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Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012


Fall 2012 | Gazette SENIORS 3



Kim Bamber, Anna Joyce

Graphic Design

Lorraine Walker

Contributing Writers

John Byrd Karen Finucan Clarkson Ellen Cohen Barbara Darko Scott Harris Janet Ochs Lowenbach Jim Mahaffie

Prepress Manager

John Schmitz

CORPORATE Advertising Director

Trina LaPier

Creative Director

Anna Joyce

Director of Creative Services

Lois Pruitt

Published by The Gazette/Post-Newsweek Media, Inc. Gazette Seniors is produced by The Gazette’s Special Sections, Advertising and Creative Services departments. It does not involve The Gazette’s newsrooms nor editorial departments. Send comments to COVER PHOTO: iStockphoto/Yuri_Arcurs



Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012





Proud of the Title—Even Prouder of their Rides BY JIM MAHAFFIE

troll through a “Cars ‘n’ Coffee” event early Saturday morning at the Corner Bakery Cafe onWestlake Drive in Bethesda, or any of the similar independent and club car collector events across the region, and you’ll admire the shiny vehicles and hear talk about “tri-power,” “buckets,” “strut spans” and “aluminum hubs.” At these events, held during fair weather, (mostly) men and women of all ages gather to talk cars, and passersby stop to admire the gleaming exotic roadster, the vintage Caddy, the muscle car or the lovingly restored antique. There are more than 25 cars to see here on a warm September morning. The beautiful maroon 1960 Pontiac Ventura hardtop belongs to Richard Sisson, 68, of Potomac. “I’m a car nut. My brother was a car nut, and our father was, too,” he said proudly.

Sisson has owned more than 40 cars over the years, but said he’s down to just two these days—the Ventura and a striking, black 1954 Cadillac Eldorado convertible. “They’re very different,” he said. Sisson loves to go to cruise-ins in the Ventura; it’s a powerful car with a lot of torque and acceleration. “But the Eldorado is long, low, slinky and sexy, a more laid-back kind of ride.” Car nuts love the history of their vehicles, too. According to Sisson, his Cadillac was built in the second year the model was made and there are only about 500 left of the original 2,200 manufactured. “People held onto those cars for a long time and cared for them, and they were very expensive when they were new,” he said. A few cars up from Sisson’sVentura, Jim Churchill, 70, is another car nut. He left his own Cadillac at home and brought a sleek 2012 Fisker Karma electric luxury vehi-

“Car nut” Richard Sisson of Potomac rides in his 1960 Pontiac Ventura hardtop.

cle with him to Cars ‘n’ Coffee, complete with solar panels embedded in the roof and an all-leather and rescued wood interior. A Cadillac owner for 53 years, Churchill had his first Caddy when he was 15—before he even had a driver’s license. He has been a service expert and salesman at Capitol Cadillac in Greenbelt for more than 40 years. Car nut Dave Deporter can’t pass up a car show or any event with classic, vintage or antique cars. Deporter drives a 1961 MGA, a classic British sports car—when it’s not up on blocks in his garage in Bethesda. “I’ve messed with cars since I was 17,” said Deporter, now 57. “I would love to be a classic car collector. It takes a lot of effort to keep them running, especially these old British sports cars. If I had bigger pockets, I would probably have five or six of them.” SEE CAR NUTS, PAGE 26 Fall 2012 | Gazette SENIORS



Senior Leadership Montgomery Offers Participants Varied Perspectives



f you are looking to be passive in retirement, then this program is not right for you … But if you desire to make the county a better place to live, Senior Leadership Montgomery (SLM) will give you the connections, tools and resources to do that,” said Joan Schaffer, 59, a 2010 SLM graduate.A lifelong resident of Montgomery County, Schaffer graduated from the program “with a new appreciation for and completely different perspective” of the county’s development, governance and resources. Now in its 11th year, SLM gives adults 55 or older, opportunity to explore the richness and diversity that Montgomery County has to offer. In the process, participants examine their own values, philosophies and beliefs, while building trust, rapport and networks among peers with differing backgrounds and experiences, according to Esther B. Newman, founder and executive director of Leadership Montgomery, SLM’s parent organization. It’s important to note that “Senior Leadership Montgomery is not a leadership education program, but, rather, an issues awareness program. We bring people together and offer them opportunities to learn more about the county where they live or work,” she said. The SLM program runs September through April and includes seven days of thematic activities—public safety, the arts and governance among them. 6

Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012


An art session at Strathmore for a Senior Leadership Montgomery class ends with a dance lesson from members of the Chinese American Senior Services Association.

Classroom learning is combined

with community adventures. “Every trip I went on was both educational and fun,” said Mimi I. Hassanein, a member of SLM’s Class of 2011. “My favorite part was riding in the airplane and getting an entirely different view of how waste and traffic are managed.We toured the county’s waste management facility, but seeing it from above gives you a completely different perspective.”

“When you go up in the traffic plane, you get an understanding of how the county makes adjustments to traffic patterns, how they time lights differently if there’s an accident on I-270,” said Schaffer. “Despite how awful we might think traffic is, it would be much worse if the county didn’t do these things.” Other activities include lunch with the Montgomery County Council, a behindthe-scenes tour of Strathmore, a visit to

the county’s correctional facility in Boyds, ride-alongs with police and firefighters and dinner at a fire station. “They get to see how leadership occurs at various levels of county government and within the nonprofit sector,” said Newman. These activities expose participants to a range of social and community services, both public and private. The wealth of SEE LEADERSHIP, PAGE 30


Fall 2012 | Gazette SENIORS


LOL! u


Montgomery Seniors Laugh their Way to Better Health BY JANET OCHS LOWENBACH

t begins like a rumble in the belly, travels up to the chest and slips out through the mouth—as a giggle, a gasp, a guffaw or a side-slapping roar. Whatever you call it, it’s a laugh, and for the 15 seniors at a recent LaughterYoga class at Emeritus at Potomac, an assisted-living and retirement community, it was a gateway to feeling better mentally and physically. Clad in a black and aqua jogging suit and Dr. Seuss cap, laugh instructor Nira Berry cavorted in the center of a circle of expectant seniors, handing out funny hats and leis—“anything to make you feel silly.”

