Raising Awareness – Alzheimer’s Disease

Join us for a special screening of the award-winning documentary, Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me. It chronicles music legend Glen Campbell and his farewell “Goodbye Tour.” Watch this amazing journey as Glen and his family attempt to navigate the wildly unpredictable disease with love and laughter and music as their medicine of choice.
August 23, 2017 at Granite City Cinema, 1243 Niedreinghaus Avenue in Granite City. Doors open at 11:00 – show starts at 12 NOON. This is a FREE event but reservations are required. RSVP to 618-531-9430. Complimentary popcorn and soft drink to each attendee.

Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle

By Patti Haddick, Director of Home Services – The holidays are stressful for any adult but when you add the stress of caring for a loved one, it can be overwhelming. Stressed-is-Desserts-Magnet-C117500 There are decorations to put up, cookies to bake, gifts to buy, and if you add taking care of a frail loved one, it seems unmanageable.  Even looking for ways to redistribute the responsibilities is just one more cause for stress in a caregiver’s life.

After wearing the hat of being a caregiver for my mother in her final years, I can now see how much stress I was under.  But I was hesitant to give it up since I had always baked the pies for Thanksgiving, tried to put some thought into the Christmas presents I was buying, picked out and decorated a real tree every year, and on and on.  Looking back I see how unrealistic these expectations were and that I was the one causing my own overabundance of stress during the holidays.

The last couple of years I realized that  my expectations of the holidays were making me crazy, so I made some changes.  I no longer made several types of cookies.  I baked chocolate chip for my son and my mother and oatmeal for myself and as a gift for my cousin.  I put up the ceramic tree Mom had lovingly made years ago, which definitely saved time but still gave the home a warm holiday feeling.  I started buying gifts as I discovered them through the year instead of waiting to find “the perfect gift”.

As a family caregiver you too can find a few ways to make the holidays a little easier.  Maybe you can scale back your shopping, baking, and decorating expectations.  A cookie exchange can be a help.  Bake one type of cookie and have friends or family members bake others and share with each other.

Get other family members or friends involved in decorating the house on a smaller scale.  Your loved one gets to visit with all the family who come to help.  This scaling- back can also be an unforeseen blessing for a loved one with dementia who might find lots of blinking lights and motion-activated decorations overstimulating.

Gift cards and cash can help alleviate some of the shopping stress.  How many times have you received a gift that does not fit you or your style and ends up in a closet or drawer?   Do you know anyone that will turn down a gift card or a greeting card with a check or cash in it?

Making just these small changes can put you on the road to a less stressful holiday season.  Just remember, that if family can’t help with these preparations, St. John’s Community Care can.  In the past St. John’s Caregivers have helped mix and bake Christmas cookies, cleaned homes before the holiday, and even put up and decorated the Christmas tree.  If you want to go shopping, Caregivers can keep your loved one safe and warm at home while you are gone.  St. John’s Caregivers are also willing to come in and cook the turkey and trimmings a day or two ahead, using your family recipes, so all that’s left for you is to warm it up and enjoy the good feelings of the holiday season.  Call 344-5008 to discuss how St. John’s can help lessen the holiday stress for you and your loved one.







Best Kept Secret



Aging INSIGHT with Stacey Rhodes, Adult Day Program Director By Missy Athmer

An Adult Day Program with specialized care can be the perfect way for your loved one to get the care, supervision and social interaction that they need while you get the time that you need to work or meet other family obligations.


If you are caring for a loved one challenged with arthritis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia, traumatic brain injury or multiple sclerosis, we offer Adult Day Programs in Collinsville and Edwardsville. Your loved one will receive a personalized care plan filled with fun interactive activities that are implemented by trained staff and our RN. If you’re on the fence about enrolling your elderly loved one in Adult Day Program, we would encourage you to come for a tour. Here are a few reasons why: We know that one of the things people miss the most once they retire or become ill is a sense of purpose, a reason to get up in the morning. Spending day after day at home alone waiting for family or friends to come by can be isolating and can leave your loved one at risk of developing depression. Enrolling your adult loved one in an adult day program can restore a sense of purpose to their lives and give them a reason to be excited about getting up every day.

