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WelTracs: Making Wellness a Priority

Shantel Phipps stays busy on Meth-Wick’s campus. As a Successful Aging Coordinator, she personally developed and now implements the health and wellness program WelTracs.

Once a new resident is accepted into independent living at Meth-Wick, the WelTracs journey begins. They fill out a resource analysis form as part of their admission and then participate in an assessment with Shantel.

“At Meth-Wick, we want our residents to live their best lives,” says Shantel. “WelTracs allows us to get to know residents right as they join our community. That way we can help them navigate all the resources available to them in their new home.”

The main purpose of WelTracs is to build a successful aging plan for each resident living independently at Meth-Wick. Shantel helps residents build their plans by discussing their wellness goals.

Meth-Wick is filled with wellness resources. Shantel helps residents sort through the classes, gym equipment, and outings to determine what aspects best support your plan. Rather than bouncing between classes and events, she matches programs with each resident’s needs and interests. This method supports a better range, quality and depth of our wellness services.

The program also serves an additional purpose for our staff. It allows us to personalize our wellness and recreation programming for our current residents by providing a database of their interests. We are able to make informed decisions about the classes we offer, the speakers we bring in, and the events we host.

WelTracs started three years ago and currently has 100% participation. Each year, Shantel meets with residents to review and update their goals. She makes clear that WelTracs doesn’t require residents to meet their goals, it simply provides them the resources to do so.

At Meth-Wick, wellness doesn’t just mean physical wellbeing. It’s a whole person wellness model, which emphasizes six dimensions: spiritual, physical, vocational, emotional, intellectual and social wellness. Many residents make traditional goals for physical wellness, like attending fitness classes and using the campus walking trail. But they also set goals for building strong relationships with their grandchildren, joining a book club, or staying committed to their volunteering.

You’ve got a plan for how to spend this chapter of your life and Meth-Wick has the right resources to keep you well. Learn more about what WelTracs can do for you by contacting our Successful Aging Coordinator Shantel Phipps today.

What is assisted living?

Maybe you’ve noticed you need a little help around the house. Maybe you’re having a hard time remembering when to take your medication. Maybe your kids are nervous about you spending a lot of time alone at home. No matter the reason, assisted living is a great solution for older adults who need a little extra help or companionship in their routine.

At Meth-Wick Community, residents can choose from a wide range of care options. Some people live completely independently in single family homes, while others utilize 24-hour nursing care. For residents who find themselves somewhere in the middle, consider the benefits of our assisted living options: Arbor Place, Custom Care and Home & Health Services.

Arbor Place is an assisted-living facility for those with mild to moderate cognitive losses related to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Since opening its doors in 1997, Arbor Place has focused solely on caring for residents with memory care needs. It’s designed and furnished to feel like a traditional family-style home while also providing a safe and secure living environment.

We provide small groups of people with a quiet, family-style cottage where they feel safe and are encouraged to take part in wellness and recreation programs that promote quality of life. According to recent research, this is a standard of care that provides the greatest benefit to people with cognitive losses.

Each cottage has eight private rooms outfitted with modern amenities. In order to make every resident feel at home, we ask that they decorate their space with furnishings from home like their bed, easy chair, dresser, wall decorations, lamps, TV, etc.

This certified facility is monitored and supervised by our Director of Long Term Support and Services (LTSS) and an Arbor Place nurse. Specially trained employees, called Caregivers, staff each cottage 24 hours every day to allow for a low caregiver-to-resident ratio. Arbor Place Caregivers receive specialized dementia care training. Overnight security staff and a campus nurse are available seven days a week, providing residents and their families with peace of mind.

Custom Care is
a selection of health care
services provided on the
fourth floor of The Manor, 
a campus space certified for
assisted living. It is offered
to residents who can no longer live independently yet are not in need of the 24-hour nursing care, which is provided at The Woodlands. Custom Care services include:

  • Medication assistance
  • Bathing assistance
  • Grooming assistance
  • Dressing assistance
  • Morning and bedtime assistance
  • Personal laundry and bedding
  • Mail and newspaper delivery to apartment

Aside from the high-quality care, a variety of other conveniences at The Manor make life enjoyable and worry-free for residents. Laundry and housekeeping is done weekly by the Meth-Wick staff. Residents can take courtesy rides in a chauffeur-driven car, workout on a campus bicycle or in a water exercise class, and relax in the library and reading room.

