Team Member Perks: My Top 5 Fav’s

Tel Hai Retirement Community has some great hidden gems for Team Members.  Those gems come in the form of awesome perks that future team members might not be aware of!  In addition to just being an overall great place to work, these perks are the icing on the cake!  Here’s my top five fav’s!

PERK #1

One of my favorite perks is the miles of beautiful walking trials around our campus.  It is so peaceful and quite to walk these trails as your surrounded by wildlife.  Along the back side of the trail near the Hillside Amenities of Tel Hai, there are many handmade bird feeders made by residents and lots of beautiful varieties of trees and bushes that attract all kinds of creatures.

PERK #2

My next favorite perk would be the discounted tickets to many local attractions such as Hershey Park.  Available for quick pickup in the Daily Brew, our coffee shop, the discounts are significant and can make these types of family outings much more affordable!

PERK #3

I enjoy reading in both of our libraries on campus… one located in the Garrett Community Center, the other in StoneCroft Commons.  There is a great selection of current and older books to choose from and it can be a very relaxing place to tuck away with a good book. Or, you can sign them out and take them home! If books aren’t your thing, DVD’s are available as well.

PERK #4

Next, I love our Resale Shop!  Each month, I enjoy searching for hidden treasures that can be found at great prices. I recently purchased a great spring wreath for my front door at my home and a very handy (and attractive) scarf hanger.  The shop has tons of useful items that can always be found!

PERK #5

And how can I forget access to our exercise facilities, including the pool and fitness center on the campus of Tel Hai!  This benefit is FREE to the Team Members and has just recently become accessible to their family members as well for a small monthly fee.  You can meet up with your family after work and even exercise together.

These are just a few of my favorite perks that Tel Hai has to offer to its Team Members. Oh, and I almost forgot…. Ice Cream Social’s on the first Friday of the month! Who can resist free ice cream! Oops, I guess I just made my list the top 6!

Join our workforce… you’ll be glad you did!

Dana Baumgard

Human Resources Generalist

Tel Hai Retirement Community

DESTINATION TEL HAI: Touring Personal Care- What’s in a visit?

Lakeview Personal Care at Tel HaiDid you know that Tel Hai Retirement Community offers Personal Care, Respite Care and Memory Support Care? It’s found in Lakeview… which is home to more than 90 residents. For those who require daily assistance to remain independent, safe and secure, Lakeview provides the freedom and amenities of residential living paired with clinical support.

Encouraging a worry-free lifestyle, we collaborate with the resident and their loved ones to understand the resident’s desires, interests and preferences. This resident-centered approach ensures that residents receive individualized care and programming suited to their abilities while preserving their dignity, comfort and level of function.

So what can you expect in your visit to Tel Hai? Check out our quick steps below on how to schedule a visit and take the first step in exploring the future for you or your loved one!

Step 1: Schedule a Visit

A crucial first step to learning about Lakeview Personal Care is to contact us to schedule a time to visit. Visiting isn’t making a commitment, but it is starting the process of learning, discovering your options and making a plan. You can contact me directly at 610-273-9333 ext. 2446, email info@telhai.org or fill out our ‘Schedule a Visit’ form online here: https://www.telhai.org/visit

Step 2: Meet with an Admissions Coordinator

Visits always start with a time to sit down and learn more about your situation, care needs and get to know you and your loved one better. This time is also used to discuss information about pricing, amenities, accommodations and options. Together, we’ll review the brochure and discuss any questions you may have. No question is too small or insignificant.

Step 3: Tour Lakeview Personal Care

After our chat, we’ll embark on a tour of Lakeview. We’ll view different accommodations including our wide array of floorplan options, and then view dining and recreational areas. The Garrett Community Center is also part of the tour, where you’ll view alternative dining options, activity areas like our indoor pool and large library. I always encourage visitors to ask any questions that come up along the way and can alter the tour to accommodate the needs or wishes of those who are visiting.

Tours are meant to give you a personalized view of Lakeview and to discuss your specific situation, because everyone’s needs are different. Most importantly during your tour, you’ll meet residents of our community and our team members. You’ll see how we interact with each other, what daily life looks like, and you’ll have the opportunity to envision yourself or your loved one living here.