“Go ‘ho ho ho’ and ‘ha ha ha,’” Berry repeated enthusiastically. “Breathe deeply from your bellies. “Look each other in the eye ... pretend you are an animal laughing … grab the yellow ball and say ‘How do you do?’ Ha ha ha.” The laughter swelled. Participants looked directly at one another for confirmation and laughed even louder. At 96,Verna King was grinning like a cat, her red hat shaking as her head moved up and down. “The laughing makes me cheerful,” she said.Then, 76-yearold Julie Levenson moved in, laughing and joining in an impromptu minuet. Martha Hodsdon, 85, said the “movement of the laughing was sort of relaxing.”

TOP LEFT: Instructor Nira Berry demonstrates an infectious laugh. CENTER: Verna King, 96, happily accepts the balloon, says her name and joins the group in laughter. LEFT: Berry tells the participants at Emeritus at Potomac to pretend they are swallowing a big watermelon as they laugh and stretch out their arms. BELOW: King throws her arms up in the air and laughs. PHOTOS BY JANET OCHS LOWENBACH


Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012

here in Maryland, in Laurel, for health and wellness certification, Berry began presenting her LaughingRx wellness classes locally and throughout the country. “I found things became better after a laughing session—for me and the group—and we had more energy,” Berry said. “While laughing, we took in a lot of fresh oxygen into our lungs and brain, which helped us think better and feel better. Laughing for an extended period of time has an aerobic benefit just like riding a stationary bicycle.” Over time, Berry learned that laughter did even more. In 1985, Lee Berk, M.D., of Loma Linda University’s School of Allied Health and Medicine, showed that laughter reduced cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, and had an effect on modulating components of the immune system. A 2005 University of Maryland Medical Center study, led by Michael Miller, M.D., showed that laughter may strengthen the heart by increasing blood flow. Nathan Wei, M.D., director of the Arthritis Treatment Center in Frederick, cares for 2,800 arthritis patients in Montgomery County. He recently attested to the value of LaughterYoga after Berry led a LaughingRx program at the center. “I have been in arthritis treatment more than 30 years. Medication and procedures, in my opinion, only account for half the improvement in patients.The other half is from nonmedical aspects,” he said. “The theory is that by laughing, the quality of breathing improves,” Wei added. “Also, endorphins and other

LIKE TO LAUGH? Berry holds LaughingRX classes at The Ratner Museum in Bethesda every Tuesday from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., and one Sunday a month from 3 to 4 p.m. Check her website,, for updates. She also offers health and wellness seminars for seniors, other adults and corporate programs and conferences. For more information, call 240-888-6555 or email

neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, are increased in the brain. These are the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters, or the messengers of neurologic information from one cell to another. Since they are increased, the overall effect of laughing improves outlook and helps relieve pain.” “Seniors should be encouraged to laugh because they have so much fun in sharing laughter together and joining in a social bonding experience,” said Berry. “Health benefits include pain reduction, reduced stress, increased energy and aerobic breathing that clears out the lungs and brings in fresh oxygen to the brain.” At Emeritus, people were still laughing, but they did not focus on health outcomes. King, a resident at the community, said she was happy to laugh a lot and felt more cheerful after the program.


“Ha ha ha,” said Berry. “It doesn’t matter if the laughter is ‘fake’ or ‘real.’ Both have positive health effects.” This was all very funny, but what does it have to do with health? Just ask Berry. The Potomac resident discovered the curative powers of laughter when she was recovering from breast cancer in 2001; she now teaches LaughterYoga to adult groups and corporate organizations across the county. Berry has introduced her LaughingRx program to, among others, the National Institutes of Health, Maryland Nurses Association, Holy Cross Hospital,Washington Hospital Center, the Archdiocese of Washington, Celebrity Cruises, Baltimore City Commission on Aging and Retirement Education, The Ratner Museum in Bethesda and the Holiday Park Senior Center inWheaton. LaughterYoga uses laughter to reduce pain and stress and make people feel better overall. Created in India in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria, a physician from Mumbai, the program has expanded from a handful of people gathered in a park in India to more than 6,000 laughter clubs in 60-plus countries today. Deciding to try laughter herself to reduce the pain and stress from the cancer, Berry said,“I forced myself to laugh even if I could not get out of bed, even if my body felt broken. I forced my stomach to go up and down in a laugh. And I felt better every time. I decided to spread this message through LaughingRx.” After studying in Switzerland, where Kataria offered LaughterYoga teacher training, and

Fall 2012 | Gazette SENIORS



in the Art of Cake Decorating Bake for the coming holidays, special occasions or just for fun BY BARBARA DARKO


othing says “happy birthday” quite like a cake. Weddings, holidays, anniversaries and other special occasions also offer an excuse to feast on fondant. But rather than purchase a fancy cake at your favorite pastry shop, consider taking a class to fill, frost and have fun while learning the art of cake decorating. You don’t have to be a chef to master the art of cake decorating, said Leslie Poyourow, owner of Fancy Cakes by Leslie in Bethesda. Poyourow teaches a two-hour hands-on class from 7 to 9 p.m. on Mondays during October, April and May.The sessions begin with a discussion about which type of cake to use—box mix cakes and icings versus scratch cakes and icings. Workshop participants—usually between five and 12 people—also learn about torting, or slicing a cake into layers, and filling.The cost is $95, and all materials are provided. “Cake decorating is cross-generational,” Poyourow said. “Men like it, women like it, grandparents and children.” And everyone has his or her reason for taking the class. “Some people do it just for fun, others are more serious,” she said. “It depends on where they’re coming from and what they want to get out of it. For some [women],


Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012


it’s because ‘I told my girlfriend, I’m going to do [her] wedding cake.’” At The Little Bitts Shop in Wheaton, owner Bob Schilke said decorating a wedding cake in October is just as likely as in the traditional month of June.The art of cake decorating means “taking what you think you want to do and transferring it into actual practice,” he said. Schilke and his wife Ann have taught people of all ages—from 80 to 12— “who haven’t been able to decorate their cakes very well.” Their eight-week, two-hour class costs $150 in the fall and winter. Participants can take the class on Tuesdays or

Wednesdays from 7 to 9 p.m., or on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon. “The biggest thing is to just be relaxed,” said Schilke, who has owned The Little Bitts Shop for 15 years. He offers other secrets for successful cake decorating: “Be patient, have a good imagination and talk to people you’re decorating for to find out what they like.” Like Poyourow, Schilke considers cake decorating an art that allows the novice or seasoned baker to be creative SEE CAKE, PAGE 28


Fall 2012 | Gazette SENIORS



Finding Resilience:



Seniors Battle Stress at the Source BY SCOTT HARRIS

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Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012

uth Haley isn’t one to dwell on the more trying aspects of life. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. “I guess I get stressed sometimes because I’m by myself,” said the 85-year-old Damascus resident. “When I get sick, I worry. I worry about how I’m going to get to the doctor. And I might be too embarrassed to call 911.” Haley added that money is not a serious concern; but then she reconsidered. “I’m fortunate,” she said. “I have the bare essentials, but I don’t worry about what I don’t have.As long as the price of groceries doesn’t go up again anytime soon.” Stress is a fact of modern life. Between 1983 and 2009, stress increased 18 percent for women and 24 percent for men, according to findings released in April by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.Though the study, published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, found that stress appears to decrease with age, it’s still a factor for all age groups.

Stress in small doses can be healthy and motivating, but it is common knowledge that too much of the wrong kind of stress— also known as distress—can be harmful. When not properly managed, stress can take a toll on the body and the mind, contributing to everything from chest pains to high blood pressure to sleep problems to mood swings, according to the Mayo Clinic. The pace of life can slow down after retirement, but health and mobility concerns, the sickness or death of a spouse or other loved ones and the difficulties of living on a fixed income can all cause stress in seniors. “There are big stressors like the disaster of the economy. But there are daily things, too,” said Tony Edghill, director of the Damascus Senior Center and a member-at-large of the Maryland Association of Senior Centers. “Getting older, you’re not always able to remember everything. Twenty years earlier, you could run up the stairs in the dark. Now you have to go more slowly, and you have to turn the lights on first to make sure you don’t fall.


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“Be engaged in activities that interest you,” Kenney said. “It’s individualized. If you were a scientist during your career, maybe you could mentor young students. Be engaged culturally and civically. It gives you a support network that is sustaining. Be around people that are positive.” Haley goes to the Damascus Senior Center for support and relaxation. “I come here to get de-stressed,” she said. “There are people to talk to.We play cards. We have music. You can tell your woes to somebody.” When responsibilities seem overwhelming, asking for help is always an option. “People should understand that being a caregiver doesn’t mean you have to do it by yourself,” Murphy said. Sometimes, Edghill said, the toughest part is the first step. “You have to reach out.You have to venture into a facility. Or your families can reach out on your behalf,” he said. “But you’ll find that there is a network of people out there ready to help you and support you.”


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All these things can cause stress.” Seniors also tend to face—or put off— their share of difficult life decisions. “You can either plan for the future, or you can wait for it to happen,” said Susy Murphy, director of care management services at Silver Spring-based Debra Levy Eldercare Associates. “People know they should meet with a lawyer, but they put it off because they don’t want to think about it, and then there’s a medical crisis and they have to do it all in a hurry. These aren’t easy things to think or talk about. But when you feel like you don’t have control, that’s when you can become stressed.” So how can seniors battle stress? For many, an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure, and not just when it comes to the doctor’s office. “There are lots of ways that you can build resilience,” said John J. Kenney, chief of Aging and Disability Services for Montgomery County. “Stress is inevitable in life. What we can do is protect ourselves. We can create offsetting factors that act as buffers against the negative effects of too much stress.” Diet and exercise are part of it, but another powerful tool is planning ahead to anticipate and mitigate stressful situations before they happen. “I always say that if you have a bank account and a car, you should have a medical power of attorney and a financial power of attorney,” Murphy said, adding that communities of faith and similar organizations often provide free workshops on these topics. Once they’ve planned, Murphy advises that seniors get those plans in the hands of the right people. Make sure family members understand final plans, and that attorneys and doctors have access to the information they need to properly execute wills or advance directives. “Do the right people have copies of your plans? Just knowing that can really bring peace of mind,” Murphy said. On a day-to-day basis, leveraging natural talents and interests to give back to a community—an idea Kenney calls “generativity”—can be a potent antidote to unhealthy stress levels.

