Great fun was had by all at O'Neill Healthcare Bay Village's Steppin’ Out community senior dance. Several of the local senior communities joined to together to orchestrate an evening of food, fun and dancing. St. Ladislas Catholic Church in Westlake provided the ballroom. Even “Chomps,” the mascot for the Cleveland Browns, joined in the fun.
Eight Westshore senior centers have joined forces with Center For Aging in the Digital World to create a “one-stop” website for seniors residing in the western suburbs of Cleveland. Senior center directors from the cities of Westlake, Bay Village, Avon, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted, North Ridgeville and Rocky River have formed a strong collaborative relationship in their efforts to provide quality services and programs to older adults in their communities.
Two years ago at the annual Westshore senior center directors' retreat, the group thought it would be a great service if one website could be created that would contain easily accessible information pertinent to all eight communities. While several people choose to participate at senior centers, the directors realized that there are still many people living in isolation who are unaware of the many services, programs and friendships that are available at their local centers. The hope is to cast a broader "net" of information.
One magical evening, the “Central Station” of Arden Courts Memory Care Community in Westlake was transformed into a room of soft music, twinkling starlight, white linens, and a lively dance floor to fulfill a father’s heart's desire.
With the assistance of the helpful, caring and responsive staff and their families, Mike, a resident who is diagnosed with Frontotemporal Degeneration-type dementia, was able to enjoy a father-daughter dinner and dance with his two girls. The team went the whole nine yards to prepare and ensure everything was just right. The special night was part of an Arden Courts program called "Heart's Desire," where the staff fulfill a resident's wish.
Do you find yourself losing interest in exercising and eating a healthy diet, or worse, not even willing to try? Are you frustrated by repeated attempts to change your habits, convinced that you just don’t have the willpower to carry through? You are not alone.
Most of us know what we are supposed to do to get healthier, but somehow that doesn’t translate into doing it.
What if you could tackle a few simple, manageable changes at a time? Studies show that the majority of successful healthy lifestyle changes happen after tackling your problem with minor tweaks, one at a time.
I dread hearing people talk about the end of summer, when in Cleveland we are really just smack dab in the middle of it. Seeing school supplies and, even worse, Halloween candy already making its way to the store shelves doesn't help. Personally, I find that ice cream usually helps extend the summer joy. (It doesn't hurt too badly during the other seasons either). Ice cream with lots and lots of caramel and whipped cream is especially something to rejoice.
If you are looking for some fun summer activities for the "50 Plus" crowd, join us for ice cream and more at the Westlake Center for Community Services. If you haven't visited us before, put us on your list of things to do. We are located at 29694 Center Ridge Road. Our phone number is 899-3544 and website is www.cityofwestlake.org/community-services.
ICE CREAM SOCIAL – Tuesday Aug. 22, 11:00 a.m.
Devon Oaks has offered to provide the ice cream and all the toppings for this senior activities fundraiser. For the admission price of $3 you can create the sundae of your dreams, visit with friends, and tour the center if you've never been here before. RSVP to 899-3544; admission payable by Aug. 17.
The Dwyer Senior Center has a full slate of activities for those looking to make the most of the summer. From margaritas to ice cream, there are all kinds of fun ways to beat the heat! For more information on these programs, or to register, call 440-835-6565 or stop in to the Dwyer Center at 300 Bryson Lane.
SUMMER FITNESS: HOW TO STAY SAFE IN THE HEAT – Wednesday, Aug. 9, 11 a.m.
August in Bay Village brings the lazy days of summer! We will talk about safe summer activities that will help keep you fit right here in Northeast Ohio – or if you move on to Florida and extend your summer. Additionally, we will discuss the changes you will want to make as you “Fall Into Fitness.” Talk given by Victoria Yannie, fitness consultant and personal trainer. FREE; please RSVP.
LUNCH BUNCH: MARGARITAVILLE – Thursday, Aug. 10, 11 a.m.
