Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Employee Spotlight - Sheryl Shevchik

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these. “ George Washington Carver

Sheryl Shevchik began her career at Redstone Highlands in 2005 as a Food Service Manager. She remained in this position for seven years until she transitioned to the Personal Care Manager in Greensburg in 2012.  She is very thankful for Redstone’s core value of lifelong learning because it allowed her to make this career change and provide her with personal development and growth. 

Under her direction, the Personal Care Home at the Greensburg community successfully provided care to a changing elderly population.  Sheryl’s commitment to “aging in place” allowed many residents to remain in their residences longer.  Sheryl educated residents, family members, and staff on how changing resident needs could be met.  

In January 2014, Sheryl was promoted to Campus Director of the Murrysville campus. In her new role, she has already demonstrated strong leadership to her team.  She is still upholding her commitment to aging in place by continuing to meet with residents and their families to discuss resident needs.

Sheryl truly has a caring heart for the elderly.  This has been shown time and time again, especially when she is teaching others to care for elders.  Sheryl stepped in to provide dementia training to employees using the Hand in Hand training series that was developed by the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  This training series emphasizes person-centered care in the care of persons with dementia and the prevention of abuse.  She then took this program a step further and started a family support group for family members of individuals inflicted with dementia and has taught the Hand in Hand training series to that group. 

“Redstone is a wonderful place to work.  The residents and staff are my second family. I enjoy working for a company that stands by its Core Values.  I am proud to say that I have been a Redstone Highlands employee for nine years and I look forward to many more,” Sheryl said.

Recently, Sheryl was selected as a 2015 Leading Age PA Fellow.  Being a fellow in leadership is an exciting learning opportunity created exclusively for Leading Age PA members.  It is a one year leadership development program that equips tomorrow’s leaders with the knowledge and skills required to thrive in a new era of aging services.  It was created to develop passionate, committed, empowered, and transformational leaders who will create the future of aging services in Pennsylvania.  Entrance into the program is very competitive. 

As an emerging leader with Redstone, Sheryl has demonstrated her commitment to Core Values and a people first culture.  Redstone is proud of Sheryl’s admittance into this exciting program and supports her in this endeavor! Sheryl, thank you for your dedication and years of service.  We are blessed to have you among our family here at Redstone Highlands! 

Friday, October 31, 2014

CARF Accreditation

Dear Friends:

We are proud to announce that Redstone Presbyterian SeniorCare has received a five year CARF-CCAC (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities / Continuing Care Accreditation Commission) accreditation for the second time!

Our September 2014 accreditation as an Aging Services Network positions Redstone as the fourth (4) organization within the state of Pennsylvania to obtain this designation and only the twentieth (20) world-wide.

Attaining and maintaining CARF-accredited status requires a significant effort, strong teamwork, and a commitment at all levels of our organization to providing quality services and enhancing the lives of the people we serve.  This is an international accreditation for providers of health and human services whose goal is to ensure that persons served remain at the center of the service delivery process.

An organization receiving a Five-Year Term of Accreditation has voluntarily put itself through a rigorous peer review process and demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site survey that it is committed to conforming to CARF–CCAC’s accreditation conditions and standards. Furthermore, an organization that earns CARF–CCAC accreditation is commended on its quest for quality programs and services.

This accreditation comes in response to our continued efforts and commitment to providing quality services and programs that center on the satisfaction of those we serve.

Best Regards,

John R. Dickson IV
President & CEO

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Senior Fit is Changing Resident Lives at Redstone!

Senior Fit is Changing Resident Lives at Redstone!

Here is a testimonial....

SENIOR FITNESS is one of the best choices Redstone has ever made on behalf of its residents. A little more than two years ago the residents on all of the campuses were introduced to a program that would make a real difference in our lives. My friend Judy and I have been faithfully participating in the weekly Monday, Wednesday and Thursday sessions under the expert and energetic direction of our exercise physiologists. The vital areas of muscle building and toning, strengthening and balance are addressed.  Judy and I repeat many of these exercises in our apartment and visit the building's exercise room where machines are available.

Due to this program, I am able to manage the rheumatoid arthritis I have had for the past 35 years without medication. My levels of endurance for daily living demands, 30 minutes of exercise walking each day, plus other activities that require strength and energy have greatly improved. Managing my diabetes has also been positively affected by my participation in SENIOR FIT. My friend's cholesterol levels have been so noticeably affected that her PCP was amazed at her recent annual physical.

We have only two words to say to Redstone in order to convey our excitement for this opportunity to improve our health, particularly to VP for Quality Services Vicki Loucks who championed the program:  THANK YOU! We deeply appreciate Redstone's foresight and interest in improving our quality of life. 

