S. Abington Twp. — People in the Abington community are good at caring for each other. With open hearts and outstretched hands, they make a difference.
This is evident at The Pines Senior Living, a family-owned and run business on the Morgan Highway.
The vision of Dan Millet and his son Tim, The Pines opened in 2015. Millet sisters, Mari Doherty and Stacie Rechlicz, now help run the facility. Doherty is the director of human resources. Rechlicz serves as administrator.
The Pines offers several living options for residents, including care in a separate wing, called Evergreen, for patients who have memory loss. The Millet family has created a safe family atmosphere that means a lot to those who live and work there.
“It was a passion of my brother’s. He felt we needed something different in the way of senior care that tied more to a hospitality model,” Rechlicz shared. “The design of the building was intentional. It doesn’t have an institutional feel …It’s about making people feel special and I think we try and do that here.”
“A lot of the residents we knew growing up,” Rechlicz continued. “They were family friends. We have known people in the community that are here now living with us. So it really is a family, from the administrative part of it, as well as the resident population who have become like family. We also can’t say enough about the staff.
“They are there in the day-to-day. They are patient, dedicated, concerned and caring. We have found a great team. They are the ones involved daily with the residents and have a great connection with them. Our staff is a key part of the family atmosphere.”
Although some residents won’t be able to be with family over the holidays, The Pines has worked hard to provide activities and events to make the holidays special.
“The community has been pouring in with carolers and things for our residents,” said Jennifer Hansen, activity director at The Pines. “We had people reaching out to us. It was amazing.”
Some give talks or presentations. Volunteers read to residents, or spend time one-on-one. Community groups have come to The Pines to perform.
Girl Scout Daisy Troop 50768 recently came to sing carols. Lyric Womer directed the children.
“They earn petals from a daisy petal patch. We recently did the considerate and caring daisy petal,” Womer shared. “I thought what better way to show these Scouts what that really means than to take them out to The Pines and put on a show for others.”
Carolers from churches, and performances by school and community groups filled up the calendar and spread joy and cheer. Residents participate in regular activities such as bingo, movies and the weekly Jeopardy game night, planned and hosted by Vince Baglivo, an activities aid at the Pines.
“All of my family is out of town,” resident Rita Graziano shared. “But I have made lots of friends here. They are all so nice. And there is a lot for us to do.”
During the holiday season, special activities were planned. Residents attended a cookie baking afternoon at The Pines.
“I remember when I used to bake,” Graziano said. “Sometimes I baked for three days in a row and baked over 200 cookies. Pizzelles were my favorite.”
Betty Mills looked forward to a family visit as she sampled the freshly baked Christmas cookies.
“My granddaughter is 16 and an expert golfer and honors student,” Mills shared with pride. “She and her mother and dad are going to come here to have a dinner with me over the holidays.”
Family visits mean a lot to the residents. In the event that family is unable to make it in, those who live and work at The Pines are family for each other. An afternoon of cookie baking was run by Lisa Sobuta, who works in the activities department.
The air smelled sweet as Sobuta whipped up white chocolate cranberry cookies and oatmeal toffee cookies, sharing a recipe from her childhood. She said it was fun to bring a family tradition of hers to The Pines family.
“I love getting to know the residents here,” Sobuta said. “It’s a family atmosphere at a family-run facility, which makes it special. We do a lot of things for them. I think it’s the little things that matter.”
As we navigate another busy holiday season, it might serve us and our community well, if we stop to share with each other. It could be a meal, a cookie, or a song. But it’s truly the little things that make a difference.