Editor's note: We are saddened to report that Ellen passed away unexpectedly and quietly on Saturday, Jan. 28. Our sincere sympathy to her husband, Bill, and her family.


Ellen Warren
 
Ellen Warren  

When she was in first grade, Ellen Warren would sneak into the art room while her classmates went to recess. Ostensibly, she was helping clean the chalkboard erasers, but the teacher knew she just wanted to draw.

That introduction to art launched a lifetime of devotion to artistic endeavors and to supporting the performing and visual arts wherever she lived.

“I believe the soul needs creativity,” says Warren, a Homeland Center resident since late 2016. “The spirit needs creativity.”

Warren was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and grew up in nearby Scranton. Her father was a mining and metallurgical engineer. Her mother was a homemaker and community volunteer for “anything and everything” – American Red Cross, Girl Scouts, a local performing arts center, a health care facility.


Kathryn Steigler
 

Kathryn Steigler reminisces about working in a Bavarian porcelain factory after World War II.

 

The German province of Bavaria is home to one of the world’s rare deposits of kaolin, the clay mineral capable of withstanding the intense firing needed to produce delicate, translucent china. In the unsettled days after World War II, Homeland Center resident Kathryn Steigler worked in a Bavarian porcelain factory, and like Bavaria’s durable clay, emerged from hardship to find her life in America.

Kathryn Schlafman Steigler was born in Hungary in 1925, in a village of ethnic Germans. Her family worked a small subsistence farm, raising their own food and livestock. Her brother tended the horses. She learned from her mother and grandmother to bake bread every day and to weave fabric on a loom and sew it into clothing. Any extra crops were sold to a neighbor’s shop.

“Mom and dad, they worked so hard, and the young ones had to help, too,” she recalls.


The Zembo String Band
 
The Zembo String Band entertained residents and guests in Homeland's Chapel.  

On a chilly night in December, the atmosphere inside Homeland Center was warm and loving. Every space filled with residents and invited guests exchanging good wishes and laughter. Live music filled three dining rooms and the chapel. Tables groaned with food, all of it homemade by Homeland staff. Wreaths hung on the walls, and Christmas trees brightened the rooms.

In the annals of holiday open houses, Homeland’s yearly holiday party, organized by the Board of Managers, is unique. Up and down every hall, every gathering space was adapted to accommodate as many as 500 guests. The tradition dates to 1978, giving residents the chance to send invitations and host family and friends in sharing the holiday spirit. 


Trenisha Gray and Tina Dinger
 

In the life of a nurse, organization and efficiency are key. Here, Trenisha Gray finds a hallway moment to consult with Homeland dietary specialist Tina Dinger about a patient’s care. 

 

Trenisha Gray’s office is a small getaway directly off the first floor hallway of Homeland Center’s skilled care unit. The only decoration, standing on top of a hutch, is a colorful greeting card proclaiming, “Hoping your new job is a bright new beginning.”

Gray received the card just a few days after starting as a Homeland nurse manager in October 2016. Coming from the family member of a resident, it made Gray feel welcome and helped her realize the strong ties that people have to Homeland.

“It told me that families are involved and very welcoming, and they do appreciate the care that we give,” she says. “It encouraged me to want to work even harder and give my best even more.”

Gray has worked in hospital and nursing settings, in cardiac and psych units, before joining Homeland. She came to Homeland because she “always heard great things about it.”

“I enjoy that it’s a 5-star Medicare facility,” she says. “They center around the residents. That’s the most amazing part.”

Gray is a Harrisburg native who graduated from Harrisburg School District’s prestigious Sci-Tech High School. In college, she was undecided about a major, but then she came home to help care for a grandmother diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. That’s when she realized that nursing was her field. It felt natural, “being able to care for someone, and having empathy.”


Karen Drancik presents Family Love Letters
 
Karen Drancik offers a dynamic presentation alerting Homeland residents and their families of the need for documenting all the information necessary in case of a loved one's death or incapacitation.  

What frustrates executors of estates the most? That they can’t find the documents and information essential to wrapping up the affairs of someone who has passed away, financial planning executive Karen Drancik told Homeland residents and family members recently.

“We love our family, and we don’t want our passing or incapacity to become any more traumatic to our family members by leaving a mess behind,” said Drancik during a recent presentation entitled “Family Love Letter: A Gift of Time, Love and Clarity.

Drancik, vice president and senior consultant of Neuberger Berman Advisor Institute, walked attendees through a detailed planning guide called “Family Love Letter.”

Everyone starts generating documents from the day we’re born, Drancik said. Families must share that information before death or incapacitation to help survivors “navigate the paper trail.”

“We love our family, and we don’t want our passing or incapacity to become any more traumatic to our family members by leaving a mess behind,” she said.

 

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