51 Seminary Avenue
Reading, PA 19605

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How to Choose the Exercise That's Right for You

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 Does it seem confusing knowing what is right and wrong when it comes to being active and fit? Well, actually it is not as confusing as you may think. We live in an age of information. We can hardly go a week without some new advice or findings coming out on how and when to workout, what and what not to eat, etc. It is just great to be informed but too much information is what I believe leads to all this confusion. A person can hardly keep up with it all.

A very simple way to look at working out is this: Get active. You may be thinking that this is not profound enough or specific enough, but it is really exercise simplified. Exercise is moving your body, pure and simple. If you know that you are in need of incorporating physical activity into your life, then pick something and move.

If you are confused about whether you should walk, join a gym, take classes, do yoga, lift weights, go bike riding, dance, do Pilates, go swimming, choose the activities that, first of all, you enjoy; and second, that you will actually do.

When it comes to exercising, you really have to figure out what it is that you can get yourself to do. Not every person enjoys every activity. Some people love to walk; some people love to lift weights; some people need the motivation that comes from taking a fitness class; some people are goal oriented and some are not; and some people are the outdoorsy types and some definitely are not. It is really important to get inside your own head and know what you like and dislike.    

Many gyms, yoga and Pilates studios offer free classes or trials so that you can test the water and see if it will work for you. I highly recommend trying things out before you commit. Basements all across the country are full of exercise equipment that goes unused because it was bought with great intentions, only for the purchaser to realize that they really don’t like working on exercise equipment in their basement. This is just one example of someone going ahead with something without really knowing whether or not they would like it.

A good motto is this: The best workout for you is the one that you will actually do.” It is important not to worry about what other people are doing. If you have a friend who is in good shape, you may be tempted to try the same activity. That is fine, but that does not mean that you will be able to do the same; it may not be a good fit for you. You may not enjoy it, or you could suffer an injury if the exercise is not appropriate for your level of fitness.

Be sure to consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program.

With so many choices out there, everyone should be able to find some way to add physical activity into their lives that they can actually enjoy doing. So try some different things, figure out what works for you and begin to reap all the many benefits that fitness can provide.

Eating healthy may be easier than you think

There’s no doubt that diet plays a major role in our health. Obesity related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.But what does healthy eating really mean? It’s not as difficult as you may think to adapt and maintain healthy eating habits.

According to the National Institute of Health, a healthy diet:

  • Emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products.
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.
  • Balances the calories you take in from food and beverages with the calories burned through physical activity to maintain a healthy weight.

Here are some tips to help you meet the guidelines:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables of different colors to give your body a wide range of valuable nutrients.
  • Include foods that contain fiber such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole-grains. l Eat lean cuts of meat and poultry.
  • Trim away excess fat and remove skin from poultry before cooking.
  • Pay attention to portion sizes, especially at restaurants. Smaller portions equal fewer calories.
  • Season your food with lemon juice, herbs, and spices, rather than using butter and salt.
  • Choose foods that are baked, broiled, braised, grilled, steamed, sautéed, or boiled, rather than fried.
  • When eating out, select a dish from the menu, rather than getting your money’s worth at the all-you-can-eat buffet.

Getting enough fluids each day is important, too. Did you know that beverages aren’t the only way to get valuable fluids? Fruits and vegetables help, too.

About Sacred Heart Villa

The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ created Sacred Heart Villa (formerly St. Michael Convent) in 2003 with the vision of providing a personal care home for the Sisters and other seniors of southeastern Pennsylvania. The Sisters renovated St. Michael in order to create 35 personal care residential rooms. Sacred Heart Villa officially opened her doors to her first new residents in May 2004, with space for 57 Sisters and 40 other senior residents.  The facility has two residential buildings, a remodeled dining room, a new fireside lounge, library, café and beauty shop. The chapel remains in the middle of the facility for it truly is the Heart of the community. Each new residential room provides an individual with privacy, safety and security in an environment of beauty and grace. Mass is celebrated each day, and is open to the public.

Sacred Heart Villa is now accepting residents. If you are seeking care for yourself or loved one, contact Sacred Heart Villa today at 610-929-5751 for a tour. You can also visit or visit us at



