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Friday
May052017

Grace's Bregett Conway - Oklahoma's Shining Star Nurse of the Year

Happy Nurses Week! A week dedicated to hardworking, compassionate nurses everywhere.

We’ve been very blessed with many angels on our nursing staff who are dedicated to making sure Oklahoma seniors are not only well cared for, but also loved. This year, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has designated 2017 as the "Year of the Healthy Nurse” with a theme, “Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit.”

As we celebrate those who help heal, listen and encourage among the dozens of other things they do in a day to bring comfort to those in need. We wanted to introduce you to one of the angels on our nursing staff, Bregett Conway. She is an LPN and the Wound Care Nurse at Grace Living Center Chickasha. Bregett was recently recognized for her compassion and dedication to Oklahoma seniors by being chosen as Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers’ Shining Star Nurse of the Year. “I was shocked. I was thinking it was something for longevity not for Nurse of the Year. I was overjoyed inside, and so happy I had family there to support me. My daughter said to me I should of seen my eyes and my smile because they were so big. I’m thankful. I feel blessed,” said Conway. 




Bregett started at Grace Living Center Chickasha in December of 1995 as an aide to provide financial stability to her family as a single parent. Soon after, she was introduced to the nursing field by a friend. And that as they say, the rest was history. Now more than 20 years later, Bregett has ladder climbed with the help of Grace Living Centers Educational Fund to become an LPN. “I had an LPN that was younger than me when I went to CMA class who was also my charge nurse. I thought if she could do it than I can do it. That’s what pushed me to go a back to school,” stated Conway. Her drive along with a four letter word has helped fuel her passion for long-term care for more than 2 decades. “I’m a god fearing woman. I was always taught to respect the elderly and no matter what to show them love. Jesus is love and if everyone loved a little more, the world would be a better place. Love is what I continue to give and that’s what keeps me motivated because I love the elderly,” said Conway.

For those of you thinking about a career in nursing or long-term care, Bregett has these words of wisdom for you, “I would encourage any CNA or CMA to progress. I think they should all ladder climb because it makes you a better nurse.I give a special thanks to Grace Living Centers because of them I’ve increased my knowledge of the medical field and grown as nurse with their educational fund. They’ve been behind me every step of the way, always offering opportunities.” 

Thursday
Apr132017

Physical Therapy Success Story: Georgia Buchanan

A story of triumph for one Oklahoma senior whose path to recovery at Grace Living Center El Reno is inspiring others!


A medical setback couldn't keep Georgia Buchanan from reaching her goal of walking again. This isn’t the first time she’s worked with the skilled therapy team at Grace Living Center El Reno. A torn ligament in Georgia’s knee is why doctors recommended she get surgery. “It was because I fell so much,” stated Ms. Buchanan. 

She first worked with Physical Therapist Assistant Leigh Ann Griffith after undergoing a partial knee replacement, but the surgery didn’t hold forcing her to have a second correction surgery. Now, back on the road to recovery at Grace Living Center El Reno, Georgia is making great strides in physical therapy. “She has gone from not being able to walk to walking up to 50 feet now. She’s really shown good progression with the medical difficulties she’s had,” stated Griffith.

Besides working on rebuilding strength during her physical therapy sessions, Georgia is also working on balance to help her accomplish every day tasks such as standing at the sink to brush her teeth or making something to eat in the kitchen. “Georgia is one of our shining stars. She is always smiling, always talking about her friends and family and how much she enjoys her therapy,” said Griffith. All of her hard work in physical therapy is paying off and helping to get her closer to her goal of walking and ultimately becoming independent again. 

“They make me laugh and they help encourage me to keep walking and to keep doing my exercises too,” said Ms. Buchanan. While Georgia has been thankful to have such a great support system in place with her skilled therapy team by her side throughout this journey, it’s also been an emotional one. “I wouldn’t put any weight on this leg. And, I told my family that I would walk for them. My family tell me they’re proud of me,” said Buchanan with tears in her eyes. Grace Living Center El Reno has proved to be a home away from home, both Georgia and her family have enjoyed. “My family wants me here because they’ve been taking really good care of me,” said Ms. Buchanan.

[Click on thumbnail to enlarge photo.]




Wednesday
Feb152017

Lasting Love

Stories of lasting love can capture your heart and make you feel fairytales aren’t just for story books! As we celebrate the month of love, all you have to do is believe as some of our residents share their stories of true love. You may want to grab a tissue before reading any further, these stories each one beautiful and unique will not only inspire, but melt your heart!

The Brookfield Assisted Living (Claremore)

Bill and Jean MossBill and Jean Moss have been married for 70 years! They met on a blind date when Jean was still in high school and Bill had just returned from the war. From there, their love story began. They were married on August 19, 1946 in Tulsa, Oklahoma (after getting permission because Jean was only 17). Shortly after, Bill went to Seminary school in Dallas. Then after graduation he served as Pastor all over the state until finally settling down in Claremore, Oklahoma. Bill was the Pastor for many years and was responsible for the building of the new First United Methodist Church in

Claremore from which he retired. Jean says “they still love each other." Today Bill resides at the Claremore Veterans Center. Friends from Church bring him to The Brookfield every Monday to spend time with Jean and play Bingo. The couple still attends Church together each week at First United Methodist. Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Moss for sharing your beautiful story! 