Don’t waste another day before registering to visit the new Jimmy Buffett-inspired Margaritaville restaurant in the Cleveland Flats. There’s an island theme to the location and the ceiling is covered with a sprawling mural depicting an idyllic oceanic map of the Caribbean. The menu boasts beach tacos, jambalaya, fried chicken and steaks with tropical elixirs and of course a wide range of margaritas. They also serve the famous “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” Cost is $10 at registration for transportation. In-person registration only.
The Westlake Center for Community Services will be offer a free course this fall on independence and aging. The series of six lessons will be held on Mondays, Oct. 2-Nov. 6, from 1-2 p.m. The focus of the course is building an "independence toolkit" that will allow seniors to remain in their homes as they age.
Most of us want to stay in our own home throughout our lifetime. The cost effective way to avoid calamity is for seniors (and their adult children) to educate themselves about how to plan for the future. Each lesson will be presented by experts from hospitals and area senior care initiatives. Participants completing the course will have the tools and contacts to create their personal plan. Seniors and their adult children are invited and encouraged to plan together.
Wanted: Bocce players, especially for Men's Group on Thursday mornings. No experience required! Offers great health benefits.
Bocce is an outdoor game that can be played by folks from any age or skill level. It can be played by two people or by two teams of two to four people. The rules are relatively simple. One player (or team) begins by rolling a smaller ball, known as the “palina,” onto the court. Turns are then taken as each player (or team) attempts to bowl his or her balls closest to the palina.
Note: The phone number in the print edition of this article is incorrect. Call 440-899-3544 to register.
You’ve heard this before: Walking is great exercise, ESPECIALLY for seniors. We have known this for a long time. Hippocrates declared that “walking is man’s best medicine.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t make it on our medication lists. Let’s face it, as we age, the urge to become sedentary increases and is accompanied by myriad health problems.
The good news is that people who start a regular walking program reap numerous health benefits including: decreasing their blood pressure, as well as their cholesterol, blood sugar and even stress and depression levels. Furthermore, a walking program improves oxygen to the body, provides for a healthier heart, improves balance and coordination, muscle strength, mobility, eliminates fluid build-up and helps fight weight gain. Taking a 10-minute walk can change your body chemistry enough to boost you out of a bad mood. Do any of these benefits appeal to you? Of course they do. Who doesn’t want to feel better?
A hot topic in the world of continuing education is how to manage a multigenerational work environment. Recently, in a leadership class, the young man seated next to me groaned when he heard that was going to be that day's topic. He interpreted multigenerational work environment to be synonymous with millenial bashing.
Not being a millenial, I was interested in hearing the information from his perspective and thought he had a point, until I heard some baby boomer bashing – and then felt a little defensive. One young man blamed the baby boomers for ruining our country, and expressed his viewpoint that these folks needed to stop being greedy and retire already, making room for the young to be in charge. Yes, the room was quite charged indeed.
What do Columbo, Alfalfa and James Bond (portrayed by Roger Moore) have in common?
Besides being famously quirky characters, probably not a whole lot except that the actors who portrayed them were all born in 1927. This means that they would be turning 90 this year. Roger Moore is the only one of this trio who is still living (although "fake news" wrongly reported his death earlier this month). If he lived in Westlake, we would be happy to add him to our Over 90s Birthday Celebration guest list; a list that grows year after year.
This year, the Westlake Community Services Department mailed 109 invitations to the 90-plus-year-old Westlake residents we know who live independently. Three of the invitations included couples who are both over 90. Additionally, we sent invitations to the Westlake-based assisted living facilities, as each of them bring a healthy contingent of nonagenerians and centenarians to the table. Of course, we don't know everyone, so please contact us if your nonagenerian didn't receive an invite, and we will happily add them to our guest list.
What do you think of when someone says the words "senior center"? Do you picture a bunch of old people (much older than you, of course) sitting around talking about the old days?
If so, it’s time to adjust your vision. Today’s senior centers, including the Bay Village Dwyer Senior Center, are vibrant, lively, active places that offer a variety of programs and opportunities to appeal to almost everyone. And by everyone, we mean adults age 55 and older!