- Barb Melvin and Judy Barry, residents at Redstone Murrysville 

Resident Judy Barry

Resident Barb Melvin

Friday, October 3, 2014

News from the Fund Development Department at Redstone

Fund Development Team (L-R): Brandon Kerr,
Shawna Miller, Lisa Dormire, Brenda Sobota
The kids have gone back to school.  For some, this is a time of year that is dreaded.  For others, the kids returning to school is the best day of the year!  No matter how old we are, I think that we all remember the mixture of feelings with which we welcomed the first day of school each year.  The playful days of summer are behind us now, and it is time to return to the more structured rhythm that back-to-school brings.  It’s not much different here at Redstone.  Summer brings vacations, changes in activity schedules, and families visiting from out of town.  As we look ahead to autumn, however, we know that a chill in the air will soon return, and fall and winter activities will be upon us.  As the seasons change, we have some choices to make, don’t we? Like the child who doesn’t want to return to school, we can stomp our feet and bemoan the season.  Or, like the child who just can’t wait to return to the classroom, we can embrace the possibilities that the new season will bring to our lives.  May we be blessed with a spirit that allows us to continually welcome the changes, new possibilities, and hopes that arise with each new season.  There is much to look forward to here at Redstone Highlands as we embrace this time together!

Lisa Dormire
VP of Fund Development

2014 Highlands Fling: A Night at the Castle
On Saturday, November 15th, Redstone will hold its twelfth annual Highlands Fling fundraising event at the Greensburg Country Club.  The theme of the event will be “A Night at the Castle” and will feature medieval castle-inspired d├ęcor, food fit for royalty, and fun for all who attend.  WTAE’s Sally Wiggin (pictured to the right) will once again take the stage as our celebrity host for the evening.  The traditional auctions and raffles will be supplemented this year with a “Wine Grab” fundraiser.  Additionally, a $1,000 prize will go to the winner of the new Royal Medallion Game, and one lucky attendee will win a weekend “Castle Getaway Package” to the Buhl Mansion in nearby Sharon, PA.  Redstone hopes to repeat its successful track record of raising over $60,000 in proceeds at the Highlands Fling.  

How can you help?  Donations of prizes for both the live and silent auctions are needed.  Items can include sports memorabilia, event tickets, restaurant gift cards, vacation home

getaways, jewelry, and services such as car detailing, spa services, etc.  Bottles of wine valued at $20 or more are also needed to be used as part of the Wine Grab.

If an in-kind donation doesn’t suit you, monetary donations are a great way to contribute!  Individual tickets and table sponsorships are also available for those who would like to attend.  If you have any questions, please contact Brandon Kerr, Donor Liaison, at ext. 370.  Together we will make this event a great success in support of benevolent care at Redstone!

Community Charities Supported by Redstone Gives Activities!
The Redstone Gives program continues to involve residents and staff in raising funds for several community charities.  Each calendar year, Redstone selects several charities to support through a variety of fundraising projects, seeking to raise at least $1,000 for each one.  During the summer months, there were sales of cookies, blizzards, funnel cakes, and other items to raise funds for organizations like the Humane Society of Westmoreland County and the American Heart Association.  So far in 2014, over $6,000 have been raised for the charities of choice. These charities include the Benevolent Care Fund, the American Cancer Society, the Westmoreland County Food Bank, the American Heart Association, the Humane Society of Westmoreland County, and the Alzheimer’s Association.

 Upcoming fundraising events will include bake sales at Greensburg and North Huntingdon in October and a Food Drive in November!  Watch your mailbox and email and plan to participate as Redstone Gives in support of these wonderful community charities. 

Fund Development Staff Update
Megan Monack
We are excited to welcome to our team our new intern, Megan Monack!  Megan started working with us in early September and has already proved to be a wonderful asset.  She is a recent graduate of St. Vincent College with a degree in Communications.  Her internship will focus on general fund development work and some of the events related to the Redstone Gives Program. 


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Resident Spotlight - Elizabeth Bailey

Every now and then a resident amazes us.  Murrysville Independent Living resident, Elizabeth Bailey, 94, is a wonderful inspiration for living a long and active life. To the surprise of many, Elizabeth still works full-time as an Attorney in Murrysville, PA at Creenan & Baczkowski, PC. She was honored in 2008 by the Allegheny County Bar Association for practicing law for 60 years.

