N ove m b e r 2 0 12
thanks give The Spirit of the Season
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ach year in Rhode Island, more than 200,000 people volunteer their time and talents for one of the 3,000+ charitable non-profits across the state. Those individuals volunteered for more than 25 million hours - accounting for as much as $533 million worth of service. And during a time when more and more Rhode Islanders are finding themselves in need of a helping hand, those hours of service are more important than ever. Thankfully, one positive impact of the recession has been an increase in volunteerism, according to Kathy Rosum from Southern Rhode Island Volunteers. When people are out of work, they look out for other opportunities to fill their time, and Rosum has been pleased to see so many of them opt for volunteer positions. Rhode Island also has a high population of seniors, many of whom give back during their retirement years. The state has 194,522 residents over the age of 60, which, based on Department of Elderly Affairs data, ranks us ninth in the nation in this category. That is a lot of free labor and service given to children, the sick or injured, veterans, seniors and more people who are in need. In this issue of PrimeTime, we highlight some of the volunteers doing those good works. Rosum catches us up on the opportunities available in South County, and Operation Stand Down offers chances to serve veterans across the state. We catch up with Meals on Wheels, as well as a volunteer who continues to mix things up at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. Gloria Walker is featured as a volunteer of the year - worthy of her own day in Warwick - and volunteers from St. Antoine also get their shot in the spotlight. This month’s Worthy Cause highlights the United Way, one of the biggest non-profits in the state that operates the 2-1-1 line that links Rhode Islanders to emergency services when they need them most. We also spoke with some corporate do-gooders. Ocean State Job Lot is known for good deals, but it turns out November 2012 that owners Marc and Alan Perlman 1944 Warwick Ave. should be known for good deeds, too. Warwick, RI 02889 They have given to a long list of chari401-732-3100 FAX 401-732-3110 ties, and donate millions of dollars in Distribution Special Delivery monetary and in-kind gifts. A common link between these generous Rhode Islanders is that each of PUBLISHERS them agrees that they get more out of Barry W. Fain, Richard G. Fleischer, their volunteer work than the agencies John Howell and individuals they serve. Their stories EDITOR focus on the gratification they get from Meg Fraser giving of themselves, and those stories firstname.lastname@example.org are shared by everyone from corporate leaders to the many people who give MARKETING DIRECTOR Donna Zarrella anonymously - never asking for credit email@example.com or even a thank you. During the holiday season, it’s Creative Director important to give thanks for what we Linda Nadeau have, and to pay it forward however firstname.lastname@example.org we can. Check out our guide to getWRITERS ting involved and find an opportunity Jessica Botelho, Michael J. Cerio, Don Fowler, that works for you. Whether you have Terry D’Amato Spencer, Elaine M. Decker, one hour to give or one day each week, John Howell, Joan Retsinas, Kim Kalunian, Mike Fink, Meg Chevalier, Cynthia Glinick, there is a position out there that works Joe Kernan, Kerry Park, Kathy Tirrell with your schedule, benefits a cause you feel strongly about and will give ADVERTISING you the same satisfaction that 200,000 REPRESENTATIVES Rhode Islanders feel. Donna Zarrella – email@example.com Happy Thanksgiving! Carolann Soder, Lisa Mardenli, Janice Torilli,
Pr i m e Ti m e
Suzanne Wendoloski, Gina Fugere
Classified ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Sue Howarth – firstname.lastname@example.org Brittany Wardell – email@example.com
Meg Fraser editor
PRODUCTION STAFF Matt Bower, Brian Geary, Lisa Yuettner A Joint Publication of East Side Monthly and Beacon Communications. PrimeTime Magazine is published monthly and is available at over 400 locations throughout Rhode Island. Letters to the editor are welcome. We will not print unsigned letters unless exceptional circumstances can be shown.
December can only mean one thing: tis’ the season! Pick up our annual holiday issue next month.
inthisissue Give Time, Give Thanks
Behind the brand
Charity runs deep at Ocean State Job Lot
Elkins shares time and talent
Retirement brings volunteer career for senior
Volunteer gets a day dedicated to her in Warwick
14 Salute to Walker
15 From Anonymous,
Rhode Islanders give without the credit
16 Time to Give
Southern Rhode Island Volunteers connect people with fulfilling opportunities
17 On your mark, get set,
Where to start on your volunteer journey
23 Stand up for Veterans
Support the cause with Operation Stand Down
PEOPLE & PLACES A Worthy Cause............................................................................................8 Doer’s profile..................................................................................................12 Glimpse of RI’s past....................................................................................24 FOOD & DRINK Bake up some fall fun...............................................................................10 Thanksgiving Day dishes........................................................................36 SENIOR ISSUES Retirement Sparks.......................................................................................18 Director’s column........................................................................................16 A voting force to be reckoned with.................................................27 Holidays are tough for people with dementia..........................29 Tapping into VA benefits.........................................................................30 LIFESTYLES What do you Fink?......................................................................................25 That’s Entertainment.................................................................................27 PROFESSIONAL PERSPECTIVE Your Taxes........................................................................................................27 PrimeTime |
b y meg fraser
Behind the Brand Charity runs deep at Ocean State Job Lot
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hey deal in discounts, but Marc and Alan Perlman are anything but cheap. As much time as they spend running their business, the multi-million dollar retail empire Ocean State Job Lot, they spend just as much time giving back to non-profits, charities and customers in need in Rhode Island and beyond.
“There are a lot of things out there that need to be done,” Marc says, “and together, we can get it done. We embrace that challenge.” Marc is almost pragmatic in his approach to charity. He enjoys giving back, but he doesn’t consider the alternative an option. “We’re very fortunate that what we do, when we do it properly, we end up making money. To the extent that you’d like to have a big house or a big car, for some people it gets to a point where you’ve dealt with those creature needs but you’re still realizing profits,” he said. “If we’re going to live in a capitalist society, we have the responsibility to recognize that not everybody gets to the race on time – not everybody’s got the same sneakers when the gun goes off. There are so many good, necessary areas where people need help.” The payback is tangible. “There’s a lot of satisfaction being in a position to give. In one sense, it’s somewhat selfish, because I get more out of it than I’m giving,” Alan said. It’s difficult for Marc to say what causes he feels particularly drawn to. He supports agencies that are run efficiently and causes where he knows that donations are being spent wisely – on the people who need it, rather than high administrative costs. But he recognizes that the options for charitable giving are endless, and very much worthy of support, but he isn’t going to rank their importance. “You tell me – is it better to educate somebody or feed somebody or give them a blanket? I’m not smart enough to make that decision,” he said. Marc and Alan support the Providence Journal’s backpack program that gives needy children school supplies. They provide reading glasses to those in poverty, in America and abroad. Alan sponsors scholarships at The Lincoln School. They have sent clothes, shoes and other products to Haiti, and books to children across the country. The list goes on: The Lion’s Club, the Domestic Resource Center, Purple Strides, Crossroads Rhode Island, the URI Foundation, Welcome House, Big Brothers, the Katie DeCubellis Foundation, Boys and Girls Club, Lend a Hand Therapeutic Riding, English in Action and Autism Speaks have all been helped by a store known for discounts. With many of their projects, Alan says the donations are coming right from the stores, through customers giving what they can spare. “Most charity comes from $1 to $5 donations. There are just everyday people giving all the time,” he said. Some issues stand out, however, like those involving veterans. From his Quonset Point office, Marc pulls up a video from an Honor Flight, a trip that brings veterans to Washington, D.C. to see the memorials erected in honor of their service. Costs are covered for the veterans, and for many of them, they might not otherwise get the chance to visit the nation’s capitol. “We built this World War II monument very, very November 2012
late, and most of our veterans are 90 or so years old and they’ve never seen it. There’s this big effort to get as many of them down to Washington as you can,” Marc explained. In five days, Ocean State Job Lot raised $85,000 for an Honor Flight. Continuously, the company purchases socks, underwear, duffel bags and toiletries for the soldiers who are flown into the military’s central medical facilities in Germany. After being treated, many of these men and women no longer have even the shirt off their backs, and need supplies before flying home. “They were sending soldiers home wearing hospital jerseys; we asked how we could help,” Marc said. The Perlmans also support Operation Stand Down, which provides housing, social services and other resources to veterans who are homeless or at risk for becoming homeless. For Marc, helping veterans and service men and women is a no-brainer. “You’ve got all these rights, and these guys are preventing anyone from taking them away from us. These guys pay a very heavy burden, and you’d be pretty obtuse to ignore what they’re doing for everybody,” he said. Abroad, Marc and Alan have built eight schools in Cambodia, where too many young people have long been deprived of the opportunity for an education. A close friend works for the country’s prime minister, and when they heard of the conditions there, they asked a familiar question in their vocabulary: How can we help? The brothers have since visited the country to see the fruits of their labor, and while Marc says it was an emotional experience, he and Alan aren’t particularly fond of the spotlight. “When we got there, they just had hundreds of children along the river, going up to the school,” he recalled. “It was pretty embarrassing, actually.” It’s not a surprising attitude. Alan explains that in the Jewish faith, the highest form of charity described in the Talmud, a religious text, is that which is given anonymously, without expectation of anything in return. “There’s an old saying that what goes around comes around. If you do good deeds, it’s coming back to you in ways that you’re not even aware of,” he said. Still, hearing how their support has impacted the community is a humbling experience. In a cabinet in his office, Alan keeps stacks of thank you cards and letters. They spill over the side of his desk as he leafs through. He says he has never thrown one out. In addition to monetary donations, Ocean State Job Lot – or the Perlmans, in particular – share their expertise with these types of organizations. Project Undercover, for example, provides dia-
pers, socks, underwear and other undergarments to the 40,000 Rhode Island children living in poverty. Much of that merchandise is purchased at cost through OSJL [Ocean State Job Lot]. Whereas a regular customer could not likely get diapers for less than 35 cents apiece, even with coupons, the Perlmans can buy them for 10 cents for Project Undercover, or even 7 cents during closeout sales. They find similar deals for socks and underwear, especially when they inform the wholesalers where the items are headed. “There are people out there that have got a big heart, just because it’s an opportunity for them to do something good,” Marc said. Job Lot has a similar system for providing food to Rhode Islanders in need. Through their network of vendors, they are able to purchase food at a lower cost than in a supermarket, and they do so often, providing millions of dollars in donations and products over the course of a year to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. “We believe that we have a lot of imagination. You can give money, or you can use your expertise to extend that money,” Alan said. “We’ve concentrated on food because it’s something that’s obviously in great need, but it’s also something we excel in.” Across the state line, OSJL likewise provides food to the Boston Medical Center, which has a medically directed food bank. “We’ve been very interested in supporting that food bank for many years. The amount of people using it makes you want to cry,” Marc said. He tries not to get overwhelmed by the need, however upsetting it may be. “It’s disappointing, but if I fail to do something that I can, that would be frustrating,” he said. And despite the volume of good works he and his brother have done, Marc knows they are not alone. They are just two among many, both in the corporate world and across the country, who are willing to give of their time and talent. “This country is spectacular at helping and wanting to help,” he said. Marc and Alan want to help. “Some people are trying to tear things down. Some people are trying to build it up,” Marc says. “You just have to decide which side you want to be on.”
b y kathy tirrell
Elkins shares time and talent When some people retire, they are content to stay home and sit on the couch watching TV, or maybe at the kitchen table piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. Not Dan Elkins. At 89 years old, though he’s retired and now using a cane, he’s still an active member of the community, serving as a volunteer tour guide at the Audubon Society’s Environmental Education Center in Bristol and a woodcarving instructor at the Barrington Senior Center. For the past 10 years, Elkins has been teaching a free woodcarving class at the senior center. It meets every Thursday afternoon, from 1 to 3, all year long. The number of students varies, from only two or three to as many as 14. He says about six or seven have been coming regularly. One might think a beginning wood carver would start out making something easy to carve. But not so, according to Elkins. “What I teach is care and feeling of the tools,” he said. “I let them decide what to carve. They can do anything they want.” He told a story about one of his female students who is a painter and artist. He said she came to his class and told him she wanted to carve a Great Horned Owl. He gave her some wood and she worked on it for a year or so. “She brought in the finished carving and it was beautiful. I told her now it has to have a habitat. I gave her some driftwood. She fixed it up and it was gorgeous.” Elkins holds a piece of wood in his hands on this particular day, getting ready to carve an angel. He rests a photo on the table to use as a guide. “I took this piece of wood off of an old umbrella,” he explained.
