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Fall Activities for Seniors

Fall is officially among us! The change of season brings with it new sights, smells and activities. The leaves begin to bloom radiant colors of fiery oranges and reds. Apple cider is sold in every grocery store and local market. Hay bales, scarecrows and pumpkins begin to adorn front porches, and the smells of wood burning bonfires and spicy pumpkin pie linger in the crisp air. Turn off the air conditioner, open your windows and go outside. It’s time to take advantage of one of the most wonderful times of the year. Here is a list of fall-themed senior activities that will allow you to take full advantage of this stunning season.

 Apple Picking: This fall season take in the beauty that is the outdoors. Encounter the changing of the crisp autumn leaves, take in the brisk and refreshing air, and last, but certainly not least, pick some apples. Apples are one of the easiest, and tastiest fruits to pick. They’re juicy, don’t bruise easily, come in a variety of flavors, store well, and can be eaten fresh, cooked or canned. Apples also make many healthy and appetizing dishes. Apple crisp anyone?

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Here are some tips to keep in mind prior to your picking. Apples ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center, so the apples on the outside of the tree are the most ripe. Picking apples can be quite easy. Roll the apple upwards off the branch and give a little twist. Don’t wash your apples until just before you start to use them to prevent spoilage. Have any leftover apples? Make a warm cup of apple cider on a cool day. Want to bring that wonderful spicy smell of apples into your home? Fill a saucepan half fullith water then add a sliced apple and some cinnamon sticks. Bring it to a boil then turn it to a slow simmer. Remember to add water periodically because it will boil away. Your home will smell like you’ve been baking apple pie all day.  

 Pumpkin Carving: How do you mend a broken jack-o-lantern? With a pumpkin patch! What can make sitting outside on the porch with a cup of your apple cider even better? Transforming a pumpkin into a spooktacular pumpkin. This fall get your creative juices flowing and get to carving. Hold a contest to see who can come up with the funniest, scariest, and most original pumpkin. This will make for an enjoyable arts and crafts day. Even try adding an LED candle inside your jack-o-lantern to make for a festive porch or window decoration for all to see. What’s even better? Arthur Home and Eberhardt Village offer a courtyard and a patio, the perfect place to put your carving skills to the test. The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, Illinois is also a great place to pick up a pumpkin and take in the scenery.

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Picnic: Winter is coming! Before it gets here, go on a picnic one last time while the weather permits. A picnic can be on the porch or deck, or going to the nearest park to find a beautiful shade tree. Another good idea is to do a potluck with the other residents. Whip up your favorite seasonal recipes and dishes. Bon appetite!

Pie Bake-Off: Attention pie bakers of all ages! Host a pie contest and enjoy the opportunity to taste and bake family recipes among your peers. Gather with friends and family, and residents of your senior community, in the kitchen and hold a pie bake-off. Bake one or two pies of your choosing. Wait until they have cooled and add vanilla bean ice cream and let the staff be the judges. Have them vote for their favorite pie. Whatever leftovers you have, serve them as dessert for everyone. It’s a win-win for all. Plus, who doesn’t love free pie? Let the games begin!

Fall Foliage Tour: The Arthur Home and Eberhardt Village assisted living center are both located in Illinois, the beautiful Midwest, which you can experience all four seasons. This is the perfect place to plan for a foliage tour to see the stunning multi-colored leaves before they fall from the trees. When you’re staying at Arthur Home or Eberhardt Village, you can enjoy their park and watch the beautiful leaves changing. Don’t forget to bring your own camera and capture memories from the event. Make it a contest by printing off a list of different types of trees and have everyone mark off the trees they see. Have a fun award for the person who identifies the most trees. Best to have them collect a leaf from each tree species to share.

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‘Fall’ in love with this holiday season and all the activities that are out there just waiting for you! Remember, it’s the small things in life that end up being the big moments.

Steps That Kids and Parents Can Take to Prep and Plan for Independent and Assisted Living

“Good night Mary Ellen.” “Good night John Boy.” “Good night Momma.” “Good night Elizabeth.”

