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Resident Jean Fortney helps with chair assembly. Her son, Dan Fortney watches as volunteers Carol Briggs and Larry Frazee help guide the drill. I was visiting Englewood Nursing Home a couple of weeks ago and I noticed a brand new, assembled Adirondack wood rocking chair. There was a paper on the back of the chair with a couple names on it and a For Sale sign that read "fifty dollars". I asked Dave, the Administrator at Englewood, to educate me on this chair. He explained that the residents assembled the chair and told me if I wanted one to put my name on the list.

I signed the sheet, figuring I could put a finish on the chair after I received it.

A few days later I received a call from Larry Frazee. He explained that the woodcrafters program is a new program that helps build the self-confidence of the residents through success-oriented activities. He invited me over to Englewood to witness the residence putting a chair together.

Sunday night, August 15, I joined Larry, and volunteer Carol Briggs at Englewood. They and the residents joined forces to assemble one very comfortable rocking chair.

Larry is a full-time Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) at Parkview Rehabilitation Center. He started developing the program at Englewood a few months ago to help give residents a chance to improve their quality of life by participating in positive constructive experiences.

Larry explained that once a person is placed in a nursing home, they often suffer from low self-esteem and reduced self-confidence. They have less opportunity to be involved in decision-making due to their situation.

Larry and Carol, with the help of local businesses, have networked together to improve the resident's sense of self-worth and improve their self-confidence.

The rocking chair and other projects are purchased from local businesses. The residents assemble them, with the help from volunteers, and the chairs are sold to anyone in the community. The proceeds go into a fund managed by the residents and are used to develop opportunities for the residents to experience the most powerful medicine known to man...having fun!

Recently in other new quality of life programs, the residents participated in a trip to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, local parks and botanical gardens. The residents participating in these outings are taught basic photography before the trip takes place. During these outings, the residents take pictures of their favorite sight. These pictures are then developed and printed by Walgreen's. The Brueggemann Do-It Best Lumber Center supplies the material for framing the photos and the residents put their frames together in a group activity. A photo gallery is being developed at Englewood to display these special pieces. They plan to place the photos in this gallery for all the residents to enjoy and visitors to see.

Other local businesses, Arby's, Pizza Hut and Subway have catered in luncheons to the residents and Harbor Freight Tools has supplied necessary wood kits and materials to help the projects along. A local band, Ek-sa-das is planning a free concert for the residents and the surrounding neighborhoods on September 18, from 4-6pm.

"This type of community outreach starts developing a more positive attitude in the Englewood facility which spills over into the community itself. It creates interaction in creative ways which starts giving the residents back their self-esteem and self-confidence." This programming is also being developed at Ossian Health and Rehabilitation Center, Mason Health Care in Warsaw, and Rolling Meadows Healthcare Center in LaFountain.

The Waynedale News Staff
Author: The Waynedale News Staff
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