The Stories of Holy Spirit
Siouxlander stays on par after hip injury
Her philosophy is “because I can.” The motto explains a lot about what drives Annetta Weihe.
An avid golfer, Bunco enthusiast, mother to six and grandmother to many more, Annetta rarely has free time. When a serious injury threatened to sideline her from the activities she enjoys, Annetta overcame the obstacle with her “can do” philosophy…and a little help from friends at Holy Spirit Retirement Home.
Annetta was looking forward to a night with friends last November. As luck would have it, her friend Mary Hildman, Activities Director at Holy Spirit, had offered to drive Annetta over to their friend’s house for an evening of Bunco. Running out of her front door, Annetta’s foot became tangled in a dog leash, and she fell.
As Annetta pulled herself up, she quickly realized that something was seriously wrong. With no control of her right leg, Annetta cried for help and Mary, who had just driven up to pick up Annetta, called 911.
At the hospital, Annetta’s worst fears were confirmed. At nearly 80 years young, she had broken her hip.
“My leg was almost like a string puppet. I could swing it back and forth, so I knew there was something really wrong,” recalls Annetta. “They performed surgery, and two days later, I was ready to be discharged. Unfortunately, I still needed help at that point and didn’t know where to go.”
That’s when Mary Hildman stepped in. Holy Spirit was just opening the new South addition Mary told her. Annetta could be discharged to Holy Spirit for rehab before going home.
Soon after, Annetta became the first-ever resident in room 715.
“Everyone was wonderful. From my physical therapists to Father Meinen, everyone treated me so well. The help was tremendous. In particular, I don’t know what I would have done without Wendy and Mindy,” says Annetta.
In the spirit of staying active, Annetta also attended daily Mass. And, she enjoyed visits from her friend Mary.
“I would have never guessed that I’d wind up in a nursing home. Mary was persistent that Holy Spirit would be the best place for my recovery,” adds Annetta who lives just blocks away from Holy Spirit. “During my stay, there were several times when I thought about walking home, but something kept me at Holy Spirit. In the end, Mary was right. It was the best place for me at that time.”
Amazingly, only weeks after her injury, Annetta was well enough to return home. In pure Annetta fashion, she didn’t stay home for long. Looking to escape the cold Midwestern winter, she packed her bags and boarded a plane for Phoenix where she continued her physical therapy.
Today, the Siouxlander is back to enjoying life. In between lawn work and fun nights with the gals playing Bunco, much of Annetta’s time is on the golf course. This year, she belongs to two women’s leagues.
For someone with two hole-in-one trophies, the course is truly Annetta’s happy place.
“My family always tells me I need to take it easy,” says Annetta. “I’m quick to remind them that I want to stay busy, and I do stay busy…because I can.”
"Where everyone knows our name"
A sense of family.
Years after her dad stayed at Holy Spirit, that's still what Margaret Bisson remembers about the retirement community. The Siouxlander and her husband Richard recall the comforting feeling they received when they first stepped foot into Holy Spirit.
"Everyone treated us with so much respect and dignity," says Margaret. "It was truly like going into your own neighborhood, where everyone knows your name."
That included Holy Spirit's group of Sisters.
"The Sisters are like little angels," says Richard. "They carry peace and comfort to the rest of the facility and to other staff. I was always amazed how they could remember everyone's names. Even now, years later, they still recognize us and call us by our names."
It is likely one of the reasons why Margaret's father, who came to Holy Spirit after rehab, quickly became attached to the assisted living facility.
"Holy Spirit was my dad's home. When we would pick him up for an outing, he would say 'take me home' in reference to Holy Spirit. This place and the people here became our family," adds Margaret.
One “sweet” couple
Every neighborhood has something special, something that makes it unique. At Holy Spirit, it’s the weekly treats that arrive courtesy of one Holy Spirit family.
For the past three years, Butch and Sandy Langhoff have made life at Holy Spirit a little sweeter with their visits to the retirement community. Each week, the Riverside couple arrives armed with a huge bag of mouth-watering chocolate candy. Much to the delight of staff and residents, Butch and Sandy walk the floors, opening their candy bag and encouraging those around them to treat themselves. For some individuals, one Hershey’s Kiss will do; for others, several pieces of chocolate are the perfect reward after a stressful day.
The Langhoffs’ started bringing in candy after seeing the enjoyment that a simple piece of chocolate brought to Sandy’s mom, a resident in Holy Spirit’s nursing home, and those directly caring for her. Before the end of his visits with her mom, Sandy’s stepdad would give his wife and her nurse Hershey’s Kisses. Ruth and her nurse looked forward to the chocolate treats so much that, over time, Butch and Sandy decided to start treating all of Holy Spirit’s staff, residents and visitors to a little chocolate snack.
