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Marianna, Fla. – Signature HealthCARE at The Courtyard has been named to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Nursing Homes 2014 list.

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Everyone dreams of a couple of days on the beach.  The sunshine, sand, waves, and laid back atmosphere creating an environment of relaxation and peace.  Well, elders from five Florida Hometown Region 3 homes spent two days on the beautiful beaches of Cape San Blas, Florida and they burst that environment of relaxation and peace wide open with the first Amazing Race Retreat.

Elders from The Bridge at Bay St Joe, Signature HealthCARE of North Florida, Signature HealthCARE of Courtyard, Chautauqua Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, and Washington Rehabilitation and Nursing Center came together at William Rish Park on Cape San Blas and played a two day game of Amazing Race. They created team flags with points awarded for time completed and bonus points for creativity, they built sandcastles for points, they had to hunt down puzzle pieces and put their puzzle together for timed points, and their last event was creating a platform only out of provided materials to transport their team mascot to the water’s edge and back. During the two day event each team had their created flag and a mascot to protect. If either the flag or their mascot were left unattended another team could kidnap them for ransom points. The team whose flag or mascot was kidnapped had to draw a ransom note and pay the required points to the kidnapping team.

Everyone had so much fun completing the challenges and keeping an eye out for an unattended flag or mascot.  Mr. Willie from Washington Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and Mr. John from Chautauqua Rehabilitation and Nursing Center took this job seriously and scouted the lodge on a regular basis to snatch the first flag or mascot they could. They said they wanted the most ransom points for their team and everyone was on their toes with these eagle eyed guys around.

To make the event even more wonderful, some amazing volunteers came and provided meals for everyone.  Lunch the first day was a tasty cookout hosted by Gentiva Home Care and Emerald Coast Hospice. Tommy Portas grilled some great burgers and hot dogs while battling some heavy winds. However, the winds didn’t stop him from grilling and they didn’t stop everyone from eating the meal.  Marsha Dickey RN, SDC from The Bridge at Bay St Joe made homemade “cathead” biscuits and grilled some delicious pancakes for everyone for breakfast.  Then for their lunch on the second day Gina Ferland RN, the Administrator of NHC HomeCare, brought ham and turkey sub sandwiches with homemade cheesy, broccoli soup. Gina also created some wonderful snack bags for everyone to take with them on their trip home. The thoughtfulness and friendliness of these kind individuals made this event even more enjoyable.

The award ceremony took place the second day just before lunch. The winning team was from Washington Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. They amassed a total of 32 points that included a 5 point ransom penalty Mr. Willie was able to extract from the team from Chautauqua Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. The other awards that were presented that day were Most Spirited to the team from Chautauqua Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Most Competitive went to Signature HealthCARE of Courtyard, Most Resourceful went to The Bridge at Bay St Joe and Best Teamwork was awarded to Signature HealthCARE of North Florida.

As the last day drew to a close and the buses were being loaded, elders from different homes were shaking hands, hugging necks and asking when they could come back. For Mr. John from Chautauqua Rehabilitation and Nursing Center it was the first time he had ever been to the beach and he said he loved it! Their smiles were big and their faces were aglow with excitement from all of the fun they had. Everyone waved goodbye as they pulled out of the parking lot, but I know many of them were thinking of different strategies for the next Amazing Race.

– Angela Conley, Regional Quality of Life Coordinator

On Wednesday, children from Dayspring Christian Academy came for a visit. The kids hunted Easter Eggs and enjoyed a snack with our elders. A great big thank you to Brooke Mathis and all the teachers and parents who helped make this possible. We would also like to thank our fantastic therapy department for helping stuff all the eggs with special treats.

Elders from The Bridge at Bay St Joe, Signature HealthCARE of North Florida, Signature HealthCARE of Courtyard, Chautauqua Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, and Washington Rehabilitation and Nursing Center came together at William Rish Park on Cape San Blas and played a two-day game of Amazing Race.

Day 1 started with a cookout hosted by Gentiva.  Competitions included flag design, sandcastle building, designing t-shirts, the game pass the trash. For supper we had choice of shrimp, oysters, fish, chicken, and much more. We ended the day with a sunset walk on the beach.

Day 2 started with a pancake breakfast. We had a puzzle challenge where team members had to race down to the beach and find their puzzle pieces buried in the sand. Then rush the pieces to their team members in the lodge for construction. The second challenge of the day was to construct a platform to carry our mascot down to the ocean and back to the lodge on. Courtyard tied for second place and brought home a trophy for being most resourceful.

Our missions team went to the Chipola Baptist Association to serve chili to the community.  Our elders enjoyed serving and giving back to the community.

Friendship Club from Malone paid our elders a visit today with a small Party. Signature would like to give a big thank you for all that you do for our elders.

Last Wednesday, four quail from Huck’s Paradise Rabbitry visited with elders at the Courtyard. Their visit stirred many interesting conversations including hunting tales and recipes. Cover your ears, little quail!

What a special night. Elders from The Courtyard met other elders from Signature homes at the Chautauqua House in Defuniak Springs for a masked Mardi Gras Ball. Members of the Krewe de Yak were on hand to greet elders as they entered. They also served as our guest speaker and judges. Our meal consisted of traditional New Oreland’s dishes, and dancers from the Ecole de danse Studio performed for us. Mrs. Hinson stated “I feel like I’m dressed for the Academy Awards or something!”  The highlight of their night came when their centerpiece won first place. Each of the Elders were presented with a gift basket filled with special treats. On the way home Mrs. Ann said “who would have thought I would have to go to a retirement home to experience a night like this.”

Edna McDonald has been employed with Signature HealthCARE at The Courtyard since 2012.  She is dedicated to her job and the elders here at The Courtyard.  Edna is dependable, hard working and willing to help in any position within the dietary department.  She is loved by her work family and is a joy to have in a dietary department.

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