One would think with a distinguished career like Elizabeth has had that she was destined to take this path and had wanted to be a lawyer ever since she was a little girl… right? Not necessarily. Elizabeth loves what she does and has a true passion for it, but she actually earned her first degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Education. She went on to teach eighth grade for four years before she realized that this was not for her. She then taught school by day and attended law school at night. Her class was very small because everyone was in the army during that time in history and she graduated with only seven others.

Following her college graduation, Elizabeth joined the practice of James C. Tallant in 1948. She thoroughly enjoyed working with Mr. Tallant. He was not only her superior, but a wonderful mentor. She still remembers and follows his philosophy of being a lawyer; you are here to help others, not to make money.

Not only does Elizabeth’s work keep her active, but she also still practices yoga weekly at the Murrysville Healing Arts Center. She particularly likes taking the Iyengar yoga classes that focus on strength and stability. Until this year, Elizabeth was an avid golfer on a league at Cloverleaf Golf Course. Amazing, isn’t she?  We are truly delighted to have Elizabeth as a part of our Redstone community!

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Glimpse of Life at Redstone: The 2014 Parade

The Queen and King of the Parade
This year's annual parade at our Greensburg campus had to be canceled due to inclement weather, but that did not stop us from having fun! Although there were no motorcycles, marching bands, or twirlers, there was still a lot of fun. There was food, entertainment, clowns, the crowning of the King and Queen, and most importantly the opportunity to invite residents, staff, family, and friends into our community to have a good time and enjoy each other's company!

As attendees arrived, they stopped to see the clown who was making balloon hats. Those who were hungry picked up a hot dog, watermelon, or another snack from the buffet. Then, everyone filtered into the Chapel to watch Square Dancers perform. Then the excitement continued to build as this year's King and Queen were announced. Even though there was no parade, the King and Queen still had to be crowned! This year's King was resident Joe Notovich, and the Queen was resident Helen Schalcosky. They both were enjoying the spotlight and were smiling from ear to ear! The smell of fresh popped popcorn and laughter filled the air for the evening that will long be remembered.

It's nice know that even if the parade cannot happen in the traditional sense, everyone can still enjoy themselves. We can't wait till next year!

To see photos from this event visit our Facebook page.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Employee Spotlight - Rebecca Steele

My name is Rebecca, and I am an adoptee. I say that proudly, because my adoptive parents have not let a day go by without showing me love and sharing with me how grateful they are to have me in their lives. I was adopted from The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh when I was only 3 months old. I grew up with an amazing family and an older brother that was also adopted through The Children’s Home. We were always open about the fact we were adopted and that our parents “choose” us. It made us feel proud! Although, as I grew older, I started forming more and more questions about my birth story and where I came from. I had a single picture of my birthparents that would always keep me wondering who I looked like, where they were now, were they still together?
In college I was pushed over the edge to finally take that first step towards my search as personal challenges came and went. I got in touch with The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh to inquire about searching for my birthparents. This was it, I was going to go through with the search. At first I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I had no clue the people I would meet or how they would affect my life.
A few short weeks later I got an email from the social worker that said she believed she found the current addresses to my birthparents and I was to write letters to them summarizing who I was and why I was searching. She sent my letter off and within days I got my first email from my birthfather. Pictures were shared and short life stories through while we got to know each other a little before meeting. I don’t think I breathed for those few days when we were emailing back and forth. My heart was constantly pounding and tears constantly flowing and we emailed several times a day. By the end of the week, we FaceTimed for the first time. I finally was looking at the only person I knew that had the same DNA as me, and I looked like him!
We met for the first time at The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh  and  I finally got to hear bits and pieces of how I came to be and how much my birthfather loved my birthmother but were not able to stay together. Since then, he has a family of his own that is so loving and supportive! Over the last year and a half we have spent a lot of hours together getting to know each other and watching his sons play sports.
Being an adoptee can have its ups and downs and emotions. It isn’t always easy to accept the fact that your birthparents weren’t able to keep you at the time of your birth, for whatever reason.  Any void I had with these emotions were filled by the love and warmth of my adoptive parents. At the end of the day, I am proud to be adopted and now knowing the story behind my adoption makes me realize I should be happy with where life has taken me and whose hands I have been placed in.

