Senior Living

Medicare open enrollment period is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7

Once per year, every one 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. For more information about the health and drug plans and Medigap policies described below, visit www.medicare.gov and click “Sign Up/Change Plans” then “Find health and drug plans” or call 1-800-MEDICARE.

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.

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Volume 5, Issue 21, Posted 10:18 AM, 10.15.2013

Westlake team named top fundraiser in local Alzheimer's walk

It might have rained all morning at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, but that didn’t stop Team Arden Courts Westlake from having fun at the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sept. 21. “We had a lot to celebrate,” said Lisa Anthony, the marketing director at Arden Courts. “Our team received the award for the Top Fundraising Team in the Healthcare/Senior Living Division and we are very proud.”

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Volume 5, Issue 20, Posted 9:39 AM, 10.01.2013

Outdoor landscaping activities to engage dementia sufferers

Fall is the time for many landscaping chores, such as raking, pruning and planting. Just because a person has dementia, doesn’t mean they have to stop activities they enjoy and that make them feel productive. Here are some ideas to involve those with dementia in these types of activities:

Early Stage Dementia

  • Provide a bag and rake for raking leaves. Re-direct, as needed, to keep the person on task.
  • Prune overgrown bushes by bringing the person to the bush and instructing what to do. Supervise the person for safety and to prevent over-pruning.
  • Help the person plant spring-blooming bulbs by giving step-by-step directions and providing the needed tools.
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Volume 5, Issue 19, Posted 10:19 AM, 09.17.2013

Volunteers plant happiness for local seniors

The residents of the Knickerbocker Apartments in Bay Village were thrilled last week when a team of energetic volunteers from Bay View Cares showed up with shovels in hand to plant a vegetable garden for all to enjoy. Bay View Cares, a missional community formed from members of Bay Presbyterian Church, organized and funded this event from design to harvest – and the residents are thrilled!

The amazing wood structure, including the front gate, was designed by Greg Ernst. John Meaux, Paul Lang, Eric Peterson and Paul Sutherland implemented his plan by building this uniquely shaped garden. Allen Borowski, his wife Jen, and their two children, Noah and Rebecca, worked to fill the beds with soil and Sweet Peet.

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Volume 5, Issue 14, Posted 9:53 AM, 07.09.2013

Namaste Care Program enhances quality of life for people with late stage dementia

The scent of lavender, a comfortable recliner, soft music and the gentle touch of a hand massage from a caring person add up to an improved quality of life for individuals in the latter stages of dementia.

This soothing atmosphere, along with meaningful activities, is all part of the groundbreaking Namaste Care Program now being provided to residents at all of the Arden Courts Memory Care Communities in the Cleveland area, including the Westlake location.    

Residents with advanced dementia who have become less verbal and less able to benefit from traditional activities in which they did well in earlier stages become calm and relaxed when brought into the Namaste Room with its slower pace and spa-like tranquility.

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 10:13 AM, 05.29.2013

What is a geriatric care manager, anyway?

A relatively new profession and one that is on the rise, a geriatric care manager may be a term that comes up in family discussions about aging parents and loved ones. So what is a geriatric care manager, anyway?

They are human service professionals and they act as advocates and coaches for their clients and their families and help to navigate them through the difficult journey of aging. The geriatric care manager assists clients to maintain their independence, safety in their living environment and maximum functional abilities, both physically and cognitively. They are knowledgeable on resources for the elderly and will know the costs and quality of such resources which can reduce a lot of stress on clients and families who would otherwise be doing the research on their own.

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 10:38 AM, 04.16.2013

Are you worried about your memory?

As we get older, at some point we may worry about our memory. Have you ever walked into a room and forgot why you went in there? It happens to most of us and is usually not a reason to worry, especially if you can quickly retrace your steps and remember why you went into the room in the first place. The following tips, however, may help you decide if you need further evaluation to rule out dementia or something else that may be causing problems.

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Volume 5, Issue 4, Posted 9:50 AM, 02.19.2013

Bradley Bay Health Center best in state for family satisfaction

Every two years, the Ohio Department on Aging hires an independent firm to evaluate Family Satisfaction in all of the nursing homes in the state. This survey examines every aspect of care including staffing levels, attentiveness of staff, accommodations, activities, dining and delivery of care.

The 2012 results were just released and we are proud to announce that out of nearly 1,000 homes in the survey, Bradley Bay is ranked No. 1 in the state for family satisfaction.

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Volume 5, Issue 3, Posted 10:24 AM, 02.05.2013

Five tips for long-distance caregiving

Living far away from aging parents can be very difficult for families. You may feel overwhelmed and wonder what you can do to help from a long distance standpoint. The following are some tips that may help to decrease your worries and help you feel more prepared. 

Consider having a family meeting via conference call or the web. Talk about the concerns each sibling is having with your parents' health, living environment and/or safety. Decide who can do what to help, establish a schedule and set goals. Consider asking your parents' friends or neighbors if they would be willing to help in small ways such as checking in periodically.

