Twilight Wish – Nonprofit Grants Wishes for Louisville’s Aging Population

Twilight Wish - Nonprofit Grants Wishes for Louisville’s Aging Population

There’s a new nonprofit in town. And for Louisville’s elders, it could be life-changing. 

It’s called Twilight Wish, and it exists to grant “wishes” to seniors – anything from trips to Normandy, to a couple jars of special spaghetti sauce.

“Every single wish has been meaningful for me,” says Julie Hartmann, director of the new Louisville chapter. She has worked with the organization since 2009 and was instrumental in bringing a chapter to Kentucky.

Hartmann began a career in physical therapy in 1985, and in the course of her work, began to serve in geriatrics. “That really solidified my love for the older adult,” she says. “I met people from all walks of life, from farmers who lived way out to high-level executives who ran a company, and really gained an appreciation for growing older and what it was all about. I just always felt like there was something I could do to give back.”

She began to search for a way to do so, and discovered Twilight Wish.

The organization is dedicated to granting the wishes of men and women over the age of 65. Seniors or their families may fill out a form, found on the foundation’s website, requesting a wish. This is then reviewed and, if possible, the wish will be granted.

twlight wish recipent“If you’re in a nursing home, you automatically qualify, and veterans automatically qualify,” Hartmann says. She adds that they honor a history of servanthood, helping those who “give back to the community in some way, shape or form. It can be anything from ‘I started the Red Cross’ to ‘I knit Afghans for local nursing homes.’ There’s some way that people are giving back.”

The goal is to do something special for the senior that they would not have the means to do for themselves, whether for financial or other reasons. “I think in all the years I’ve done it, there’s never been somebody who hasn’t met those criteria,” Hartmann says.

Because eligibility allows seniors from so many backgrounds to participate, a wide scope of wishes are represented. A “simple needs” wish may be having an accessibility ramp built at one’s house; “celebrating a life” is for those with limited life expectancies and may include returns to a job or hometown. “Living life to the fullest” wishes range from meeting celebrities to cross-country, 18-wheeler trips, and any experience in between.

There are also “veterans’ wishes,” which make up a third of those granted and can overlap with any of the three categories. No matter the wish or the recipient, the end goal, as summed up in the foundation’s brochure, is this: “to make the world a nicer place to age, one Twilight Wish at a time.”

When Hartmann discovered Twilight Wish in 2009, only six years after its inception, a few hundred wishes had been granted. She says there have now been over 5,000.

“I’ve left crying because of the impact of a wish,” Hartmann says. “It made me take a step back in my own life and realize how good I have it. Sometimes we just don’t think about that. We spend a lot of time complaining about things, but then somebody’s wish is time with a therapy dog or two jars of special spaghetti sauce, or time with a family member that they haven’t seen in a while.” It’s a reminder of the importance of the seemingly simple.

When she’s at events, Hartmann asks older adults what they might want if they could wish for anything. The common response is, “I’ve got everything I need.”

Today, Louisville has its own chapter. The startup process wasn’t easy; Hartmann says it included learning about a host of local organizations that could “help me get the word out, and help connect me to people who maybe have organizations that might want to donate or help. It’s a learning curve to know the city.”

Hartmann and others involved were persistent, and the Louisville chapter opened in June 2023. It was granting wishes within three months of opening.

Hartmann says the Louisville chapter will recognize and celebrate older adults that live in the area. “It’s a great place to age, so let’s celebrate it in every way possible,” she says. “Let’s find the adults that are kind of quiet behind the scenes that deserve more. That’s who I’m looking for.”

twlight wish recipentThese behind-the-scenes people come from all situations. “One lady wanted a flagpole,” Hartmann says. “She was dying of cancer and she said, ‘I want a flagpole for my son to be able to look at every day and think about strength.’”