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Morton Davis on Holiday Shopping Center Safety for Seniors BY JIM MAHAFFIE

6410 Rockledge Dr. Bethesda, MD



19735 Germantown Rd. Germantown, MD


Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012

5215 Loughboro Rd. Ste 140 Sibley Medical Campus Washington, D.C.




is the season to be shopping, and the stores and malls will soon be crowded with people of all ages checking lists, carrying packages, dealing with parking garages and crowds, and trying to make the holiday season bright. Staying safe during the season is also a priority. Morton Davis runs the Keeping Seniors Safe program in conjunction with the Montgomery County Police department. Davis is also a board member on the Montgomery County Commission on Aging, which works with the police to try to help seniors protect themselves against certain crimes. Davis has made it a personal crusade to teach seniors about crime and safety.

Q: Why are seniors more vulnerable? Davis: “They’re more trusting.They be-

lieve you when you talk to them, and therefore they’re more vulnerable to people approaching them in parking lots or pedestrian areas.”

Q: What are some problems to be aware of as a senior? Davis: “Older people can be targeted in

a busy shopping center or mall situation. A guy watching will wait for you to make a mistake.This is why you need to check your surroundings before getting back in your car. Are there people hanging around your car or leaning against your car? Are you in a well-lit area? Can you easily find your car again after you park it? Have a friend along if possible so




there are two of you or more. That will help deter thieves.”

that you’re leaving the mall and you’re no longer a target.”

Q: What should you do if you sense any risk?

Q: What should you do if approached by someone? Davis: “Thieves try various ways of dis-

Davis: “Don’t go to your car. Go back into the shopping center and go to the information desk and tell them what’s going on. ‘I’m worried about a suspicious man. Can a security person come out to my car with me?’ They are more than glad to do so, I promise. It won’t happen immediately, by the way. Security is busy during the holidays. But they will get there in a few minutes and you’ll have nothing to worry about. Take advantage of this. I hear all the time from people, ‘I shop there because they look out for me.’ Stores and malls want to take care of their customers.”

tracting you and then try to take your purse or packages. Never open your window for a stranger. A typical crime is when someone knocks on your window, you roll it down and a thief grabs your purse on the seat. If you must have it in the car when you’re driving, keep your purse safe by looping the straps or handle through your seat belt. Lots of crimes are snatch-and-grab jobs where a thief will reach in and grab something lying on a seat. This way a thief will be in for a surprise when they grab your purse.”

Q: What should people do with their handbags and money?

Q: Parking lots seem to be opportunities for crime. Any other tips? Davis: “I try to train people about this:

Davis: “Don’t take all your credit cards and cash in with you. But, don’t wait until you get to the mall before putting your purse in the trunk. Do that when you leave home so no one has a chance to watch you do it. A thief can get into your trunk in a minute with a screwdriver. When you’re shopping, you should have a couple of credit cards and enough cash for lunch. That’s it. Put it in a belly bag. I was giving a talk and one woman reached down her blouse and pulled out a little purse attached to her bra strap. That’s safe!”

Q: What about parking? Davis: “Be smart and park in a busy, well-lit area. And when you go out to your car with all your packages, put them in your trunk. But don’t go back in if you forgot something, like a card. Move your car first to another parking area. That tells the guy surveilling you

When you come out of the mall, have your keys in your hand and the ignition key ready. Don’t wait ‘til you get to the car to fumble for keys! It’s mostly a problem with women, but they have packages and the keys have probably fallen to the bottom of their pocketbook. Be ready. Look around; put your packages in your trunk. Look around again and then get in and start your car.”

Q: Any other risky behaviors to be aware of for the season? Davis: “Yes, I tell women all the time: Take care of your pocketbooks and purses. I live at Leisure World (a retirement community in Silver Spring). The police are here every day because women leave their unzipped purses in a grocery cart or on a table. It happens all the time!” Davis is available for talks and consultation on safety concerns. Call 240-242-3742. Fall 2012 | Gazette SENIORS





Upgrades to Circa-1920s Bungalow Create Wheelchair Access Solution Ideal for the Whole Family BY JOHN BYRD


hereever you look, local seniors are finding both independent and communal living arrangements that will help them live active lives. One recurring social adjustment pattern is also a very old one: the multigenerational family household. Overall, extended families have been unusually adept at getting business done, caring for all of their members and finding practical ways to age in place.

Case in point: the three-


After remodelers enclosed a seldom-used rear porch and reconfigured the floor plan, Rosalie Blue was able to move about easily in her kitchen.


Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012

generation Blue family of Takoma Park. Matriarch Rosalie Blue, 68, has lived in a small, circa-1920s, two-level bungalow on a shady street since the late 1970s. There she has raised five children. While Blue has used a walker for about seven years, her home remains the essential gathering spot for local family members— the place where two daughters and five grandchildren have meals and spend quality time. “We’re a tight-knit group,” said daughter Diane Brown. “We feel fortunate that we’ve been able to live near each other all

these years and can really give support where it’s needed. Of course, time brings changes, so you have to be prepared.” Recently, Blue has been transitioning from the walker to, occasionally, using a wheelchair, a change that can restrict mobility in a house that is tight on space.

