This October the Avila Institute and the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm awarded two recipients, Cheryl Petell and Alfred W. Norwood, with the Flos Carmeli Award. This year’s award ceremony took place on Monday, October 9th at the Carmelite Sisters' Motherhouse in Germantown, NY during the AIG October Long-term Care Conference. Both recipients were honored with a citation and medal and took a moment to express their appreciation.
Attendees from various Religious Communities in the region gathered at the residence of the Sisters of St. Dominic in Amityville, NY, on August 19 and at the residence of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in Ossining, NY, on August 24 to listen to Alf Norwood and Sister Peter Lillian Di Maria, O.Carm. provide insight into the importance of preparing for transition. Alf Norwood introduced the seminar by explaining the physiological effects of aging, which he then followed by sharing preventative measures to assist in aging well. The concepts of neuroplasticity and neurogenesis were presented to illustrate the science behind taking a proactive approach toward aging. He explained, "Over time, your neurons restructure and rewire to recognize reality. The old neurons don't go away, but you build new neurons—new scaffolding. When you look at transitions, you have the opportunity to build that scaffolding and address the issues beforehand so you can avoid stress and potential depression."
Dave Ramsey wrote, “Turnover happens before the hire! Our goal is to find out if someone is not a good fit before we hire them.” The Avila Institute continued its collaboration with the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) in an August 22 webinar geared toward helping nursing homes retain staff right from the beginning of the hiring process. Martha Abercrombie, the guest speaker, has 18 years of Human Resources experience and now works with a company called Vikus Corporation as their Vice President of Strategy. Vikus is a software company that provides hiring solutions to senior care facilities. She has been immersed in the “why” of the current staff retention crisis for some time and had many valuable insights for the webinar viewers to take home.
The Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm and AIG Board Members are proud to announce two awards for excellence in living out and spreading the Carmelite mission. “Flos Carmeli,” meaning “Flower of Carmel,” is an award given to those individuals who are a part of the Carmelite family who propagate the mission of Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa McCrory, O. Carm., Foundress of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, with dedication and enthusiasm.
“Adaptive computer technologies demonstrate measurable benefits to persons with dementia including increased engagement in daily life activities, decreased agitated behaviors, and improved physical and psychological well-being,” claims Jack York, President and Co-founder of It’s Never 2 Late (iN2L), whose motto is “Dignity Through Technology.” In 1999, Jack invented a computer system geared toward the elderly who are often left out of the technology craze of the last several decades. iN2L computers provide over 3,000 programs of a wide variety to suit the needs of any elderly person, empowering them to still do the things they love and stay connected in the midst of memory impairment or other life-limiting illnesses.
On June 9th, the Avila Institute faculty attended the annual Catholic Health Care Association Assembly in New Orleans. We were a pre-assembly event once again, presenting on the topics of staff retention, stress and ethics. As always, the Avila Institute is both grateful and honored to be part of such a wonderful event and the chance to unite with so many members of Catholic Healthcare. The staff then took part of the exhibit hall sharing information about our educational offerings. This year our seminar “Keeping a Healthy Organization” focused on staff retention, the effects of stress on staff and retention and organizational ethics.
In June 2017, the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, aided by the Avila Institute of Gerontology, launched a new website dedicated to palliative care. The Carmelite Sisters’ philosophy has always taught the concept of palliative care and it is the Sisters’ goal that the new website, www.carmelitepalliative.org, help residents, families and caregivers understand palliative care and its importance in providing holistic, person-centered care.
The Avila Institute’s latest webinar co-sponsored with the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) offered valuable advice and wisdom for every spiritual caregiver. Brother Wayne brought his years of expertise in working with people in vocations and working with his fellow brothers from leadership positions to his presentation. Forgiveness is a common theme in the Bible; the concept of forgiveness appears a total of 75 times. However, all too often people do not understand the importance or the ‘how’ of forgiveness. Our model comes from Jesus who often would tell people their sins are forgiven. Two striking passages tell of God’s mercy for His people: Mt. 6:14-24, which reads, “If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your father in Heaven will also forgive you.” Also Mt. 11:28 is a beautiful passage: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
In September 2015, the Avila Institute of Gerontology launched a Membership Program offering monthly in-services as a yearly Subscription. The Membership Program also offered articles, a community forum, and discounts for all AIG educational events. Recently we have renamed the program to the “In-service Subscription Program” and will continue to offer the Program with new in-services and live streaming.
On April 19-20, 2017 the Avila Institute sponsored a 2-day conference on forgiveness for those who administer to spiritual health of those they care for. The conference was well received and had approximately 50 participants in attendance. The conference included 9 hours of presentations as well as time for reflection on the beautiful grounds at St. Teresa’s Motherhouse which is located on the shore of the Hudson river overlooking the Catskill Mountains.
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