Senior’s Take Note: Faced With a Myriad of Health Issues, Jonathan Unlocks the ‘Key’ that Changes Everything

Music was Jonathan Weinhold’s passion. When his wife, Mary, passed away seven years ago, he lost his inspiration to play the piano and for years, the music sat there untouched.  Since then his health has declined.

Jonathan recalled those moments: “I landed myself in a situation where I was unsafe at home, three different hospitalizations, several falls and a myriad of health issues. But I wasn’t ready to leave my home. It’s a very difficult decision to leave behind my memories of Mary and my son growing up. Even after the first two falls I was holding out on hopes of remaining home. “But my son was concerned and when the third fall came I knew in my heart – my family was right, I have to move on. So I made the decision to explore options.”

He ended up moving to Brightondale Assisted Living, a SilverCrest property that partners with Lifesprk, and met Linda Brixius, RN, Lifesprk Life Care Manager (LCM) and soon after Sandi Silseth, RN, LCM. “When I moved in I instantly felt safe at home. The welcoming, family environment is just what I needed. Sandi has become my mentor and has taken me under her wing in a way that is more than helpful with my complex health issues.”

But something unexpected happened when he moved.

“I remember the moment so vividly. My physical therapist (PT) was looking for equipment to use as part of my strength training. I recalled seeing a few dumbells tucked away in a room on the second floor so we ventured upstairs. There were chairs in the room and in the middle a baby grand piano. My PT’s eyes went to the dumbells, mine went to the piano, and the man playing it. As I watched him play something inside me stirred – something I thought was gone.

“Later at dinner I couldn’t shake that feeling. It was as if the music was whispering to me – beckoning me to come back. The urge was too intense so I walked upstairs alone to quiet the whispers. The room was dark, no one was there, just the piano and me -I flipped on the light and sat down in front of it. Running my fingers across the ivory I closed my eyes and was lost in the emotion of it all. I played and played from memory, losing myself completely.

“When I opened my eyes the room was full of people. Unbeknownst to me they had heard the music playing and quietly joined the impromptu concert. I didn’t expect this passion of mine to resurface but there it was.

 “Sandi gives me that encouragement to keep me healthy so I can do what makes me whole,” said Jonathan. My health continues to be an issue but we work hard to keep it balanced. For me the relationship between Sandi and the people I’ve met here like Activity Director Su Stigney has been about human kindness. That’s paramount. Sandi’s true warmth and caring is felt in how she treats me. My neighbors, caregivers and staff at Brightondale make me feel like I’m part of a family. I’m very pleased with the decision I made – it’s as if things are working in harmony together.”

“It’s a team effort supporting Jonathan coordinating between myself, his first Life Care Manager, Linda Brixius, the in-house doctor on-site at Brightondale, his endocrinologist, home health aides, physical therapist (PT), wound care, and me,” said Sandi. “We work together to keep him independent and out of the hospital. He is now able to test and monitor his progress on his own. It’s been a great, trusting relationship all around.”

Jonathan added, “It’s a balance between understanding how to care for yourself and accept the support you need to maintain health. I’m very impressed with Sandi’s sensitivity but when I need it she sets me straight.”