Alzheimer’s Poetry Project


“The mission of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project is to improve the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias by facilitating creative expression through poetry. We do not set boundaries in our beliefs in what possible for people with memory impairment to create. By saying to people with dementia, we value you and your creativity; we are saying we value all members of our community.” –

Residents of Grace and Faith Communities, the dementia care neighborhoods within Mother of Perpetual Help Assisted Living, joined Lila Shepley, a certified Workshop Facilitator for the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project in creating this beautiful poem about the beach.

POEM: The Beach

Come to the Beach*
    I think of my honeymoon!
    I think of sand!

Where the sea is blue*
    The large waves coming in<
And little white waves come running at you*
    There are penguins!
    It’s a lot of fun

A wave comes splashing over your toes*
    I think of nighttime and the sound of the waves
You just stand still and away it goes*
    It makes me seasick
We’ll build a castle down by the sea*
    And walk in the sand
And look for shells if you’ll come with me*
    To watch the surfers
    I just love it!

* Author unknown
Italicized = Memories verbalized by residents to include in their poem

For inspiration, Lila brought along several things to help residents get into a beachy state of mind. Sea Shells, sun screen, and a pail and shovel were some of the things residents were able to touch, smell and look at to help tap into their creativity.

Lila started with lines from an existing poem about the beach and asked residents to add in memories, thoughts or insights to each. What resulted was a beautiful poem that definitely makes you crave sand and sun!

Dementia Training


The staff of Mother of Perpetual Help’s Grace and Faith Communities participated in an eight hour training course to enhance their knowledge and give them practical tools to use in their day-to-day interactions with memory care residents. Training was provided by Lila Shepley.

Lila Shepley is a Certified Geriatric Care Manager with 14 years in the senior care industry. Lila’s passion is working with those living with dementia and their caregivers.

Lila earned her certification as a Trainer in the Positive Approach to Care developed by Teepa Snow.

“As a Care Partner, it is our job to figure out the right support so they can shine” (Teepa Snow). The focus of this approach is to determine what remains rather than what is lost.

“How are they precious? How are they unique? What do they still have that I can use to help them live life?” (Teepa Snow).

We learned about Positive Physical Approach and the Hand Under Hand technique which respects the person living with dementia’s reality. We learned about each stage of dementia, or Gem as Teepa calls it, and what skills still remain. We learned about unmet needs, introvert versus extrovert, the importance of saying “I’m sorry” and much more. With the new knowledge and the extensive role play and practice, the care providers will better be able to provide individualized, gentle care.

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CRSS in Bloom

Gardening is a passion shared by many of our CRSS residents, and many of them have utilized their green thumbs in our community gardens. Tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, carrots, radishes, strawberries and more are lovingly tended to by the residents of our Independent Living, Assisted Livings, and Senior Apartment buildings both on our campus in Shrewsbury and off-campus at buildings throughout the St. Louis area. Some of what is harvested will be used by the residents themselves, and some will be used during group activities that involve cooking.

In addition to vegetable gardens, our residents and their guests are enjoying all the lush greenery and colorful flowers that this time of year brings. Whether a courtyard oasis, a sweet smelling rose bush outside an apartment window or a colorful hanging flower basket adorning a balcony, nature’s beauty is everywhere you look.

Be sure to click through the photo gallery to see what’s sprouting around CRSS!

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Adult Day Program Brings “Tears of Joy” to One Family Member

We would like to put the Spotlight on our Adult Day Program with this lovely letter of thanks from a participant’s daughter. Pam C. writes:

“Today I had tears of joy when I came to pick up Dad from CRSS Adult Day Program. He was talking with another client while they were putting together a puzzle. This may not seem like a big deal but it was quite a milestone for Dad.

…To see how all of you have helped and are helping him feel so comfortable and at home brings so much relief to our family. I know it is the concern and compassion the staff shows him that is bringing him out of his shell. I go to work with peace of mind knowing he is safe and well cared for by your staff.

I want to thank you and all the staff for the wonderful work you do. Being a nurse I know it is not easy taking care of people who are in need of special care but you all do it with such ease and love.

… All Adult Day Care facilities should hold themselves to your standards and high quality of care.”

Thank you to Pam C. for sharing this with us and thank you to our Adult Day Program staff for the wonderful work they do!

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Foster Grandparents Take a Trip to Pere Marquette

The Cardinal Ritter Senior Services Foster Grandparent Program provides seniors with opportunities to deliver one-on-one tutoring and guidance to children at critical times in their lives. In order to show appreciation for these extremely important contributions, the Foster Grandparent Program took its volunteers to Pere Marquette State Park for a well-deserved luncheon. Fellowship and stories were shared all day as the Grandparents took a scenic bus tour of Grafton, IL and enjoyed a delicious home-style meal together.

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Holy Infant and St. Joseph Apartments Celebrate Milestones

Holy Infant Apartments and St. Joseph Apartments, two of the twelve Cardinal Ritter Senior Services Affordable Senior Housing buildings, have been providing low-income seniors a beautiful and secure place to live for 25 and 30 years, respectively. Service Coordinators are available to connect residents with community resources to help them live independently for as long as possible. Residents are a part of the CRSS continuum of care, which includes assisted living services at Mother of Perpetual Help, Du Bourg House and St. Elizabeth Hall as well as short-term rehabilitation, memory care and long-term nursing at Mary, Queen and Mother Center.