Home & Health Services provide other assistance options for individuals who need some help with basic tasks but want to stay independent in their homes. It’s our way to deliver the high-quality, personalized services offered at Meth-Wick to older adults throughout the Cedar Rapids community. Our home health experts offer personal care assistance, companionship, transportation, and medication assistance. Home & Health Services are here to give older adults the type of support they need to keep them in their homes longer.

At Meth-Wick, we do everything we can to allow our residents and clients to live their best lives. If you are interested in learning more about assisted living, give us a call at (319) 365-9171.

Generous Donations Bring Campus To Life

When you step on Meth-Wick’s campus for the first time, you start to notice all the little details that make it unique. Take a walk by the koi pond and you’ll see dedicated benches from spouses and loved ones. Walk through The Woodlands and its warm water therapy pools and you’ll see names of generous businesses and family endowments lining the walls. Visit a common area in one of the residences and you’ll see a benefactor’s name on the door.

Meth-Wick fills an important role in our community by building a positive and healthy environment for older adults. It’s a mission that has moved thousands of residents and community members to donate to the cause.

  • Resident Connie Proffitt has spent her life giving. Giving her homemade prayer shawls to those in need of a little love. Giving English lessons to adults learning to read. Giving care to her late husband when he fell ill. But most recently, she’s begun giving a memorial donation to Meth-Wick’s endowment fund every time a resident passes away. Connie’s gift pays respect to those who’ve passed by giving compassion to those still with us.
  • Carolyn Lindsay’s mother, Lillian Neff, lived at Meth-Wick for ten years until her passing in 2016. Lillian enjoyed her time at Meth-Wick and she especially cherished the staff who cared for her. To honor her mother’s memory, Carolyn contributed a Ninja Coffee Bar to the hardworking men and women who care for residents at The Woodlands, so they can continue to brighten the days of residents like Lillian.
  • Arbor Place, which provides assisted living for residents with memory needs, was in need of an upgrade. Meth-Wick staff was working to secure funding to replace the carpet, furniture and windows so the building would feel more like home. The relative of a former Arbor Place resident got wind of the project and made an anonymous $50,000 donation to make it a reality. The donor’s relative was well cared for at Arbor Place and their donation will ensure current and future residents will find comfort there as well.

Meth-Wick is made great by the people who love it. The community here is a product of generosity. Sometimes that generosity manifests itself as a tree that shades a pair of old friends passing under its branches. Other times it manifests itself as a new building where grandparents will one day invite their grandchildren over to play checkers.

Gifts large and small bring our campus to life. During October’s Leave A Legacy Month, we hope Connie, Carolyn, and countless others like them inspire you to share your values with the Meth-Wick Community.

Please consult your financial professional for to determine the gift best suited to your financial needs. If you have any questions, please contact Teresa Dusil at (319) 297-8603 or

Calculating the Cost of Senior Independent Living

Many seniors who own their home (and are therefore free of mortgage payments) believe their cost of living is lower than it would be at a senior living community. However, when you do the math and make an item-by-item comparison, the expenses are often nearly the same and in some cases, the cost of living at a senior community is even a little less.

In “Be Your Own Hero: Senior Living Decisions Simplified,” a chapter is devoted to calculating the real cost of senior living. You’ll need to itemize your monthly and annual expenses to get a true picture of what it costs to live in your home.

Expenses to consider:

  • Appliances (repair & maintenance)
  • Cable, internet, phone
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Entertainment/Dining Out
  • Garbage collection
  • Groceries
  • Health club fees
  • Home renovation (painting, carpeting)
  • Home repairs (roof, gutters)
  • Housekeeping service
  • Insurance (health, life, home)
  • Lawn care
  • Medical (prescription & nonprescription drugs)
  • Mortgage or rent
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities (electricity, water, sewer)
  • (clothing, household supplies)

While working through the above will help you put dollars to concrete expenses, the book’s author, Catherine Owens, points out the importance of weighing the intangible costs as well. “The cost of remaining in your home is more than just dollars,” Owens writes. Life should not be about “getting by” and surviving; it should be about day-to-day contentment and well being. This means you need an environment, be it your single family home or your home at a senior living community, which can support and address your mental, emotional and physical needs. All of these are important to maintaining health.

A Life Plan Community like Meth-Wick provides easily accessible, ongoing support for these needs. A broad range of planned programs help residents exercise both body and mind while also interacting with others, which is another important factor in healthy senior living.

While it is possible for an individual’s needs to be met in their home, it takes effort. For instance, it can be difficult to locate senior-focused exercise classes and to make sure there is social interaction with friends or relatives several times a week. Older adults who remain in their home, especially those living alone, often do not have their needs fulfilled.