Cooking for One or Two


Cooking for One or Two

Sometimes as people age, lose their spouse, or no longer have others to cook for, they may cook less due to low motivation, loneliness, depression, low energy levels, physical disabilities, lack of knowledge of how to shop and prepare for only one or two people, or just get tired of cooking.
Continuing to prepare healthy meals and snacks is important to maintain energy so we can continue as a vibrant friend and family member and to pursue activities that maintain a high quality of life. Good nutrition is also important to prevent and manage chronic disease and to maintain immunity to combat colds, flu and other viruses.
Planning is important to ensure your diet includes all the food groups. Take time to create menus for the week, incorporating leftovers and foods that might spoil if not used up. Many cookbooks are available with recipes for a few servings, or cut your old favorites in half. Here are some additional strategies for cooking for a few:1.    Cook once, eat twice. Use leftovers in a different form for another meal, e.g., roast chicken one night, chicken salad later.
2.    Add leftovers to soup or stew. Keep a container in the freezer to accumulate if needed.
3.    Extra pancakes or French toast can be saved to warm up in microwave or toaster.
4.    Buy frozen bagged vegetables, fruits and meal mixes. Remove exactly how much you need at one time.
5.    Get needed amounts of fresh prepped fruits or vegetables at the salad bar in your market.
6.    Share extra produce with friends or family (broccoli, head of celery, grapes).
7.    Divide packages of raw meat like chicken or ground beef and freeze in individual portions for later use.
8.    Freeze extra bread or baked goods.
9.    When buying produce, get one ripe, one medium ripe and one green.
10.    Buy produce that will keep well for longer periods under refrigeration, such as apples, cabbage, sweet potatoes, oranges and carrots.
11.    Dehydrated spices and seasonings can replace fresh and won’t spoil before being used.
12.    Dairy choices that have a longer shelf life include wrapped cheese slices, Parmesan cheese, canned or dried milk, and yogurt.
13.    Keep it simple—there are lots of ideas for easy to prepare nutritious meals and snacks. For example—peanut butter and banana or raisin sandwich on whole wheat bread with a glass of milk, or cheese and whole grain crackers with a piece of fruit and low-sodium tomato juice.
14.    Have something easy handy for days you don’t feel up to food preparation. Frozen TV dinners with sodium less than 800 mg. and fat less than 15 grams with canned fruit and whole grain bread could be used.
15.    When eating out and portions are large, bring half home for an easy meal the following day (make sure you refrigerate within 2 hours).
16.    Occasionally buy already prepared entrees and side dishes at the deli counter.
17.    Many fast food chains now have healthy choices available—roasted or grilled meats, fruit, salad, baked potato, and low fat milk or juice for a beverage.Note: Be sure to label and date all items placed in the freezer so they get used in a timely manner.(Source: Lois Killcoyne, Extension Educator, Penn State Co-op Extension, Northampton County)


Should I be Concerned About My Parents?

How to Identify if Mom or Dad Needs Help at Home

When we gather together for holidays and special occasions, we look forward with great anticipation to being with family and friends whom we may not see often. Absence may indeed make the heart grow fonder, but it also makes gradual changes in an aging loved one more apparent. Adult children of aging parents are often surprised and concerned at the changes they see in a parent or the household when they visit after long period of time.

The following may indicate a change in the physical or mental abilities of a parent or loved one:

• Piles of unpaid bills
• A stove that looks unused or has items piled on top
• Food in the refrigerator that has spoiled, or lack of food in the refrigerator
• The same items in the cupboards or pantry since your last visit.
• Obvious weight loss
• Your parent wears the same clothing throughout your visit.
• Nothing in the hamper or laundry basket
• Slight odor of urine or dirty hair
• Pet appears underfed or not cared for (litter box not changed, etc.)
• Too much or too little medicine remaining in bottles or medication set • Trouble finding keys or other commonly used items
• Unexplained dents and scratches on the car
• General untidiness in a previously neat home.

If you note any of these changes, make an appointment as soon as possible with the family physician or geriatrician to assess the situation. Be certain that a relative, trusted friend or advocate attends all medical appointments to ensure that any advice or changes in medication are implemented.

The loved one may benefit from having a caregiver come to the home to assist with light housekeeping, medication reminders, running errands and even to keep an eye on things. If having a caregiver in the home is not an option, perhaps it's time to consider a personal care home or assisted living facility.

The Difference between Independent and Assisted Living

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The Difference between Independent and Assisted Living
For anyone starting to shop for senior housing, there can be an overwhelming amount of terminology and lingo to become familiar with. One of the biggest questions you may have is, "What is the difference between independent and assisted living?"

The answer to that may vary from community to community, and licensing and requirements for senior housing are regulated by the state. However the major differentiators are the way they are structured, the amount of care provided, and the type of care provided.
Assisted living falls under the umbrella of Personal Care Homes. These are residential facilities that offer personal care services, assistance and supervision to four or more persons. They are inspected and licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Sometimes they are advertised as "assisted living residences," "retirement homes" or "boarding homes." There are no federal regulations for personal care homes. There is no third party reimbursement for personal care homes, but many personal care homes accept residents of low income who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Independent senior living communities, also known as retirement communities, senior living communities or independent retirement communities, are housing designed for seniors 55 and older. In an independent living community, residents have the physical and mental capacity to live independently but want companionship from others his/her age. Independent living communities also offer specific services and amenities that cater to senior citizens and promote active, healthy lifestyles for the golden years.