So what does one do at a senior center? If you were to stop by the Dwyer Center, you would find:
- Health and Wellness Programs: A variety of exercise options, nutrition classes and cooking demonstrations, health screenings and a large vegetable garden to grow our own produce are just a sampling of the programs offered at the Dwyer Center. Our goal is to provide the key elements that will help our participants stay healthy and independent as they age.
- Lifelong Learning: Curiosity and the desire to learn do not decrease with age, and help keep our brains stimulated. Whether attending a Lunch and Learn session on a topic of interest or a multiple-week training program, we offer a wide variety of programs to keep our participants informed and engaged.
Travel tops the list for the majority of seniors, and yes, this includes the aging baby boomer generation. Most opt for educational trips and the ambience of beautiful landscapes and countryside. Comfort usually trumps money (although comfort can be found in thrifty ways). Sixty percent of senior citizens would rather stay in a condo than a motel, and 68 percent would rather stay in a hotel than with family.
Some seniors dream of traveling, but hold themselves back due to: lack of a travel companion, fear of not being able to physically keep-up and affordability. At the Westlake Center for Community Services, we have solutions for all of these obstacles and can help make your travel dreams come true!
Every year we offer a variety of trips including day trips, mini trips and extended cross-country travel. Our Hyways and Byways edition to our newsletter will be available at the end of this month, detailing this year's offerings. In the meantime, allow me to tempt you with some very local day trip offerings. The beauty of the day trip is having the feeling and experience of really "getting away" without having to pack a suitcase. It's like dangling your toes in the swimming pool of travel!
If you are a senior, and have a fear of falling, you are not alone. Studies indicate that up to half of community dwelling older adults experience fear of falling. Many respond to this concern by curtailing activities. This in turn can lead to loss of muscle strength, an increased risk of isolation, depression and anxiety, and increases your risk of falling. In short, fear of falling can actually contribute to falling!
The good news is that the majority of falls are preventable. The even better news is that there are strategies you can learn to improve your balance, and take control of this problem.
The key to happiness and health is to have good relationships; not wealth, fame or other so-called measures of success. This is one of the most important findings from the Harvard Study of Adult Development that began in 1938 and is actually still going on today. It is probably the longest running longitudinal study around. According to the current study coordinator, social connections (family, friends and community) are really, really good for us.
Conversely loneliness results in speeding up physical decline, including declining brain function. In fact there is some indication that satisfaction in life and relationships at age 50 is a bigger predictor of health in your 80s than your cholesterol level! So quality social connectedness should be right up there with exercise and antioxidants. Move over, kale, and enter the senior center!
The goal of a senior center is to help people get and feel connected; to kick loneliness to the curb. And the winter months do not slow our patrons down. In fact, the mySeniorCenter Fun Facts newsletter reports that senior center attendance in the winter season increases by 30 minutes per day! We are, after all, a hearty bunch here in Northeast Ohio.
That assisted living or nursing facility you pass on your way to work or to visit a family member may one day be “home.” According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ website, longtermcare.gov, seven in 10 of those who are turning 65 years of age will likely need some type of long-term care in their lifetime.
“The conversation that it is time for an elderly parent to give up the keys to the family car is usually emotionally charged,” observed Lydia Gadd, director of Westlake's Community Services Department. “Another difficult conversation is the prospect of having to sell a beloved home because mom or dad cannot live there safely any longer. It is beneficial in these circumstances to take time to collect information and research possible solutions before saying a word. Often the goals of elderly parents and adult children can conflict. By gathering information, and moving slowly and with compassion, the needs of both sides can be better balanced.”
To help both seniors and the loved ones who may be assisting in the decision-making process, the City of Westlake’s Community Services Department is hosting a free Senior Housing Fair on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Refreshments will be served. The event is open to both Westlake residents and non-residents. Since seating is limited, attendees are asked to RSVP by calling 440-899-3544 before Tuesday, Feb. 14.
Bay Village Mayor Paul Koomar recently joined the staff of O’Neill Healthcare Bay Village in celebration of a longtime Bay resident Mr. William King on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Following Mayor Koomar’s presentation of his special proclamation, everyone enjoyed birthday party festivities worthy of such a wonderful centenarian.
