M a r c h 2 0 17
ir a p a ts! n i W icke of T
Better Aging with Better Long-Term Care
Q&A with Aging-in-Place Expert Prudence Stoddard
| PrimeTime 2
Pr i m e Ti m e
March 2017 1944 Warwick Ave. Warwick, RI 02889 401-732-3100 FAX 401-732-3110 Distribution Special Delivery
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Aging in Place
Q & A with Certificed Aging in Place expert Prudence Stoddard of RI Kitchen and Bath
A closer look at the Alliance for Better Long Term Care
12 Aging Well
LIFESTYLES That’s Entertainment...............................10 Larry Grimaldi...............................................13 What Do You Fink......................................11 Puzzle Page!..................................................16
17 As the Tables Turn
Retirement Sparks........................................8 RIIHA..................................................................12 Alzherimer’s Association.......................17
Taking Care of Aging Loved Ones with Love
Professional Perspective Your Taxes.......................................................15
food & drink Delight your Valentine............................16
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Aging in Place Renovations b y michael cerio
what you need to know...from an expert In mid-January, as part of its awareness efforts, the National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC) called attention to a statistic that, though not surprising to everyone, nonetheless furthers an important dialogue as the population of our country—and our state—advances in age unlike any other time in history. With a focus on encouraging aging Americans to plan now for future needs, particularly in their home, the NAIPC shared that 90 percent of older adults would prefer to age in place rather than move to senior housing. While this statistic may elicit little in terms of a new revelation, what the NAIPC stated next has likely kicked off new conversations among those contemplating their future and their families: A sizable gap exists between the desire of these older adults and the reality of the modifications their home may require to make aging in place possible. In Rhode Island, perhaps more so than any state in the nation, this statement should serve as a rally cry for our aging family members who want nothing more than to remain independent. In fact, according to the recentlyreleased 2016 Healthy Aging Data Report, Rhode Island has the highest proportion of residents aged 85-plus in the country and the number of Rhode Islanders 60 and older will increase by 75 percent by 2040. This projected boom in our state’s older population, coupled with a desire to age in place and a limited supply of senior housing units to accommodate such growth, underscores the importance of closing the gap in education around home modifications. Recently, PrimeTime caught up with Prudence Stoddard, the Director of Design at Rhode Island Kitchen & Bath, and a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, to learn more about the basics of home modifications for seniors who wish to age in place and a special seminar they’re hosting on May 3 that’s free and open to the public. PrimeTime: What led Rhode Island Kitchen & Bath to specialize in aging in place renovations among everything else you offer? Bathroom renovations, including the addition of a seat, wall-mounted grab bars and a movable showerhead for use while sitting, are the most popular aging in place projects tackled by Rhode Island Kitchen & Bath.
Stoddard: It’s a natural evolution of design to accommodate the needs of everyone, and that’s particularly true of our older clients. There’s a lot of information and options for working with this demographic that we want to share. In order to be better trained in aging in place renovations, many of the designers here have taken classes and received certifications to thoroughly understand the ins and outs of designing for people of all ages and abilities.
PrimeTime: How many of your clients turn to you specifically with interest in renovations to help them remain independent and living in their own home? Stoddard: I would say that the percentage of people that come to us with this need and interest in about 20 percent of our total client base. That said, we incorporate universal design principles, which guide the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability, into many client projects, especially with clients over age 50. PrimeTime: Are there areas of aging in place renovations that you tend to focus more heavily on?
There are many options available to older adults looking to renovate their kitchen to improve functionality as they age. This recent renovation features a pull-out dishwasher at a more accessible height to limit bending over; under-counter refrigeration to accommodate wheelchair access, and wall ovens at a height so they may be used from a seated position. | PrimeTime
Stoddard: The vast majority of those looking to age in place come to us for bathroom renovations, with the number of people who come to us for their kitchen being far fewer. Bathrooms are an area that is far more dangerous and less accessible as we grow older. The most popular thing we do by far is to convert bathtubs into walk-in showers. March 2017
Q & A with Prudence Stoddard a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist with Rhode Island Kitchen & Bath
PrimeTime: When a potential customer or member of their family meets with you to discuss a project, what are the most common needs they share? Stoddard: Mobility issues are easily the primary concern that people have. In a bathroom, it’s helpful to add hand rails, low threshold showers, and comfort height toilets. Another concern, and one that’s easy to address, is lighting living spaces and hallways. Other concerns include door handles, counter heights, and doorway widths. I also want to point out that our younger baby boomer clients typically want to keep the aesthetics of the space top of mind while still getting the benefits of the long-term aging in place improvements. Older clients sometimes come to us at a time of crisis to address an immediate need. Fortunately, with the wide range of products and techniques available today, we can design beautiful spaces that can be accessed by everyone at any age, but they don’t appear to be designed with that intent. PrimeTime: The National Aging in Place Council has stated that while 90 percent of older adults would prefer to age in their home rather than move to a senior facility, a large gap exists between that desire and the reality of the home modifications they need to make it possible. Do you feel this is also accurate among your clients and their hesitations around making renovations? Stoddard: Most clients do not want to admit that they need to make changes, or are unable to make long-term plans. Many people tend to focus on today’s needs rather than on how their needs may change in the years to come. A good designer will help people to see the long-term goal without solely focusing on their needs today. It can be a much larger project to prepare for two years from now than to just design to a client’s current need; but it is important to look at the big picture and I think we do that as well, if not better, than anyone. PrimeTime: When evaluating a client’s needs or beginning a project, what are some of the most important questions you ask? Stoddard: When tackling a remodeling project for an aging in place client, you need to ask personal questions. However, you never want to probe too deeply into their private medical history. I try to ask overarching questions that allow a client to divulge as much or as little information as they’re comfortable sharing. I ask questions like, “How long do you plan to stay here?” or “Where do you see yourself in two years, five years or ten years?” Another important question to ask—one that some people may not have given thought to previously—is if the renovations need to serve a multi-generational family. PrimeTime: We’ve talked about some of the more obvious and larger-scale modifications that people often need—are there others that may be surprisingly easy or affordable, yet can make a big difference? Stoddard: This is a great question and there are definitely some simple changes people can make and immediately benefit from. A couple of easy and affordable modifications are to change your door handles to levers from knobs, and increase the wattage of your light bulbs and add dimmers to reduce glare. Installing hand rails in bathrooms, hallways, and sometimes in other seating areas can also improve comfort and mobility. I also suggest to clients that they paint rooms with contrasting colors to help people’s depth perception. And, eliminating thresholds wherever possible removes a very common tripping hazard.