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Volume 5, Issue 2, Posted 11:56 AM, 01.22.2013

Reducing chronic hospitalizations

I've worked in nursing homes for many years, so I know that chronic hospitalizations are a reality for those who live in a nursing home as well as for those living in their own home. This is a very big topic in legislation and focus for improvement.

It is obviously costing Medicare a lot of extra dollars as well as causing stress to those who are being hospitalized and their families. One recent study found that 20 percent of hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries are re-admitted within 30 days, with costs accounting for one-sixth of the total Medicare budget.

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Volume 5, Issue 1, Posted 9:11 AM, 01.08.2013

Tickets on sale for annual 'Seniors' Seasonal Delights' program

This year’s Seniors’ Seasonal Delights program, a joint effort of the Westlake City School District and the Westlake Department of Senior and Community Services, will be held Thursday, Dec. 13, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Westlake High School.

The schedule of events is as follows:

  • 5:30 p.m. – Dinner at Westlake High School Cafeteria
  • 5:45-6:15 p.m. – Dinner Entertainment: Choirs from the WHS Vocal Music Program
  • 6:15-6:40 p.m. – BINGO
  • 7:00 p.m. – WHS Instrumental Winter Music Concert at the WHS Performing Arts Center

Cost per person is $10. Invitations and tickets will be available beginning Nov. 1 at the Westlake Department of Senior and Community Services, 29694 Center Ridge Rd., or send a request by mail to: Ruth Weible, Westlake City School District, Seniors’ Seasonal Delights, 27200 Hilliard Blvd., Westlake, OH 44145.

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Volume 4, Issue 22, Posted 7:30 PM, 10.30.2012

Nan Baker visits Bradley Bay Health Center

State Representative Nan Baker visited Bradley Bay Health Center on Oct. 12 and presented to residents, families and community members an overview of what is going on at the state level in the Ohio House of Representatives. Nan discussed the now-balanced budget and the creation of jobs for Ohioans. Nan was very enthused about the future of Ohio.

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Volume 4, Issue 21, Posted 10:01 AM, 10.16.2012

Reliving musical memories

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 21, Posted 10:01 AM, 10.16.2012

Tablets offer the 'power of one'

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 20, Posted 10:25 AM, 10.02.2012

Reverse mortgages for senior homeowners

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 20, Posted 10:21 AM, 10.02.2012

Information about Medicare's open enrollment, Oct. 15 to Dec. 7

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 19, Posted 9:52 AM, 09.18.2012

One Senior's Opinion: Supporting our students

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 19, Posted 10:03 AM, 09.18.2012

Is it depression or just the case of the blues?

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)?

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Volume 4, Issue 17, Posted 9:54 AM, 08.21.2012

National anthem singer honored

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. 

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Volume 4, Issue 17, Posted 10:01 AM, 08.21.2012

Scam artists are at it again!

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 16, Posted 10:24 AM, 08.07.2012

Three suggestions on how to get your resistant loved one evaluated for dementia

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:

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Volume 4, Issue 15, Posted 10:13 AM, 07.24.2012

One Senior's Opinion: Seniors should play it cool this summer

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 14, Posted 12:49 PM, 07.10.2012

Baseball brings generations together

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 14, Posted 12:58 PM, 07.10.2012

President Obama is not offering to pay your utility bills

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 13, Posted 9:56 AM, 06.26.2012

What is the Veteran Administration's aid and attendance pension?

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 12, Posted 9:36 AM, 06.12.2012

Westlake assisted living host family sponsors another Lake Erie Crusher

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 11, Posted 10:08 AM, 05.30.2012

Understanding senior living options

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 9, Posted 10:33 AM, 05.01.2012

More senior scams

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:

Microsoft Scam

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."

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Volume 4, Issue 8, Posted 11:02 AM, 04.17.2012

Gardens at Westlake residents volunteer for worthy cause

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 1:20 PM, 03.06.2012

BBB can help seniors avoid scams

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 1:32 PM, 03.06.2012

What many people do not know about Medicare coverage

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 2:35 PM, 02.21.2012

Tri-C gives seniors Food for Thought

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 2:35 PM, 02.21.2012

Loving couples at Bradley Bay

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 2:39 PM, 02.21.2012

Gardens at Westlake honored at conference

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 2:43 PM, 02.21.2012

Westlake resident Elsie Albrightson takes the stage in heartwarming fashion

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 11:02 AM, 02.07.2012

Westlake resident shares history of her hobby

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.

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Volume 4, Issue 1, Posted 12:29 PM, 01.10.2012

Gardens at Westlake provides Basket of Blessings

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.

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Volume 3, Issue 24, Posted 3:33 PM, 11.29.2011

One Senior's Opinion: Living in the present

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.

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Volume 3, Issue 21, Posted 5:04 PM, 10.18.2011

Gardens at Westlake resident grows 10-foot-tall sunflower

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.

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Volume 3, Issue 20, Posted 3:57 PM, 10.04.2011

Medicare workshops help educate seniors

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.

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Volume 3, Issue 20, Posted 3:46 PM, 10.04.2011