Plantation Village Nursing Center (Altus)

Suzie WhittmerSpring bloomed on the outskirts of Paris in 1950 and among the beauty was Suzie Whittmer, a resident at Plantation Village Nursing Center, who was working as a waitress at a small restaurant in the castle of fellow frenchman Napoleon Bonaparte. At the time, her goal was to finish business school. However, those plans changed when U.S. Airman, Larry Whittmer asked for directions and swept her off her feet! Though it was a fairly tale meeting, Suzie never planned to marry an English speaking, red head, but found herself flying to America on June 25,1952. Just two days after arriving on American soil, Suzie married Larry on June 27, 1952. The couple traveled the world. And, after 63 wonderful years of marriage, Mr. Whittmer passed away. She still gushes when she tells the story of how she met the love of her life. A true story that reflects trust and courage!

The Springs (Muskogee)

Johnnie and Lizzie ToddMr. and Mrs. Todd met when they were 18-years-old thanks to family. The two dated for 6 months before saying “I do” in 1951. Now nearly 66 years later, they’re offering up this piece of advice for a lasting marriage, “love each other to the fullest, don’t give up when things get hard and always be 50/50 in everything,” they said. We couldn’t agree more, Mr. and Mrs. Todd!

Grace Living Center Norman

Joe and Marion CokerJoe and Marion Coker have been married for 67 years. The couple wed on August 27, 1949 after meeting one summer while Joe was working at his family’s car dealership. Joe states when they first met it was, “love at first sight.” He recalls asking her if he could have a date every night until the summer ended and he went back to college. She agreed. Marion said she had promised her parents she would finish school before she got married and kept her promise. Now nearly seven decades later, Marion comes to see her, “first and only love,” every day at Grace Living Center Norman. The pair still act like teenagers in love. Joe told us, “I’ve never loved anyone else,” while Marion sat by his side smiling!

Grace Living Center Chickasha

Elvie and Hazel MandrellAt the young age of 15, Hazel White, a resident at Grace Living Center Chickasha, was working as a waitress at the Sayre Oklahoma Bus Station when she saw a young Airman walk in and sit down. She later found out his name was Elvie Mandrell. At the time he was in the Air Force and was traveling to a base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Elvie ordered a huge steak dinner with all the fixings and by the time he had finished his meal he was flirting with Hazel so much he left without paying his check. Elvie saw Hazel two more times and by that point was head over heels in love with her. When Elvie got back to base in Albuquerque, he borrowed enough money from the Red Cross to buy a bus ticket and sent it to Hazel to come see him. Hazel packed her bag and headed to Albuquerque, but she didn’t tell her parents where she was going. Hazel later sent a letter to her parents explaining she would be coming back to Sayre, but was first going to get married. Together they raised three children, one son and two daughters. Hazel said Elvie spoiled her in every way and that he was the best man she has ever met. Their son Gerald was visiting when she was telling us her love story. Gerald said his Dad was an amazing man who taught his children to respect others and the morals they live by today. Hazel said she couldn’t have asked for a better husband. Hazel is pictured with her son while holding her favorite picture of Elvie. Hazel said that’s what he looked like when we first fell in love. She said everyone thought he looked like Jimmy Stewart, and sure enough he does! Hazel, thank you for sharing your fairly tale romance. It certainly swept us off our feet!  

Grace Living Center Tahlequah (University Northwest)

Thelma and Atha MeigsThelma Meigs, a resident at Grace Living Center Tahlequah, University Northwest married her husband, Atha on October 2, 1948. The couple first met at a church revival in Santa Paula, California in 1947. Thelma told her future husband, “when you ask me to marry you, I want a Christian household.” And, he provided that. The secret to ever lasting love, according to Thelma, is God and a lot of patience. Great advice, Thelma!

Thursday
Jan262017

Soul Food Is Back on February 17!

The 17th annual Soul Food Festival at Grace Living Center Northeast is a celebration of community and culture as well as a tribute to a style of cooking that comforts the soul as much as the body.

Margaret Wright in her kitchen.What is Soul Food? Ask any of the hundreds of guests who attend the Soul Food Fest each year, and you are likely to hear that it’s “Grandma’s cooking,” the ultimate comfort food. 

Margaret Wright calls it tasty. As dietary supervisor, she works with a team of cooks and volunteers to prepare more than a ton of traditional Soul Food favorites, a job that has them working around the clock for days leading up to the event.

The Soul Food Fest is held each year during Black History Month and is designed to let the residents of the home located in northeast Oklahoma City know they are still an important part of their community.

The serving line at Soul Food Fest 2016.“It’s a labor of love,” Wright says. “We love making our residents feel special and want to thank the community for all they do to support us, while recognizing the amazing history of African-Americans. We could not do this without the help of many volunteers.”