Consider the following questions as you assess your cost of living. These are the intangibles, but carry as much weight as your “dollars and cents” expenses:

  • What is important in my day-to-day life? What is the cost if I don’t have it?
  • What is important for me to have in a community? What is the cost of living without it?
  • What value do I see in the intangible I will gain by moving to a senior community? What will be the cost to my health and quality of life if I don’t make a change?

As you compare the cost of staying in your home versus moving to a senior living community, it’s important to remember that the goal of Life Plan Communities like Meth-Wick is to enrich your life, not to change who you are. The knowledgeable, experienced staff and senior-focused programs at these communities provide the peace of mind and support needed for every resident to live their best life.

As you evaluate your needs and ask yourself “Can I afford to move to a senior living community?” it’s also important to ask, “Can I afford not to?”

Contact Julie Farmer to discover how affordable life at Meth-Wick can be.

Socializing Has a Positive Impact on Senior Health


You enjoy your book club, visits with grandkids and lunch with friends, but did you also know these are good for your health?

Research shows that social interaction is good for everyone, but it is especially beneficial for older adults. “Social capital” is the name researchers have given to the ties that help us build trust, connection and participation. As part of the aging process, people often retire from jobs, lose friends through death and lose family due to busy careers or relocation. This reduction in social interaction can have a negative impact on an older person’s physical and mental health.

All Interaction Helps
Fortunately, it is never too late for an older adult to reap the rewards of a social life, according to an article from the Health Behavior News Service of the Center for Advancing Health.

The article quotes the author of a study related to the effects of socialization among older adults: “People have some control over their social lives, so it is encouraging to find that something many people find enjoyable—socializing with others—can benefit their cognitive and physical health,” says Patricia A. Thomas, Ph.D.

Dr. Thomas and her research associates studied how a person’s changing social connections over time affected health. Study participants, all over the age of 60, were asked about social activities such as visiting family and friends; attending meetings, programs or clubs; and volunteering in the community. They were also asked about mental and physical limitations.

Thomas found that participants with medium to high levels of social engagement delayed the onset of cognitive and physical health issues. She points out, “Even if older adults weren’t socially active when they were younger, when they increase social activity later in life, it can still reduce physical and cognitive health issues.”

The Impact of Communities with Rich Social Capital
Compelling arguments for the importance of social connections are also shared through the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkley.

An article on the Center’s website discusses the research work of Yvonne Michael at the Drexel University School of Public Health, who studies the effects of social capital on seniors.

Her studies involve asking older adults living in various communities to answer questions such as “Are your neighbors willing to help each other with routine maintenance?” or “Can you trust your neighbors?” Using the results, Michael determines the connections between health, behavior and social capital.

In a health study involving 14,000 older adults, Michael found that seniors who live in neighborhoods with high levels of social capital are more physically mobile than those living in neighborhoods with low social capital.

In summary, Michael said, “Living in a place with greater social capital—where there is more trust and more helpful neighbors—you will feel more comfortable walking around to get to places you need to go, which helps you stay mobile.”

A Healthy Answer to Isolation
Senior living communities like Meth-Wick provide a solution to the decline in the social capital of older adults. We offer an environment where companionship and interaction are easily accessible.

Meth-Wick’s Town Center is our hub of social activity, where residents can join friends for a leisurely cup of coffee or participate in one of many programs to exercise the body and mind. There are also many on-campus opportunities to volunteer, which is another important way to build social capital.

At Meth-Wick, we believe in helping our residents live their best life through many forms of social engagement, while at the same time respecting personal privacy.

Seniors Benefit from Exploring Their Creative Side


In recent years, the “graying of America” has inspired a re-evaluation of the way people age, emphasizing the potential of seniors rather than their limitations. This new perspective goes hand-in-hand with research studies that seek to find which factors contribute to senior citizens remaining healthy and independent longer. A growing body of evidence shows that visual and performing arts can improve brain function in older adults.

The art of aging
A study conducted by the Center on Aging, Health & Humanities at George Washington University found that older adults who create artwork have improved brain function. The 300 study participants were divided into two groups. One group participated in a weekly art class while the other did not. The researchers said the results “…point to true health promotion and disease prevention effects” and to “a positive impact on maintaining independence and on reducing dependency.” Their summary also states, “The community-based cultural program for older adults appears to be reducing risk factors that drive the need for long-term care.”

Another study on aging was conducted in Germany with 28 retirees between the ages of 62 and 70. A brain scan was taken of each participant at the beginning of the study. Over a 10-week period, half of the group took part in an art course where they created artwork after first learning painting and drawing techniques. The other participants attended an art appreciation class where they learned to interpret sculptures and paintings.