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It’s a love affair that started when Elkins was just a boy. “I started when I was 6 years old in 1929,” he said. “My father gave me a broken pocket knife. During the summer when school was out we had nothing to do during the Depression. A
group of us kids had our pocketknives and we walked around Queens picking up peach pits. We’d get half a dozen or so and sit on the curb rubbing them until they were smooth. We’d make little baskets, leave room for a handle and sell them for a penny each.” He has created a vast array of carvings, including Pilgrims and Indians, bears and buffaloes, monks and men, Santa Claus and his reindeer, and even an entire circus complete with clowns, acrobats, lions, giraffes, bears and more on display at the Children’s Museum on South Street in Providence. “Dan’s work is whimsical and playful – perfect for the Children’s Museum,” said Janice O’Donnell, executive director of the museum. “He delights in sharing his work with kids and their grown-ups. He’s been a great friend to the Museum.” Elkins also volunteers as a tour guide at the Audubon Society’s Environmental Education Center, a natural history museum and aquarium. Ac-
cording to director Anne DiMonti, Elkins has been an exhibit hall guide since they opened 12 years ago. In addition, he was named Volunteer of the Year on Oct. 24, 2010 at the Audubon Society’s annual meeting. “Dan still volunteers for us every Friday morning,” said DiMonti. “He’s a wonderful man.” Elkins has lived in Barrington for the past 24 years after retiring in L.A., where he was president of a moving company. Previously, he was in the Merchant Marines and is a Navy veteran. He and his wife just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this past September. They have a son and daughter, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. When it comes to his volunteer work, it’s the only way Elkins would spend his retirement. “I like the kids and the grown-ups,” he said. “I’m a people person.”
a worthy cause
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Imagine receiving more than 205,000 Island works with a range of people and phone calls last year, each from a neighbor organizations. In its work to help seniors in need of help during a difficult time. and adults with disabilities, United Way For United Way of Rhode Island Presi- operates THE POINT through 2-1-1 on dent and CEO Anthony Maione, there’s behalf of the Rhode Island Division of no need to imagine – that was the volume of calls handled by United Way 2-1-1 in Rhode Island during 2011. “You call, anytime, day or night, and soon you’re talking to a live person who can get you the help you need – United Way of Rhode Island staff and partners volunteer to help it’s something Habitat for Humanity build a two-family house in Providence. I’m extremely proud to be a part of,” Maione said. Elderly Affairs. A statewide 24-hour information THE POINT provides assistance for and referral help line, 2-1-1 is relatively longterm care options, group and nursyoung, established here in 2007. But ing homes and prescription programs. the United Way has been working to Last year, more than 40,000 Rhode Isstrengthen Rhode Island communities landers contacted THE POINT – a 42 for more than 80 years. percent increase over the previous year. “During the last year, we helped more According to the Senior Agenda, onepeople than ever before,” says Maione. quarter of Rhode Island’s population “This speaks to both the incredible gen- will be over 65 years old by 2030; undererosity of the community as well as the scoring the importance of THE POINT fact that many of our family members, in caring for those as they expected after friends, colleagues and neighbors con- living full lives. tinue to struggle as a result of our state’s “THE POINT is not a program for troubled economy.” low-income people; everyone can benefit Many still picture United Way as a from the help it provides. Long-term care fundraising organization with the giant options, as well as Medicare and Medthermometer tracking progress toward icaid, can be very complicated, so we’re its goal; those days are gone. here to help people understand what opTo ensure its efforts are making a real tions are available,” Maione said. difference, United Way concentrates its Last year alone, through THE work in four areas of focus: education, POINT, United Way enrolled more than income, housing and 2-1-1. Serving as 4,000 people in Medicare Part D to help the basic building blocks to a good life, with prescriptions. During community each represents an issue that Rhode Is- open house events that provide health landers care about to make our state care information, the organization regustronger for today, and for the future. larly sees upwards of 300 people at its “We know that when people have a Olneyville headquarters. THE POINT safe, affordable place to live, a good edu- can also help coordinate transportation cation and a higher-paying job, they can for seniors to and from medical appointprovide for themselves and their fami- ments. lies,” Maione said. “This is why our stratBecause United Way has a presence egy is so focused. The social problems in every community in the Ocean State, we’re working to address aren’t going to volunteer support is vital to its work. change overnight, but there’s no question Thanks to its partnership with Serve that we’re moving the needle.” Rhode Island, the state’s largest volunTo create longlasting change to com- teer service organization, United Way is munity challenges, United Way of Rhode able to connect community partners and
PEOPLE AND PLACES donors with volunteer opportunities. “Those who make financial gifts to help the community are also extremely likely to give of their time,” Maione said. “We also coordinate our own volunteer initiatives – the program has become very hands-on.” United Way’s two largest internal volunteer initiatives are its Women’s Leadership Council and the Young Leaders Circle. The Women’s Leadership Council volunteers work to close the gaps in early childhood literacy. Members volunteer in classrooms and community programs, organize book drives and advocate for education. The Young Leaders Circle is a group of hundreds of volunteers in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Last year, Young Leaders Circle volunteers coordinated fundraising events, participated in neighborhood cleanup projects and helped distribute thousands of backpacks full of school supplies to local children. “We set a strategic goal to double these volunteer programs in three years but were able to accomplish it in just two,” says Maione. “People and organizations come to us to help coordinate service projects and we’re able to make them happen. In doing this, we deepen their connection to United Way and our communities, which is very important.” Moving forward, Maione sees greater opportunities to utilize volunteers to im-
Volunteers from United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council help collect and distribute thousands of books and backpacks full of school supplies to local children this past August.
pact even more lives – especially in partnership with 2-1-1. When Rhode Island declares a state of emergency, all eyes focus on 2-1-1 as the lifeline to connect people with help. As a result, United Way is building a team of trained volunteers able to augment staff and assist with increased call volume.
“Volunteerism is absolutely an area where Rhode Island can grow. We are all very busy, but one thing I’ve learned is that when people get out and volunteer, they get so much out of the experience, they quickly ask for another opportunity,” Maione said.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities, contact United Way at 444-0600 or on the web at www. LIVEUNITEDri.org. Through its community network and partnership with Serve Rhode Island, United Way can connect volunteers with opportunities that best fit their interests.
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Dough Preparation 1. You will not need the baking soda packet for this recipe. In a large bowl, dissolve contents of 1 yeast packet (from kit) in 1 1/4 cups lukewarm tap water. Let sit about 2 minutes. Add 1 dough mix and 1 apple cinnamon oat blend to yeast/water mixture (also from kit); combine until dough ball forms. If using an electric mixer, follow Step 1 using a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer fitted with dough hook attachment, turn on low speed for 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-low and continue mixing for 4 more minutes. Dough should form a soft, smooth, and slightly tacky ball. Continue to Step 3. 2. Turn dough ball onto lightly floured surface and knead approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add a small amount of flour if dough is too sticky. Place dough ball into large greased bowl. 3. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with nonstick spray and place on top of dough ball, tucking sides down around dough (to prevent dough from drying out). Place bowl in a warm spot (85 to 95°F) for 30 minutes so the dough can rest (i.e.: place bowl by a sunny window, on top of or near a warm oven, or on top of a refrigerator). Baking Instructions Preheat oven to 350°F. 1. In a large bowl, mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, and contents of cinnamon sugar packet (from kit). 2. Place half the pecans in bottom of greased Bundt pan. Tear the risen dough into 45 to 50 pieces and roll each piece into a 1-inch ball. 3. Place half the dough balls into the pan on top of the pecans. Then pour half the cinnamon-sugar-butter mixture on top of the dough balls. 4. Place remaining pecans in pan and follow with remaining dough balls and cinnamon sugar butter mixture. 5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Best served warm.
On Tuesday, November 6 vote “yes” for the addition of Table Games at Newport Grand to Keep Newport Working. By adding Table Games: Protect 200 well-paying jobs at Newport Grand and add 50 new jobs.
Preserve the nearly $30 million the state receives every year in gaming taxes from Newport Grand.
Safeguard the $6 million Newport Grand spends on local vendors every year and $7 million in payroll. Table Games are essential to Newport Grand’s survival. Without them, Newport Grand will not be able to compete with the destination resort casinos approved in nearby Massachusetts. In fact, a study by an independent consultant supports the conclusion that Newport Grand would cease operating by 2017.* WE NEED TO KEEP OUR JOBS AND TAX REVENUE HERE. VOTE YES ON QUESTION 2 AND HELP KEEP NEWPORT WORKING.
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Follow us on Twitter at @Yeson2RI or friend us on Facebook at Facebook.com/KeepNewportWorking *“Gaming Study and Economic Impact Analysis,” Christiansen Capital Advisors LLC. Paid for by Newport Grand, LLC • Diane S. Hurley, CEO • 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road, Newport, RI 02840
PrimeTime | 11
DOER’S PROFILE by JOAN RE TSINAS
Think back to a time when you were recovering from the flu or just home from surgery. At least you felt energetic enough to eat, but not energetic enough to rustle up more than a peanut butter sandwich, let alone scramble some eggs. If you were fortunate, you had somebody nearby who cooked and served you a meal. A lot of Rhode Islanders are not so fortunate. They are virtually homebound, unable to shop for food. Nor can they prepare a genuine meal. And they have no daytime companions to shop, cook and serve. Today, Meals on Wheels helps roughly 1,400 Rhode Islanders each day throughout the state. Volunteers deliver five noontime meals a week. The usual meal comes in two parts: a
Food hot tin pan holds meat, vegetable and starch. A cold pack has milk, a roll, butter, salad and dessert. For diabetics, Meals on Wheels will offer an appropriate dessert; for diners who cannot cut food, Meals on Wheels will offer an appropriate entrée. Often, diners will save part of the meal for later. Meals on Wheels does not charge. It asks a contribution of $3 per meal, but that is a voluntary donation. While contributions and government grants through the state’s Division of Elderly Affairs underwrite Meals on Wheels, this 43-year-old non-profit entity depends on volunteers. Executive Director Heather Amaral oversees a varied assortment: from children and home-schooled teenagers who accompany their parents as part of a community
service project to retirees. Some groups volunteer; for instance, a bank might deliver meals on a Monday, a church fellowship on a Tuesday. Teachers may volunteer in the summer; retirees may take the month of January off to travel south. Some people volunteer once a week, others once a month. Others fill in when and wherever they are needed. Meals on Wheels is flexible. If you can spare some time – if not to drive, then to accompany a driver – contact: Osvalda Silva, volunteer coordinator, at 351-6700 ext. 110, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. A special delivery Meat. Potatoes. String beans. Milk. Dessert. The food is packed into coolers, ready for pick-up at Meals on
Wheels headquarters. Whenever East Side resident Neel Lanou, a substitute for Meals on Wheels, gets an early-morning call that they need her, she heads out to pick up the two coolers – one a collection of hot tins, the other a collection of cold packs. She picks up her roster of names, addresses and directions, with specific instructions (ring doorbell, don’t ring doorbell, call in advance, knock), and she sets forth, one of the 1,000 volunteers who each year deliver three-course hot meals to homebound seniors. She may deliver to as many as 20 people in a day. By 1:30 p.m., when she has delivered all her meals, she heads home. For more than 20 years, Neel has been delivering meals. She began when
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Soul a neighbor who volunteered asked her to help. One person drove; the other delivered the meal. Today, Neel is a substitute deliverer. When a regular volunteer calls in sick, or cannot do the route, the agency will call Neel. Although she generally delivers to people in Providence and East Providence, she has traveled farther afield, using paper maps, not GPS, to navigate throughout the state. Cell phones have made her job easier; she can call to remind a diner to open the door. If a diner is in a crisis, she can call for help. Some weeks, she drives four times; other weeks, not at all. Neel has spent much of her life volunteering. When this Swarthmore
graduate (’52) settled on the East Side to raise her family of four, she plunged into all her children’s school-related organizations while working part-time in the Slavic Department at Brown University. She helped start Lippitt Hill Tutorial. She joined civic organizations, like the League of Women Voters. She volunteered for political causes. She contributed money to non-profits in the state. But Meals on Wheels is a different kind of volunteering. It is concrete. “I like the immediacy of Meals on Wheels. I am delivering a definite thing that people need and want,” she said.
