Enriched Senior Living autumn 2010
What is polypharmacy?
Taking control of your medication
Stay on your feet practical advice for fall prevention
How a creative outlet can benefit body, mind and soul
A Publication of Spectrum Retirement Communities, LLC
Spectrum Retirement Communities offers flexible, affordable month-to-month rental programs, enabling residents to enjoy the luxury they desire without a prohibitive financial commitment or buy-in fee. Lifestyle options include independent, retirement living, assisted living, and memory care. Spectrum Retirement Communities has multiple locations in nine states across the country. To learn more or find a community near you, call 800-686-8465 or visit us online at www.spectrumretirement.com.
John Sevo managing director
Jeff Kraus managing director
Kathleen MacDonald editor and vice President of Marketing
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Lindsay Hayes creative DIRECTOR
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Kenneth Glassman, MD Mark Malyak, MD Timothy Gensler, MD Ryan Antolini, MD Stephen Murphy, MD
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Welcome to Spectrum On behalf of all of us at Spectrum Retirement Communities, we are proud to offer you this complimentary issue of our Enriched Senior Living magazine. This issue focuses on creativity, and how incorporating creativity into our daily routine can help us grow and live a happier and healthier life. Inside, we feature several Spectrum residents, highlighting their personal stories and creative pursuits. One resident in particular, at our Lakeview Senior Living community in Lakewood, Colorado, is overflowing with creativity and has enjoyed decades of success as an artist. Through stories such as his, we examine the health benefits of creative expression and much more.
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We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you. We also hope that you learn new information about the everchanging world of senior living and wellness. John Sevo and Jeff Kraus Managing Directors Spectrum Retirement Communities, LLC
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In high school we looked forward to being a SenIor...some things shouldn’t change. • Conductorcise Fitness Program • Hollywood Legends Lecture Series • Great Destinations Travel Series • HUGS Good Will Program
• Arabesque Ballet Fitness Program • BrainFitness Classes • World Events Weekly Round Table Discussions • Broadway Theatre Appreciation Series
Visit a Spectrum Community today and be a part of what’s happening. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you!
05 06 08 12 14 15
Enriched Daily Living Supporting an active and engaged lifestyle
Creative Expressions How an artistic outlet promotes health and healing
a life on canvas Renowned artist Milton Meyer captures a lifetime in paint
a day in the life An inside look at the Spectrum family
more than a vacation Lauren Vogl takes her vocation on vacation
the centenarian's club Three members reflect on the golden age
the pharmaceutical cascade Taking control of your medication
the fall factor Practical tips for staying on your feet
life lessons from a caregiver Supporting a loved one with dementia
share the season Time is the greatest gift you can give
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memories in the making Revolutionary new therapeutic art program coming soon
the family is growing Breaking ground on a new community
when to move How do you know when it's time for a change?
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Enriched Daily Living What does the perfect retirement community look like to you? Lifestyle is the single most important factor when it comes to finding the perfect retirement community for By Kim Goodwin you or a family member. What lifestyle does the community promote? What amenities do they offer and how do they keep residents active and engaged? At Spectrum, we emphasize an energetic and creative lifestyle by offering a multitude of amenities and activities all designed to enrich life for residents around the country. From state-of-the-art fitness centers and entertaining classes to diverse events and cultural outings, Spectrum takes a proactive approach to every individual’s happiness.
Community activities are designed to engage residents, to inspire their youthful side and to keep them feeling good. Every Day is Unique Our fitness centers and classes emphasize allaround wellness. Technogym — the equipment found in the majority of Spectrum fitness centers — is easy to use, making it enjoyable for residents to get their exercise close to home. Classes such as Arabesque and Conductorcise encourage people to share a laugh with friends while staying fit. And, because it feels good to look good, most communities have a full-service beauty salon and day spa located right in their building. In the resource library, residents can use computers to view the day’s planned activities or stay in touch with family on e-mail or Skype. They can express themselves creatively by painting in the art room and even learn to cook in a gourmet demonstration kitchen.
In addition to these regular amenities, community activity directors provide residents with daily event programming that helps individuals socialize, move, express their creativity and just plain enjoy themselves. Imagine a ballroom dance competition, a brain fitness class or a Hollywood Legends lecture series. Community activities are designed to engage residents, to inspire their youthful side and to keep them feeling good. In addition to countless activities, residents have the luxury of Spectrum’s unique At Your Service concierge program. By simply picking up the phone or stopping by the front desk, residents can set up reminder calls, get restaurant recommendations, have prescriptions picked up … even get their next vacation planned! At Spectrum Retirement Communities, individual happiness is the top priority. We encourage people to continue growing and learning with the myriad amenities and activities provided. Each community plays an active role in helping its residents live a more fulfilled life — everyday. SM
Kim Goodwin is the Sales and Marketing Coordinator for Spectrum Retirement Communities.
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LIFE S T YLE
Creative Expressions An artistic outlet provides healing benefits for both mind and body
We all possess the wonderful gift of creativity. It allows us to utilize our innovative and original thinking to transform our thoughts into something beautiful to share. A wonderful trend is taking shape regarding opportunities for creative outlets and programs, as we better understand By Peggy Connelly lifelong learning and healthy self-expression. New research indicates that creative expression in later years not only improves healthy brain function and overall quality of life, but may actually forestall certain issues associated with memory loss. During the past decade, we have witnessed an exciting and marked change in how society views creativity. Looking back, contemporary wisdom didn’t necessarily associate creativity with older people. Today, however, we not only value individual creativity but we appreciate the positive changes associated
with creative aging — not despite it! The process of aging is a profound experience marked by increasing physical and emotional change and a heightened search for meaning and purpose. The arts can serve as a powerful way to engage persons in a creative and healing process of selfexpression, enabling them to create work that honors life experiences, according to the National Center for Creative Aging. The creative spirit moves untold numbers of us largely due to its emotional reward. Whether it is a public performance or something more personal — even down to successfully following a new recipe — there is satisfaction. “For some people, embracing creativity comes later in life, but for others who have more time in retirement, it is a renewed endeavor,” says Dr. Gene Cohen from the Center on Aging, Health & Humanities at George Washington University.
