Episode 26: Enjoying Life On Their Terms
Date: December 11th 2020
Hosts: Bryan Reynolds & Kristin Davenport
Guests: Emily Willingham
Episode 26 Transcript
Bryan Reynolds [00:00:04] Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to Episode 26 of the Linkage podcast by Episcopal Retirement Services. This episode is for the week of December 7th, 2020. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Bryan Reynolds vice president of marketing for Episcopal Retirement Services, and I'm here with Kristin Davenport, our Director of Communications and our for ERS and our executive producer. How are you, Kristen?
Kristin Davenport [00:00:30] I'm having a terrific week and have had some nice walks outside, gotten some sunshine. You can be nothing but thankful about that in a December month, that's for sure.
Bryan Reynolds [00:00:40] Yeah, that's right. After a cold week, we've got a pretty nice, nice, sunny and warm week. Well, the Linkage podcast is dedicated to educating our audience about issues regarding aging, informing people about the mission of the ERS and how that comes to life in our everyday interactions with residents, clients, families and staff members. Kristen, you want to tell us about our upcoming episode?
Kristin Davenport [00:01:04] Yeah, I would Bryan. So, listeners, we've got two guests with us today. We've got Emily Wellingham and Emily lives at Dudley Square Patio Homes, part of the Episcopal Church Home in Louisville, Kentucky. And we've got our president and CEO Laura Lamb joining us, giving us the update for the week, as always.
Bryan Reynolds [00:01:25] Well, as always, we've got a great another great show. And with that Kristin, you want to go ahead and introduce your your guest?
Kristin Davenport [00:01:34] Absolutely. Emily and I just met this week, and that's one of the wonderful things about this podcast, is we get to meet some residents that maybe we didn't know before and get connected. We had a wonderful discussion. And I'd like you to now meet Emily Willingham.
Kristin Davenport [00:02:03] Welcome, Emily Willingham to the podcast, we're so happy to have you here with us.
Emily Willingham [00:02:09] Well, I'm very happy to be here to honor. I think this is going to be fun.
Kristin Davenport [00:02:13] Oh, good. Good. Well, our guests are here to listen to the things that you know, you're doing. And and I guess the first question of the day is just how is your day so far?
Emily Willingham [00:02:26] It's been wonderful. I just got home from my pool where I've been doing my exercises, water exercises. And we now, because of the Covid, we used to just be able to go to the pool any time we wanted to or go to a class there at the pool. But now, because of the Covid, we have to reserve a lane and we're the only one in that lane. We don't have to wear a mask. And I don't swim anyway anymore because I have a bad shoulder. But I do my water exercises and I really don't get my head under the water with that. But anyway, I just came up from the pool and then took a shower and just had breakfast and here I am. So that's my morning so far.
Kristin Davenport [00:03:08] That's fantastic. I was just talking to one of my coworkers about his daily swims, which he's not been able to do. And I love that the the pool where you are a member, that you're able to continue and do it in a safe way because that's really important to get that daily exercise in.
Emily Willingham [00:03:29] You know, I really do think that's very important. And when I don't go to the pool, I try to get out, walk a little bit around our oval, but it has really been cool and it's it's free. Of course, the water at the pool is pretty cool, too. But anyway, you work real hard. I work real hard to compensate for that at the pool. But no, I'm not walking around and there isn't much. And the pool is wonderful. And I used to be in a class though there was a lot of camaraderie, but we can't do that anymore, temporarily anyway. We'll be glad when we can get back to that. There will be a lot there are a lot of things that we will be very glad to get back to. I think everybody's in the same boat on that one. But not counting the days until this the vaccine comes in and we can get back to normal maybe someday.
Kristin Davenport [00:04:25] Oh, yes, definitely. Well, until then. So I know you're doing some things over Zoom. Can you tell our listeners what are those activities like?
Emily Willingham [00:04:36] Well, the gym, did you say?
Kristin Davenport [00:04:39] Over Zoom, are you doing some kind, I think you mentioned a book club?