Prudence Stoddard, the Director of Design at Rhode Island Kitchen & Bath, is a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist who specializes in aging in place renovations that help seniors to remain independent and living in the comfort of their own homes. (Photos courtesy of Rhode Island Kitchen & Bath)
PrimeTime: Rhode Island Kitchen & Bath also hosts educational seminars, and you’re holding one in May on aging in place—tell us a bit about this and how people can participate. Stoddard: We’ll be hosting a Universal Design seminar in our Showroom (located at 139 Jefferson Blvd. in Warwick) on Wednesday, May 3, from 4:30 to 6:40pm. This particular seminar will address design ideas meant to produce living spaces that are as usable as possibly by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation. This approach to design increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. Universal design addresses barriers faced by people with disabilities, older people, children, and other populations that are typically overlooked in the design process. All of our seminars are free and open to the public, but we ask that people register in advance. Attendees can register on our website at www.rikb.com/events-list or by calling us at (401) 463-1550. PrimeTime: If people could know just one thing about what Rhode Island Kitchen & Bath offers older adults who wish to age in place, what would you want it to be?
Stoddard: At Rhode Island Kitchen & Bath, we offer a complete solution. Our talented designers are Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists and work directly with clients to design to meet their needs and select materials. From there, our producPrimeTime: What piece of advice would you give an older adult who wishes to tion team completes the construction to a client’s specifications. We have been age in place but is unsure whether it’s a feasible option for them? doing this work for a number of years and take great pride in being part of the solution that allows people to remain as independent as possible and age where Stoddard: There are a lot of agencies and designers available to advise people they’re most comfortable—in their own home. around their aging in place needs. People should focus on finding designers or contractors with a CAPS (Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist) Certification, or If you’re interested in learning more about aging in place renovations or schedUDCP (Universal Design Certified Professional) Certification. These designations uling a time to meet with Prudence Stoddard, CAPS, UDCP, CKD, she can be allow us to offer to our potential clients what they need most: reassurance that we reached at (401) 463-1550 or firstname.lastname@example.org. have the knowledge and experience to help them make the choices that will help them stay in their homes safely and securely. March 2017
b y jessica selby
A closer look at Alliance for Better Long Term Care When Raul DeMello had a major stroke at the end of 2007 he lost his ability to speak, but his voice was never silenced thanks to the advocates from a local agency better known as the Alliance for Better Long Term Care. Founded in 1979, the Alliance, with the assistance of the Office of the Rhode Island State Ombudsman for Long-Term Care, helps to protect the rights of elderly and disabled people who live in long term care settings as well as those who receive licensed health care or hospice services in the home. DeMello’s daughter, Geri Sepe, sought out the assistance of the Alliance back in 2007 shortly after her father’s stroke, when, she said, her father’s care was being challenged. “I am an only child and my dad had named me with power of attorney,” Sepe said. “My name was the only one on the health proxy, which should have put me in a really good place to manage the care of my dad, which was what he wanted, but when his girlfriend was presenting herself as his wife at Miriam Hospital, it didn’t always go that way.” “That was when my cousin told me about Kathy [Heren] and the Alliance. Looking back, I can now say that it was the most important phone call that I ever made in my entire life,” Sepe said. “I told Kathy my name, my story, and that I needed an objective advocate for my father. Kathy said to me ‘I want you to understand that I will be the advocate for your father. I will make recommendations for him that neither you nor his girlfriend might agree with but, I will need both of you to respect my suggestion.’” “Kathy came in and spoke with my dad’s entire care team, the whole family and provided us all with a very clear and concise step-by-step plan of how things should play out and when we left, I thought that we were all in agreement, but it didn’t end that way,” Sepe said.
After a series of harsh disagreements between both parties, months, which lead to years of court appearances, and a bitter legal battle, Sepe was eventually awarded by the courts complete rights and decision making powers regarding her father’s care. “Kathy, as my father’s advocate, followed us through a very long and tedious ordeal,” Sepe said. “Many, many times I had to go back to court and Kathy [Heren] stayed with my father through the entire process. She wasn’t there with or for me, or my father’s girlfriend, but for my father. She made it very clear that if I did anything that she was not in agreement with and was not in my dad’s best interest, she would tell me, and she did. “I have the utmost respect and gratitude for this agency because I know that my dad was not the only person on Kathy [Heren]’s to-do list,” Sepe said. “I am sure she had a lot of other things and people at work that were pressing, but in two years, she never missed a court date and she was always there to guide, whether it was me or my dad’s girlfriend, so that we could see what was best for my dad. She was there every step of the way and always made sure we did what was best for my dad.” Kathleen Heren is Rhode Island’s Long Term Care Ombudsman. She has worked with the Alliance in her role with the Office of Ombudsman for 22 years. Over the course of her career, Heren said that she has managed countless cases like DeMello’s, as well as a potpourri of others. Statistical data from the Office of the Rhode Island State Long Term Care Ombudsman indicates that 622 cases were opened in 2014, all of which were investigated by Heren’s office. Documents recorded from just last year indicate that her office responded to 590 calls, which resulted in 828 incident findings. There are 89 nursing homes in the state, housing 9,128 beds, and 62 assisted living facilities, which house, 4,422 beds. That’s close to 14,000 people that the Alliance for Better Long Term Care and the Office of the Rhode Island State Ombudsman for Long Term Care is tasked with advocating for.
