- 2018 Posts
- Caregiver Specialist Heather Resnick on Caregiver Support
- Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
- Center Launches North Shore Senior Options
- On Blindness, Alzheimer's and Love
- Shared Vision: Winnetka Congregational Church Woman's Society Benevolence Committee
- Protecting Seniors and Adults with Disabilities: Adult Protective Services
- A Jack of All Trades: Al Davis
- Family Tradition: Gone Fishin'
- Dedicated Volunteer: Fern Kamen
- Generous Soul: Mitchell Slotnick
- Assessing the Older Adult Members of your Family
- Giving Back: Fay Goldblatt
- Adult Protective Services (APS) Program Benefits from Shamrock Shindig
- Humble Beginnings: Bobbi Halloran
+ 2017 Posts
- Arts and Crafts at the Center
- #GivingTuesday at North Shore Senior Center
- Leisure Time Well Spent - Daytrips at the Center
- New Advisory Council Formed
- Playreading with Vivian Mitchel
- North Shore Senior Center's Foundation Board
- Wills vs. Trusts
- Joan Golder Distinguished Senior Lecture Series showcased actor Mike Nussbaum
- 20/20 Corporate Campaign
- Functional Fitness: Training for Everyday Life
- Benefits of Pet Therapy for People with Memory Loss
- Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Benefit from Oktoberfest
- Small Screen Big Stars: Oh What a Night!
- Sharing a Common Thread
- Helping You Make Informed Choices for Care
- 2017 Janet Burgoon Philanthropic Excellence Award for Distinguished Community Partner
- 2017 Janet Burgoon Philanthropic Excellence Award for Dedicated Corporation
- 2017 Janet Burgoon Philanthropic Excellence Award for Outstanding Philanthropist
- Special Needs Trusts
- Gifts in Kind Increase the Center's Impact
- Enrich your Life with Lifelong Learning
- A Little TLC Goes a Long Way
- PEARLS: Reducing Symptoms of Depression Home-based Counseling Services Available
- Big Stars to Chair Annual Benefit
- Evanston Community Foundation
- Million Dollar Round Table Foundation
- Super Senior Day
- New Physical Therapy Services Now Available at North Shore Senior Center!
- Stroke Prevention Tips
- Why Powers of Attorney are Important to You!
- Get Expert Help with Your Tax Returns
- North Shore Senior Center Awarded Gold Status for Philanthropic Efforts
- Fitness as a Goal for Life
- Men's Club Offers Unique Programs to Community
- Spread the Love at North Shore Senior Center
- Jean Griswold Foundation supports House of Welcome Adult Day Services
- "I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for people." - Maya Angelou
- "A true hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart." - Zeus from Hercules
- Winter Safety and Health Tips
- "A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." - Joseph Campbell
- A Granddaughter's Love for her Grandmother
- Six Things to Consider Before Making Gifts to Grandchildren
- Lending Closet for Durable Medical Equipment at North Shore Senior Center
- Seniors Can Save Lives by Donating Blood
+ 2016 Posts
- Lifelong Learning Catalog Wins International Award for Best Brochure
- Life Stories are Gifts that Keep on Giving
- Visiting Aging Parents During the Holidays
- Edna Weber Garden of Light Wing at the House of Welcome
- Learn More About What Makes This World Tick
- 60 Years of Service: Advocacy
- 60 Years of Service: Compassion
- Myrna and John Cruikshank, III: Steady and Committed Philanthropists
- Kenilworth United Fund: Longstanding, Civic-Minded Community Partner
- Radford Green at Sedgebrook: Dedicated Corporation and Vested Supporter
- Simple Tips to Improve Your Balance
- 60 Years of Service: Creativity
- Daily Money Management Fosters Peace of Mind
- Opportunities for Learning, Exploring, and Connecting
- The Edna Weber "Garden of Light" Wing
- Protecting Vulnerable Seniors: Adult Protective Services Promotes Quality of Life
- Top Ten Reasons Why Older Adults Continue to Work
- Super Seniors We Admire!
