Love is in the Air

By Loretta Baxter, RN, Administrator
During February, we celebrate Valentines’ Day, recognizing the various individuals in our lives that we love and cherish—spouses, parents, children and dear friends. It is appropriate then to discuss the importance of relationships and socialization in our lives. Many studies have proven that socialization is important to all of us no matter whether we are young or older.
Lack of social support negatively influences our health and well-being. Having a variety of positive social supports can contribute to psychological and physical wellness. Support from others can be important in reducing stress, increasing physical health and defeating psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.
At St. Monica’s there are a number of ways to increase socialization such as meal time conversations with table mates, daily exercise class and special groups such as reminiscence, bingo, quarterly tea celebrations & dances, singing groups, and the baking class, just to name a few.
Seniors who live in retirement communities have the advantage of living close to many people, making it easier for them to make long-lasting friendships. According to Helpguide, socialization can boost self-worth; seniors can feel a sense of meaning and self-worth by sharing their lives with staff and other community members. ( Make sure to take advantage of all the activities St. Monica’s offers, its’ good for your health!


Thrust on us in our advancing age is the world’s continuous youthful messaging. Author Joyce Rupp in her book, “Prayers to Sophia: Deepening our Relationship with Holy Wisdom” speaks to all of us that support the frail elderly in her poem…
Befriending My Aging
Companion of Life, Guardian of Death, more and more I resemble an old gnarled tree, wrinkled bark, gray boughs, thinning leaves. The ground around my roots is weakening. My limbs bend and no longer stretch very far.
Grant me the ability to not be afraid, even in the face of significant physical change. Be a source of deepening hope during my internal and external adjustment. Keep me trusting in the deepest part of myself where love and vitality are stored.
Teach me about true and everlasting beauty, to compassionate my body in its growing frailty, to love my mind and heart even as my life wanes, to befriend the wrinkles and accept the grayness, to be unthreatened by the depletion of my energy and the waning of a memory that was once keenly alert,
Ancient one, fill my heart with joy in the little gifts of life. Let me find sources of comfort and serenity in the midst of my aches and loss. Be near, ever-vigilant Beloved, as I experience the creaks and groans of my aging process. Show me how to embrace this transition time as my soul ripens for its final journey home

God Bless America…

God Bless America…

was a very popular expression during WWII for Donna Barnes and her family. Donna is pictured here with a WWII War Ration Book Four she came across recently.

As she paged through the book, she pointed out the ration stamps which had to be used for butter, sugar, tires and coffee just to name a few. Cake baking and sweets were really something special when sugar was limited. Most of us take these things for granted as we never had to experience war time rationing. Although, many of our community members at St. Monica’s nodded their heads in agreement, as they too remembered the war time ration books.

Donna has many great memories of her early years on the farm. She grew up on a farm near Wadsworth, just south of the Wisconsin border. During the war years, donkeys were used for farm work as they didn’t require gasoline. Donna and her sister helped their father with the chores. Her older brother went “off to war” and came home wounded… At night the family sat in the family room and listened to the radio while their mother did the mending and needle work.

Donna feels very blessed with her life and believes hard work teaches an appreciation of things. She still likes to celebrate Independence Day with sparklers and a family picnic. This 4th of July, let’s all take a moment to realize how truly blessed we are.


God Bless America Image

Veterans Day

Vets Day Image

As Veterans Day approaches I often think of my father. He was a Marine and a WWII veteran. He married my mother in 1948 and had two babies in two years. Then Dad was called up for the Korean Conflict. He saw it as his duty, one that he could not shirk. My mother felt he should have stayed at home to take care of his young family. For Dad, one did one’s duty, period.  Once the decision was made, and Dad left, my Mother kept written journals about their time apart. They are sweet to read and tells of her thoughts during this time. She wrote of being brave and encouraged her daughters to be good while Daddy was away. We were fortunate, Dad came home and lived a long, good life.

Ours is not a novel story. If you ask, many families will tell of their own journeys when a loved one enlists or was drafted and sent away on missions.

St. Monica’s is blessed with veterans who came home to live full rewarding lives. Some, not all, will share their experiences and memories with us. We have school children who visit and are enthralled by the stories these men and women tell. These folks are a living history that most children only hear about in the classroom. Some great traits that they share with us: Stand on your own two feet, be responsible for your own actions, think before you act, respect God, defend your country and love your family. It takes a brave person not to show loneliness and anxiety. Our residents know these lessons very well. The majority of them sent a beloved family member to war. Sacrifice is not only asked of a soldier, but also of families left behind.

We respect the sacrifice these veterans and their families shouldered to serve our country. It is these men and women that we honor this Veterans Day.

Our Veterans program is November 11th at 10:30, all are welcome to come and participate in this program. Perhaps you can come ahead of time and visit with these remarkable people.