Brain scans were repeated at the end of the coursework. While there was no change in the brain activity of those who attended the art appreciation class, there was a notable change for the participants who created artwork. Their brains had increased levels of cognitive processing, which including introspection, self-monitoring and memory. The researchers concluded that creating art offers the possibility for reducing or even eliminating the reduced brain function that normally comes with aging.

…and dancing, too!
Expressing themselves through arts such as painting is not the only way for seniors to improve their brain health. Dancing can also provide benefits. The New England Journal of Medicine reported the results of a study that explored the types of activities that could improve brain function and reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. A group of seniors over the age of 75 took part in reading, bicycling or swimming, crossword puzzles, golf and dancing. Researchers found that individuals who danced were 76 percent less likely to develop dementia. This was the only activity where researchers found a direct link.

“Studies in recent years have provided great insight into how people age and what is needed to support active and healthy aging,” says Eryn Cronbaugh, Meth-Wick’s Director of Wellness and Recreation. “Meth-Wick offers residents a broad range of programs to exercise the body and mind, with the goal of supporting our residents in remaining active and independent longer.” She also points out that the types of programs evolve with the ever-changing interests and needs of its residents.

From painting and woodworking to yoga and chair volleyball, Meth-Wick empowers residents to age actively and gracefully…to enjoy their best life.

Suit up! Warm Water Therapy is Coming to Meth-Wick


Water is a therapeutic tool that can benefit many health conditions, which is why we’ve taken steps to provide this therapy to Linn County residents. Meth-Wick is installing two Hydroworx pools at The Woodlands through the Rejuvenate campaign.  The therapy pools will enable Meth-Wick to offer improved quality of life to individuals who have been unable to exercise due to pain, limited mobility and/or discomfort.

We anticipate many benefits to water therapy with the Hydroworx pools. Some of those benefits are:

  • Reducing the force of gravity that’s compressing the joint. Hydrotherapy offers 360-degree support for sore limbs, decreases swelling and inflammation, and increases circulation.
  • Stimulating blood flow to stiff muscles and frozen joints. This makes it easier for a person to move joints and exercise more than they would be able to do outside of the pools.
  • Moveable floors that aid in safe entry and exit for all residents. “Once the pool floor is lowered, the bottom acts as a treadmill that promotes proper posture and gait while walking,” says our Fitness Specialist, Kristin VanDyke. “There are also underwater cameras so fitness and therapy professionals can assess the biomechanics of residents.”
  • Adjustable jets allow each resident to set their own resistance. As the resident’s workouts progress, the resistance can be increased to challenge and improve their endurance and strength.
  • New aquatic exercise classes, aquatic personal training and water walking. These classes will aim to decrease fall risk, increase strength, endurance and range of motion, as well as improve overall health and well being of all residents.

Meth-Wick is excited to add Hydroworx pools to its campus not only because of the additional fitness programming but because of the many benefits they will bring to our residents and the Cedar Rapids Community.

If you have questions about the Hydroworx pools or wellness at Meth-Wick, contact Eryn Cronbaugh, Director of Wellness and Recreation, or Kristin VanDyke, Fitness Specialist.

What is the cost of care?

According to’s annual “Usage and Attitudes Survey,” family caregivers are hesitant to discuss health care concerns with their loved ones. This includes topics like moving into a senior living community.

Here are some more facts from the survey:

  • 46% of caregivers spend more than $5,000 out of pocket annually on medications, medical bills, for both in and out of home care
  • 60% say caregiving duties have a negative effect on their job
  • 42% have raised concerns about how their loved one is managing medical care
  • 45% have discussed planning for a time their loved ones can no longer care for him/herself
  • 30% have discussed how to pay for care
  • 33% spend more than 30 hours per week on caregiving

meth-wick-home-and-health-307x219-2Do you have any of the above concerns? If so, you are not alone. There are services available for you or if you need help caring for a loved one to keep them safe and in their home. Through the Meth-Wick community, our Home & Health services can be tailored to what you need. This includes things like nursing services, companion/chore services and medication management in the comfort of your own home.

“For many, the cost of care is a challenge, living in a nursing home or in assisted living is expensive. On top of this expense, for some, the thought of leaving home is heart breaking. Meth-Wick’s Home & Health services can work to keep your long-term care cost to a minimum and to meet that goal of staying “home” and out of assisted living care,” say Amber Jedlicka, Operations Director of Home & Health Services.