Kathleen Heren, the Rhode Island State Long-Term Care Ombudsman and Joann Leonard, the Operations Officer for the Alliance for Better Long Term Care are seated at Heren’s desk, which was littered with post-it’s reminding her of her many to-do lists. | PrimeTime
According to Heren, the office phone rings constantly with inquiries regarding these people. Calls, she said, can come from residents, family members, employees or concerned members of the community who want to bring attention to situations regarding admission, transfer, discharge, or eviction of a resident in a long term care facility or an assisted living facility. Cases can also pertain to financial property, abuse, neglect, exploitation or family conflict. “We have to triage the calls that we receive,” Heren said. “And how we handle each call is very different…there is a big difference in our response if we get a call from someone saying ‘it’s been over an hour that I’m waiting for a bed pan,’ versus ‘my laundry was lost.’” “But, we do also routinely have people call and ask all different kinds of questions,” Heren said. “Questions about affordable care, we have lawyers that call about clients, questions about different nursing homes and which ones are best suited for a specific type of person. Calls about neglect; you really never know what’s going to be on the other end of that phone when you pick it up.” And it often times it will be Heren or one of the few others that make up the Alliance for Better Long Term Care and the Office of the Rhode Island State Ombudsman for Long-Term Care team that pick up the phone when you call their office. The Alliance is an independent, nonprofit organization. It is supported solely by federal funding and state grants through the Rhode Island legislature and the Department of Elderly Affairs along with philanthropic giving through the fund and private donations. Therefore, it is made up of a very small staff. Joann Leonard, Operations Officer for the Alliance, who is tasked with raising all of those generous donation dollars, said that, the work of the Alliance is done by a small core staff group and an impressive team of volunteers. In addition to Leonard and Heren, the Alliance manages the multitude of duties that they are tasked with with the help of approximately 25 volunteer ombudsmen, five social workers, three nurses and a few other staff members. “There are only 12 of us here and a lot that needs to get done,” Leonard said. “We don’t have a receptionist, we answer the phones, we wash the floors, we clean the toilets; we have to. There just isn’t enough money or enough people, so you do what you have to.” Not only does The Alliance and the Office of the Rhode Island State Ombudsman for Long-Term Care respond to complaints, they also organize and support
educational seminars, attend speaking engagements, testify in court, train all of the volunteer ombudsman that visit sites across the state, coordinate the building bridges program, which unites youth from the community with residents of long term care facilities, and manage what they nonchalantly refer to as “courtesy calls.” Courtesy calls, Heren explained, are calls that come to the office that are generally speaking “supposed to” be handled by another office. But, Heren said, “If it’s a question that we know how to answer, we will.” The Alliance is always recruiting volunteers to help carry out their many programs, Leonard said. Currently they are actively seeking volunteer ombudsman. Volunteer ombudsmen are trained and certified by the Alliance to make regular visits with residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They help to identify and resolve issues before they become serious concerns for consumers and families as well as staff from long term care facilities and or home care agencies. They are also, according to Leonard, looking for support for their Building Bridges program which unites school aged children with residents of long term care facilities. More recently funding issues have hindered this once flourishing program, Leonard said. Her hope, however, she said, would be to garner support to stimulate this very beneficial generational program. Meanwhile, although Sepe no longer seeks assistance from the Alliance or from the Office of the Rhode Island State Ombudsman for Long-Term Care, she said she has and will continue to spread the word of the good work that this office does. “My father ended up at a secure unit in a veteran’s facility in Bristol where he was for almost two years before he passed,” Sepe said. “Looking back on those last few years of his life, I take comfort in knowing that the best decisions were being made for him even when I knew I couldn’t be the one to make them. I knew I could always call and Kathy would give us the guidance that we needed no matter how very difficult the journey to get there was. I know I couldn’t have gotten through this process without Kathy and the Alliance. They are the voice for the elderly and the impaired.” The Alliance is located on Post Road in Warwick where it has been for nearly 18 years. Anyone with questions or concerns for a loved one or to seek information about volunteering is urged to call the office at 785-3340. Lots more information about both the Alliance for Better Long Term Care and the Office of the Rhode Island State Ombudsman for Long-Term Care is also available at the website www.alliancebltc.com.