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Come See What’s New At Mary Queen and Mother Center and Hope Community Memory Care

We have updated our rehabilitation therapy suite to include an Occupational Therapy area specifically designed to help get you well and back home as safely and fast as possible. The updated décor in our therapy suite, dining rooms and hearth room make this a beautiful space in which to recover.

Our Hope Community Memory care, the secure area within the larger Mary, Queen and Mother Center, is now expanded to accommodate the growing need for Dementia and Memory Care in our community. We have also added a lovely hearth room and update dining room to this area.

Notice anything missing? We have eliminated the nursing station in our short-term rehab wing. The conversion to electronic medical records has made the need for a central nursing station obsolete. Now you will find nurses and aides charting real-time information using mobile workstations.

Mary Queen and Mother Center has been serving the rehabilitation and long-term care needs of Senior St. Louisans for over 30 years. We are committed to embracing the change and growth needed to continue serving for another 30!



Mary, Queen and Mother is Under Construction!

Mary, Queen and Mother Center is under construction! The plans include a bigger space for rehab services, an additional wing of memory care which will connect to the current Hope Community, giving more space for activities, dining and moving about as well as removing the large nurses’ station no longer needed as we move to electronic health records.

The Hope Community dining room has been completed and the rehabilitation therapy suite is next! Be sure to check out some of the photos in the gallery above for an inside look at the progress.


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Renovation of St. John Neumann Apartments

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In 1991, Cardinal Ritter Senior Services added St. John Neumann Apartments to its family of affordable housing apartment buildings. Located in Jennings, MO, The building offered 100 efficiency and one bedroom apartments for seniors with low income.

This year, the building underwent an extensive renovation process. Vital systems like fire safety were upgraded. A generator for power backup was added to provide emergency lighting and ensure that the emergency pull-cord system in the apartments continues working during a loss in power.

The apartments were modernized with more efficient heating and cooling systems and upgraded appliances. The bathrooms in the units were converted from traditional bathtubs, which can present a fall risk for many seniors, to a lower, cut-out tub design and grab bars were added for additional safety.

In addition to these improvements, some of the building’s efficiency apartments were combined and converted into several handicapped accessible one bedroom units to accommodate those potential residents needing wheelchair accessibility.

We are proud to celebrate 25 years of providing seniors with affordable housing at St. John Neumann Apartments.


Alzheimer’s Association Advanced Person Centered Care Training Graduation!

Mother of Perpetual Help Assisted Living opened Faith Community Memory Care Community in September.  Faith Community joins Grace Community in Assisted Living Memory Care and Hope Community, our skilled memory care community. CRSS is dedicated to providing
the best care for our residents with programming specifically for those with memory issues. More than 20 of our employees recently completed the Alzheimer’s Association Advanced Person Centered Dementia Care certificate program. CRSS continues our involvement of Music and Memory programming in five of our programs. For additional information about Memory Care at CRSS, please contact Stacy at 314-458-0736.

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Fall Fling 2015


CRSS residents gathered for the annual Fall Fling – dancing and entertainment, lunch and Big Bucks Bingo make for a great Fall celebration!

Our Lady of Life Apartments Family Fun Day

On September 20th, hundreds of family members came out to Our Lady of Life Apartments at our Shrewsbury Campus to celebrate Family Fun Day! There were games, face painting, pony rides and plenty of food and of course don’t forget the absolutely perfect weather! It was an absolutely perfect day for everyone!

Foster Grandparent Program Celebration

On Friday, August 14th, CRSS held the annual Foster Grandparent Appreciation Luncheon! The luncheon is a wonderful way to celebrate and thank our Foster Grandparent volunteers for all their time and talents given to make the program great. And from the looks of these photos, the Foster Grandparents really know how to have fun!

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Mother of Perpetual Help hosts Centenarian Birthday Celebration!

Mother of Perpetual Help Assisted Living Centenarian Birthday Celebration

Mother of Perpetual Help Assisted Living residents and families gathered to honor three very special ladies and their birthdays. The three guests of honor were presented with a rose, an angel figurine and a certificate in recognition of their centenarian statuses during a special luncheon. Dorothy Benten (101 years old), Sr. Evelyn Kaminski and Pierina (Rene) Marnati, (both 103) celebrate their birthdays this summer within weeks of one another.

Live music, played by Bobby Schussler on the piano, accompanied a rousing round of ‘Happy Birthday’ and well wishes for the ladies. After the special lunch celebration and a helping of chocolate birthday cake, many residents and families stayed around for an impromptu singalong at the piano.[Not a valid template]

Special guests join the fun at Our Lady of Life resident parade!

Our Lady of Life Apartments celebrated Independence Day with a parade this month.  The Shrewsbury Fire Department, police department and EMTs joined the celebration!

Senior Adult Week 2015 Opening Ceremony

CRSS celebrated our annual Senior Adult Week May 10th-15th! We kicked off the week on Monday with a special Opening Ceremony featuring the one and only – ELVIS PRESLEY! Well,
it was really Steve Davis, but he’s a great Elvis impersonator

Taste of Webster-Kirkwood: Chef Wars!

Taste of Webster-Kirkwood: Chef Wars!

On April 19th OLOL arrived in Kirkwood for a wonderful tasting event showcasing the fine dinning experience in our local Senior Living Communities.  We experienced everything from surf and turf to soup and cheesecake from the talented Chefs and enjoyed spirits from local wineries and breweries. The proceeds benefited the Shepherd’s Center and we will be looking forward to returning next year for another fun night of laughter and fun!

 Taste of Kirkwood OLOL 2015