“Chocolate fixes everything,” says Butch, who can list off many employees' favorite types of chocolate. “It’s nice to be able to give back something to the nursing staff who is providing such good care to our family.”
Sandy agrees, adding that the reaction of staff and residents when they see the Langhoffs arrive with their bag of candy is simple but so powerful.
“Smiles. Everyone just smiles,” says Sandy as she pauses to open her candy bag to a Holy Spirit employee who is passing by. “We are happy to be able to do something for people who have done so much for us.”
Home sweet Holy Spirit
Home is where the heart is. Margaret Seiler’s family is happy their mother has found her “home” at Holy Spirit.
Having been involved with Holy Spirit through a prayer group for many years, Margaret always knew she would someday move to the retirement community. She had friends at Holy Spirit including many of the Sisters who she became close to through her prayer group.
Her decision to move to Holy Spirit four years ago though may have caught her family a little off guard. After a brief stay in the nursing home, Margaret decided it was time to make a permanent move into Holy Spirit’s assisted living facility.
“My mom is very independent, so I was a little surprised she was ready to move to the community already,” says her son Dave Seiler of Sioux City. “However, there wasn’t another place that she would have considered moving to. Holy Spirit was the only place for my mom.”
Today, Margaret’s days are filled attending daily Mass and visiting lifelong friends who also reside at Holy Spirit. As a mother of 11 children, 18 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, Margaret also enjoys frequent visits from family members, all of whom are grateful for the care their mom receives at Holy Spirit.
“She’s just so happy here. I never have to worry about her, because I know the staff is taking care of my mom. They have a genuine concern for the residents,” adds Dave. “The community offers a wonderful Christian atmosphere. My mom loves it at Holy Spirit.”
Time, talents and treasure
Anne Fetz is a woman on a mission.
Taught to sew at age six by her grandmother, Anne is using her talents to give back to others. Since moving to Holy Spirit two years ago, Anne has made countless blankets for each new resident moving into Holy Spirit's nursing home. While the task may seem daunting to some, it is far from a chore for Anne.
"It is something I can do for someone else," says Anne. "I love it!"
While some residents may never know where the blankets came from, that's fine with Anne. The former school teacher takes great pride in knowing her blankets are bringing great joy--and in some cases, comfort--to residents and loved ones at Holy Spirit. When someone discovers that Anne is behind the beautiful blanket their loved ones has received, it isn't unusual for Anne to receive bags of fabric and other materials for future quilts.
When she's not creating new blankets for Holy Spirit residents, Anne uses her creativity to make clothes for teddy bears and dolls auctioned off by the local Elks Club #112 during their annual auction. It's enough to make others marvel at her unending energy and passion for giving back.
"I live by the motto: time, talents and treasure," says Anne. "It keeps me going."
Part of the family
Walk the hallways at Holy Spirit Retirement Home, and you will soon appreciate the deep sense of family within the facility. Since its inception in the late 1960s, Holy Spirit has become an integral part of the health care process for many Siouxland families. In fact, multiple generations of the same family have stayed at Holy Spirit throughout the years.
This couldn't be more true for the Burke family of Sioux City. The family's connection with Holy Spirit began years ago with Bill Burke's grandmother. More recently, Bill's father stayed at Holy Spirit and now his mother Marcia is a resident in Holy Spirit's skilled nursing unit. A retired school teacher, Marcia is a past member of Holy Spirit's Board of Directors.
"Holy Spirit has become our eyes and ears, keeping us informed about my mom's progress," says Bill. "The nursing and therapy staff have been great to my mom and our family. My mom recently broke her hip. After working with the physical therapy staff, she is able to walk again."
Today, weekly visits to Holy Spirit's new beauty salon are a focal point of his mother's week adds Bill.
"My mom's highlight each week is getting her hair and nails done. The ladies in the beauty salon should be up for sainthood, because they really help lift my mom's spirits," says Bill. "I really appreciate the quality of care Holy Spirit has provided my family."
Building Peace of Mind
“Working with residents and families has taught me the powerful impact of emotions. There is a sense of vulnerability for a resident and their loved ones during the admission process. It is humbling to help families’ during this period of change.
Our goal is to help people move through the transition period, so they don’t feel so lost or frightened. Ongoing support is also important, because there are regular changes that occur with the change. When families and residents sense our commitment and support, then trust develops. I am privileged to bring residents and their loved ones peace of mind."