Memories of a family who lived together in one home, with a Grandpa and a Grandma, on Walton Mountain. “The Waltons” was a popular TV show that ran for 10 years on CBS in the 70’s-80’s.  It was based on the series creator Earl Hamner Jr.’s real life family members. Hamner based the characters of The Waltons’ grandparents on composites of both sides of his Grandfathers and Grandmothers. The show competed against “The Mod Squad” and “Flip”, which were two very popular series at the time, and most critics believed “The Waltons” didn’t have a chance to score in the ratings. It not only scored, it beat out the competition and ended each episode with the much loved and famous ending, “Good-night John Boy.”

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Most families today do not live with their grandparents, nor do they live on their own mountain. But the sense of love and community and care for one’s family persists, and was and remains one of the reasons, “The Waltons,” was such a popular show. Caring for our loved ones is a primary concern and need. So, what can you do to prepare for the time when your parent or grandparent should no longer live alone? Worrying about when the time comes is not the best plan. As Grandma Walton famously said, “You fear a thing enough, you’re asking for it.” The better plan would be to prepare and make arrangements now, so there is no need to worry. Knowing your loved one has a place to live, when and if the time comes is one of the most loving things you can do for them.

John Boy Walton: “Between two people in a good marriage there develops a kind of silent communication.”

Communication. No one wants to think about the time when their parents are at the end of their days, nor do they want to talk about what arrangements should be made. According to a study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, nearly 75% of adults have had NO discussion – what so ever – with their parents about long-term care, living arrangements, inheritance, and funeral wishes. It’s the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’ and no one wants to bring it up. But who does this help, and when would it be best to discuss this? After your parents can no longer drive? After your grandmother has fallen and needs assisted care? Waiting is not the answer. What better time to make arrangements with your parents or grandparents then when they do not need the care; when they are mentally and physically able and well to let you know their wishes and concerns.

Communication! It’s the key to insuring their wishes are taken care of, when the time comes.

Olivia Walton: I don’t think you should call Grandma “Old Woman.”

‘Grandpa’ Zebulon Walton:  Well, why not? She’ll be 68 on her birthday coming up this Saturday.

Olivia Walton: That’s why not.

How to bring it up. No one wants to start a conversation with their parents about the fact they are getting older and it’s a good time to discuss ‘arrangements’ for the future. That conversation can be awkward, excruciating, and if not handled correctly, it can ultimately hurt your relationship. Exactly how does someone begin the conversation? Waiting for a holiday gathering isn’t a great plan since most holidays are steeped in chaos and a lot of stress. Plus, you don’t want to have the discussion in a setting where it’s not the focal point, and try to ‘slip it into the conversation.’ Calling your parent and talking about it over the phone isn’t a good idea either, since there are many things to discuss and cover. A better plan is to arrange a family meeting with your siblings (if you have them) and parents. Perhaps a way to start the conversation is to simply state you want to discuss future plans and arrangements for Mom and Dad for their long-term care, for when they need it. You know everyone will want them to have the best care possible and that by planning and discussing it now, before they need it, you’ll be able to make that happen for them. Ultimately, that is the goal and with everyone on board you’ll be able to achieve it by starting the discussion when they are still in good health. Your parents taught you to plan ahead, remind them of this and they’ll understand.

John Boy Walton: “Many times when I have tripped across those events in one’s life called milestones, I have thought about how they so often catch us unaware. There was, for instance, that unforgettable spring many years ago when Grandma had to face growing old.”

 Tour Senior Care and Assisted Living Communities.  There is an assumption that all care facilities are the same. This assumption is furthest from the truth. By taking the time to tour a few facilities, you’ll be able to determine which one is best suited for your parent. ‘Nursing Homes’ have had a negative connotation for a long time, but that is no longer the case. Senior Living Communities have stepped into the new generation with much to offer and Assisted Living Communities are a wonderful alternative for loved ones who don’t need long term care but can no longer live alone in their own home. Seniors are finding that living in these communities have given them new beginnings with social events planned and new friends found. By taking the time and touring the places with your parents, you can make a sound and formed decision ahead of time and know that you have a place they’ll be able to call home.

