News

July 11, 2019

Meet our director of nursing

Debbie St. Peter

A critical member of our team, Debbie St. Peter has been at Oakwood Residence since November of 2011 but involved in geriatric care for over 36 years. A native to northeastern Philadelphia, Debbie began her career as a CNA, then went to nursing school. “I enjoy working with geriatric patients. It’s been very rewarding,” she says. “I’ve done it my whole life.”
Debbie’s philosophy of care is based on the principle of respect, and everyone she interacts with is treated with kindness and dignity. She loves being able to chat daily with Oakwood residents about their careers and lives.

And it’s not just Debbie who loves the Oakwood Residence family. She is a proud mother of four children and eight grandchildren who feel that Oakwood’s residents are like family and visit often. Debbie’s passion for healthcare has influenced her children who have followed in her footsteps, including her son who is an RN and a visiting nurse here at Oakwood.
In her spare time, Debbie enjoys swimming, gardening, and reading, and loves to bond over her shared interests with the residents at Oakwood. Be sure to say hello to Debbie the next time you see her!

June 19, 2019

Up close with Resident

Dolores Kimmel

A lifelong native to Philadelphia, Dolores Kimmel, affectionately known to all as Dee, has led a full and busy life as an accomplished ballerina, dance teacher, figure skater, and black belt in karate. Over the years she has built a rewarding legacy as an artist, wife and mother.

Coming from a long line of prima ballerinas and pianists, a love of performing arts runs in Dee’s family. From the age of three, she began taking ballet lessons and went on to become a professional ballerina at 13 where she performed with the Pennsylvania Ballet Company and was accepted into the Philadelphia Civic Opera Company. Her dreams of being a ballet dancer eventually took her to New York where she studied with Antony Tudor, the famed ballet master of the Ballet Company of NY.

By the age of 18, Dee was holding down three jobs, working part-time in fashion, teaching dance, and then rehearsing with the opera company in the evenings. Passionate about helping women and children, she initiated child abuse prevention efforts, and gave recitals for the Germantown Women’s Club.

After years of performing in a wide variety of NY shows and musicals, Dee transitioned back to Philly, where she opened her own dance studio. The studio was a huge success with 300 students after the first three years.

During her last year of teaching dance, Dee met her husband Murray, a urologist who had been in the Berry Plan, a Vietnam War-era program that allowed physicians to defer obligatory military service until they had completed medical school and residency training. The two married in 1956 and had four sons. They eventually settled in the Wyncote area where Murray completed his urology residency at Jefferson Hospital. Dee would later join her husband as his office assistant at his practice by Eakins Oval, right across from the Philadelphia Art Museum, where they worked side by side for 30 years until they retired.

Life as a busy mom never slowed Dee down. While her kids grew, they started to develop an interest and hobby in ice skating, and in her early 40s, Dee decided to join them. As a dancer she found figure skating came naturally and although she was encouraged to compete, she declined – choosing to practice simply out of a love for the sport. After a back injury forced Dee off the ice, she studied karate, eventually earning a black belt which she proudly keeps with her here at Oakwood Residence.

Eventually, Dee and her husband experienced some health issues and found that moving to a senior living community benefited them both. Sadly, her husband passed away five and a half years ago, however his memory lives on through their children who are accomplished doctors, a veterinarian and lawyer. Their eldest son, Dr. Brian Kimmel, is the Medical Director here at Oakwood Residence and makes sure to check up on his mom regularly.

Although she now gets around mostly in a wheelchair and walker, Dee is just as vibrant and passionate as ever. Take a moment to speak with Dee and you’ll find that she has much to share. We love her incredible spirit and are delighted that she’s made Oakwood Residence her home.

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March 4, 2019

Up close with Resident

John F. Codori

The youngest of six children born to Dr. and Mrs. Laurence M. Codori, John was reared in Philadelphia in an area known as “Swampoodle” and was educated in the Catholic School system. He attended grade school at St. Columba’s and graduated from Roman Catholic Boys High School in 1950, where he was a member of the Track Team and ran Cross Country. After graduation, he worked at the Nabisco Company for two years and then General Motors for 43 years. He was employed in the processing and packaging department and was responsible for assembling automotive part orders for shipment.

