Rookie vacationers from Hearthstone joined experienced vacationers from Heritage House in June for a three-day, two-night vacation to Decorah…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.
The trips started in 2011 when Jon Jordan, Heritage House Wellness and Lifestyle Director, and at the time the Executive Director, accepted the challenge to take residents on a vacation. Jon, a Luther College alum, decided on Decorah given the number of events and activities the small college town offers.
In 2013, five Hearthstone residents and four team members were joined on the trip by five residents and five team members from Heritage House.
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, these enriching experiences are still possible and enjoyable.
“A three-day trip like this is almost unheard of in our field,” says Jon Jordan, Lifestyle and Wellness Director at Heritage House. “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.”
One of the highlights of the trip for Edna Ozinga of Hearthstone was the Seed Savers Exchange, where she picked out a few heirloom tomato plants that she brought home with her. With the help of team members, the plants were added to the courtyard at Jefferson Place, where they thrived during the summer.
Hearthstone resident Jeanetta Olsthoorn most enjoyed the beautiful waterfalls and scenery, and visiting the museum. Though she was initially uncertain about making the trip, she quickly embraced the chance to travel and sightsee. In fact, she even wished for a flat tire on the last day so the group could stay in Decorah a little bit longer.
“I thought I wouldn’t be able to go because I need too much help,” says Olsthoorn. “But they took good care of me. They treated me like a queen. I would recommend this trip to anyone. They should go—it was fun!”
Health Center residents enjoy the vacation at no extra cost to them. If you are interested in making a donation to support the resident vacation, please contact WesleyLife Philanthropy at 271-6719.