Category: News

Baskets of Gratitude

Epworth Villa had a lofty goal.  The goal was to fill 14 baskets to be delivered on Friday, May 15th to area First Responders and Front Line Workers.

The give-back event was initiated by the Independent Living staff.  They collected items such as peanut butter crackers, cookies, rice krispy treats, popcorn, crackers, jelly, peanut butter, bread, nuts, Gatorade, candy bars, gum, to go soups, honey buns, cups of oatmeal, dried fruits, individual packs of chips and nutrition/healthy bars. Residents donated these items, and some made cards to be included in the baskets.

Epworth Villa Residents have long been known for their generosity.  These baskets were yet another way for the Residents to show their appreciation and support for those out in the community serving and keeping others safe.

The baskets were delivered to the following organizations:  EMSA – Command Post, SuperTarget N. Pennsylvania Avenue location, Oklahoma City Fire Department Station 37, 16820 N. Penn Ave, Edmond, Mercy Hospital, Memorial Road location, Integris Hospital, NW Expressway, OKC, OU Hospital, 1200 N. Children Avenue, OKC.

Epworth Villa Teamwork

These masks are just a few of the over 500 that were made and distributed within Epworth Villa. Marketing Coordinator, Laura Alfonzo coordinated the effort. She created sewing kits with pre-cut fabric that around 15 Residents picked up and sewed. Alfonzo was contacted by 5-6 other outside individuals and organizations that volunteered to sew masks. Specifically, Chapel Hill United Methodist Church Holy Hands group sewed well over 100 masks for the Residents and Employees of Epworth Villa. Alfonzo said, “the goal was to have a mask for everyone on campus, and we succeeded with the help of so many!”

Epworth Villa sincerely appreciates all of those who lent their time and thread to help with this monumental effort.

Call Team Mobilized

New acquaintances and friendships are blossoming.  Sally Lenz, call team member said this project was a step out of her comfort zone.  Chaplain, Marsha Purtell, Elizabeth Newell, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Destiny Helms, Director of Independent Living have mobilized a group of volunteer callers including Lenz.  There are 35 volunteers.  These volunteers are made up of the three employees listed and approximately 35 Independent Living Residents.

The call is a daily check in.  The callers check on the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of our neighbors.  The callers are instructed that It is not a time to pry.  The call is voluntary to the recipient, but it is a way to keep in touch and not feel isolated.  Purtell says, “we are in the business of assisting members of our community to THRIVE.  They have always been thriving educators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, church leaders, and continue to be a gift to our community.  We do not want in any way to diminish any independence that is not mandated to each of us.”  The recipients are also asked by the caller assigned to them to please call and check on me, if you don’t receive my call.  The volunteers and those being called all agree that, “we are in this together.”

The callers ask questions like, “How was your dinner?”  “Do you need any groceries?”  “What are you doing for fun?”  “Are you feeling well?” “Do you have all the medications you need?”  “Do you need a puzzle, a book, art supplies, stationary, or something else to occupy your time?”  “Are you finding time for spiritual renewal?” “Are you reaching out to other people in your faith community?”  “Do you need devotional materials or devotional websites?”  “Have you been outside to see the beautiful spring flowers?”  “How is your family?”  If they just need to talk and vent, the volunteers say, that’s fine too.

Lenz said that occasionally, she found that a Resident might not be aware of something going on such as Wednesday morning breakfast.  She has been able to find answers to questions on some occasions and says, “that’s been a positive thing.”  Lenz also says, “yes! definitely getting to know these ladies whom I didn’t know before. And — I really do like them! That’s been fun. They all seem truly happy to be at Epworth; they think management is doing a good job in a tough situation; one lady was hoping that we would get through this whole pandemic without a single case of Covid 19 at Epworth!  I’ve heard about kids and grandkids and such, have found commonalities among us, and sorta’ marvel that they truly don’t seem to mind my calling them every single day!  Oh, and one lady and I were, just today, talking about how we couldn’t wait to go to a grocery store again!  A ‘chore’ we agreed that, in normal pre-lock down times, could be a bit of a burden.”

Good Friday Gratitude

A note from the desk of Author and Resident Sara O.

To Epworth Villa:

Many, many thanks for your efforts to keep us all as safe as possible.  David and I deeply appreciate it.  We are glad we chose Epworth for our home.  We appreciate everyone.  We are so glad.

You asked a writer how she is coping with crisis, so here’s my answer.

I try to remember what I’m grateful for.  Gratitude changes my perspective and I have so much to be thankful for today.  I’m sheltered, fed, have David with me, have a wonderful family, I have Psalms 23 to cling to, and I know I’m surrounded by friends even though we can’t see each other.  I have a comfortable home and my physical needs are met. I am well today and that’s a good thing.   I think about the family dog I love and that always gives me a smile. This event wouldn’t worry her.  I can look outside and see spring flowers, green grass, the pond and know that a good, sunny day when all is back to normal, will come.  My life has been good and filled with people I’ve loved and they’ve loved me and I’ve been blessed beyond anything I could have ever imagined.  I’m reminded that life is good.  That’s what is important.