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras with volunteer Neel Lanou
Rep. Jim Langevin thanks founder Joe Brown
Cranston Mayor Allan Fung helps deliver meals
Volunteers share a moment with Osvalad Silva (center) the volunteer coordinator
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b y kim kal u nian
Walker Red is Gloria Walker’s favorite color. It’s a color often associated with fervor, vigor, passion and love. And Walker has all of these things. At 85, she’s an active member of the community. Not only does Walker volunteer in elementary schools and senior centers near her hometown of Warwick, but she also serves as the secretary for her Democratic Ward Committee and is the president of her Housing Association. Her passion to help others is what got the attention of the Home Instead Senior Care Network, who named her the Rhode Island winner of the Salute to Senior Service award. Home Instead is an international provider of non-medical in-home care and services to seniors. This year they launched an awards program to honor seniors who demonstrate commitment and dedication to their communities. Walker, along with the other 49 state winners, was awarded a certificate and appeared on the Salute to Senior Service Wall of Fame on SalutetoSeniorService. com. Walker credits her father with instilling the spirit of volunteerism in her. At age 4, he took her to a veterans’ cemetery to place flags on all of the graves. “My father was such a great volunteer,” she said, remembering that he often provided services to military veterans. “My father loved his country.” Because of her father, Walker never stopped giving back. “He said I have a gift to give, but a good feeling is the only thing I’d get back,” she said. The good feeling is payment enough. The people Walker has met through her volunteer work have been an added bonus. While volunteering, she met baseball Hall of Fame member Ted Williams and had a “long relationship” with him. She has become friends with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and is “crazy about our mayor,” Scott Avedisian. Upon hearing about her award, Avedisian declared May 2 “Gloria Walker Day” in the city of Warwick. “Gloria Walker is not only a wonderful volunteer and a committed member of this community, she is also one of the happiest, most enthusiastic people I have ever met,” said Avedisian. At her age, Walker says perspective is everything. “You have to look at the cup half-full,” she said. It’s volunteerism, she added, that got her through the deaths of two sons, a grandson and a sister. She says you can either make the best of your life, or “be miserable to be around.” Working with children has brought her joy and Walker has been a member of the Foster Grandparents Program for 10 years, acting as what she describes as a “safety net” for children with low-self esteem. “I make them believe they can do anything they set their minds to,” she said. In return, she receives “unconditional love.” She recalled one instance where she was out sick from her duties at the schools. Upon her return, one boy rushed up to her and gave her a present, and then immediately asked to talk. The boy opened up to Walker about a death in his family, a topic he refused to discuss with anyone else. “I realized after 10 years, that this is the reason I was here,” she said. Walker said the students are among the many blessings she counts in her life.
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In addition to her work at the school, Walker is an active volunteer at nursing homes, where she participates in various activities. “Most seniors don’t go to nursing homes because it’s a reminder of where they’re going to end up,” said Walker. “But when I know I’ll bring a big smile to someone’s face and get them to light up ... it gives you a good feeling about yourself.” Walker encourages people to get involved with volunteerism by finding an avenue they enjoy. For those who may want to work with children, she offers this advice: “You need an awful lot of love,” she said. “Children today aren’t like they were years ago. It isn’t easy to be a kid today.” Walker loves what she does, and the kids love her for it. Her home is adorned with gifts and crafts from the students she mentors: a large red paper flower; a greeting card she helped students make for the military; a portrait of “Grandma Gloria” made of scrap paper. Walker hopes to continue on her path of volunteerism, and said she is grateful for her good health and many blessings. “I’m determined to do things we think aren’t possible,” she said.
b y meg fraser
e s u a C y h t Wor n o n A from
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t’s just about dinnertime when you get a phone call from a fundraiser working for the Fraternal Order of Police. Your favorite uncle was a policeman, so you make a small donation in his honor. When the decal comes in the mail, you proudly stick it on the back window of your car. A co-worker is diagnosed with cancer, so the office puts together a team for a benefit walk and you pitch in what you can. You’re photographed by the local paper wearing your team T-shirt, identified as one of the event donors. There are more than 3,000 charities operating in Rhode Island alone, benefiting a number of worthy causes. Most often, we donate to the organizations with which we feel a personal connection. Their work has impacted us in some way, and we want to give back. And when they offer a symbol of gratitude, we accept. We wear awareness ribbons, donate to dress down at work and hang our St. Jude ornaments on the Christmas tree. But for many donors, no one will ever know of the contributions they made. They are anonymous donors and, at their request, their charity goes unrecognized. “I think there are some donors who like giving anonymously because they simply aren’t giving to receive recognition. These are really, truly no ego people who just want to support different charities because they believe in them,” said Carol Golden, the executive vice president and chief development officer for the Rhode Island Foundation, one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the country. Arnold Bromberg, whose family has owned Benny’s for more than 80 years, has seen the phenomenon of “layaway angels” during the holiday season. Benny’s has offered layaway services since the 1930s, but last year stores were inundated with generous shoppers looking to pay off the accounts of total strangers. “Last year was the first year we’ve seen anything like that to any kind of extent. It was happening in virtually every store,” he said. Similar stories have been shared from box stores like Wal-Mart or K-Mart. When asked what he attributes the trend to, Bromberg said, “The innate kindness of human beings.” “That’s why they say it’s the most wonderful time of the year,” he said. Most donors pay off accounts indiscriminately, though some specifically request accounts that benefit children. They will ask to help families with kids or pay off accounts that have bicycles and toys on layaway. Bromberg says it is an inspiration to the staff. They look forward to calling customers to let them know that a layaway angel has touched them. “When the stores call up people to tell them that someone has paid off their layaway, those people are usually beside themselves. It’s very emotional,” he said.
Anonymous donors are not a new trend. The Champlin Foundations, the state’s second largest non-profit funding source, is built on a tradition of charity without recognition. George S. Champlin, together with his sisters Florence Champlin Hamilton and Hope Champlin Neaves, established the Foundation in 1932 and has since distributed more than $442 million, mostly in Rhode Island. Much of that was given anonymously prior to George Champlin’s death in 1980. “Mr. Champlin did that when he was alive. In his own giving, almost all of his gifts were anonymous,” explained Executive Director Keith Lang. While Champlin Foundations can no longer give anonymously, George Champlin’s legacy lives on. “The basis of our giving is the Champlin family money,” Lang said. Champlin’s annual giving is topped only by the Rhode Island Foundation. Founded in 1916, the Rhode Island Foundation works to inspire philanthropy, to provide leadership on critical community issues and to have a positive impact on the state through grants, outreach and other investments. Golden says anonymous donations do not account for the majority of gifts, but roughly 10 percent of endowment funds come from these unidentified donors. In some cases, the Rhode Island Foundation is aware of the identity but does not disclose it; in other cases, grant recipients are informed but are asked not to list the donor publicly. And in other cases still, the donor is completely unknown. The motivation varies, from not wanting the attention to not wanting to spark a firestorm of donation requests. Either way, Golden says supporters of the Rhode Island Foundation are crucial to the mission and have the interests of the community at heart. “They feel good just giving money and not having any personal recognition,” she said. “We just honor whatever the donor asks us to do.” The same is true at the United Way, where as many as 15 to 20 percent of “leadership donors” - those who contribute $1,000 or more - ask to remain anonymous and be left out of the annual report. “Whether we recognize someone publicly or privately, we are no less grateful for the impact of their gift. A gift of their money or their time will certainly make a big difference in our community,” said United Way spokesman Chris Medici. “We are grateful for every dollar or every hour that is donated to United Way to support our work.”
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b y meg fraser
What started as a group of seniors volunteers more than 30 years ago, Seniors Helping Others, has expanded into Southern Rhode Island Volunteers, a clearinghouse that connects 630 volunteers with opportunities at 95 partner agencies â€“ and counting. â€œI would never have anyone come in and say, â€˜I canâ€™t find you anything to do,â€™â€? says SRIV Volunteer Coordinator Kathy Rosum. â€œThere is so much need out there.â€? The opportunities are endless. Volunteers can spend time with homebound seniors, visit nursing homes, work as docents at museums, respond during emergencies or clean up the environment, among other things. Through the Meals on Wheels program run out of SRIVâ€™s home in the South Kingstown Senior Center, volunteer drivers deliver meals to 60 clients in Washington County. Volunteers are not haphazardly placed, but rather are connected based on their interests and what type of work they had in mind. â€œWe have a place on our website that asks that question â€“ what are you most interested in?â€? Rosum says. â€œThe first thing I ask them is, â€˜How much time do you want to give?â€™ but most important is what interests them. I would say
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the majority who come here really donâ€™t know what they want to do â€“ they donâ€™t know where to start.â€? SRIV is that starting point. Through their website, volunteers can sign up and get an idea of what positions are available. All volunteers meet one-onone with Rosum and undergo a background check. â€œWe donâ€™t let them interact with anyone unless theyâ€™ve been screened,â€? she said. Rosum spends much of her time offering support to these volunteers.
She attends their first visit to a partner agency with them, and follows up a few weeks later. Itâ€™s no wonder, then, that SRIV volunteers stay with the agency for years. â€œTheyâ€™re incredible people,â€? Rosum says. â€œOur volunteers go way above and beyond what we ask them to do. Theyâ€™re very compassionate with our clients.â€? She speaks with partners even more regularly, meeting with them from time to time and assessing their needs daily over the phone and email. Some volunteer positions need to be filled daily, others are weekly or on occasion. â€œI could keep them busy every day, but if you only want to do things once a week, thatâ€™s OK too,â€? Rosum said. Attracting new volunteers is a priority for Rosum. In addition to advertising and announcements in the local papers, SRIV has a presence at various community events, like fundraising walks and the Washington County Fair. At a recent career fair at the University of Rhode Island, 33 students applied for volunteer opportunities. Rosum is always looking for new volunteers, but thankfully that job has been made easier by the generosity of Rhode Islanders. â€œThere has been a tremendous increase in the number of volunteers and I think the website has caused that,â€? she
said. â€œIâ€™m getting more volunteers and the age spread is greater.â€? Every year, there is an up-tick in volunteers at this time of year. Rosum is glad to see people giving back during the holidays, but encourages them to share that generosity throughout the year. â€œI think too many of them only think about it on the holidays,â€? she said. Volunteers are starting young, as many schools and churches require community service of their students. The same is true at the high school and college levels, up through retirees who have extra time to give. Many older people with records of volunteerism get their children and grandchildren engaged. She has also seen many people who are unemployed who are still looking to fill their time with worthwhile work. â€œThatâ€™s a whole new category that we didnâ€™t have before,â€? she said. Often times, volunteers have benefited from the service of others and are looking to pay it forward. â€œI meet a lot of family members who have cared for a loved one and want to give back for this reason,â€? she said. â€œItâ€™s the next generation wanting to continue that.â€? And for the original volunteers, some of whom have been with Southern Rhode Island Volunteers for more than 20 years, the agency is their gateway to making a difference in the community, however big or small that contribution may be. â€œTheyâ€™re just excited to know they can still be useful in some way,â€? she said. â€œTheyâ€™re so excited to see there are so many ways they can use their skills in the community.â€? To get started with a SRIV volunteer opportunity, visit www.southernrivol.org and fill out the registration form. Volunteer positions are searchable online through Volunteer Match. For more information, email krosum@ southernrivol.org or call 789-2362.
