Ovation’s Healthcare Team Supports Community’s Needs From Medicine to Daily Life

Medical directors Dr. Raul Mateo and Dr. Nancy Reeder are a critical part of Ovation Jewish Home’s interdisciplinary medical care team, working alongside with the nursing department, led by Director of Nursing Laura Bauer. We recently sat down with Dr. Mateo and Dr. Reeder to learn more about what makes this partnership so successful.

Q: How is Ovation’s medical team structured to support resident care?

Dr. Mateo: Our responsibility as medical directors is to oversee and implement the high quality of care that is needed at a senior living community like Ovation. It really goes far beyond the two of us and takes the entire nursing team to complement and fulfill what we do. We wouldn’t be able to do it without Laura and the rest of the nursing team.

Q: How did you get started in this profession and what brought you to Ovation?

Dr. Mateo: I started my career in family medicine and quickly fell in love with geriatrics and pursued it as a specialty. Nita Corre asked me to fill in temporarily at the Jewish Home when the last medical director retired, and I’ve stayed for 30 years! I immediately felt part of the community and loved the way it ran; I just never left.

Dr. Reeder: My background is in internal medicine and my interest in geriatrics was sparked when a friend and I cared for a 92-year-old neighbor. I realized that at any age, if you get the right support from your medical team and community, you can have a good life. Dr. Mateo and I became acquainted through Milwaukee’s medical community and several professional groups. I’ve always looked up to him as a mentor, and I’ve enjoyed working alongside him as part of Ovation’s team for the past 15 years.

Q: It’s unique to have two medical directors on staff. Tell us a bit about that.

Drs. Mateo and Reeder: We’re both certified medical directors, which is rare in the field, and actively involved with the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. We’re lucky to be able to work together to support each other and Ovation’s residents.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working with Ovation?

Dr. Mateo: The satisfaction I get from caring for the residents. You really get to know them, and they become part of your family and part of your life. Just spending time listening or having dinner together sometimes does more for a person’s overall wellbeing than any medicine I could prescribe. It gives me a real sense of happiness. Also knowing the staff are so united, work so well together and support each other is very satisfying. Every time I leave Ovation I feel like a part of me stays behind.

Dr. Reeder: Walking into Ovation is just like coming home. Engaging with residents and hearing about their days and their lives adds a whole other dimension. I’m always struck by Ovation as being the most enjoyable place to do what I’m doing. Everyone on the team strives to do their very best and I’m always confident the residents are well cared for.

  • June 23, 2022

Helen Bader Center Set for CBRF Renovation

Committed to providing residents with a full continuum of care options, Ovation Communities staff prides itself on clinical excellence and offering the best care possible. To further extend that continuum of care, Ovation Communities will be opening a Community-Based Residential Facility (CBRF) in the summer of 2022. The Helen Bader Center, on second floor of the Jewish Home, will be transformed to take care of 16 adults facing memory issues.

“We have an opportunity to introduce a service to the community that we previously haven’t had — an assisted living environment for those living with Alzheimer’s,” said Michael Sattell, Ovation Communities President and CEO. “The CBRF allows us to honor and elevate the memory and vision of Helen Bader.”

 

A substantial rebuild of the Helen Bader Center will feature enlarged community spaces, larger apartments, new bathrooms, and a new solarium overlooking Prospect Avenue. Designed by Zimmerman Architectural Studios, construction is set to last throughout the winter of 2022.

“By providing an outstanding environment, and reintroducing Monya’s Rooftop Patio Garden that overlooks Lake Michigan, the new CBRF will allow our loved ones living with Alzheimer’s to experience sensory stimulation in the arts, music, and other programming,” Sattell said.

GENEROUS ART DONATION
In addition to enhanced programming and functionality of the space, a generous donation of fine art from the estate of Rita Seitner will be adding to the overall beauty of the CBRF.