The arts can serve as a powerful way to engage persons in a creative and healing process of selfexpression.
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It is wonderful to see the continuum of creative programs offered within our communities. Ideas for developing creative expression that nurture mind, body and spirit create exciting and endless opportunities for all to enjoy… and then, there’s the applause! Peggy Connelly is the Vice President of Programs & Dementia Services for Spectrum Retirement Communities.
A Frozen Foxhole One time sad poet had a frozen foxhole Down in the dirt like a furry mole. In the Seigfreid Line at three degrees All water and food and spirits did freeze. Just yards from German bunkers and cruel barbed wire
Recent research demonstrates that artistic self-expression as we age:
Rifle shots from snipers they never did tire.
Improves healthy brain function Enhances overall quality in life May forestall memory loss
Cattle touch that, they had terrible harm.
Same four barb wire Dad had on the farm Many 88 shells he saw every day. Foxhole religion showed him the the way.
a creative release
Poet dreamed Mama Zoe up in night sky Had to bite hard to keep from little cry. Old men and boys lay out there dead. Sometimes more just lay and bled. Now in that cruel wind you’re nearly frozen Wish you were one of the Lord’s chosen. Now you fire at anything come what may Pray to Jesus you see light of day. Finally, one day no place to fire
reative expression is helping one Ocean Ridge resident cope with difficult memories from his experience in World War II. Quentin Church began writing humorous poetry and the staff encouraged him to take it one step further. Now, Church’s poetry serves as an outlet to help him cope with nightmares about his time at war. It is a great example of the healing and social benefits of creative expression.
To pray for gone buddies poet never tire. Ocean Ridge nice place, many reasons why Happy until big trip to live in the sky. Now this poet had story to tell Living thru that was a trip to hell. -Poet Church
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LIFE S T YLE
A Life On Canvas
Meet celebrated artist and Spectrum resident Milton Meyer How does a lifetime look on canvas? How does memory present in pastel? Can you relive a world of experience in strokes of color and shades of light? There is something remarkable about the creative spirit and one’s ability to capture and release what he sees and feels around him. It’s an intangible sensation, this grasp of fleeting time and the ability to recreate the moment passed in an everlasting portrait. It’s an innate ability, a unique gift. Just ask Milton Meyer.
A resident at Lakeview Senior Living in Lakewood, Colorado, Milton Meyer started painting avocationally in the 1950s. After serving as a paratrooper in both the Pacific arena of World War II and The Korean War, Meyer was living in New York City with his wife Mary, pursuing a graduate degree at NYU. “For Christmas that year she gave me a starter set of oils with the theory that if I didn’t show some interest she would try it,” he says. “And I just started painting.” Meyer, now 88, was on the front end of a long and successful career as a tax attorney at that time in life. After law school, he migrated to Denver to co-found the law firm of Hindry and Meyer, specializing in tax law and estate Story and photos by Brendan Harrington planning. Over 23 years, the company grew to more than 60 employees, including 28 attorneys. He continued to practice law for six years after disbanding his firm, but maintained a hobby interest in art the entire time. “I painted two or three oil paintings a year during the 30-odd years that I practiced law,” Meyer recalls. “Then, when I retired in 1983, I switched to pastels and have been at it since, professionally.” Again, his wife Mary inspired the change. “She signed me up for a course with a renowned pastelist in Sun Valley,” he says. Meyer took to the new medium, and launched into his next successful career as an artist, 27 years ago. 8
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Body of Work Since that time, Meyer has traveled the globe exploring distant reaches of our world and capturing his experiences in pastel. He travels with his camera, photographing scenes that inspire him and later translating those images onto canvas. His artwork is very realistic, portrayed with exacting detail that recalls the frozen moment precisely. He describes his work as “almost slavishly representational.” “I’m very literal,” he says. “And that comes from being a tax lawyer ... I never switched sides of the brain.” The type of detail Meyer achieves in his painting is very difficult with pastels. He uses special pencil-type tools to apply that precision atop the broader strokes, and this attention is what gives Meyer’s work its unique appeal. The level of detail brings his art to life in a realistic fashion rarely seen in the medium. It puts the viewer in the scene, sharing the experience in a very real way.
“No training at all,” he states. “Just color books and Crayolas and I stayed within the lines.”
Over the years, Meyer has developed an extensive body of work that essentially catalogs his lifetime experiences. “I traveled all over the world,” he says. “With a few exceptions … I have not been to Australia. And I have never been to India, but that’s about it.” Before her death in December 1999 — just past their 50th wedding anniversary — his wife Mary was with him every step of the way. He credits her for inspiring his artistic spirit and career since day one. In his early 80s, Meyer remarried and continued his journeyman life for another seven years. “In the short time I’ve known my present wife Holly, we’ve been to China, Italy, Thailand, Japan, the Maritime Provinces in Canada, and up the Amazon River 1,000 miles,” he states nonchalantly as though this type of adventure is commonplace for a newly married couple their age.