Emily Willingham [00:04:43] Yes, I'm sorry I misunderstood you. Yes, I'm doing several things on Zoom. I'm a member of a book club because Bethenny Frankel, who is the development director here at the Episcopal Church Home, is kind enough to handle the Zoom call. So she sets it up for us. And we've been in this book club, for goodness sakes, probably 30 or 40 years. Wow. I've not been in quite that long, but some people have. It's been an ongoing book club and we meet once a month and today happens to be the day for that. So that will be this afternoon at that time. Zoom. I'm also a member of a group called DEO and it's a sisterhood. And that meeting is now on Zoom. Those meetings once a month are also on Zoom two. And then we have a committee meeting on Zoom tomorrow. We've all gotten together at holidays since we can't all be together now, right, and we do Zoom, I think a lot of families do that and I think that's wonderful so that we can do that. So those are pretty much my Zoom calls.
Kristin Davenport [00:06:01] That's quite an active schedule. That's that's some great engagement that you're able to do. So you mentioned your book club. What are you reading right now? Or maybe what do you recommend to our listeners who might be looking for a new book this winter?
Emily Willingham [00:06:15] Well, the book that we are reviewing today is a marvelous book and I highly recommend it. It's called The Giver of Stars. And wherever it got that name, I don't know. But it is about a girl from England who was raised in England who falls in love in England and her husband is an American. So they come over here to live, they get married, and then they come over here to live and they live in Kentucky.
[00:06:46] And of course, this is a novel. But anyway, and he has you're under the impression that they're going to be living in a big city and Kentucky, and it turns out that they would be living in the wilderness, almost an Appalachian. And so she is he has all kinds of servants and stuff. So he really doesn't need her to do things around the house. So she's bored and she joins a country wilderness type of library to let and then delivers books to people. And there's little cabins and Kentucky and all the things that go on there just it's a fascinating book. But also I have just finished a book called Which one of the best books I've ever read. It is the name of it is The American America's First Daughter. That's America's first daughter. It is all about the life of Thomas Jefferson's daughter, whose mother died when she was young. So she becomes his caretaker at all.
[00:07:58] She lives in the White House. Well, it's not a white the White House. It is the president of the United States House, but not the same one that we have now. She's the mistress. There she is. She does all kinds of fascinating things for the family. And it really turns out to be the life saver of the family. And you also learn a lot about her father, Thomas Jefferson, in this book, too. It's it's a long book, about 500 pages or more, but I highly recommend that. It's a bestseller. New York Times bestseller.
Kristin Davenport [00:08:34] Oh, well, those are some great recommendations for our listeners. I know that this is going to kind of feel like a longer winter, maybe even than normal. And I know people are looking for good books to read. Those are some great recommendations.
Emily Willingham [00:08:50] Well, that's one of the things that has been a lifesaver to me during this period of being home, because I'm all alone. My husband is gone. And he died five years ago. And it really is nobody to talk to. And of course, there are a lot of us in the same boat. That's one of the nice things I like about Dudley Square, is there are a lot of us who are in the same boat and we are under most circumstances, we can go out to dinner together and things like that because we can't do that now anyway. So I've been reading a lot, a lot of good things. That's been a salvation.
[00:09:31] So another thing that I have been doing which. It's kind of an individual thing, I don't believe most people would have this opportunity, but I mentioned that I am a member of the PEO, which is a sisterhood, and our main thrust is to provide scholarships for girls, young women who often wouldn't be able to go to college without a scholarship. And this is a PEO is a sisterhood. International Sisterhood, it has chapters all over the country here and also in Canada, but anyway, so we own a college and it's a small girls college in Missouri. My role in my chapter is to be. In charge of sending trying to get applicants to go to that school.
Kristin Davenport [00:10:29] Wow.
Emily Willingham [00:10:30] And so I have been preparing packets to be sent out to all of the high school counselors in this entire area, athletic and public schools for girls and to introduce them to go to college because they don't really. No, about that college. I mean, we have very few, probably one or two girls from the state of Kentucky who go to that school and it's a wonderful school. So that's my job. So I have I have finally sent those out to all the counselors. It took a lot of detective work to find the names of the counselors and what schools and where the schools are located and all of that. I did not have any help on that at all.