“Rita Seitner was a remarkable woman, entrepreneur, and collector of fine art,” said Tanya Mazor-Posner, Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation Vice President of Development. “She loved art made by Jewish artists. In the collection there are pieces by Itzchak Tarkay and Bracha Guy. “Rita’s parents were residents of Ovation Communities, and one of her desires was to one day move into Chai Point. Unfortunately, she never had the opportunity,” Mazor-Posner continued.

For a short time, Rita was a rehab patient at the Jewish Home and saw first-hand the care and compassion staff have for residents.

“Rita had a deep passion and cared so much about our mission and caring for members of the community,” Mazor-Posner said. “This gift is a beautiful gesture of love, and Rita’s way of fusing her home and her second home of Ovation.”

  • March 8, 2022

Elevated Dining Experiences Coming to Ovation

In 2022 Ovation Communities is undertaking several projects to elevate the dining experience in both the Jewish Home and Chai Point. With a focus on wellness, food quality, and enhanced experiences, residents can expect to see many positive changes throughout the year.

Part of the refresh includes a new partnership with NexDine Hospitality to lead the operations and management of the overall dining service program. NexDine is an industry leader known for their mission-based approach and commitment to excellent quality and service. Residents and visitors will enjoy a new customized dining program tailored to the Ovation community, featuring fresh ingredients and made from-scratch cooking, accompanied by unique restaurant style dining options.

In addition, the Chai Point kitchen is being completely renovated to better serve residents. When it was first built nearly 30 years ago, the kitchen was mainly envisioned as a space for warmup and heating. The renovation will more than double the size of the kitchen allowing for improved workflow, dedicated meat, dairy and parve areas, and top of the line new appliances.

“We know how important it is to make daily life purposeful and enjoyable for our residents, and food is a huge part of that,” said Tricia Cohn, Ovation Chai Point Executive Director. “Everyone is excited to experience the restaurant like dining, wider variety of food options, and choices that support better nutrition and wellness.”

The new space is expected to be complete this summer. In the meantime, Chai Point residents are enjoying dining in beautiful Rubenstein Pavilion, overlooking Lake Michigan.

  • March 8, 2022

Touch Points – A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello Friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I am trying to approach each day with a grateful heart. Did you know that social science research outlines how giving thanks and practicing gratitude can benefit us? Gratitude can increase our sense of balance and calm, enhance optimism, help us cope with stress, and improve our physical well-being. It is incredible that simple, appreciative thoughts can make a huge impact!

Sometimes, feeling a sense of gratitude is easy, and in more challenging times, like now, we may need to search for this optimistic outlook. However, all of us have something to be thankful for.  So, let’s get inspired, and start living life with a grateful heart. This “Touch Points” focuses on the importance of cultivating gratitude, how gratitude has the ability to make us happier and healthier, and a variety of ways to incorporate this practice into our lives.  For my friends caring for a loved-one with memory loss, most of the suggestions can be easily adapted. I hope you will find ways to personalize the techniques and make them work for your family. This is not one size fits all, so read the suggestions below and see what resonates. Commit to one or two techniques, and notice how your outlooks feels lighter and brighter!

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” -Oprah Winfrey

     1.Ways to Cultivate the Habit of Grateful Thinking

  • Start by paying attention and being mindful of your daily blessings. Be aware of little things each day that you are grateful for. There are simple things that might come to mind, so challenge yourself to find one new appreciation each day. There is nothing too small to be grateful for. For example, I was grateful that we had oatmeal and brown sugar in the house; that is exactly what I wanted to eat!
    • Make the practice of gratitude social– Try to think about another person and why you are grateful. What has that person said or done to enrich your life or make it easier? Then, if you are able, share these warm feelings with the person.  You might talk about your appreciation during a meal, Facetime call, phone call or a letter. This moment can facilitate a beautiful, loving connection.
    • Find gratitude even during the challenging times. I think a pandemic certainly counts as a challenge! Don’t you?! So, even now, try to be aware of what you are grateful for. Daily, I am grateful for snuggles from my tiny, old dog, Maggie. What are you grateful for?
    • Keep a daily gratitude journal or list– Get in the habit of expressing your gratitude daily. In the morning when you wake up, or before you go to bed, write a list of five things you are grateful for. Try this with your loved-one. Once you have a few entries, enjoy spending moments reading them again. I guarantee you will smile.
    • Say grace after meals.- In Judaism, we say “Birkat Hamazon” to give thanks to G-d for our food and for the nourishment. Let us also give thanks to the people making our meals. We are all blessed to have a full belly. AMEN!