John Boy Walton: “There is a special niche in memory where a child places his parents, a place in time where they are never younger, never older, a time when they are changeless. For me, that memory is of many years ago, and no matter what came after, they are forever young.”

Thinking of our parents as growing old or older, and taking on the role of ‘adult’ for them, is never easy. However, putting off the planning and decision making now will only make it harder on everyone when the time comes and decisions need to be made. Plan ahead now so you can rest assured your parent will be cared for as they wish and deserve to be.

9 Summer Activities for Seniors

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It’s that time of year where the warm golden sun, the fresh cut grass, and the bright blue skies beckon us all to the great outdoors. Getting outside increases your vitamin D levels which can help fight osteoporosis, cancer, and depression. So get on out there! Take advantage of the soothing summer rays. Not only will it feel good to be outside, it can prolong your life, and give you a happier peace of mind.

Here are nine activities you can do this summer!

 Picnic: What better way to spend a summer afternoon than packing a lunch, eating outdoors, and enjoying the view? You can even take your grandchildren with you. Sit on a bench in a neighborhood park and watch the children and their families having fun. Fresh air can do wonders for a soul.

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Go Fishing: This can be as simple and fun as simply catching and releasing the fish. For those who have always enjoyed fishing and for those who have never tried it, it’s as simple as sitting back on a pier or pond and letting your pole do the work. Pack a lunch, grab some friends, and make a day of it, all the while communing with nature.

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Walk, Jog, or Run: A nice stroll in the summer can be one of the most refreshing and peaceful activities you can experience. If your legs are not capable, no problem at all! Just getting outside, moving around, and taking in the warmth of the sun’s golden rays can keep your body, and mind, in shape.

Gardening Anyone? Do you enjoy gardening? Never tried it but want to start? If you have mobility issues that keep you from bending over, do not fret. You can plant your veggies or flowers in raised pots and flowerbeds. What are you waiting for; garden away!

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Join or Start Your Own Book Club: Does your community have a book club? If not, start your own! Check with your library to see if they have one of if they, or a local church, can help you get the word out. Invite family and friends and pick book genres you will all enjoy. If that seems like too much work, you can always participate in a book club online. Check out https://media.bookbub.com/blog/2017/01/30/online-book-clubs-2017/. This website can help give you some ideas on where to start and which club to join.

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Visit Museums, Art Galleries and Local Events: Look to see if there are museums or art galleries in your community. A lot of times these events are free! Look to see what community events are going on and plan accordingly. There are often local websites you can go to, such as Arthur Festivals and Arthur Illinois Events, to check on the various activities going on in your town. During the summer months, there are many fairs and church festivals to enjoy, especially the Bingo Tent!  Some art galleries and museums in Arthur, Illinois include Joan Winters Gallery, The Vault Art Bank, Douglas County Museum, and the Amish Interpretive Center.

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Go to a Movie: No matter our age, one thing most of us will always love, is going to the cinema. A lot of times in the summer communities will offer outdoor movie nights. Too hot and humid? Check your local theater to see what days they offer lower ticket prices or attend an afternoon matinee which is always discounted. You can even host a movie night yourself and invite friends and family. Who’s bringing the popcorn?!

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Water Aerobics: Want to make a splash this summer? If you have access to an outdoor or even indoor pool, get out there, cool down, and have some fun. Because of the buoyancy, swimming is easy on the joints, allowing you to feel relaxed and flexible. You can even attend a water aerobics class.

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Bird Watch: With over 914 bird species in North America, there are a variety of birds to identify and spot. Get a pair of binoculars and check out a local library book to help you identify the various birds, and keep a notebook. They can be quite funny and entertaining to watch. You never know what you are going to see. Also, Arthur Home and Eberhardt Village even offer a bird aviary!