Kristin Davenport [00:11:17] I imagine that's quite an undertaking that that sounds like a big job. So it was good maybe that you had a lot of extra time to work on that. That sounds awesome.
Emily Willingham [00:11:30] Right? But this was a wonderful opportunity of time to do it because nobody else could possibly do it to help me. I mean, it was just a one person thing. So a lot of time and it's done. It's done. Yay!
Kristin Davenport [00:11:46] Yay. And that is a celebration for sure. So you are definitely are staying busy. That's that's wonderful.
Emily Willingham [00:11:53] I wish I were more creative. I mean, I know of people who have really done wonderful things. They've taken up completely new hobbies. I have not done that, but. It's been OK. I mean, I certainly am going to be glad we're all going to be glad when this thing's over. Absolutely. And it looks like there is light coming now from the end at the end of the tunnel, but it's not going to be over quickly. So we still have some time. And that's all I've been reading and working on the of college and now preparing for Christmas.
Kristin Davenport [00:12:30] Yes.
Emily Willingham [00:12:31] That's pretty much what my life has been.
Kristin Davenport [00:12:34] Well, good. Well, I like the the idea that you're spending some of your time helping others. I'm sure that the the young women that you're helping do appreciate that you've invested in them. And that way, that's that's a wonderful way to use your time right now.
Emily Willingham [00:12:51] Of course, as you can imagine, there's an added challenge to it now because the counselors at many schools are closed and except for some of the Catholic schools are still open. And so I could get those counselor names and schools a lot easier, but hopefully the counselors are going to go to their schools once in a while, pick up their mail. And of course, I don't know how in the world they are going to contact their their their students unless school starts pretty soon. It look like that's going to happen? So that's been an added challenge. My mission is not going to be done until that happens. Of course.
Kristin Davenport [00:13:31] Well, that's wonderful. I look forward to hearing an update from you at some point about your program there. It really does sound very enriching, not only for those young people that will get that opportunity, but also for you that you're you're staying active and engaged in that way. That's wonderful.
Emily Willingham [00:13:51] Thank you.
Kristin Davenport [00:13:51] Well, I it's been such a great conversation with you today. Is there anything else that you want to leave our listeners with? We talked a lot about things that we're looking forward to after this is all over. Is there any is there any other activity or or type of thing that you haven't mentioned?
Emily Willingham [00:14:12] I'm just looking forward to being with my friends again and going out for dinner with them and playing bridge with them and just having them over to my home, and that's that's going to be the best part, really. I mean, it's it's amazing that none of my friends so far seem to have gone over the edge, which we seem to do have survived so far. And I think we will. But we hope.
Kristin Davenport [00:14:43] Yes. Yes. Well, Emily, thank you so much for for our time together. And I look forward to, you know, a time and not the too distant future. Hopefully we can see each other there in Louisville and and meet face to face. And I'd love to hear about an update about your project then.
Emily Willingham [00:15:03] Well, thank you. I've certainly enjoyed doing this.
Kristin Davenport [00:15:06] Oh, well, good. That's wonderful. You have a great rest of your day.
Emily Willingham [00:15:10] But all righty. Thank you.
Bryan Reynolds [00:15:16] Kristen, I always enjoy hearing from from new people and what a great conversation with Emily.
Kristin Davenport [00:15:23] She's dedicated to keeping her fitness routine going even in covid, and she's finding a safe way to do it. I love that. I also loved her mentions of her book club that she's doing on Zoom. And also, you know, the other involvement she has, she's giving back to the community by trying to help young women get scholarships to college.
Bryan Reynolds [00:15:46] Well, that that was very interesting. And it just talks to how so many of our residents are able to really enjoy their passions and pursue their their purpose in life as they move into our community. So I really, really enjoyed hearing her, her stories and perspective.