Among his travels, he has amassed stacks of photos through which he will occasionally thumb to choose his next painting. His latest, a scene from California, near Pebble Beach, is his 270th pastel. “I have them all in a book, keep a log of them,” he says. “This particular photo is from over four years ago and I’ve painted it before. I love it so much, I did it again.” Meyer’s artwork is very time intensive, and he will spend six weeks or more on a single piece. “When I was really working at it full time, I did about 12 a year, maybe 14. Now I’m closer to eight,” he explains. “But I love to see it develop, I don’t care about the time it takes.” The quality of his work is especially impressive considering he never had any formal training, beyond two brief workshops decades ago. Meyer is completely self-taught, which attests to his innate artistic ability and dedication to the work.
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LIFE S T YLE
“No training at all,” he states. “Just color books and Crayolas and I stayed within the lines.”
The Lakeview Studio The Meyers moved into their apartment at the Lakeview Comunity in April 2010. Because he needed a studio where he could continue to work, they acquired two apartments next door to each other on the third floor. They live in one and turned the other into his art studio, where an easel and piles of pastels await his creative touch. He displays his artwork downstairs occasionally so people can see it and he appreciates the opportunity to do so. Meyer’s work has appeared in galleries across the United States, from coast to coast. His paintings hang in private homes and corporations around the world. “I have a record of where all my work goes,” he says. “I have several in Europe, a couple in Asia, in Japan … Canada. Japan Airlines bought two of my paintings from a gallery in Indiana. Northwestern Mutual Life bought one. I’ve done a lot See Milton Meyer’s of African animal paintartwork online at ings, six are hanging in the www.miltonmeyer.com Denver Zoo.” Meyer also loves to write, and does so frequently. He has been journaling and recording life experiences in a memoir he titles “Things I Have Seen, Done, and Otherwise Experienced in My Long Lifetime.” “It’s up to 26 pages,” he says with a laugh.
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He appreciates the health benefits of creative expression and encourages his peers to express themselves through journaling. He has witnessed firsthand how the creative release can help people his age. It makes them smile more, he says. “We are at a time of life when we are looking backward more than forward.” Meyer also loves to read and has an extensive collection of books, even after donating 500 to the Lakeview Community library. Books line the shelves of his studio: art books about Matisse, Velazquez, Cezanne, Van Gogh; museum collections from Cairo, Ufizi, Florence, the Prado. But most impressive are his personal scrapbooks
and photo albums, one after the other, lining the walls. The labels on the spine read Guatemala, Hawaii, Ireland, Bavaria, Botswana, South Africa, Rhine, Alaska, Spain, England, Israel, Yugoslavia ... on and on. They are a collection of memories, a lifetime of experiences stored in albums upon which he can reflect and translate to art for the world to see. And Meyer even has his own hardcover book, self-titled and published in 2000, a collection of his paintings, alongside photos from his travels. “It is a memorial to Mary,” he reflects. “She was with me on all my trips and was really responsible for me being an artist.”
Although he never received formal training, Milton Meyer is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America, the Pastel Society of the West Coast (with the designation as a Distinguished Pastelist), and Knickerbocker Artists. He is an artist member of the Salmaguni Club in New York, and is a Founding Director and member of Masters Circle in the International Association of Pastel Societies. Most of his work is also now available in giclee print form.
A Lifetime on Canvas Milton Meyer is a remarkable and accomplished artist who has developed an impressive collection of beautiful work over the years. But it is more than painting. It represents a life well lived, real memories and journeys taken. It is an artistic record of a magnificent human experience shared among loved Desolation in the Caha Mountains–County Kerry, Ireland ones, now shared with the world. Meyer himself is surprised by the prolific body of work he has created. “I am very pleased that I’ve been able to see so Milton Meyer had an art studio in the many places and been able to reduce a number basement of his Denver home. When he of them to a painting that I take pride in and to and his wife moved into the Spectrum be able to put together a number of them into a Community, they acquired two aparthard bound book. It is quite satisfying,” he says. ments on the third floor. They converted “So many of the places I’ve been and have one into Meyer’s art studio where enjoyed are all sort of memorialized in a painting here and there. They all work together. They jog he continues to paint and pursue his my memory and remind me of how fortunate successful art career. I’ve been in my long lifetime.”
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LIFE S T YLE
A Day in the Life Everyday, in Spectrum communities around the country, people are getting together, getting out, and having fun. Here, we share some of the daily events and exciting excursions that make up a day in the life of the Spectrum family.
Out of this world! Party honors resident NASA retirees
n August 20, 2010 the Gardens at Westlake, in Westlake Ohio, was transported to an event in a galaxy far, far away. The event was a “Journey Through the Stars,” with the stars being the more than 50 retired guests for a NASA Reunion. The Gardens at Westlake boasts more than a half dozen retirees from NASA and, as a group, The By Jason Stitt Gardens decided to honor them and their closest retired NASA friends. With help from Infinity Home Health Services as co-sponsor, the night was a “high-flying” affair.
“This NASA group sure knows how to party. They could go all night!” It was an evening to remember for the NASA retirees, many of whom had not seen these friends for quite some time. It was an opportunity to reminisce and socialize, but also a time to make new friends, regale in wonderful NASA stories and dance the night away. There was even a red carpet entry with photo-snapping paparazzi and entertainment by John Kowalski, local keyboardist. A large ice sculpture replica of the space shuttle was the centerpiece of a wonderful buffet. Overflowing with shrimp, the ice sculpture was definitely a highlight of the evening.