Step 4:  Next Steps

After your visit, I will follow up with you to answer questions you may have. This is also the time to ask yourself: Can all my needs be met at Tel Hai? If so, please apply for residency. That can be done by downloading an application online here: https://www.telhai.org/residency

I hope to welcome you ‘home’ to Tel Hai soon!

Melissa Christophel

Admissions Coordinator, Lakeview Personal Care

Tel Hai Retirement Community

Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering

You’re a healthy person, right? You eat lots of fruits and veggies, exercise a few times a week, wear sunscreen, and all the other ‘good for you’ stuff!

Well I’m here to inform you of another unexpected healthy thing you should be doing. It might not register as affecting your health but… it’s volunteering! You read that right: VOLUNTEERING is healthy for you!

According to Dr. Stephen Post’s research survey about volunteering (an average of 100 hours/year), here are facts about volunteering and your health:

      • 96% said volunteering makes them feel happier
      • 68% said volunteering makes them feel healthier
      • 58% said volunteering makes them sleep better

I don’t know a single person who doesn’t want to feel happier, healthier and get a better night’s sleep. Sign me up for some volunteering!

Volunteering has also been shown to reduce your stress levels by releasing endorphins (the feel good stuff) making volunteers feel good about what they’ve done and in turn lowering depression rates. Your friendships and relationships can also get a boost since many volunteer opportunities involve group activities, helping to improve volunteer’s social skills. A more obvious benefit is that volunteering can help keep you physically active which can lower your risk of conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and obesity.

Lastly, and probably the best unexpected benefit, is that volunteering may help you live longer. When volunteering you are improving your overall health, therefore improving your chances for reduced health issues later in life. By volunteering at least 2 hours per week, or at least 100 hours per year, you too can reap these unexpected benefits of volunteering.

So now the hard part is choosing which volunteer opportunity to choose! Good luck and may you enjoy the volunteering as much as you enjoy those who you’re helping.

Amy Whary
Volunteer Coordinator
Tel Hai Retirement Community

(Courtesy of Forbes & Care2.)

3 Tips to Prepare for Long Term Nursing Care

When we think about retirement we often think of enjoying more time with family and grandchildren, volunteering for community agencies dear to our hearts, spending more time traveling, and crossing things off our bucket list. When we think about retirement, we most likely aren’t thinking about moving to a nursing home. However, long term nursing care may be a reality in your future and it’s never too early to start the planning process.

Long term nursing care, also called health care, can be defined as medical or non-medical care provided in a facility setting for patients who need 24-hour, 7-day a week custodial assistance with basic daily activities such as dressing, mobility, bathing and toileting, etc. While the term “nursing home” is still often used, many in the industry call it a “skilled nursing facility” or “healthcare center.” The Pennsylvania Health Care Association indicates that approximately 70% of people currently turning 65 will need some form of long term care – many in a healthcare setting.

So, how prepared are you? Here are a few tips to help you navigate the process of long term nursing care.

Tip 1- Educate yourself on the admissions process/criteria and tour the facility!

Many people don’t think about long term nursing care until there is a crisis, and then are forced into making quick decisions with little or no information at all about a facility. It can be beneficial to start a conversation with the facility’s Admissions Team prior to actually needing care. Many healthcare centers will require you to complete an application and provide medical information/documents. Scheduling time with the Admissions Team will allow you time to ask questions and tour the community. Discuss what is included in the daily cost of care, additional ancillary charges not included in the daily cost of care, what insurances the facility contracts with, and what services they offer like transportation and hair care services. Be aware that some Continuing Care Retirement Community’s or Life Plan Communities may not accept individuals from outside their own campus community for long term nursing care. Also, availability varies between each community on a daily basis.

Tip 2- Financially prepare for the cost of long term nursing care!

Genworth’s 2018 ‘Cost of Care Survey’ indicated that the average cost for long term nursing care in Pennsylvania is between $10,000 – $12,000 per month. Medicare covers long term nursing care provided in a skilled healthcare facilities for certain, specific conditions for a very short period of time from 0 to 100 days. Residents requiring long term nursing care often use private assets, long term care insurance, and/or state-funded Medical Assistance programs to help cover the cost of care. Facilities may have financial criteria for admission and may require a spend-down of personal assets prior to applying for Medical Assistance benefits.