- Scams and Fraud: Protect Yourself
- The State's Devastating Impact on Our Budget
- North Shore Senior Center Southern Hub Moves to Niles
- Alzheimer's Family Support Group
- Evanston Support Group for Family Caregivers
- Family Caregiver Support Group in Skokie
+ 2015 Posts
- Music + Dance + Dialogue = A Musical!
- Flex and Strengthen Your Muscles
- Generous & Caring Corporate Citizen
- More Than Service and Fellowship
- Art Gallery a "Hidden Gem" at North Shore Senior Center
- Sound Off on Hearing Loss
- Making Sense of American Poltics
- Fitness Center Enhances More Than Muscle Strength
- Virtual View of Art: From the Basics to Specialties
- Social Connections are a Key to Successful Aging
- North Shore Senior Center Celebrates Super Seniors!
- Super Senior Spotlight
- What is a Senior Center?
- MDRT Foundation Aids Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program
- Social Worker Reaches Out to Seniors in Need
- How to Achieve Your Healthiest Brain Yet
- AmazonSmile: Your Online Shopping Can Help NSSC!
+ 2014 Posts
Benefits of Pet Therapy for People with Memory LossOctober 11, 2017
By Amy Krause
Walter saunters into the House of Welcome (HOW) Adult Day Services day program on a sunny Tuesday afternoon totally at ease. He’s been here before, and he knows he’s got a job to do.
“Walter is happy to be here. He’s been waiting all day for this,” announces Walter’s human, Mike Melinger, to the room full of folks who are living with memory loss. They are participants of the day program which consists of structured, therapeutic, small-group activities that foster socialization and friendships.
As Walter slowly makes his way around the circle, participants reach out to pat his head and stroke his back. Mike uses treats to lure Walter from person to person, encouraging him to “shake” and gently joking that he won’t bite unless you’re a Packer fan. Smiles fill the faces of participants as they make eye contact with Walter and pat his furry head. Mike explains that Walter is named after Chicago Bears great Walter Payton. This prompts participants to reminisce about their past pets, sharing stories with the group.
Mike and Walter, an 11-year-old pet therapy-certified Goldendoodle, have been making visits to the day program for the past eight years. Their involvement is very personal. “My in-laws both spent time here at HOW and had wonderful experiences. At the same time, Walter demonstrated so many qualities of a therapy dog—calm, attentive, obedient, interactive and friendly—so it was a natural fit to offer Walter for pet therapy,” said Mike, who owns three Home Instead locations (Park Ridge, Skokie and Chicago) with his wife, Jackie. A long-time sponsor of the Center’s annual benefit, Home Instead provides in-home care services to aging adults and their families, ranging from homemaker and personal care services to hospice care support. It helps meet a variety of care needs related to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, depression and other conditions associated with aging, setting the tone for a natural partnership with North Shore Senior Center.
Researchers have long suggested that pets are good for us, offering health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and heart rate, reducing the stress hormone cortisol, and boosting levels of the feel-good hormone, serotonin. Director of House of Welcome Adult Day Services Cynthia Phon, LCSW, concurs with the research done on the benefits of pet therapy. “I see it every time we have a therapy dog visit—participants are joyful and have a great time interacting with the dogs and reminiscing about their past pets. And, on a clinical level, the therapy dogs provide sensory stimulation and promote socialization.”
Besides visiting participants of the day program, Mike and Walter also visit seniors in their homes and at nursing homes, and they participate in healthcare fairs. “When Walter comes around and does his thing, people interact with him, they laugh, and they share stories about their own current and past pets,” Mike said. “I’m not sure who gets more out of our visits—me or the participants.” He explained how running a business, no matter how fulfilling, is like running on a hamster wheel. Coming to HOW with Walter “gets me off the hamster wheel for a while and is a great use of Walter’s time.” After being attentive, interactive, calm and obedient for the 30 or so minutes they are visiting, Walter is mentally exhausted. This canine celebrity, who has his own Facebook page, can go home knowing that he’s had a successful day of work.