They are the voice for the elderly and the impaired
b y elaine m . decker
Hourding vs. Collecting A local news item reported on an elderly man who perished in a fire in his home. Firefighters had difficulty controlling the blaze because the man was a serious hoarder. The house was filled with papers and other combustible material. He also had a gunshot wound, but there was no follow up on how that might have been a factor in his demise. As I listened to this story, I glanced around our family room and wondered: How do you know whether what you’re doing has jumped the shark from being just “collecting” to being “hoarding?” My husband has stacks of papers, magazines, catalogs and direct mail fliers, as well as books he has either been given or has purchased (sometimes from offers in those fliers). He would probably never throw any of this out if I didn’t nag him about it periodically. (Pun intended.) I’ve always been a collector. I don’t think I’m a hoarder, but I’m not yet in my eighties. Is hoarding lurking in my future? One of my earliest blog posts dealt with my collecting habits. “I always felt that one of something was lonely and needed a friend. Once I made the pair, I was sunk. Because whenever I came across another related item, I was compelled to bring it home to introduce it to the others.” I was forced to jettison some things when we downsized, but visitors to our condo who never saw our house in Providence would find that hard to believe. I’ve come up with various ways to display my collections that should dissuade anyone from calling them hoarding. For instance, I’ve arranged my antique evening bags (13) and gloves (11) in four shadow boxes. Scattered among them are old compacts (8), buttons (8) and circle pins (9), thus turning them into objets d’art on the living room wall. I still fall victim to the urge to begin new collections. When I started playing the saxophone again, I decided to get some Christmas ornaments of figurines playing saxes. That evolved
into cats playing them even though they weren’t suitable to hang on a tree. After the holiday, I expanded my search techniques and stumbled across clowns playing saxes, too. One year and many EBay surfing hours later, I have: two cats and a tiger playing the sax; two alligators, a dragon (yes, a dragon), a goose, a duck, a sheep and a rabbit, all also playing the horn; and finally three clowns and an elf playing saxes. I also have cats playing bass fiddle and drum—too cute to pass up, even though there was no sax player in the group. Besides, I’m now jamming in a small band, so why not celebrate that? I had to move my collection of miniature teacups and saucers from the display shelves to make room for the band menagerie. I’m trying to sell them on EBay. Since that money will wind up in my PayPal account, I’ll probably use it to buy more must-have finds for my musical menagerie. Note to self: look for animal piano player. As I write this, it’s evident that there are some gray areas in my defense of my collecting addiction. And yes, I just used the word “addiction.” I admit that a collecting addiction is probably just a few glasses of wine away from a hoarding disorder. From an NBC feature I learned about the “Sip and Click” phenomenon. It’s the habit people have of coming home after a late evening of drinking with friends, logging on to their computers and buying all sorts of things they don’t need and wouldn’t buy if sober. I’m not in danger of that happening, but there’s one hoarding habit for which I’m probably at risk. That’s becoming a Crazy Cat Lady. Last Spring we adopted two senior cats from a local shelter. Our first new girl came in late March and was clearly in need of some company (besides me). In April we brought her a slightly younger sister. A few months later I was contacted about a boy cat that had been abandoned near a railroad track. He was at least 15, defenseless because he had been declawed, and with stage one kidney failure (not uncommon in older boys). Not the most adoptable rescue in the shelter. I think you can figure out where this wound up. It takes all my willpower to avoid looking at the organization’s website every day to see what other seniors are in need of forever homes. Lord help me if they ever get one surrendered that is making direct eye contact with the camera. I can resist the tearful write-ups about how their owner moved into a nursing home and couldn’t keep them. But those soulful looks could send me straight to Hoarders Anonymous. Copyright 2017 Business Theatre Unlimited Elaine M. Decker’s books—Retirement Sparks Redux, Retirement Sparks Again, Retirement Sparks and CANCER: A Coping Guide—are available at SPECTRUM-INDIA, on the East Side of Providence and on Amazon.com, including Kindle editions. One of her essays appears in the anthology: 70 Things To Do When You Turn 70. Contact her at: email@example.com.
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(401) 732-3100 March 2017
by DON FOWLER
Do you have
There is a cure, and it is happening all around the state this March – “Arts and Entertainment” THE R I CIVIC CHORALE AND ORCHESTRA Maestro Edward Markward is celebrating his 30th anniversary as conductor of the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra with a special concert at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, with works by Mozart, Haydn and Cichy (A World Premiere), and featuring the winners of the 9th Annual Collegiate Vocal Competition on Saturday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets or information, call 521-5670.
fr E E clAssEs
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(s mAl l fE E fo
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FESTIVAL BALLET Festival Ballet Providence will present its “Up Close on Hope” dance program at their Black Box Theatre on Hope St. in Providence, March 26-April 9. This is a wonderful opportunity to see ballet up close and personal. Check them out at festivalballetprovidence.org. OCEAN STATE THEATRE COMPANY This wonderful Warwick professional theatre presents “Little Women- The Musical”, the classic novel set in Massachusetts during the Civil War comes to life on stage with a stunning score, March 1-19. Call 921-6800.
RHODE ISLAND PHILHARMONIC Conductor Larry Rachleff will lead the orchestra in an all-Brahms program, featuring violinist Augustin Hadelich on Saturday, March 18 at 8:00 p.m. For those who prefer an earlier evening, you can attend an open rehearsal on Friday, March 17 at 5:30 p.m. It is an informal dress evening, and a wonderful opportunity to hear the orchestra, often without interruption. Call 428-7000. PROVIDENCE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER PPAC brings back “The Lion King”, the world’s # 1 musical, playing February 28-March 19. This is theatre at its best, and a wonderful musical for people of all ages. A great opportunity to introduce your grandchildren to the magic of theatre. For all of us who love the nostalgic music and dance of “42nd Street”, with songs like “Lullaby of Broadway”, “I Only Have Eyes For You”, “We’re in the Money”, and of course “42nd Street”, the musical, based on the 1933 movie, will be at PPAC March 24-26. Call 421-ARTS for reservations. BARKER PLAYHOUSE Shakespeare lovers can see the classic love story, “Romeo and Juliet” at Barker Playhouse- America’s Oldest Little Theatre”, on Providence’s East Side March 10-12 and !7-19. Call 273-0590 for information. This is a great opportunity to bring your organization or assisted living group.
The Malted Barley features Restaurant Review
Friends had told us about this unique dining/drinking establishment in downtown Providence. Pretzels and beer. Excuse me: Gourmet Pretzels and Craft Beer! The Malted Barley reminds me of the old western saloons. A bar runs down one wall, and large and smaller tables fill the rest of the huge space Large groups actually purchase a “keg” of beer, while many customers order samplers (Four smaller glasses of dozens of varieties of craft beer.) On a recent Saturday night we got the last table-for-two, and quickly discovered that we were nearly four times the ages of most of the customers. Not to worry. Our friendly waitress explained the menu and took our orders over the din of the crowd. Pretzels, priced from $3 for a plain salted to $6 for a variety of stuffing, including jalapeno and cheddar, chipotle and smoked gouda, and mozzarella and tomato certainly enhanced the desire for a second beer.