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How To Prevent a Fall

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According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. One-fourth of Americans – aged 65 and older, falls each year, and every 19 minutes an older adult dies from a fall. Although these statistics are staggering, as well as frightening, they can be prevented. There are many reasons why older people are prone to falls. They could slip stepping into the bathtub, lose their footing on a curb, or get dizzy from their medications. By following the steps below, you or a loved one can take the appropriate actions to prevent a fall from ever happening.

 

1. Balance is Key: You might want to consider what shoes you are wearing as a part of your fall-prevention plan. Avoid high heels, loose and floppy slippers, and slick soles. All of these can lead to a trip, stumble, or fall. Instead, choose to wear properly fitted shoes that have nonskid soles, and give your feet good support. If you have calluses or corns on your feet that need to be removed, or a sore that just won’t heal, consult your doctor to see if you can get them treated or removed.  If you are using a walker or cane, be sure it is fitted correctly and replace the rubber tip whenever it gets worn down.

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2. Consult Your Doctor: What medications are you taking? You should make a list of the medications you currently take and bring that with you to your doctor appointments. Your doctor can consult this list and see if there is anything that has sides effects that may lead to a greater risk of falling. Have you fallen before? If so, record the incident in detail. Write down when, where and how it happened. These certain specifics can help your doctor figure out fall prevention techniques for you. It’s also important to know that certain eye and ear disorders can increase your risk of falling.

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3. Stay Physically Active: Let’s get physical! When it comes to preventing a fall, exercise can go a long way. If approved by your doctor, try different balance exercises such as tai chi, walking, standing on one foot, and water aerobics. These activities can improve your strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility, all which can help prevent a fall. If you feel nervous about exercising because you’re afraid it will cause a fall, talk to a physical therapist. They can construct certain physical activities specifically for you, aimed at improving muscle strength, balance, and flexibility.

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4. Stay Safe When Bathing: It is common for people to slip and fall when taking a bath or shower. Some proven ways to prevent this are installing grab handles and nonskid mats in your shower or bath. Try using a hand-held shower head. Additional measures for bathroom safety are bath benches or chairs in the shower or next to the tub. When you get into the tub, put your weaker leg in first and get out of the shower with your strong side first. All these steps can help prevent a fall when bathing.

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At Eberhardt Village, we care about you and your safety. That is why we provide a variety of services and amenities which can help prevent a fall. We have multiple skilled physicians, including a physical therapist, who can help correct strength and balance problems that may have made it difficult to walk or get on and off the bed, toilet or furniture. We also offer an assortment of personal care services, such as bathing, making sure you get in and out of the bath safely.

Come put your best foot forward at Eberhardt Village!

Fighting the Winter Blues

As the temperature drops and the days get shorter, it’s common to feel the winter blues.  In fact, nearly one in four adults experience different degrees of depression in the winter due to the lack of sunshine and limited activities. However, for the majority of us, there are several tactics we can do to help stay upbeat and positive this winter.

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Additional Quality Time

If you’re starting to feel a little down this winter, spend additional quality time with friends and loved ones. Most people tend to isolate from others when their mood goes south, so it’s important to reach out to friends and family members for group support.  It can be as easy as spending time with them listening to music, playing cards, or even flipping through old photo albums.  A little additional time spent with others can go a long way to improve a person’s well-being.  If you don’t live within driving distance to your family members, consider setting up a video call.  A face-to-face video chat can help communicate with loved ones and improve your mood through uplifting conversations.

Daily Diet

Since we receive most of our vitamin D from the sun, choosing a daily diet rich in vitamins can go a long way in fighting the winter blues.  Vitamin D rich foods include salmon, eggs, tuna, milk, yogurt, sardines and fortified cereals.  Winter is also a great time to test out mood boosting soups and stews.  Key ingredients may include squash as it is a good source of magnesium and potassium, as well as eggplant, which is full of fiber, copper, vitamin B1 and manganese. Sweet potatoes is also a hearty winter food packed with vitamin b6, biotin, and anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Here’s a list of recipes for delicious dinners that include these key mood boosting ingredients.