On Saturday, March 29, 2014, I had the opportunity to share my story with hundreds of people at The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh’s Shake Your Booties Annual Gala that raises money the programs they offer, including the adoption program. My very close family and friends came together to support me in the amazing night that I got to share how blessed my life is and how my life has been touched by adoption. I will never forget that amazing opportunity and how I was able to touch the lives of the people that attended.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Your Holy Light" - Guest Blog

The following blog was written by North Huntingdon Resident Dr. Richard L. Morgan. You can view Dr. Morgan's blog at 

“What goes around, comes around.” For years I listened to life stories of the “greatest generation,” wrote them for their families. My major guide was a book I wrote in 2002, Remembering Your Story A Guide to Spiritual Autobiography. I have been sidetracked by a combination of events, some beyond my control, like a stay in the Hospital. But two sages have led me back to this life passion. One was Bill Denny, a resident WWII veteran, who is blind, and has an amazing story. He survived four major invasions of World War II, including Omaha Beach. When I asked him how he survived, he chuckled and replied, “I ducked!” For me it was a miracle. I wrote his story, and gave it to his son,and those precious memories are now preserved. Yesterday I had the privilege of listening to Dorothy Manzlak, born in 1920, and became a poet in her 70s. I sat spellbound as she recited from memory many of her poems, written by inspiration. Her first poem, “Your Holy Light” begins this way:”Oh my God, my Heavenly King,all day will I your praises sing.” She wrote, “I must become like a blank piece of paper and let the Lord write what He will on my heart and mind. ” Listening to Dorothy quote numerous poems from memory, and reading others convinced me that the Spirit has indeed inspired her. Many of her poems have been published by the Salesian Brothers. Bill and Dorothy remind me of the classic words of Albert Einstein, “There are two ways to live your life. One is not to see your life as a miracle, and the other is as if everything is.”Dorothy and Bill have lived their lives as if they were miracles!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Resident Spotlight - Bob Eakin

Think of your favorite hobby. Do you think that you will be participating in it when you are in your 90s? No one can tell what their future will hold, but for those who are lucky to be in good health, their twilight years can be some of the best and most proactive years of their lives. A wonderful example of a person flourishing late in life can be seen in our North Huntingdon resident, Bob Eakin. Bob is a very talented and generous man who has lived at Redstone for a little over a year. At 94, he has spent the last 15 years of his life performing the art of woodworking.

Before moving to Redstone, Bob resided in Herminie, PA with his wife and daughter. He was employed at the Kroger Meat Plant in the Maintenance Department until the time of his retirement. Although he had no experience in woodworking, he decided to pick it up as a hobby. Since then, his work has ranged from cars and trains to dollhouses and music boxes. All are very detailed as you can see in the photo above. Bob spends anywhere from 50 to over 100 hours on one piece. Spending so many hours on something this detailed can be tedious and difficult for some, but Bob enjoys every minute of the time spent in his workshop at the Redstone Highlands North Huntingdon Campus.

Although much time and effort is put into his pieces, he has never entered any of them into a contest. He used to bring them to craft shows, but decided that wasn’t for him. Woodworking is simply a hobby for Bob. So, what does he do with all of these beautiful works of art? He donates them! He has given many of them away and has put quite a few of them on display at Redstone Highlands. We are grateful for Bob’s generosity and talent!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Redstone Gives Back!

Redstone Employees accepted into the Redstone Culinary C.A.R.E. program
 learning new skills (all food was for training purposes only).
As a non-profit organization, Redstone’s responsibility to serve the larger good is one that is taken seriously.  During the past fiscal year, Redstone has provided care and service in a variety of ways. 

Redstone’s commitment to providing Benevolent Care to residents in need is central to our non-profit commitment.  When through no fault of his or her own a resident’s personal financial assets are depleted, Redstone continues to provide a home for life for that resident.  Last year, Redstone provided nearly $2.5 million in free care to residents in need. 

Benevolent Care is provided for residents in two distinct categories.  Direct Benevolent Care is provided to those residents living in Independent and Supportive levels of care on our Redstone campuses.  This assistance comes in the form of a reduced monthly service charge based on the resident’s current ability to pay.  Indirect Benevolent Care is provided to residents in the Harbor (Skilled Nursing Facility) in Greensburg.  When residents are unable to pay the private pay daily rate, the difference between the reimbursement paid by Medicaid and the full cost of care is forgiven.   
In 2013, Redstone employees and residents rose over $1,200
 for the Westmoreland County Food Bank’s
“Go Orange for Hunger” campaign. 

