Holiday Anticipation and Preparation by Rev. Marsha Purtell

I can remember as a child entering a large city where we lived. As we topped the hill and descended into the bowl toward home, my eyes widened and I gleefully exclaimed, “Look daddy, It looks like a Christmas tree fell over!” The reds and the greens, the flashing lights and the twinkling of car lights in the distance; I remember how beautiful it looked. My parents laughed and commented for years as we would enter another city how it was to see the town through the eyes of a child. (I will add though that my grandfather said the most beautiful lights as Christmas were our taillights. It meant his four grandchildren had been there and that now he could rest!) And again, we all laugh!

The tradition of lights goes back to our Jewish brothers and sisters festival of lights, Hanukkah, with the lighting of the Menorah. Hanukkah commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. A time of celebration and remembering. It is with the eight candles of the Menorah lit each night by the center attendant candle. This year Hanukkah begins Dec. 22. As we enter this time of anticipation and preparation it is a time to prepare our hearts, to see the beauty of the season, to reflect on the past and put light on those things not so Godly and remove them from our thoughts and actions. With the singing of carols, the celebrations, the giving and receiving of gifts, may we also reflect on the true meaning of this season and remember what God calls us to do this Holy Season. Prepare your heart for a Happy Hanukkah and a Merry Christmas.

Grace and Peace, Chaplain Marsha Purtell

Brightening the Winter

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing, a form of mild depression linked to changing seasons. To lessen the possibility that you are afflicted by it, take a minute to read the following tips

Exercise is beneficial for anyone who is suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that reduce pain and increase feelings of well-being. In addition, exercise increases your metabolism, which helps improve your energy levels. Plus, the fatigue from well-used muscles is a healthier type of fatigue than that of depression. Other benefits include increased self-esteem, improved sleep, and reduced anxiety.

While any form of exercise can help, some exercises are better suited to treating SAD. Any low-impact aerobic activities, including walking and dancing, are recommended. Other activities include:

gentle stretching
strength training

Exercising with a friend can also help. Not only does it provide you with motivation to keep working out, the social interaction can help combat SAD symptoms. Remember, you don’t have to become a marathon runner or elite athlete to reap the benefits of exercise. Even 10 minutes a day can help.

If you find that your SAD symptoms don’t improve or they interfere with your life, work or relationships, talk with your health care provider. Additional treatment options are available and together with exercise can help you beat the winter blues.

-Blaine Jackson, NASM-CPT

Preparing for Winter’s Chill

With winter around the corner, the Residents of Epworth Villa held their annual fall clothing drive.

This bi-annual event allows Residents to clean out their closets and give their items to Skyline Urban Ministries located in Oklahoma City. Jan Neel, Epworth Resident said, “I had a closet of good coats and I only need one. I can help keep others warm this winter with the coats that I am not wearing.”

Each year in the fall and spring there is a clothing drive at Epworth Villa.

Skyline workers said they love receiving donations from Epworth Villa because of the quality and care that goes into providing items. Johnny, a Skyline Volunteers said, “We also like the clothes Epworth Villa donates for our “Dress for Success” patrons.”

This fall the Residents gathered 845 pounds of warm clothing and coats for Skyline.

Thriving by Creating

Creativity and a sense of purpose:

As adults age, their lifestyles and priorities change, and aging well is frequently top of mind. According to a study published in the Journal of Aging Studies, study participants, aged 60 to 93, identified six features of successful aging: a sense of purpose, interactions with others, personal growth, self-acceptance, autonomy, and health. Creative activities, such as writing, painting, or knitting, encourage a sense of competence, purpose, and growth—all of which contribute to aging well.

A sense of purpose is significant for older adults, especially if they spent most of their younger years defined by a career or by raising children and running a household. Once those responsibilities are lifted, older adults can sometimes develop an uncertainty about their purpose later in life. This can affect health and overall well-being. Participating in artistic activities, however, bolsters problem-solving skills and satisfaction that older adults can take into everyday life. Also, when older adults can share their handmade gifts with friends and family, they develop a sense of pride in what they have created.

Creativity the benefits of art on older adult’s health:

It’s no secret that individuals today are living longer and embracing new and different activities well into their older years. Longer lives beg the question, what can be done to age well? Keeping one’s health in check with proper nutrition, physical activity, and regular checkups is typically the go-to answer. But it is also important to consider other, seemingly insignificant activities that can benefit older adults’ health. Participating in and enjoying artistic endeavors – even when seniors are not necessarily creatively inclined – can have a positive impact on health by creating a sense of purpose and keeping the mind busy.

Creative Professionals:

Examples of individuals who turned to art in their late adulthood include Grandma Moses (Anna Mary Robertson Moses) and Grandma Layton (Elizabeth Layton.) Grandma Moses began her career as a folk artist and painter in her 70s and continued for much of the remaining 30 years of her life. Grandma Layton took a contour drawing class at the age of 68 and continued to create for the rest of her life, crediting drawing with curing a 35-year depression.

Creativity at Epworth Villa:

Currently there are classes taught by a former art teacher.  Some of the students are accomplished artists, but some are new.  The veterans of the group are experimenting with new mediums.  For example, one Resident had only painted with oils, but was recently experimenting with pencil drawings and watercolors.    Our core belief at Epworth Villa is Enhancing Lives so People Thrive, and creativity through art, sewing, knitting, quilting, drawing, coloring and creative writing is how we encourage that sense of purpose.  We are thriving together.


We wanted to share this letter to COLUMNIST DEAR ABBY. As many of our friends and clients consider a move, there are naturally some fears. ABBY gives some great advice!


Moving to a New Community Brings Out Social Insecurities

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are moving to a retirement community where we won’t know a soul. I hate leaving our friends and the relationships we have formed here. I have never been especially outgoing or good at making small talk, but I know I will have to to fit in.