Tip 3- Include your family members/POA in your retirement plans & medical information!

By the time many people need care in a long term nursing setting, it may be difficult for them to physically access medical, financial, and/or insurance records. Your Power of Attorney or family members may need to assist you with decision making, accessing documents, signing paperwork or paying bills. Make sure your loved ones are informed and can gain access to your finances, insurance, advanced directives, and important health information. This will help facilitate a smooth transition to a nursing care setting and ensure your wishes are honored. If you haven’t already done so, make sure to establish your Advanced Directives or Power of Attorney documents.

Randi Martin, BASW
Admissions Coordinator
Tel Hai Retirement Community

Foods That Fight: Your Immune System & The Common Cold

Although you may not totally prevent a cold or the flu this season, a healthy immune system is one way to give your body extra protection against nasty germs and viruses. Here are tips on how to boost your immune system with nutrients that pack a punch against the common cold and flu.

TIP 1- Incorporate immune-boosting nutrients into your diet!

The following nutrients play a role in the immune system and can be found in a variety of foods. Include these into your daily diet:
• Beta Carotene is found in plant foods, such as sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, mango, broccoli and tomatoes.
• Vitamin C rich foods include citrus fruits, berries, melons, tomatoes, bell peppers and broccoli.
• Vitamin D is found in fatty fish and eggs. Milk and 100% juices are fortified with Vitamin D as well.
• Zinc tends to be better absorbed from animal sources such as beef and seafood and is included in vegetarian sources such as wheat germ, beans, nuts and tofu.
• Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria that promote health and is found in cultured dairy products like yogurt.
• Protein comes from both animal and plant-based sources, such as milk, yogurt, eggs, beef, chicken, seafood, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils.

TIP 2- Focus on balanced eating, sleeping and stress management!

To help keep your immune system healthy all year long, focus on a balanced eating plan, adequate sleep and stress management. Aim for five to seven servings of vegetables and fruits daily to get immune-boosting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Find healthy and appropriate ways to cope with stress, such as listening to music or writing. Physical activity also is a great way to help manage stress and may help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases that could weaken your immune system further. Lack of sleep contributes to a variety of health concerns, such as a weakened immune system. Seven to nine hours of sleep is recommended each day for adults.

TIP 3- Remember to wash, wash, wash!

Good hygiene and hand-washing helps prevent the spread of germs. Always wash your hands prior to preparing or consuming food. Remember to wash produce before eating or using in recipes. Clean glasses, forks, spoons and other utensils to reduce the spread and growth of bacteria.

Sybil Oswalt, RD, CSG, LDN
Clinical Dietitian
Tel Hai Retirement Community

A Year of Blessings & New Tomorrow’s

Dave Shenk, President & CEO

At this time of year, there are so many opportunities to gather, to laugh, to eat and to celebrate. Along with the festivities, we need to pause and to take time to reflect on the many blessings we take for granted… health, family, friends, residents, and team members.

Looking back over 2018, it has been a year of growth, of new beginnings, and some challenges and opportunities.

A lot has happened this year! We welcomed nearly 100 new residents to Tel Hai. By the end of January, residents finished moving into 45 new Brownstone Apartments in StoneCroft. We are enjoying the new common spaces such as the conservatory, theater, sewing room and model train room. Additionally, we welcomed 10 new households who moved into Maple Knoll Townhomes.

Responding to resident preferences of privacy choices and dignity needs, six Meadows Healthcare Center rooms were converted from shared-private to private accommodations. Renovations are currently underway for more rooms right now! We have also renewed our strategic planning process addressing four key priorities including strengthening financial performance, growing team member culture, re-envisioning health care services and integrating technology.

I am grateful for the many ways God has blessed Tel Hai and its mission to provide a vibrant, caring community. We know that God’s hand has guided Tel Hai for many years and continues even today.

“O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things…” Isaiah 25:1

As we look forward to 2019 and what is in store for us, only God knows what tomorrow will bring! I wish you and those you love a very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year.

Dave Shenk
President & CEO
Tel Hai Retirement Community

Tips from Tina: Do’s & Don’ts of Packing

Welcome to the newest blog post from our blog series called ‘Tips from Tina.’  If you have questions, she has the answers! From recommended questions when interviewing a realtor to decluttering your closets, you can anonymously ask Tina any move-related question you’d like.  No question is too small or too silly.