“The core challenge to

providing for Mrs. Blue’s mobility needs was redesigning the first floor into a universal design solution,” said Rich Estes, a team leader at Landis Construction, the Washington, D.C.-based design build firm that remodeled Blue’s home for wheelchair accessibility. “We had to begin with a 12-by-13-foot kitchen with very few contemporary appliances and two existing bathrooms that were space restricted and quite dated,” he said. “Moreover, we wanted doors and hallways to be compliant with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements.” The existing home’s entire first level was configured in a traditional Victorian pattern—with the living room and dining room to the left side of a front-facing foyer SEE REMODEL, PAGE 22


Fall 2012 | Gazette SENIORS




Asbury’s New Courtyard Homes Attract Seniors Seeking Comfort and Community BY ELLEN R. COHEN


sbury Methodist Village, located on an expansive campus in Gaithersburg, is a not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community for adults 60 and older. Asbury offers an array of senior lifestyles—independent living, assisted living, nursing care, continuing care, Alzheimer’s care and home care. “Founded in 1926 as a charity to help widows and orphans, Asbury has evolved through the years, with its mission currently focused on providing services to older adults,” said Cathy Ritter, vice president of marketing and communications. Today, Asbury has a wide variety of independent-living options, including 18

Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012

more than 700 apartments, 74 Villas and 43 Courtyard Homes. “The 43 duplex Courtyard Homes, the most highend community and Asbury’s newest independentliving option, have been open since March 2011,” said Ritter. “These duplexes consist of two attached onefloor homes with a common wall between them. Just three homes are left, with no more being built. They retain the best aspects of comfortable living without the inconveniences.” “These homes have everything you need and nothing you don’t need,” said resident Barbara Ellis. Each two-bedroom Courtyard residence features two bathrooms, a laundry room, a two-car garage and

a private, fenced courtyard/patio. Ten-foot ceilings enhance the spaciousness, and the open floor plan of the living area offers comfortable space for sitting and dining. Wood floors are standard in the living area, while flat entryways, wider doorways and senior-accessible showers combine for ease of living and mobility. All appliances are included in the kitchens, as are ample counter and cabinet space. Above-garage storage areas, together with multiple closets, provide storage space. A one-time entrance fee plus monthly service fees give Courtyard residents a broad range of community services and amenities. Interior and exterior home maintenance is provided, as well as 24-hour on-site security and emergency response; telephone, cable, water and sewer services.They also cover property tax and structural insurance. Five campus restaurants welcome Courtyard residents for pay-as-you-go dining. The professionally landscaped homes are close to the Rosborough Cultural Arts andWellness Center, walking trails and ponds. Ellis and her husband Peter Cascio, with their poodle Teddy Bear, moved into their Courtyard Home about a year ago. “We considered other retirement places, but they did not compare with Asbury,” said Ellis. “After you have lived in your previous home for many years, the worst thing is the moving. After you have done that, you can do anything.” Asbury is “a great place to live because of the people. There are many different backgrounds, so everyone brings



something special to the group,” said Ellis, who relocated from Arlington, Va. An avid swimmer, she frequents the community’s swimming pool. “I enjoy the water classes and think the pool is a terrific place to meet people,” she said. “I also like the lectures, trips you can take and other activities.The problem is I can’t do everything.”

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Marilyn and Donald Carter moved into the Courtyard Homes in July 2011 from their Rockville residence of 50 years. “Our new neighborhood is a very pleasant environment and very much of a community,” said Marilyn Carter, who writes about new Courtyard residents for Village Life, the monthly Asbury newspaper. “There are wonderful people here—all professional, well educated and full of energy.” Resident “Happy” Veirs moved into her Courtyard Home in March; her husband passed away shortly thereafter.Veirs said she likes “the many delightful people who live near me” together with her “well-made, substantial home, particularly the patio.”Veirs, who has eight children and once had “every kind of pet imaginable at home,” said she enjoys Asbury’s numerous activity options and her new “supportive” community. Courtyard residents currently live an independent lifestyle. “However, as their needs change over their lifetime, Asbury residents have access to assisted living, skilled care and memory support services when they need another level of help, even if they exhaust their financial resources through no fault of their own,” said Ritter.


Fall 2012 | Gazette SENIORS


Who’s Minding the Grandkids? u

Grandparents are Often the Child Care Provider of Choice BY KAREN FINUCAN CLARKSON



ad it been financially possible, Loretta Lawrence would have taken care of her grandchildren years ago. So when she finally retired last year, one of the first things the Kensington resident did was to offer to watch her younger daughter’s children. “What my daughter was paying [for child care] was exorbitant. My own mother did it for me, so I know what it means,” she said. Today, about 13 percent of grandparents in the U.S. care for their grandchildren on a regular basis, according to a study issued in September by the MetLife Mature Market Institute. Of those grandparents, about a third do so five or more days per week, while 42 percent limit themselves to fewer than five days weekly. Overall, 30 percent of preschoolers and 17 percent of grade school students with working mothers receive care from a grandparent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The reasons grandparents mind their grandchildren are manifold.While 53 percent provide care so parents can work and 37 percent do so to help families save money on day care, most—nearly 60 percent, according to the MetLife study—do it because they enjoy it. For those who genuinely want to care for their grandchildren, the arrangement can benefit all three generations. “It is a gift to everyone involved,” said Pam Van Prooyen, a former nursery school director who cares for her 4-year-old granddaughter. “It’s such a joy for a grandparent to be so involved in a grandchild’s life. For parents, it’s such a relief and comfort to know that grandma or grandpa is watching over their child. And the grandchild becomes part of a unique and special relationship that she may not fully appreciate when she’s young, but will carry with her all of her life.”

The most contented grandparents are usually those who enter the arrangement with realistic expecta-



Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012

tions. Discussions regarding the grandparent’s availability, child’s needs and parents’ child-rearing preferences should be had in advance to prevent misunderstandings down the line. It’s not unusual for there to be differences in parenting philosophies between the generations, said Kate Campion, with education operations at the Kensington-based Parent Encouragement Program (PEP), a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to the building and strengthening of healthy, harmonious adult-child relationships. For example, “grandparents may have expectations—in regard to a child’s obedience and unquestioning willingness to follow direction—that parents of this generation don’t fully share.” When parents and grandparents don’t see eye to eye, it’s important that both parties understand which issues are open to compromise and which are not. “I recognize that Sophia is my grandchild, not my child,” said Van Prooyen. “Her mother and father are raising her using values they feel are important.They don’t believe in watching TV. I respect that. But every once in a great while I will put on ‘Sesame Street’ at my house and they can live with that.”