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On your mark, get set,
Serve Rhode Island The state’s volunteer center is also the official State Commission for National and Community Service. Established in 1994 to administer AmeriCorps programs, Serve Rhode Island is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, and connects thousands of volunteers to opportunities across the state. The agency took the place of the Volunteer Center of Rhode Island, which had previously provided volunteer opportunities for 40 years. The list of positions ranges from Children’s Wish Group and the Rhode Island Free Clinic to URI Watershed Watch and HeadsUp, and beyond. Address: 655 Broad Street, Providence Phone: 331-2298 Website: www.serverhodeisland.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lifespan It might not seem like an obvious choice, but Lifespan hospitals engage more than 1,000 people each year as volunteers to do a variety of tasks, including greeting, serving as family liasons, working the gift shop and helping in different therapeutic services. After undergoing a background check and going through an interview process, volunteers must attend a one-hour volunteer information session. Phone: 444-5530 Website: www.rhodeislandhospital.org Email: KPantalone@lifespan.org
Rhode Island Community Food Bank Opportunities are available for individuals and groups, from food sorting to office assistance. Translators are needed for SNAP, food stamp outreach, and the Food Bank also provides volunteers to some of the 250 network agencies across the state. If you want to help provide food assistance in your community, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank is a good place to start. Address: 200 Niantic Avenue, Providence Phone: 942-6325 Website: www.rifoodbank.org Email: email@example.com
Audubon Society of Rhode Island The Audubon Society of Rhode Island works with students and families, retirees and community groups, including the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). There are basic positions, like working the front desk; one-time gigs, like helping out at special events; and more intensive opportunities, like being an education intern or exhibit hall tour guide. Address: 12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield Phone: 949-5454 Website: www.asri.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Habitat for Humanity While not local to Rhode Island, Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that has built more than 500,000 houses worldwide, serving 2.5 million people. Considering the fact that Habitat for Humanity was only started in 1976, that is a fast and impressive accomplishment. There are Habitat affiliates in Newport, Providence, Shannock and Warwick, all of which can be reached through their central offices. Address: 807 Broad Street, Providence Phone: 831-5424 Website: www.habitat.org Email: email@example.com
Save the Bay Incorporated in 1970, you don’t have to think too hard to figure out the mission of Save the Bay. With a focus on protecting Narragansett Bay, volunteers can give a little or a lot. If you have one day to spare, consider organizing a cleanup at your area beach or joining one that has been already set up. If your ambitions are grander, consider working in habitat restoration or as a photographer. Address: 100 Save The Bay Drive, Providence Phone: 272-3450 Website: www.savebay.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amos House Amos House is known for its soup kitchen, serving as many as 800 guests every day. Amos House provides food, but also offers social services, housing, job training and literacy classes. Since 1976, they have served more than 2.5 million meals and provided emergency assistance to more than 500,000 people. Volunteers are needed in the soup kitchen and in offering professional expertise to Rhode Islanders in need. Address: 415 Friendship Street, Providence Phone: 272-0220 Website: www.amoshouse.com Email: email@example.com
Women’s Center of Rhode Island Provide services to victims of domestic violence, in the office, through the children’s enrichment program and even just with a single day of service. The Women’s Center of Rhode Island provides safety, shelter and court advocacy to these victims, and volunteers can join in that mission with as much or as little time as they are willing to give. Phone: 861-2761 ext. 117 Website: www.womenscenterri.org Email: Mengland@womenscenterri.org
Volunteer Visiting Program Homefront Health Care, a Rhode Island-based non-profit agency that cares for seniors, disabled adults and children with special needs, has been around for more than 40 years. Homefront provides nursing care on a variety of levels, but also offers a volunteer program that has been in existence for just over one year. After the volunteer goes through the application process and training, he or she is matched with a client and visits for roughly one hour each week to offer companionship. Volunteers are needed from Woonsocket to Westerly. Address: 10 James Street, East Providence Phone: 228-8414 Website: www.homefront.org Email: JLaplante@homefront.org
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b y elaine m . decker
Insurance screening guide The Supreme Court decision that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional has folks scrambling to figure out what that means for them. The concern for many is: Do I have to get coverage now if I want to avoid being penalized? Relax. I’ve put together a simple questionnaire that will help you know what you need to do. 1. Are you age 65 or over? If YES, no problem! Medicare is for you, now and forever. Well, maybe not forever if the Republicans get control of Congress. If NO, keep going. 2. Did you have four or more ailments that required medical attention in the past three years? (Do not include ingrown toenails, wicked bad breath or chronic post nasal drip in your count.)
Meals on Wheels Serves Up
If YES, good luck finding coverage before the 2014 changes take effect. But if you’re still alive then, your medical life will get a lot easier. (Unless the Republicans repeal Obamacare.) If NO, keep going.
If NO, you’re exempt from getting health care insurance on religious grounds.
3. Are you a devoted adherent of a religion that doesn’t allow you to have medical insurance? (This is the “religious conscience” exemption.)
5. Are you a member of an Indian tribe? (Note to my in-laws: that’s Native American, not South Asian. You’re in the same boat I am.)
If YES, go to question 4.
If YES, you’re exempt from getting health insurance. But you’d better plan to get your medical care at your local casino. Be sure to call ahead to see if the shaman is in. Also, at some point in the future, you may be required to live on the reservation to claim this exemption. You might want to put a deposit on a nice teepee while the real estate market is still soft.
If NO, go to question 5. 4. Have you ever taken an aspirin or used peroxide (on a cut – not to bleach your mustache)? OR: Did you join this religious group the week after the Supreme Court decision?
If NO, keep going. Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island has expanded the senior nutrition program to include 3 great PROVIDENCE restaurants!
CHELO’S HOMETOWN BAR & GRILLE 505 Silver Spring St.
IHOP RESTAURANT 45 Pleasant Valley Parkway
NEWPORT CREAMERY 673 Smith Street With a donation to the agency, seniors age 60 & older can receive a coupon at the Meals on Wheels office, 70 Bath Street, Providence
For more information, call Pauline Asprinio, Nutrition Director
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6. Do you spend more money on vet bills and pet medications than you spend on your own health care? If YES, I feel your pain. You’re exempt from getting your own health insurance on humanitarian grounds. But I strongly recommend that you get health care insurance for your pets, instead. If NO, keep going.
Meals on Wheels is a non-profit organization funded in part by AOA and state funds through the Division of Elderly Affairs.
If YES to any of these: Liar, Liar, pants on fire! You’re not so devoted and you probably have no conscience. Go to question 5.
7. Do you have such puny annual income that you’re exempt from filing tax returns? OR: Would your coverage cost more than 8 percent of your household income? (The Department of HHS defines certain other hardships; contact them for details. I’m not that anal retentive to look into this.) If YES to either of these, you can take small comfort in the fact that you’re exempt from getting health care insurance. I’d feel sorry for you, but I may be joining you if the real estate and stock markets don’t recover soon. If NO, keep going.
8. Are you in jail? If YES, our benevolent government is already providing your health care. Surprisingly, you’re exempt from having to buy duplicate coverage. If NO, keep going. 9. Would you rather go to jail than buy your own health care insurance? If YES, contact a conservative talk show host or your local Republican lawmaker. Many of them share your opinion and can probably provide suggestions on ways to make this happen. If NO, keep going. 10. Are you an undocumented alien? If YES, go to question 11. If NO, go to question 12. 11. Are you foolish enough to admit to this rather than biting the bullet and paying for health care insurance? If YES, you’re exempt from buying insurance. Have a nice trip back to your homeland. If NO, keep going. CONGRATULATIONS! You have completed this health care insurance screening guide. The bad news is: You’ll have to get insurance coverage or be subject to the Individual Mandate Penalty. For most folks, that will be $95 in 2014. The sort of good news: There are supposed to be state health care exchanges to control insurance costs. Even better news: In all likelihood, by the time all of this is sorted out, you’ll be eligible for Medicare. Fingers crossed that it still exists then. Elaine M. Decker’s book, “Retirement Sparks,” is available at Books on the Square, the Brown University bookstore and Spectrum-India, all on the East Side of Providence, on Amazon.com and in a Kindle version. Her latest book, “CANCER: A Coping Guide,” is now available at Spectrum-India and on Amazon.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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b y meg fraser
stand up for
veterans There is no denying that times are tough. As Rhode Island lags behind the rest of the country in digging out of the recession, unemployment remains high and foreclosures are befalling families that not long ago considered themselves middle class. For veterans, these issues are multiplied. “The veteran that comes back is not the same person,” said Erik Wallin, executive director of Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, the local branch of a national network of supportive services for veterans. These issues are prevalent in Rhode Island in particular, where 10,000 National Guard soldiers have been deployed overseas. “We are one of the highest deployed units in the country,” Wallin said. Most small business employers cannot hold on to these jobs while soldiers leave for months at a time. These men and women return home and quickly plunge into debt if they have no job to return to. The same is true for active duty soldiers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, as they complete their service and feel lost - unsure of where to turn. Operating in the workplace as they once did might not be possible. What’s worse, they are often reluctant to seek out help, despite the services offered through the Veterans Administration and other military support agencies. “Veterans are the last to basically go and ask for services. They have a very independent ‘I can get this done’ mentality. They often don’t alert the military to the problems they’re having,” Wallin said. Desperate to get home, soldiers can put on a strong face to avoid any delays in their discharge that come from extensive counseling or intervention services. They arrive home feeling
on top of the world but quickly realize that assimilating back into the community they know is not as easy as they thought it would be. “As things begin to slow down, that’s when the problems often develop,” Wallin said. Those problems include homelessness, substance abuse, unemployment and mental health challenges. That’s where Operation Stand Down comes in. With a motto of “A hand up, not a
the needs of the community and the change in the needs of the veterans we serve, we’ve increased our number of family units,” Wallin said. “The type of veterans coming out of the army and the National Guard right now tend to be younger.” The first OSD property, the Hartford Avenue Community, opened in 2001 and is undergoing an expansion that will grow capacity from seven housing units to 15, including two additional units for families.