Pretzels & Beer
Dips included a dozen choices, including marinara, pesto, spinach& artichoke and nutella. We were there for the sandwiches, which come in a basket and served with Cape Cod kettle chips. Joyce enjoyed her Caprese a garlic and parsley pretzel bun filled with tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil, balsamic and reduction ($8). I loved my Bratwurst pretzel sandwich, filled with the delicious meat, sauerkraut, and spicy brown house beer mustard ($10). We’ll be back to try the eight other varieties, including meatball ($10), roast beef or turkey ($9), or the barley bacon beast burger (50% beef/50% bacon ½ lb patty, pepperjack cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles for $12). The Cannellini sandwich is stuffed with cannellini beans, walnuts, cranberry and goat cheese pate, sliced pear, and arugula. ($9) How’s that for a vegan delight!
Malted Barley also serves a soup de jour and three varieties of salad. The popular House Salad gives you your choice of arugula or chopped romaine lettuce, walnuts, dried cranberries, orange slices, cherry tomatoes and blue cheese crumbles served with pretzel croutons and a side of in-house made citrus vinaigrette ($9). Three women next to us ordered the huge salads which looked too pretty to eat. If you can handle dessert, try, you guessed it, sugar & cinnamon pretzels with frosting ($5), and waffle pretzels with nutella, chocolate and vanilla ice cream ($6.50). The Malted Barley
www.themaltedbarleyri.com 334 Westminster St. Providence. 401-490-0300 Check out their other location: 42 High St, Westerly 401-315-2184
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wHAT DO YOU FINK?
by MIKE FINK
From Jessie There is a wondrous illusion of Casablanca on the East Side of our town called “Sahara.” They pour your tea from a tiny silver pot from high above your glass “cup.” A back room offers privacy but the front parlor brings sometimes surprise encounters your way. A lady joined our upholstered bench and low table and told me she had read an account I had written some years before this moment of memory. It seems I had mentioned a little leatherbound anthology of Great Soliloquies and important letters and documents from human history. Shakespeare’s “To Be or Not To Be” as well as the Magna Carta and the Gettysburg Address. For my high school auditorium classes I had learned by rote the words and how to articulate them with elocution and eloquence. I had used up the binding and frayed the pages, but I keep it more or less intact on my living room bookshelves. As a souvenir of my father Moe, who had moved to Providence from a youth spent in Manhattan. (He had been born in London but raised by an aunt in New York.) The flyleaf of this fine slim antique
volume announced in handwritten calligraphy “For Moe from Jessie Wing.” My visitor in my miniature Casablanca on our East Side said that she knew who this Jessie Wing was. The librarian in New York, in the region of Harlem, had been also a friendly and important person for her own father. Who had apparently lived near my dad and gone perhaps to the same neighborhood public school. And perhaps been influenced by this Jessie, who inspired a love of the poetry and culture of America and its heritage. What became of Jessie Wing? I knew that she had jumped from the window to her death. As a boy, I studied the irony of the fact that the word “wing” implies easy flight, articulate as the plume that holds the point of a pen, escape and freedom. Jessie Wing took flight on her wing, but from what? In search of what? The friends of my father who might visit once or twice from New York to Providence---maybe by boat on the Colonial Line--and confided in me that they never told Moe about her suicide for fear of his reaction. “He wouldn’t have been able to
take the news,” they believed. Now, here a few footsteps from Wickenden Street, I heard yet another version of the tragic tale from so very long ago. It seems that the telephone rang, on the sacred Saturday sabbath, an interruption to be ignored. But the tone of the ring told my father’s contemporary and maybe even chum that something was amiss. He answered, heard, and went to pay homage and express condolence to the family Wing. I try all through the day and night
to make meaning from the coincidences of the bygone hours, in search maybe of messages, metaphors, chassidic lessons. Everything belongs in and stems from those essays in the worn-out sepia booklet/album on the shelves around my fireplace hearth. For Moe from Jessie Wing: Winter, 1925: From Moe to Mike. From Mike to You. With thanks to the lady who brought Jessie back to me on a winter’s day nearly a century later.
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Tips for aging well
(BPT) - A health renaissance is taking place in America as more people are embracing aging well and being proactive rather than reactive about their well-being. Prevention has become the focus, and many aging Americans are turning to timetested methods for keeping their bodies and minds healthy so they can live longer, higher-quality lives. Kristen Johnson, certified personal trainer, registered dietician and nutrition expert at www.ontargetliving.com points out five time-tested strategies for aging well:
“Daily movement is the real fountain of youth. It keeps us healthy from the inside out,” says Johnson. “When it comes to improving overall fitness, high-intensity exercise for a short amount of time may be much more beneficial than low intensity for a long amount of time,” Johnson says. “Research suggests that fat-burning hormones like human growth hormones and testosterone are stimulated by high-intensity exercise, while fat-storing hormones like cortisol may be lowered. Try increasing the intensity and frequency of your exercise, while decreasing the time spent.”
The foods you eat influence how you look and feel, from glowing and confident to lethargic and sick. Selecting foods that people have eaten historically as nutritional powerhouses can help boost overall wellness.
“Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, ancient grains, healthy fats and lean proteins,” says Johnson. “These foods naturally contain high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which all contribute to healthy aging.” A few to focus on: * Carrots, squash and sweet potatoes are extremely beneficial for eye and skin health, thanks to high levels of beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A. * Any brightly colored fruits and vegetables will have an abundant amount of antioxidants, and these help prevent oxidation and cell damage. Examples: raspberries, kale and cabbage. * Carbohydrates like healthy grains, beans and potatoes help you produce serotonin, a calming and satiety hormone that helps fight stress and anxiety’s negative effects.
Supplements help fill nutritional gaps, especially as the aging body requires greater
amounts of certain vitamins and minerals. Johnson points out the importance of omega-3s for aging well. “Omega-3 fats are essential for getting you healthy from the inside out, all while helping improve hormonal balance, brain health, weight loss and metabolism,” she says. “Omega-3 fats are also extremely helpful for healthy skin, hair and nails.” Her favorite? Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil. “This contains EPA and DHA, both of which contribute to a healthy heart and brain,” she says. “Cod liver oil also helps improve cellular function, energy and mood. Did you know cod liver oil can actually taste good? Try their delicious orange flavor.”
“Chronic lack of sleep is one of the fastest ways to age the human body,” Johnson says. “Lack of sleep can have a huge impact on the appearance of skin, causing fine lines, wrinkles and dark under-eye circles. Not getting enough sleep can also cause your body to release a stress hormone called cortisol.” She notes that adequate sleep can positively influence cognitive ability, mood, weight loss and skin rejuvenation, so it should be a top priority for an aging-well routine. by S U S A N R E A D O N R I H e a l t h C a r e A s s o ci a t i o n
The goal for most adults is around 7 to 8 hours a night.
Human interaction can decrease as people age, but it’s more important than ever to form and maintain bonds with others. “The American Medical Association has noted that stress is the basic cause for more than 60 percent of all human illnesses and diseases,” says Johnson. ‘”When you are socially active and surround yourself with people you enjoy, you may be less likely to feel lonely, unhappy, or unfulfilled, all of which can cause unwanted stress.” Finally, there’s no need to become overwhelmed; start an aging-well routine by taking one small step and building healthy habits over time. This is what will lead to long-term success. “Remember that it’s never too late to start living a healthy and happy life,” Johnson says. “Give yourself more reasons to smile and laugh! Did you know research suggests that happy people live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives?”
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Despite precautions, seniors face a risk of falls, medication errors and other adverse events. But for those living in Rhode Island nursing homes, steps are being taken to improve resident care and safety with a new program, TeamSTEPPS. TeamSTEPPS is an evidence-based teamwork system developed by the Department of Defense and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Its focus is to improve collaboration within healthcare facilities, essential for creating a culture of safety. The idea behind the program goes far beyond just minimizing risks like scatter rugs, it endeavors to embed the processes that support resident safety through team cooperation and communication. To accomplish this, TeamSTEPPS features a module-based curriculum founded on five key principles – team structure, communication, leadership, situation monitoring and mutual support – as well as supporting materials such as videos and activities. “The objective is to create a culture of safety so centers can avoid negative outcomes,” explained Pamela Bibeault, a quality improvement consultant and President of Triad Health Care. At most facilities, Bibeault covered one module a month in 2016, teaching the strategies and skills to two or three champions from each center. Those individuals then returned to their respective facilities to train their entire staffs on the material. And the employees have embraced the program.
The other important outcome of the program, according to Bibeault, is a growing sense of teamwork. That is critical to Karen Morin, administrator at Elmwood Health Center, who recently completed training on all the TeamSTEPPS modules and continues to reinforce the content at monthly Safety Committee meetings. “Employees are working together to find solutions to safety concerns, and they’re not getting defensive if someone from another department offers suggestions for improvement,” said Morin. Morin also reports a drop in the number of falls, fewer injuries outside the building, and reduced workers’ compensation claims following implementation of TeamSTEPPS. “People are saying ‘no’ if something’s not safe and ask for appropriate equipment, ” explained Morin. “We’re really seeing changes.” While Elmwood and other centers have realized positive outcomes from implementing the TeamSTEPPS program, according to Bibeault, data collection and measurement is still in development. Morin agrees. “TeamSTEPPS is a simple, user-friendly program that can help us maintain our five-star status,” said Morin. “I can’t say enough about the program.” But her staff is encouraged to say plenty: as a result of the program, every employee at Elmwood Health Center now wears a pin that bears the phrase, “If you see something, say something.” March 2017
b y L arry G rimaldi
Beware The Ides Of March With my granddaughters Kailyn and Sophia preparing to go to high school next year, I began to recall my literary, Latin, and ancient history training at Classical High. Since itâ€™s March, a warning to Julius Caesar in a Shakespeareâ€™s play of the same name is permanently imbedded in the corners of my mind, â€œBeware the Ides of March.â€? History records that Julius Caesar, then the emperor of Rome, ignored the advice of his soothsayer and went to the Roman Forum. He was stabbed to death by Roman senators on March 15-The Ides of March. Even his former friend and ally, Brutus was part of the attacking band of assassins. Thus, the phrase, â€œEt Tu Brute?â€? (And You Too Brutus) was coined. What does this have to do with my granddaughters? As I thought about The Ides of March, I wondered if they teach the classics anymore. Although it was painful, we were required to take at least two years of Latin. While I didnâ€™t realize
