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Physical Therapy Success: Phyllis Owen

Her children couldn’t believe her progress from one visit to the next! Phyllis Owen put off going to the doctor until the pain in her hip was unbearable. She’s now sharing her story in hopes it will help others conquer their hip pain.

Physical Therapy Success Story: Phyllis Owen

The Oklahoma Senior who shared her story in hopes of helping others suffering from hip pain.

It’s a common scenario among our elders. They start experiencing hip pain, but ignore it until the pain worsens and makes it hard to get around. Many times in this type of situation, surgery is the only option. However, for Phyllis Owen this wasn’t her first hip surgery. She had her hip replaced at the age of 59. Fast forward 25 years to today, Phyllis now 84, heard a pop, but ignored it until the pain became unbearable. “When it had popped out of place, something had broken and it had rubbed the other part of it and I guess caused an infection,” said Phyllis Owen. 

The surgery to fix Ms. Owen’s hip was only the start to her path of regaining her independence. Once the surgery was complete, she started her post hospital recovery with the skilled therapy team at The Springs. “She’s done very well since she’s been here. When she first got here, she was walking a very limited amount. She couldn’t get in and out of bed by herself or on and off a chair by herself. So, over the course of her stay here she can now get off any surface independently. She walks independently around the unit with a rolling walker and she gets in and out of bed by herself as well,” said Physical Therapist Karissa Dixon about her progress. As for Ms. Owen’s take on her progress at The Springs. “Oh yeah! My kids could even tell. I could hardly raise myself up with the walker when I started out. The people have been real nice. I’ve had real good care in therapy. They make me work, laughing, I really work,” stated Ms. Owen.

All of that hard work is paying off. With each passing day, Phyllis is getting stronger and is almost fully independent again. Her children have been very happy with her progress she’s made during her post hospital recovery at The Springs. “Well they see a lot of improvement. They couldn’t believe it from one visit to the next on how well I had done,” said Ms. Owen.


Walk with Grace to #EndALZ

Imagine a world without Alzheimer’s 

Walk with Grace to #EndALZ

It’s the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, but it’s not something you catch or can be transmitted from person to person. We’re talking about Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. As people age they tend to become more forgetful but Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. This progressive disease creeps in robbing a person of their most precious memories by destroying important mental functions. Every 66 seconds in the United States someone develops Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Several Grace Living Center communities – both skilled nursing facilities and Assisted Living centers – feature Alzheimer care units where our staff receives training to understand the disease process and care strategies. Debbie Hudson, the Administrator at The Brookfield Assisted Living, has seen the affects on our elders first hand. “The hardest part for anyone who works in long term care is watching elders disappear into this disease with no way to stop it, I am no exception.To watch an elder struggle with not being able to find a word or to have them upset because they have lost their favorite shoes because they don’t recognize the shoes are on their feet is hard enough to make one cry. To comfort a daughter who is in tears because Daddy no longer knows who she is even harder. To try and help an elder remember how to use a fork requires a level of compassion and patience that is something close to sainthood. The joy comes in the simplest of things; laughter over a cup of coffee, celebrating the success of folding the towels or the high five after completing a craft. The ever spiraling cost of providing the care needed to give those affected by this disease a better quality of life is staggering and that alone should be enough for us cry out for more funding for research. So that someday we will have the first person to survive Alzheimer’s,” stated Hudson. 

For some of our staff members helping others with this irreversible, progressive brain disorder is a mission close to their hearts after losing a loved one to the neurodegenerative disease. “I started out in the Alzheimer’s Care Unit in 1996 at Grace Living Center 10th," said Bill Luta, Activity Director at Grace Living Center Northwest. "For me, having a parent who lost his fight with Alzheimer’s, I’ve seen both sides of the disease. This is a devastating disease. One that erases memories. I was my Father’s favorite and I still remember the day he didn’t recognize me. It was totally devastated me. I’ve been able to take what I experienced with my Father’s battle with Alzheimer’s and use it as I care for our elders. I also can sympathize with others families and hopefully help them better understand the disease since I too have been in their shoes." 