In addition to providing care for those in need within our Redstone communities, our residents and employees are committed to serving the needs of the larger community too.  Through the “Redstone Gives” program, residents and staff members work together to raise funds for several selected charities.  In 2013, our charities of choice included the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Westmoreland County Food Bank, and the Humane Society of Westmoreland County.  Bingos, bake sales, daffodil sales, and other activities raise money for these charities.  In addition, employees pay $1.00 to one of these charities every Friday in exchange for the privilege of wearing jeans to work.  Two food drives annually collect hundreds of items for the Westmoreland County Food Bank.  During the 2012-2013 fiscal year, over $7,600 in support (along with food items) were raised for these community charities.  Redstone has also forged a relationship with the Brother’s Brother Foundation in Pittsburgh.  As an example, Redstone recently replaced a number of old-style mechanical beds with beds with electric controls.  Brother’s Brother is happy to come to collect the old beds, and through their efforts ships them to countries where these beds are much needed.  Over the past year, Redstone has made a number of donations of furnishings and medical equipment which Brother’s Brother has used in its healthcare ministries around the world. 

Opening our doors to the community is another cornerstone of the Redstone commitment to service.  Many outside groups enjoy hosting events in Redstone facilities.  Highlights this year included an art exhibition by a local high school student, monthly retirees clubs, card clubs, art clubs, etc.  Additional clubs, programs, and fitness opportunities are open to the public and help Redstone serve the community in creative ways. 
The Norwin Art League displayed art work from
100 artists from September 4-8, 2013 at the
 Redstone Colonial Estates.
Redstone’s commitment to education is also a way in which we serve the larger community.  Each year, Redstone conducts classes that prepare participants to become Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA).  This often leads to a full-time career and job stability for those desiring to enter the healthcare workforce.  Many Redstone employees take advantage of a tuition reimbursement program which allows them to advance their education in ways that might not otherwise be affordable.  In cooperation with Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Redstone participates in the “Transition WORKS!” program which allows qualified high school students to work with a job coach to prepare for a transition into the workforce.  Redstone continually offers its leaders ongoing educational opportunities related to management.  CPR and First Responder classes prepare our employees to handle emergencies on our campuses and have also created community servants better equipped to assist others in emergency situations.

A commitment to volunteerism provides an additional element of Redstone’s community service.  Where would we be without the hundreds of volunteers who work in our gift shops, visit residents, lead worship, bring pets for pet therapy, assist with activities and transportation, etc.  These hours of community service impact the lives of our residents in many ways.  We are especially grateful for the community leaders who give very freely of their time and knowledge by serving as members of our Board of Directors and on a variety of committees.  In addition, nurtured in Redstone’s core values, our employees are active in the local community in a myriad of ways as scout leaders, Sunday school teachers, school volunteers, Habitat for Humanity builders, choir members, mission volunteers, etc.  The commitment of our employees to care and serve extends in broad ripples throughout the region. 
In December, the Greensburg campus held a
 wonderful Christmas Open House for friends, 
family, employees, and residents.

Last, but certainly not least, Redstone’s economic impact on the region is significant.  Approximately 90% of our employees live in Westmoreland County, adding significant dollars to the economy with their buying power and through taxes paid to local municipalities.

Through generous programs of Benevolent Care, support of external charities, utilization of facilities, commitment to a variety of educational programs, a dedicated corps of volunteers both within and outside of the Redstone walls, and a strong base of employees who live in this region, we live out our commitment to care and service.  

Friday, May 30, 2014

Recognizing the Great Things that Our Employees Do

At Redstone Highlands and Senior Independence of Southwestern Pennsylvania, we have a wonderful program in which our employees can be recognized for wonderful things that they do each and every day while serving our residents, their family members, and other friends of our organization. This DOVE Recognition Program is inspired by the Redstone Highlands logo, and its acronym stands for: Distinction Of Visible Excellence.

Nominating an individual for a DOVE Recognition is very simple. On each Redstone Highlands campus, recognition cards are available for residents, their family members, or staff to fill out and notify the DOVE committee when an employee does something good that should be recognized.  These cards can be obtained at deposit boxes located in all main lobbies and near each employee time clock. The DOVE committee will collect and review these cards on a monthly basis. Following the committee’s review, the employee and his or her supervisor will receive notification of the recognition. The employee will also receive a token of appreciation for a “job well done.” Certain notable acts will be recognized publicly at the annual DOVE Banquet.

In addition to individual recognitions, each department will be recognized during a designated week of the year. Some weeks will coincide with national recognition weeks (i.e. National Nurses Week), but in order to keep all employees involved, the DOVE committee will be recognizing every department throughout the year even if no official week applies. During each department’s recognition week, the names of each employee within that department will be recognized on Touchtown TV and on monthly activities calendars that are distributed to residents.

Lastly, Redstone employees who have reached a significant milestone in the number of years that they have served will receive a special gift for their service. The names of these individuals will also be listed on materials that are distributed and displayed at the DOVE Recognition Banquet.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Volunteer Spotlight - Nicole Bruzda

The following letter was written by a high school student that volunteered at Redstone Highlands in the activities department. She worked under Activities Supervisor Karen Stock and wrote this wonderful letter about her experience. 