One man’s wish was for a new pair of shoes and socks. “He was in assisted living,” Hartmann says. “He walked out in the parking lot every day and his shoes were worn out, so he just wanted a pair of shoes and socks. He went up to Dick’s Sporting Goods and he got to pick out a pair of shoes and socks. It was so exciting for him. He wouldn’t take them off.”

The Louisville chapter recently bought two iPads for Nazareth Home. “One of the Bellarmine University classes is going to go over and teach them how to use them,” Hartmann says.

Many of these wishes may look small on the outside, but to these seniors, they’re a blessing received with a grateful attitude that people of any age can learn from.

twlight wish recipent

“Personally, I love the smaller wishes,” Hartmann says. “I think they’re much more meaningful for me and for the person.”

As the Louisville chapter grows, Hartmann encourages the community to get involved. Whether this is through volunteering – even volunteering to grant a wish – or through donating funds or goods, any help can be a big help. The impact, however, can be even more widespread. “Everybody has needs; everybody has things that they can offer,” Hartmann says.

She encourages everyone, no matter the time or place, to “be supportive of the older adults. Listen to what they are saying. Be respectful.”

It’s both a community-wide effort and a personal privilege. “The older adults that we’re dealing with, they’ve been through a lot and they’ve seen a lot,” Hartmann says. “We can learn a lot from them if we take the time. Don’t forget about the older adults in your life. Reach out, continue to be a part of their life, support them. If there’s a wish that they might want, let us know.”

This kind of support, whether affiliated with Twilight Wish or not, is an easy way to improve the lives of our aging loved ones, peers, coworkers and community members.

“There’s no playbook for getting older,” Hartmann says. “There’s going to be a big variety of people, from those who are doing really well and have a great support system to those individuals who are alone and have no support, and could use a little bit of Twilight Wish in their life.”

The process is different for each and every person, but in every situation, the community can play an important role in making Louisville a nicer place to age, one moment, one smile, and one Twilight Wish at a time.

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Donor Spotlight: Dawn Davison Brown Shares What Giving to the Nazareth Homes Foundation Means to Her

Donor Spotlight: Dawn Davison Brown Shares What Giving to the Nazareth Homes Foundation Means to Her

 Dawn Davison Brown, who resides in Alabama and has roots in Louisville, began her journey with Nazareth Home at a time when her family was in crisis. Her mother, Darlene Davison, collapsed from an illness and was sent to the hospital in 2013. When Darlene was ready to be discharged, Dawn found herself desperately seeking the next solution for her mother’s care with a two-day notice. It was during the Christmas season that year that Dawn called Nazareth Home for help based on a recommendation from her husband, Rick. On the other end of that critical phone call from Alabama was Mary Haynes, Nazareth Home’s President/CEO, who became Dawn’s guiding light in her great time of need.

“I was desperate. I was calling anyone and everyone I could find on the computer in Louisville. I never dreamt that Mary Haynes would answer the phone. She will always be my angel. I am grateful beyond words. God stepped in.”

With the nurturing care provided by Nazareth Home, Dawn’s mother was able to receive the support she required – first in rehabilitation (Recovery to Home) and then in skilled nursing (Spalding Square). This gave Dawn and her family eight weeks of peace during a very difficult period. Dawn was grateful for the friendly nature of the facility, as her mother was welcomed with open arms.

“I loved the inclusiveness of Nazareth Home. Mom was Presbyterian, I’m Methodist, and I thought the Nazareth Home was predominantly for Catholics,” said Dawn.

The financial aspect of her mother’s care was also a concern, but with the help of Nazareth Home, Dawn’s brother, Ross was able to navigate this challenge. The experience at Nazareth Home strengthened Dawn’s faith and inspired her to give back. 

As a gesture of gratitude and commitment to helping others, Dawn has personally donated monthly  and placed the Nazareth Homes Foundation in her will. She also appreciates the ongoing newsletters from Nazareth Home so she can stay informed on the organization’s activities and impact. 

“I knew Mom was being cared for and did not question that. It strengthened my faith, and this is the one gift I can give back in Darlene’s memory.” 