A hand up, not a hand out hand out,” OSD employs case managers to work one-on-one with veterans to develop treatment plans for physical and mental disabilities, and coordinate services from employment and training to health and wellness. Through Stand Down, veterans can also access food and clothing assistance. “We’re expanding our food programs because we’re seeing such an increase in demand. We also provide this to low-income, disabled veterans in the community,” Wallin said. OSD is especially known for its statewide properties, which provide transitional housing to homeless veterans. In the wake of the Vietnam War, the average time it took for a veteran to become homeless was seven years. Today, for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, it takes only four years. As the need grows, so too does the capacity at Operation Stand Down. They run five housing units from West Warwick to Johnston, and have adapted to meet the demands of not only veterans, but their families as well. “When Operation Stand Down began, almost all of the units were for single occupancy. As we follow
Also in Johnston is the Lance Corporal Holly Charette House, which opened in 2010 as the state’s first transitional home for homeless female veterans. Charette was the first Rhode Island female Marine to be killed during service in Iraq. The West Warwick Home opened in 2005 and features nine handicapped accessible units. Bissell Street Housing in Providence, opened in 2009, serves 10 veterans and families. The Gregory Belanger Home, also in Providence, opened in 2011 in honor of Army Reserve Sergeant Gregory Allan Belanger, the first soldier from Rhode Island to be killed in action. The facility houses 11 veterans. Lastly, there is the $1.3 million Westerly Pierce Street Project, which will soon house 10 disabled veterans and will host a drop-in center where veterans can access supportive services. Through a Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program grant of $500,000, which OSD accessed as of Oct. 1, the agency is reaching out to veterans at-risk of homelessness and subsidizing some of their housing costs, such as security deposits or back
rent. This grant also enables them to expand employment training. The services offered to these veterans are extensive. It’s no surprise then that the average stay in an OSD property is only eight months, meaning that in less than one year, the veteran is back on his or her feet. That work cannot be done, however, without the contribution of volunteers. Volunteers are needed for Stand Down Weekend - an encampment that brings services and resources together for veterans of all ages. They are also needed to clean up and maintain properties, clerical work in the office and legal counseling from attorneys willing to donate their time. “There’s not a lot of these kinds of pro bono services available in the bar,” Wallin said. Regardless of your skill set or how much time you have to give, Wallin encourages volunteers to reach out and give back to veterans. “There’s always something that we can find a volunteer to do,” he said. Donors are also crucial, both in a monetary sense and to provide food, clothes and toiletries to the veterans living in OSD properties. Donations can be dropped off Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hartford Avenue offices year-round, and especially during the holidays when Operation Stand Down tries to create a special day for military families. Wallin believes that supporting these soldiers is the responsibility of Rhode Islanders and Americans. These are men and women who risked their lives to protect our freedoms, and Operation Stand Down works to protect their quality of life. “The most important thing to recognize is just because combat operations end, that the casualties of the war continue to mount at home,” he PrimeTime | 23
A GLIMPSE OF RI’S PAST
PEOPLE AND PLACES
h i s t o r y w i t h T e r r y d ’a m ato S p e n c e r
Alva dares to be different To refer to Alva Smith Vanderbilt-Belmont as a remarkable woman would be as much of an understatement as referring to the Grand Canyon as having a pleasant panorama. Alva married two millionaires, ruled over mansions on 5th Avenue in New York and in Newport, and spent millions of dollars while setting the standards for high society in the Gilded Age. Along with many other accomplishments as a trendsetter, was her position as patroness for Richard Morris Hunt, the foremost architect of the very rich. Hunt owed much of his success to the James G. Bennett family who brought him from France to America. He was commissioned to design the New York Herald building. It was Alva Vanderbilt, however, who made him fashionable and he was soon in great demand. Much of this was accomplished when she persuaded her husband, William Kissam Vanderbilt, to commission Hunt to design and build the Marble House in 1892. Finest of Marble In addition to the beautiful white marble used on the exterior and on the ramp in the driveway, Alva’s Bellevue mansion contained a great deal of Numidian marble, the most expensive building stone in the world. It is reported that her husband, William K. Vanderbilt, had to have his own wharf and warehouse constructed in Newport in order to accommodate all the marble statuary and furniture for the mansion.
Within a few years after completing the Marble House, by 1894 Hunt had become so much in demand that he had 44 buildings going up at the same time. Among his most well known Newport accomplishments were Marble House, Ochre Court, Belcourt Castle and the Breakers. After Richard Morris Hunt died in 1896, Alva used Hunt’s son’s firm for many renovations and additions. Richard Hunt Jr. was the architect of her Tea House in 1912. The exclusive society For much of her lifetime Alva only associated with the very wealthy and leaders of society. It is said that in order to get an invitation for dinner at her Belcourt mansion, one had to be worth at least $3 million. In later years, however, Alva became a patron of the Women’s Suffrage movement and used her wealth to help in the cause for women’s rights. Both the Marble House and Belcourt Castle welcomed leaders of the movement in the 1920s. Alva’s dark side On the darker side, Alva meddled in and often destroyed the lives of those around her. She has been characterized as a perfectionist and a petty tyrant. Without doubt, she was a strong-willed woman and dominated both her husbands, William Kissam Vanderbilt and Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont. Alva also controlled her children with her iron will and her daughter Consuelo bore the brunt of Alva’s ambition. Alva manipulates Alva, not satisfied with her leading position in American society, wanted to penetrate the nobility of Europe. Her best friend was Consuelo Yznaga who had married into the English nobility and was a Duchess. Alva so admired her friend that she named her daughter after her and planned to have young Consuelo marry into nobility. Consuelo Vanderbilt, it is often said, was trained from the cradle to be a member of Europe’s nobility. For a number of years, Alva schemed to have Consuelo marry Charles Richard John Spencer Churchill, the ninth Duke of Marlborough. Neither Consuelo nor the Duke wanted the marriage. Consuelo, at age 16, had fallen in love with 29-year-old Winthrop Rutherford and wanted desperately to marry him. The Duke of Marlborough was in love with another and he too objected to the match. Alva, however, insisted and Consuelo’s huge dowry of 2 million pounds sterling, or 10 million American dollars, convinced the Churchill family of the wisdom of the marriage. Poor little rich girl When Consuelo refused to marry the Duke after threats and tears, Alva feigned a heart attack. Consuelo, who was thoroughly dominated by her mother and feared her mother’s health, relented. The couple was married on Nov. 6, 1895 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New York. Alva had the interior of the church decorated with thousands of flowers and hired a 60-piece orchestra to play for the guests. The wedding of the Duke and Consuelo took place shortly after Alva’s divorce from William K. Vanderbilt and because the Vanderbilt family openly criticized her, none of the Vanderbilt family, other than Consuelo’s father and brothers, was invited to the wedding. Unfortunately, Consuelo’s marriage was doomed from the start and was a very unhappy one. She hated her role in British society and yearned for New York and Newport society. After 11 years of misery, Consuelo and the Duke agreed to a separation in 1906 and to divorce in 1920. Later, Alva testified that she forced her daughter into marriage and the marriage was annulled. This was done primarily because Consuelo wanted to marry a French aviator who was Catholic and the church would not sanction a marriage with a divorced person but would recognize the annulment.
24 | PrimeTime
wHAT DO YOU FINK?
LI F EST Y LES
by MIKE FINK
The dovecote with a view He came to my class with a pair of quiet, snow-white, Biblical-looking birds. They perched peacefully above the blackboards. Now, that student, “Mateo” and his crew of college classmates here at RISD, have appointed me the faculty advisor to their senior project. They have built a small house, of wood and brick, concrete and shingles, plus a bay window, with all the fittings and alcoves required to keep the colony of “columba livia,” that is, pigeons, or, to make it sound fancier, doves. To keep them happy, but not too productive. “We will shake the eggs or use wooden ones as substitutes.” That’s what they promise. They don’t want to create an overwhelming community of tame, domesticated fowl, just a fine-feathered-friendly family of homing pigeons. To care for, to write about, to film, to study and to love. The school had some problems with
RISD student Mateo Ward (photo by Mike Fink) November 2012
their plan. Representatives of many departments met in the loft of a former church, now a classroom gallery and meeting chamber, to make the decision to permit or not to allow this club to come into official existence. “You have to take full responsibility, not only for this year, but into the future. To feed, to water, to clean up, to watch over these dependent creatures.” That sort of sums up the concerns of the committee. Some among them had, in fact, owned rooftop coops and were very much aware of the worries facing these young enthusiasts. “There are hawks that can spot a white bird once November has stripped the leaves from the trees. An opossum, a fisher cat - anything hungry and facing a long winter ahead - can wreak havoc!” Mateo, the instigator and initiator of this ambitious design project and proposal, made a case to justify the grandeur of the concept. “Pigeons are part of human history. They carried messages from Roman civilization through World Wars I and II, banded and bearing urgent telegrams, facing dangers and earning respect, gratitude and military honors. They thrive, despite their gentle and tame nature, in every city upon the planet. They are insulted as vermin, ‘flying rats,’ simply because they co-exist with our garbage, and yet they are admired by artists as symbols from the Bible to the palette of Picasso, of peace and quiet, of romance and of service.” I myself added a footnote, not so much scholarly as personal. “They are the only bird with warm feet. They are also barometers for the environment, the ecological home under the skies that we all share. Look at what happened to the passenger pigeon in the 19th century, rendered extinct by human greed and cruelty. Look at the dodo, annihilated by the restless spirit of our ships not so much of dis-
covery but of destruction, of the edens among the seven seas.” I do go on. Take a second look at those variegated, cooing, courting, not-quitewildfowl you can find anywhere, any day. They are purple and grey, white and black...but their scientific name “columba livia” claims that they have blue heads. “Livia” is the latin term for dark indigo. Yes, Gertrude Stein wrote, “Pigeons on the grass, alas!” But James Thurber poked fun at her pseudo-poem and claimed, “Pigeons have no power to create any emotion at all, not even if you tie red, white, and blue ribbons and let them go at November patriotic Armistice Day parades!” Finally, there are individual pet pigeons, the tiny ones called “diamond doves,” or the domesticated and adopted foster pigeons, about which or whom many lovely books have been
written, published and used in classes such as the one I will teach to Mateo in our independent course. There are even “autobiographies” of pigeons, composed by ghost-writers, who imagine the lives of pigeons produced by occasional marriages of the albino birds protected by humans, to their free cousins among the concrete buildings of town and city. I myself have a special affection for the mourning doves, for their subtle beige beauty, their melancholy music, their innate humility and their faithfulness to their mates. So I close with a Thanksgiving and Armistice salute of gratitude and of memory.
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b y catherine T erry taylor
d i re c to r , r i d e p a r t m e n t o f e l d e r l y a f f a i r s
Taking care of our caregivers Family caregivers don’t think of themselves as such; they’re husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, just doing their job: taking care of an older friend or relative, a child with special health care needs, or an adult with a disability, either fulltime, or in partnership with other family members or community supports. And yet, these family caregivers form the foundation of Rhode Island’s community-based system of long-term care. Each year, November is designated as National Family Caregiver Month. This observance serves not only to call attention to the millions of unpaid caregiver hours dedicated to loved ones of all ages, but also to increase awareness of the challenges faced by these everyday heroes. This year, Governor Chafee kicks off National Family Caregiver Month at a State House event on Nov. 1 at 2 p.m.