There’s a couple of ways you can help take a stand against this devastating disease. The first is to join Grace Living Centers as we Walk to End Alzheimer’s, taking the first steps to a world without Alzheimer’s. It’s the world's largest event to fight  this irreversible, progressive brain disorder. If you don’t have the time to lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement, you can also make a donation to help a team reach their donation goal or give directly to the organization. All of the donations will help to advance Alzheimer's support, care, and research! This year there are several walks in Oklahoma and Grace Living Centers will have teams participating in the remaining scheduled walks! 


  • Lawton, Oklahoma August 26 at Elmer Thomas Park. The party starts at 7:30am and the 1.5 mile walk follows at 9am.
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma September 23 at Dietler Commons located at the University of Tulsa. All the fun begins at 7:30am with the 1.5 mile walking starting at 9am.
  • Oklahoma City September 30 at Civic Center Bicentennial Park. The party starts at 7:30am and the 2 mile walk follows at 9am.





Residents Share Their Favorite Summer Recipes

From homemade ice cream to Grandma’s cookies to soups to Mom’s pot roast, family recipes are the cornerstone for many cherished memories with loved ones. This Summer some of our residents shared those precious memories along with family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. 

When asked about summer, Teddy Lewis, a resident at The Brookfield, talked about her famous homemade peach ice cream. She described many summer gatherings with her children and grandchildren. One in particular stood out when the Claremore Daily Progress came to do a three page story on her ice cream. “All four of my kids were sitting and taking turns to hand crank the ice cream for the story,” stated Teddy. She was nice enough to share her delicious recipe, just in case you would like to give it a whirl! 

Homemade Peach Ice Cream Recipe:

  • 3 cups whole milk 
  • 3 whipped eggs 
  • 6 rennet tablets
  • 1 can eagle brand 
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 pints Half & Half 
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 can Milnot 
  • Fresh peaches 


Combine all the ingredients and blend together – then place mixture into an ice cream maker. Once the mixture turns into creamy, frozen ice cream, serve and enjoy!


When the topic of summer came up among our residents at Rebold Manor, resident Ms. Verna Schauf, shared with everyone her favorite Summer Fruit Salad recipe. This delicious salad reminds her of all the great times her family spent together during the summers.

Fruit Salad Recipe:

  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup marsh mellows 
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple


Mix ingredients together in a bowl then chill before serving. Recipe makes 7 cups of fruit salad. 


Lemonade is a common favorite among summer time drinks! Ms. Gilmore, a resident at Grace Living Center Tahlequah East Shawnee, is known for her traditional lemonade with a twist. It took some coaxing, but she shared her secret with us. "I add orange slices and fresh mint to get that refreshing flavor," Ms. Gilmore revealed. 

Whether it’s peach ice cream, fruit salad or lemonade we hope these recipes will bring you as much joy as they have our residents who shared them! Thanks to Ms. Lewis, Ms. Schauf and Ms. Gilmore for sharing their favorite family summer recipes with us.


Born on the 4th of July

It’s a day every American has celebrated the past 240 years (and counting). We’re talking about Independence Day! The Fourth of July commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. While this day has huge significance for the history of the United States, it’s also a day held special for many people because it’s their birthday - a birthday shared with the likes of talk show host Geraldo Rivera, writer and playwright Neil Simon and five-time Wimbledon doubles champion Pam Shriver.

Born on the 4th of July

Mildred Vandeburgh

Mildred VandeburghMildred VandeburghOne of our firecrackers, Mildred (Spangler) Vandeburgh, a resident at Grace Living Center Buffalo, was born on July 4, 1919 making her 98 years young this year! Just think, she’s lived through 18 different presidents, watched on TV as the first man walked on the moon and saw The Beatles make their debut! She was born in Beaver, Oklahoma and experienced the Dust Bowl. “Her family had a good house so it didn’t fill up with dirt as a lot did during that era,” said Mildred. She has seen so much throughout her life, but has managed to keep a good sense of humor. Happy Birthday Mildred, we hope your special day is full of many blessings!