Assisted Living
Let's first take a look at Assisted Living. Assisted Living Residences (ALRs) are designed to help people who require assistance with the activities of daily living. While they cannot live alone, they also do not require such extensive care that they need to reside within a nursing home facility. Typically, staff is available at all times to help with tasks such as cleaning, changing sheets, laundry service, help with bathing or dressing, meal preparation and transportation, to name a few. Residents can choose they level of assistance they need; for example, they can choose how many meals a day they prefer to prepare for themselves. Often the facility plans social activities and outings.
Different types of arrangements are available in assisted living facilities. For example, a smaller facility may be very home-like and house just a few residents. Alternatively, some facilities are very large and house hundreds of seniors. Some places may offer private rooms or apartments, and others have more shared space.
In January of 2011, ALRs started to be licensed under 55 Pa. Code, Chapter 2800 by the Office of Long-Term Living. Similar to Personal Care Homes (PCHs), ALRs have an initial assessment, development of a support plan, and a written contract between the resident and the residence

Independent Living
Independent Living Residences are structured to allow residents to live on their own. This concept is rapidly growing in popularity, as more seniors are choosing this alternative due to the fear of living alone or desire to be around people more regularly. Most often, Independent Living facilities offer private apartments for seniors, with several different floor plans to choose from. Meal plans are usually offered, although most apartments have fully-equipped kitchens. Similar to Assisted Living, an Independent Living facility typically plans social events and outings for residents to participate in as frequently as they choose.
Note: Nursing homes are in a classification separate from Assisted Living or Independent Living. Nursing homes are licensed medical facilities that are inspected and licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. They must meet both state and federal regulations. There is third party reimbursement (Medicare and Medicaid) for those who qualify based on income.


Sacred Heart Villa to host special Christmas Masses

For those in the Reading area who seek a place to worship on Christmas Eve and / or Christmas Day, Sacred Heart Villa will be hosting special masses.

On Christmas Eve mass will be at 6 pm. Mass will also occur at 10:30 am on Christmas morning. Anyone who wishes to attend mass is invited and the cathedral is open to all.

Merry Christmas from the Missionary Sisters and your friends at Sacred Heart Villa. 



Sacred Heart Villa Events

Events in 2014

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Line Dancing 2014


Easter 2014


Hollywood Casino Bus Trip sponsored by Sacred Heart Villa

Wednesday March 26, 2014

Pick up at Klein's Transportation, Douglassville, PA at 8:45 am
Sacred Heart Villa, 51 Seminary Ave., Reading PA at 9:15 am
Arriving about 10:30am at casino, leaving at 4:30pm.

Cost: $26 per person with $25 free slot money, $5 off buffet or 25% off casual dining.
Light refreshments on bus along with door prizes.

RSVP by Monday March 24, 2014 at 610-929-5751


Brunch with the Easter Bunny

Join us for a fun day on April 13.
We are having an Easter Egg hunt and will have the Easter Bunny there for the children.

The festivities are from 11 am - 1 pm.
The egg hunt starts at 11.

$9 for adults, $6.50 for children 6-11.
Children under 5 are free!

February 14, 2014 Sacred Heart Villa's Valentine's Dance


7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. , Music by Peter Sauder
Light dinner and hors d’ oeuvres, Assorted desserts and beverages

$15.00 pp or $20.00 a couple
Paid RSVP required by Friday, February 10

(semi-formal attire)
51 Seminary Ave, Reading PA  19605 – 610-929-5751

Open House Friday, October 25th, 2013 at 6pm. We had many visitors come to visit. Photos of the event are here.

 State Senator Judy Schwank (center) 11th Senatorial District visits Sacred Heart Villa.

Sacred Heart Villa Administrator and Staff interviewed on local radio station WEEU in Reading. Watch below

On Sunday, July 27th 2014  at Sacred Heart Villa in Reading the residents, staff and their families enjoyed a picnic at Sacred Heart Villa in Laureldale. Sacred Heart Villa is a personal care home operated by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The picnic will bring together the young and old to enjoy fellowship, good music and great food.

There was live country music from One Last Rider and homemade funnel cake from the Sacred Heart culinary staff in addition to standard picnic fare. Attendees competed in the raffles to win numerous gifts.

The beautiful Sacred Heart Villa facility and property is located in a country setting on a hilltop in Laureldale. Senior residents enjoy all inclusive pricing, nutritious meals, free transportation to medical appointments, weekly housekeeping, linen and towel service, and many other services and activities.

 For a tour or more information about Sacred Heart Villa call 610-929-5751 or visit