According to the National Family Caregivers Association, uncompensated care is valued at an estimated $375 billion per year. This is more than twice the $158 billion that is spent annually on combined nursing home care and home care services. The estimated cost of uncompensated care provided by Rhode Island family caregivers is $1 billion annually. This “free” care provided by family caregivers does not come without a price. The National Family Caregiver Association notes that: * Approximately 23 percent of caregivers report that their health is fair or poor. * Nearly 72 percent of family caregivers report that they do not go to the doctor as often as they should and 55 percent report that they have skipped doctor’s appointments for themselves. In addition, 63 percent say that they
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have poor eating habits and 58 percent indicate that caregiving has affected their efforts to exercise. * An estimated 40 to 70 percent of family caregivers report having symptoms of clinical depression. *Family caregiving also has a significant economic impact on both the caregiver and their employer. * Women who are caregivers are 2.5 times more likely to live in poverty than non-family caregivers, and they are five times more likely to be receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). * Caregiver families have a median income that is 15 percent lower than non-caregiver families. * Approximately 47 percent of caregivers reported that caregiving has caused them to use up most or all of their savings. * 66 percent of family caregivers state that they have had to make significant adjustments in their work life, from reporting late to giving up work entirely. * American businesses lose as much as $34 billion each year in productivity due to employees’ needs to care for loved ones age 50 and older. Just as airline passengers traveling with young children are instructed by the flight attendant, caregivers need to put their own oxygen mask on first in the case of emergency, or they’ll be unable to assist anyone else. I am pleased to report that there are many efforts underway in Rhode Island to make that “oxygen” available to family caregivers, in the form of respite services. Rhode Island receives approximately $750,000 each year from the National Family Caregiver Support Program under the Older Americans Act, so that community agencies can provide caregiver support and respite, both planned and emergency. Just recently, Congressman Jim Langevin announced that Rhode Island would receive an additional $250,000 under the Lifespan Respite Care Act to support families caring for aging or disabled loved ones. Partner agencies include the Parent Support Network, THE POINT and the Diocese of Providence, who will use the funding to support a sustainable system of Lifespan Respite services called Carebreaks Rhode Island. When family caregivers require a break, whether to meet another obligation or simply to rest, they
will be able to turn to Carebreaks to find a temporary place for their elderly or disabled relative to stay, or to have a respite provider – either volunteer or professional – come into their home to help. As always, I invite you to call THE POINT at 462-4444, TTY 462-4445 or the Division of Elderly Affairs at 462-3000, TTY 462-0740 to learn more about available caregiver supports and programs. The needs of family caregivers are being given further attention thanks to the National Alzheimer’s Plan, which was unveiled last May. Among the Plan’s initiatives is a new Alzheimer’s website at www.alzheimers.gov to provide families and caregivers with easy-to-understand information about dementia and where they can get help. Also in May, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed a resolution directing Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts, as chair of the Long Term Care Coordinating Council, and myself, as director of the Division Elderly Affairs, to convene a workgroup to develop a Rhode Island plan of action for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, due to the governor and the General Assembly by July 2013. We will make recommendations concerning caregiver support, and welcome any interested Rhode Islander to share their perspective on family caregiving to include in our recommendations. As we observe November as National Family Caregiver month, may I suggest that if you know a family caregiver, that you reach out and offer them a little break. Stop by for a cup of coffee and a chat, deliver a surprise dinner, or offer to sit with their parent or take their child to the park for an hour or two. The break will be priceless.
b y meg fraser
A voting force to be reckoned with Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis visits high schools each year to register teenagers to vote. It’s a growing portion of the electorate, especially considering programs targeting young people, like MTV’s Vote or Die campaign. But in Rhode Island, there is arguably no voter more important than a senior citizen. People age 65 and older represent the largest portion of the state’s active voter base, with 146,296 registered seniors almost double the amount of voters age 18 to 24. “Statistics show that seniors vote at a greater percentage than most other age categories. For example, in the 2010 General Election, over 1 out of every 4 voters was 65 years old or older,” said Mollis. The Secretary of State believes there are several reasons for this civic involvement, including an appreciation of the sacrifice made so that Americans can live in a free country. “I would say that it is a combination of it being a generation that has experienced and witnessed great sacrifice for us to have this right to vote,” he said, “And the fact that many of the issues facing our elected officials greatly affect the quality of life of those who are retired and on fixed incomes.” In this election in particular, senior
voters have reason to be concerned, as programs like Social Security and Medicare are at the center of the debate. AARP is a non-profit organization, and therefore does not endorse candidates, but in their annual voters guide, they have identified several areas of concern for seniors. Topping the list are inflation, taxes, retirement security and the affordability of health care. An AARP survey questioned 1,852 registered voters - the majority over the age of 50 - and found that 72 percent of non-retired Baby Boomers believe they will be forced to delay retirement. This survey compiles an “Anxiety Index” as well, which shows that non-retired 50to 64-year-olds scored 70 percent on the index. According to pollster Greg Strimple, quoted in an AARP article, these figures show seniors to be the most “politically and economically anxious voters.” Registering to vote is one thing; getting to the polls is another. Many Rhode Islanders now register when they get their license renewed, but might never set foot inside a polling place. If history repeats itself, the same is not true for seniors. In the November 2010 General Election, voters age 65 and older accounted for 26 percent of votes cast - followed by voters age 45 to 54 (24 percent) and
those age 55 to 64 (23 percent). Younger voters, by comparison, turned out in far fewer numbers. Voters age 18 to 24 represented a mere 4 percent of the voting base. That is impressive, considering the physical challenges facing seniors, but Mollis says the state bends over backwards to ensure that older Rhode Islanders can be a participant in democracy with relative ease. “Fortunately, there are many options available to those seniors who may have difficulty getting to the polls. In 2012, the General Assembly expanded the opportunity for those who wish to vote by mail by allowing no excuse absentee voting,” he said. Polling places are likewise equipped to meet the needs of voters of all physical ability levels. “Over the years, polling places have been required to be fully handicapped accessible. I experienced this first hand as Mayor of North Providence when we received accolades for our extensive work in making sure all of our polling places met these guidelines,” Mollis said. While seniors have traditionally represented the most significant voice in Rhode Island’s electorate, they have several new obstacles on their path to picking up a ballot. Chris Barnett, a
spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, reminds seniors that new requirements this year will change the process on Nov. 6. First, because of redistricting, which is conducted in conjunction with the United States Census, many cities and towns had to move their polling places and some voters have landed in a different location. “Seniors may find that the place they have voted at for the past 10 years is no longer a polling place,” Barnett said in an e-mail. These polling locations will also close at 8 p.m., one hour earlier than previous elections. Most importantly, seniors must remember that the state’s Voter ID requirement is in effect for the General Election. They will be asked to show identification when they vote at the polls, so they should come equipped with a driver’s license, state-issued ID or a Social Security card.
b y meg chevalier
10 reasons to become a tax volunteer The Internal Revenue Service is seeking community volunteers to provide free tax help to qualified individuals during the tax filing season. Managed by the IRS, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs are community-based partnerships that provide free tax return preparation for low- to moderate-income taxpayers, seniors, people with disabilities and those with limited English skills. If you are looking for a way to help in your community, then consider becoming a tax volunteer. People helping people: it’s that simple. Here are 10 things the IRS wants you to know about becoming a community volunteer for VITA or TCE. 1. No previous experience is required. Volunteers receive specialized training and, if tax preparation is not preferable, have the option of serving in a variety of other roles.
2. If you are fluent in a language other than English, you can help those who do not speak English understand their tax return. 3. IRS provides free tax law training and materials needed to prepare basic individual income tax returns. 4. Volunteers become familiar with deductions, allowable expenses and credits that benefit eligible taxpayers, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and the Credit for the Elderly. 5. The hours are flexible. Volunteers generally serve an average of three to four hours per week from mid-January through the tax filing deadline, which is April 15, 2013. 6. Volunteer sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations. 7. Most VITA/TCE sites offer free electronic filing for both federal and state tax returns. 8. As a tax volunteer, veterans and non-veterans alike
may choose to help military personnel and their families. 9. Volunteers will become part of an established program that has helped community members file tax returns at no charge for more than four decades. 10. You can make a difference as a tax volunteer. Last year, nearly 99,000 community volunteers answered the call and made a difference by preparing more than 3.3 million tax returns for free at 13,000 locations nationwide. In Rhode Island, 449 volunteers prepared 15,253 tax returns at 77 VITA/AARP sites this past filing season. Anyone can volunteer for this exciting, educational and enjoyable experience. Sign up to become a tax volunteer and see what a difference learning about taxes and helping others makes in your life. To become a VITA/TCE volunteer, call or email Meg Chevalier at 528-1856 or miguelina.y.chevalier@ irs.gov. PrimeTime | 27
In search of support Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island has several support groups that will be meeting throughout the month of November. The General Support Group meets the first and third Wednesday of the month from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., including on Nov. 7 and 21. The Loss of Parent Support Group, which meets in six week sessions, begins on Nov. 13 and meets on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The Loss of Spouse/Life Partner Support Group, also a six-week session, begins on Nov. 13 and meets on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The Step Beyond Support Group meets the second and fourth Wednesday of the month, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The Philip Hulitar Inpatient Center Caregiver Support Group meets weekly on Wednesdays from 1 to 2 p.m. The Coping with Grief During the Holidays group hosts informational sessions on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m., on Nov. 7 and Dec. 5. All of these groups meet at Home & Hospice Care’s office at 1085 North Main Street in Providence. For more information, call 415-4300 or visit www.hhcri.org.
Room 335 Showcase Cinema at Warwick Mall will hold a free documentary screening of “Andrew Jenks’ Room 335” on Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. This documentary film follows a 19-year-old college student who moves into an assisted living facility in Florida for one summer to participate in the same activities as the elderly residents. Seating is available for 250 people, and after the film, there will be a short question and answer and reflection session. This event is sponsored by Odyssey Hospice, Cremation Society of Rhode Island, Pinnacle Home Care and MedTech. RSVP to Odyssey Hospice at 738-1492. Long-term care planning The Rhode Island Volunteer Guardianship Program will host a free seminar, “Care planning in the long-term care setting,” on Friday, Nov. 9 at 10 a.m. The seminar will take place in the American Cancer Society’s offices at 931 Jefferson Boulevard, Suite 3004 in Warwick. The event is sponsored by the Rhode Island Department of Human
We’re looking for new members . . .
30th annual Foundry Artists Holiday Show From Nov. 29 though Dec. 9, visit the Pawtucket Armory Center for the Arts to peruse the work of local artists and craftspeople. Admission is free, and available times vary. For more information, visit www. foundryshow.com.
Services Division of Elderly Affairs and Cornerstone Adult Services, Inc. Reservations are required, and can be made by calling Patricia Vinci at 739-2844 ext. 36 or by email at email@example.com.
Style of the season Learn how to create a one-of-the-kind holiday wreath with horticulturist Kristen Green at the Blithewold Mansion. Sessions run from 10 a.m. to noon on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. $38 for members and $45 for non-members. Call 253-2707 or go to www.blithewold.org for details.
The beauty of the holidays The Museum of Newport History hosts Holiday Lantern Tours from Nov. 16 to Dec. 1, with tours starting at 4:30 p.m. Learn the history of 18th century holiday traditions on a lantern-lit stroll through Newport. Admission is $12 per person, or $10 for members of the Newport Historical Society. Reservations are strongly encouraged, as this tour often sells out. Call 841-8770 for more information.
Green is good The Hera Gallery will host “Design for Change: A Survey of Landscape Architecture in the Green Movement” through Nov. 24 at 10 High Street in Wakefield. This exhibit features sketches, drafts, models and photographs, and is curated by Emily Humphrey. For more information, call 789-1488 or visit heragallery.org.
Mariner Marketplace The Narragansett High School Parent Teacher Organization presents the second annual Mariner Marketplace on Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Artists and crafters will display their wares, and if last year is any indication, exhibit space will sell out. Narragansett High School is located at 245 South Pier Road in Narragansett. Call 792-9400 for more information.
An Inspector Calls Second Story Theatre will stage “An Inspector Calls” from Nov. 2 to Dec. 2 at their Bristol Statehouse stage, located at 240 High Street in Bristol. An investigation into the death of a working-class woman rocks a wealthy family in this performance. For tickets or more details, call 2474200 or visit www.2ndstorytheatre.com.
The Polar Express Get in the Christmas spirit with your grandkids and take a ride on the Polar Express. Trains depart twice each day from Nov. 18 through Dec. 22, and riders will hear a reading of “The Polar Express,” while they enjoy hot chocolate and cookies, a sing-along and a visit with Santa. Visit tourblackstone.com or call 724-2200 for times and details.
Shop for a cause On Nov. 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the MOMS Club of Chariho hosts “Tiny Miracles: Shop for a Cause,” an event to benefit the Women and Infants Hospital Carter Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Home-based businesses, vendors, crafts and food will be available for sale, and there will be raffles and children’s activities available. This event is free and open to the public, and will take place at Richmond Elementary School, located at 190 Kingstown Road in Richmond. Call 487-1052 or visit www.charihomoms.org for details.
