The South Shore Four Barbershop Quartet surprised Westlake Village resident Richard Mills recently with a private performance. Mills, a talented singer himself, even had an opportunity to join in and sing the lead on a few songs. Mills once sang with a jazz band, and has wonderful memories of frequent visits to New Orleans to perform with local groups there. Hospice of the Western Reserve arranged the surprise visit as part of its life enrichment program, which works on granting the wishes of patients. The program is part of the non-profit agency’s philosophy of helping individuals celebrate life to the fullest through meaningful and memorable experiences.
Love it or hate it but either way we can’t live without it. This may be a typical relationship you have with technology. For certain demographics, personal computers are a poster-child for the idiom “everything but the kitchen sink” where the plethora of functions offered becomes a barrier to adopting technology.
Lately, though, I see hope. Although partly due to socioeconomic factors there’s another reason why the technology adoption barrier is slowly crumbling. I coin the term "Power of One" to explain this.
Many people find themselves in the position of being house-rich and cash-poor, and unfortunately many seniors are forced to sell the homes they have worked for all their lives just to make ends meet.
You have seen actors and others on national TV commercials telling about reverse mortgages and the tremendous benefits they provide to homeowners 62 years of age and over. They truly are an amazing financial tool which has been the solution for many seniors in resolving the financial concerns and quality-of-life issues they face each day such as paying for medications, groceries and/or healthcare. In many cases it has been their only means of survival in the extremely difficult economic times in which we live.
Medicare's annual open enrollment period is Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Here are some facts for those considering or already enrolled in Medicare:
Who should be concerned with open enrollment?
Once per year, everyone who is eligible and wants to enroll or already is enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan and/or a Medicare Advantage Plan/Medicare Part C can either enroll without penalty during this time or review their current plan to see if it is still the most advantageous based on their current situation.
What is Medicare Part D?
All people with Medicare are eligible to enroll in a Medicare drug plan without penalty during open enrollment. These plans are offered by insurance companies and other private companies approved by Medicare. These plans can either add coverage to traditional Medicare or will be included in some Medicare Advantage Plans.
A subtle change in the air, slight color changes on leaves, could it be the arrival of autumn? Cooler nights, sunny days...perfect. If you listen closely you might hear the sounds of high school marching bands, either practicing or performing at a game.
High school football games are the greatest. Good-natured rivalry, family friends, classmates in the stands and cheerleaders getting the crowd off their feet bring communities together. Homecoming weekends mean homecoming dances and the crowning of kings and queens. I don't believe anyone forgets fall school activities.
It is not unusual to deny depression when someone asks or even when you question yourself about feelings of depression. The concept of depression and the negative connotations that come along with it historically have made it “taboo.” The good news is that in today’s world it is becoming more acceptable to talk about, accept and pursue treatment.
But how do you know the difference between clinical depression and a case of the blues? When considering this question you must look to both the severity and duration of symptoms. Are the symptoms so hard to deal with that they are causing problems in everyday life (severity)? Are the symptoms present daily and are they lasting for more than two weeks (duration)?
Devon Oaks in Westlake recently honored resident and beloved Cleveland celebrity Rocco Scotti. After a video highlighting his 20-year singing career, Scotti spoke about his life and sang for his audience. Scotti said that in the beginning, while on his way to sing the national anthem, a little voice told him to sing loud and strong. “That night, everyone went crazy in the stadium,” said Scotti. “That was the night it all started.”
Scotti and his wife, June, traveled all over the country singing the anthem at events. Sometimes he sang the anthem as many as seven times a day at different locations. He also recorded two albums. Scotti met many famous people including Tom Hanks, who called him one day and asked Scotti to sing in his upcoming movie.
The Better Business Bureau has reported the following scams preying on trusting Americans:
Free Target Gift Card: Cell phone users across the country are reporting they have been receiving text messages that appear to be from Target telling them they have won a drawing for a $1,000 gift card. They are then told in order to claim the gift card they should enter “917” at www.target.com.tgrz.biz which is not a website affiliated whatsoever with Target, even though it appears legitimate. It is a way to collect personal info such as your address and phone number.
Scenario: My father has been showing signs of dementia, but he refuses to be evaluated and denies there is a problem. He gets mad at me for bringing it up and we end up arguing over it. How can I get him to agree to go to the doctor before things get worse?
In my experience in long-term care, I often run into these situations with families. One of the biggest fears that aging adults have is their fear of “getting dementia.” Because of this fear, people tend to be defensive and deny there is a problem. There is no cookie-cutter answer or solution to this, but the following tips may help:
Summer's heat has struck this area with a vengeance. Senior citizens are especially vulnerable to high temperatures and high humidity. Health care professionals recommend seniors stay indoors when the temperature hits the high 70s or above. Some seniors might not tolerate summer temperatures even lower than that.