If your belly is full, then find a way to help people that are not as fortunate.  Show your gratitude through tzedukah or charity. Many people in Milwaukee are “food insecure” and do not have enough to eat.  The Milwaukee Jewish Pantry, is a Jewish response to hunger in our city. Click here to learn more and to donate to this worthy cause. https://www.jccmilwaukee.org/programs/community/jewish-community-pantry/

    • Take a gratitude stroll– Go for a walk and notice all the things you are grateful for. It is healthy for us to get out of the house, even for a little while. If you can, bundle up and take a walk, and if it’s too difficult, then sit outside. Use all your senses. Feel the sun on your face, feel the wind in your hair, and hear the leaves rustling. What a glorious experience; savor this moment.
    • Try a gratitude breathing exercise– Before we start, think of one or two things you are grateful for and keep them in your mind. Get comfortable in a chair with arms and close your eyes. Put your hand on your heart, and be mindful of the moment. As you breathe in through your nose, think about a moment in your life you are deeply grateful for or something you cherish. Hold it for a few seconds, breathe it in, and feel it. Then breathe out through your mouth. Try this a few times and feel the grace in this moment. (Only do the exercise two times so you don’t feel light-headed.)

“There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.” (-Ralph H. Blum)

     2. Try “Grateful” Brain Health Exercises-

Regular mental fitness can help your cognition. Have fun with these inspirational exercises. Complete by yourself, and then share with a loved-one. Notice how your happiness grows with a grateful perspective.

  • List people in your life you are grateful for, and why? Write what you like about them.
  • Name your favorite experience this past year, and describe why it was so memorable.
  • Describe a favorite smell that always makes you smile. What about a sound, sight, or sensation? For me, my favorite smell is chicken soup. Even though I am vegetarian, I still love the smell of chicken soup. It reminds me of my Yiddishe Grandma Mildred’s giant pot of simmering chicken soup, and family gatherings. It feels like a warm hug, unconditional love and my beautiful, large family. (Picture the movie- My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but everyone is Jewish, eating chicken soup. That’s my family. 😊)
  • Describe something weird or random that brings you joy. (This is my favorite question! I can’t wait to hear what you said!)

“Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.” -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

     3. Watch the Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s “Museum Moment”-

In 1790, George Washington wrote a letter to the congregation of Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island. In this letter, he indicates that Jews and all members of minority religions will be able to practice freely in the new United States. This Museum Moment explores the history of Washington’s letter and its importance to American Jews.  In thinking about gratitude at this time of Thanksgiving, consider the way in which Jewish identity and American identity are connected. Learn more – watch this 26 minute video:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XgVSf31HPk

     4. Be Safe- Get a COVID-19 Vaccine Today!-  In the Spirit of Gratitude, I am SO Grateful for the Covid-19 Vaccine!

The COVID-19 Vaccine and the COVID-19 booster shots are available. I strongly urge you to get a Covid-19 vaccine. Are you and everyone you love vaccinated?  If not, please get vaccinated today!  Do it for yourself, your family, and your community.

