Code Dove: “I was so moved…”

“It was mid-morning when I was enjoying my cup of coffee sitting on my balcony, staring out my 10th floor apartment balcony window, when I saw it. I was so moved by what I saw unfolding down below, a large group of people streaming out of the building of Madonna Towers’ Skilled Nursing entrance, lining up between the doors and the hearse with heads bowed in respect as a body was wheeled past and placed lovingly into the waiting hearse. It was so moving and touching to watch from a distance.” ~resident Betty S

We at Madonna Living Community believe residents deserve respect, dignity, and honor from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave us. We believe across all three campuses that each person has the right to depart with the same respect, dignity and honor as when they entered our care and services. So when a resident passes away at one of our senior living campuses at Madonna Towers, Madonna Meadows and Madonna Summit of Byron, they are lovingly escorted out the front entrance in a way that both honors their memory and acknowledges the grief of those left behind.

After a resident passes, an extraordinary Dignity Quilt emphasizing the Benedictine Cross handmade by a very special quilting group, is placed over the deceased resident’s body. When the funeral director arrives to transfer the body to the funeral home, a “Code Dove” is announced signaling staff to gather, lining the hallway and forming a Procession of Honor starting at the resident’s room. Staff members who have lovingly cared for that resident, offer a prayer and then walk behind the family as they journey toward the entrance door with the deceased resident’s body bidding their final farewell to one so loved and for whom they served.

Near the entrance, staff offer a prayer of thanksgiving and comfort, followed by shared exchanges of love and grief between staff and family members. Regardless of the time of day or the day of the week, the staff on duty come together for “Code Dove” to honor, respect, and dignify each and every deceased resident and their family.

“In discussing the various Rochester elder living establishments, everyone on staff at the Macken Funeral Home wholeheartedly agrees that Madonna Living Community has gone the “extra mile” in providing the most dignified, respectful, and very organized end-of-life process. Not only is it much easier on grieving families who may never have been in this type of situation, but it makes it much smoother for our staff to do their job to the best of our ability. It’s a true team effort, and we can’t say enough about how thoughtful everyone is at Madonna Living Community. You’re the best…thank you!”

~Peter Macken, fourth generation funeral director for Macken Funeral Home of Rochester.