If you’ve had a medical procedure or have been in the hospital, give us a call to inquire about our free offer for Your First Day Home.

For more information about our Home & Health services, call (319) 297-8654 or visit our website.

What Independence Plus Means


In our last post, we discussed factors you should consider when looking at a retirement community. We want to expand on that a bit this week by taking a closer look at our Independence Plus style of living. Meth-Wick likes to think of Independence Plus as a lifestyle for those seniors who are independent but may need help with some day-to-day tasks, like laundry and house keeping.

Residents who choose this lifestyle would live in The Manor, which is a multi-residence building, providing the privacy of your own home with fellowship right outside your door. There are many conveniences at The Manor that make our resident’s lives more enjoyable. Those include:

  • Maintenance of appliances
  • Weekly housekeeping
  • Courtesy rides in a chauffeur-driven car
  • Weekly bus trips to the grocery store
  • Intra-campus transportation system
  • Home & Health services

The dining area in The Manor is more like a restaurant. Residents can come at any time of day to eat and it is open. There is a two-page menu that they can choose from that has a lot of variety and selection.

“Those living in Independence Plus are assured of continuing care as the need arises, and the transition from IP to assisted living or skilled nursing care is smooth and seamless,” says Toni Claussen, Sales Manager of The Manor. “This is very convenient for families and promotes peace of mind to residents for future needs.”

The Manor is also home to Town Center, the social hub for all Meth-Wick residents. It includes:

  • The Manor Brew (coffee shop)
  • Fitness and exercise areas
  • Library
  • Billiard room
  • Gift Shop
  • Doctor’s office
  • Rooftop patio
  • Chapel
  • Beauty Parlor

The Independence Plus lifestyle at Meth-Wick truly lives up to its name. Our residents are independent PLUS they are able get the help they need while enjoying The Manor’s many amenities to keep up their active lifestyle.

Choosing a Place to Retire?


Well, you’ve started researching retirement communities. There are a lot of things that need to be considered when you begin looking. So, where do you start? U.S. News posted an article about “13 Factors to Consider when Choosing a Place to Retire.” Let’s start there:

1. Make sure you can afford it. Look at all of the factors of the cost of living: state income tax, homeowners insurance. These things can vary greatly from state to state.

2. Investigate the demographics. Knowing the community that you will be moving into is key. You want to make sure that you are going to be able to find like-minded people to spend time with.

3. Talk to people like you in the areas you’re considering. Find friends of friends or college alumni in the area, or talk to people you meet when you visit.

4. Check on the availability of good medical care and the cost of insurance. It’s good to locate hospitals in the area and know what the retirement community itself provides. At Meth-Wick, we have our own Home & Health services that come to you.

5. Think about how you’ll spend your time and whether you can do it in the new location. Think of the activities you enjoy and make sure that you are able to continue those activities in your new community.

6. Distance from family. How close or how far do you want to be from your children/grandchildren? If you cannot afford to travel to see them often, a retirement community close to them should be your main focus.

7. Consider whether you’ll be happier in a single-family house, condo or mobile home. Meth-Wick has a variety of housing and service options for people looking to downsize but still live an independent life. Think of what kind of space you will need to keep up with your lifestyle.

8. Evaluate planned senior communities vs. all-ages communities. This determines the type of social interactions you have within the community. If you are looking to move somewhere new, one of the advantages of a planned retirement community is that these activities are planned for you and allow you to meet new people much easier. Check out all of the activities Meth-Wick provides it residents on our Facebook page.

9. Make sure your home will accommodate your needs as you age. Are you able to live in a single family home with stairs 20 years from now? If you need a wheelchair down the road, will your new home be able to accommodate? Remember that planning for retirement is just that, a plan. You need to look into the future and what could happen and make your decisions that way.

10. Look at transportation options. What types of transportation are available in the area? Do you have access to transportation for business, personal and social needs? Could you easily get to the grocery store and pharmacy if you needed to?

11. If you go overseas, know the rules and the laws. Just as the cost of living changes from state to state, the laws of living change when you leave the country. “Some countries don’t allow foreigners to buy properties. Others require certain income levels for legal residency. It is not as easy to legally immigrate to another country as it looks.”

12. Consider that you may have to move again. Many retirement communities, like Meth-Wick, offer a continuum of services, so if you have to move from a home to an apartment style of living, you can still stay in the same community and you will not have to start the research process over again.

13. Take all those lists of top retirement spots with a grain of salt. You want to find a retirement community that is right for you. You have your own set of criteria. Be sure to evaluate all your options as you decide what retirement community feels right for you.