Creating Cuddly Keepsakes
A resident at Foulkeways at Gwynedd, an accredited Continuing Care Retirement Community located in suburban Montgomery County, Catharine Van Horn has always enjoyed arts and crafts and had been creating teddy bears for many years. Business really took off when one of Foulkeways’ staff members asked her to make a bear out of an old fur coat she had found at a rummage sale: “I made the bear, and it turned out really nicely. Suddenly, it seemed like furs were coming out of the woodwork! I’ve made quite a few bears out of fur stoles and coats since then, and people really enjoy them. ”
As she explains, “There are a lot of very special stories attached to the bears. One woman had one made for each of her grandchildren and put the charms from her charm bracelet around their necks. Another had a wedding bear made for her daughter with a veil made from her own wedding veil. The positive reception the fur bears have received has been flattering.”
Helping individuals establish unique commemoratives has been rewarding for Catharine, and ultimately, for the recipients of her charming, one-of-a kind teddy bears. The monies generated by the sale of these precious keepsakes go directly into the Foulkeways’ Resident Association Fund, which benefits numerous volunteer programs within the community. Her ‘Teddy Bear Table’ at the annual craft fair held in November is always a favorite among visitors.
Catharine moved to Foulkeways 16 years ago and has been extremely pleased with her choice of retirement communities. “I lost my husband almost 23 years ago, and after living by myself for seven or eight years, I began to think that I needed to make a move,” she says. “I knew of Foulkeways because I had friends already living here, and when I came to visit, I remember being impressed with how beautiful the campus was and how happy my friends were with their new lifestyle.”
Soon after moving, Catharine became involved with the Foulkeways Craft Fair and numerous other community groups. “Foulkeways has over 100 volunteer committees; there is something for everyone–art, gardening, fitness training, wood working, water volleyball. There’s just too much going on to mention them all.”
One of Catharine’s favorite volunteer duties was that of “tour guide” for prospective residents. “Visitors tour the Foulkeway campus with resident tour guides, rather than with members of the Marketing Department. I think they [the visitors] feel more comfortable asking questions about the community to someone who actually lives here, and I believe that the staff is confident that we residents can demonstrate how much Foulkeways has to offer!,” Catherine exclaims.
As Nancy Nolan, the Director of Marketing at Foulkeways, explains, this confidence is certainly warranted. “We are accredited by the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission (CCAC), the nation’s only accrediting body for continuing care retirement communities. Foulkeways is also a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Non-Profit Homes for the Aging (PANPHA), the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA), and is affiliated with Friends Services for the Aging (FSA). These accreditations exemplify Foulkeways’ ongoing commitment to standards of excellence in retirement living.”
For Catherine, knowing that all her future needs will be provided for has afforded her the time and security to focus on her volunteer activities. Catharine has been donating her time and energy to the likes of the Cub Scouts, PTA, local craft fairs, church organizations, adult day care centers, and national church committees for the greater part of her adult life.
“It’s important that you be comfortable, happy and busy, as I am at Foulkeways,” says Catharine. “Finding peace of mind and comfort, along with so many opportunities to join with other community members