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As the evening wound down, NASA retiree and Gardens at Westlake resident Lou Chelko marveled that, “This NASA group sure knows how to party. They could go all night!” Indeed, partygoers were still chatting, singing, dancing, and having a grand time as cleanup crews began their work. It was a wonderful evening and a great opportunity to say “thank you” to all the NASA retirees for their service and dedication to the space program and to their country. We all had an “out-of-this-world” time!
The NASA Crew Gardens at Westlake residents who served with the space agency: Lou and Myrna Chelko Bill Cleber Les Corrington Ellen Kinney Jim Loeser Bernard and Dorothy Sather
In loving memory of Myrna Chelko
maple heights olympians win big
rom August 2 to 6, 2010, the seniors of the Michigan area known as Downriver (down the river from Detroit) took part in multiple heated competitions in the 25th Annual Downriver Senior Olympics. Seventeen residents from Maple Heights Retirement Community in By Angela Henderson Allen Park joined in the festivities, competing in events from shuffleboard to ballroom dance. They made their community proud by bringing home four medals! The fun-filled week ended with a delicious banquet at Crystal Gardens in Southgate, Mich. There, the participants rubbed elbows with city and state officials including Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano and Allen Park Mayor Gary Burtka. Congratulations to all our Senior Olympians at Maple Heights!
Residents (L to R) Agnes Cameron, Florence Steel and Lea Berta prepare for the Fun Walk at the Senior Olympics Opening Ceremony
The Maple Heights medalists are: Robert Chappell Silver Medal Darts
John Nasea Bronze Medal Cookie Baking
Dorothy Flanagan Silver Medal Euchre
Florence Steel Bronze Medal Ring Toss
keeping fitness fun Introducing the Pine Ridge Exercise Club
Allen Park Mayor Gary Burtka (far right) congratulates medalists (L to R) Dorothy Flanagan, Florence Steel, John Nasea and Robert Chappell.
xercise is important for everyone, but it becomes increasingly important as we age. Here at Pine Ridge Hayes, we offer ongoing opportunities for resiBy Mary Bajis dents to exercise both mind and body through fun and innovative programs that keep people coming back for more. One of our most popular classes is the Arthritis Exercise Program. Weâ€™ve recently added music and exercise ribbons to the class, which really keeps this fitness program entertaining. The residents love coming to hear their favorite music and get some exercise while theyâ€™re at it. We even have our own version of the Twist! The ribbon wands are fun and challenging to move with the music. And, as an added bonus, participants earned a free Exercise Club T-shirt for attending sessions to exercise their body and their mind. The Arthritis Exercise Program is just one of the creative ways we keep fit and have fun here at Pine Ridge Hayes. s p e ct rum / a u t u m n 20 1 0
LIFE S T YLE
Vogl with local kids at Bujagli Falls
More Than a Vacation Spectrum associate spends her time off volunteering in Uganda
Generally, people want to take a vacation to get away from their profession, both tangibly and mentally. They may need a chance to “clear their head” or just “get away” from all that they encounter in a daily working environment. On this vacation, however, I wasn’t searching for a grand escape but a chance to push further into my line of work, which also fulfills much of what I want to contribute to this world. So, with an By Lauren Vogl open heart and mind I set out to Africa for two weeks to use my professional experience to help others. I was headed to Uganda, a country that has risen above so much strife over the last 30 years, from corruptive leaders to neighboring countries. After decades of struggle, the people of Uganda 14
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are creating a new vision for their home and I wanted to be a part of it. Traveling there with an organization that uses design professionals to assist people out of poverty into a world of hope provided an experience I will never forget. Our team consisted of four architecture designers and four engineers covering a wide range of expertise. We set off to Ugandan Christian University in Mukono, site for our project and a well respected university with more commonalities to American colleges than I had anticipated. The largest focus of the project for us was to provide a network of pedestrian pathways and appropriate exterior spaces that would serve students and faculty alike. We were able to stay on campus and interact with Ugandan students and teachers the whole time. They were incredibly welcoming and appreciative that our group was there to provide them — at no cost — what would have been thousands of dollars in design work. At the end of our stay, we gave a presentation to a planning board for the university. It was nice to have English as the common language and hear what they envisioned, how we had met those needs and what still needed to be worked on. Currently, the project is being fine tuned to make the work come to reality. The office, out Vogl working at the Uganda of Kampala, Uganda, Christian University consists entirely of design professionals willing to sacrifice lives they had in the States and selflessly serve others. I can honestly say that this was the best vacation I have ever embarked upon. Lauren Vogl is an Architectural Associate with Spectrum Retirement Communities.
T hree members of the S pectrum family share their stories and reflect on what matters most
Lily wanted no fuss and no party on her 103rd birthday, but residents and staff of the Gardens at Westlake decided to sing for her anyway. She adored it. Lily has been a resident for just over one year, living on her own to almost 102 years of age. Q: Tell us about growing up. Where and how did you grow up? What was it like?
A: I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and lived
in the area my entire life. I am a college graduate with a degree in math and was an auditor for the old Ohio Bell which eventually merged into AT&T.
Q: What do you enjoy doing? What keeps you going so strong today?
A: I spend my days enjoying the warmth of the sun on
the backyard patio and going to social gatherings. I love the outdoors and baseball. Sometimes I’ll go to Chair Yoga and Tai Chi, as well as some card groups.
I love listening to music — especially orchestral music. [Lily does this while sipping a glass of her favorite red wine which, she says with a twinkle in her eye, “keeps me healthy and happy.”] I love to go to the theater and take in a play or musical as well.