Dear Karen,

Thank you so much for the opportunity at Redstone Highlands. It has been such a great experience for me that I will never forget. Through helping at Redstone I now know that nursing is what I really want to do as a career. Everyone that I have met: both residents and employees have welcomed me, and I truly feel part of the Redstone family. I have learned a lot that I will take with me into the future as I go to college and pursue nursing. It has been great working with you, and I appreciate the time you have taken out for me during my time at Redstone. Every time I see you, you have a smile on your face. I can tell that you really love your job, and I hope one day I love mine as much as you do yours. I would also like to thank you for introducing me to Anne. Although I wasn’t able to know her for too long: I loved talking to her, and seeing her smile. Going through that with Anne has better prepared me for what’s ahead. Again, thank you for the wonderful time I spent with you and the Redstone employees, and residents.


Nicole Bruzda

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Employee Spotlight - Karen Stock

January 1980, a young woman named Karen Stock was hired into the Activities Department at the Greensburg Home of the Redstone Presbytery.  The Steelers had just won the Super Bowl, and Karen had recently made Pennsylvania her home.  She found her purpose and mission of life when she began working at Redstone.  Karen found it to be very comfortable, fun, challenging, and gratifying to be a part of this community.

Karen has always had a special bond with the elderly. Continuing to see their beauty, being able to provide a laugh, sharing a memory, and making new ones are her favorite aspects of her career.  Whether it means holding someone’s hand or being there when their journey is ending, Karen will stay with her residents through the good times and the bad.

Karen’s coworker for many years, Brenda Sobota, had these kind words to say about her, “She is simply a gift to Redstone.  I always think about how can Karen maintain the ability to be committed and continue to care so much after so many years.  She is unflagging in her commitment of serving the people here.  She is the continuing dedication of quality that we can offer to our staff.  She is very talented and we are blessed to have such an amazing person like Karen.”

“It has been my good fortune to have met so many residents on their life’s journey.  It is a privilege to work here, where lives intertwine to benefit all in love, peace, mutual trust, and understanding.  I have truly been blessed over these past 34 years, and I take a degree of satisfaction in the sure knowledge that my presence has made a difference in so many lives,” Karen explains.

Karen, throughout your 34 years of employment with us, you have been and continue to be an amazing gift to Redstone Highlands Communities.  Thank you for your never-ending commitment and the gifts that you bring to our residents, staff, friends, and families every day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Resident Spotlight - Terry Deglau

Terry Deglau, a current resident at Redstone Highlands Communities in Greensburg, PA, has been a notable photographer for many years. Terry had a long career with his father’s company, Kodak, and then he began his own business. Terry’s father and grandfather taught him photography at a very young age and he sold his first photograph when he was only 8 years old in Latrobe, PA. He worked at his father’s photography business for 20 years before he was hired by Eastman Kodak in 1985. During this time, Terry photographed over 1400 weddings and he would take 3000 senior photos annually.

Terry would go on to take many famous photos throughout his career like the photograph of the United Nations in 2000. The photograph was featured in the encyclopedia, which Terry said “Was a great accomplishment for him and his career.” It took him 6 months to prep for the photograph and he said “It was one of the best experiences of his life.” He had many other photographs that became fampous like one of Arnold Palmer, Mr. Rodgers, Yellowstone, and he took an amazing photo titled “Photo of the Century” in 2000 for then Governor Rendell. 

Even though Terry’s work was gaining popularity, he was a very humble person. He volunteered as often as he could and traveled around the world lecturing about photography to help others succeed. He would take photos at many organizations that could not pay him for his work, but he would do it out of the good of his heart. One particular project that he volunteered to do was at Gettysburg. He photographed the battlefield from morning to night obtaining many amazing photographs. Terry had lectured in over 45 different countries throughout his career. Helping others to learn about photography and being able to display his amazing work. 