Because caregiving requires the establishment of limits, some older adults worry that stepping into the role of disciplinarian will negatively affect their relationship with a grandchild.Van Prooyen disagrees. “It is true that when you’re not the care provider, you have a blanket of amnesty and can give into a grandchild. But it is possible


to set limits and say no when you need to without jeopardizing anything,” said the Gaithersburg resident. “I treat these children just like my own,” said Lawrence. “I have always felt children need discipline and when done the right way, it works out.”

“One wouldn’t want to spoil a grandparent-grandchild relationship with heavy tactics,” said Campion. “Discipline is a challenge for anyone, which is why the PEP program

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Fall 2012 | Gazette SENIORS



and a kitchen, pantry and small bath in the right rear of the house. Each room was an independent, wall-bound space with narrow doors and small windows, and the house had no air-conditioning and depreciated insulation. More pointedly, there was no means for wheelchair access to a convenient parking place. “What’s always fascinating about space planning,” said Landis Construction principal Chris Landis, “is how dramatically you can improve a working floor plan by adding a fairly small amount of new square footage and rethinking the whole.”

By enclosing a seldom-used rear porch


and reconfiguring some floor space, for instance, Estes and his team created a wheelchair-accessible breakfast nook, a mudroom with an ADA-compliant rear door and access to a full bath designed to accommodate Blue’s particular needs. In addition, the newly introduced open plan invites useful interaction between the kitchen and dining room. A food preparation island facilitates cooking and works as a handy serving station for both the custom-designed



breakfast nook and a three-stool dining counter between the kitchen and dining room. “The plan allows the whole family to gather comfortably and for Mom to move about freely,” said Brown. “It’s great for a large group like ours that gets together a lot.” Generously sized, thermally efficient windows add natural light to the home. And, the interior design scheme—which features white and saffron walls, granite surfaces and cherry cabinetry—is warm and uplifting.The two new bathrooms are fully ADA compliant, with all doorways and halls widened for wheelchair access.

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Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012

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Finally, a 15-by-20-foot deck was builtout from the rear kitchen door. Here, a pathway through the landscaped backyard leads to an alley for easy access to a waiting car. Best of all, the new kitchen design allows Blue to pursue her love of cooking for her family, confident she has the elbow room to spare.

Landis Construction periodically

provides workshops on home remodeling topics. For more information, call 202-7263777 or visit Rosalie Blue, center, poses with project designer Emily Pierson, left, and Landis Construction team leader Rich Estes on Blue’s new back deck. PHOTOS COURTESY OF DOUG PETTIT

To inaugurate the home’s new universal design solution, family and friends gathered to celebrate Rosalie Blue’s 68th birthday. The deck provides easy wheelchair access between the house and a rear parking spot.

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From Leisure World to the Rest of the World: 59 Years of Adventure BY JIM MAHAFFIE



ABOVE: Fred and Madeline Shapiro visit an archeological site in Delphi in Greece. RIGHT: Madeline with daughter Rhonda and son-in-law Mitchell Gaynor in Jerusalem


Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012

red Shapiro said that he always had a philosophy in his career as a consultant in the package printing and publishing business: “If I ever had a chance to travel, I took it.” As a result, he has spent time in exotic locales around the world, and he often managed to mix business with pleasure, bringing his longtime bride Madeline along whenever possible. Today, Fred and Madeline Shapiro live at Leisure World in Silver Spring, a 600-plus-acre active-adult community. Fred, 80, retired just last year.The couple is heavily involved in their community. Retired from a career as a controller for a company that buys and sells paper waste, Madeline, 78, works in the library at Leisure World. Fred is politically active—president of Leisure World’s Fireside Forum and also its Tennis Club, and a past president of the Jewish Residents of Leisure World. Friend and fellow resident Morton Davis calls Fred Shapiro “the Mayor.” The Shapiros moved to Leisure World from NewYork 10 years ago. Married in 1953, the couple has spent the past 59 years practicing Fred’s philosophy.When he was serving in the U.S. military, they lived in Texas and spent time in Mexico. While stationed in Germany, he coached and played soccer around the country. “You take history classes in college and those are the times you can go and see where it all happened,” said Fred. For Madeline, airplane trips to Texas and Germany with Fred were her first. “Growing up in NewYork City, SEE TRAVEL, PAGE 29


Fall 2012 | Gazette SENIORS



Jim Churchill, 70, shows off his 2012 Fisker Karma. He also owns a vintage Cadillac.




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Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012

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“Lots of folks around here have the time and financial resources to enjoy this hobby,” said Eric Grandi, owner of Erics Muscle Cars in Clarksburg.The sales consignment business connects buyers and owners. “We call ‘em rolling certificates of deposit,” he said of classic cars. “Where else can you buy something, enjoy it for years and then sell it for more money?” “These cars are an actual commodity that you can cherish,” agreed Sisson. “If you want, you can sell them anytime and at least make your money back—or more.” He said he has put more money into his Pontiac than it’s currently worth. “But that’s OK with me.” While some owners trailer their precious cars to various events, Sisson drives hisVentura and Eldorado around town. “This is a huge hobby crowd and it’s grown by leaps and bounds,” said Sisson of his fellow car nuts. “The camaraderie is wonderful.” Car nuts meet pretty much anywhere to look at cars and talk about them. One event Sisson likes is the weekly Burtonsville Cruise-In. Car nuts call this yearround Sunday morning event the “Church of the Holy Donut,” as it was once located by the Dunkin’ Donuts in the Burtonsville Crossing Shopping Center parking lot at the intersection of routes 198 and 29. Different clubs and events attract different kinds of cars, from vintage vehicles to




exotic late-model cars and all the classics, hot rods, different brands and historic vehicles in between. One of the biggest events in Montgomery County is the annual Antique and Classic Car Show, held every October at Glenview Mansion at Rockville Civic Center Park. But the “granddaddy” of all car shows, according to Sisson, is the Eastern Division Antique Automobile Club of America National Fall Meet in Hershey, Pa. It takes place each year during the first full week in October; this year marked Sisson’s 46th year in a row in attendance.