  • Click here to find a vaccine near you: https://www.vaccines.gov/   Many locations offer same day and walk-in appointments.
  • Who is eligible for a Covid-19 Vaccine booster shot? https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html
  • In-home vaccinations are available!  Simply call (414) 286-6800 to schedule. Do you have difficulty leaving your home, live in Milwaukee County, and have trouble accessing the support needed to get the COVID-19 Vaccine? No problem! Call for an appointment.
  • Do you have questions or feel hesitant?  There are many ways to find the answers you need. Call and speak to an expert or click on the websites below. Have your questions answered and then make an appointment today.
  1. Click here for more information from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/
  2. Check out The City of Milwaukee Health Department website:  https://city.milwaukee.gov/CovidVax
  3. Call the State Hotline:  1-844-684-1064

“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” -Rabbi Harold Kushner

I would love to hear what you enjoyed, and what practices you are incorporating into your life. Have you felt more optimism and light?  Gratitude is a powerful tool that allows our hearts to link to others in love and in peace. Thank you for adding beauty and meaning in my world. I am grateful for each of you.

As always, if you have a question about memory loss, our programs, community resources or caregiving- I am here for you, and happy to help. Please do not hesitate to contact me. You can find me here: DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

  • November 16, 2021

Touch Points – A Spark of Light with Dana

 

Hello Friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) are built-in markers to help us pause and reflect. This year, Yom Kippur begins at sunset on September 15 and ends at sundown on September 16.  During this time, we turn inward. We push ourselves to look back over the past year, ask for forgiveness and open ourselves up to the possibilities in the year to come. For many of us, each year there is a similarity to the approach; we are guided by our teachings. Still, we each are moved by different things. What helps you move toward goodness and peace? My “neshamah” (the Jewish notion of the soul) is sparked when I dig a little deeper to find the symbolism and meaning behind our customs, or I enhance reflection with beautiful music or other meaningful words.  This intentional combination pushes my heart and soul in the right direction as I strive “to do better and be better.”

For many of us, this year will be different. Some individuals may be comfortable attending in-person synagogue-based services (with a mask please), while others prefer a home-based holiday. Whatever you choose is perfectly okay; we can find contemplation and spiritual renewal in either location. Do not allow the physical distance to become a barrier to your introspection.   Reflect and connect with yourself, friends and loved ones, and G-d.  I hope this Touch Points will remind you of the beautiful symbolism behind our traditions, and provide additional ways to augment the holiday with musical links and inspiration.  With a little thought and intention, this time will be sacred and special.

CUSTOMS AND A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING DURING YOM KIPPUR:

  1. Teshuvah– This is one of the central aspects of the Holidays. Teshuvah literally means to return.

Honestly look back over the past year and assess your actions. Find the courage to accept your faults and transgressions, and strive to be better in the coming year.  This can be a transformative journey. Rabbi Sara Sapadin says, “Teshuvah is not about concealing our imperfections, it is about facing them.” Interestingly, there is a Teshuva “formula.” In order to change or “turn back” to your best self, follow these steps: recognize the wrong or error, take responsibility for your action/behavior, feel and express regret, apologize and ask for forgiveness (this could be to yourself, other people, or G-d), and plan on how you will improve and change the behavior in the future. Author Estelle Frankel says, “Through Teshuva we always have the power and freedom to begin anew so that our past need not determine our future.”

One way I enhance my intention when reflecting is by listening to inspiring music. The prayer Avinu Malkeinu is recited on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This is an extremely powerful prayer. Click below to hear Barbra Streisand sing this undeniably gorgeous Avinu Malkeinu (4 minutes).  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YONAP39jVE&app=desktop

“Nobody’s perfect.  We make mistakes. We say wrong things. We do wrong things. We fall. We get up. We learn. We grow. We move on. We live.” -unknown

2. Forgiveness   Rabbi Leah Berkowitz discusses the blessing of a genuine apology- both given and received. What makes a good apology? Rabbi Berkowitz states, “It is important to find the right words to tell people we have hurt, that we are sorry.” Be kind to yourself and to each other- offer amends and accept forgiveness. A sincere apology is a sign of strength. I hope we can all find insight to let go of anger and resentment, and find peace. Only then, we will stand in the light.