Although John is a life-long bachelor, he is proud to have 13 nieces and nephews, 20 great nieces and nephews, and 13 great-great nieces and nephews.

At a young age John developed a love of all sports, especially Philadelphia baseball. The old Connie Mack Stadium was only four blocks from his home. He was so engrossed with the Phillies that in eighth grade he was caught making Box Scores Cards during class. The nun said to John: “If you had been born closer to the Academy of Music rather than the ball park you might be a musical virtuoso.” (She had him make 10 more score cards for the convent.) John is a 3rd Degree Knight of Columbus, Holt Family Council, in King of Prussia, and for many years attended retreats with The Men of Malvern.

John’s hobbies include reading books, the National Geographic, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News. He keeps up with regional college football – especially Villanova, maintains scrapbooks of all Philadelphia sports teams, and enjoys watching sports on TV. Wednesday nights are dedicated to playing Black Jack, and John is an eager participant in all Oakwood monthly outings and other group activities.

The Codori family history is closely intertwined with some key events in American history. John is a direct descendant of Nicholas Codori, who emigrated from France in 1830 along with his two brothers Joseph and Anthony. After living in Baltimore, the brothers moved to Gettysburg, PA where they prospered buying land and establishing businesses. In July of 1863, the Battle at Gettysburg—a pivotal point in the Civil War—was fought. The Codori Farm was in the direct path of Pickett’s Charge, the deadliest engagement of the battle, and the Codori House was used as a prison for days after the battle.

Today the Codori name is proudly displayed on businesses and monuments throughout Gettysburg. Several Codori buildings are in the Historic Register including Anthony Codori’s home, now a Bed and Breakfast, and St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. The land for the church was donated by Nicholas, and the money to build the church was provided by Joseph. The annual Codori family reunion brings together descendants from across the country.

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November 15, 2018

Who Killed The Butler?

A Murder Mystery Whodunit

Our residents and staff recently enjoyed an unforgettable and thrilling afternoon of mystery, intrigue, and murder! In the spirit of October, which is designated as “Mystery Month”, we staged a Murder Mystery whodunit with both staff and residents acting out their parts as suspects and victim.

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November 15, 2018

A Peek Into The Past

“Snapshot of My Life” Contest

Oakwood residents and staff took a trip down memory lane, with our photo display featuring our residents in their younger years. Whoever matched the most faces with the correct names walked away with a Dunkin Donuts or Wit Or Witout Philly Cheesesteaks gift card!

The winners:
Victoria Allen, Med. Tech-Nursing Assistant; Any Cherian, Nursing Assistant; Falisha Tyson Brooks, Nursing Assistant; and Ruth Thomas, Residence Housekeeping.

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October 19, 2018

Up Close & Personal With

Michael Foley

Michael Foley transferred to our community after recuperating next door at Oakwood Healthcare. Easygoing and likeable, Mike exudes an especially positive and upbeat spirit that draws people close to him.

Born and bred in Philadelphia, Mike knows the area neighborhoods like the back of his hand. In fact, as a postman for the Bustleton Post Office for 32 years, his mail route included the Oakwood Residence address at 2109 Red Lion Road. Prior to his long stint as a mail carrier, he was employed as a drug purchaser for the Frankford Hospital pharmacy.

18 years old by the Vietnam War draft call-up, his draft lottery number was #5! After taking the requisite blood tests, Mike received a life-changing call. The lab results had shown that his blood sugar level was dangerously high, and the doctor wanted to know why he had even considered joining the army. Mike, who had no inkling of his diabetic condition, received a medical exemption, enabling him to seek the medical attention necessary to effectively manage his health.

