts. This will be a time of great frustration for the individual with Alzheimer’s and those caring for them.

Towards the very end, the one with Alzheimer’s will not be able to verbally communicate due to the brain being so compromised. This will be a tough time but you will still be able to communicate with each other even if it seems to be one-sided.

Every day we all use a nonverbal system of communication. We wave a hand to get someone’s attention. We laugh at other’s jokes. We may frown and roll our eyes to imply we are not happy with something. Yes, we can communicate a lot with our body and facial expressions. So remember while  communicating smile, laugh, hold hands and look into their eyes to show love and acceptance to the one living with Alzheimer’s.

Here are some suggestions from the book The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later Life, to improve verbal communication with your loved one during the mild to moderate stages of Alzheimer’s.

  • Make sure he does hear you.
  • Lower the tone (pitch) of your voice.
  • Eliminate distracting noises or activities.
  • Use short words and short, simple sentences.
  • Ask only one simple question at a time.
  • Ask the person to do one task at a time, not several.
  • Speak slowly, and wait for the person to respond.

St. John’s Community Care provides training to our employees on the topic of understanding memory loss which includes communication. Our support groups also help family caregivers to have a better understanding of how to communicate with their loved one living with Alzheimer’s.

If you need help in understanding or caring for your loved one, call us and we will meet with you to see what program or services we offer that may be beneficial for the two of you. Remember that the most important thing to communicate is your love.




































St. John’s Awarded A Grant From The Boeing St. Louis Employees Community Fund

St. John’s Community Care was awarded a $5,000 grant for Art Therapy in their Adult Day Programs in Edwardsville and Collinsville from the Employees Community Fund of Boeing St. Louis.  This fund is made up of employee managed funds which are distributed by the local ECF board in accordance with the best interest of the community and membership.

With this generous contribution, St. John’s Community Care will be able to fund a practicum student through SIUE’s Art Therapy Counseling Program for another year. For participants who are living with memory loss, being able to pull from their past is a way for them to engage with others and feel positive about themselves.  Unlike other therapies, art therapy offers a wide variety of modalities and interventions and can be tailored to each specific participant to address their particular needs within the Adult Day Program setting.

St. John’s Adult Day Program offers opportunities for aging and disabled people needing care to socialize in a safe, supportive setting. “St. John’s Adult Day Program is a one of a kind, very unique, classy place. My Mom has been attending for several years and it’s the best anti-depressant for her. I have seen a number of adult day centers and none compare. I’ve noticed such a sense of dignity and respect for every client.” said Cheryl Mines.

The Adult Day Program offered at St. John’s in both Collinsville and Edwardsville is open Mon. – Fri from 6:30 am – 6:00 pm. Many participants are eligible for services paid through a government program. For more information, please call 618-344-5008 or visit St. John’s Community Care is an outreach ministry of St. John Evangelical United Church of Christ (Collinsville) and a proud member of the United Way.

Rehab Services now offered for Adult Day Participants

St. John’s Community Care is happy to announce that we willogol be able to offer rehab services for the participants of the Adult Day Program. The services will be available at both St. John’s Community Care Adult Day Program locations in Edwardsville and Collinsville. St. John’s will be partnering with Rehabilitation Professionals, Inc. (RPI). They are a multi-faceted practice established in 1997 by Physical Therapists Jonty Felsher and Jonathan Gordon.

With more than 50 years of combined experience, Jonty and Jonathan utilize a hands-on approach when treating patients. Their team has extensive training and expertise in working in all areas of rehabilitation. RPI is a rehabilitation agency providing therapy and wellness services in Missouri and Illinois for 20 years.
RPI has assembled a multi-disciplinary team of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists. The service they provide complies with the highest professional standards and practices in the physical therapy industry.
“We are extremely pleased to be able to partner with RPI and provide this valuable service at both of our locations in Edwardsville and Collinsville. It is our hope it will serve as a convenient way for a family caregiver to address the rehabilitation needs of their aging loved one, without additional trips to another location to receive care.” said Nancy Berry, Executive Director for St. John’s Community Care.
For more information about St. John’s Community Care visit, or call 618-344-5008. For more information about Rehabilitation Professionals, Inc. (RPI) visit, or call 314-252-0924.

Glen Campbell – I’ll Be Me

Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016

The Wildey Theater

252 North Main Street – Edwardsville

Complimentary Small Popcorn & Soft Drink to first 100 reservations. All attendees will receive a resource packet given at the end of the program. Registration & Movie Time

Doors open at 9:00 a.m. • Registration: 9:00 – 9:45 a.m. • Movie: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Seating is limited!