“Forgiveness is the best form of love. It takes a strong person to say sorry and an even stronger person to forgive.” -unknown

3. Remember Those we Have Lost– The Yizkor liturgy on Yom Kippur gives us time to reflect and remember our loved ones that are departed. Thinking of their admired qualities and reflecting on their lives brings a sense of closeness and connection. It also elevates our own perspective and meaning for the High Holidays. In my family, following services, we often share the warm memories of a loved one that has passed away. Even though my eyes fill with tears, my heart fills with so much love and gratitude to have had them in my life. May their memories continue to be a blessing.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” -Winnie the Pooh

4. Shofar The Shofar is a musical instrument made of a ram’s horn. Traditionally, the shofar is blown throughout the Hebrew month of Elul and during the High Holidays. Rabbi Ilana Schachter says that “Blowing the shofar can shake us from complacency, and can wake us up from a spiritual slumber. The sound of the shofar reminds us of important spiritual work we have yet to do.” I pray the sound of the shofar awakens us personally, and as a society. Let us acknowledge where we fell short, and how we will do more in the coming year to promote love, kindness and compassion. Amen!

5. Prayer- Our synagogues are doing everything possible to stay close and reach us during this atypical time. Each synagogue has its own plan for health and safety. What is your plan for Yom Kippur? If it’s your practice, you might choose a synagogue that offers services virtually. A variety of Milwaukee synagogues offer High Holiday Zoom links.

G-d hears our voices everywhere. If you aren’t able or comfortable praying in person or virtually, find your own way to speak to G-d. Share your mind and heart. Personally, there have been a few years I have been unable to attend services. Instead, I took out our prayer book and read the entire service at home by myself; I focused on pieces that had the most meaning to me. The stillness and the silence in our home added to my kavanah, or intention.  This challenging year may be an wonderful opportunity to reach a new direction of the heart.

  • Consider expanding your prayers this year. Pray for the doctors, nurses, and essential workers that provide care and services to help us all. We cannot forget or underestimate how difficult their jobs are. Pray to keep them safe, bring them comfort and send them additional strength to do their good work.
  • Let us all send heartfelt “Mi Shebeirach” prayers (healing prayers) for those that are sick with Covid or to those that have lost people from this pandemic. Covid-19 is felt all over the world, and many people need our prayers.
  • Click here for Debbie Friedman’s “Mi Shebeirach– A Prayer for Healing”-  Debbie Friedman – Mi Shebeirach (2001) – Bing video

 

“…As You maintain harmony in the heavens, give peace to us, the whole Jewish People, and to all who dwell on earth. Amen.”
Mahzor Lev Shalem

 6. Be Safe- Please Get a COVID-19 Vaccine Today!-  The FDA granted full approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine. I strongly urge you to get a Covid-19 vaccine! The Covid virus has mutated, becoming stronger with the very contagious Delta Variant.  Are you and everyone you love vaccinated?  If not, please get vaccinated today!  Do it for yourself, your family, and your community. Information below:

  • Click here to find a vaccine near you: https://www.vaccines.gov/   Many locations offer same day and walk-in appointments.
  • In-home vaccinations are available!  Simply call (414) 286-6800 to schedule. Do you have difficulty leaving your home, live in Milwaukee County, and have trouble accessing the support needed to get the COVID-19 Vaccine? No problem! Appointments are usually scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays between 9am-2pm.  Please share this important number with those that need it.
  • Do you have questions or feel hesitant?  There are many ways to find the answers you need. Call and speak to an expert or click on the websites below. Have your questions answered and then make an appointment today.
    1. Click here for more information from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/
    2. Check out The City of Milwaukee Health Department website:  https://city.milwaukee.gov/CovidVax
    3. Call the State Hotline:  1-844-684-1064.

Wishing everyone a meaningful Yom Kippur. May you be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a good year.

As always, if you have a question, I am here for you, and happy to help. You can find me here: DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

  • September 13, 2021