A devoted dad to his daughter Kellie, Mike was always there to hold her hand during her years growing up. He helped her hone her softball techniques and was an avid spectator cheering her on at every game. He volunteered as the coach of the swim team at Christ School – the school she attended, and when she was 10 years old, Kellie and her father jogged in the 5k Race for Frankford Hospital. The duo practiced running nightly for weeks prior to that event.Today Kellie lives in Bucks County with her 2 sons, ages 10 and 5. When she brings the kids to visit her dad at Oakwood, you can see Mike’s eyes light up. They enjoy talking sports – a common love that bridges the generations. Whether its baseball, basketball or football, these men can go at it for hours!

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July 31, 2018

Meet Our Psychologist

Dr. Whaley

To address the psycho-social needs of our seniors, our medical staff includes Dr. Darren Whaley, a clinical psychologist prominent in the geriatric population. He meets weekly with residents struggling with emotional issues such as anxiety or depression, providing client-centered supportive therapy to help each individual rise above his or her challenges.

Always interested in the human condition, Dr. Whaley started out as a criminal justice major. Upon taking some classes in psychology he realized that he was strongly drawn to actually providing treatment. After pursuing a masters in science and experimental psychology at University of Louisiana-Monroe, he moved to the East Coast to complete his doctorate in clinical psychology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Whaley resides in Chester County, PA with his family. He is an avid sportsman and delights in his beautiful children – a 7-year old boy and 22-month old girl.

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June 28, 2018

Up Close & Personal With

Betty Milstein

Oakwood Residence is home to many fascinating personalities living rich, vibrant lives. Our community attracts a colorful group of seniors and we make it a point to get to know their background and stories.

We are delighted to give you a glimpse into the life of Betty Milstein – singer, actress and poet extraordinaire.

A Philadelphia native, born and bred, Betty moved in this past November from the Doral Condos just a few of blocks away. Always well-coiffed and the life of every party, the mellifluous lilt in her voice hints to her singing career on the radio decades ago prior to her marriage to Bernard Milstein. She and Bernie met through her close friendship with his older sister. The two kept up a steady correspondence, with love letters flitting back and forth across the ocean, after Bernie was shipped out to the World War II theater.

When a serious injury landed Bernie back in the states in a hospital near the Atlantic City Boardwalk, Betty trekked out to visit him. Doctors were ready to amputate his leg, but penicillin – the new miracle drug of the time – saved the day and his leg.

After Bernie was honorably discharged with a Purple Heart, the couple married and had a beautiful life together. Betty stayed home to raise their two daughters and filled the house with music. Her daughter Meryl has distinct memories of her mom singing while washing dishes and tapping her feet to the beat.

“My father had a beautiful voice as well, and we all loved to sing. We were a singing family like the Von Trapp Family Singers.” Employed at Milstein (no relation) Floor Covering, Mr. Milstein worked hard to care for his wife, who he lovingly called ”my party girl”. In their middle age, the couple moved to the Doral where they were surrounded by relatives and friends.

“My sister and I have a special events production company. In the past when we staged murder mysteries at different venues, our mom played Fifi the maid and dad was the butler. They were a real hoot!” recalls Meryl.

After her husband’s passing a few years ago, Betty kept herself busy cooking and baking, and discovered a new outlet: writing poetry. Every special occasion – whether a birthday or an anniversary – was graced with her prose. In fact, her poems were featured in the Doral Newsletter and we’re pleased to share one of her Valentine poems here.

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April 29, 2018

Meet Our Podiatrist

Dr. Fanelly

In honor of National Foot Health Awareness Month in April, we are proud to feature our caring Podiatrist, Dr. John M. Fanelly, DPM. Cherished by our residents for his amazing bedside manner and sense of humor, Dr. Fanelly has been providing truly excellent foot care to Oakwood seniors for over 15 years.

To prevent complications, Dr. Fanelly treats abrasions, wounds, foot, ankle and heel pain, as well as trauma and ingrown nails. He writes prescriptions to treat infections and orders x-rays when necessary. Visiting regularly to take care of corns and calluses, as well as painful mycotic nails (nails that are yellow and thick with fungus), Dr. Fanelly’s presence is always a welcome sight.