Dawn hopes to visit Nazareth Home again sometime, expressing her deep appreciation for the excellent care her mother received and the hospitality shown to her family. Her story is a testament to the impact of generosity and the importance of supporting organizations that provide comfort and dignity to those in need.

 “I made a vow and commitment to help others to give as I could. I was shown such generosity by Nazareth Home. My Mom was not expected to live long, but Nazareth Home gave us eight weeks of compassionate care. It was a gift to me living in another state. It meant so much to me that my mother experienced eight weeks of kindness and dignity.”

Dawn Davison Brown being a monthly donor to the Nazareth Homes Foundation serves as an inspiration to us all. Thank you, Dawn, for sharing your story and for your dedication to making a difference in the lives of others through your gifts.

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Nazareth Home Receives 2024 Customer Experience Award from Pinnacle Quality Insight

Nazareth Home Receives 2024 Customer Experience Award from Pinnacle Quality Insight


According to AARP, the Nazareth Home has once again earned a 2024 Customer Experience Award from Pinnacle Quality Insight. This award recognized both the Highlands and Clifton Campuses. 

Nazareth Home started contracting with Pinnacle Quality to conduct customer satisfaction surveys in 2020 and has received this award every year since 2021.

The customer satisfaction report developed by Pinnacle Quality Insight is designed to measure resident satisfaction in terms of quality of care and quality of life. Nazareth Home scored within the top 15 percent of the nation across a 12-month average. Out of 2,700 care providers and 50,000 customer interviews, only those facilities that scored in the 85th percentile or higher received an award. This achievement shows our commitment to delivering exceptional care and services to the elders and patients of Nazareth Home, as well as their family members.

“We participate in customer satisfaction surveys through Pinnacle as a way to hold ourselves accountable, so we always remain focused on delivering a great experience,” said Mary Haynes, president/CEO of Nazareth Home. “This process also ensures that, when needed, our team knows where and how to make improvements to maintain a high level of quality and professionalism.”

A sampling of Nazareth Home elders and family members participated in monthly telephone interviews that included open-ended questions as well as rating Nazareth Home in specific categories. Nazareth Home aggregates these surveys on a monthly basis to gain a better understanding of resident experiences and family member perceptions, then addresses areas that may require attention.

For this year (2024), Nazareth Home was recognized in the following areas/categories:

  • Activities
  • Communication from Facility
  • Dignity and Respect
  • Dining Service
  • Individual Needs
  • Nursing Care
  • Overall Customer Experience
  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Professional Therapy Services
  • Recommend to Others
  • Response to Problems
  • Safety and Security

Here’s what a few family members had to say about Nazareth Home in customer satisfaction interviews conducted in 2023:

“It’s truly a home environment with people who care. It’s a wonderful experience for the one who lives there.” – Judy T.

“I appreciate that they have fulfilled their promises on what they said they would do, and the staff are good.” – Aaron A.

“We’ve had a good experience there. We would go back if ever needed. It was certainly a positive experience, and we would recommend it.” – James T.

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Practicing Self Care as a Caregiver​​

Practicing Self Care as a Caregiver​

According to AARP, the approximately 42 million Americans who care for a family member or friend over the age of 50 contribute $600 billion worth of free labor to the economy. However, that care is not free to them. In fact, many individuals spend about a quarter of their annual income toward caregiving costs. Being a caregiver isn’t just an economic sacrifice – it’s also an emotional and often turbulent strain for the person. Because so many caregivers function quietly, expecting nothing in return, they exist quietly with few or limited resources.

Here are a few tips, ideas, and suggestions for easing the emotional and mental strain of being a caregiver to a friend or loved one:

Tips for Coping

Set routines:

To give structure and a natural flow to each day, try doing the same basic activities around the same time each day. Routine reduces the need for small or last-minute decisions each day that can add stress.

