By Alexander Germanis
The opportunity of looking for a new place to call home should be one that brings happiness and a sense of accomplishment. However, when it comes as an abrupt change in a person’s life such as moving to an assisted living community, it may feel more overwhelming than exciting. The team at The Village at Mercy Creek understands wholeheartedly how difficult this transition may be for all those involved. It is their mission to provide the guidance and support needed to make the experience as easy as possible.
With their focus being person-centered care, residents at The Village at Mercy Creek maintain a high level of autonomy while engaging in their preferred lifestyle options with assistance from the team. Each resident is seen as the individual they are and is cared for accordingly. They are able to enjoy a curriculum of enrichment opportunities and a culinary experience that hits close to home.
While understanding every resident is different, there are a plethora of options to help them maintain the quality of life they have always enjoyed.
At The Village at Mercy Creek, the Life Enrichment curriculum is designed to address the seven dimensions of wellness: mental, physical, emotional, social, spiritual, environmental, and occupational.
Of course, what aspects one resident might want to concentrate on might differ greatly from what another resident might need. “We are not a one-size-fits-all community, and neither are our residents,” says Life Enrichment Director Kathy Andrews. “We know our residents have various interests according to their lives before moving into Mercy Creek. We want to tap into all the areas of wellness to enrich and fulfill the journey they are still creating.”
Whether it is through outings, exercise classes, worship services, social activities, or interactivity with visitors, all activities are considered as to how they will benefit the residents as a whole and as individuals.
The varied aspects of wellness tend to interconnect, as do their corresponding activities. “Residents’ likes and interests play a big role in the activities,” Kathy explains. “Having activities that reach a few wellness components in one activity will bring more residents to that activity.”
From the time we are little children and, perhaps developing stronger as we age, few things enrich our day more than mealtime. Food has the amazing ability to not only fuel our bodies, but also to fuel conversation, strengthen bonds between family and friends, and bring total strangers together over a common palate.
“I personally believe that mealtime is as important as the quality of care our residents receive from the nursing staff,” says Dining Services Director Jennifer Fitzgerald. “No matter who you are, to eat food that is tasty, full of nutrition, and looks appetizing can put you in a good mood. Who doesn’t look forward to their next meal and hope that it’s something they would like to eat!”
Eating at The Village at Mercy Creek is as much an event as any outing or entertaining performance. Although holidays have their time to shine in the dining room, other themed events help to round out the year. “Our last themed event was A Day in Italy,” Jennifer says. “Our Life Enrichment Director had personalized centerpieces, music, room decor, and Italian-inspired courses. The residents were excited and found it entertaining; they loved the food and were willing to try new things that some hadn’t had before. Themed events are a fun way to change things up and introduce new ingredients that wouldn’t normally be found on our menus.”
With Open Ears
The staff at The Village at Mercy Creek knows no system is perfect, but they also know the only way to better approach perfection is by tweaking, adapting, and expanding upon what is already great. “We are not afraid of looking outside the box,” Kathy points out. “We stay current on trends but also stay committed to the traditional values of our residents.”
The best way to do that is simply by listening to the residents themselves. The staff meets with residents on a regular basis and glean what they feel might still be missing, discover where else they might like to travel to, and find out what other activities they would be interested in trying. “And we will have it on the calendar by the next week” Kathy assures.
The goal is, honestly, the most obvious one: to make The Village at Mercy Creek truly all about the residents who call it home. “Sometimes we try new activities and a lot of times they are successful; but if not, we replace it with a resident suggestion or an old favorite,” admits Kathy.
That drive to make it all about the residents does not stop at the door to the dining hall. “Our dining services at The Village at Mercy Creek are tailored to each resident,” Jennifer says. “We stock what they like to eat and make every effort to provide them with the food they are familiar with and comfortable eating. Our dining staff learn the likes and dislikes of our residents and we do our best to accommodate—from cooking food based on specific requests to preparing recipes submitted by the residents.”
To keep The Village at Mercy Creek a custom care experience requires a tremendous effort. To achieve this very important task, the staff needs to work together as a team and be dedicated to the residents in their care. “Our hearts are in the right place,” Kathy confirms. “I can honestly say I have never worked in a community where all departments work as hard for our residents as we do.”
The Luxury of Home
The Village at Mercy Creek is centered on the individual to a degree that even the staff members experience that custom feeling. “I am excited to go to ‘work’ every day and I’m never ready to leave at the end of the day,” Kathy shares. “It’s because of the harmony of all the departments. We have the most amazing residents ever and you really get to know each of them on such a deep level. Our community is truly like being home.”
That feeling of home is prevalent specifically because of that level of individualized attention. Though the residents may have made the decision to leave their long-time homes, they are entering a new place where the team welcomes them lovingly with open arms as a part of The Village at Mercy Creek family.
The Village at Mercy Creek is proud to announce we were once again voted the Best Assisted Living, Best Senior Living, and Best Independent Living in Bloomington-Normal by the Pantagraph 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards. We are located at 1501 Mercy Creek Drive in Normal, Illinois. To visit us, please schedule an appointment to tour our home by calling (309) 268-1501 or visit us on the web at www.franciscanministries.org/village-at-mercy-creek/.