Today, Terry Deglau can be found still lecturing at Redstone Highlands and blogging every Sunday. His blog is called A Creative Mind is a Moving Target. This blog is an outlet for Terry to show beautiful photographs and provide commentary for them.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Exercise is Medicine

The residents at Redstone Highlands are proof that EXERCISE IS MEDICINE! Over 250 residents participate in SeniorFITness, a comprehensive wellness program with a focus on fall prevention, balance, strength, endurance, flexibility, and overall wellness. The residents go through a series of assessments throughout their participation to monitor progress and for goal setting purposes. Recently, our Exercise Physiologist randomly selected 80 residents for data collection purposes to document the changes in the aforementioned areas from the start of the program to 3-6 months of active participation. The findings are incredible! In 3 to 6 months of active participation in SeniorFITness the statistics show:

•       19% improvement in Balance

•       20% improvement in Gait
•       45% improvement in Upper Body Strength
•       38% improvement in Lower Body Strength
•       36% improvement in Cardiovascular Endurance  

In as little as 3 to 6 months, these residents have greatly improved their physical health. We've also noted that SeniorFITness participants are 7 times less likely to experience a fall than those who do not exercise. With falls being the number one cause of injury and death in the aging population, these improvements speak for themselves. The bottom line is that exercise is medicine and it is never too late to start! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What Seniors Should Consider at Tax Time

As the tax filing deadline approaches there are several items that seniors should consider as they prepare their federal tax return. Here are some tax tips for seniors provided by our Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Mark Celigoi:

Are your Social Security benefits taxable?
Social Security benefits could be taxable, along with any extra income you receive from other sources if your “provisional income” exceeds a specific amount. Typically your total provisional income is one-half of your Social Security benefits plus any other sources of income.   Generally, some Social Security benefits are taxable for singles if your total provisional income exceeds $25,000 or if you are a married couple filing jointly and your total provisional income exceeds $32,000.

Are medical expenses deductible?
If you are 65 or older you can deduct qualified medical expenses that are greater than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. In 2017 this threshold increases to 10%.

Should I itemize my deductions?
If you are single and 65 or older your standard deduction is $7,600 or $1,500 higher than younger singles. If you are married couple filing jointly this standard deduction is $14,600 or an extra $2,400 for the standard couple deduction. If you have high medical expenses, large charitable deductions or other deductions you should consider itemizing your deductions.

When should I start withdrawing funds form my retirement savings?
Once you hit 59 ½, you are able to take out money from your IRA or 401(k) without a penalty. But those distributions are usually taxable.

When do I need to withdraw money from my retirement savings?
When you hit 70 ½, you need to withdraw a minimum distribution each year to avoid a penalty.

These questions are items that should be considered when you file your 2013 federal tax return and are only provided as a guideline. Any specific question should be directed to your tax professional and/or you can consult the IRS web site at

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Volunteer Spotlight - Rev. Chuck MacPherson

On January 28, 1987, I drove one of my grandmother's best friends to her new home, a nearby retirement home. She didn't have any extended family, and it was a major choice for a very determined and independent woman. She was moving from her home to a one room apartment, and it was a real change. While she faced major challenges in the move, she determined that this would work, and I determined that I needed to be an advocate.

I was blessed to be called to a position as pastor of the two Sewickley Presbyterian Churches outside West Newton in 1990. In arriving at Redstone Presbytery, I was invited to come visit the Greensburg Presbyterian Home by the then chaplain, the Rev. Sylvia Carlson. Soon, I was involved in board activities, then there was an opening the board, and there I was.

I'm still wondering at the honor I have had to be associated with some extremely talented and gifted community leaders. Our administrators and board members have largely been people who have had wonderful vision for providing a safe, secure, and dignified life for those facing their future. In everything, there has been a personal touch.  When I first connected with GPH, the typical resident was a bit younger and likely more mobile. A number of those folks were close friends of my Mother-in-law, Mary Lou Gettemy. Chapel services every month allowed me to meet and know some of the best folks in the world. Through the years I have been blessed by close friendships that will last forever.

It wasn't long before the 90's that our roots were in an aging building in downtown Greensburg. The first version of what we have become was a "T" of single room apartments. In the first days, a resident needed to be able to walk in. Our staffers developed ways of allowing people in our "family" to remain in place. Over the years we have become more and more sophisticated in offering care. We added apartments and enhanced care in order to increase our ability to serve. As we added structure, we were still in business for the residents. Our folks redefined skill and dedication, and I gained a new respect for their willingness to serve. I was around when we added the two new campuses. There was a lot of stress as we scrambled to complete on time and as we wrestled with finances and census. All I can say is that in light of the end results, we have been blessed. Thanks to the faithfulness and creativity of board and administration, we have become the standard for Westmoreland County against which everyone else is measured.