it at the time I was struggling to translate Julius Caesarâ€™s war chronicles that began with â€œGaul is Divided into Three Parts,â€? was that Latin provided me with invaluable information on word roots and Romance languages. I used this training countless times in my 40 year career as a writer. Going down the Latin memory lane only triggered the regimen of many other high school courses. For example, we had to read both Greek epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey, written by Homer. While they were both difficult to understand, the poems opened our eyes to Greek mythology and the divine powers of a few of the 683 Greek gods such as Achilles, Athena, Poseidon, Zeus, and Ulysses. Studying the Greek classics is a great way to stimulate the imagination, as I learned. I doubt of these ancient writings are past of todayâ€™s high school curriculum. So now we come to some American
literary classics. Does anyone read 1984 by George Orwell, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, or The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe anymore? Many of these American books and poems reflect the culture and history of the nation in the times they were written. These literary masterpieces are national treasures to be appreciated and enjoyed. There is one particular subject that still sends chills up my spine-Algebra! I confess that it took me two years to pass Algebra One. To this day, Algebra remains as baffling to me as Egyptian hieroglyphics. If the truth be told, I think the teacher passed me on the second try because she knew I was never going to understand the intricacies of this baffling mathematics course. She doubtlessly wanted to save me the embarrassment of being a junior in a freshman math course. Despite her assurances that I would use Algebra in my everyday life, I remain unconvinced. Fortunately, Kailyn and Sophia have taken pre-Alge-
bra courses this year in the eighth grade. I sincerely hope they do not inherit my mathematical deficiencies. To their academic advantage, Kailyn and Sophia have been given a solid basis in history, science, music, and the performing arts in their current school. Each month, they are assigned to work in groups on a specific project. This exercise teaches them planning, teamwork, responsibility, and accountability, as well as presentation skills . They will need these all these tools as they go through high school and college. Maybe Julius Caesar, The Ides of March, and Greek mythology should not concern them. After all, the announcement of mid-term exams brings its own warning! Larry Grimaldi is a retired freelance writer living in North Providence. Comments can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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b y meg chevalier
To File or Not to File Most people file a tax return because they have to. Even if a taxpayer doesn’t have to file, there are times they should. They may be eligible for a tax refund and not know it. Here are five tips on whether to file a tax return: 1. General Filing Rules. In most cases, income, filing status and age determine if a taxpayer must file a tax return. Other rules may apply if the taxpayer is self-employed or a dependent of another person. For example, if a taxpayer is single age 65 or older, they must file if their income was at least $11,900. There are other instances when a taxpayer must file. Go to IRS.gov/filing for more information. 2. Tax Withheld or Paid. Did the taxpayer’s employer withhold federal income tax from their pay? Did the taxpayer make estimated tax payments? Did they overpay last year and have it applied to this year’s tax? If the answer is “yes” they could be due a refund. They have to file a tax return to get it. 3. Earned Income Tax Credit. A taxpayer who worked and earned less than $53,505 last year could receive the EITC as a tax refund. They must qualify and may do so with or without a qualifying child. They may be eligible for up to $6,269. Use the 2016 EITC Assistant tool on IRS.gov to find out. 4. Additional Child Tax Credit. Did the taxpayer have at least one child that qualifies for the Child Tax Credit? If they do not qualify for the full credit amount, they may be eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit. Beginning in January 2017, by law, the IRS must hold refunds for any tax return claiming either the EITC or the Additional Child Tax Credit until Feb. 15. 5. American Opportunity Tax Credit. To claim the AOTC, the taxpayer, their spouse or their dependent must have been a student enrolled at least half time for one academic period to qualify. The credit is available for four years of post-secondary education. It can be worth up to $2,500 per eligible student. Even if the taxpayer doesn’t owe any taxes, they may still qualify. Complete Form 8863, Education Credits, and file it with the tax return. Learn more by visiting the Education Credits web page. Instructions for Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ list income tax filing requirements. Taxpayers can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov. They should look for “Do I need to file a return?” under general topics. The tool is available 24/7 to answer many tax questions. All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return at irs.gov.
Free Dementia Educational Series Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island (Hope Hospice RI) is providing a free educational series for caregivers of advanced dementia providing educational resources and tools. The free series will take place at St. Martha’s Church Parish Hall, 2595 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence. • Monday, March 13, 2017, 5: 30 – 7 p.m. – Dementia 101: Discussing What’s Happening to Your Loved One • Monday, April 3, 2017, 5:30 – 7 p.m. – Deeper Than Words: Exploring Ways to Connect When Memory is Lost • Monday, May 1, 2017, 5:30 – 7 p.m. – Facing the Changes: Dealing with Progressive Loss • Monday, June 5, 2017, 5:30 – 7 p.m. – Keeping Yourself Healthy: Body, Mind and Spirit For more information or to pre-register, please call (401) 415-4311 Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island is the second oldest hospice in the nation and has been a leader in hospice and palliative care for more than 40 years. The non-profit offers comprehensive medical, emotional and spiritual care for people facing serious illness. Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island is the major teaching affiliate for hospice and palliative medicine for the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
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Denny’s Restaurants Join the Senior Restaurant Program with Meals On Wheels Denny’s Restaurants located at 1177 Reservoir Avenue, Cranston and 44 Dowling Village Blvd., North Smithfield is the newest addition to join the already successful restaurant program for seniors throughout the state. These two locations will begin accepting the vouchers on March 1, 2017.
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For a suggested donation of $5.00, the senior obtains a voucher to take to the participating restaurant of their choice in exchange for a variety of meal options provided by that restaurant. The other participating restaurants include all Newport Creamery locations excluding Barrington, Middletown, and Newport; IHOP Restaurants in both Warwick and Providence; Pizza J in Providence and Uncle Tony’s Pizza & Pasta in Cranston and Johnston.