Light Lamp

Researchers believe that sitting in front of a fluorescent light lamp, which mimics outdoor light, can cause a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood and eases symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Results show that this technique can start to improve depression symptoms within just a few days. Seniors should sit in front of the light for about 20 to 30 minutes within the first hour of waking up in the morning. They’re designed to be safe and effective and with prices starting at $39.00, light lamps are affordable.

While the winter months can be difficult at any age, all it takes is a little patience and some small adjustments in your daily routine to help beat the winter blues.  It’s important to remember that winter doesn’t last forever. Try to envision the spring and sunshine at the end of the blustery tunnel.

Yes, You Should Get a Flu Shot.

 The Importance of Staying Vaccinated.

It’s that time of year again – when flu vaccinations are highly recommended by flu-shotdoctors and pharmacies. While a flu vaccination won’t guarantee protection against the flu, it significantly reduces your chances of getting sick. Here are four reasons why you should get a flu shot.

Reduce trips to the hospital

Receiving a flu vaccine reduces the risk of doctor visits by approximately 50% to 60%, according to studies by Center for Disease Control (CDC). In addition, it may reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization, especially among children and older adults. One study reported that people 50 years and older who got the vaccine reduced their risk of getting hospitalized from the flu by 57%.

Partners as a preventative tool

The flu vaccine is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions. Flu vaccinations have been shown to reduce hospitalizations in people with diabetes by 79% and 52% in people with chronic lung disease.  An October 2014 article in JAMA reported adults who had received a flu shot were 36% less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke within the next year than those who weren’t vaccinated.

Affordable and convenient

The flu vaccine is offered by many pharmacies and within major retailers such as Walgreens and Target, so you don’t have to wait in long lines. Most places also take walk-in appointments, so there’s no need to schedule something far in advance. In addition to being convenient, the flu vaccine is also affordable. Your health insurance may cover the cost or in some cases, a local clinic may offer days where you can get vaccinated for free. Even if you do have to pay out of pocket, the average fee of $30.00 is well worth the price.

Keep your friends and neighbors healthy

Per the Harvard School of Public Health, 20%-30% of people are carriers of the flu virus who never experience symptoms, but are contagious.  When you get infected without knowing it, you could spread the virus to others such as your friends, neighbors and family members.  This means someone else may become sick and hospitalized, even though you never showed symptoms.

A seasonal flu shot is the single best way to protect against the flu. Do your part this winter to keep yourself and others around you healthy. Type in your zip code to find the closest place where you can get vaccinated today.

*It’s important to note that while a flu shot is highly recommended in most people ages 6 months and over, you should check with your doctor before receiving a flu vaccine if you’re allergic to eggs or certain antibiotics. Most types of flu vaccines contain a small amount of egg protein and while you can still receive a vaccination if you’re allergic, you should be vaccinated and supervised by a doctor who can manage allergic reactions. 

 

Importance of Activities for Seniors

Activities for seniors offer far more than just pleasure. Here’s our top five reasons why seniors, and their families, should participate in weekly activities.

Nurtures Relationships

Taste testing food with the chocolate fountains.

Taste testing food with the chocolate fountains.

Whether it is going to bingo night, a music event or joining the Red Hat Ladies Club, it is important to meet new people, build relationships and enjoy the benefits of having a social network. Social activities and relationships help seniors stay involved and active in their communities. Developing and nurturing relationships also helps seniors defeat loneliness and isolation.

It’s just as important for the families of seniors to be involved in activities with them to keep growing their already established relationships. The amount of quality time spent with your elder is a better predictor of their psychological well-being than the amount of time spent with them.

Keep Learning

Activities present an opportunity to learn new skills and brush up on current talents. From studying a new language to learning how to play chess, there are so many new hobbies to learn and engage in. No matter their chronological age, there is always an opportunity to learn something new for seniors.