provides strategies—for grandparents, au pairs, child care providers or anyone working day to day with children.” Many grandparents, having raised their own children, understand the demands of child care.They may not, however, fully appreciate how physically taxing it can be. “You need to be agile enough to keep up with the child,” said Van Prooyen. “For safety’s sake, it’s important to be honest about that. Children have high activity and energy levels.” Van Prooyen has taught her granddaughter to swim and enjoys taking Sophia hiking. “It certainly keeps a grandparent young; I’ll say that.” “We do a lot together—go shopping or, quite often, on nice days go to the park. Sometimes she’ll grab my hand and just start running,” said Lawrence, who enjoys keeping up with her 2-yearold granddaughter. To keep pace with the physical demands, some grandparents opt to care for their grandchildren part time. “The time off allows them to recharge, to do something like a yoga class to replenish their energy levels,” said Campion. Both Van Prooyen and Lawrence provide part-time care as their granddaughters attend morning nursery school several days a week and their adult children have some flexibility in their work schedules. “It’s ideal,” said Van Prooyen. “I never wanted this to be like a job. I wanted it to be delightful and fun and loving for both of us.”

Despite the challenges that older

caregivers face, some find it easier the second time around. “Grandparents are often less anxious and exude a sense of calm, which children pick up on,” said Campion.

“Older adults aren’t as rushed and can be generous with their time. Children respond to the gentleness and grace of a grandparent who will sit and enjoy their company.”

Grandchildren also benefit from a

grandparent’s wisdom and experiences. Having watched her parents and in-laws interact with her own children, Campion loves “the way they share their passions and hobbies and jokes and opinions unfettered. The children look up to them and crave their attention,” she said. While child care requires an investment of time, it also can necessitate an investment of financial resources. Grandparents may need to purchase an approved child safety seat for the car or crib for the home or spend money on things like gas, snacks, or movie tickets. It’s important to determine what expenses will be reimbursed, as well as whether the grandparent will be compensated for child care at the start. For Lawrence, “it’s the hugs and arms around the neck that’s my pay,” she said. Grandparents will find that child care practices have changed appreciably since their kids were young. New research and technological advances have altered the standards for safety, nutrition and child development. Some grandparents may need to brush up on the changes. If caring for the child in their own home, grandparents should make sure it is childproof, with medications, cleaning supplies, and sharp objects out of reach and stairwells closed off, among other things. For that reason, along with the added clean-up duties, some grandparents prefer to care for a grandchild in her own home. No matter where the care occurs, grandparents who are a regular part of a grandchild’s life develop a special relationship.




Fall 2012 | Gazette SENIORS




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while learning how to decorate for specific events. At Fancy Cakes by Leslie, that’s meant decorating cakes for many upscale, highprofile customers, including recent cakes for an office party held in theWestWing of the White House, a Democratic Party fundraiser and for Caroline Kennedy, who celebrated a family member’s birthday. Fancy Cakes by Leslie began 17 years ago in Gaithersburg and expanded four years ago to a larger facility in Bethesda. “I’ve seen the cake business go from a very cottage industry of people passionate about decorating cakes to being a big business,” said Poyourow, who credits the Internet and popular reality television programs, such as “Ace of Cakes” and “Cake Boss,” for making cake decorating more fashionable over the past five years. Before,Wilton Industries was, and still is, a leader in the world of cake decorating. Founded in 1929,Wilton has been teaching cake decorators the Wilton Method of Cake Decorating. Four courses include: decorating basics, flowers and cake design, gum paste and fondant, and advanced gum paste flowers. Headquartered in suburban Chicago, Wilton runs several classes in theWashington, D.C., area, including four locations in Montgomery County at Michaels Stores, a specialty retailer of arts and crafts. Cristal Saxon is a full-time Wilton Method instructor at Michaels in Germantown and Frederick. She teaches all four Wilton courses at both locations. A four-week course costs about $45 per class, with frequent specials and discounts. An instructor for over eight years, Saxon


estimates she has taught more than 700 students throughout the area and averages about 40 to 50 students each month. She raves about the success of her students, including some who’ve opened up their own bakeshops after taking the Wilton course—a testament, Saxon said, to her motto: “Making the world sweeter…one class at a time.” Whether at Wilton, Fancy Cakes by Leslie or The Little Bitts Shop, designing and decorating cakes is a great way to spend the day with friends and family. Most cake decorating classes are for adults, but children are allowed depending on their age and ability. “The art of cake decorating is personal to whoever is making the cake,” Poyourow said. She called it a “passion” to make things you can share.