Please visit Meals on Wheels main office located at 70 Bath St., Providence, RI or call Pauline, Program Director at 401-351-6700 for more information. Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island’s Restaurant Program is open to seniors, aged 60 and older, in the State of RI. The Congregate Nutrition Program began the initiative in 2007 and its popularity continues to grow with many seniors enjoying the delicious, quality restaurant meals while socializing with their friends and loved ones. Meals on Wheels of RI is a non- profit organization funded in part by ACL/AOA and state funds through the RI Division of Elderly Affairs
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b y danielle zarrella
As the Tables Turn I wrote a few months ago about my Noni, Marie Zarrella (my dad’s mom). She used to live in Johnston on Homestead Avenue in a white house that she and my grandfather shared with their five children. Now picture this: two adults, five children, one full bathroom. It sounds like the tagline to a John Candy movie, but this was their reality! As the years went on, my dad, my aunt, and my uncles all moved out of the house to start their own families. Eventually my grandfather passed away, leaving Noni on her own in a house that once held a family of seven. She did well on her own for a long time and we would all gather around the table every Sunday and create new memories with her to add to the story of The Zarrella Family. This year Noni is turning 80 (or “39 plus” if you ask her). She moved in with my aunt and uncle a couple of years ago and now gets to enjoy their beautiful lake
view and the company of her daughter and son-in-law (and their four dogs, of course!). Noni has her own space in a finished apartment area downstairs where she can have time to herself, but she doesn’t have to worry about being alone in a house if she were to need help with anything. Most importantly, she still has the freedom to abscond away into the late hours of the night to get in some Twin River slot time. I’ve also written previously about my mom’s parents, Ann & Gil Botelho, who live in Johnston just a street over from Homestead Avenue. That’s right, my mom spent her childhood just a street over from my dad! My grandparents still live in this house where my mom grew up. It’s like a time capsule, preserving an era when the young Botelhos and their two daughters would bustle around the house and rush up and down the stairs with exuberance and lively chatter. My mom and my aunt are obviously
out of the house at this point and as my grandparents age in their home, the high-spirited dashing about has of course seen a considerable decline. Don’t let this fool you, Ann & Gil still make plenty of noise! One must be cautious when calling or visiting during football season. A word to the wise: check the schedule for the Giants game before you even think of interrupting them in any way. As they get older I worry about all three of my grandparents. I worry about Noni driving on her own at night. I worry about my grandparents getting in and out of their shower, which is still just a standard tub shower. I’m concerned about them just like they were concerned about me and my cousins when we were kids. It’s funny how when you get older, you start to feel a responsibility to take care of the people that have taken care of you your whole life. When we’re kids, our parents and grandparents
Helping Loved Ones Live Well give us advice and insist on having us do certain things in certain ways and sometimes, it frustrates us, but there is always that idea that “someday” will come and we will be able to live our lives by our own rules. Most of the time, our “own rules” become oddly similar to what their rules were. (Exhibit A: I have a pretty well established bed-time of 10pm.) When the tables are turned, though, it’s probably a bit more difficult to have freedoms that you once had taken away, even it is for safety or concern for wellbeing. I’m sure it’s not easy for my grandfather to rely on other people to drive him around at night because his vision isn’t as good as it used to be, even if it is for his own safety. But I like to look at it this way: he was part of a loving family group that took care of us when we were kids. He has more than earned his right to a personal chauffeur from time to time.
alzheimer’s association RI chapter
Labor of Love
Caring for a Partner with Alzheimer’s Chuck and VJ Anastasia of Barrington, began their journey in 2013 when VJ was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD), the most common form of dementia in people under age 60. There are approximately 5.4 million people in the United States with Alzheimer’s and about 50,000 with FTD. For the first couple of years after her diagnosis, VJ was able to occupy her time reading novels and doing jigsaw puzzles. “I created a photo archive of over 100 jigsaw puzzles that she made with help from me or her home companion,” says her husband, Chuck. She is no longer able to make jigsaw puzzles. She can still read, but she is not able keep her place in a book. “Although she enjoys when I read aloud to her, which we try to do every night. We read inspirational books that strengthen our faith. I don’t know how we would manage without a strong shared faith. We try to avoid asking why us, but focus on now that we are in this situation, how will we respond to it? We need to progressively adapt her activities to her ability,” says Chuck. Last December they celebrated VJ’s 60th birthday party in a big way with family, friends and former co-workers. They asked everyone to send pictures which they used to make a beautiful hardcover photo album that starts with March 2017
VJ as an infant up to the current day. “We try to focus on enjoying the simple things in life, counting our blessings and are extremely grateful for the brave families who have made our journey a little easier because they shared their experiences and worked to break down some of the stigma associated with dementia. We try to offer encouragement and share our knowledge with others who are also following along this journey,” says Chuck. The Alzheimer’s Association offers tips for couples facing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis:
A photo of Chuck and VJ in Bar Harbor, Maine in 2007, from the pages of VJ’s 60th birthday photo album
• Continue participating in as many activities as you can together, both old and new. Adapt activities as needed to make them comfortable and enjoyable.
• Discuss any role changes in the relationship with a professional counselor or clergy member. Include changes in your sexual feelings or ways of connecting.
• Talk with your spouse or partner about what kind of help you would like from him or her now. Also discuss what you can still do on your own.
• Attend early-stage and/or caregiver support groups through the Rhode Island Chapter. Sometimes befriending another couple in the same situation offers new possibilities for support. Visit www.alz.org/ri for a listing of our Early Stage Programs and Support Groups in Rhode Island.
• Work with your spouse or partner to put together information you may need later regarding caregiver services and costs. Organize documents you may need into a file. When considering future services include housekeeping and respite (caregiver relief) care.
• Connect with others. You and your spouse/ partner can connect with others on our online message boards, ALZConnected. Also, stay connected with family and friends.
Annual Conference Join us for the Alzheimer’s Association Caregiver’s Journey Conference on Friday, April 21, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Warwick. If you are a family caregiver of someone with Alzheimer’s disease or a professional in the field, this conference is for you. The conference is free for family caregivers. Visit www.alz.org/ri and click on Caregiver’s Journey Conference for more information
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Senior Living Expo!
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