Karin Bisbee

Project Envision creating a buzz

Karin Bisbee

Artist’s rendering of Village Square, slated to open in early 2017

Over the past few weeks, we’ve enjoyed some local media coverage regarding Project Envision, a mission-driven strategic plan that seeks to meet the changing needs of future generations of adults aged 55 and better. You may have seen articles in the Sentinel, The Patriot News, The Dillsburg Banner or via the Central Penn Business Journal. The centerpiece of Project Envision’s first phase is Village Square, an innovative town village concept featuring 80 spacious apartment homes with underground parking and numerous lifestyle amenities including a wellness and enrichment center, spa, and bistro.  Village Square will be the newest addition to Messiah Lifeways at Messiah Village in Upper Allen Township. Since announcing this project to Messiah Lifeways team members and stakeholders in early May, more than 160 people have expressed serious interest in moving to the Village Square. They’ve signed up to join the Priority Club which means they’ll have first access to floor plans when they are available next year. Big projects like this create a lot of excitement as we think and plan and dream for the future! It’s always great to share our 118-year story of serving older adults and families and giving people a glimpse of our ministry in action.  While we are proud of our amazing staff, beautiful Messiah Village campus, and excellent community support programs, it’s always nice to hear first-hand accounts of what our neighbors and friends think. In late July, we hosted neighbors who live near the Messiah Village campus to a special presentation so they could hear advance news about the upcoming expansion. As the meeting ended, a gentleman spoke out and shared that he and his wife are neighbors and volunteers. They’ve always appreciated living near Messiah Village and they enjoy giving their time to serve as volunteers. He went on to share a lot of positive reflections. The media coverage has been appreciated but moments like that – they are at the heart of our mission. It’s a privilege to serve persons aged 55 and better – to serve their families, to serve our neighbors and friends.  If you’d like to learn more about Village Square, visit  messiahvillage.org/VillageSquare.

To check out Roger Quigley’s article on pennlive.com, click [here]

Matt Gallardo

Non-profit Nursing Homes Offer Distinct Advantages

Matt Gallardo

Main EntranceThose that have gone through the process of finding a nursing home for a loved one can tell you how much of a challenge it can sometimes be. Making such an important decision for an ailing parent or loved one can be difficult and overwhelming. Knowing the right questions to ask and the right characteristics to look for are vital to making a better and more informed choice. You can go online (medicare.gov as one example) and print a list that consists of questions like “what’s the staffing ratio?”, “do you do background checks on staff?”, or does it smell and look clean? But one question to ask that you may not always see on these lists is whether it is a non-profit or a for-profit facility. Being aware of the ownership status can be a very good starting point.

A number of national senior and health care advocacy groups like Leading Age, Physicians for a National Health Program and the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc have determined through extensive research that the type of nursing home ownership and sponsorship can affect the quality of care that facilities provide to their residents. It can even affect the rate of hospitalization and the potential discharge to home percentage.

Much of the statistical research consistently determined that non-profit nursing homes offered specific advantages, such as:

>fewer deficiencies in total
>fewer deficiencies causing harm or jeopardy to a resident
>fewer residents taking antipsychotic medications
>lower prevalence of restraints
>lower prevalence of pressure ulcers (bed sores)
>lower hospitalization rates
>higher staffing number of registered nurses
>higher staffing ratios overall
>higher ranking on the Center for Medicare/Medicaid (CMS) Five-Star rating system
>higher discharge to home rates

I’m not suggesting that 100% of the time a non-profit nursing home is always a better choice; however, it’s hard to argue with these numerous sources and research supporting the facts. Non-profit retirement communities and nursing homes like Messiah Village are not looking to create profit for shareholders or the executives running the company. If positive revenue exceeds operational costs, non-profits typically put that money back into the facility by making improvements to the physical plant, focusing on staff retention and increasing wages, and by looking for ways to improve policy and procedure to create a better overall living experience for residents.

Ultimately deciding on a nursing home for a parent or spouse needs to be a well-planned collaborative decision, involving the perspective resident and their loved ones and/or their responsible persons. Taking suggestions from the doctor, a social worker or someone who’s gone through it is fine. However, there are more precise ways to evaluate the choice. In Pennsylvania, go to the Department of Health website to obtain a full list of nursing homes county-by-county, which also includes detail about profit vs. non-profit status, licensed number of beds, plus survey results that lists specific deficiencies and the subsequent plan of correction. Also call to schedule visits and tour several nursing facilities. And, if possible, do this ahead of time, not at the last-minute or during the time of crisis.