Use a planner or calendar:

Take advantage of a planner or calendar to document the older adult’s appointments and important tasks. This reduces the possibility of last-minute surprises since you will be able to plan ahead. 

Keep a journal:

A journal can be a key caregiving tool by helping you feel more in control. Writing quick notes in a dedicated journal means you will have accurate information about what happens and when it happens. And it makes it easier to share that information with doctors, family members, and other caregivers when you need to.

Find time to relax:

If you don’t care for yourself, your own physical and mental health will decline – thus jeopardizing your ability to provide care for your loved one. Consider asking someone you trust to fill in for you so you can find time to relax and do things you enjoy. Even having short breaks can make a significant difference in your day. 

Have freezer meals on hand:

Cook ahead of time and freeze meals in advance. This removes the stress of cooking on extremely stressful days and ready-to-eat meals are often healthier than fast-food options that may not be very nutritious. Ask family and friends to prepare pre-made meals as well, like casseroles – these can save time for you on a busy day when there is no time to cook.

Build in extra time:

Prioritize the things you can do each day realistically and plan extra time for those tasks. This way, if something takes longer than it should, you’ve already built in the extra 10-15 minutes needed. And if those tasks don’t take that long at all, you have extra time.

Seek help from others:

Seek out support from people in your neighborhood, church, workplace, or elsewhere who are caregivers as well and can relate to your experience. You could also consider forming an informal support group that meets in-person, virtually or even shares tips and ideas through group chats and texts. There are also services that provide respite care for exhausted caregivers.

Resources, Gadgets, and Tools

Technology is moving fast and catching up to the needs of caregivers. In just the last few years, digital apps and devices have transformed how we care for loved ones:

  • Look into GPS tracking devices to monitor a loved one and know where they are in real time.
  • Home cameras linked to your phone enable you to remotely check in on the whereabouts of your loved one, whether they are eating in the kitchen or watching TV in the living room.
  • Health tracking tools are flourishing on the internet and on digital apps. These can help track blood pressure, blood sugar, weight, nutrition, and some can automatically send data to your loved one’s physician.
  • While using live video chats like Zoom to help your loved one remain connected to friends and family, remember to also use this time to see how they might be able to help you as well.
  • Use erasable whiteboards and calendars located throughout the home for reminders, instructions, and directions, especially for loved ones living with dementia.
  • If the home is equipped with one of Amazon’s Alexa voice-controlled devices (like Echo), verbal alarms and reminders can be set up, and offer shopping options for those with mobility issues and assistance making phone calls. News and music are also readily available. 

Being a caregiver can be very challenging. So it’s important for caregivers to find ways to take care of their own needs, otherwise caring for an elder may become a struggle, or worse, impossible if your own health suffers. Caregivers can’t provide adequate care if they’re running on empty and should prioritize their own wellness to avoid anxiety, frustration, and burnout. 

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Gerontologist Promotes Spirituality in Dementia Care

Gerontologist Promotes Spirituality in Dementia Care

Individuals who attended the Spirituality of Caring for Persons with Dementia at Nazareth Home Jan. 24 listened to Dr. Jane Thibault. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

Society needs to shift the way it perceives caring for persons with dementia and receiving that care, moving from a disaster mindset to one focused on spirituality, said Dr. Jane Thibault during a program at Nazareth Home in the Highlands Jan. 24.

“I’m proposing re-envisioning caregiving as a mutual spiritual path,” where the caregiver and the person receiving care “create meaning not just endure it,” she said.

Thibault is a behavioral gerontologist and clinical professor emerita at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Her presentation, “The Spirituality of Caring for Persons with Dementia,” was part of Nazareth Home’s monthly Community Education Series and drew about 60 people on a rainy afternoon.

She began by reading a passage from the Gospel of John, where Jesus tells his disciple Peter, “Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.”

There’s “good news” in that Scripture passage, said Thibault.

No one wants to be in a situation where they can no longer care for themselves, yet “Jesus promises us that in this very condition, we can glorify God,” she said.