If you must go out into the heat, the safest times are early morning or late evening. It's certainly not fun to stay home when the sun is shining. Perhaps you can hitch a ride with Bay Senior Transportation to visit the Dwyer Center. The building is air-conditioned, plus there are many activities available. You can play Scrabble, work on puzzles, play cards, take in a movie on Tuesday afternoons, read a book or just relax. Grab a few friends and enjoy the coolness of the Dwyer Center.
Belvedere of Westlake owner Cindy Griffiths Novak, administrator Katy Swigett and three residents attended a recent Lake Erie Crushers game to cheer on their "housemate," pitcher Travis Risser. Risser lives at the Belvedere as part of their player host family program. Unfortunately, he was on the disabled list and didn't play in the game, but the group enjoyed their evening at the ballpark.
A new scam is sweeping the nation, claiming that President Obama will pay your utility bills through a new federal program. FirstEnergy Corp. customers in several states have reported the scam, and several other energy companies issued warnings to their customers about it.
How the scam works:
Consumers have been contacted in person and through fliers, social media and text messages with claims that President Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills.
This special pension allows for veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular assistance of another person with eating, bathing, dressing or incontinence care to receive money to help cover such expenses.
This benefit is overlooked by many families with veterans or surviving spouses who need additional money to help care for ailing parents or loved ones. This is a "pension benefit" and is not dependent upon service-related injuries for compensation. Most veterans who are in need of assistance qualify for this pension.
The Belvedere of Westlake Assisted Living Facility this year has welcomed pitcher Travis Risser from the Lake Erie Crushers to be part of their family for the upcoming Frontier League season.
When two-year resident catcher Joel Collins retired, he contacted his friend Travis and informed him that his place at the Belvedere was available; Travis jumped at the opportunity to be part of the family.
On May 15, Travis along with fellow teammates Kellen Kulbacji, Kyle Weldon and team mascot Stomper appeared at a meet and greet reception at the Belvedere. The players signed autographs and entertained residents, family and friends. The evening ended with the players putting their signatures on the Belvedere’s custom PT Cruiser that is a tribute to the Lake Erie Crushers.
Senior living options offer a wide range of choices to consider. Understanding the difference in services and levels of care will help seniors make informed decisions. In general, the following will help you navigate through these differences:
Senior apartments and "over-55 communities" are residential properties for persons 55 years and older. These places typically offer community rooms, social activities, security and sometimes meals and emergency response systems are also offered.
Scammers are always coming up with new ways to prey on trusting seniors. The following scams have been recently reported by the BBB’s scam alerts:
A scammer calls and claims to be a representative of Microsoft or "Windows Service" Center who is alerting users to "warnings" or "errors" discovered on their computer.
The scammer then instructs the victim to fix the problem by following commands over the phone. The scammer will try to gain remote access to the computer and install malicious software. He may also ask for credit card information to bill the victim for "repair services."
On a beautiful, February afternoon, residents from the Gardens at Westlake gathered at Birds of a Feather craft shop in Westlake to provide their time for the worthy cause of making lap blankets for those with dementia.
The project was developed by Michele Gillum, volunteer coordinator for Hospice of the Western Reserve. It was brought to Michele’s attention that often dementia residents like to hold something that provides some form of tactile stimulation for them and surprisingly the lap blankets, which have been titled “tactile lies,” provide that. The different textured fabrics offer the pleasurable stimuli they enjoy. Also strips are sewn together with three different rows of ribbons which are then sewn into the seams that add a soft, fluffy backing.
There was a time when a man’s word was all it took for a deal to be made, a loan to be granted or a promise to be kept. Those people still exist in our world today, but unfortunately these days we cannot count on everyone’s word to be true. We have to be cautious of whom we trust and be sure that person’s intentions are sincere.
It is a shame that our most trustworthy Americans, our senior citizens, are a target of many financial scams today. The Better Business Bureau of Cleveland has recognized this with a program called Senior Awareness Initiatives. They send out quarterly alerts of recent scams to senior housing facilities, in-home health care services, senior centers and other agencies that service our area’s older population.
I have worked in long term care for 15 years. I spend a lot of my time explaining Medicare benefits to patients and families about what is covered and what is not covered by Traditional Medicare (managed Medicare or Medicare part C is another beast all of its own). Many people are really quite shocked about the answers I give them. Please be aware you can always find out more information from MyMedicare.gov, or call 1-800-MEDICARE.
I will discuss some common misunderstandings I hear regarding Medicare coverage. My hope is that you will be more informed and educated about the coverage in the case that you or your loved one ever need in-patient skilled nursing rehabilitation.