Senior centers offer our older citizens free or low-cost options for socialization, recreation, fitness and education, to name a few things. People who regularly partake in these offerings value them. Unfortunately, there are too many senior citizens who remain isolated in their homes and either don't know about our programs or don't feel compelled to come.
There is a bit of a "that's for old people" mentality that can be a roadblock. I have heard this sentiment from many, including those in their late 80s. Some people define being a senior as "10 years older than whatever age I am." Why is this? Well, certainly our perspective of aging has a lot to do with it. If we envision aging as something negative and depressing, then we certainly don't want to put ourselves in that category.
The Dwyer Senior Center in Bay Village will be the subject of two community events this month: a public meeting about a planned renovation, and a lunch fundraiser.
On Monday, Sept. 12, 6:30 p.m., a public meeting will be held at City Hall to discuss the proposed conversion of the Dwyer Center kitchen into a commercial kitchen that would allow serving of hot meals to seniors. The city is applying for a municipal grant through Cuyahoga County to provide the funds for this renovation. Anyone interested in this project is invited to attend.
On Thursday evening, June 23, O'Neill Healthcare Bay Village hosted the Letter Carriers Band. The group is, as the name suggests, entirely comprised of United States Postal Service letter carriers. Their big band sound was a big hit with all who attended. O'Neill Healthcare Bay Village also hosts the M2B2 Jazz band twice monthly on the second and fourth Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. in the main dining room. This band plays frequently at The Brothers Lounge and other venues locally. These events are open to the public so if you want to hear some great music please join us.
With the goal of helping seniors prevent or manage chronic illness through good nutrition and exercise, The Bay Village Senior Center has kicked off a six-month wellness program that includes the planting of a large vegetable garden on the grounds of the senior center. All of the vegetables harvested will be given back to the seniors, and used for cooking demonstrations and tastings using this produce.
Research has shown that simple changes to diet and exercise can help seniors prevent and manage heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as other chronic conditions.
Carolyn Vieth enjoyed an early Mother's Day celebration with her daughters, Becky Olson and Evelyn Sobczak, at O'Neill Healthcare Bay Village on April 30. The ladies attended the High Tea dressed in their finery, hats and all, and enjoyed an assortment of teas, scones and other delights.
The Westlake Center for Community Services together with the Westlake Women's Club recognized our city's over-90s residents with a Birthday Brunch Celebration on April 28. These two organizations have partnered to provide this time-honored tradition for well over 15 years now. The biggest change to this event over the years is that the number of celebrants keeps growing. Some of us (including myself) who attended the brunch as special guests, have given up our seats to meet the demand.
In fact, approximately 100 people over the age of 90 attended this year's brunch! The celebration included a handshake, photo-op and proclamation from Mayor Dennis Clough. Among the attendees were individuals from the eight assisted living/senior living facilities in Westlake, as well as 25 or more residents who live independently. There were plenty more Westlake nonagenerians who could not attend the brunch, but will still receive Proclamations. Many reside in the six nursing home facilities within the city. In total, over 325 individual Proclamations were prepared.
The Westlake Center for Community Services is having a monthly daytime dance. Dancing, watching dancing and listening to music have many benefits. Throughout a person's entire life, the brain responds to music. Unborn babies hear and respond to music in the womb. Those with Alzheimer's disease and dementia often can still remember words to songs, even when they can’t recall other things.
Because everyone is a little Irish on St. Paddy’s day, the residents at O’Neill Healthcare Bay Village celebrated with Irish dancing performed by the talented students of the Burke School of Dance. These very talented young ladies dazzled everyone with their precision and skill making our St. Patrick’s Day celebration extra special.
Exercise is good for your health: physically, emotionally, mentally and don't forget socially! Just ask Alice McCarthy and Jackie Garvin, who have been exercising together at the Westlake Center for Community Services for about 15 years now. The widows first met each other in exercise class and have been great friends ever since.
Alice, who is 85, and Jackie, 78, find the classes at the Westlake Center "just right" for them, as the instructors work to their abilities. "We don't get on the floor," notes Alice, adding that it is very helpful to have chairs for some of their exercises. "We work with weights, exercise balls, bands and do some mild aerobics suited to our age groups."
