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Society news

Events, milestones and celebrations occur every day within the Good Samaritan Society. Here, you can read
all corporate news, Society news, center news or center news highlights.

Center news highlights

Dec 10, 2014

(Le Mars, Iowa) – If your mind and body began to fail you, you’d feel overwhelmed and frustrated. This is a daily struggle for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.


The anxiety and agitation that can come with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be profoundly devastating — which is why Good Samaritan Society – Le Mars is working so hard to combat them and make residents feel more comfortable in their surroundings.


The center created a sensory room, specially catered to help soothe and calm those living in the memory care Cottage Center.


The sensory room works on the senses through soothing lights and music, aromatherapy, textured items, weighted blankets that give the sensation of being swaddled or hugged, an electric fireplace, and comfortable furniture like bean bags, recliners and soft couches.


Several residents visit the sensory room every day. The room’s benefits are helping to reduce agitation in residents needing a space to find calm and quiet, and providing residents and families a place to minimize the effects of agitation.


“We’re trying to make life a little easier for those who need memory care, and for their family members, by trying to help residents function to the best of their ability.


“We offer an environment that promotes safety, with familiar routines and activities,” says staff member Amy Harnack.


“Our staff members really get to know residents and their family members in order to deliver personalized care.”


The center’s efforts were recently recognized by the Iowa Health Care Association.


The organization bestowed its Quality Program Award for Quality Care to the center for its Cottage Center sensory room.


“This award shows we go above and beyond the normal scope of care to try to provide a serene environment for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related disorders,” Amy says.


“It’s the kind of quality, innovative and compassionate care people can expect at Good Samaritan Society – Le Mars.”

About Alzheimer’s

  • Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 5.4 million Americans, including one in eight older adults.
  • Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death among all ages.
  • It’s the fifth-leading cause of death for those 65 and older.
  • There is no known cause, cure or prevention for Alzheimer’s.
  • Establishing a simple, familiar routine in calm surroundings can help those with Alzheimer’s feel more comfortable and at ease.
  • Opportunities for exercise, games, storytelling and favorite hobbies can help spark memories.
  • Additional resources and information about Alzheimer’s disease can be found on the Alzheimer’s Association website, alz.org.


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Center news highlights

Dec 10, 2014

Click the video to watch Ruth's story


(Loveland, Colorado) – Exercise means everything to Loveland Village resident Ruth Reeser.


"I go to Floor fitness on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays," she says, "Tai Chi on  Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. I go to seated movement Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, strength training Tuesdays and Thursdays; and circuit training on Wednesday and Balance 2 on Tuesdays and Saturdays. That’s 14 a week. That’s what I do for a hobby."


Eighty-eight year old Ruth Reeser’s health is her hobby. Just three years ago, after spending years caring for her husband and becoming dependent on a walker, Ruth had to, in her own words, “re-invent herself.” By the spring of 2014, Ruth had transformed herself and the walker was long gone.


What seemed incredible six months ago has become almost routine for Ruth in Wellness Manager Jeff Finer’s fitness classes.


Planks are now a starting point. Ruth moves from those, to these crab walks, to mountain climbers, to something called “bird dog extensions” that test her strength and balance even further. Some of this growth comes from hard work. Some comes from a setback May 6, in a class just like this.


"I fell while I was exercising, while I was floor exercising," Ruth explains. "I got up in a hurry and moved too fast and hooked my foot underneath a mat and went down."


She was on the floor. She rose up from the floor without her chair, and caught her foot on the mat.


The fall left Ruth with a broken hip, but there was only one word to describe her recovery.


"Startling…nobody…I mean…I’ve never seen anything like it," says Jeff. "I don’t think anyone has seen anything like it."



Eighty-eight year old Ruth Reeser’s health is her hobby. Just three years ago, after spending years caring for her husband and becoming dependent on a walker, Ruth had to, in her own words, “re-invent herself.” By the spring of 2014, Ruth had transformed herself and the walker was long gone.




"I was in the hospital two days and they decided they couldn’t keep me anymore," says Ruth. "They put me in rehab for four days and they decided they couldn’t keep me there anymore."


"People ask, 'you were home in six days?' Yes, and I have a replacement hip, uh huh."


"They said it was a new record. It’s because I had all these exercise programs before, I’m sure. Built up my muscles and bones."


"I think that’s a body, mind, spirit question too," says Jeff.


"I think Ruth is engaged, extremely engaged. Her general conditioning is really, really high. So she can sustain a trauma like that and come back from it. She wanted back in that class before I wanted her back. I was uncomfortable with her being there. But I didn’t argue with her doctors, and we just set some parameters and said some of these moves are dangerous right now. You know that will all come in time."

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Center news highlights

Dec 03, 2014

Among those at a recent packing event for Kids Against Hunger were 13 Hastings Village residents, 11 staff members and 15 Hastings College students.


(Hastings, Nebraska) – Ninety minutes and 23 cents might not seem like much in the fight against hunger.


But with the help of Good Samaritan Society – Hastings Village residents and staff members and student volunteers, 90 minutes was enough time to pack nearly 15,000 23-cent meals for Kids against Hunger of Hastings.


Kids Against Hunger of Hastings works to feed families around the world and around the corner. Facilitated by the local Kiwanis Club since 2008, Kids Against Hunger of Hastings has packed almost half a million meals in 2014 alone and hopes to reach the three million mark by the end of the year.

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Center news highlights

Dec 01, 2014

Click the video to watch our "elves" at work.


The finished product of a recent crafting session now hangs on a Christmas tree.

(Estes Park, Colorado) - Every year, residents at Good Samaritan Society — Estes Park Village enjoy rolling up their sleeves and getting into the holiday spirit.


In the center's workshop, you'll find residents making toys and creating ornaments for the center's Christmas tree.


The scent of freshly cut wood and the sight of the toys paired with children's smiles definitely make this a joyful time of year for the woodworkers.




Resident John Nydegger: Right now, we’re working on gingerbread men for the Christmas tree that’ll be here in the main dining room, or the assisted center.  We cut ‘em out of wood and she’s going to have someone stain them, or paint them.

Good Samaritan Society Estes Park Activities Director Carey Stevanus: We have a 12-foot Christmas tree and so you can’t really use small ornaments on it.

Resident Charles Stalfort: We work on Christmas projects all year long. Bright Christmas is the organization here in town that we make the toys for.

Carey: They make the toys down here throughout the year, and we donate them, they separate them, and give them to all the kids.

Charles: I guess you can see on the shelf here we make everything from Kleenex birdhouses to fire engines to dump trucks.

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Center news highlights

Nov 28, 2014

(St. Francis, Kansas) – Financial assistance from Good Samaritan Society – Cheyenne County is giving an Asian nation a foster care resource for its most vulnerable children. 


The Marvorid Family Support Centre opened in September 2014 in Khujand, Tajikistan, with help from a grant provided through the Good Samaritan Society’s Social Accountability program.  


The center is a step in transforming Tajikistan’s “baby homes” into community-based care hubs. The center offers supportive services to prevent children from entering institutional care.


Center services include: 


  • Parenting advice and education
  • Rehabilitation programs for disabled children
  • Work to generate income
  • Foster care


Tajikistan’s “baby homes” are orphanages that house up to 300 children age 6 and younger. It’s estimated that up to 30 percent of these children have a disability.

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