Well, here we are at the end of 2017. Another year in the books, plenty of successes achieved and yet more progress made.
But, as is the typical custom at the close of the holidays, we're going to make a few resolutions for Episcopal Retirement Services to strive for in 2018. This year, our theme is “Hope for the New Year.”
Today, we'd like to take a moment to tell you about six things we be looking to accomplish over the next 12 months.
1. Beating our record for Deupree Meals On Wheels deliveries … again.
If you've been a regular visitor to this blog, you know that the need is great in the Tristate for community-based services benefiting seniors who are aging in place.
Nowhere has that need been clearer than in the continued growth in requests for Deupree Meals On Wheels' help.
For the past three years running, we've exceeded our own annual record for meal deliveries and wellness checks performed. In 2017, we smashed through the ceiling again, delivering over 110,000 meals to seniors on Cincinnati's east side.
And in July, for the first time ever, we delivered more than 10,000 meals in one month.
We don't anticipate that the need will shrink — even as some seek to cut funding to critical services like the Meals On Wheels program.
With your generous support, and help from our tremendous group of dedicated volunteers, we hope to continue growing Deupree Meals On Wheels' capacity, to meet the critical demands for proper nutritional support and wellness checks for our area's elders.
2. Launching new, innovative memory care efforts in Kentuckiana.
We've been blessed to begin a partnership, in the last year, with Episcopal Church Home (ECH). And in the new year, we'll be working together to bring some amazing changes to the long-time premier Louisville personal care home.
In 2018, we plan to begin a major renovation of ECH's memory care household.
This will help us to ensure that it remains a cut above, in terms of providing new and innovative memory care options for residents, but also that it will continue to provide the best possible quality of life for Louisville seniors suffering from age-related memory loss, Alzheimer's and other dementia disorders.
3. Completing renovations at Marjorie P. Lee's memory care center.
Another ERS memory care provider is just completing its own memory care center renovations. This year, we'll finish upgrades to our dementia and memory care divisions at Marjorie P. Lee Retirement Community (MPL).
In 2017, we undertook a major overhaul of MPL's fifth floor memory care center. We also expanded its suite of cognitive therapies.
Memory care at MPL now includes several promising new treatments — among them, iN2L computer-based learning, our 360 Wellbeing program and GreyMatters tablet-based memory therapy — which joined a host of other memory care options already available to our residents.
4. Continue making progress in Alzheimer's and dementia research.
ERS tirelessly supports efforts by partners, like the Alzheimer's Association and the Council on Aging, to raise awareness about the urgent need for more research on dementia and age-related memory loss, to advocate for public funding of that research and to appeal to the community for additional support.
And those efforts continue to bear fruit, with new treatments being developed every day.
Our memory care experts continually comb the literature to learn about innovative memory care options and bring them to the Tristate. MPL, for example, is the only Cincinnati retirement care provider licensed to offer SAIDO Learning.
In the coming year, look for us to continue supporting research that seeks to conclusively identify the causes of Alzheimer's and other dementia disorders, to develop better treatments, and to hopefully find a cure for memory loss.
5. Reaching our goal for the Marjorie P. Lee Capital Campaign.
In 2017, we raised over $3.7 million toward our $4.25 million dollar goal for funding capital improvements at MPL. This year, we're resolved to achieve that goal through ERS's charitable giving program.
What have our kind donors contributions been put toward? Much.
We completed build-outs for our two MPL memory care units — the Morris Apartments and Kirby Household. We constructed beautiful new common spaces and balconies, which overlook the community's Residential Living courtyard.
And, in the next phase of improvements, we'll build state-of-the-art, light-filled and accessible physical and occupational therapy studios. Once finished, they’ll create a perfect atmosphere for comfortable, effective rehabilitation.
Can you help us to reach our goal? Click here to support ERS and the MPL Capital Campaign today.
6. Ending ageism in Cincinnati.
This is a lofty goal, but it's one we believe deeply in.
Our President and CEO, Laura Lamb, has challenged Cincinnati to become the most age-inclusive, dementia-friendly city in the nation. We'll continue cheerleading that effort, and lending our voice to advocate on behalf of all seniors.
Ageism is a blight. With continued pressure, we can turn the tide against it and finally achieve a society in which all individuals are recognized for their contributions, regardless of their age or capabilities.
These are just six of our resolutions for 2018.
There are many more that we’ll be talking about in the year to come. Will we be successful? With your kind help and continued support, yes. Keep watching this blog and follow us on social media (we're on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) for regular updates on our progress.
Happy New Year, Tristate seniors, caregivers and fellow advocates!