Residents of United Church Homes’ Glenwood Community in Marietta, Ohio, are an active bunch. The community has a high percentage of residents who are engaged with the local community, from volunteering at the hospital to participating in intergenerational programming at a school.
Glenwood Community has earned a 2018 Community Choice Award from Holleran, a group that focuses on community engagement research and consulting. Holleran has the largest benchmark of senior living engagement scores by which campuses can compare performance relative to their peers.
Backed by 26 years of research and uncompromised measures, Holleran provides campuses with the data they need to increase employee retention and provide a culture of engagement with residents.
Holleran surveyed residents and staff members to gauge their satisfaction with the engagement opportunities at Glenwood. Glenwood’s scores are exceptional in comparison to other communities.
Read more about some active, engaged older adults thriving at Glenwood Community.
John: Hospital Volunteer
John has lived at Glenwood since August, but his involvement in the community goes back decades. Most recently, John volunteered at Marietta Memorial Health System, where volunteers make a huge difference for employees, patients, families and visitors.
John wakes before sunrise, Monday through Friday, to greet visitors of Memorial Health System at the Strecker Cancer Center in Marietta. A scientist, executive and entrepreneur, John recently wrote a report on the effect of saying “good morning” to people as they entered one of the facilities.
During John’s study, he greeted everyone with “good morning” and received many positive responses. The number of people he greeted totaled more than 1,000. The traffic flow from 6 to 8 a.m. averaged 65 people — 80 percent staff and 20 percent patients. From 8 a.m. until noon, that changed, averaging 75 people — 25 percent staff and 75 percent patients.
Saying “good morning” changed attitudes, John said. “I see everybody, and they see me,” he added. “After the first seven days, it really caught on. It changed patients’ mindsets as they went to their appointments. Some are in really bad shape, but simply greeting them with ‘good morning’ brought a smile to many faces.”
It helps that people in Marietta are so friendly, John said.
John’s journey to Glenwood Community, a place he calls “terrific,” included four years working in Europe. When he returned to America, he become president of the board for the local senior center. There, he started a program that led to savings of more than $3 million on prescription medications for local older adults.
John traveled to every continent except Antarctica. He served on numerous boards and committees. But John’s passion is music and theater. He spent most of his life doing charity shows and even wrote a play about Benjamin Franklin.
Today, John continues to serve on the local Eagles board.
Bob and Helen: Intergenerational Heroes
At age 83, Bob enjoys attending school. He participates in the Reader’s Theater and the intergenerational program with Phillips School. Once a month, Glenwood residents visit teacher Nicole Maxon’s first-grade classroom.
“You just fall in love with those kids,” Bob said. “It feels so good to spend time with them and makes you realize that there are a lot of good kids in the world who want to learn and need attention. When you give them some care, they light up. Too many kids don’t get enough love.”
Bob also enjoys walking around Glenwood and talking to the many residents who have lived diverse experiences. He is instrumental in the upkeep of Glenwood’s gardens and solarium.
“I just want to be helpful,” Bob said.
Helen is another resident who regulary goes to Phillips School. Her late husband was a pastor, and today Helen serves on First Baptist Church’s board of deacons. Helen traveled the world, participating in international missions. She also helps organize local food drives and clothing collections. Helen heads up four special offerings per year at her church.
A former elementary school teacher, she also advocates for youth throughout the world to attend school. Some countries, like the Democratic Republic of Congo, historically only sent their boys to secondary school.
“We tell them that we won’t take their boys unless they bring their girls, too,” Helen said. “It really humbles you.”
Mary: Dedicated Volunteer
Mary and her late husband, Jim, were Christian counselors in Meigs County, Ohio. Now that she’s at Glenwood, she continues her volunteer work with the Marietta community.
Mary volunteers at St. Paul’s Evangelical Church’s Grief Share, a faith-inspired program to help individuals overcoming loss. The program offers a safe space for people to process their grief, and Mary serves as a facilitator for the 13-week course.
Mary also volunteers with Meals on Wheels and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.
“Whatever they ask me to do, I do,” she said.