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Geoff Davenport calls himself “the best Easter egg hunter in the world” and readily admits to a fondness for hard-boiled eggs.

During Homeland Center’s Easter egg hunt, however, he was content to watch young children skitter around the room searching for plastic eggs filled to stuffing with candy. He was ready to offer advice, though.

“Look everywhere, just keep looking,” he said.

Lorraine Englander said she came down from her room “just to watch the little ones” although she told Davenport, “I might get one for you.” Englander lives in the skilled care unit but came to spend time with her husband, Don, in the personal care section.

“I like to watch the children, they're cute,” she said. “A lot are children of employees, and I like to see their families.”

Ashley Bryan, Homeland's director of skilled and personal care activities, said staff and volunteers had stuffed candy into about 600 plastic eggs to prepare and hid them in all four units. Later that day, residents could participate in “Bunny Bingo” for the chance to win stuffed rabbits donated by Homeland volunteer Susan Anthony.

Lilly Knopic pic 1 for web

On a cold, rainy morning, the Homeland Center sunroom was bursting with light. The walls sparkled in jewel tones of red, orange, green, and blue. In some spots, it appeared as if stained glass windows had been installed -- and that, it turned out, was the intent of Homeland’s featured artist for spring 2017.

The works of Art Association of Harrisburg members rotate quarterly in Homeland’s art gallery, and on this morning, artist Lilly Knopic was hanging her nature-inspired works. Many depicted forests and woods that Knopic has hiked in, but in fantastical shades and shadows.

“Beautiful,” Homeland resident Geoffrey Davenport told Knopic as she hung her oil paintings. “Why do you like to paint trees?”

Good question, she said.

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When Miriam Mackert was married to a Pennsylvania State Trooper and raising her children, she worked hard and always put family first. On a Saturday in April, 2017, her loved ones put her first with a 100th birthday celebration at Homeland Center that, unbeknownst to the birthday girl, brought together the whole family.

“I just wanted to try and make her happy,” said her daughter, Karen Jackson. “She didn’t know the kids would be coming. She only thought it was going to be cake.”

What Miriam believed would be a small get-together was actually a party for about 20 family members and fellow Homeland Center residents. A performance by barbershop quartet Gents Nite Out helped revive memories of her 50th anniversary party, when she and her late husband, Howard, thoroughly enjoyed an appearance by that same group.

Shortly before the party, Jackson did tip off her mom about the extent of the guest list, but Miriam was still thrilled.

3 success stories

Homeland Center CNA Symira McNeely was motivated to improve her health and appearance, but on the way to losing 45 pounds, her apparent lack of progress could get discouraging. That’s when Homeland Health and Wellness Director Roxane Hearn would draw from her arsenal of motivational tools.

“Roxane told me that it’s not always about what the scale says,” McNeely recalls now. “The scale may not be moving, but you might be healthier. She wants you to be happy. Happy and healthy.”

At Homeland Center, employee wellness is a linchpin in assuring that the staff caring for residents are vigorous, capable, and contented. Its unique approach calls on Hearn, a highly qualified coach with a Ph.D. in health psychology, to deliver programs and services that inspire Homeland staff to not only reshape their bodies but also manage the daily demands of staying healthy.

“Change is not easy,” says Hearn. “Working as a health coach, I take the employees through that process and support them and coach them. I guide them along the way when they relapse and keep them on track when they’re maintaining.”

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Felicia Wallace reviewed her plan for Janet DeLong’s salon treatment. First, she would put Janet’s shampooed, wet hair in curlers. Then, Janet would sit under the dryer for 15 minutes or so. “Then I’ll take her out and fluff her hair a little bit, and she’ll be all dolled up for the day,” Felicia said.

Welcome to the Homeland Center Beauty Shop, one of the busiest spots in the whole facility. The cheery, two-chair salon is one of the reasons that Homeland Center residents always look their best. With weekly visits to the beauty shop, plus regular manicures performed by activities and clinical staff, the ladies of Homeland always look lovely.

On this Friday morning, Janet is getting her weekly treatment. Some weeks, she gets a perm. Others, it’s a simple set with curlers. “I get whatever it needs,” she said. Janet loves the shop so much that she stops by daily to check on Felicia and her colleague, Charity McCrae. “The shop is very nice, and the girls are both nice. They’re wonderful to talk to, and they do very good work. You leave here; you’re beautiful.”

Felicia considers her work at the shop to be rewarding. “They appreciate it, and this is like the highlight of their week,” she says. “It’s fulfilling to be able to please them. This is a treat for them.” Beauty treatments for the elderly require a few considerations not expected in outside beauty salons. Felicia has been with Homeland for almost nine years, and she is “mindful of how sensitive their skin is.” If her clients fall asleep in the chair and seem comfortable, she doesn’t disturb them.

 

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