Q: Did you marry? What did you do for a living? A: I was never married and was a CPA. Q: How have things changed in your lifetime? For example, society, technology, family life?
Lily Volosin Gardens at Westlake Westlake, Ohio Birthday: april 21, 1907
A: While society and technology has changed over
the years, I have enjoyed it all. I was born when the first cars were rolling out and now some of the sleekest, fastest cars are all around us. But I have no problem with that.
Q: What advice would you give a 30 year old? How about an 80 year old?
A: My advice for those growing up these days is to just
enjoy life. No matter what your age — be it 25, 52 or 102 — there is so much to do and see. Try to enjoy it all. s p e ct rum / a u t u m n 20 1 0
Q: Do you have any advice for a newly married couple?
A: Try to be the best you can to each other. Q: What do you enjoy doing? What keeps you going so strong today?
A: I love jazz. I loved to dance — especially the
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Marie loves jazz and always enjoyed dancing and keeping up with the latest fashions and pop culture.
Q: What should one’s priorities be? A: Always do the best you can. Q: What advice would you give a 30 year old? A: Have fun and celebrate. Do whatever you wish in life.
Q: What advice would you give an 80 year old? A: It’s too late. Do what you like. Q: Did you marry? Where, when and to whom? A: I married Pasquale “Pat” Ariniello. He
worked for an Italian painter. I married him when I was 24. We had one son, who I adore. He is a doctor for Kaiser Permanente and his name is Ed Ariniello.
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waltz. I would dance to whatever music was available. I loved keeping up with fashion trends but never got crazy, just in good taste. And I always enjoyed keeping up on pop culture.
Q: Tell us about growing up. Where and how did you grow up? What was it like?
A: I grew up in upper New York before Yonkers. I loved music and fashion.
Q: What did you do for a living? What did your parents do?
A: I was born to Maria Felicia and Anthony
Joseph Suzio in New York. My parents were from Abruzzo, Italy. Abruzzo is 50 miles east of Rome. There were five children: Anthony, Nicholas, Rose, Katherine and myself. I worked as a manager for a knitting mill company in New York. I was in charge of the ladies on the floor and starting the motors for the row of machines every morning.
Q: How does attitude affect one’s health and longevity?
A: Be interested in whatever you are doing. I
thank God for my age and I feel very lucky.
Q: If you could do one thing in life again, what would it be?
A: I would go to Italy. I always wanted to go and never made it.
Miriam was an avid bowler, bowling in three leagues each week until she was 96 years old.
Q: Tell us about growing up. Where and how did you grow up? What was it like?
A: There was just Mom, Dad, my sister Lucille and
me. We girls gave poor Mom a run for her money! What one didn’t think of the other did. I especially remember one day we were caught wringing the neck of the duck — just because. After all, Dad did that to the chickens before dinner.
We moved to what is now Mt. Lake Terrace north of Seattle. At the time it was all woods, deep woods. there were cougars, bears, lots of wild animals. Even though we played in the woods we were always safe.
Q: What did you do for a living? What did your
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A: Mother, of course, stayed at home and Dad
was a school master, with several grades in one room. He did many jobs to support us.
Q: What are the most important things in life? What should one’s priorities be?
A: My priorities were just my girls. For us, what matters most is family. And, of course, I learned later of God.
Q: What was your favorite decade and why? A: My favorite decade was probably the 1950s. It was
a time when people were not afraid to leave their doors open, when families sat at the table and talked. Kids respected their parents. There were no cell phones, no computers to distract people and keep them from talking to each other.
Q: Did you exercise? A: I never went to a gym. I have never exercised for health or anything else.
Q: What role does attitude play in your health and longevity?
A: The one thing I did do that helped keep me
going for years was to bowl. I enjoyed the game and the company of my friends. I belonged to three leagues a week for years. I am the recipient of several 200 games. The only reason I quit — about four years ago — is that I fell at the bowling alley. I was afraid of falling and really hurting myself, so I quit bowling and sold my car.
Q: What is the greatest reward for such longevity? And the greatest challenge?
A: What I most do not like about being this old and not being able to take care of myself is that I really have to rely on someone else. This goes completely against every fiber of my being.
I do not have any special wisdom for living 100 years. I contribute it to my father’s longevity strain. My father lived 100 years and three months. s p e ct rum / a u t u m n 20 1 0
Polypharmacy — taking more medications than necessary — is a common and oftentimes dangerous situation among seniors The term Polypharmacy refers simply to using more medications than clinically warranted. If you take several medications that each work on their own small issue, this is not a problem. However, when you start taking two or By Joni Lee more medications for the same issue, or the medications you are taking interact with each other and cause problems, you should discuss the problem of polypharmacy with your doctor. Polypharmacy is a growing problem among the older population. Generally speaking, if a person is taking more than five to seven medications, polypharmacy may be an issue.