Older adults need mental stimulation and often they don’t get enough. Activities, crafts, games, special entertainment, and just being around other people can help your loved one exercise their mental muscles so that they will stay sharp and alert longer. Studies have shown individuals that don’t get enough social interaction lose their mental faculties at a much faster rate than those that have social relationships.

Many older adults are capable of staying in their own homes longer if they have periods of supervision. It’s being alone 24 hours a day that makes them more likely to have an accident in the home. Getting out of the house and being in a supervised setting with others gives them a sense of belonging and chance to remain independent longer.

Adult Day Program benefits health & nutrition. We have an RN on staff at each of our locations. They ensure your loved one is monitored and given prescription drugs when required. When your loved ones are attending an adult day program you can be confident that they are getting at least one hot nutritious meal each day, plus snacks!

Respite for you ‐ Don’t feel guilty about needing time for yourself. It is not healthy for you to be the only support for your elderly loved one, especially if you have a job or a family of your own at home that needs you. It’s ok to say that you need time for yourself. The adult day services option can give you the opportunity to work all day without having to stress about whether or not your elderly loved one is safe. The Adult Day Program also gives you the freedom to take care of any errands or other family obligations that you have. Or you can just take time for yourself and sleep, relax or spend time with friends to restore your own mental and physical health.

Don’t wait another day – we don’t want you to say “I wish I would have known sooner”. Come uncover this secret for yourself and help your loved one remain independent longer!

Relationships matter when dealing with aging and dementia

By Gail Shaw, Home Services Care Coordinator –Gail

It’s exciting to be celebrating our 30th anniversary. During this time, we have formed many relationships with individuals, families and other organizations. These relationships have helped our Home Services Program grow over the years.
Family caregivers have found that it is not always easy to get their loved one to eat, bathe or even leave the home. These same family caregivers may find themselves worn down.  I’m frequently asked by families, who are looking to bring a caregiver into their loved one’s home, if having a St. John’s Caregiver will really make a difference. I always find myself saying that sometimes having a non-family member can get someone to do the activity in question. You don’t know until you try having a Caregiver come into the home.
Over the years, our Caregivers have formed relationships with Clients and their family members that have led to some pretty positive outcomes. One family was having problems getting their 88 year old mother, Marie, to bathe. Jody had become frustrated at not being able to get her mother-in-law to bathe and change her clothes. St. John’s was asked to come in and assist the clielderly-holding-hands1ent with bathing, dressing and getting her fed before taking her to the St. John’s Adult Day Program. Everyone knew that bathing would be a big issue for the Caregiver to accomplish.  It took a couple of weeks but the Caregiver was able to persuade Marie to bathe one time a week with the Caregiver’s assistance. This outcome was able to happen because of the caring relationship established between the Client and Caregiver.
Another client, Virginia, had been a very independent business woman but now in her nineties, she found she needed assistance to be able to maintain independence in her home. Over the past several years, she has used a team of St. John’s Caregivers to help her stay in her home with her much beloved dog. Her Caregivers are devoted to giving her the care she needs.
The Care Coordinators also develop relationships with our clients and family members. We spend time meeting with other agencies and businesses to gain information and insight as to what additional services could be beneficial to our clients. There are also workshops and seminars which we attend to increase our knowledge on topics such as dementia, hospice care and elder abuse.
So when families call to inquire about how to encourage mother to eat or how can they go about finding a ramp for their parent, we can give them information or direction on how to find what they are looking for.
As we go about celebrating our 30th anniversary, we are looking forward to creating even more relationships out in the community.  If you know someone who could benefit from having a relationship with us here at St. John’s Community Care, have them contact us at 618-344-5008. We would love to be part of a life changing relationship with them.




Does Christmas bring out your green and fuzzy side or are you Cindy Lou?

Missy Athmer -Director of Marketing:
Of course I am talking about How The Grinch Stole Christmas! Even as an adult, I still love all the rhymes and the neat illustrations inside the famous Dr. Suess book. And every year, I faithfully watch the television program. In my mind it’s one of the best Christmas stories EVER … of how an old, mean, loveless heart is changed through the persistent love of one little girl, Cindy Lou Who.

When I watch the movie, I am reminded of a spiritual lesson… that through this beautiful innocent child who was desperately searching for the reason of Christmas, Cindy Lou knew there was more than gifts and ‘stuff’. In her search, she found compassion and love—a discovery that would change Whoville.

Cindy Lou stood by her beliefs and chose to love the Grinch. She did not judge him. In her heart she had an enormous amount of empathy, understanding and patience. So, if you are dealing with a Grinch this holiday season, remember to love them, because if their heart is full of unwashed socks, and have a soul full of gunk…it’s going to take a lot of determination and love to get through the stink, stank, stunk.

Welcome Christmas. Bring your cheer, Cheer to all Whos, far and near.

Christmas Day is in our grasp So long as we have hands to clasp.

Christmas Day will always be Just as long as we have we.

Welcome Christmas while we stand Heart to heart and hand in hand.


Talented Duo

A family sharing their love of music with the St. John’s


family. It’s a toe tapping good time!


Stacey’s Grapevine

By Stacey Rhodes, Adult Day Program Director – St. John’s Adult Day Programs are going to the DOGS!!!!! Once again, dog days of summer are upon us bringing the hottest and most sultry days of summer. As we are always looking for ways to celebrate at St. John’s, we are inviting our friends with dogs to visit either of our two centers. If you have a people-friendly pooch with up to date vaccinations, we welcome you. Your pet can come dressed up in costumes, perform tricks, or just be prepared to get lots of loving from our participants. Please contact Stacey Rhodes at 344-5008 or 656-7090 to schedule a time to visit and spend some time with our participants. We know Daisy, Happy and Annie (our pet therapy friends) will be joining us. Don’t miss the excitement and BYOB! (Bring your own bone!!!)

National Adult Day Services Week, September 14-20, 2014

This recognition was proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 to announce to Americans the value of adult day programs and recognize the dedicated staffs that serve families. Adult Day Programs provide a setting that enables older adults with dementia or chronic illnesses and those with disabilities to live at home and be a part of their communities. Participants can obtain the care they need without being forced to live in an institution. Families can receive respite from the many responsibilities that come with their caregiving. Everyone benefits from using the services. Our participants gain new friends and a feeling of belonging. They enjoy health and wellness monitoring, nutrition, and opportunities for socialization, physical and mentally stimulating activities. Our well trained staff and volunteers are dedicated to enhancing the lives of our participants. They bring laughter, love, and lots of hugs to each and every participant.

Our Adult Day Program in Collinsville opened in 2001. Our new adult day program in Edwardsville opened in 2013. Each center is unique and continues to accept new participants. We are looking for volunteers to assist our staff. Some of the tasks that volunteers can provide are: answering the phone, leading a devotional activity, interacting with our participants as we provide various activities, providing entertainment, sharing your hobby, etc. The opportunities are endless. Thank you for supporting St. John’s Community Care. We couldn’t do it without you!



Helpful Hints For The Dog Days of Summer

By Patti Haddick, Director of Home Services – As the Dog Days of Summer begin nipping at our heels, I am reminded of how the heat affects our senior family members and friends. Whether they have health challenges, dementia, or have continuing good health, they need to stay hydrated and in a cool environment.

Seniors especially need a cool environment as their internal thermostats don’t always work as efficiently due to decreased circulation and less efficient perspiration. This fact may be further complicated by certain health problems or medications. Convincing seniors to keep their air conditioner on when they are concerned about their limited income can be a challenge; but there are programs through Ameren to put them on budget billing or for assistance in paying the power bill.

People with dementia sometimes like to fiddle with the thermostat. There are plastic covers that can be locked to limit access to the thermostat. In the past more than one client of St. John’s Community Care with memory problems accidentally turned on the furnace in the middle of summer. Luckily, one of our Caregivers came in and turned the air conditioning on so no harm was done.