My family has been part of the Redstone family in a very personal way. Melinda's Aunt Stellamae Cramer was able to come to what is now the Personal Care wing, where she was able to finish her days with dignity. She was one of the early recipients of the Benevolent Care Fund, a commitment of the board that has been in effect as long as I can remember. Our Aunt Hope is presently at the Greensburg campus along with several of my church members and some dear friends. I have friends and church members at the Murrysville Campus, and in addition, my mom is at North Huntingdon along with even more friends. Looking ahead, I have made the request of my friends that they should take care of the place: Someday, Melinda and I will be up the hall.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Misconceptions of Supportive Care (Personal Care) at Redstone Highlands

Supportive Care is like an institution.
Reality: Supportive Care provides a home atmosphere that offers assistance with daily activities/needs of the resident.

Once you move into Supportive Care, you are not allowed to leave.
Reality: Residents that live in Supportive Care have the right to leave and return to the home freely.

All residents in Supportive Care are confused.
Reality: There are a wide range of mental abilities among Supportive Care residents however, it is important to understand that residents can thrive with the proper support and environment that Supportive Care can provide.

Residents in Supportive Care have no privacy.
Reality: Residents that live in Supportive Care have the right to privacy of self and possessions, privacy of incoming and outgoing mail, the right to have privacy of healthcare information and the right to freely associate, organize and communicate with others privately.

Supportive Care costs will cause bankruptcy.
Reality: Supportive Care is a cost effective option for individuals who require assistance with cognitive and/or physical impairments. 

Residents in Supportive Care are sedated to control “behaviors.”
Reality: Supportive Care residents have the right to be free of chemical restraints. Medications are used to manage physical symptoms to ensure resident safety. 

Family and friends are not allowed to visit residents who live in Supportive Care.
Reality: Supportive Care residents have the right to receive visitors for a minimum of 12 hours daily, seven days per week.

The food quality is low in Supportive Care.
Reality: Redstone Highlands’ Supportive Care provides a variety of meals for residents to choose from in a restaurant style atmosphere.

There are no activities provided in Supportive Care.
Reality: Redstone Highlands has an activities department which offers multiple activities on a daily basis promoting physical, sensory, spiritual, social and intellectual programs. Residents receive a monthly calendar outlining the activities.

 If I am not Presbyterian, I cannot live in Supportive Care at Redstone Highlands.
Reality: Redstone Highlands does not discriminate based on religious beliefs and welcomes residents of many denominations.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Winter Weather Safety Tips

The temperatures in our region are continuing to dip below freezing (below 32 degrees). To keep yourself, your house, and your vehicle safe during these times here are some helpful tips.

Your Body

Frostbite can occur at temperatures below 15 degrees below zero. Outdoor temperatures are reaching these lows more often, and we need to take the proper precautions when commuting. Be sure to wear mittens, a scarf, a hat, a warm coat, boots, and even extra layers of clothes if necessary. Exposed skin can become frostbitten within minutes. Visit Frostbite Prevention Tips for more information.

Illnesses are more prevalent in the winter months than any other time of the year, and there are more cases of the flu at this time. Everyone should be very proactive and take all measures to help prevent the flu. Of course, the easiest way to prevent the flu is to constantly wash your hands. The other most common way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated. Getting the vaccine will give you a 60% chance of not needing treatment for the flu by a healthcare provider. Early immunizations are recommended, but it is still not too late to get the flu shot in January or beyond. Visit the US Government's Flu Site for more information about the flu.

Your House

When the temperatures are frigid, you should turn your thermostat down to at least 68 degrees. This will help prevent power outages in your area. When your furnace is running often, you also need to be careful that carbon monoxide is not being released. To ensure that this is not happening, you can buy a carbon monoxide detector like these: Carbon Monoxide DetectorsThese detectors alert you in the same way a smoke detector would. This inexpensive system will help keep you and your family safe. Although it is hard for your furnace to keep your house warm when it is extremely cold outside, using additional heating sources may help. But, you must be careful about what other heating source you use. For a detailed list of how to remain safe while using additional heating sources, visit: Inspect Heating SourcesLastly, you must be aware that water pipes inside of your house do not freeze. Even though they are in your house, they may become frozen if air is flowing in through cracks. To learn how to properly prevent frozen pipes, visit tips from The Weather Channel.

Your Vehicle

To ensure that your vehicle does not experience difficulties in cold temperatures, there are several preventive measures that you can do to help. Never let your gas go below a half of a tank because it can freeze. This will also guarantee that you will not run out of gas during longer commutes in bad weather. Warming up your vehicle for at least 5-10 minutes before you leave in the morning will help your engine. Make sure your wiper blades are newer and use no-freeze windshield wiper fluid to help your visibility when driving. There are many other ways you can prepare your vehicle for the winter. Visit AAA's Cold Weather Car Tips to see more.

View this other helpful website on staying warm this winter: