Speech therapist Shayla Oaks-Rester looks on as activities coordinator Anita Payne sets out ingredients for residents Doris Gingrich and Harold HixonDorothy Bettinger enjoys coming to Homeland Center cooking club sessions.

“I can play with food,” she said. “Anything that’s good, I’ll eat.”

Every other Monday, Homeland’s cooking club brings residents together around a table to cook, chat, learn about new foods and, of course, eat their creations.

The club meets in the center’s unique 1950s-style Olewine Diner, a bright space in red, black, white and chrome that recalls Eisenhower-era soda shops, right down to the checkered-tile floor and jukebox.  The diner was made possible through a gift by the Olewine family in memory of Marian Olewine.

Homeland’s oldest resident Frances Merlina going strong as she celebrates her 105th birthday

Living on her own at the time, Frances Merlina had fallen and broken her ankle. On the way to the hospital, the EMTs asked when she had last been in the hospital. She turned to her son, David, and asked how old he was.

Frances and son

“Sixty-two”, David said.

“She turned to them and said, ‘62 years ago,’” David Merlina recalls now.

It was shortly after that accident that Frances came to live at Homeland Center – and where at 105, the Center’s oldest resident is still one of the healthiest people around.

Christmas Cards


From a smiling snowman to a cozy fire complete with stockings on the mantle, the doors of Homeland Center were transformed into beautiful seasonal postcards as part of the first annual “Holiday Door Decorating Contest.’’

More than 40 doors brightened the halls with holiday cheer as residents and their families had fun competing to be one of the top three doors selected from the Skilled and Personal Care wings.

Hummel DisplayIn the 1920 and ‘30s, a Bavarian nun named Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel drew sketches capturing the innocence and charm of the children around her. As her sketches grew popular, German porcelain maker Franz Goebel began producing them in figurines – each piece subject to Sister Maria’s approval.

Purple Knitting ProjectFor a small group of Homeland Center residents, their twice-weekly knitting circle isn’t just a chance to chat as they create intricate patterns. These four ladies knit with a purpose – creating slippers for homeless women and children.


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