Kristin Davenport [00:16:08] Well, next up, we've got our president and CEO Laura Lamb Lara is going to give us our update on what's happening around ERS. I'm looking forward to her, her conversation with you, Bryan.
Bryan Reynolds [00:16:29] So we're back this week with president and CEO Laura Lamb how are you, Laura?
Laura Lamb [00:16:33] I'm doing well, Bryan. How about you?
Bryan Reynolds [00:16:35] Doing great. Doing great. Well, I thought I'd start off this segment. You're having a new experience, a unique experience this week of having your mother in law and your father in law moving in at Deupree House.
Laura Lamb [00:16:49] Yeah, I like that. A unique experience. I don't know that too many family members have moved people in to a retirement community during a one hundred year pandemic. So, yes, very unique. And this is, as you know and a lot of our listeners know, this isn't my first family member that has lived at one of our communities, but it certainly has been a different experience. Mm hmm. Yeah, the move actually happened yesterday. And they they were it went so well and so smooth. And I just have to applaud the the leadership team at Deupree and everyone from the folks, the community relations staff to the administration, to the nursing staff. And they've just made this move, the maintenance and housekeeping, just as smooth as it could be.
[00:17:47] But moving to folks in their eighties to a retirement community in a pandemic in the winter after living in their house for forty eight years is not a small feat. We did i! We did it! We did it!
Bryan Reynolds [00:18:06] Yeah. So if you don't mind sharing, what were the factors that were kind of driving them to think, rethinking their living arrangements and wanting to move into a senior living community?
Laura Lamb [00:18:19] That's a good question, because I shared with you I mean, this time last year, this was not on the radar. I mean, we've had the the conversations and obviously they knew no what I do for a living and their very um- You know, Clarence did Meals on Wheels delivery. You know, they've been involved in our community. His mother lived him one of our communities. But this was not something that they saw in their future. So candidly, I think it was a combination of covid and being very isolated for safety reasons in their home. They live in a big home and Madera and raised four boys there. And now the house is an old house in Madeira. So it's a two story bedroom and bathroom upstairs, laundry in the basement. It's you know, I'm telling you this, you know this. And yeah. So the the house that the beloved house sometimes becomes the the prison for an older adult and and it did for them. And so that was one issue. They're isolated in their home and they're isolated because I work in health care. My husband works in a high exposure job. One of their one of their sons that live in town is a physician. So he's it in and out of a health care setting. So we've had to really shrink their their network.
[00:19:56] So between the isolation of Covid and my father in law had a couple in the scheme of things, minor health issues this year. But I think what had happened is it really said to my mother in law, who is the primary caregiver and the family, I need more help than I thought. And if this happens because of covid in the Covid world, I need some more support systems than I have right now. So, yeah, it was those were the two primary drivers, I think, for them to rethink about. Well, could they imagine themselves in a retirement community setting?
Bryan Reynolds [00:20:41] Yeah. So so tell me about the process. I know you were very integral in being involved in kind of transitioning them to Deupree House, but I know you sound like you had some help from some third parties that we often partner with as well, with our many of our residents that that move in as well. Can you kind of talk about that that partnership and in that process?
Laura Lamb [00:21:04] Yeah, it was gosh, it was wonderful to be involved in it. So Deupree House has a couple wonderful relations with partners and and they made us aware of moving matters. So they're like a turnkey system so that we could do a lot of the planning in a. And and really took the burden off of Clarence and Margaret of having to pack and that sort of thing, so, yeah, like you said, there's several decades of stuff that they've all got there. Yeah. And we as a family chose to, you know, they're going to sell the house and instead of trying to clean the house out and put the put it on the market, we chose as a family, it made more sense for us to let's let's organize and get the things that you want to take with you. Let's get you settled in Deupree House. And then the family, myself and my husband and my brother in law will get rid of the things that are left and get the house ready for sale. But, you know, putting your house on the market during a Covid situation and having strangers in and out is not something that we felt comfortable with.
Bryan Reynolds [00:22:32] Right.