The residents and staff of O’Neill Healthcare Bay Village welcomed in spring with their annual Spring Brunch on March 19. Over 280 guests were in attendance and excited to visit with a very special guest, the Easter Bunny.
O’Neill Healthcare Bay Village received a donation of artwork from the family of Janet Woodward, a former resident. Sue Hale, Mrs. Woodward’s daughter and a Bay Village resident, graciously donated the collection in memory of her mother.
The artwork consists of framed floral and landscape watercolors. Mrs. Woodward was an accomplished local artist and this treasure trove of exquisite watercolors will be on displayed and enjoyed by residents, guests and visitors for years to come.
The Marines landed at O’Neill Healthcare Bay Village to honor a Vietnam veteran. Lewis “Mike” Chapman, USMC Sergeant, received a surprise visit from the Marine Corp League, Gung Ho Detachment #650. This great group of Marines is the Nursing Home Reconnaissance Party, known for supporting any former Marine residing in a nursing home.
Mike enjoyed reminiscing about his days as a Marine, and hearing stories from the Gung Ho Detachment. O’Neill Healthcare Bay Village has been recognized by this group for the support and patriotism shown to our veterans. As a Veterans Administration-contracted facility, O’Neill Healthcare Bay Village has developed a number of programs engaging resident veterans with outside veterans organizations.
When chocolate hearts replace chocolate Santas in the world of retail, we know that Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Companionship and love never go out of style, although courtship rituals have changed over the years. Enter the world of Senior Speed Dating! Intrigued? You can find out more by registering to view "The Age of Love" documentary at the Westlake Center for Community Services.
This free movie screening is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 12, at 1 p.m., and is open to Plus Fifty residents of the West Shore (reservations are required, 899-3544). The "Age of Love" is a story of the universality of love and desire, regardless of age. In fact, the goal is to empower seniors to see themselves in a new way that is not limited by social stereotypes.
The holidays were celebrated during the whole month of December at O’Neill Healthcare Bay Village. From the beautifully decorated Christmas trees throughout the community, to the children, families and friends coming in to spread Christmas cheer, there is no mistaking that it’s a most wonderful time of the year.
- Santa and his elf were in town for the annual resident and family open house, posing for pics every chance they got! Appetizers, desserts and a coffee bar were served.
- The Bay Presbyterian Church Mothers of Preschoolers group entertained the residents with a red carpet holiday fashion show, complete with red velvet dresses and lots of bling!
- The Bay Village Community Band performed a concert, Providence Church conducted the Christmas Eve service, and the afternoon New Year’s Eve party included entertainment from Gordon Taylor.
Holidays can be stressful and a lot of work. For our community elders, it just might take too much energy to think about some of the "extras" like decorating. That is part of the reason why the staff of Westlake's Community Services Department take extra time to transform our Community Center into a place that can help bring back the joy and wonder of the season.
The gingerbread house entrance immediately sets the tone. Our patrons smile and share some of their own happy holiday memories. Every community room has a different theme. There is a Grinch Christmas tree, along with the mono-antlered dog Max on the Grinch's sleigh, and another tree with an old-fashioned Candy and Soda Shop theme. You will find elves on shelves, and even a "Naughty List."
The Walkers of Westlake, a Plus Fifty group from the Westlake Center for Community Services recently completed 10 virtual walks around the world. The actual walks were 2 miles in length completed on the scenic track of the Westlake Recreation Department. The virtual walks took our seniors all over the world to such places as: Italy, Germany, China and Mexico, to name a few.
Each week the group received a treat from the featured country, as well as the next set of clues to help them determine their next destination. They also received a flag from the country they visited fastened to their "suitcase" so that they could track their own travels. The suitcases were part of the Center's bulletin board display. At the conclusion, our walkers returned to the good old USA for a breakfast provided by the Lutheran Home of Concord Reserve.
O’Neill Healthcare Bay Village honored 30 residents, all veterans, for their military service on Veterans Day. This distinguished group was comprised of men and women representing every branch of the armed forces and also included WWII veterans from the British and Hungarian armies.
A Color Guard from the North Ridgeville VFW Post #9871 led the ceremony honoring our vets and O’Neill Healthcare Hospice was on hand to commemorate each veteran’s service with the presentation of a certificate and pinning ceremony. The color guard concluded the solemn ceremony with a 21-gun salute and a bugler playing taps.
Fall is a time of change, and when we start spending more time indoors. It’s also a great time to come to the Bay Village Dwyer Senior Center to experience the variety of programs we have for our residents. Our goal is to provide programs for wellness, mental stimulation, and social interaction every single day. In November, our activities include:
Thursday, Nov. 5, 9:30 a.m. – Tour of the Federal Reserve Bank. We’ll be taking a guided walk through this national historic landmark, a monument to superb craftsmanship and prosperity of the post-World War l era and learn about the operations of the U.S. central bank. Cost: $10.
Friday, Nov. 6, noon – Going to the Dogs. An entertaining program by “Kiss K-9s,” dogs who have gone through training with Noreen, the dog trainer at PetSmart. A hot dog lunch will be served! Please RSVP.
Superheroes, princesses and wild animals spent a recent weekday morning with the residents of O’Neill Healthcare Bay Village. Actually, they were the children and moms of the Bay Presbyterian Church preschool group. Thirty-five of the cutest kids ever went trick-or-treating from door to door of the apartments in the assisted living facility and then gathered with the nursing home residents for a party in their dining room. With cider, donuts and cupcakes on the menu, both the preschool group and residents enjoyed their morning together.
Rae-Ann Suburban Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Facility in Westlake celebrated the opening of its modern new therapy gym on Oct. 15 in a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Dennis Clough.
Rae-Ann Suburban specializes in orthopedic rehabilitation and is one of five family-owned Rae-Ann facilities in the greater Cleveland area, three of which are in Westlake.
“Our new therapy gym is a dream come true and the culmination of years of planning,” said Rae-Ann owner John Griffiths. “Many of our staff, patients, and professionals helped us design and build this space to be the most functional, beautiful, and advanced therapy facility in the region.
“Eighty-eight percent of our patients are able to be rehabilitated and discharged with an average length of stay of less than 30 days,” Griffiths explained. “This new facility and its cutting-edge equipment will enable our therapy team to continue to provide the highest level of rehabilitation care on the West side and facilitate shorter, more effective post-acute care stays.”
My maternal grandmother, Emilie, and her sister, Frederica, emigrated from Germany in the mid-1880s. They settled in Cleveland, married and raised their families. Their brother, Carl, remained in Germany. Grandma Emilie corresponded with her family until her death in 1937 when her daughter, Emily, took over until World War II ended communications.
After Germany's surrender in 1945, Emily wrote to Carl's granddaughter, Hilda Specht, at her last known address in Stettin, a large seaport by the Baltic Sea. Emily told Hilda if she received the letter and wanted her help she would support her. Hilda had a friend who worked in the post office. One day she stopped in and her friend said, “Wait a minute, I have a letter for you.” Bingo! A connection was made!
O’Neill Healthcare Bay Village residents enjoyed an evening of music and dancing at the annual Stepping Out dance held at St. Ladislas Catholic Church in Westlake. Each year the church donates the use of their church hall and invites nursing home and assisted living residents from the local area to come together for an evening of fun. This year the residents sang and danced the night away to the singing duo of “Frank & Dean” – Sinatra and Martin? Oh, the memories!
October is a busy month at the Bay Village Senior Center, 300 Bryson Lane. To register or for more information, call 440-835-6565.
Tuesday, Oct. 13 (10 a.m.) Silver Sneakers CardioStrength Class – This class is for Baby Boomers and active, strong seniors. CardioStrength is an aerobics class that is safe and heart-healthy, but gentle on the joints.
Friday, Oct. 16 (12:30 p.m.) Grief Recovery for the Holidays – Discuss the difficulty and dread of grief during the holidays. Lunch provided. A 10- to 12-week grief support group will begin Oct. 23.