Tea for Two Blithewold Mansion hosts afternoon tea from Nov. 23 to Dec. 28, at 1:30 p.m. or 3 p.m. Enjoy tea and desserts Tuesday through Friday. These events are not suitable for young children, and reservations can be made online at www.blithewold.org. Admission is $14 for members, $24 for adults, $23 for AAA members or $22 for seniors, military members or students.
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Holidays are tough for people with dementia Holidays are a time for family and togetherness and memories, but can also be a time filled with stress and sadness for a person with dementia and their caregiver. The person may feel a sense of loss because of the changes he or she is experiencing and the caregiver may feel overwhelmed by caregiving responsibilities, and hesitant to invite others over because of the behavior changes with their loved one.
Tips for making the holidays easier:
â€˘ Adjust expectations - do what you can reasonably and donâ€™t pressure yourself to follow holiday traditions. â€˘ Ask family/friends to bring a potluck meal. â€˘ Have food delivered from a local restaurant or grocery store, or hire a caterer. â€˘ Ask family/friends to host the meal at their home - you can leave if it becomes too loud or confusing for the person with dementia.
How the person with the disease can participate:
â€˘ Involve your loved one with safe activities like wrapping packages, hanging decorations, table setting, etc. â€˘ Focus on holiday activities that are meaningful like songs, reading scripture or favorite foods. â€˘ Ask clergy if they would like to hold a brief service in your home. â€˘ Try to maintain your loved oneâ€™s normal routine.
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Attend holiday events with your loved one:
â€˘ Prepare the host for special needs like a quiet room to rest, finger foods, soft music and address behaviors that might be uncomfortable. â€˘ Consider assigning someone to be with your loved one; this individual can cue the person as to who people are, provide assistance with eating and other activities, and support the person so he or she feels engaged. â€˘ Arrange respite services if your loved one is not able to participate in holiday events. If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss caregiving issues, call Program Director Marge Angilly for a consultation at 800-272-3900. About the Alzheimerâ€™s Association The Alzheimerâ€™s Association is the worldâ€™s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimerâ€™s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. The Alzheimerâ€™s Association Rhode Island Chapter is located at 245 Waterman Street, Suite 306, Providence, RI 02906. For more information, visit www.alz.org/ri or call 800-272-3900.
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b y kerry park
Tapping into VA benefits Financing issues regarding nursing home care is one of the most difficult areas to navigate for those going through the process of accessing care for themselves, a friend or family member. Generally, the conversation revolves around one of four options: private funds, long-term care insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. There is another option available, however, which may be available to current and retired members of the military. Depending on a veteran’s particular situation and need, they may be eligible to receive fully-funded care in a VA contract nursing home in Rhode Island, paid for by VA Health Care. Most Rhode Islanders are familiar with the Veterans Home in Bristol – the state-operated facility that provides skilled nursing care to veterans and some family members. Fewer realize though, that the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center (PVAMC)
currently contracts with seven nursing homes throughout the state in its Community Nursing Home Program. Through the program, eligible veterans may receive nursing home care in communities that are near their friends or families. So, while the Veterans Home in Bristol is an option for many veterans, it is not the only choice. Unlike the requirements of Medicaid, which funds long-term care once the bulk of a patient’s assets have been depleted, those eligible for care in a VA contract nursing home in Rhode Island using VA benefits to fund their care do not lose their pension, Social Security or savings. Hospitalization is also not mandatory prior to nursing home placement, as is required for Medicare and Medicaid eligibility. “One of the greatest benefits of VA eligibility is that some people can avoid out-of-pocket costs for care and medications altogether,” said Sandy Matos,
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30 | PrimeTime
2012 chair of the Rhode Island Health Care Association Financial Management Group and director of financial services at Orchard View Manor in East Providence. “Be prepared though, the key to accessing VA benefits for nursing home care is pre-authorization,” Matos continued. “If you are admitted to a hospital that is not the VA Hospital, contact your VA social worker immediately. It’s extremely important that patients inform the VA of what’s going on from the outset in order to get the authorizations needed to be eligible for VA longterm care benefits.” Veterans who have a service-connected injury or disability of 70 percent or higher and who have a VA primary care physician could be eligible for nursing home care benefits. Service-connected disabilities are current chronic disabilities diagnosed by a medical professional and determined by the VA to have been
caused or aggravated by military service. The actual percentage indicates the severity of the disability or disabilities. Planning ahead is important. Those whose conditions have been identified and treated by the VA before skilled care is needed will have an easier time and the best chance of success in the determination of nursing home benefit eligibility. If you would like information about nursing home care VA benefits through the Community Nursing Home Program and contracted facilities, contact your VA primary care provider at 457-3336.
Now through December 7.
It’s time to review your Medicare health and Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plans. Need help to make informed choices for 2013? Talk to a State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) counselor. To learn more about Medicare Open Enrollment events happening across the state, call the RI Division of Elderly Affairs at 401-462-3000 TTY 401-462-0740, or THE POINT at 401-462-4444 TTY 401-462-4445.
State of Rhode Island Department of Human Services
Division of Elderly Affairs This ad was produced, in whole or in part, through grants from the U.S. Administration on Aging and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
scenes from the expo
g n i v i Le x p o
P r i m e T i m e Ma g a z i ne
senior October 10, 2012 Warwick Mall, Warwick November 2012
Photos by Linda Nadeau
PrimeTime | 31
scenes from the expo
•Caring Companionship •Bathing & Dressing •Walking Assistance •Light Housekeeping •Meal Preparation & Cleanup •Medication Reminders •Alzheimer's & Dementia Care •Up to 24-hour Care
Call us: (401) 825-7200 Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org Online: seniorhelpers.com/warwick
32 | PrimeTime
Not valid with any other offer/discount
The Right Choice for Assisted Living on the East Side Unmatched in Service, Location and Value
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There are some decisions we make in life that have an undeniable impact on the way we spend our retirement years, whether we make these decisions when we are just starting out in the world, or when we have a lifetime of work behind us. These decisions involve how we invest our time and resources so that when we face the prospect of retirement, we can do so with peace of mind and financial security. No matter when we make these decisions – young or old – every option we have as mature adults rests on how and with whom we make them. This is why when you are setting your goals for retirement, you need the expertise and assistance of Bankers Life and Casualty Company to help secure the future you want, and so richly deserve. Bankers Life and Casualty Company is a company with over 130 years of success in delivering affordable solutions that address some retirees’ most pressing concerns, from the payment of healthcare expenses to the adequacy of their retirement income. With the goal of a secure retirement in mind, the insurance agents at this reputable company ask their customers to remember that it is never too early to start planning for their future – or too late. It is vastly more important to know the questions to ask than to know all the answers at once. This is when the expert and time-tested services of Bankers become so invaluable. Here, you can comfortably raise concerns about the rising costs of healthcare and about how to navigate your way through the often confusing maze of Medicare. You can ask, do I need life insurance, and do I have enough? Am I protected from life’s unforeseen times of trouble – unexpected hospitalizations, disability, and debilitating illnesses? Will I have enough should I need long-term care? What quality of life can I expect given my projected income, savings and expenses? The answers and solutions to these formidable questions can all be found at Bankers Life and Casualty Company. Bankers Life and Casualty Company offers a broad selection of affordable, quality health and life insurance products and annuities to its clients in every stage of life. An extraordinary feature of this company is its own impressive financial backing of $13 billion in assets ~ giving it an unmatched record of security and solvency in a fickle and uncertain market. This is a company that is conservative in its own investments because they put so much value on the life-earnings and trust of their customers. Customers here each have their own agent who takes the time to get to know their family, listen to their needs and values and who is dedicated to helping them meet their goals for a secure retirement. This is a company wherein its valued customers are treated with the respect and familiarity of family. Greg Gelineau, the Branch Sales Manager in Warwick, invites you to take your retirement decisions into your own hands and come meet with any one of the insurance agents to be found here. His motto is “it is not what we want, but what our customers need”. Let this long-time, highly esteemed company welcome you into retirement with confidence, assurance, and the hope of a fulfilling, welldeserved future. Bankers Life and Casualty Company Branch Sales Manager, can be reached at 401-732-5213. They Greg Gelineau, invites you are located at 275 West Natick Road in to Bankers Life and Casualty Warwick. Visit their website at http:// Company to help secure your providence.RI.bankers.com for more infinancial retirement goals. formation.
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Important Medicare Information Medicare is not designed to cover all Medical Expenses. Medicare Supplement Insurance can help cover deductibles, coinsurance, and other expenses that Medicare does not cover in full. For more information about: • Medicare deductibles • Medicare coinsurance • Medicare Part A • Medicare Part B • Medicare Supplement Insurance Please Call 732-5213 to discuss with a Licensed Insurance Agent Medicare Supplement Plans are underwritten by Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company, an affiliate of Bankers Life and Casualty Company. Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company, Bankers Life and Casualty Company and their licensed agents are not affiliated with or sponsored by the US Government or the Federal Medicare Program. Insurance Solicitation. CPL 04-B001
Caring, Kindness & Quality 4QBDJPVTPOFCFESPPNBQBSUNFOUTr4IBSFETUVEJPBQBSUNFOUTr3FTQJUF4VJUFT Call for details or arrange for a tour... we would love to meet you! t Ask abou n m our Autu es Incentiv
our respite suites are awaiting your arrival!
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A non-profit organization A CareLink Member
PrimeTime | 33
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34 | PrimeTime
CLUES ACROSS 1. Forbidden (var. sp.) 5. Strike a heavy blow 9. Guy (slang) 12. Tel __, Israel 13. The superior of an abbey 15. Swiss river 16. South American nation 17. Span. town Aranda de ___ 18. Yellow’s complement 19. Sun in Spanish 20. Sharp slaps 22. Cash dispensing machine 25. Persistently annoying person 26. Japanese rolls 28. The woman 29. Fiddler crabs 32. Buddy 33. Majuscule 35. Lake in Oklahoma 36. Airborne (abbr.) 37. Physician’s moniker (abbr.) 38. Lincoln’s state 39. Doctors’ group 40. By way of 41. Coated with tobacco residue 44. Collect information 45. Smallest whole number 46. Honey (abbr.) 47. Luggage containers 49. Nine banded armadillo 50. Malaysian isthmus 51. Very heavy hammer 54. Cry made by sheep 57. Gorse genus 58. Chilean pianist Claudio 62. Table supports 64. Insect feeler 65. Pointed fork part 66. Periods of time 67. Harvard’s league 68. Affirmative! (slang) 69. An open skin infection
CLUES DOWN 1. Draw beer 2. Bird class 3. Ballpoint pen 4. Soft palate extensions 5. Not good 6. __ Dhabi, Arabian capital 7. One point E of due S 8. Old fashioned upholstery fabric 9. Stop short 10. Large extinct European wild ox 11. Important pollinator 14. Magnum P.I. star 15. Basic 21. Indicates position 23. 4th day (abbr.) 24. Underground phrase 25. 23rd Greek letter 26. Live polio vaccine developer 27. Forearm bones 29. An edict of the Russian tsar 30. Tent places 31. Not home 32. Peafowl genus 34. Bog berry 42. A shag rug made in Sweden 43. ___ Constitution Hall 48. Soft black furs 49. Atomic #46 51. Defense to the QueenÕs gambit 52. Dutch painter Peter 1618-1680 53. UK rock band 55. About aviation 56. Used as a culture medium 57. IntÕl. news organization 59. Fish eggs 60. Tennis star Ivanovic 61. Exclamation: yuck! 63. Point midway between S and SE
PrimeTime | 35
Thanksgiving Day Dishes Turkey and stuffing are Thanksgiving Day must-haves, but not everyone makes them the same way. When it comes to stuffing, where you live might make a difference in how you make it. According to a new survey by Mrs. Cubbison’s Kitchen in Los Angeles, celery and onions top the ingredients list, then regional differences come into play: • People in the Northeast and West are more likely to add carrots and sausage. • 70 percent of people in the South and 60 percent of people in the Northeast said they like to cook stuffing in a casserole dish. • 58 percent of people in the West and 45 percent of people in the Midwest said they prefer to cook it in the bird. While traditional Thanksgiving dishes are preferred in most regions, about one in five families say they now consider special diets when preparing their menu including gluten-free, vegetarian, diabetic and kosher options: • Gluten-free and vegetarian choices are popular in the West. • The South and Midwest offer items for those who are diabetic. • The Northeast and South offer lactose-free and kosher dishes. The survey also found that when asked which Thanksgiving dishes are handed down from previous family generations, “stuffing” was by far the most important. But the term for this dish differed depending on locale - Southerners refer to the dish as “dressing,” while people in the East, Midwest and West say “stuffing.” No matter where you live, you can ensure big flavor at your holiday table when you use family-favorite recipes like these. Get more Thanksgiving recipes at www. thanksgivingtips.com.