The Prescribing Cascade But why does this happen? Older people tend to have more illnesses than younger people and each of these illnesses is likely treated with one or two medications. Additionally, medications that used to be ‘prescription only’ are now over-the-counter, easier to access and taken without the supervision of a doctor. Older adults make up about 12 percent of the population, but account for 32 percent of prescription medications. Most of them take about five prescription drugs but then selfmedicate with additional ‘over-the-counters’ for
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aches and pains. Herbal medications are also becoming increasingly popular. Commonly, when it’s all said and done, the five medications prescribed by a doctor add up to 10 or 12 medications that a person could be taking in total. Another factor is the wide variety of pharmacies available. Most pharmacies check for potential problems with the medications they dispense. This cross-checking system does not work if the pharmacist doesn’t know what other medications the person is taking because he or she shops at multiple pharmacies. The cost of taking all these medications is clearly a problem, but more significantly, as we grow older our bodies don’t metabolize medication as well as they did when we were younger. Therefore, adverse drug events (ADEs) are more likely to occur. Your physician prescribes a single medication to ‘fix’ a single problem. However, while that particular medication has the desired effect, it may also have what’s called a ‘drug interaction’ with other medications you are taking. In this
Generally speaking, if a person is taking more than five to seven medications, polypharmacy may be an issue. case, the medications are not working as your doctor intended and may, in fact, be harmful. Drug interaction can be the result of what is called a prescribing cascade: A person takes medication as prescribed but develops side effects. His physician may not recognize the side effects as being a result of the drug, but instead believes it to be a totally separate issue and prescribes another pill. Thus, the prescribing cascade continues. This cascade can become dangerous, so it is imperative that your physician knows all of the medications you are taking — both prescription and over-the-counter. One of the guiding principles that doctors are asked to follow is to “start low, go slow.” This means that, when taking a new drug we should start with the lowest possible dosage. If it turns out that more is required for your health, then it’s easy to increase the dosage. However, if the dosage is started too high, it can be difficult to decide if it needs to be decreased or stopped altogether.
How can we avoid the problem of polypharmacy? Educate yourself and ask questions. When your prescriber wants to add another medication to your regime, ask why and if drug interactions are a possibility. Once a year, take a bag with all of your medications — over the counter, herbal, and prescription — to your physician. This way you and your physician will be clearly on the same page. Let your prescriber know how you feel. A doctor cannot help you if he is not aware of symptoms. Remember, some of these symptoms could simply be a result of medications interacting with each other. Use only one pharmacy if possible. This way, the pharmacist can utilize all the tools available to ensure you are educated on your medications. The pharmacist can also watch for interactions to
help you avoid unnecessary complications. Medications can be a necessary and helpful part of our lives when used wisely. But those same medications can be harmful if used inappropriately. Communication is critical to a successful prescription medication regime. When the health care team works in tandem with the patient, many problems can be averted. Joni Lee is the Vice President of Clinical Services for Spectrum Retirement Communities.
Highlights Polypharmacy — the act of taking
more medications than clinically warranted — is a growing problem among seniors. Taking multiple medications can lead to adverse drug events or new symptoms as drugs interact with each other in an unforeseen fashion. If you are taking more than seven medications — prescription or over the counter — you should address polypharmacy with your doctor. It is imperative that your doctor and pharmacist know all of the medications you are taking so they can watch for problematic interactions or symptoms. “Start low, go slow.” Always begin taking a new medication with the lowest possible dosage, and increase as necessary. Take responsibility for yourself and be aware of the potential problems of taking too many medications. s p e ct rum / a u t u m n 20 1 0
Factor Creating a safe environment is the first step in preventing a dangerous fall
As we age, the risk of slips, trips and falls increases dramatically. While a simple fall for a younger person might leave them in pain, that same fall for a senior could By Ed Heigl result in a broken hip. Older adults must be more vigilant and safeguard against any kind of fall, as even a seemingly harmless slip could prove to be life-changing. Awareness of one’s surroundings is the first and most important step in preventing a dangerous fall. Outside of the home — especially in colder climates — inclement weather can increase the risk factor. Inside the home, it’s important to create a safe environment that 20
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allows us to live independently and minimizes the chances of a harmful accident. Safety begins with you. It is important to be proactive, consider your space and think about what you are doing. By doing so, it is possible to prevent some of the routine mishaps. Following are a few ideas to help prevent falls and keep your personal environment safe.
think prevention Ensure that entryways are dry, well lit and free of any tripping hazards. It sounds simple enough, but let’s say the gutters aren’t draining properly and water is dripping on the porch. If the temperature
goes down past freezing and you’re not aware of the problem, you could come out and slip on the ice. If water is building up, take the time to sweep it with a broom.
Safety begins with you. It is important to be proactive, consider your space and think about what you are doing. Have handrails installed in areas with steps or awkward surfaces. Entryways should have a ledge or bench where you can set packages when opening doors. If you have trouble going up steps at the entryway, you can buy a simple handle at the hardware store and attach it to the door frame. This will give you more confidence and safety when going into your house or living quarters. Equip the bathroom with grab bars and non-slip surfaces. Consider a seat in the bathtub and a handle next to the toilet to assist you in your daily routines. Within the home, make sure all rooms have good lighting with night lights in the kitchen and bath. This just makes good sense. If you need to get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, you want to see where you’re going. Keep your home clutter free. Make sure the areas you walk are clear at all times. It’s easy to trip over the simplest thing such as a pair of shoes haphazardly thrown on the floor. Keep what you use on a regular basis at a height you can reach. It is safer to arrange daily-use items on lower shelves and place rarely used items on the top shelves. That way, you can get help when needed, but if you are alone there is no danger of falling off the step stool while reaching for everyday items. Finally, have your balance checked by a doctor. If you feel strong on your feet, then your confidence will build and it will improve your independence and quality of life. Ed Heigl is an Executive Director for Spectrum Retirement Communities.