Billy Dinwiddie

Billy DinwiddieBilly Dinwiddie loves to show his patriotic side especially since he shares his birthday with Independence Day! When asked what it’s like to have a birthday on the day we celebrate our nation’s independence. He had a one-word response. “Booming,” he said. The retired Marine always enjoyed the fireworks that were a part of his birthday celebrations each year. “If you didn’t see fireworks on my birthday, there’s something wrong with you,” he said with a chuckle. “You could shoot off all you wanted to out where we lived, whatever you could afford.” Billy was born in 1935 in Chickasha, Oklahoma making him 82 years young this year. Happy Birthday Billy, we hope this year’s celebration is booming at Grace Living Center El Reno! 



Goldie Pettie

Goldie PettieGoldie Pettie

Our next firecracker is Goldie Pettle, a resident at Grace Living Center Clinton, who was born during World War I in Bessie, Oklahoma back in 1918 when Woodrow Wilson was president. She has seen a lot during her 99 years, such as women getting the right to vote, the computer being invented and the polio vaccine. Goldie graduated from high school in 1936 and college in 1941 then married the love of her life, her husband Cecil, on October 24,1941. Goldie went on to get her Masters in Education at the University of Oklahoma in 1956. She then taught all grade levels for the next 42 years before retiring in 1981 from the Clinton School System where she had taught for 35 years. She was named as Teacher of the Year by the Clinton Public School System in 1979. Besides molding young minds, Goldie has enjoyed traveling and seeing the work with her husband throughout the years. Happy Birthday Goldie, we hope this year is the best yet!


Music and Memories for Dementia Care

June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month

Continuous education is in our DNA at Grace Living Centers as we strive each day to help lead those on the Alzheimer's and dementia journey with love and dignity. Currently five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. This number is only expected to skyrocket over the next three decades, reaching as high as 16 million people, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. If that’s not enough of a jaw dropper, it’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. As people age they tend to become more forgetful but Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. This devastating disease worsens over time robbing individuals of their memories. 

“The person you see before Alzheimer’s is not the person you will see now. This disease is so traumatizing to everyone involved,” stated Tiffany Samples, a longtime Activities Director and now Payroll and Human Resources Director at Grace Living Center Tahlequah University Northwest.

Right now there is no cure, but there are programs to help bring joy and comfort to those with this devastating disease. One of the programs taps into the power of music. Music & Memory is a program that helps to deliver the healing power of personalized music. It can be very moving to watch as someone connects with his or her special song.

“While there have been some huge responses to music, like singing and dancing when remembered music is playing, there have also been more subtle reactions." said Angie Sharp, Social Services Director at Grace Living Center Tahlequah University Northwest. " One resident in particular stands out to me. She stops wandering, starts tapping her feet and moving her head in rhythm. The reaction is visibly more subtle, but the recognition of the music and enjoyment of the songs is just powerful."

The power of music with the help of this program moved resident Bonnie Cole to dance around our hallways at Grace Living Center Tahlequah, University Northwest to the song “Johnny Be Good.”

YOUTUBE VIDEO : https://youtu.be/rT2rCq6i2kA

Our staff strives to go above and beyond -- to do more for our residents by providing compassionate care. Recently members of our care team at Grace Living Center Tahlequah University Northwest attended a full day program learning about the progressive brain disorder from one of the world’s leading advocates and educators, Teepa Snow. “During the program, I learned how differently they see the world then we do,” stated Ms. Samples. Snow’s motto, "until there’s a cure… there’s care!"

Grace Living Center Tahlequah University Northwest Team with Teepa Snow, Dementia Care Educator