The Cuyahoga Community College Center for Aging Initiatives is offering a senior adult education program called Food for Thought beginning Feb. 29. Classes will be held at Corporate College West at 25425 Center Ridge Rd., Westlake.
Over the course of two weeks, you will first chat over lunch and then find yourself immersed in the excitement of the course. Food for Thought is an opportunity to expand your mind and circle of friends. Sessions run on Wednesdays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Cost for each two-week course is $40 including lunch.
This past Valentine's Day, many couples from Bradley Bay were treated to a couples luncheon. The activities department decorated the room with hearts and flowers to make the mood just right. A musician strolled around the room playing love songs, as everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by Bradley Bay's kitchen. It truly was a special event just for couples to share.
Spectrum Retirement Communities recently held their annual conference in Denver, Colo., for executive directors and managers of their 25 facilities throughout the United States, of which one is the Gardens at Westlake. We are an independent and assisted living community and host to over 100 residents.
The Gardens' executive director Christina Melaragno's week of attending workshops and seminars ended with an awards dinner where the facility was recognized with top honors in four categories (which is seldom heard of!). The top award, “Community of the Year,” was presented to the Gardens at Westlake for a second year in a row. Other awards included Top Satisfaction Survey results, maintaining 95% or higher census and second-overall Top Financial Performance for Assisted Living.
At 16, Elsie Albrightson would sneak out of her Staten Island, New York, home and sing in New York City clubs. Eighty years later, Elsie can still bring down the house!
“An Afternoon with Elsie” was part of a HCR ManorCare Heart’s Desire program that Arden Courts Memory Care Community in Westlake sponsors on a couple of times a year for their residents. The program is designed to enrich the lives of residents, encourage them to take advantage of all that life has to offer and continue their active participation in the community.
Ruth Kostur, an 81-years-young resident at the Gardens at Westlake, is known around the building for her handmade quilts and stitched items. A part-time hobby that she took up after retiring from Women’s Federal Bank at age 63, Ruth’s passion has grown into a daily routine.
Looking for a hobby to occupy her time, Ruth turned to her sister – an expert knitter – who got her interested in working with a “knitting machine.” The machine used a computer to program different items such as socks, robes and even booties – what normally took her two evenings to do could now be completed in one.
The Gardens at Westlake continues to make the community service event they took on three years ago bigger and better each year. They donate canned goods or other non-perishable food items to a “Basket of Blessings.”
A large box was decorated and placed in the front lobby at the Gardens and the employees and residents filled the box numerous times with a wide variety of needed items.
This week I was able to get to the lake, something I haven't been able to do for quite some time. We found a bench and watched the show. Several people on jet skis were making waves, a sailboat coasted leisurely toward the east and the weather was perfect. I feel so fortunate to live so near the lake.
Somehow, I also feel a hint of sadness on this day, A few leaves were falling from the surrounding trees, reminding me that winter is around the corner. I really do not like winter. I dread the ice, cold, snow and the cloudy grey skies which contribute to SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, a fancy term for the winter blues.
Donald Stone, an 84-years-young resident at the Gardens at Westlake has no gardening skills nor ever had any interest in planting things until recently.
On a whim this past spring, he went to a nursery and bought seeds for tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupes and sunflowers. He planted all of his seeds on a 95-degree June day and much to his surprise, “everything” grew. He had an abundance of tomatoes, five watermelons, three cantaloupes and 10 sunflowers.
The staff at Westlake Village recently hosted two free workshops to help educate local residents about the Medicare system which, due to the complexities of current programs and the potential for changes in the future, poses questions and challenges for many of our senior citizens.
Speaker Bomi Parakh, Senior Director of Managed Care for Brookdale Living, traveled to Westlake to share his vast knowledge and expertise on this topic with the many residents who attended.
On Friday, Sept. 23, Ohio senior citizens will observe the annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day. With winter just around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about how to prevent falls. According to the Ohio Department of Aging: "Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalization and death among Ohioans age 65 and older."
In order to prevent falls, certain steps can be taken to keep seniors safe and upright. Most of these precautions take just a measure of common sense and a little rearranging.
On Sunday, July 24, a Bath Township man diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease wandered away from his home and was declared missing. For two days police and concerned citizens searched the area with no success. On Tuesday the man was found, disoriented but unharmed. This story had a happy ending. Tragically, many wanderers never return home.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, an estimated 5.4 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's disease during 2011. Many of these people will wander at least once during the course of the disease. Searching for missing persons costs many millions of dollars annually. Often these people are never found.
The city of Rocky River has access to a new technology which locates wanderers in minutes rather than hours or days of searching. Undertaking a search and rescue effort is costly and time consuming. There is a better way.
September 11 is Grandparent’s Day and the official kick off to National Assisted Living Week. At Bradley Bay Assisted Living, a week of activities is planned for the residents, families and staff to celebrate.
