Top Tips for Home Staging

It is possible to achieve the unimaginable. For some, even the thought of preparing to move is exhausting. You can do it, and we can help!

Your ultimate goal is to secure a buyer for your home, right? In today’s crowded real estate market, ‘home staging’ is another DIY tool in your home sales toolbox. You may have already heard of ‘home staging,’ but don’t know what it actually is. In essence, ‘home staging’ is preparing your home for sale.

Staging can be a useful tool to help sell your home quickly, but it does take forethought and planning. Staging your home today means more than making the bed and having a clean kitchen sink. It’s purposeful preparation.

Remember, you have one chance for a first impression! Here’s my top 5 tips for home staging:


Less is more when it comes to home staging. Potential buyers want to see your home— not your stuff. As you prepare for your move to Tel Hai, rightsize by utilizing an off-site storage unit or portable storage containers like PODS.


You may have a spare bedroom that’s also being used as a craft room, for holiday storage or to house your National Geographic collection. Return the room to its intended purpose. Remove items that don’t support the room’s original intention. Help a buyer envision the room as a future nursery or child’s bedroom, not a catch-all landing area.


Does the room really need four plant stands, three end tables, a fish tank and two bookshelves? All that furniture covers valuable assets like the beautiful hardwood floor and unique, built-in corner cupboard. By removing excess furniture, you’re opening the space visually for the buyer to imagine their belongings in the space.


You may have enjoyed 30 years of your custom sheers and drapery, but it’s blocking valuable light from selling your home. Pull back the shades and let the light shine in. No one wants dark and dingy. They want light and airy spaces that inspire a homey feel.


Remove items from countertops and tabletops, including in the kitchen, bathrooms, end tables and dining room tables. It may be a short-term inconvenience to stow away everyday used bathroom toiletries, but it’s showing a clean and tidy space to the buyer.

Ultimately, keep your eye on the prize of selling your home and moving to Tel Hai. Once you’re a resident, you’ll never have to replace another bush, repair a leaky faucet or install a new washing machine. Leave the work to us!

Karen Cochran

Moving Resources Manager

Tel Hai Retirement Community

Another Decade of Blessings

In this era when you have so many forms of communication coming your way – social media, news outlets, emails, texts and more – thank you for taking time to read this blog!

As we reach the end of a decade, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness through the years and how much has happened at Tel Hai Retirement Community. During the last ten years, the number of accommodations in residential living at Tel Hai has doubled with more than 250 new apartments and cottages on the campus. Now, more than 875 residents call Tel Hai home!

“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:5 NRSV

During 2019, we have experienced God’s continued blessing and faithfulness. We have seen many different examples of our mission of providing a vibrant caring community that enhances the lives of those served. I frequently enjoy listening to stories from residents and the positive impact on their lives from being part of the community at Tel Hai.

During the year, we were recognized for the quality of services and care at Tel Hai. We are grateful for many positive reviews from the Pinnacle resident engagement surveys and the 5-Star rating for Meadows Health Care from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Dave Shenk, President & CEO

One recent resident testimonial shared, “Tel Hai is a great place to live. The people are nice and it’s a great environment. I hated to leave my home, but I’ve found great friends and have so much more fun.” What a blessing!

We look forward to enhancing our services in the year ahead. In 2020, we plan to begin work on a memory support area in Lakeview Personal Care for 25 individuals in need of a secure, specialized program. We will be defining the right size and time-frame for the needed modernization of Meadows Health Care. Later in the year, we are hopeful to add 18 new cottages to meet the needs of future residents enrolled in the Ready-Set-Go Program.

As we enter into the decade of the 2020’s, we continue to seek God’s wisdom, guidance and direction so that Tel Hai continues to be a vibrant, caring community for all.

I wish you and your loved ones a blessed Christmas season and a wonderful 2020!

Dave Shenk

President & CEO

Tel Hai Retirement Community

What is It? The Basics of Outpatient Therapy!

Outpatient Therapy Services at Tel HaiWhen you hear the term Outpatient Therapy, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Stretching, exercise, ice packs…?

You don’t have to have a traumatic injury to benefit from Outpatient Therapy Services. Here at Tel Hai, you have access to a team of professional Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech Pathologists to help guide you to a better quality of life.

Our team can provide therapy services prior to a planned procedure, after surgery, or if you simply want to improve the quality of daily activities. Our therapists can help with falls, pain, urinary incontinence and balance issues.

Tel Hai is equipped with state-of-the art equipment and direct access to the StoneCroft Aquatics Center that our therapists utilize while working clients. We treat and address a wide variety of physical and medical diagnoses. You will never have to worry about squeezing in appointments since our team members provide flexible appointment times in our StoneCroft Health Suite.

Best yet, we serve individuals from the greater community, team members and their families.  We are open and ready to serve!  Prior to any assessment or treatment, we will review your care options and verify insurance eligibility coverage and potential member responsibility fees for outpatient therapy services.

Are you in need of Outpatient Therapy Services? We’re here to help. Tel Hai Therapy Services are powered by Symbria. Please contact us directly at 610-273-9333 ext. 4005 or email

Flu Prevention: Top Tips to Stay Healthy!

If you have ever had the flu, you know how severe it can be. Here are some tips to prevent you from getting it.

  1. First, get vaccinated! All healthy people should be vaccinated. It can reduce your chance of getting the flu and lower the risk of hospitalization and death caused by the flu.
  2. Wash your hands. Viruses may be spread by indirect contact. Washing your hands is the best way to prevent getting sick.
  3. Cough into your elbow. Viruses cling to your bare hands. By coughing into your elbow, you can reduce the spread of viruses.
  4. Disinfect common surfaces. A virus can live on a surface for up to 72 hours.
  5. Drink plenty of water. Water can help strengthen your immune system. If you do get sick it flushes your system and rehydrates you.

If you would happen to get the flu, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist or are severe. Your doctor may prescribe an Antiviral medication.

Common flu symptoms include: Cough, sore throat, headache, feeling tired, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, fever or feeling feverish, and having chills.

Remember, by protecting yourself with the flu vaccine you are also protecting those around you.

Justine Hall, RN

Infection Preventionist

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 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.

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 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!