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Are You Living It?
Emily Shoemake

By: Emily Shoemake on June 14th, 2018

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Are You Living It?

Presbyterian Senior Living has been a partner of Masterpiece Living (MPL) since 2011. MPL is a group that focuses on successful aging— specifically on four components of wellness: Physical, Social, Intellectual and Spiritual. PSL has embraced multiple campaigns by MPL in the past and continues to actively participate in current campaigns.

Recently, MPL launched the network-wide Living It® campaign—a four-week campaign designed to inspire and challenge people to try new pursuits in the four components of wellness. Pursuits could include anything and everything from trying a new vegetarian recipe to learning about a culture different from one’s own. Senior Partnership Specialist, Amanda Baushke, said. “The Living It® campaign encourages residents in all levels of living and team members to create new neural pathways in a social setting while having fun.”

jumping in pool fully clothed

This year, two PSL communities won awards for their participation in Living It®. Presbyterian Home at Williamsport took home the award for having the Most New Experiences by an Individual. Additionally, Ware Presbyterian Village received two awards: Most New Experiences by a Community and Most Unique New Experiences. Collectively, participants tried a whopping 459 new pursuits – including a fully clothed pool plunge and cow milking!

Mary Guthrie Gardening

Presbyterian Home at Williamsport resident, Mary Guthrie tried 190 new things within 30 days. Some of the activities were completed with her peers while others were done individually. Her activities varied from day to day. Her activities included reading a new book, participating in exercise programs, making cards and sending them to other residents, watching the State of the Union Address, surprising a relative with a phone call or posting something interesting on her Facebook page.

In addition to focusing on successful aging for residents, PSL includes the well-being of team members in MPL initiatives. Every year at Ware Presbyterian Village (WPV), fitness director Victoria Kates, asks residents and team members alike “Are you Living It®?” Most of the time, the answer is yes, but for one team member, Jennifer Butcher, the answer was no. For anyone who knows Butcher, you would have never known this was the case. With a smile for everyone and an absolutely infectious laugh, she has a magnetic personality that many aspire to have.

Butcher has been a team member of WPV in housekeeping and laundry for eight years. A victim of an abusive childhood, an untreated spinal injury, and years of bullying, Butcher treated her pain with food. Over the years, Butcher’s weight spiraled out of control. The effects of poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle only exacerbated the pain in her back and knees. Butcher never went out unless absolutely necessary and avoided social situations for fear of being judged or ridiculed for her appearance. Even shopping for clothes was a dreaded experience.  

During a routine towel delivery to the fitness center, Butcher got to talking with Kates. The conversation that ensued led Butcher on a Living It® journey that would become a way of life for her. At that time, Butcher was an unhappy 365 pounds. Initially, Butcher looked to Kates for assistance to learn how to eat properly and how to start increasing her physical activity at home. After her journey began, Butcher started taking things further—she wanted to do more, learn more and transform herself.

Jennifer Butcher Transformation
Fast forward to a year later, and Butcher has achieved her goal of losing 215 pounds. Today, she watches her food intake, particularly her carbs and fats, and can be seen in the fitness center at WPV six days a week. Her journey with Living It® has drastically decreased her back pain and increased her quality of life. Some new accomplishments for Butcher include dancing with loved ones, running for the first time and lots of shopping sprees. She even plans on participating in WPV’s community talent show! Butcher now shares her inspirational story and her journey with Living It® as motivation for others.

Fitness director Victoria Kates reflects on Butcher’s journey: “I am humbled each and every day that I am able to be a part of this journey with her. Every step is encouragement to ‘Live It’ even more.  What’s next for new experiences? With the joy and determination of this woman, I would say the answer is ANYTHING!”

Presbyterian Senior Living is proud to offer Masterpiece Living at many of our communities. These activities and campaigns support both the residents we serve and team members alike. For more information on how continuing care retirement communities can enrich your life, check out our eBook below!

How CCRCs Can Help Enrich Your Life 

About Emily Shoemake

As the Digital Content Assistant at Presbyterian Senior Living, Emily produces content for the PSL blog and engages with our audience on social media. Emily is a Shippensburg University and Delta Zeta alumna from Bedford County, Pennsylvania.