Pella Chronicle

Local News

July 26, 2013

Pella older adults embrace vacation adventure

Pella —

Residents of Hearthstone’s Jefferson Place and Fair Haven East communities enjoyed a rare travel opportunity earlier this summer. They journeyed by bus from Pella to Decorah in northeast Iowa for a three-day, two-night vacation, reminding team members, residents and their families that getting older doesn’t mean you have to give up the adventure of and passion for traveling.
Hearthstone, A Ministry of WesleyLife, has hosted frequent day trips for older adults in the past, but this was the first overnight expedition to a distant destination. Five Hearthstone residents and four team members were joined on the trip by residents and staff from Heritage House, a WesleyLife community, in Atlantic, Iowa. 
Some of the Hearthstone residents decided to make the trip despite some initial concerns about how easily they could travel. By the time they returned from Decorah, the residents realized that even as they grow older, those enriching experiences are still possible and enjoyable.
“A three-day trip like this is almost unheard of in our field,” said Natasha Nikkel, Wellness Director at Hearthstone. “It’s important to offer opportunities like this trip to our residents because we’re focusing on abilities and encouraging them to live life to the fullest.”
“At first,” Nikkel added, “many of the residents and their loved ones doubted the residents could manage the trip. But after hearing how much the five residents enjoyed it, we have more residents considering participating next year.”
The trip also helped the Hearthstone staff to gain insight into the dynamics of older adults living in small households with team members, Nikkel said. This knowledge, she added, will prove helpful later this year when Hearthstone opens The Cottages, an innovative community of small households designed to redefine the meaning of home but emphasizing healthy living and supporting the independence of older adults. 

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