Carol McGowan!!!

Although, Carol may be the perfect definition of “a woman who needs no introduction.” I doubt very much you haven’t already noticed her vitality, energy, enthusiasm, and delight bursting out of Homestead Living. But, for our first official Homestead Blog post, Carol’s work as our Activity Director seems an ideal place to start.

Carol worked in the Finance Industry until her second daughter was born and she opted to be a stay at home mom. When Carol’s own mother needed Memory Care she found Homestead Living and was very active as a Resident Family Member. Carol maintained her relationship to Homestead as a volunteer until she stepped into Volunteer Coordinator role a few years ago, and then recently stepped into a greater role as our Activity Director.

Carol is motivated by a love of people, and particularly a love of people living with Memory impairment. Now that her children have gotten older she can focus on developing her own career development in a new direction, “This is my time!” Carol is interested in spending time with our residents reliving their past memories, but she is equally devoted to spending time with our residents creating new memories.

Homestead’s Person-Centered Care philosophy is beautifully demonstrated in Carol’s approach to our Activity Program. Her first goal is to get to know each of our residents. She spends time talking with residents and their families, puts together Resident Histories to distribute to our staff, and then finds ways to engage each individual. I am so excited by the breadth and width of our Activity/Life Enrichment Programming. Carol has helmed the creation of an eclectic menu of activities and programming which means we can tailor our engagement efforts to each resident’s preferences and abilities.

I’m going to take the opportunity to outline what our current Activity Program offerings are. As always, families are welcome and encouraged to join anytime at Homestead. Our new website will include an Activity Calendar so you can plan your visits accordingly, but keep in mind that everything is subject to change and you are ALWAYS WELCOME.

1. Music Programming.

Carol has worked with Waunakee High School, St. John’s School, and Waunakee Music School to find talented youth musicians to come in and share their talent. Homestead currently has music offerings about 4 to 5 times a week.

2. Art Therapy.

One of the programs I am most excited about, is a recent Art Therapy Initiative. We are working with Edgewood College’s Art Therapy Program to bring in art therapy interns to work with our residents. Emma Krueger did quite a bit of work with us this past year. Some of you may have gotten the chance to meet her and try some art yourself at our Spring Family Night. In the coming school year, we are looking forward to working with Professor Janice Havlena, Director of the Art Therapy Program at Edgewood, to give another group of art therapists an opportunity to work with our residents.

3. Pet Therapy.

Judy Haag pops in a few times a week with her beautiful Golden Retrievers, Dancer and Reindeer. We also are offering Dog Therapy through Agrace Hospice.

4. Scrapbooking Club.

Carol is continuing to scrapbook and reminisce with residents. She has plenty of current photos, but could use family photos from our resident’s past as she and puts together individual Memory Books for each of our residents.

5. Massage with Julia Rowe.

6. Yoga with Laura Allen.

7. Drumming with Kelby.

8. Poetry with Jolieth MacIntosh.

9. Kindermusic!

Renee Frey comes on Tuesday mornings to lead a Kindermusic class. Our residents gather around the class and enjoy the opportunity to interact with and observe the babies, toddlers, and parents. It’s especially meaningful when our residents’ families can participate with their own children grand children, great grandchildren, or even great great grandchildren!

10. Intergenerational Programming.

Carol has used her extensive knowledge of the Waunakee and Madison area communities to gather an impressive array of youth volunteers. We are currently working with Waunakee High School’s Hero Club, Waunakee Intermediate School, St. John’s School, Madison Country Day, Madison Mission, and our neighbor on Quinn Drive, Adventures in Learning. The enthusiasm and joy that these kids generate in our residents is palpable.

11. Religious Programming.

Pastor Doug from Peace Lutheran Church, Past Allen from Christian Life Assembly of God, and many volunteers from St. John’s Catholic Church visit frequently at Homestead. They offer services, hymn singing, communion, the rosary, and opportunities for prayer.

12. Ongoing Programs.

Carol has put together many tools for our staff to use to engage residents on a moment-to-moment basis; including personalized iPods and Activity Boxes.

Our residents also continue to enjoy Beauty Shop Day with Anne Frey, Movie Night, cooking, gardening, walking in the neighborhood, bird watching, and socializing with each other, staff, and our visitors.