I believe you have written something for people who have this challenge. Can I get a copy? What are some tips on how to get started? We’re relocating soon. — FACING IT HEAD ON

DEAR FACING IT: You and your husband are opening an exciting new chapter in your lives. Managing it successfully will depend upon your attitude, so think positive. Please understand that the majority of people have the same insecurities you do. Not everyone is born socially adept. It is a skill that can be learned and polished with practice.

Everyone wants to be the kind of person others find interesting, attractive and worth knowing. The key to being well-liked by both sexes is: Be kind. Be honest. Be tactful. Don’t be afraid to offer someone a compliment if it’s deserved. Be well-groomed, tastefully dressed and conscious of your posture. Confident individuals stand tall. You do not have to be the smartest person in the room. Ask others what they think and encourage them to share their opinions. My booklet “How To Be Popular” contains many useful tips for polishing social skills for people of all ages. It can be ordered by sending your name and address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price. Remember, part of fitting in is showing an interest in and an appreciation of others. Be a good listener and people will think you’re a genius. Good conversationalists are interested in what others have to say rather than feel pressured to fill the air with the sound of their own voices. It isn’t necessary to be an authority on every subject. Keep in mind that most people can concentrate on only one thing at a time. Forget about yourself and your own insecurities and concentrate on the other person. If you try it, you will find that it works.

Clean Team Week!

This week at Epworth Villa, we have been celebrating Housekeeping Week.  We are celebrating those who keep our homes and common areas sparkling clean.  With a property this big, one can only imagine the enormity of that task.  But our team – under the leadership of Gerard Watson do a fantastic job.  Celebrating them only one week of the year doesn’t seem to do them justice.  Our Housekeeping team is comprised of our Housekeepers, Laundry Professionals and Floor Care Specialists.

In celebrating this week, the team enjoyed cookies, donuts and all sorts of sugary confections.  Deborah, Laundry Professional brought everyone a carrot cake.  Twelve year veteran and Mentor, Saritha brought each person a certificate of appreciation and shared why she loved each of them.  The team also played positivity games and awarded each other for great attitudes.

The Clean Team also celebrated the end of an era for one of Epworth Villa’s longest serving employees. Valencia has been with Epworth Villa for 24 years.  Just this week, she made a Resident’s bed and the Resident told her she made it just the way she would have done it.  We are so grateful for Valencia and the small things she has done over the years to bring joy to our Residents.  We wish her much happiness and rest in her retirement.

It takes a large well-functioning team to keep a property this large looking as spectacular as it does.  We couldn’t do it without these very special people who go above and beyond every single day by focusing on the details and sharing love with those around them.  Congratulations Team on a job well done!


Better to keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world – George Bernard Shaw

Successful Aging-What’s Important to You?

By Blaine Jackson, NASM-CPT, Wellness Coordinator

Successful aging involves focusing on what is important to you, and being able to do what you want to do at an older age.

While successful aging may be one way to describe how well we age, the concept of “meaningful aging” may be another important way to consider how to age well.

Meaningful aging does not involve “winners or losers” in terms of longevity and health, but rather the need to focus on what is most meaningful to a person, especially in older age. Sometimes this involves not doing more to stay active but, perhaps, doing less, giving up some control over our lives, being more mindful of others and being aware of the need to forgive and forget.

Meaningful aging encourages us all to find meaning and peace in our lives, and the effects that these practices have on how we age can, in fact, lead to a form of successful aging.

How can Epworth Villa aid you in successful aging?  We offer services and activities that are directed toward the mind, body and spirit.  Each of these needs can be met – it’s all up to you to choose.

Amusing Aging Advice from Animals part 5

Rabbits — Adopt a healthy lifestyle

Rabbits epitomize a healthy lifestyle. These little vegans eat mainly green leafy foods. Plus, they are active and agile. Their physically fit and flexible bodies allow them to do the binky, which is often referred to as the “happy bunny dance.” This move is when rabbits jump into the air and twist their head and body in opposite directions. If we humans ate more vegetables and hopped (or even walked) around all day, maybe with practice we could do the binky, too.

Of Astronauts, the Moon & Creation by Chaplain Dwight Magnus

One of my very first memories is being awakened by my parents at the age of five to witness history. Neil Armstrong was about take one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. All I remember seeing was a grey blob.

But from then on, I was an avid follower of the Apollo program, faithfully watching the TV coverage and drinking my Tang, so I could be an astronaut one day. While it turns out I didn’t have the right stuff to fulfill that dream, I still devour the coverage of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Along the way, I ran across a fascinating book: Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon by Robert Kurson. It is the mission that gave Apollo 11 the ability to fulfill President Kennedy’s promise to land a man on the moon in the decade.

I appreciate one particular event of the Apollo 8 mission. On Christmas Eve, 1968, during a special TV broadcast at lunar sunrise, Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman read the creation account from Genesis 1:1-10. That, for me, captures my wonder of space, God’s creative abilities, and my small place in the universe. I echo the sentiment of the Psalmist:

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Psalm 8:3-4

Take time today to praise God for his wonderful creation (including you!)  Chaplain Dwight

Amusing Aging Advice from Animals part 4

Zebras — Own your uniqueness

Each zebra has its own stripe pattern — no two are alike. Researchers hypothesize that zebras’ stripes help them hide in the grass, making it difficult for their predators to discern an individual outline to attack. Another more recent theory is that the stripes ward off pesky insects. Their unique coats set these mammals apart looks-wise from all other animals, but their hides also save them. The human lesson is to be grateful for the skin you’re in.

Our Residents at Epworth Villa are all unique.  Each person brings their own gifts and talents to our community.  What can you bring to Epworth Villa?  We would love to meet you and learn about your special abilities.  Come Visit us today!