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Living at home while you age? ‘Felician Village at Home’ is here to help

Pat Wiesner, left, and Lauren Daun discuss the Felician Village at Home program during a casual presentation at the Manitowoc Public Library. Daun is membership supervisor of the program, designed to support people living in their homes as they age.
(Suzanne Weiss | For On Mission)

By Suzanne Weiss | For On Mission

MANITOWOC — Making beds and vacuuming are two household chores that are becoming a struggle for 88-year-old Pat Wiesner of Manitowoc.

Wiesner shared her concerns at a casual presentation about Felician Village at Home, a membership program designed to support people (age 50 and older) who choose to live in their own homes as they age.

“The concept of it is to keep older adults living in their homes independently,” said Lauren Daun, membership supervisor for Felician Village at Home, who gave the recent presentation at the Manitowoc Public Library. “We help them remain in their home as long as they’re safely able to.”

She emphasized the distinction between this program and home care, which typically offers such services as grooming, dressing, bathing and mobility care.

“We’re not trying to replace home care service, but we want to fill the needs outside of home care where there can be a gap,” Daun said. “We’re a support service, so we’re providing transportation, grocery assistance, tech tutoring. We have volunteer handymen; we have socializing opportunities and … a telephone reassurance program.”

Volunteer handymen can help with chores, such as changing your light bulbs or your smoke detector batteries, fixing a walker, assembling furniture, raking yards, trimming bushes, bringing patio furniture or your Christmas tree out of storage, filling bird feeders or helping plant flowers, she said.

The most popular socialization outing is the Felician Village at Home’s “Lunch Bunch,” where members meet at a local restaurant at least once a month to enjoy lunch and the company of people their own age. Outings like this can help combat isolation, which may lead to mental health issues, including depression, Daun said.

Felician Village, sponsored by the Felician Sisters of North America, introduced the program in 2019 in response to recent studies.

“We were realizing that people are wanting to stay at home as long as possible,” Daun said. “We wanted to get into the home and offer that support at home.”

Program volunteers offer household help and social visits. Other benefits include a monthly newsletter, discounts at Manitowoc County businesses, educational events, volunteer opportunities, house checks in your absence, information and referrals, a notary service and medication reviews.

“If we don’t have an answer, we can refer them to someone who can help,” Daun said. “We have access to prescreened service providers — plumbers, electricians, lawn care — reliable accredited services so you know you’re reaching out to someone you can trust.”

In 2021, Felician Village at Home added its transportation program for members for a small fee per ride. 

Transportation is “usually the biggest barrier to meeting needs. We provide rides to doctor appointments, the (hair) salon, church, the post office, grocery store,” Daun said.

The transportation program even covers picking up friends or relatives from the airport, she said.

A membership can make a good gift for an elderly friend or relative because it’s something they can really use, Daun said.

Felician Village is a continuing care campus that has been providing housing and services for older adults since 1887. While it is sponsored by the Catholic Felician Sisters, Felician Village welcomes people from all faiths.

“Our mission is to continue the healing ministry of Jesus by providing compassionate care that respects the dignity of each person we serve. When you think about the mission, it’s not just caring about people who are right here under our roof. We serve people out in the community as well,” said Barb Spies, director of mission services and pastoral care at Felician Village.

“Felician Village at Home is just one thing that we do to serve people in the community who otherwise would not be served,” Spies said. “It is part of our ‘solidarity with people in need,’ which is one of our core values.”

The cost of a Felician Village at Home basic membership is $16 per month for a single and $21 a month per household. A full membership is $21 per month for a single and $26 per household. Members pay an additional $4 per ride, one way, for its transportation program.

For more information, call Lauren Daun at (920) 684-7171, ext. 425, email [email protected] or visit https://felicianvillage.org/.

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