According to the African American Registry, Soul Food has been associated with African Americans of the Southern United States for generations and can be traced back to the days of slavery. Soul Food is comprised of many dishes, but is often associated with the use of beans and greens, along with lesser-used cuts of meat like turkey neckbones, ox tails and pigs’ feet. Other popular dishes include sweet potatoes, fried chicken, macaroni salad, corn bread and cobbler.

:: WANT TO KNOW MORE: Click here to read A Brief History of Soul Food.

Mm Mm Good Pig Feet 

Wright says slow-cooked pigs’ feet are a treat that everyone should try. These are so tender, the meat can be sucked right off the bone.

Ingredients:

  • 8 pigs’ feet (clean them well with water)
  • ½ cup celery (chopped)
  • ½ cup bell pepper (chopped)
  • ½ cup yellow onion (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Lawrey seasoning salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker or Dutch oven.  Add water to cover and bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 4 hours. Serve whole with barbecue sauce.

 

Soulful Peach Crisp

This dessert is super easy because it uses a box of yellow cake mix and canned peaches. 

Desserts are plentiful at Soul Food Fest!Ingredients:

  • 2 large cans of sliced peaches in syrup
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ sticks of margarine or butter
  • 1 ½ cups of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • ½ cup of corn starch

For crumble:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • ½ stick butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions: 

Mix peach ingredients together and pour into rectangular cake pan. Combine the box of yellow cake mix with ½ stick butter and sprinkle of top of peach mixture. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon on top. Cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

:: EVEN MORE ABOUT SOUL FOOD & RECIPES: Soul Food Online

:: 2012 NewsOK VIDEO & FEATURE STORY ON MARGARET WRIGHT (with recipes)

:: 2009 EDMOND SUN FEATURE ON SOUL FOOD FESTIVAL

Wednesday
Dec212016

The 31 Days of Grace!

In every family, there are always those stories that seem to be passed down from generation to generation. Especially at this time of year – during gatherings with loved ones – stories from yesteryear tend to be the topic of many conversations. Maybe it’s because everyone seems to get a little sentimental around the holidays, but whatever the reason, these stories can tug at your heart, make you giggle or even give you a glimpse of the past. 

Within each one of our 31 Grace Living Center communities, on any given day, there are hundreds of stories shared by our residents with staff, family or friends. We wanted to pass along the joy we feel when one of our residents shares a piece of their story with us. Each day during the month of December, we are showcasing a resident from each one of our communities with one of their favorite Christmas stories or memories on Facebook and Instagram. We call it the 31 days of Grace. Here’s a few of those stories shared by our wonderful residents!

Myrtle Faulkner
Grace Living Center Brookwood - South Oklahoma City

One of our oldest residents at Grace Living Center Brookwood, Ms. Myrtle Faulkner, at the young age of 90-years-old, shared one of her favorite Christmas memories with us. She expressed how she misses her family tradition of everyone gathering at her home to laugh, love, and have a great time. Ms. Faulkner says she loved being in the kitchen and cooking for her family! Her best dish, you ask? She said it would always be the stuffing and the cornbread. 

 

 

 

 

 

Reba Scribner
Grace Living Center Edmond

Ms. Reba Scribner, a resident at Grace Living Center Edmond, loves to reflect and reminisce about past holiday seasons when her Mother and Grandmother would crochet blankets, scarves and mittens to give to others on Christmas day! Right now, Reba is working on a scarf to give to her favorite CNA. Reba says "that a gift made from the heart is better than a gift from the store any day.” Reba truly believes this and loves to teach this adage to others! 

 

 

Clarence Pruett
Plantation Village Memory Care Assisted Living - Altus, Oklahoma

A Christmas story by Clarence Pruett, a resident at Plantation Village Memory Care Assisted Living: Mr. Pruett says he has told this story many times to his family. When he was 9-years-old, back in 1928, he wanted a table for Christmas to put in his bedroom. In April of the same year, his family’s house was blown away and they had nothing left. To his surprise, Mr. Pruett did receive a table for Christmas! And, at 97 years young, he still has it to this day. It’s now a piece of furniture treasured by both of his daughters too! 

 

 

Ms. Brandon
The Springs - Muskogee, Oklahoma

 A Christmas story by Ms. Brandon, a resident at The Springs: She remembers when she was 7-years-old that her father put flour throughout the house and then walked on it to make it look like Santa’s boot prints. Ms. Brandon says her father was so excited, he woke her and her siblings up Christmas morning to tell them Santa had come! Ms. Brandon recently celebrated her 98th birthday and says she remembers it like it was yesterday! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Betty Griffin
Sunset Estates - Tecumseh, Oklahoma

It's a story that made us feel like Christmas can be full of surprises: Betty Griffin, a long time resident at Sunset Estates, says last Christmas was her most memorable one yet. She thought no one would visit on Christmas because her granddaughter had just been born. However, Betty’s son Justin surprised her and brought her only grandchild up to meet her for the first time on Christmas Day. She described being overwhelmed with joy when she met her 10-day-old granddaughter, Grace, and held her tiny hands.