For more information or questions about finding the right nursing home for you or a loved one, please contact the Messiah Lifeways Coaching office at 717-591-7225 or email coach@messiahlifeways.org.

Resources cited:

“Non-profit nursing homes provide better care, major study finds” from www.PHNP.org

“Non-Profit vs. For-Profit Nursing Homes: Is there a Difference in Care?” from www.medicareadvocay.org

“5 Ways Not-for-Profit Nursing Homes are Different” by Geralyn Magan at www.LeadingAge.org

“For-Profit Nursing Homes Have Low Staffing and Poor Quality of Care” by Grace Rattue at www.medicalnewstoday.com


Initially Published- 06/20/2013


Matt Gallardo

Changing the Conversation About Aging

Matt Gallardo

“Between 1900 and 2000, average life expectancy increased by nearly 30 years in the United States and most other developed countries of the world, and the developing world is catching up quickly. For the first time in history, most people now being born can expect to live seven, eight, nine, or more decades. This achievement changes not only the trajectory of individual lives but also the shape of societies: Adults 60 and older are now the fastest-growing segment of our population…”

“Many older-adult patients wanted to make a difference in the world but, finding no role for themselves, were treated as socially useless. Having created a new stage of life, the next step is to make it meaningful.”- Linda P. Fried

Making aging positive may sound like a simple task, but finding how each individual can enhance their next 25 to 30 years may not be so simple. Many older adults have a desire to make a difference in the world, which involves having a meaning or purpose to life. The recent article, Making Aging Positive from The Atlantic, states what research concluded, that an individual’s physical and mental well-being are enhanced if empowered to make personal decisions. A personal choice of many older adults is to contribute to the next generation and “leaving the world better than you found it.” Unfortunately, many years of experience and knowledge is overlooked because society as a whole does not value individuals who have grey hair and wrinkles.

senior-collegeMaking Aging Positive gives examples of ways to “change the lens” on how we view aging. Older adults want to feel needed and have a desire to “contribute in a meaningful way.” Research shows that older adults are great volunteers. Many studies have found that these volunteers are living longer because of improved physical, mental and social health.

There are many volunteer programs and models of senior service. When older adults volunteer and/or teach the next generation, its value becomes twofold. While helping or doing for others, they can simultaneously improve their own physical, mental, and social well-being. All generations benefit from volunteering and serving one another, and our economy benefits as well.

The shift in perspective, outlook, and influence for older adults is imperative and inevitable. Statistically and philosophically being an older adult now is unlike it ever has been in human history. It’s not only the path our society is taking, but it’s the essence of creating more optimism and opportunity as we age. Messiah Lifeways continue to evolve and innovate the way that we view aging. Programs like Pathways Institute for Lifelong Learning, Coaching, Connections, Wellness and Volunteering typify Messiah Lifeways’ committment to making aging positive. We look to “change the conversation” just as Linda Fried challenges readers to make growing older a more positive and enriching time of life.

If you would like to read the entire article, Making Aging Positive, please follow the link to this story.

by: Cathy Poiesz, Messiah Lifeways Coaching Intern

and Matthew Gallardo, Director of Community Engagement & Coaching at Messiah Lifeways


Linda P. Fried is the dean and the DeLamar Professor at the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health

Source: Fried, L.P. (2014, June 1). Making Aging Positive, The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group.

Matt Gallardo

Filing for Social Security? Do Your Homework

Matt Gallardo

As we age, we realize it’s increasingly important to get familiar with our financial future long before we actually retire. This includes cultivating our future income streams like pensions, annuities, interest, IRAs, and let’s not forget about Social Security. Further down the line, when you’re on the cusp of retirement, it is even more important to thoroughly research, comprehend, and maximize your fixed retirement income. With inflation, the ballooning of healthcare costs, and the fact that we are all living longer, we’ll need to be smarter and savvier to get the most out of our retirement benefits so as not to outlive them.