Cranberry Sausage Classic Dressing Servings: 10 | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 50 minutes
1 1/2 1/4 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1/2
pounds pork sausage, crumbled cup butter, unsalted cup celery, chopped cup onion, chopped teaspoons garlic cloves, chopped 6-ounce packages of Seasoned Dressing cup walnuts cup cranberries, dried sweet each Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, chopped 1/2-inch tablespoon sage, fresh, chopped cups chicken broth
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Stir in butter, celery, onion and garlic; sauté until translucent.
Corn Bread Stuffing 1 1 1 1 1/2 1
cup butter (2 sticks) cup onion, chopped cup celery, chopped to 2 cups liquid or broth* box Seasoned Corn Bread Stuffing
Oven Casserole Directions
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large saucepan, melt butter on medium heat, sauté vegetables until translucent. Combine stuffing mix; stir in liquid* gradually and blend lightly. Place stuffing in greased casserole dish, cover and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover last 15 minutes for crisper top.
In a large mixing bowl, combine dressing, prepared sausage and vegetable mixture, walnuts, cranberries, apple, sage and chicken broth. Transfer mixture to medium buttered baking dish. Bake covered in preheated oven 30 minutes; uncover and bake additional 20 minutes until lightly browned.
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes
In large saucepan, melt butter on medium heat, sauté vegetables until translucent. Stir in liquid* gradually and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 3 minutes. Turn off heat, add dressing mix and blend lightly. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve. *Use more liquid for moister stuffing, less for drier.
36 | PrimeTime
by DON FOWLER
November Highlights Senior-friendly arts at Rhode Island College Attention seniors: go back to college! Rhode Island College, that is. Your state college not only offers outstanding educational courses in music, theatre and all aspects of the arts, it is also a hotbed of entertainment opportunities. Whether it is a student performance, a faculty concert, or a world-renowned artist, RIC is one of the finest venues for the performing arts in the state. And their prices for seniors make it accessible to everyone. The recent performance of “Ballet Folklorico de Mexico” sold out Roberts Hall. At $35 a ticket, it was the same show that went for more than twice the ticket cost at Boston’s Wang Theatre.
The late East Side businessman and philanthropist Aaron Roitman brought the prestigious Muir String Quartet of Boston to RIC many years ago, and they continue to delight audiences with their chamber music concerts at the acoustically perfect Sapinsley Hall in the Nazarian Center. Their next concert is Monday, Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35, and there’s not a bad seat in the house. Members of the U.S. Air Force Band of Liberty, with faculty member and renowned pianist Judith Stillman, will perform a free concert at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 7, from 1 to 2 p.m. at Sapinsley Hall. The concert is part of the Wednesday Masterworks Series that attracts many senior groups, assisted living centers and music lovers to the campus. If your home or senior center is not including this series in their activity schedule, speak to your activity director. The U.S. Air Force Band will also appear that evening, with free admission and a $10 suggested donation. The RIC Chamber Orchestra and Small Ensembles, John Sumerlin conducting, will give a free concert at Sapinsley on Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. The RIC Wind Ensemble will perform on Friday, Nov. 30 in the Auditorium at Roberts Hall. General Admission is $10. The Shaolin Warriors return to RIC with their fully choreographed theatrical production, showing their remarkable martial arts skills, stunning movements and spectacular Kung Fu. They are at Roberts Hall Auditorium on Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $35.
Arts continue in December December begins with the talented RIC Symphony Orchestra performing in Roberts Hall Auditorium at 8 p.m. on Dec. 3. General Admission is $10. The Cassett String Quartet will present a special program, “Bravo Bohemia!” with Judith Stillman on piano on Dec. 5 at 1 p.m., as part of the free Wednesday Masterworks Series, and then again at 7:30 p.m. at Sapinsley Hall. The RIC Winter Choral Concert features the RIC Chorus, Chamber Singers, Women’s Chorus and Men’s Chorus on Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. in Sapinsley Hall. General Admission is $10. Natalie MacMaster is the greatest fiddle player, by far, that I have ever heard. I saw her when she was a teenager performing at the Cajun and Bluegrass Festival in Escoheag. The Canadian musician sells out wherever she performs, and is being brought back on Sunday, Dec. 9, after last year’s stunning performance. This is one not to miss. Reserved tickets at Roberts Auditorium are $35. The RIC Concert Jazz Band Winter Concert closes out this year’s programs on Dec. 10 in Sapinsley Hall at 8 p.m. General Admission is $10. RIC has a fabulous staff of jazz artists, including world-renowned saxophonist Greg Abate.
PrimeTime | 37
CLASSIFIEDS MISCELLANEOUS For Sale 16 ft. canoe, with oar, $550. Seahawk inflatable dinghy, with paddles, $450. Call 884-8696.
Independent & Assisted Living
Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care 20 AuStIN AveNue GReeNvILLe
Place your classified ad in the next edition of PrimeTime! Contact Sue Howarth 401-73203100 email@example.com
A night of history At the Colony House in Newport, LaShonda Barnett will discuss the contributions of African American and Cape Verdean seamen and the impact of race on Rhode Island’s maritime culture in an educational presentation on Nov. 15 at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $5, or $1 for Newport Historical Society Members. The Colony House is located in Washington Square. To RSVP, call 841-8770. Bonjour! The French American School of Rhode Island will host their 19th annual Beaujolais Festival fundraiser on Nov. 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence. Enjoy live entertainment, wine, hors d’oeuvres, can can dancers and a live and silent auction. Tickets are $75, and proceeds will benefit the school’s students. For more information, visit www. beaufestri.com or call 274-3325.
Falling for dance Fusionworks Dance Company puts on its 25th anniversary fall concerts on Nov. 16 and 17 at Rhode Island College’s Sapinsley Hall. Admission is $25, and guests will enjoy an array of choreography courtesy of Artistic Director Deb Meunier. Sapinsley Hall is located at 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue in Providence. Call 456-8144 or visit www.ric.edu/pfa/orderinfo.php to purchase tickets.
to the editor
Would you, could you? By William K. Harter There are times I feel alone Are these feelings you have known? Would you, could you help explore them? Want you, need you help me through them Help me get them overthrown! Would you, could you, be my friend? Stay with me, yes, to the end Life seems long, but friendships shorter Friendships blossom, later flounder Help me, then, to comprehend Would you, could you, hold my hand? It would make me feel just grand! Times I need a person like you Feeling, sharing, like you seem to You just seem to understand!
PrimeTime values the opinions of its readers and wants your feedback -positive and negative. Whether you want to drop a line of thanks to one of our writers or you disagree with something in the magazine, we want to hear from you. Letters, comments or questions can be sent directly to the editor at MegF@rhodybeat.com or by mail to 1944 Warwick Avenue, Warwick, RI, 02889 I look forward to talking to you soon! Meg Fraser
Would you, could you, hug me tight? Hold me close, with all your might? Hold me tender, show concern, too And be someone I can turn to, Understand my fears and friend. Would you, could you, show me care? Help to keep me from despair? Share my joy and share my sorrow, Yesterday, today, tomorrow, It would help if you’d be there. Would you, could you, let me cry? Seems I sometimes just run dry. Hurts I feel so very tender, Feels I’m mixed up in a blender Would you be there, just stand by? Would you, could you, walk with me? Comfort, chide, or let me be? Share a brook; enjoy the roses, Walk life’s highway; rub our noses You would help me, don’t you see? Would you, could you, keep in touch? Let me hold you, hug you much, Share my longings, thoughts, my tears, too See my heartaches, joys and fears through Want you, need you very much
First of many Aram Garabedian, managing partner of the Warwick Mall was honored with the first presentation of an award by the mayor’s Advisory Commission on Disabilities for his efforts to make the mall accessible to people with disabilities. In accepting the award, Garabedian said his mother instilled in him the desire to help others. And he added, “While I’m 77, I feel about 40.” The award coincided with the Senior Living Expo at the mall. In addition to nomination for an award, Seltzer said the commission is also looking for new members. She urged those with a nomination or seeking additional information about the commission to contact her at 468-4103. Here, Garabedian is pictured with Mayor Scott Avedisian, who made the presentation, and commission members. (PrimeTime photo) 38 | PrimeTime
CORRECTION In our September issue of PrimeTime, Mount Saint Rita was left off our list of long-term care facilities. Mount Saint Rita is a Health Center located in Cumberland, R.I. Consisting of 98 beds, they accept Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Chip, Blue Cross and Tufts. They offer respite care and hospice care. For more information, go to www.mountstrita.org or contact Stephanie Igoe at 333-6352.
RAY PETERSON at the Senior LIving Expo (PHOTO BY LINDA NADEAU)
y o k u n ! a th
PrimeTime Magazine wishes to thank our EXHIBITORS & SPONSORS, for participating in the Senior Living Expo at the Warwick Mall
PrimeTime | 39
EAST BAY RETIREMENT LIVING (IL, PAL)
1440 Wampanoag Trail East Providence, RI 02915
EMERALD BAY RETIREMENT LIVING (IL, PAL, R/SN) 10 Old Diamond Hill Road Cumberland, RI 02864
1-888-815-1201 GREENWICH BAY RETIREMENT LIVING (IL, PAL, A/D) 945 Main Street East Greenwich, RI 02818
1-888-451-2269 NEW ENGLAND BAY RETIREMENT LIVING (PAL, A/D) 600 Centre of New England Boulevard Coventry, RI 02816
1-866-995-7269 NORTH BAY RETIREMENT LIVING (IL, PAL, A/D, R/SN) 171 Pleasant View Avenue Smithfield, RI 02917
1-888-474-0609 POCASSET BAY RETIREMENT LIVING a Brookdale® managed community
(IL, PAL) 12 Old Pocasset Lane Johnston, RI 02919
Life is a gift at every age when you find a place that enhances your lifestyle today and meets your needs tomorrow. Brookdale Senior Living
communities offer a variety of lifestyles – and as a Brookdale® resident you will always have priority access to multiple lifestyle and care options, even when your needs change.
Whatever your lifestyle or needs, there’s a Brookdale Senior Living® community for you. Call or visit one today.
SAKONNET BAY RETIREMENT LIVING (IL, PAL, A/D, R/SN) 1215 Main Road Tiverton, RI 02878
1-888-905-9964 SOUTH BAY RETIREMENT LIVING (IL, PAL, R/SN) 1959 Kingstown Road South Kingstown, RI 02879
1-866-705-9213 WEST BAY RETIREMENT LIVING (IL, PAL, A/D) 2783 West Shore Road Warwick, RI 02889
Your story continues here... 40 | PrimeTime
IL - Independent Living PAL - Personalized Assisted Living2012 November A/D - Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care R/SN - Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing