Stephanie Deaton Recognized among Cincinnati’s 2019 Health Care Heroes

Congratulations to our very own Stephanie Deaton, LPN, on being recognized as a finalist for the Cincinnati Business Courier’s Health Care Heroes. We are so proud to see Stephanie recognized for her tireless commitment to our residents, their families and her staff.

Stephanie has more than 20 years of experience working in long term care, including with seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, and is a Certified Dementia Practitioner. She joined Our Family Home two years ago as Home Operations Manager, overseeing the day-to-day operations for our Cincinnati homes.

When we asked Stephanie what she enjoyed most about her role at Our Family Home, she shared the following, “The relationships with our residents, families and staff. Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t just affect the residents.  It affects everyone. I want the residents and their families to know they are not alone in their journey.  This is what I love most about the Our Family Home concept: we are able to provide individualized care for each of our residents where they are in their journey. Because of our 5:2 resident to caregiver ratio, our staff truly is dedicated to doing what we can to make better days for all.”

The Health Care Heroes awards honor individuals and organizations that have improved the quality of health care in Greater Cincinnati through medical expertise, research and innovation, management skills, entrepreneurial initiatives, community outreach and patient care.

Congratulations, Stephanie!

Recognizing Our Residents

Master Sergeant James Williams (retired) is a resident at our Miami Hills home in Cincinnati and was honored this week for his service in the United States Air Force.

Our partner, Carole Quackenbush from VITAS Healthcare, set up the meeting between the former Chapter President of the Tuskegee Airmen, Mr. Leslie Edwards, and Chief Master Sergeant, U.S. Air Force James Shaw (retired).

James was delighted by the flag ceremony and now has his flag and certificate proudly hanging in his room.

To top off the great day, they brought James his favorite to enjoy…cheesecake!

Our goal is to always recognize our residents for their achievements and this day was especially meaningful. As they folded the flag, they recited the 12 points of folding the flag:

The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.

The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace, as well as in times of war, for His divine guidance.

The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.”

The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.

The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.

The 11th fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The 12th fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.

When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it has the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under Gen. George Washington and the sailors and Marines who served under Capt. John Paul Jones and were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the U.S. Armed Forces, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.

Meet Hope

Employee Spotlight: Hope Sparks, LPN

What do you do for Our Family Home? 

I am a house manager for Our Family Home. I manage three homes in Columbus and oversee resident care, staffing, training and many of the day to day needs of our residents and caregivers.

How long have you worked with Our Family Home?

I worked for Our Family Home from 2014 – 2016 and recently rejoined the organization full time in December.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The residents. I enjoy seeing them grow in our care. Our residents often come to us from an unsuccessful situation. In many cases, we’re able to see them improve after they join us. I also love seeing how comfortable they are in our homes. It’s home to them. We have individuals graduating from hospice and living beyond their doctor or their family’s expectations. I’ve worked in different settings and the care changes when you have this level of staffing.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 

Spending time with my family, including my husband, four children and grandson. I also enjoy traveling, reading and walking with our two dogs.

What have you learned working with the residents at Our Family Home? 

I have learned that this disease can touch anyone. We’re seeing younger individuals with this disease. It makes me grateful every day. I’ve also learned that our model and the level of engagement with our residents has a real impact. Everything from one-on-one and small group interaction to communication to personal connectedness. We’re able to take the time they need and really reach them. It’s not about activities. Many of our residents can’t participate in things like bingo, but they can hear the book I’m reading, the music that’s playing or the words we’re singing. They smile when we are holding their hand or when they smell the lavender lotion we’re putting on their hands. We make them feel important.

Have you been impacted personally by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia?

My grandmother, who was one of my favorite people in the world, had dementia. I learned so much from her. Not just about the disease, but about caring for seniors. She was also an LPN and part of the reason I went in to nursing.

How does Our Family Home give residents and families more good days?

More good days is about more than meeting the needs of residents – feeding them, hydration, nutrition, and basic personal hygiene. It’s about really engaging with them. Making sure they feel important, loved, secure and comfortable. It’s about connection.

Failure-Free Activities

In a survey of caregivers, more than 90 percent of respondents expressed that their biggest challenge was finding recreational activities that kept cognitively impaired individuals engaged in meaningful activities. As part of our training at Our Family Home, we have established a comprehensive program of ‘failure-free’ activities, which we will be presenting soon in partnership with the Central Ohio Alzheimer’s Association’s First Friday.

When you’re caring for someone with memory disease, finding a variety of meaningful activities can be challenging but the results of this type of engagement can be incredibly beneficial. According to Marybeth Cartmille, Our Family Home’s Director of Marketing and Admissions, “We offer ‘failure-free’ activities, which means each activity is adapted in some way to meet the needs and capacity of individuals with memory loss. We want to create a situation where they succeed.”

The goal of ‘failure-free’ activities is to create a situation where the individuals involved won’t fail and instead reap the benefits of moment-to-moment satisfaction and increased self-esteem. Marybeth and the team at Our Family Home have been leading ‘failure-free’ activities in respite care groups during the Alzheimer’s Association’s First Fridays for more than three years.

“Our staff is well-trained to care for individuals at all stages of memory disease, so this is an important way for us to give back. We’re able to use our experience to provide a short period of rest for caregivers and active participation and engagement for seniors,” added Marybeth.

There are a few general guidelines to follow when choosing activities for individuals with memory disease:

  1. Focus on activities that are simple, repetitive, stress free and realistic for the current stage of the disease.
  2. Relate the project to work or life. Often individuals with memory disease believe they are a certain age or in a certain period of life. Try to connect activities to where they are.
  3. Avoid tasks that require new learning, abstract concepts or complex materials.
  4. Be creative. A lot of regular activities can be easily adapted. Reduce the number of steps, simplify the rules or shorten the time period.
  5. Have fun. Smile, laugh and keep it light.

If you’re interested in learning more about First Fridays or would like to register, you can call 1-800-272-3900 or visit