This event is FREE but reservations are required.

Call Hospice of Southern Illinois to

RSVP: 618-222-5905






Poster - glen campbell

The Joy of De-clutter and Downsizing

By Patti Haddick, Director of Home Services – Years ago, as a young wife and mother just starting a new household, I could not understand why my mother and aunts requested “no knick-knacks and dust-catchers” for birthdays and holidays.  I loved the little tole-painted candleholders and the cute country crocks of dried flowers for my newly established home.

As I have aged I now see my Mother and aunts’ point of view.  Those knick-knacks have now turned into dust-catchers…things to be moved & dusted every time one cleans.  As decorations are added to tabletops there is the added chore of cleaning them.  I now rarely ask for anything to just set around the house as a decoration and look for more utilitarian gifts such as an organizer for the closet or washcloths and towels to replace my more threadbare ones.

Having lost my mother less than 2 years ago I also look at all the possessions to still be disbursed to family members or disposed of in a yard or estate sale.  The most wanted and precious to her 3 children are things such as the photos, the 3 angel statues representing the months of our births, and our baby books.  These are all memory evoking items, things precious to our hearts.  We all have our own households and do not need another microwave, set of pots and pans, or sheets.

How does one go about decluttering and downsizing before it becomes an immediate necessity due to nursing home placement, a move to assisted living, or the passing of a loved one?  Many articles have been written on the subject but dealing with it can seem insurmountable at first. If you want to follow the professionals’ suggestions here are some ideas:

Before starting have 4 bins labeled: KEEP, THROW AWAY, DONATE, and SELL.  As you go through things put them in one of the bins.  The things in the DONATE or THROW AWAY bins should be dealt with immediately after the cleaning session so as not to allow time to change one’s mind. If your loved one wants a certain person to receive an item after they have passed this might be the time to give it.  This will clear space and also deflect arguments among heirs.

Break it down in to small time increments.  Do not try to do one room in a day.  Maybe start with one drawer in the kitchen or one tabletop.  After this is completed there is a sense of accomplishment and a realization that the task is doable and not so overwhelming.

If the budget allows, rent a storage space to allow immediate decluttering without throwing away.  Bring boxes out one at a time from the storage shed and go through them with your loved one.  This helps them see the immediate results without feeling someone is pillaging and plundering through their precious belongings.

There are many more ideas on the internet for downsizing and decluttering but, to me, there is an underlying factor in doing this sooner rather than later.  As I age I know my memory is not what it used to be.  I don’t remember some of my family’s favorite recipes by heart so that is why I have them written down.  I don’t know who gave which knick-knack to my mother and what they meant to her.  I don’t know why Mom saved a certain article or poem that must have spoken to her heart or been important to her for some reason.

Going through possessions and belongings is a way of reconnecting with your parent or loved one and allowing them to talk about their history and the feeling and memories these items evoke.  For example, I remember Mom telling me the history behind her beloved Betty Crocker Cookbook.  As a newlywed she had little experience in cooking and taught herself (with some help from her mother-in-law and sisters-in-law) how to make pies for Thanksgiving and cook a pot roast for my dad.  She ended up being an excellent cook and always loved to cook.

Just last week I took some of Mom’s decades-old Christmas decorations to my sister.  We reminisced over the Elf Holding a Candy Cane Planters: the lavender one was in honor of my sister’s favorite color, the blue one was, of course, for my brother and the pink one was for me. (Can you guess my favorite childhood color?)  But don’t ask me where they came from. I vaguely remember Christmas greenery placed in the planter behind the elf gifted to us one Christmas maybe by my mom’s two sisters but I’m not sure.

I also gave my sister a wooden-based Christmas tree made from the netting used to make ballerina tutus.  I remember helping my mom paint the wooden bases, gather the netting, and put a rubber band on it to form the tiers of the tree.  These memories bring warm feelings that I wish I could have shared with my mom in her later years.  I wish she could tell me if the wooden bases were made by my dad who died when I was 8 years old or were made by Uncle Don, my mom’s brother, who was our family handyman after my dad passed.

Don’t let decluttering and downsizing be a complete chore or drudgery.  Let it be an opportunity to reconnect with your loved one and allow them to take you on a walk down their Memory Lane before the memories fade or are washed away by time or the ravages of dementia.  You won’t regret it and it may make them more cooperative through the whole process!


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