winter increases the risk of falling The potential for slips and falls increases during the winter, with shorter daylight hours, slick pavement outdoors and slick floors indoors. Rain or snow leaves pavement slippery and when we walk inside our shoes are wet so it is easier to slip and fall. In colder climates, ice and snow only make it worse. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season also increases risk. People are in such a rush, they might not be paying as much attention and could easily miss a step or bump into you. Take extra caution this time of year, be aware of your environment — indoors and out — and prevent a dangerous situation. s p e ctrum / a u t u m n 20 1 0
Life Lessons from a Caregiver Caring for a family member with dementia can be a very challenging and rewarding experience When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia, it can be overwhelming. Navigating your way through the journey that is Alzheimer’s can be extremely challenging. Whether you are a spouse, adult child, sibling or By Roger Bushnell friend caring for a loved one with dementia, there is help available, and there are techniques to help you cope. My parents’ 60th anniversary party should have been a joyous family occasion. Instead, this event marked the beginning of my family’s most challenging time. Dad could not remember his nieces’ and nephews’ names, and even struggled recognizing his own grandchildren. Dad was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the University of Michigan in July 2004. 22
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Less then a year later, my mother was diagnosed with mixed dementia. Caring for my parents for over six years now, I have learned many coping techniques and would like to share a few.
Learning from Experience Get a proper diagnosis. Complete testing by a neurologist or geriatric physician is important. Many health issues can mimic dementia symptoms and treatments are generally more effective when you know the type or types of dementia you are dealing with. Learn all you can about the diagnosis. Acceptance comes easier with better understanding of the disease process. Situations may occur where you feel your loved one is purposely irritating you, but when you understand that this is not the case, it becomes easier to cope. Early in my parents’ disease, I read many books about Alzheimer’s and attended seminars on the topic. Go ahead and laugh. This is a serious disease;
however, many humorous situations can occur because of it. I vividly remember walking into my parents’ house once and seeing my dad looking quite ridiculous. There he sat wearing my mother’s stretch lavender pants, his loudest shirt and an old pair of my mom’s cat eye rhinestone glasses! I asked him, “Why do have mom’s pants on?” In a very matter-of-fact way, my dad answered, “I don’t. They’re mine.” I thought to myself, “Why get upset and make him change?” We were not leaving the house, and if that made him happy, then so be it. I never directly laughed at him, because I did not want to make him uncomfortable. However, I couldn’t help but snicker all the way home. Get your affairs in order. Legal and financial planning must be a top priority. Families need to remember they are dealing with a debilitating illness. People with dementia are likely to become incompetent. Take legal steps to authorize a responsible party to make financial and health care decisions for the person with dementia. Seek help from an elder law attorney or through legal services. Getting the right help early is the key to a good plan. Take time for yourself. You need to stay healthy to care for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Check with your local Alzheimer’s Association to find an area adult day care, among other services. This will allow for some private time for you. Your loved one will benefit, too. Day care provides stimulating activities and social interaction. While he or she is cared for, do something you enjoy. Take a stroll in the park, read a good book, visit friends or simply relax. Whatever you choose, make sure it is something you enjoy. You also need to eat healthy and stay physically active. Make time for exercise and get periodic
check ups. I would often take mom and dad on walks with me, which was beneficial to all of us. Make the right move. Taking care of my parents at home became very overwhelming for my family and me. You can try to do everything for your loved one, but it still my not be enough. One of the best decisions my family made was moving mom and dad to a retirement community. If you do decide to make the move, take time and find the right fit. If possible, involve your loved one in the decision. A community atmosphere will likely be beneficial to your loved one because of the increased connection with others. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, leisure activities that combine physical, mental and social elements are necessary in maintaining optimum brain health. Get support. The most beneficial thing I do for myself is attend a support group. The emotional support I receive there is invaluable. I have learned so much from others, and I have gotten the great gift of returning the favor. Look for the rewards of caregiving. Caring for mom and dad is the most difficult thing I have ever done, yet it is easily the most rewarding. My father has not known who I am for years. Recently, while caring for him and mom, he had a moment of clarity. He placed two rings in my hand that my mother gave him as an anniversary gift. He looked me in the eyes and said, “When a father is proud of his son he should give him something that is very special to him.” I often think that if I hadn’t learned to cope with caregiving, I may have missed that moment.
Caring for mom and dad is the most difficult thing I have ever done, yet it is easily the most rewarding
Roger Bushnell is an Executive Director for Spectrum Retirement Communities. This article is in loving memory to his father, Samuel Bushnell.
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Share the Season The holidays are an especially important time to connect with loved ones By Brendan Harrington
The holiday season is supposed to be joyous, celebrating family and spending time with the people you love. Too often, however, it can become emotionally draining whether you’re a busy professional trying to keep up with a growing list of responsibilities or a retired senior, feeling isolated and alone. If you are the adult child of senior parents, the holidays are an especially important time for you to reach out and connect with family. Here, we present ideas on how you can stay connected with loved ones and ensure that the entire family enjoys the season — together.
Stay Connected Whether or not you are able to spend the holidays with family, it is imperative that you stay in touch. A simple phone call means the world to someone who may be living alone or dealing with emotions they aren’t able to express. Beyond the phone call, however, notes and photos in the mail can be especially meaningful to loved ones.
Celebrate Memories Take a stroll down memory lane when you visit loved ones. Sharing memories — recent or distant — is healthy for all family members. It will make older relatives feel close and relevant in your life and it will help younger family members relate to older relatives. Use old family photos, letters, books, music, even old videos or television programs to stimulate memories and share them together as a family.
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Decorate Decorating your loved ones’ apartment with holiday cheer will ensure that they feel the positive emotions associated with the season. The decorations are important, but the biggest impact comes from doing it together. Bring them a tree and hang ornaments together, give them a new menorah and light the first candle together, string garlands … Helping them decorate their living space will create a festive environment and memory for the holiday month.