As for hydration, all humans need to drink approximately 6-8 cups or 48-64 oz. of fluid per day. Although good old, plain water is best…juices, milk, and herbal teas count towards one’s daily fluid intake. Caffeinated beverages can also be good for hydration but should be limited due to the fact that caffeine makes some people jittery and causes an increase in urinary frequency (and what senior needs either of these complications in their life). Fresh summer fruits which are high in juices also count towards fluid intake. Think watermelon, peaches, berries, and nectarines and how the juices drip down your chin as you bite into them. Eating these will also add to the senior’s nutritional needs and help keep them regular (and we know this is sometimes a BIG concern with our seniors). I personally know of more than one senior who loves fresh fruit and will snack on it all day if someone will purchase it for him, wash it, and make small baggies or covered bowls full of fruit.

St. John’s Home Services can help keep your loved one happy and healthy during these Dog Days. Our Caregivers can check to make sure the air conditioning is still on, clean the house, give your loved one a refreshing bath, make a light summer meal including some fruit salad, and fix a large pitcher of lemonade. Our services are available 24/7 for long-term or for a short time period such as when family is out of town for the weekend, on a long vacation, or to provide relief for family members so that they can have a regular break. Call us to find out more at 344-5008.



A picture might be worth a thousand words

By Missy Athmer Marketing Director – If you are anything like me, you have lots of photos of your family and friends. Recently my sister, who is moving, decided to pass down our family album to me, adding to the collection. Of course I sat for a couple of hours poring over the photos, laughing and talking to my husband about all the great stuff we did as a family, until he couldn’t take it anymore. I even posted a couple of photos on Facebook just for fun! It had been years since I had seen those photos and it brought back so many good memories.

I got to thinking…could looking through old photo albums be a fun activity to do if your loved one suffers from dementia? I did a little research to see if sharing memories through photos would be beneficial without it becoming stressful for you or your loved one. Here’s what I learned.

I understand from the articles I read that some people with dementia are able to express their feelings or talk about their life experiences. This is a great way for them to express their value as a person. Even when their memory is inconsistent, to engage with them while they remember happy times is therapeutic and valuable to you both.

The photos may help to get that conversation going. Since home and family (assuming it was relatively happy) are central to all our lives, this might be a place to start.

I also read that people with dementia sometimes retain a wealth of long-term memories that they can share, although it works better if you can avoid direct or specific questions. The goal is to give your family member the opportunity to share cherished memories. It should focus on what the person can and wants to remember. To help them, you can slip facts into a comment while looking at a photo. For example— “Oh look, there’s your sister Joan—she always has the biggest smile, and there’s Snoopy the dog, he’s always begging for treats!” This way the person won’t have the embarrassment of having forgotten the person’s or dog’s name, and the comment might help lead to another memory they will want to share.

Another tip I learned was to pay attention to the photos that evoke the most memories or favorites that bring a happier experience. Take those photos and make a smaller album. This will make it easier to access at times when you both need to share a laugh and a joyful moment together.


Caregiver Support Groups

St. John’s support groups provide opportunities for families and friends to discuss their concerns and uncertainties, as well as find resources to help regain a sense of  balance and hope. We also provide information about helpful coping techniques and resources to make your job as caregiver a little less stressful. The sessions  allow you to listen and discuss common issues with the group, leaving you with more understanding and a sense that you are not alone.  There is no charge to attend.

Alzheimer’s Support Group – Tuesday, July 8 – 1:30 p.m.
at St. John’s Community Care located at 222 Goethe Avenue in Collinsville, IL 62234.
Call for reservation or information – 618-344-5008.

Caregiver Support Group – Wednesday, July 9- 5:30 p.m.
at St. John’s Community Care located at 222 Goethe Avenue in Collinsville, IL 62234.
A light supper is provided at 5:30 with the meeting beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Complimentary Adult Day Services provided. Call for reservation or information 618-344-5008.

Caregiver Support Group- Wednesday, July 16 – 6:30 p.m.
at St. John’s Community Care located at 1015 Century Drive – University Pointe II Center in Edwardsville, IL  62025.
Call 618-344-5008 for more information or 618-656-7090.


Supported by Madison County Mental Health Board