Credit: THE PRESS AND STANDARD | August 17, 2018 5:00 PM
Last Updated: August 15, 2018 at 9:57 AM
Walterboro resident Noel Ison is making wood puzzles designed to help veterans in assisted living homes who have lost dexterity in their hands due to arthritis, dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other physical disabilities.
A few months ago, his daughter Misty, who works with veterans in an assisted living care center in Pennsylvania, told him about the problem they had in trying to find entertainment for their patients with varying degrees of physical disabilities. She said: “They like to do puzzles but they have a problem with dexterity that makes it difficult for them to grasp and place the puzzle pieces.”
“That stayed on my mind for a few days,” said Ison. “Finally one day, I was in my ‘bunker’ where I do woodwork, and I toyed with the idea for an hour or so. Finally I found a solution. I designed three wood puzzles: a World War II tank, a Jeep and a jet plane. My thought was these shapes would appeal to our veterans.”
Ison uses a backboard with the puzzle design cut into it, then cuts the puzzle pieces about a half-inch taller than the backboard so the pieces will be easy for patients to grasp. He also glues an outline of the puzzle inside the frame to help users find where the pieces go.
Then, he took several puzzles to Veterans Victory House for a test run. “The activity director, Stephanie, said they were wonderful,” he said.
His plan is to add to his existing woodworking shop and hire veterans to help him build the puzzles. “Working in a business that produces something made by their hands will give veterans a sense of pride and build their self-esteem,” said Ison, who is a veteran himself. “It will also give them additional income to assist them in improving their lives. We would have veterans working to help themselves and producing a product that helps other veterans. It just doesn’t get any better than that.”
But the money for such a project is proving hard to find, so until funding can be found, he’s decided just to build the puzzles in his spare time and donate them to local retirement homes.
For the past several years, Ison has been building do-it-yourself wooden toy kits, which are sold in the Walterboro BiLo. To help with his new project, contact him at 843-539-1050 or email@example.com.
When he saw local veterans using his puzzles, he said, “I was overwhelmed with joy and pride. Something I built was helping my fellow veterans find a little joy in their lives. Every time I see them, I think about how many more we can help.”
The Colonel Robert L. Howard “Master Sargent Mermaids” performed in the Pell City “Dancing With Ours Stars 2018” competition which helped raise over $18,000 for local police!
SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 – via ALABAMA NURSING HOME ASSOCIATION (anha.org)
Employees of a south Alabama veterans home are celebrating another health care quality achievement.
William F. Green State Veterans Home in Bay Minette is “deficiency free” according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. “Deficiency free” means the center meets all the state and federal requirements for nursing homes. The staff takes pride in reaching this lofty goal.
“This is a very rare occurrence, and you could see the happiness on all of the staff’s faces when we told them,” Administrator Brian McFeely said. “It’s a very special feeling when an outside entity comes in and says, ‘you’re doing a good job.’”
The federal government requires annual inspections of all nursing homes. The inspection covers everything that took place in the nursing home over the course of the past year so it’s very difficult to earn “deficiency free” status. An Alabama Department of Public Health team consisting of two registered nurses and two social workers spent three days reviewing every part of the William F. Green State Veterans Home’s operations.
“The inspectors met with our veterans and asked if they had any concerns,” McFeely said as he described the inspection. “They met with family members, combed through all our medical charts, watched medication passes, observed meals being prepared and interviewed multiple staff members. They even observed all the care being given in one of our units.”
Nursing homes must follow a mind-boggling list of state and federal laws, rules and regulations covering everything from water temperature to medication safety to resident activities. McFeely says his staff strives every day to meet these regulations while keeping the main goal in mind.
“Everything we do is set to achieve excellence for our veterans,” McFeely said. “We don’t do it for the deficiency free survey, we want to provide excellent care and services for our veterans. It’s our way of thanking them for all the sacrifices they made for us.”
More accolades for William F. Green State Veterans Home
This “deficiency free” designation from the Alabama Department of Public Health is the latest accolade for William F. Green State Veterans Home. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs declared the home “deficiency free” on its federal veterans homes survey. The VA inspection measures veterans homes on 158 federal standards that are either met or not met. Earning a “deficiency free” survey means the veterans home met all 158 standards. The inspection was led by a team from the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Ascellon Corporation.
In addition, William F. Green State Veterans Home received the Pinnacle Customer Experience Award for achieving best-in-class customer satisfaction within its peer group. The award was based on interviews of veterans living at the home by Pinnacle Quality Insight.