Please join us for a “Happy Hour” with entertainment during our Open House on Friday, Sept. 23, from 3-4:30 p.m.
It was an afternoon of laughter, fun and reminiscing of years past but still present in the minds of all the seniors that attended the 1950s-themed “Sock Hop” on August 19 at the Gardens at Westlake on Detroit Road.
Upon entering the front lobby, the doors displayed huge, colorful paper cutouts of jukeboxes, and hanging from the ceiling were streamers and 45-RPM rock-and-roll records. Tables were decorated with nostalgic candy, like Good & Plenty, Tootsie Rolls, Chiclets and Dentyne gum and Boston Baked Beans.
One recent Saturday evening, a group of ladies was sitting outside of the Knickerbocker Apartments chatting when an unexpected guest dropped by to visit. The visitor was dressed nicely in muted grey from head to toe. He was first noticed sitting on Betty Carson's walker without even a polite "May I?"
Betty and Minnie Mayerhoffer were sitting on a nearby bench. Then rudely, and again without permission, the visitor hopped into the bag clipped to the walker. Perhaps to show his expertise in acrobatics, he then jumped from the seat to the frame below and back up again!
Burgers, brats, steaks on the grill – is there any better way to celebrate the Fourth of July? Well, yes and no. You could make ham sandwiches and potato salad or head out for some fun fair food at Bay Days. In addition to food, you'll find games of chance, fantastic rides, live music and, of course, a spectacular fireworks display which begins at 9:45 p.m.. Really, it's the best show in town.
A little bird told me some young-at-heart seniors would be scooting up to the Gazebo at 11:30 a.m. on July 4 to show off their decorated vehicles. Will these seniors really rally to make the trip to the park to join in the mini-parade which will take place there? I certainly hope they make it. To find out if they did, why not drop around to cheer on the participants. I'm told there may be lots of little ones on bikes to root for, too. Sounds like fun.
Would you love to step back in time and remember when things seemed so simple? Residents of the Knickerbocker Apartments invite anyone interested in joining them on a bus trip to the Henry Ford Museum, Michigan, to visit one of the premier historical centers in America.
See the actual chair Lincoln sat in when assassinated, Civil War artifacts on loan from the National Archives, presidential limos, and rooms filled with items sure to bring back memories!
By day, Dad was the sales manager of a local company which manufactured wire screen. Each morning he left the house in his starched white shirt and patterned tie. At night all he wanted was peace and quiet. Weekends, however, were another story.
Every Friday and Saturday night throughout my childhood and adolescense he played the saxophone in a three-piece band. Dad was an entertainer. He loved performing. He sang, cracked jokes and put his heart and soul into the music he played. As I look through the pictures of Dad's band, I can almost hear the songs which were such a huge part of my younger years. Dad played the sax well into his eighties, filling in for local bands any chance he got.
Over 100 guests spent an afternoon enjoying a look back at the history of women in America as told through fashion when they attended a luncheon hosted by the West Shore Senior Center, located in the Knickerbocker Apartments in Bay Village. The special afternoon was part of a fundraising event designated to help generate revenue to continue to provide services for area seniors.
Thanks to the generosity of West Bay Care & Rehabilitation Center, the program was a great success. The West Shore Senior Center relies solely on donations for its daily operations and was very grateful to West Bay who offered to provide the entertainment for this important program.
The sun actually came out for the 3rd Annual Ladies Tea at the Gardens at Westlake, a retirement and assisted living community on Detroit Road. A large group of residents and their guests were treated to a well-received presentation by Gloria Cipri Kemer, owner of the Emerald Bed and Breakfast Tea Room in Fairview Park.
As an expert on tea, Gloria enthralled the audience with a program titled: “Teas From Around The World” and neatly tied in a little bow were three samples she discussed which were Chinese, English and Tea Today.
While enjoying the variety of teas, everyone was served Flaming Bananas Foster topped with scoops of ice cream.
On a sunny afternoon in May, eighth-graders from St. Raphael School in Bay Village helped Bradley Bay residents work the soil and plant a lovely flower garden. Everyone joined in. This garden will be maintained and enjoyed all summer long by Bradley Bay's residents and staff.
The West Shore Senior Center is a non-profit organization serving low-income seniors living in the Knickerbocker Apartments in Bay Village. The senior center provides an in-house food service program as well as activities designed to enrich the lives of those living in the building and the surrounding community.
To that end, a fundraising event has been scheduled to raise much needed monies for the daily operations and food service program.
A Vintage Fashion Show and Luncheon will be held on Wednesday, April 13, at 12:00 p.m. at the West Shore Senior Center, 27100 Knickerbocker Rd. in Bay.