Looking ahead
imagesCA1ZQ1T4At age 40, I have not thought much about Social Security. My focus has been primarily on annuities, IRAs and investment options. Truthfully, at this point in my life, my only real thoughts about Social Security were, “what shape will it be in or will it even exist when I retire?” However, earlier this week, I hosted a Messiah Lifeways Coaching workshop entitled Social Security: Your Questions Answered. I was happy to have Jamie Mladenoff, a financial advisor from Edward Jones®, share his insight and advice with attendees at or near retirement. Jamie relayed the statement, “Social Security will likely be the foundation of your retirement income, and before you retire it’s important to understand your options and the effect your decisions have on your retirement.” He also cited www.ssa.gov [Income of the Aged Chart book 2008] which states, “on average about 37% of our retirement income is through Social Security benefits.” Therefore, it serves as a major chunk of retirement income and supports the necessity to maximize that monthly payout.

Looking at the numbers
The workshop was very informative. First, there are a number of factors that can affect your benefit. Many are out of our control after the fact, such as, when you were born , the amount of time you worked and your “peak 35 years of earnings” adjusted for inflation; all of which help calculate your benefit. However, one factor you can control is when you choose to start receiving benefits. Most people know that if you take your benefits early at age 62 you will only receive ≈75% of your full benefit indefinitely. Benefits do incrementally increase each year between 62 and 65, however they still never reach the full benefit you’re entitled to when you file early. So for example, if you wait to draw benefits when you’re 64, it would be ≈88% of the benefit versus 100% if you wait till 66 years old, which is normally considered full retirement age (FRA). That 12% difference over 10 or 20 years could be a huge swing in your financial comfort zone. On the flip side, if you delay receiving benefits beyond age 66, the monthly payout increases by ≈8% every year until age 70. Furthermore, there is no reason to delay filing after age 70, because the max benefit of an additional ≈32% caps at that point. It’s also important to note that filing early or late also affects spousal benefits.

Many people begin taking benefits before age 66. However, as the example shows above, there’s no denying that the difference of just a few years in filing can have a substantial impact on your benefits as well as the surviving spouse. My initial reaction to this would be to delay as long as I can. But that is easy for me to say at this time in my life. Everyone’s circumstances and outlook is different.

Jamie added that you need to consider the following when deciding on when to take your benefit: first, guesstimating your life expectancy, deciding to maintain gainful employment at normal retirement age, determining how much income you need on a monthly basis, and lastly, how your spouse will be impacted by the survivor benefit.

In conclusion, I feel most people that need to, do have a “basic grasp” on Social Security, but there are a lot more details and intricacies that require a deeper understanding. As the Social Security website states regarding retirement, “there is no one “best age”, and ultimately, it is your choice.” So take the time to learn more about it, talk it over with your spouse, or seek the guidance of a financial advisor, or visit www.ssa.gov for additional information and advice.

Karin Bisbee

Another Fourth of July

Karin Bisbee

Today’s holiday edition blog is courtesy of resident writer Esther Snyder.

Another Fourth of July

In our ever changing world and culture, I am hopeful that some traditions will not be lost.   Traditions like having your kids sitting on the curbing in front of Pomeroys waving their flags

This special flag photo is from Fall Festival 2006 – we appreciate our local fire companies!

as the parade passes by.  Or having Grandpa’s annual  letter about the value of freedom, sharing thoughts about how costly freedom has been.

Grandpa was a pacifist but no grandparent could have surpassed messages to his children and grandchildren about how essential good citizenship was, in fact, demanded of all of us.  Google says that citizenship is the qualities that a person is expected to have as a responsible member of a community.

I enjoy ceremony and ceremonial events.  Few ceremonial events come without some tradition behind them.  Even burial at Arlington National Cemetery has expectations.  I am always energized by the sound of “Pomp and Circumstance ” because it traditionally means students are realizing the value of their efforts of study and serious preparation.

And how about those colorful and quirky hats at the Kentucky Derby?  That’s a fun tradition we all enjoy.

Whatever your cherished tradition, I’m sure you want to preserve it.  So it is with July 4.   The fireworks, the music in the crowded parks, grilling, family times, and good food.   And so we give thanks for another Independence Day to those who make America the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Guest Post Messiah Lifeways

My Adventures at Messiah Lifeways

Guest Post Messiah Lifeways

Today’s guest post comes from Messiah Lifeways Coaching intern Cathy Poiesz. Please enjoy these thoughts from Cathy.

Cathy PoieszHello- my name is Cathy Poiesz, and I am a Coaching Intern this summer working with Matthew Gallardo in the Welcome Center. I am a senior psychology major with a gerontology minor at Messiah College. I am also a full-time employee at Messiah College, working as the Associate Director of Student Financial Services. My passion is working with and serving people while learning new things.

