Local News: Winter in the Valley
One of the great things about New Market is that it’s truly a four seasons town. From fall foliage and long summer evenings to spring blossoms and the occasional winter snowfall, our residents experience natural beauty all year long.
The town events calendar slows down a bit at this time of year, as businesses and residents regroup after busy holidays and avoid the coldest days. But, there’s still plenty of activity around the Valley! If you’re visiting Shenandoah Place this month, we recommend exploring nearby resorts for fun in the snow. The white stuff is often man-made, but still beautiful and fluffy.
Skiing and snowboarding are available at Bryce Resort in Basye and Massanutten Resort in Elkton. Don’t feel like hitting the slopes? Both resorts also offer scenic dining options and other wintry activities. At Massanutten, you can even go for a swim. Their indoor water park is great for a splash of summer.
If you prefer to stay out of the cold, there are also plenty of interesting museums, caverns, and shops to visit. Do you have a favorite Valley winter spot? Please share it with us and our residents, if so. Many enjoy trips around our area, and those who don’t go out still like to hear about local happenings.
An Important Request for Flu Season
We prioritize resident health and safety at Shenandoah Place. Preventing the spread of illnesses is especially important this month, with flu season in full swing. You can help us with this responsibility by visiting our facility only when you are well.
If you are ill, or recently have been ill, please do not visit Shenandoah Place. Adults over the age of 65 are more susceptible to complications from the flu; these complications can include life-threatening respiratory issues.
Thank you for considering our residents and respecting this request. We wish you good health, and hope to see you soon.
Since our last newsletter, we’ve been privileged to welcome two new residents. Please say a warm “hello” to Bob and Dot!
Resident Spotlight: Alice Mason
If you’ve been to Shenandoah Place much in the last decade, we imagine you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Alice Mason. Alice has been a resident for over eight years now. Quick with a joke and kind as they come, she spoke with us alongside her daughter Becky.
Alice was born in Florence, Alabama, the fourth child of a minister and his wife. One sibling passed away before her birth, and her mother died when she was just three months old. As her father traveled to preach, Alice accompanied him along with her brother and sister. She estimates that he was minister of at least four of five churches during her early childhood. By the time she began elementary school, Alice had already lived in Alabama, Texas, and Washington, D.C..
Alice gratefully recalls how local women stepped in to help her father balance his work at church with the care of his children. In D.C., her North Carolina-based grandmother joined the family to lend a hand. Though Alice says she doesn’t especially enjoy travel, she did meet many people as a result of traveling to new churches and revival meetings. One of them was her husband, Aubrey Mason.
When Alice was 17, her father preached at a revival in Loudoun County, Virginia. She and her family were invited to a local farmhouse for dinner after her father’s sermon. There, she met the Masons, a hard-working husband and wife with five sons and a daughter. With a gleam in her eye, Alice told us: “Of course I thought I picked the best one!” She and Aubrey, who was in his early 20’s, were married soon after.
Looking back, Alice was “too young” to get married, but it worked out for her and Aubrey anyway. They lived on the farm with his family for a few years after their wedding. Alice remembers picking “sticky but beautiful” cotton there, from “daylight till dark.” Eventually, Aubrey began work as a contractor specializing in wallpaper and paint. “I don’t remember what he did before, besides give me a hard time!” Alice says with a good-natured laugh. “And I gave him a hard time, so it was even.”
Aubrey was supportive during Alice’s preventative surgery for breast cancer, which she had at a relatively young age. The procedure was done out of caution, because cancer may have been the cause of Alice’s mother’s death. “It was rampant on my mother’s side,” she says. Fortunately, neither Alice nor her daughter has had the disease.
Becky, her daughter, is “a good girl” who is involved with her church, loves to travel, and is talented at photography and scrapbooking. Alice loved raising Becky and being a homemaker. She cooked and cleaned, and Aubrey drove her to the grocery store. “I only drove once,” she told us, “and it was straight into a woodpile!” Becky, who now lives in Rixeyville, Virginia, comes to visit every week or so. As Alice jokingly tells it: “She comes to see if I’m behaving or not.”
After spending his early life on the farm, Aubrey loved to travel. He and Alice explored the United States in their RV, traveling across the country and back. At home, he planted and tended a garden; Alice harvested and canned the produce. Her favorite food is sweet potatoes, which she thinks they probably grew. “If it had four legs or was in the garden,” Becky says, “they ate it.”
Alice and Aubrey moved to the Valley in 1989, when he retired from contracting. They were very involved in the Timberville Church of the Nazarene. He enjoyed antiques, and refinished them as a hobby. Alice laughs about his interest: “He got an antique when he got me!” She is also playful when asked about the most fun she had with her husband. “Fussing!” Jokes aside, Alice is sure to mention that Aubrey was a great husband, and that they didn’t actually fuss or fight.
After Aubrey’s passing, Alice lived for 3 more years in their home, continuing to attend church. After a stint at Heritage Green, she moved to Shenandoah Place, which she really likes. Here, she enjoys doing word searches and reading the Bible. Though she spent some time in the hospital last year, she is doing well and still goes out to church when she is able. In addition to Becky, Alice’s family includes two grandsons (one in Virginia, and the other in Maryland) and an 18-year old great-granddaughter. The family has a great tradition of getting a portrait taken every Christmas.
When we spoke with her in January, Alice was 92, but her birthday is this month. So, if you see our special resident around in February, please wish her a happy 93rd birthday.
Thoughtful Care from our Friends at New Century Hospice
We’re fond of saying that Shenandoah Place feels like home for its residents. In part, that’s because of our compassionate staff, our comfortable rooms, and our community-building activities. But, we also benefit from the help of New Century Hospice, a great organization that is often on site. Their approach to care is built on five principles that we appreciate: comfort, dignity, compassion, integrity, and hope.
To improve the lives of our residents, the New Century Hospice staff treats them just as they would in-home hospice patients. Residents receive services such as spiritual counseling, medical social services, and speech and other therapies, as appropriate. Loved ones of our residents are also eligible for New Century’s assistance. They can work with hospice on everything from dietary concerns and medical equipment to support groups and counseling.
The company’s goal is to help residents and their loved ones “embrace each of life’s moments to their fullest.” Staff member Christal Yowell, who spoke with us for this newsletter, plans fun monthly activities that residents always enjoy. Another staffer, Suzanne, is known for her thought provoking conversations. New Century offers chaplain services, too. Our residents look forward to their cleric’s visits, which happen two Wednesdays each month.
The cost of most of New Century’s services is covered by the Medicare Hospice benefit. Private insurers may also cover some of their services. For more information about this important part of our community, please visit www.newcenturyhospice.com. We’re grateful for their compassionate presence.
Share your Talent with Shenandoah Place
When we talk with our amazing residents, we often hear stories about talented family members and friends. Do you have a special talent? If so, we’d love for you to come share it at Shenandoah Place.
Our residents enjoy entertainment of all kinds, and they’re a welcoming audience. Whether you can sing and dance, tell a good joke, or even strum a ukulele, we could use you here! Performances needn’t be formal or fancy.
Thanks for considering this “casting call,” We hope to hear your ideas soon, and are happy to offer suggestions and help you plan your visit.