Thanks for asking.  It’s a good reminder.

That’s what has gotten me this far.

Sara O.

Reading Buddies at Britton Elementary

Do you remember the first time you got to read to someone other than in “reading group!” or to hold your own book?  Maybe the pictures remind you of when you heard your grandchild read to you!  10 Epworth Villa Residents and Employees traveled to Britton Elementary School.  This was our first opportunity to be a Reading Buddy!  We were able to provide all the Valentine Treats for the 144 1st graders in  7 classrooms.  The children and teachers were thrilled!

The 34 children we saw that day were the better readers.  The librarian said she had never heard some of them read so well or be so well behaved.  “Maybe they had never been so close for so long with someone with wrinkles.”  Resident, Frans V. laughed.  He also said, “Yes, now some with read with a Dutch accent like me!”  The coordinators were pleased to have volunteers.

Are you ready to participate?  Whether you want to help gather supplies, contribute for the weekly treats or be a reading buddy there is a way for you to give back.  That’s what Epworth Villa is all about!

Memory Care Endorsement

“When our family realized that our mom would one day need the love and support of a Memory Care community, we knew it would be a hard decision to make. When we walked into Epworth Villa, it immediately looked like home and felt like home for our mom. Every staff member was so warm, so welcoming, and so professional. There was no doubt the decision we made gave us confidence and peace of mind she would be well cared for going forward. We are so grateful to the staff for their dedication to all the residents.” Lori S.

Marla Cordero, LPN in the Spotlight

Epworth Villa nurse, Marla Cordero, LPN was recently featured in the Oklahoma Nursing Times.  Cordero was asked: What qualities make a good nurse?  “I think that a nurse, just like with any other job, will love their job or hate their nurse! Residents like consistency. If a nurse tells a patient or resident something, be sure to follow through with it. Your words should be your honor, making you responsible,” Marla replied. Marla feels like her strongest quality is her years of experience. “I try to help the new nurses with anything that I can.”

To read more of this article, click here.


Should you add strength training to your fitness routine? Here are 3 reasons you should:

Better balance and boosted confidence. Adding strength training to your fitness routine 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes can translate to better balance. The stronger your body is the more control you will have, which in return will help you feel more confident with walking or any other activity.

Heart health. Performing cardio exercises is not the only way to get your heart rate up. Along with activities such as walking or biking, strength training is associated with reduced cardiovascular disease. There are two factors that go into getting your heart rate up during a strength training session: the number of muscles worked during an exercise and the intensity you perform those exercises.  The best way to achieve both is to choose multi-joint, compound exercises such as squats and push ups.

Reduce aches, pains and injury. Along with your muscles, strength training helps strengthen your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and other connective tissues. Strength training, also known as weight bearing exercise, helps those with osteoporosis increase bone density and improves joint mobility as well as muscle flexibility.  This leads to your body feeling better and can help prevent injuries.

Epworth Villa offers strength training options through our Small Group Strength and Flex and Stretch classes. Residents are also able to reserve Personal Training sessions to find a customizable way to build strength as well.

Use it or lose it!

by: Blaine Jackson, NASM-CPT, Epworth Villa Wellness Coordinator

Meet Marsha Purtell, Epworth Villa Chaplain

Reverend Purtell began as a local Pastor for The Oklahoma United Methodist Church Conference in the early 2000’s.  She has served in 3 different districts in the state of Oklahoma.  In 2019, God led her to Epworth Villa in Oklahoma City.  Purtell enters an established congregation that meets regularly in the Brill Chapel.  She will help guide the Religious Life Committee and minister to Residents, their families and employees.

Rev. Purtell also served as a Program Specialist for Early Childhood Development in the Cherokee Nation.  She not only worked with center in the counties of the Cherokee Nation, but also represented the tribe in meetings in Washington D.C. and other parts of the country.  She has also worked as a Social Worker, Educator, Program Developer and Case Manager for the Oklahoma State Department of Human Services and Department of Health.  Rev. Purtell earned her Master of Divinity at Phillips Theological Seminary.  She holds a Masters Certification in Education from Oklahoma City University, a Master of Social Work from the University of Oklahoma, and a Bachelor of Education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Epworth Villa was glad to welcome Purtell in October of 2019.  Purtell has a passion to learn and strives to be a lifelong learner.  She will continue to engage in the community and local schools through her work at Epworth Villa.  Purtell’s office is located just outside of the Brill Chapel.  When possible, be sure to stop in and say “hello!”