It’s important to view dementia from a spiritual perspective because the “loss of self that accompanies memory loss is a spiritual issue,” she said.

The person suffering from the condition as well as their caregiver, she said, often question the meaning and the value of their lives. She said there are situations where the individual with dementia and the caregiver turn to suicide as a way of ending their mutual suffering.

Individuals who attended the Spirituality of Caring for Persons with Dementia at Nazareth Home Jan. 24 listened to Dr. Jane Thibault. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

It doesn’t have to be this way, though.

Caregiving and receiving care can be a spiritual path if both individuals involved — she refers to them as “care partners” — are trying to:

    • Find or create meaning out of the situation.
    • Understand how the very acts of caregiving and receiving can bring one closer to God and one’s true self.

Thibault suggested that “care partners” establish some mutual spiritual practices that may include:

    • Becoming aware of the gifts both individuals have been given.
    • Attending Mass for as long as it’s comfortable following the diagnosis.
    • Asking for spiritual help from a faith community to receive prayer, home visits and Communion.
    • Taking nature walks. If the individual is not able to walk, they can be transported outdoors or to the mall in a wheelchair, the goal is to spend some time outside daily, she said.
    • Listen to and sing hymns.
    • Read and talk about favorite Scripture.
    • Pray for someone. Send someone a card saying you’re thinking of them and praying for them. This “focuses attention outward, but keeps you both in the other person’s mind. Thus, you both stay active members of the human community.” Thibault also suggested spinning a globe, randomly choosing a country, and praying for someone there.
    • Nazareth Home’s Community Education Series started a year ago to help provide answers to families of Nazareth Home patients, as well as individuals in the community, said Mary Haynes, president and CEO of Nazareth Home.

“We see ourselves as a friend of the community and we have a lot of expertise,” she said. “We know something about these topics and we’re happy to share those resources. We started last year with the topic of brain health. It’s on everybody’s mind.”

She noted that everyone will need care or become a caregiver at some point, “so it impacts everyone. … Finding those resources to take care of someone and yourself at the same time is” important.

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Nazareth Home names Ashley Cochran executive director of Clifton Campus

Nazareth Home names Ashley Cochran executive director of Clifton Campus

Source: McKnights Senior Living

Click here to read article

Ashley Cochran has been named the executive director of Nazareth Home, Clifton Campus, Louisville, KY. 

Cochran’s career at the Clifton Campus began 20 years ago in the dietary department. Then she spent many years working in admissions at the Highlands Campus. She studied business administration at University of Louisville and earned her MBA from Indiana University Southeast.

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Nazareth Home residents visit Kentucky State Fair

Nazareth Home residents visit Kentucky State Fair

Source: WAVE3

Click here to read article

Not everyone can make it out to the Kentucky State Fair, so Nazareth Home brought some of the fun to their residents.

The long-term care facilities hosted a number of activities including a bake-off, a dog show and even displayed artwork made by the residents.

The Kentucky State Fair is often a nostalgic event for older generations. Bringing a little bit of the state fair excitement to residents allowed them to connect with each other and their families, remembering what the fair meant to them when they were growing up.

Nazareth Home has been providing long-term care since it was established in 1976.

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A History of Groundbreaking Innovation at Nazareth Home

A History of Groundbreaking Innovation at Nazareth Home

Pictured L to R: George Karakatsanis, Vice President of Sales, Toi Labs; Tracy Fluhr, EHR Clinical Resource Specialist Nurse, Nazareth Home; Kim Hobson, RN, BSN, Director of Clinical Services, Nazareth Home

Nazareth Home has a long history of delivering person-centered care, which honors each individual’s unique needs, preferences, and abilities. A perfect example is our investment in innovation and technology that empowers the elder and helps drive improved health outcomes. Our leadership is very aware of how technology is influencing everyday life for many generations and the aging care space is no different. 

