Sun Health Senior Living Expanding to Meet Growing Demand for Senior Housing

The Colonnade Villa 3-4: Fountain Plaza

Rendering of two new villas going up at The Colonnade, a Sun Health independent-living, Life Care community for seniors.

SURPRISE, ARIZ., Jan. 22, 2015 — Dirt is being turned for Sun Health’s latest expansion project: two 36-unit villas on the 40-acre campus of The Colonnade, a senior living Life Care community that is home to more than 180 residents.

In late 2014, the Sun Health Board approved $25.4 million in capital funding to construct two new independent-living villas adjacent to two existing 36-unit villas at The Colonnade. The original villa, which opened in 2013, is fully occupied and the second, which opened in 2014, is nearly full. Demand for the two newest villas is already running high.

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Sharon Meyer Rides Off Into the Sun Health Sunset

Sharon Meyer_4webBorn on a dairy farm in Fairmount, North Dakota, Sharon Meyer decided at a young age that milking cows was for the birds.

She preferred staying in the farm house where she learned to cook, bake, sew and fix all sorts of things. Sharon brought those skills and many more when she came to work at Sun Health more than 18 years ago.

“There is nothing she couldn’t fix,” said financial analyst Suzie Wilson who worked with Sharon for almost 15 years. “Copy machine, fax machine, chairs: she fixed all of them. And there was nothing she couldn’t find. She remembers everything.”

Sharon started as a housekeeper at Boswell, and later became the department’s receptionist before transferring to a secretary position within Sun Health Foundation (SHF) where she quickly won over donors and co-workers with her friendly and helpful attitude. Her duties included answering phones, managing inventory, filing and writing thank-you notes to donors, a skill she turned into an art form with cut roses and beautiful, handwritten notes.

“I loved getting the chance to meet our donors and to be the one to acknowledge their gifts,” Sharon said.

“She is the most pleasant, caring person to work with,” Bonnie Olsen, a development director for SHF, said of Sharon. “We used to call her ‘mother’ because she watched over all of us like a mom…she did so much to make our jobs smoother.”

Sharon and her husband Allan (also retired) have been married for 53 years and they have five grown children, eight grandchildren and one great grandchild. Now that she’s called it a career, Sharon plans to spend more time with Allan, other family and friends and to crochet, knit, bake, swim, learn more about computers and occasionally visit the casino.

She also plans to keep “watching over” Sun Health. Once a mom, always a mom.

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Sharon is famous for homespun humor and wisdom, which mostly come out as clever phrases her friends call “Sharonisms.” Here’s a small sample:

  • “I may be on a diet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look at the menu.” (On admiring handsome men)
  • “There’s one nice thing about going the extra mile; there’s not much traffic.”
  • “I’ve lost the fluffy fat, now I’m working on the hard lard.” (On dieting)
  • “Beauty is but skin deep. Homely goes clear to the bone.”
  • “If you want to see the dead come to life, stop by the time clock at 5 p.m. on Friday evening.”
  • “Well, you know if it’s got testosterone or tires, it’ll give you trouble.”

Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing Making a Dent in Prediabetes

Sun Health’s Diabetes Prevention Program, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helping people cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes in half   

Tracy Garrett Teaching in KitchenSURPRISE, ARIZ. (Jan. 14, 2015) – Floyd and Linda Cotton have been doing a lot of new clothes shopping lately. After participating in Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) classes offered at the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing (the Center), the Sun City Grand couple have not only fallen in love with a new, healthy lifestyle—they’ve also noticed some significant changes. “I’m down a good two or three sizes in my waist, but even more than that, I just don’t feel sluggish. I always have energy now,” said Floyd, 73.

The Cottons signed up Sun Health’s DPP series held at the Center at 14719 W. Grand Ave., after Floyd was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. At six-feet, 230 pounds, Floyd was just steps away from being diabetic. During the 10-month program, he lost more than 25 pounds and his blood glucose levels dropped from a high of 124 (almost in the diabetic range) to a reading of 97 (normal). Both Cottons also were able to stop taking cholesterol medications and reduce their high blood pressure medications.