Mental Stimulation

Activities stimulate the brain. Whether it’s signing up for a cooking class, playing a game of Wii bowling, taking up crocheting or playing UNO with friends, each activity keeps the brain and body engaged. Not only are social activities enjoyable, they also keep our brain sharp. Mental exercise stimulates the brain, providing long-lasting positive effects on seniors thinking skills, reasoning skills and memory.

Social Stimulation

If seniors don’t make an effort to stay socially active, they begin to withdraw from the world and suffer physical, mental, and emotional consequences. Social activities help give seniors a sense of purpose, whether it’s simply the routine of having a schedule and a place to be or the sense of accomplishment that comes from reaching a goal. Social stimulation also helps to promote positive self-awareness. These activities may include journal writing, reading, singing groups or even reminiscing with friends.

Improve Health

According to an article published in the Journal of American Medical Association, elderly people who remain physically and mentally active significantly reduce their risk for cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Taking part in group activities and social events help elderly people maintain a sense of meaning and purpose in life, which boosts their emotional well-being.

Assisted Living Versus Nursing Homes – What’s the Difference?

examplefacility-03When you or your loved ones reach a certain age, one of the most difficult decisions will be about living arrangements. If you’re considering alternatives to independent living, it is important to be well-informed about your options. In particular, there is a distinct difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility. Think of both nursing homes and assisted living facilities as pizza, but one is New York style and the other is deep dish. They both can be great, but one might fit your preferences better.

Assisted Living

Assisted living refers to communities that seniors live in which provides a higher level of personal care than living independently. There may be a 24-hour caregiving staff, but not necessarily around the clock medical care. Sizes of assisted living facilities vary from small, like a single family home, to large planned communities. Assisted living is a wellness environment that encourages and supports the well-being of each community member. Our very own Eberhardt Village is an assisted living community!

Nursing Home

A nursing home provides around the clock medical care and focuses on sub-acute care. People can live in nursing home on a short term or long-term basis. Nursing homes are also known as skilled nursing facilities because of the skilled care that is provided. Arthur Home, or facilities like these, are great communities for individuals who need a higher level or more frequent amount of care. The cost of a nursing home is generally higher than the cost of an assisted living facility due to the specialized care residents at a skilled nursing facility receive.

So which one is right for you?


Assisted Living

  • You’re looking for a community where assistance is available, but not necessarily around the clock medical care
  • You or your loved one still wants to maintain a level of independence
  • You want to participate in community activities, meet new friends, and have new opportunities to socialize

Nursing Home

  • You or your loved one has complicated medical conditions
  • You’d prefer around the clock medical care
  • You or your loved one’s health is declining quickly
  • Help with everyday activities is needed

Vote for Eberhardt Senior Community

lg-headerEberhardt Senior Community is currently in a contest to possibly win$30,000 for a technology makeover by the RK Dixon Make My Non-Profit Run Better Contest! We have made it to the final round, but are in desperate need of votes!!

The contest runs until July 29th at 5pm. You can vote once per day per device. Currently we are in 3rd place but hopefully we can reach out to enough people that we can soar to the top!

Vote today at: http://www.mmnprb.com/search/

Farewell from Jo Ellen

Dear Friends & Family,

A heartfelt Thank you to everyone for the warm wishes, parties, cards, memories and prayers as I leave my position as Community Director here at Eberhardt Senior Communities. I started here in 1994 and I never dreamed I would have experienced all the wonderful people, friends, and co workers that I have had the pleasure of meeting and se
rving the past 22 years. I always felt like this was my 2nd home, and I will always treasure the memories, and friendships that I have obtained over the years. Building Eberhardt Village in 2008 was a wonderful experience, and I enjoyed bringing more senior living and programs to the community. The campus is a wonderful addition to the Arthur area and the service offered to the local community is a blessing. I feel grateful that I was a part in helping getting it underway for today and the future.
God Bless you all, my love and prayers are sent to every one of you.

Love, Jo Ellen

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