Tag Archives: senior community

De-Mything Stereotypes

There are many stereotypes surrounding elder care and nursing facilities. Before we talk about the most common examples, it’s best to define stereotype. Stereotype is “any commonly known public belief about a certain social group or a type of individual.” The media industry tends to give nursing homes a negative stereotype by portraying them as depressing and abusive.  These stereotypes can give the public a negative outlook and opinion on these homes, especially if a person has never visited one.  In rare cases, some of the stereotypes may be accurate, but the majority of nursing facilities are opposite of what people assume.

Depressing

The media and entertainment industry tend to portray nursing facilities as being depressing because they show them as a place for people to go and die, which isn’t true.  It may be hard to envision a close loved one somewhere other than his or her home, but in most cases a nursing facility is what’s best for the family member.  Elders keep busy with many activities throughout the day and company is always welcome to join.  There are always people around which makes the environment more lively than living at home alone.  Plus trained staff are around to provide assistance when needed.

Smell

If you’ve never walked into a nursing home, you probably assume they smell bad, which is actually the opposite.  Nursing homes tend to smell clean and sterile.  In order to keep a safe and germ-free environment for the residents, employees use sanitizers and cleaners throughout the day.  Bathrooms and shower areas are cleaned on a regular basis, as are tables, chairs and other surface areas that receive heavy contact.

Abusive

One of the worst stereotypes about nursing homes is that they’re abusive.  Contrary to belief and what is played out in the media, most of the employees that work in a nursing facility love their job and their field of work. When people like what they do, they create a positive and fun environment for people around them. People who care for the elder also tend to be caring, compassionate and patient people which radiates onto people living in the communities.

While there are stereotypes that surround elder care and nursing facilities, it’s important to keep in mind that the majority of them are inaccurate.  Nursing facilities are a safe and loving environment for your loved ones where they will feel right at home.

PawPrint Ministries Comfort Dogs Bring Excitement to Arthur Home

During an emergency response in a small Illinois town, Jennifer Dahn had her first IMG_4724encounter with a comfort dog team. Little did she know this would lead her down an extremely fulfilling path. Jenn has since created her own comfort dog ministry called PawPrint Ministries, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting hurting hearts in central Illinois and beyond. Jenn’s organization provides comfort dogs to disaster areas, schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. The distinct impact of comfort dogs has even been seen here at Arthur Home, a senior community located in Arthur, Illinois.

IMG_4689Before PawPrint Ministries, Jenn was a personal trainer who loved her job with no desire to leave it. When asked about becoming involved with comfort dogs, she said, “I never in a million years imagined myself doing this. I’ve never been a huge fan of big dogs. But when you see these dogs in action, you can’t even describe it.” PawPrint Ministries began in April of 2014 and quickly grew from having one comfort dog to six certified comfort dogs and seven in training. Their main office is located in Decatur, Illinois. PawPrint Ministries works with PawPrint partner teams who own the dogs and dedicate their time to train the dogs, take the dogs out, and raise awareness and funds for PawPrint Ministries.

IMG_4750Over eight months ago, PawPrint Ministries took their first trip to Arthur Home, which has quickly grown into one of their favorite locations because of the excellent staff and enthusiastic residents. Jenn says, “The staff and the residents… their faces just light up. Just a couple of minutes with our comfort dogs can turn their day around. To walk into someone’s room who may have been having a bad day, to let them snuggle these dogs, and to see their whole demeanor change… That’s why we do it. For that one person who we impact.” Jenn understands that oftentimes people have to leave their animals behind when they move into a new community and they miss that connection. Speaking about Payton, the comfort dog, Jen says, “He doesn’t judge. He doesn’t speak. He just walks in with compassion.”

In addition to various visits that usually take place six days a week, Jenn and the comfort dog team have many moreIMG_4717
ongoing projects. PawPrint Ministries has teamed up with pharmacies in Decatur to raise money to bring two additional comfort dogs into Illinois in order to give back to veterans. These dogs would be trained by veterans and then would make visits to the many veterans in Illinois who could benefit from interacting with a comfort dog. These veteran specific dogs have the power to make a profound impact on people. Jen reminisced on one encounter she had with a veteran, saying, “Last time at Arthur, we met a veteran and Eli, the comfort dog, is learning to salute. Eli held his paw up and saluted, and the man did it right back.”

PawPrint Ministries can be found at Arthur on the second Tuesday of each month at 10AM! Meet Jenn, Payton, and the rest of the team on either August 9th or September 13th!