Laura Lamb [00:22:34] So I think kind of thinking through kind of the process with our sales staff, our community relations staff was so helpful. And this resource that we offer to people that move in Bryan, I wouldn't be standing today because even even with that service, it's it's emotionally it's a process. I mean, you know, my my my daughter and son and spent like every day growing up after school at that house. And, you know, I teased my husband like my kids were mourning their grandparents, leaving the house, I think more than my my husband was.
Bryan Reynolds [00:23:23] Yeah.
Laura Lamb [00:23:24] So it's still emotional and it's still draining to kind of go through forty forty eight years of stuff.
Bryan Reynolds [00:23:32] Yeah, I can imagine that's that's difficult for all the benefits and the great benefit of of you know, as you mentioned, you know, not having people around to support them and maybe feeling a little more safe and secure. There's a lot of emotion to these moves and leaving these homes that have become so important to families.
Laura Lamb [00:23:52] Right.
Bryan Reynolds [00:23:53] So I know you talked about kind of those reasons that drove them, but are there any other kind of pleasant surprises for for Margaret and Clarence?
Laura Lamb [00:24:04] Definitely. Definitely. I tell you, I wish you could have been there yesterday, Clarence. Literally, this is a direct quote. He said, I feel like I'm in a dream. This is so amazing. And, you know, Margaret, Margaret drove the decision. And, you know, as most things in your family, she's the driver. And God loved Clarence. He always says, well, I'm going wherever Margaret goes. I love about their relationship. It's so sweet and tender. And to hear him just be like, so happy is really quite a gift. And some of the unexpected surprises, you know, just, you know, the meal program at Deupree House is incredible. And to have that meals delivered to your door to to have handicapped accessible showers tend to have everything on one level to, you know, the unit that they chose has a washer and dryer in the unit.
[00:25:07] So just think of I just really think of my my mother in law's day last week, any day last week compared to today. I think she's going to have more energy because things are going to take less time for her to do and less physical energy. And I just hope that that translate to her being able to read more and get back to things that she wants to do and allow other people to be in a caregiver role and let her move back into that spouse role. Right. Isn't that what we want for our residents, you know? Well, it does take care of them so that they can just live and be and thrive.
Bryan Reynolds [00:26:01] Yeah, I think that's one of the things actually our marketing team's been talking a lot about us, is that being our residents, enjoying their sense of purpose or their passions, and that that would be my hope for your in-laws as well.
Laura Lamb [00:26:17] Well, I there on the right path. I called her this morning, obviously, and she said that they both slept like babies. So that was a good sign, right.
Bryan Reynolds [00:26:28] Well, and I think you and I were talking about two maybe kind of an immediate benefit as well. We talked about the vaccine last time and our residents will have access to that vaccine or people that are moving in here earlier in the year will have access to that.
Laura Lamb [00:26:46] Yes. She I remember when that when she put one and one together. Yeah. And I remember the look on her face. And she was funny. She told me to tell you, you should put that in an app. That's a great idea. Definitely a perk, you know, of a community. And as we all know, the nursing homes and kongregate living housing for seniors are in the very first phase of the vaccine distribution. So, yeah, they'll have they'll have access to it. And candidly, they wouldn't if there were living in their home in Madeira. So that is a great benefit.
Bryan Reynolds [00:27:24] Right. Right, right. Well, that's exciting. And I'm so happy for for you and your family and Margaret and Clarence and. Well, we'll have to check back in to see how they've they've adjusted.
Laura Lamb [00:27:41] Yeah! That woud be nice. Thanks for asking.
Bryan Reynolds [00:27:42] Sure. Well, the other thing I thought I'd talk about real quickly here at the end is, you know, we are here at the end of the year and our our foundation, our ERS Foundation, the folks in our fund development department are gearing up for the year end appeals. And I thought maybe we could do a little bit of plug for them. And I guess my question for you would be, as people consider their their year end gifts. Why is the ERS such a great place for people to, you know, maybe so-called invest their money at the end of the year?