In my current role as a Coaching Intern, I am learning about the variety of residential living options, enrichment opportunities, and community support services at Messiah Lifeways. On Saturday mornings I help to lead the Current Events Discussion group in the Galleria at 10:30 am. The best part of Saturday mornings is meeting the residents, getting to know them, and learning from their life experiences and vast knowledge. I invite you to bring a friend on Saturday morning to the Galleria at 10:30 am and join our current events discussion.

The field of gerontology has been a growing interest of mine since my parents’ hectic lifestyle began to change about ten years ago. I observed first-hand all the physical and mental changes that were taking place, along with struggling through family dynamics. This personal experience inspired me to delve into psychology with an emphasis on gerontology. Through my studies at Messiah College I have gained a better understanding of the physical, social, and emotional changes which embody gerontology and the various needs of the large Baby Boom population. I hope to work with adults and their families to understand those changes and counsel them through the aging process. Working as the Coaching Intern has given me a glimpse of the vibrant lifestyle of adults and their unique desire to pass on to the next generation. My desire would be to work and serve side-by-side with this fascinating group of adults, while continually learning from their vast experiences.

Please stop by the Coaching Office in the Welcome Center to say hello, or email me at cpoiesz@messiahlifeways.org.

Matt Gallardo

Spring Cleaning, A Senior Center & More

Matt Gallardo

This past winter really wore on me, more so than I can remember in recent years. As we dealt with lots of snow and particularly cold temperatures, I promised myself that when spring and summer were finally here, I would savor the opportunity to be outside, not complain about the heat, and not to dread doing yard work.  So when we discussed the idea of a spring cleaning event at Mechanicsburg Place: A Senior Center & More, I was completely on board.

Throughout the year Messiah Lifeways team members have a number of different opportunities to volunteer their time in different departments and areas both on and off the Messiah Village campus. Through our ongoing relationship and sponsorship of Mechanicsburg Place over the last two years, many team members have volunteered their time particularly to help serve meals, especially during the holidays. However, back on Friday, May 23 over two dozen Messiah Lifeways staffers and several Mechanicsburg Place members worked outside for several hours on a beautiful spring afternoon. We did a little “spring cleaning” to spruce up and beautify the exterior of the building.

We had a great time getting our hands dirty by pulling weeds, planting a bunch of posies donated by Stauffer’s of Kissel Hill- Mechanicsburg, spreading several yards of mulch, trimming bushes, edging grass on sidewalks, sweeping the parking lot, cleaning the barbecue grill and organizing the supply shed.

Mechanicsburg Place members in attendance were very appreciative and the staff members who participated were happy to help and pleased to visit a little piece of Messiah Lifeways in the heart of Mechanicsburg.

Below are pictures from our fun-filled day!

Mechanicsburg Place: A Senior Center & More is located on 97 W. Portland St. in downtown Mechanicsburg. For more information or to schedule a visit, please call 717-697-5947 or go online to www.messiahlifeways.org/enrichment-opportunities/mechanicsburg-place/

Karin Bisbee

Celebrating Nurses, Past and Present

Karin Bisbee

Messiah Village is home to many retired nurses and medical professionals. I recently chatted with two retired nurses, Eva Martin and Winnie Worman, to hear their thoughts about this special vocation.

As a female student in the 1940’s, Winnie Worman recalls that nursing education was one of the few options available to women. She always enjoyed science and math and was fortunate to be able to pursue liberal arts for a baccalaureate degree before pursuing her nursing studies.  Her favorite nursing job?  “Serving in a mission hospital as my husband’s first assistant in the operating room”!  Her second love is mentoring nursing students in the United States.

Eva Martin

What has changed most about the profession? “UNIFORMS!” While today’s nurses might have more variety in their wardrobe, far beyond the starched white hats of the past, Winnie is quick to add that “compassion and personal integrity will never go out of style.”

Winnie sums up her career as a nurse, educator and administrator with this thought: “My career as a nurse has involved a variety of opportunities for service far beyond what I could have imagined!”