Good Day, Sunshine Wintertime means reduced sunlight hours and shorter days. Make a point of getting older relatives outdoors, into the sunshine during the holiday season. Help them enjoy the daylight, either within their community or by taking them on an easy outing to lunch, or a nice walk together. A change of scenery can be quite invigorating for seniors. Take your family on a drive to see Christmas lights, take them to a holiday movie, invite them shopping with you. It does not need to be an extravagant outing, just a simple change of scenery will keep them feeling in touch with the world around them. Of course, time together is the most precious gift of all. Give it in heaps, as much as you are able. Bring simple activities to share and pass the time: Make a new album of family photos from the year, create a family cookbook, play board games. Set aside time to spend with senior family members. It is the greatest gift you can give.
The Meadow by Helen McCluckey
Helen was inspired to paint after the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Her first work was called ‘The Meadow.’ About the painting, Helen shared that it is the place in the meadow where she played tag with her brother near home. Helen said her brother always won because he could run much faster than her. Helen enjoyed painting and sharing stories about her work for several years. As her disease progressed, her paintings became coveted by her friends and family.
Memories in the Making
An art program designed to break through to dementia patients by encouraging their innate creativity Lincoln Meadows Memory Care is pleased to be taking part in the Memories in the Making™ art program in the coming months. The ‘Memories’ method is a special and unique trademark program founded by the Alzheimer’s Association in collaboration with a remarkable lady named Sally Jenny. Jenny was determined to find a creative outlet for her own beloved mother, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s By Peggy Connelly disease, and she developed the program based on that personal relationship. As such, it has proven very successful because it recognizes and celebrates the creativity and sensitivity of each Alzheimer’s artist. The special method encourages the artist by utilizing and encouraging a person’s emotions and tapping into their hidden creative energy. Since the focus is always on the creative process and not
the finished product, the outcome can be truly incredible. Oftentimes, the artist may be inspired to create a familiar masterpiece through retained long-term memory. The resulting art can be appreciated in so many ways and often reveals a special insight to the artist’s loved ones. Other times, the artist may share a story that is closely related to their work. When this happens, family and friends marvel at the art as it reveals the human spirit that is hidden by the artist’s cognitive impairment. The Memories in the Making™ art program offers a unique window into the artist’s world. It provides an opportunity to better understand the disease process as we view and reflect on the finished art piece through the eyes of the artist. At Spectrum Retirement Communities, we are looking forward to introducing the Memories in the Making™ art program to residents, families and friends, and are already looking ahead to our first art show exhibition!
It’s always about the person.
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A sister Spectrum community
Family is Growing
We've broken ground on a new community in Illinois Spectrum Retirement Communities is excited to announce its newest community under construction, Three Oaks Senior Living in Cary, Illinois. Three Oaks will be a smaller community with 59 assisted living, and 21 memory care apartment homes. The two-story building is designed in accordance with the local environment and architectural style that surrounds the community. Three Oaks will provide the best amenities in senior living. It will have a sky lounge, theater, a beauty salon, a wellness center, and much more. The Memory Care section of the community will have its own dining room, living room, and
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a beautifully landscaped memory garden. Cary is located approximately one hour northwest of Chicago. Shopping, parks, and other public amenities are in close proximity to the new community. Spectrum will welcome Three Oaks into its ever growing profile in the late fall of 2011. Spectrum Retirement Communities, LLC, a Denver-based senior housing owner and developer, was founded in 2003. Spectrum currently operates 21 communities in nine different states, employing more than 1,500 compassionate and caring staff members. With no entrance fee or buy-in, Spectrum Retirement Communities offers spacious retirement apartment homes at an affordable month-to-month rent. For more information on Spectrum Retirement Communities, visit www.spectrumretirement.com.
In The Next Issue Watch for the next exciting issue of Spectrum Magazine! Titled â€œ21st Century Seniors,â€? the issue will focus on how we live today and how members of the Spectrum family are embracing new technologies, ideologies, and living life to the fullest!
move “When is the right time for my loved one to consider a retirement community?”
It’s a difficult decision to make —and one often met with trepidation. At Spectrum, we understand the difficulties adult children face when planning their parents’ future. And we are here to help. Following, are some signs that might indicate it is time to consider a move:
An increase in accidental falls Increased clutter, weakening physical condition and frequent loss of balance are just a few signs of an increased susceptibility to harmful falls.
An empty refrigerator Is the fridge empty when it used to be full? This could mean that your loved one is no longer getting the proper nutrition or even remembering to eat at the usual intervals.
Frequent memory lapses Increased incidents of memory loss could mean a lot more is going on than meets the eye. It could indicate a larger health issue or some sort of chemical imbalance.
Unopened mail This ties into possible memory loss, but if there are piles of unpaid bills or other important pieces of mail unopened, it could be a sign that there is something deeper going on that needs attention.
Hygiene issues when there previously weren’t any Days without bathing, piles of laundry because the same outfit has been worn for more than one day, and stains on what your loved one is wearing, are all signs that some form of assistance is needed.
Change of interests and/or behavior Some other signs to look for are a change in interests, in terms of what your loved one has always enjoyed doing in the past. Shifts in mood and emotion should also be noted. as well as changes in the way your loved one drives their car.
Change in driving ability How can you tell when it’s time for your parents to stop driving a car? If you truly feel that it’s unsafe for your loved ones to be driving because they or someone else might get injured, then the time has come to take action.
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