Each quarter, Tina provides her best advice through our Moving Resources Program.  Got a question? Call or email Tina directly at tcressman@telhai.org or (610) 273-9333, ext. 2160 with your questions. And don’t worry, we won’t use your name!


  • DO pack your most valuable possessions with you, in your vehicle.  This could include precious jewelry, family pictures and photo albums or priceless antiques.
  • DON’T wait until the last minute to pack. Waiting until the last minute results in poor decisions in packing and shortcuts that can lead to broken valuables. If you are unsure how to properly pack your breakables simply go to Google or YouTube for helpful videos.
  • DO be completely packed the day your mover arrives. You don’t want your mover to have to sit idle while you are still getting things into boxes as this will only add to your final bill when their time goes over the quoted number of hours.
  • DON’T try to pack your own grandfather clock. These clocks are fragile and deserve special attention so that they can be moved successful and enjoyed for years to come.  The professionals will secure that swinging arm so that it doesn’t break your glass door.
  • DON’T move mirrors that are not properly packed. Some mirrors have been in a family for years, it’s worth taking the time to make sure they are securely packed.
  • DO take precautions, bubble wrap a mirror and pack between mattresses if you can. No one wants to deal with cleaning up a broken mirror while trying to get moved.
  • DON’T try to move large pieces of furniture. These pieces need proper support, especially items that may be top heavy.
  • DO pack boxes and other large items under and around top heavy items. Packing tightly in this manner will protect those top heavy items from falling over in the truck during the move.
  • DON’T pack lights with light bulbs in them. It may sound like one small thing but you are going to need those lamps when you reach your destination and you want to make sure they will work.
  • DO remove lamp shades and pack them carefully. Place all of your light bulbs in one clearly marked container and perhaps transport in your vehicle.

Adult Day Services: An Affordable & Personalized Approach to Care

This month, we’re celebrating National Adult Day Services during the week of September 17-21, 2018. Since 1988, Tel Hai’s Adult Day Services Program (ADS) has been privileged in assisting hundred of families care for their loved ones.

Let’s take time to learn what ADS is and how it’s an affordable and personalized approach to care:

What is Adult Day Services?

ADS at Tel Hai offers personalized, quality care for adults challenged by physical disabilities or requiring memory support/dementia care, who require daily supervision.  By partnering with family members in the full-time care of their loved one, we provide an affordable care option and much-needed respite for families.

Who can be served in Adult Day Services?

In addition to Tel Hai residents within the continuum of care, ADS is available to individuals from the greater community. Transportation to ADS is provided by Rover Community Transportation for participants living in Chester County.

What does the typical day look like at Adult Day Services?

Within ADS, our aim is for clients to maintain their level of independence, but in a safe and secure environment. From structured and stimulating programming to enjoyable activities like community outings, our highly trained team members—that includes licensed practical nurses—provide individualized attention in a homelike setting. We fill our days with fun events like cooking, pet visitation, intergenerational activities, games, trivia, wellness classes, supervised walks and of course… three delicious meals a day!

How affordable is Adult Day Services compared to other care options?

According to the National Adult Day Services Association, ADS is one of the most cost-effective options in long-term care today. The per-day median cost of ADS in the United States is far lower than other care alternatives, such as home care, personal care/assisted living or long-term nursing care. At Tel Hai, our daily rates are flexible as we offer both full and half-day rates.

Adult Day Services is open 7 days a week from 6:30 am – 7:00 pm. The program is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and funded in part by the Chester County Department of Aging Services.

If you’d like a personal visit, please stop by or contact us. We’d love to meet you!

Tammy Jacobs
Director of Adult Day Services
Tel Hai Retirement Community

Summer Youth Volunteer Spotlight: Nevaeh Ritsick

Neveah accepting her award at the National Conference.

Meet Tel Hai Summer Youth Volunteer Nevaeh Ritsick! Nevaeh is a member of HOSA, for future health professionals. HOSA is an international student organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Education (HSE) to promote career opportunities in the health care industry and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people.

During the past school year, Nevaeh entered the Pennsylvania state competition in secondary speaking skills where she wrote a speech about why she’s choosing to pursue a career in health services. During her speech, she spoke about her experience as a Tel Hai Summer Youth Volunteer. She won the Pennsylvania competition and was sent to the HOSA National Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas.  There, she competed against 13 other competitors and won the National Title!