Winnie’s dear friend and fellow nurse, Eva Martin, also shared some reflections on her time as a nurse. Growing up, Eva recalls that she always wanted to be a nurse. “ I am not sure why, but I experienced my mother’s nurturing care and saw demonstrations of her care to others.  She was not a trained nurse, but had aspired to become a nurse if she would have had the opportunity. As a girl, I enjoyed playing nurse to my dolls and pets, but I also enjoyed playing the part of a teacher.” Eva agrees that one major change in nursing today is the lack of visual identification.  “Our uniform was our pride and joy.” Eva goes on to share that she greatly admires the women and men who give daily to meet the ever-increasing needs of patients. She also appreciates her own experiences in the Wagner Transitional Neighborhood when she received great care. “Kudos to them!”

Eva sums up her nursing career by sharing this: “My nursing career was a rewarding experience, living many places and meeting many people in various settings sharing God’s love for all of us.”


Eva Martin is a retired registered nurse, missionary, educator and Messiah Village resident. She is a former member of the Messiah Lifeways Board of Directors.  Winnie Worman is also a retired registered nurse, missionary, educator, administrator and Messiah Village resident; she is a current Messiah Lifeways board member.

Matt Gallardo

It Takes a Village

Matt Gallardo

Today’s guest post comes from Karin Bisbee, Director of Gift Development & Communications for Messiah Lifeways

Do you have a favorite spot on campus? The Rooftop Library? The dock at the pond? Or maybe you like to sip a cappuccino in Bailey Street café as you watch the world go by. Well, you’ll soon have more special spots to visit. We are pleased to introduce the construction of Village Square – a new building being designed to resemble a quaint town village (rendering below). Village Square will feature a blend of lively common spaces and 80 beautifully appointed private apartments with underground parking. It will include a spacious wellness and enrichment center, spa, bistro, and more.pg 6 and 7 rendering

No one enjoys the dust and dirt of construction, but this expansion will infuse our campus with new energy and new neighbors! Along with Village Square, this first phase of our strategic plan, known as Project Envision, also calls for 26 large apartments in Enhanced Living two nursing neighborhoods, each serving 16 residents. With this addition, Messiah Village will be able to offer 64 private rooms – a sought-after amenity. Groundbreaking is slated for as early as Fall 2015 with completion projected for late 2016.

If you would like to learn more about Village Square, you can attend one of the following information sessions:

  • May 8th at 1pm at the Messiah Village Chapel
  • Or May 8th  at 4pm at the Messiah Village Chapel


For more information or if you’d like to register for a session, please call 717.591.7224.

As we reflect on our 118-year history, a theme emerges – change! In 1904, the Board of Managers approved an addition to the building at 1175 Bailey Street to serve more “inmates.” By the early 1930’s, the Board of Managers sought a new, larger location. By September 1936, a brand-new Messiah Rescue & Benevolent Home was built on Paxton Street in Harrisburg.karin article2

As we embark on another large expansion effort, your prayers are most appreciated. It truly takes a village to help our Village feel like home, sweet home.

Share your favorite campus photos and memories in the comments! We love to hear your stories – and you might reveal some hidden campus hot spots that we need to visit!

Matt Gallardo

Think Spring

Matt Gallardo

Esther and her great grandsonToday’s guest post comes from Messiah Village resident Esther Snyder. We really enjoy her occasional contributions to the Lifeways blog. Please enjoy these thoughts from Esther.

The first day of Spring is long gone. It remains cold, windy and rainy. The Administrator of Residential Living has begun to close her newsletter messages to us with “Think Spring.” There are residents so eager for Spring they have decided to dress as though it were here. All this helps but does not quite do what a good sunny, warm Spring day does.

But there are signs that encourage us to believe Spring is just around the corner:

-Fuzzy Pussy Willows

-Colorful yellow winter aconites have already come and gone

-Crocuses have peeked their lovely faces out from under some snow

-Even the grass is taking on a tinge of green

-Daffodils and pansies can be found here and there


Our Village gardeners have planted early lettuce, onions and peas into the soft soil. The water table is in fine shape, and the harvesting should be great. That is if the soil gets dry enough to be cultivating in it. Many of these gardeners check daily the progress of their produce. Even the sweet gum tree next to my patio has buds on its branches. Then there is the promise of Easter. We are all claiming that the warmth of the season will be here to stay after Easter is here.

Sounds of the season can be heard. In fact, yesterday I heard an unusual rendition of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. Then there is the Easter Parade. I’m sure parents are getting those kids in fashion’s best finery. There are eggs to paint, hide and hunt. Certainly some happy kids will fall heir to a real live bunny or chick.

In these circumstances it is easy to think Spring. And Easter always reminds us of new life, hope and most of all eternal life. That is good news for those of us 55 and better.


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