CAKE DECORATING CLASSES Fancy Cakes by Leslie 4939 Elm St., Bethesda 301-652-9390 Just Cakes 4849 Rugby Ave., Bethesda 301-718-5111


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Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012

Wilton Cake Decorating Classes 13850 Georgia Ave., Wheaton 301-603-8001 1509 Rockville Pike, Rockville 301-881-8100 821 Center Point Way, Gaithersburg 301-977-9400 20902 Frederick Road, Germantown 301-515-4951 The Little Bitts Shop 11244 Triangle Lane, Wheaton 301-933-2733, 888-809-2733 White Oak Community Recreation Center Holiday Baking 1700 April Lane, Silver Spring 240-777-6940

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we didn’t travel much when we were younger. I’d never been out of the city,” she said. It was exciting, and gave her a taste for more travel.The short list of places they have been includes Hawaii twice, Ireland, Russia, Egypt, Southeast Asia, Italy, Greece and Eastern Europe. Keeping with his philosophy, Fred would spend a month or more on business in Alexandria in North Africa, Saint Petersburg, Russia and Bangkok, Thailand, and then take Madeline back to various places when they could see them as tourists. “When you’re there working, it’s a lot different than being a tourist,” he said. “There are some trips you look at that you’d like to take but they’re just too active,” said Madeline, who had a hip replacement in 2005. But that hasn’t stopped the Shapiros. In 2010, they traveled from Venice, Italy to Athens, Greece and to Croatia. Despite plenty of walking, Madeline fared just fine. Before that, the couple enjoyed a cruise down the Rhine river from Antwerp in Belgium to Switzerland.They journeyed to Israel this summer, and have also taken a memorable Jewish heritage trip to Ukraine and Russia. With layovers and increased security on airlines, as well as overall cost, traveling is not as easy or romantic as it was back in the day, the Shapiros agreed. But they don’t let that stop them because “there are so many places to go to,” said Madeline.

Always taking advantage of opportunities, the Shapiros visit their son who works for The Walt Disney Company in California, and make stops along the way—and out of the way. They have visited many national parks across the country and have spent time visiting destinations in the United States as far north as Alaska.“We enjoy this country as much as overseas,” said Fred. In fact, Madeline said she adores the little towns on Maryland’s Eastern Shore just as much as she loved Stockholm, Sweden. Madeline used to plan the couple’s trips, but these days the Shapiros usually travel in an organized group, as they prefer guides and specific agendas, at least when venturing overseas. They often choose Road Scholar, an international not-forprofit organization whose mission it is to inspire adults to learn, discover and travel. “Trips are laid out by level of activity and you can pick and choose your own level,” Madeline said of the group trips.“And you don’t go shopping!” Most recently, the Shapiros joined several members of the Jewish Residents of Leisure World for an excursion to Wildwood, N.J., and Atlantic City. The same group took them to Nationals Park on Sept. 20 when the baseball team clinched its first play-off berth. Between local jaunts and trips abroad, there are virtually boundless travel opportunities for the Shapiros, and they’re still taking every one they get.




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Fred Shapiro stops by the Parthenon, an ancient temple dedicated to the Greek Goddess Athena.


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What initially attracted Vann to SML was the


community resources came as a surprise to Hassanein. “I only wish I’d done the program sooner,” she said. “I’m from an immigrant population that doesn’t realize that all these incredible resources exist,” said the 65-year-old Brinklow resident.Today, Hassanein shares the knowledge she gleaned as an SLM participant with others in the local Muslim community. She has inspired one of her peers to apply for a spot on the county’s Commission on Aging and has helped a group secure funds to purchase a bus to take senior citizens to Friday prayers.

Community service is an expectation of SLM.


“What we say to participants is, ‘We expect you to give back.’ But we don’t say where or how.We want them to do something they feel passionate about,” said Newman. By following his passion, Terry Vann found himself serving as a member of the county’s Human Rights Commission. The former federal government attorney was looking not just to become more involved, but also to find a volunteer position that allowed him to utilize his legal background while serving the community. SLM “helps people who have experience in different things get motivated and find a way to channel their expertise,” saidVann, a 69-year-old Potomac resident. What Vann most appreciates is the way in which SLM expands participants’ horizons.“It takes people out of their normal comfort zone and helps them discover skills they might not have recognized—skills that can benefit both them personally as well as the greater community.”


Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012


A county bus tour included a visit to historic Button Farm in Germantown.

Community service is integrated into the eightmonth SLM program. Each class tackles a project. The Class of 2010 partnered with the county’s Department of Health and Human Services and IMPACT Silver Spring to develop a program to “get information about available services out into the neighborhoods,” saidVann. “I was surprised at how well we were able to work together to create a product in an area in which none of us had any real experience.” Vann’s work on that project opened his eyes to a number of issues in the county. “I’d had this perception of Montgomery County as a wealthy county,” he said. “While I had some inkling of the extent of diversity in the county and the needs of people living here, I didn’t truly grasp the number of people who need help.”

chance to do something with his wife Linda. Both of them are retired, but had interests that took them in different directions.“My primary motivation was to do something that both my wife and I would find interesting and could enjoy together,” he said. “We like to have one or two couples in each class,” said Newman. “It adds to the rich mixture.”That mixture includes a range of ages, gender and backgrounds. Participants “range from 55 to 90, with an average age of 67. Forty-three percent are retired, 37 percent are mostly retired and 17 percent work full time. Anywhere from 23 to 50 percent are male.”

SLM is a selective program. “It has become

increasingly competitive over the years,” said Newman. Applications are generally due in April. At 33, the current class is significantly larger than those in years prior. The $500 tuition is a bargain, according to Schaffer. “When you compare it to Leadership Montgomery, you get 60 to 70 percent of the content for a fraction of the price.” A testament to SLM’s success is the number of people who apply based on the recommendation of family or friends. Both Schaffer and Newman’s husbands are in the current class. “I’m certain the program will give him a great overview of the county and experiences that will help him find his niche,” said Schaffer. For more information, call 301-881-3333 or visit


Fall 2012 | Gazette SENIORS




Gazette SENIORS | Fall 2012

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