Monthly Archives: September 2016

Helpful apps for seniors

8 tech solutions to maintain independence and give caregivers peace of mind

By Jeff Salter for Next Avenue

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Every day for the last 24 years, I’ve worked with the elderly and, by extension, with their families. As the founder of Caring Senior Service, a non-medical in-home care provider, my goal is to ensure that people can age with dignity in their own homes and to reassure families that their loved ones are safe and secure. Increasingly, technology helps on both fronts.

The importance of listening to the person with dementia

We need to hear well before the voice is silenced by the disease

By Mike Good for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

(Editor’s Note: This is the eighth in a series examining and interpreting a commonly used “bill of rights” for dementia patients.) 

People with Alzheimer’s or other dementia are an invaluable part of our society. Millions of them are brilliant, wise and actively advocating for their rights and needs.

As my friend with Alzheimer’s, David Kramer said, “It’s not something that necessarily makes us idiots.” No it doesn’t, but unfortunately the vast majority of people don’t understand the disease, and therefore, don’t know how to listen to the person with dementia. read more

It happens to the best of us: I’m not cool anymore

Despair turns to hope during a humdrum trip to the grocery store

By Peter Gerstenzang for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

A few mornings ago, I saw a reflection of myself and had to summon every bit of strength to keep from shrieking. What was staring back at me, from a darkened winter window, was sad, morally repugnant and just plain creepy.

As I caught a glimpse of myself on the NordicTrack, wearing a velour sweatsuit and horn-rimmed glasses so I could watch CNBC, I had the most unsettling epiphany: I’m not cool anymore.

I looked beyond the window at my snow-covered suburban lawn and wondered what had happened to my rebellious nature. Where was the guy who once wore mirror shades and motorcycle boots, whose long hair was held in place by a bandana? How did he morph into the guy who was exercising before dawn? Who chugged prune juice? And now dressed like senile mobster, Vincent “The Chin” Gigante? I did not know. And I was bummed about it. read more

Art and friendship make powerful tools to fight ageism

College students and older adults become ‘pals’ in this creative arts program

By Linda Bernstein for Next Avenue

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Credit: paletteprogram.org Caption: PALETTE participants bridge the generations

“Whom would I meet? What would I say? Would I seem dorky?” These were Rena Berlin’s concerns before she met her Partner in Art Learning, the new “pal” she’d been matched with through a program that pairs a college student with an older adult to create art.

“For the first time in my life I really felt like a senior,” says the 68-year-old educator from Richmond, Va., with a laugh. “They were transporting a small group of us from the Weinstein Jewish Community Center in a van to the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. A van. That mean’s you’re getting old. I was also nervous.” read more

The secret to a long marriage

Our relationship is different from our parents’ but just as lasting

By Candy Schulman for Next Avenue

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Credit: Getty Images

When I mention I recently celebrated my 40th wedding anniversary, friends stare incredulously as if to say, “How is that possible?” I joke that I was a child bride in an arranged marriage, sold with a dowry to the highest bidder. The truth is I did vow “I do” at 23.

My husband, Steve, and I married young and had a child late.

A personalized path

Mary Virginia Baker (center) with daughters Betty Smola (left) and Mary Kate Saltzman (right)

Mary Virginia Baker (center) with daughters Betty Smola (left) and Mary Kate Saltzman (right)

A strong-willed woman who raised five children on her own, Mary Virginia Baker (or Ginny, as her friends call her), has always done her best to make smart decisions for her family, including her decision to move to Fulton Presbyterian Manor.

“She wanted to maintain her independence on her own terms. She had her own home, but no longer wanted to worry about home maintenance. While I was able and willing to help her, she didn’t want that. Her mother had lived with her, and she didn’t want the same for her children. So she decided on her own to move here five years ago,” said Betty Smola, Mary Virginia’s daughter. read more

Made with love

nona-brownWhen you picture someone in the kitchen lovingly preparing every dish with great care, a smile always on her face, you may be reminded of your mother or grandmother; someone who takes great delight in preparing meals for those she loves. While some might be surprised to find this type of person working in the dining services department of a senior living community, we’re lucky enough to have Nona Brown right here at Fulton Presbyterian Manor.

“Nona is such a dedicated employee. She takes pride in her work and it shows in the food she serves to the residents and the employees! There are so many dishes that she prepares that are amazing, but her fried chicken is the best I’ve ever had! I am blessed to have her on my team!” said Dawn Smith, executive director. “Anytime we have a special event at the community, whether it’s a managers’ meeting, holiday event, or a special day for employees and residents, Nona cooks. All the staff and residents look forward to her meals, as they are so delicious.” read more

Born for this

bessie-boese-9-8-2016 Cheerful, happy expressions aren’t uncommon on the faces of staff at Fulton Presbyterian Manor, but there’s one who stands out for her sunny disposition and perpetually positive outlook. In fact, some might call her the official “cheerleader.” LPN and Unit Coordinator Bessie Boese brings passion and professionalism to her position.

“I really love my job! I’ve created so many friendships with staff, residents and their families. We have such a camaraderie,” said Bessie. “We’re like a big, extended family. Over the years of working in long-term care, I’ve held hands with, cried with, hugged, spoken to families whose loved one is dying or if a resident has lost someone they love. It’s very endearing that they look to me for comfort.” read more

4 life lessons from Tony Bennett and other 89-year-olds

Bennett and Dick Van Dyke are going strong and happy

By Liz Fedor for Next Avenue

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Caption: Tony with his son Danny, 2007 Grammy Awards

Singer Tony Bennett, at 89, isn’t resting on his laurels.

He recently released a new album, The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern. In an interview with NPR, he recalled how much he loved singing for his relatives as a boy. “It created a passion in my life that exists to this moment as I speak to you, that is stronger now at 89 than in my whole life,” Bennett said. “I still feel that I can get better somehow. And I search for it all of the time.”

Bennett’s not the only 89-year-old who is defying stereotypes of older age.  Actor Dick Van Dyke  just wrote a memoir titled Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging.  Queen Elizabeth continues to carry out the royal responsibilities she inherited in 1952. And Marilyn Hagerty, my friend and former colleague, continues to write regularly for the Grand Forks, N.D., Herald. read more

Fiftysomething diet: 7 trendy (and healthy?) foods

They are getting a lot of attention and may even be good for you

By Maureen Callahan for Next Avenue

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In the never-ending parade of new food products that make headlines every year, there are always a few that catch on and become trendy, almost fashionable. They are options that beg to be included in any healthy diet.

The question is: Are they worth bringing to the table? Put another way, will they help you age more gracefully and do they have unique nutritional benefits?

Here’s a look at seven of the trendiest edible offerings that people are talking about around the water cooler, at book clubs and in the coffee shop, along with details on what they do and don’t offer when it comes to health, nutrition and disease prevention: read more