Laura Lamb [00:28:23] Oh, well well, first, I have to start by saying, well, we thank all of our generous donors that help answer the call and have risen to the occasion this year. It has been extremely difficult. So, you know, we are a nonprofit organization and as such, we do rely on the generous support of our donors. And, you know, we that's that's normal every year time. And you add the difficulties that we have had this year being in a pandemic. Our staff, a common thing I hear our staff say is they've never worked harder in their lives. And I know personally that that that is very true. And so our our end of the year appeal is really to to make sure that we can continue offering the support that we do to our residents and our staff at each and every day. So I would just ask our our listeners and our previous donors and potentially maybe new donors to to consider being a part of our our mission and our good work.
[00:29:42] You know, we like I said, we we strive to as a nonprofit to do not just what's required, but, you know, more and and make sure that we're providing needed services. We provide care to people regardless of their their ability to pay. And that is a special mission. So I would just ask people to think about if they could include ERS in their charitable giving this year. We would really appreciate it. I promise you, we will put your dollars to good use. It will go to serving our mission, which is to enrich the lives of over older adults and an innovative personal are person centered and spiritually based way. So.
Bryan Reynolds [00:30:36] Well, well, well said. And I know that the people in our fund development group have also put out a great new guide on our ERS Foundation site. And I wonder if you could kind of pitch that the post a little bit of information on on making some some tips here at the end of the year?
Laura Lamb [00:30:57] Yeah, I mean, giving is obviously a very personal decision and there's many ways to accomplish the same thing. And so I applaud the fund development team. They know that intimately because they work with our donors and they wanted to give a resource to people chart to our to the public, to the community, to our donors. So if you go to our foundation website, there's a top. Ten strategies for charitable giving that, you know, I really like it because it it it speaks to all different ways to to do things, given your particular circumstances, it might work better for you. So I encourage people to go to that site and visit and look at that resource, because I think you'll be like me and you'll learn a few things and maybe maybe learn something that you didn't know you could you could do so.
Bryan Reynolds [00:31:56] Absolutely. Yeah. And people go to our Foundation website, which is ERS Foundation dog. They'll be able to find that that tipsheet on the home page. So thanks so much, Laura, and thanks for joining us again this week. And we'll look forward to catching up one more time here before the year's out for sure.
Laura Lamb [00:32:25] Sure. That would be great. Thank you for asking.
Kristin Davenport [00:32:25] It was great to hear Laura speaking about her own family becoming part of the ERS family as residents and also our year end appeal.
Bryan Reynolds [00:32:35] Yeah, yeah. Laura does such a good job of describing the process, you know, that they reached to to move in to Deupree House and and then the process of moving into actually moving in. And you can hear how excited her mother in law and father in law are about joining the community and all of the benefits that they'll get out of it as they get settled. So really happy for them.
Kristin Davenport [00:33:05] Yes. Deupree House is a beautiful place to live, and I'm sure many of our listeners will be able to relate to everything that goes into that decision about, you know, what's best for your retirement senior living.
Bryan Reynolds [00:33:18] Absolutely. Very good point.
[00:33:21] Well, that's it for this latest episode of the Linkage podcast by Episcopal Retirement Services. For more information about us, you can visit our website at Episcopalretirement.com. We have a lot of great content, including our Linkage online blog resources to learn more about aging and the services we offer and much, much more. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to see what's going on within the ERS and our communities. If you have any questions or feedback from us, we love hearing from our listeners. Please email us at email@example.com. The Linkage podcast is produced by Kristin Davenport myself, Bryan Reynolds. Feoshia Davis is our associate producer and our technical director is Michelle Hoehn. I'd like to thank our guests today, Emily Willingham, and a special thank you as always, to our president and CEO Laura Lamb for always giving her updates about the great things going on within the IRS on behalf of myself, Bryan Reynolds and Kristin Davenport, thank you so much for joining us. And we'll look forward to our podcast next week. Thanks so much, Kristen.
Kristin Davenport [00:34:27] You bet. Bryan. Take care. We'll talk soon.