Sunset Blog

Jan 22,2019 | Emily Foster

Sunset Residents Go Back to School

Residents from Sunset’s Brookcrest Rehab and Life Center recently participated in a Grand Valley State University honors class called Saging (pronounced say-jing; as in sage, wise through reflection and experience) and Aging. The course, taught by Professor Jane Toot, is geared towards bringing different generational viewpoints together to find solutions to the unique set of…

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Jan 16,2019 | Sheila Carney

Filling the Heart with Special Moments

When Kally Verkaik was a child, she would help out at the retirement community that her aunt worked at whenever she visited. Kally would pass out the mail, help in the kitchen, or spend time talking with the residents. So, it is only natural that later in life, Kally would find her way to Sunset…

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Jan 15,2019 | Sheila Carney

Not just a place of work

Every day at Sunset Retirement Communities, there are seemingly ordinary moments between staff and residents that end up transforming into truly extraordinary relationships. Director of Brookcrest Emily Foster would walk almost every day with a resident who loved to be outdoors. Some days they would talk or tell stories, yet other times they would walk…

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Jan 10,2019 | Sheila Carney

Bringing joy into each other’s lives

One night, Melinda Haight, Director of Clinical Services, offered to care for a resident named Ruby who had moderate Alzheimer’s. Ruby had become nonverbal and was known to be a bit more challenging to care for. However, over time, Melinda and Ruby began to form a strong bond. “The connection I had with her started…

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Jan 09,2019 | Sheila Carney

Devoted Now and Forever – Ron & Judi

The ravaging effects of dementia do not overshadow love; it gives it meaning. Judi was known for her compassion, understanding, forgiveness, and smile. Her initial Alzheimer’s diagnosis was heart-wrenching for her husband, Ron, knowing that he would watch this amazing person slowly slip away. But like everything else they faced in life, they would face…

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Jan 08,2019 | Sheila Carney

Helping residents achieve their goals

In just three months, Director of Therapy Gina Chesla and her team at Brookcrest were able to help a resident, who was expected to be long-term care, walk out on his own and return home. When the resident, who was nicknamed Lazarus, got to Brookcrest, he was not able to eat, talk, sit up, or…

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Dec 23,2018 | Betty Epperly

Calling All Readers

A walk through the Sunset Library reveals impeccably organized shelves and an intelligent choice of books. A conversation with resident Natalie Jefferson, volunteer librarian, reveals the hard work and thought that makes this happen. Natalie lived most of her life in and around New York City. As a child, she was read to regularly and…

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Dec 22,2018 | Sheila Carney

Inspired by Whom We Serve

When Vice President of Development Dan Gowdy met Lee, the pair immediately bonded over a shared love of baseball. The two regularly discussed the Chicago Cubs. At the time, Lee was caring for his wife, Thelma, who was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. However, it was how Lee talked about Thelma, that genuinely inspired…

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Dec 19,2018 | Sheila Carney

Ensuring the Best Outcomes for Our Residents

Ben Leavell, Executive Director at Waterford Place, fondly remembers one particular 103-year-old Brookcrest resident, who had a passion for the water. One day, she decided that she wanted to go swimming. So naturally, the recreational therapy department worked to make that happen. “She was just beyond excited that she was able to go swimming and…

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Dec 16,2018 | Betty Epperly

Music As Inspiration

On a difficult Saturday evening in Henry VanTil’s life, a nurse at Sunset Manor had a powerful impact. After taking the time to talk to him, she suggested that he focus on a Bible verse he had memorized. After returning to his room, Henry sat in his favorite chair and pulled an afghan over his…

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