This is just one of several positive outcomes to date since the Center started the DPP classes in March 2013. Continue reading

Sun Health’s Community Outreach Group Brings Holiday Cheer to Homebound Adults

SURPRISE, ARIZ., Jan. 7, 2014 The holidays can be an especially tough time for older adults living alone or without family close by.

Sun Health’s SHINE (Sun Health Involvement Never Ends) group and Banner Olive Branch Senior Center (BOBSC) joined together in December to bring good cheer to 35 homebound adults living in Sun City and Youngtown, Arizona.

All of the adults are clients of BOBSC’s mobile meals program, which offers home-delivered meals to people in need. Many of these women and men live alone or have limited or no family living in the area.

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Grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Enables Sun Health to Expand its Center for Health & Wellbeing

SURPRISE, ARIZ., Dec. 18, 2014 – A Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust grant totaling $148,000 will enable Sun Health to expand its successful Center for Health & Wellbeing programs to the Southwest Valley in 2015.

“This generous grant from the Piper Trust will help us help more people learn about and adopt healthier lifestyles,” said Jennifer Drago, Sun Health’s executive vice president of Population Health.

La Loma Care CenterThe new Center will be co-located inside the La Loma Rehabilitation Center, located on Sun Health’s La Loma Village campus, 14260 Denny Blvd. in Litchfield Park. Continue reading

Sun Health Programs Making Measurable Differences in Health of Patients and Clients

Innovative approaches helping chronically ill and those recovering after a hospitalization 

SURPRISE, ARIZ., Dec. 4, 2014 — Preventing hospital readmissions and managing chronic disease present complex challenges for health care providers and organizations.

Sun Health, a community-based nonprofit organization, is using innovative approaches to address these challenges. The resulting Sun Health programs, the first of which was launched in 2011, are yielding promising results and drawing attention from many quarters in the health care industry.

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Wulkan Foundation Grants $10k to Northwest Valley Connect

Transportation Coordination Service to Use Grant to Expand Services

SURPRISE, ARIZ. – Dec. 3, 2014 – Northwest Valley Connect (NVC), a nonprofit transportation coordination service founded by Sun Health and Benevilla, recently received a $10,000 grant from the Wulkan Foundation, a like-minded organization dedicated to helping older adults find transportation options.

Wulkan Foundation $10k Grant

(L-R) Jennifer Drago, NVC board chair; Beverly Wulkan, Wulkan Foundation; Kathy Chandler, NVC’s executive director and mobility manager; Michelle Dionisio, NVC board member.

The grant was awarded to NVC by Beverly Wulkan, an experienced civil engineer and transit expert, well-acquainted with the challenges older adults often face when planning local trips to doctors, the pharmacy, the grocery store, social engagements and other appointments and errands.

Wulkan explained why she chose NVC as the recipient of the grant: “First, Northwest Valley Connect is helping seniors find options to their transportation needs, which is a match with the foundation’s mission. Second, having been involved in nonprofit organizations, I understand that a little extra money is always helpful with new programs.” The Wulkan Foundation was started by her husband Alan Wulkan in 2013.

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Donation Will Help Keep Women ‘in the Pink’

SUN CITY, ARIZ., Nov. 19, 2014 – The Sun City Women’s Golf Association, North Division (SCWGA-ND) recently presented a check for $10,700 to Women’s Diagnostic Services at Banner Lakes Imaging Center.

The donation will be used to provide 3D screening mammograms for women without insurance or the means to pay for one. The low-dose 3D mammography system produces high-quality images that allow radiologists to view breast tissue with far greater detail and precision than 2D mammography.

The funds were raised through the SCWGA-ND’s 19th annual “Pink Ribbon Tournament,” played Oct. 28, on Sun City’s North Golf Course. The tournament attracted a full field of 168 women and men golfers.

Sun Health Foundation, the fundraising arm for Banner in the Northwest Valley, will manage the funds.   Continue reading