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When life gives you lemons...

Maureen Schlereth has lived at Manor of the Plains for nearly two years—unfortunately much of that time has been dominated by a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.

So, what do you do when you are locked down in a new environment and craving some social interaction?

You get creative.

“I had a lot of books coming in through the mail and after I’d read them, I’d put them out and then take the older books over to each department for them to share,” said Maureen. “People started talking about the books and visiting about them and eventually it moved over to the Cozy Corner to visit and we added treats.”

Maureen’s spontaneous attempt to lift the spirits of others and keep them mentally stimulated suddenly morphed into something a little more structured. Soon a group of anywhere from five to 15 residents began gathering Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for some much-needed socialization and, of course, refreshments.

Recently, those refreshments have begun to include lemonade, which happened to be yet another brainchild of Maureen’s.

“So many of us don’t drink enough fluids. I’ve worked in nursing homes and was an LPN, so I knew it was important,” said Maureen. “So, with it being summer, I thought that if we could get something to drink and socialize it would be physically and emotionally good for us all.”

But don’t worry, there’s plenty to eat too—thanks to a special member of the kitchen staff who has a particular knack for baking.

“He’ll make us cinnamon rolls, donuts, long johns, cookies—if he ever quits, we’re going to adopt him!” said Maureen.

In addition to the regular meetups in the Cozy Corner, Maureen also continues to organize and manage the community’s growing library.

“At the first of the month I put the new ones on a cabinet shelf and then move them to the bookshelf when we get new ones,” said Maureen.

Asked why she puts in all of the effort that she does, Maureen’s answer was simple.

“It just keeps us mentally stimulated so that we don’t get withdrawn and depressed,” said Maureen.

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