A few years ago, we began using iN2L (It’s Never Too Late), a unique technology that creates content-driven engagement and meaningful experiences for seniors. iN2L provides enlightening experiences by allowing Nazareth Home elders to connect with family, virtually “visit” their childhood home and different places around the globe, and play music and games. This technology isn’t just a fun recreational resource – it enriches the lives of seniors by enabling enjoyable, high-quality interactions.

We value everyone within our Nazareth Home community, especially our employees – who are a critical part of our organization. Several years ago, we took a leap with a new financial wellness platform called Payactiv that made our employees’ financial lives easier and directly impacted their livelihood. Revolutionary at the time but simple, Payactiv allows employees to immediately access their earned wages before payday through a tech application (app), transfer funds to their bank, load the funds onto a Payactiv card, or pick up cash at Walmart. This single initiative allows our employees to avoid costly payday loans or pay overdraft fees or late fees. Additionally, it helps reduce financial stress and the need (and discomfort) of asking for a paycheck advance. Ultimately, it also benefits the elders because it serves as an attractive recruiting tool, allowing us to hire exceptional team members who are fully engaged employees with agency over their own financial wellness.

Soon, we will install several more TrueLootoilet seats at our Highlands Campus following a pilot project earlier this year in our Memory Care neighborhood. Nazareth Home is the first long-term care facility in the state to adopt this early detection product. TrueLoo serves as an automated medical collection device for human biological materials – analyzing them for potential disease, health, or medical indicators – and it does so privately without any burden to the elder. This eliminates the need to observe, interpret, remember, and document stool and urine eliminations – allowing staff to focus on caring for the resident without missing important health data. Providing daily and weekly reports of bowel and bladder patterns enables early interventions by our nursing staff, which in turn can reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations for the elders. 

Our focus in aging care innovation is not possible without like-minded partners. It’s a collaborative effort with tech innovators, industry leaders, and aging care experts in the field. Just last week, Nazareth Home participated in a panel discussion at Louisville’s Thrive Center through an industry-sponsored event with CDW Healthcare. There, we joined Toi Labs to discuss Nazareth Home’s three-month pilot program with the TrueLoo smart toilet and shared learnings and outcomes from the project.

It’s an exciting time in aging care, and we’re always seeking out the next generation of healthcare technology that enhances wellness for the elders and makes life easier for everyone in our community. 

We’re looking for family members whose loved one’s life has been touched by technology in some way at Nazareth Home. If you’d like to share your story, please reach out to Melissa Bailey, Director of Communications, at or at (502) 565-8349. 

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True Doors brings familiarity, comfort to elders in our memory care neighborhood

True Doors brings familiarity, comfort to elders in our memory care neighborhood

A humble door can evoke a sense of tranquility. When you cross the threshold of your front door, a comforting embrace can envelop you, instilling a profound sense of security. In this treasured space that is yours, you are free to be yourself, shielded from the noise and business of the outside world.

This safety and familiarity hold a special significance for individuals with memory impairments. In the midst of disorientation, the sight of something familiar, such as their front door, becomes a lifeline, anchoring the person to a sense of belonging. 

This is precisely the experience True Doors brings to the elders who reside on Charity Court, the close-knit, all-female Memory Care neighborhood at Nazareth Home’s Highlands Campus. Adorned with meticulously crafted and colorful decals that resemble doors, True Doors brings consistency and familiarity into the surroundings of the women, elevating their sense of identity and fostering a feeling of home. Moreover, these doors serve a practical purpose many times throughout the day by guiding them back to their rooms, helping to prevent confusion.

Home, a concept that holds different meanings for every person, shapes our place in this vast world. And it all begins at the front door. With True Doors, the women of Charity Court walk confidently into their haven of comfort and peace, their spirits uplifted and their hearts at ease.

If you are considering a Memory Care program, such as our Charity Court, for your loved one, we invite you to reach out to us to ask questions or schedule a tour.

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