Below are a few excerpts from her speech…


Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” I like to think of my future as a book. When I graduate, I will be ready to create chapters full of service to others and provide hope to those in need. The skills I gain through HOSA-Future Health Professionals and Health Career Pathways will help me create a future in healthcare that I will enjoy as well as where I can serve others.

I have worked with children and the elderly, and I learned to be extra kind and nice to everyone.

For the past two summers I have had the privilege of working at Tel Hai Retirement Community. I worked in Adult Day Care, which is similar to an Alzheimer’s unit. Working with those individuals made me a stronger person, both physically and mentally strong.

Nevaeh volunteering during a coloring session with residents in Adult Day Services.

I learned to be mentally strong. I witnessed the staff working very hard. I realized, for my future, the world needs more people working in the healthcare field. I experienced good days and bad days. A major loss in my work family gave me a different set of medical experiences. I witnessed two of my favorite residents die. They had both been with me for almost two years. We grew very close but in the end, the Alzheimer’s just took over. But they both received top notch, round the clock, compassionate care. Even though it was sad and tough, I came out of it committed to health care.

As a result of my Tel Hai experience, I chose to be in the Health Career Pathways program. This is a great first step to creating a path to my future. My career path looks bright because I am creating a future I love.

Tips from Tina: 5 Stages of Accomplishment

Welcome to the second posting of our new blog series called ‘Tips from Tina.’  If you have questions, she has the answers! From recommended questions when interviewing a realtor to decluttering your closets, you can anonymously ask Tina any move-related question you’d like.  No question is too small or too silly.

Each quarter throughout 2018, Tina will provide her best advice through our Moving Resources Program.  Got a question? Call or email Tina directly at tcressman@telhai.org or (610) 273-9333, ext. 2160 with your questions. And don’t worry, we won’t use your name!


A resident who moved to Tel Hai a few years ago had shared a card with me that was given to her when she moved in. The card told a story that I hear so often from residents.  Over the years, I’ve shared it with many.  It focuses on the 5 stages of accomplishment as listed below.  For those looking to rightsize and take the next step in their journey to Tel Hai, you’re not alone.

STAGE 1- DENIAL: “I can’t do it.

This may have been you or perhaps you are feeling this way now. The thought of rightsizing, going through your years of memories and cherished collections just overwhelms you to the point that you talk yourself into not making a move.  Perhaps you’re thinking “I just can’t do it” and “I’m fine right where I am.” Are you in denial? Do you know deep down that you need to be making this move now?

STAGE 2- UNCERTAINTY: “Maybe I can do it.”

This is the point of feeling like a ping-pong ball… being bounced back and forth. One day you are on board, the next you doubt your decision. We hear folks sharing this uncertainty with us all the time.  These are all very normal feelings as with any big life changing decision.

STAGE 3- RESISTANCE: “There’s no way I can do it!”

Accepting change is hard and we all handle change differently.  Sometimes we try to resist it. The thought “where there’s a will… there’s a way” comes to mind. My best advice is to put a plan in place.  I once worked with a resident who asked her extended family to fly in and share in the fun of packing.  They sorted her things and helped prepare her home to be ‘market ready.’

STAGE 4- PANIC: “Ahhhhhh, what if I can’t do this!?!”

I hear residents tell me their stories and some of them experience sheer panic. For some, it seems it gets worse before it gets better. Perhaps it’s a failed septic inspection at your existing home or when a loan wasn’t approved in time. There are so many things that can put you in a panic. While some things are out of your control and my control, there are several areas that we can tackle together through our trusted partners and supportive resources. I’m just a phone call away to discuss any situation where you feel you are panicking. Don’t let the situation go unaddressed to a point where your panic becomes overwhelming.

STAGE 5- ACCEPTANCE: “Alright! I did it! Lets party!”

In the end, when the boxes are unpacked and you are meeting new friends, you’ll reflect on the gift you gave yourself and your children.  You’ll have the peace of mind that your future is secure, your home ownership worries have evaporated and you only have one job… to party!  That’s right… you did it!  It’s now time to start your next chapter and work through your bucket list!