Tips for foot care from Dr. Fanelly:• Check your feet for any redness, broken skin or wounds.• Always wash and dry your feet thoroughly, especially in between the toes.• Wear properly fitting and comfortable shoes.A graduate from NY College of Podiatric Medicine, Dr. Fanelly completed his residency at James C. Giuffre Medical Center in Philadelphia.

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April 23, 2018

Up Close & Personal With

Lenny Saulevics

Lenny, a beloved resident at Oakwood since September 2016, was born in the Baltic State of Latvia in 1945. He arrived in America at the age of 8 and settled in a farm in North Carolina with his parents. The small family later moved to Pennsylvania where his father worked for Bell Telephone.

Lenny takes enormous pride in the home he, himself, built for his family – from foundation to roof. With no formal education as an engineer, and no assistance whatsoever from contractors, that home is a source of cherished memories for Lenny’s children.
Lenny married Darlene in the early seventies and raised a family together with her that included Judy, a child from Lenny’s first marriage, Brian and his sister Tracy.

His son Brian lovingly describes Lenny as a great dad who spent time with his children – from working in the garage to fishing, and as a stern yet loving father who raised him to be a good person and taught him what it means to be a man.

An avid traveler with a penchant for western movies and a declared fan of Clint Eastwood, Lenny is happiest in the company of his children. Having arrived at the end of WWII and succeeding to build a beautiful family and home in this country, Lenny embodies the American Dream.

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April 8, 2018

Up Close With Resident Artist

Inge April

The Positive Energy of Inge
Ingeborg, known to all as Inge, was born in Wuerzburg, Germany and came to the United States in 1950.

She began painting on silk at the young age of sixty and is now eighty-seven years young, and a resident at Oakwood. Her room is awash in color with her magnificent paintings adorning the walls.

Inge is most happy when she is painting on silk. Her silk paintings are energetic and expressionistic. She swirls and layers her brushstrokes of paint creating colorful silk compositions. A recurring main theme for her work is ‘positive energy’ and ‘world peace for all’.

Most of her artwork is framed to hang on the wall or to be displayed on easels. She takes pride in creating wearable artwork as well – such as her various sized scarves, ties and pins.Inge was an original member of Art First Gallery in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She had her studio there and was an annual featured artist for several years.

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December 22, 2017

Nicole Simmons, CNA, CMT

Nicole, known as Nikky, has been an integral part of our team for 17 years. Here’s her story:

Upon accepting my position at Oakwood Residence, I was given the task of caring for the Administrator’s mother-in-law. I was a recent graduate – and I was scared! The responsibility was daunting but I put my all into it. My duties today include taking care of all the residents of Oakwood by providing assistance in taking medication and performing treatments for various skin and wound conditions.

After 17 years here, I can honestly say that working at Oakwood is THE BEST. Because we are in direct contact with people day in and day out, no two days are the same, and we get to experience the full spectrum of emotions along with our residents:

We are reassuring and compassionate when they are in pain, we reminisce with them to shift their focus from their condition, we laugh with them, and they in return reward us with the knowledge that what we do and how we do it makes a difference – there is no better job!

I would not hesitate to recommend Oakwood to my own family because for close to two decades I have seen firsthand that the care is excellent – and that the staff truly cares.

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August 24, 2017

Meet Our Medical Director:

Dr. Brian Kimmel

Working closely with Deborah St. Peter, our dedicated Director of Nursing, Dr. Kimmel meets on a monthly basis with every resident: giving each his undivided attention, assessing the progression of their medical needs, and making the necessary adjustments in treatment and medication.

In practice for more than 30 years, Dr. Kimmel specializes in Family Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine and is affiliated with numerous hospitals in the area.

August 20, 2017

Up Close & Personal With

Janet Simaitis!

Janet Simaitis joined our family of residents this past March and is adored by all who come into her orbit. A dedicated employee of the City of Philadelphia for 20 years, she worked as a Clerk Typist II in the Department of Human Services until her retirement at age 60. She has always been devoted to her family which included her parents, her siblings and many nieces and nephews. Never one to miss a milestone or important occasion, Janet always sends a card for every birthday, anniversary and holiday to every family member, with a small gift enclosed.