Senior Life: Dixon House on the Trail

It It doesn’t matter how old you are when it comes to enjoying a perfect summer day. The Spy found that to be true when spotting some of the residents of Dixon House on the Easton Rails to Trails the other day soaking in the sun.

While the average age at Dixon House is close to 95 years old,  the residents and staff don’t hold back when it comes to getting out for some fresh air and frequent trips to area restaurants for lunch.

For more information about Dixon House please go here.

Senior Nation: An Adult Son and Aging Mother Find a Solution at Dixon House

Perhaps there is no greater and more difficult decision to make for an adult child of an aging parent than to determine that independent living has come to an end for their mother or father. While “aging in place” has become an increasingly attractive and realistic alternative for many in their senior years, those who enter their 90s, or in some special cases even their 100s, simply are not physically capable of maintaining houses or apartments.

That was certainly the case with Eric Horst and his mother, Natalie Horst. Eric, Natalie’s only living child, had difficulty at first convincing his mother, who was a healthy person overall, that it was time to leave her own home. She had led an active life as a realtor and was a very social person. He comments, “She wasn’t managing the household well anymore, her hygiene habits had changed and she wasn’t cooking meals any longer.”

He adds, “I had heard good things about Dixon House being a well-run facility from community members. It was also an affordable option for us and I was really impressed by the staff here. With its 18 rooms, it felt like a Victorian boutique hotel.”

Eric and Natalie came for a visit and looked at a room adjacent to the second-floor screened porch. He recalls, “The room was unoccupied and stark, so I decided to decorate it for her with blue and white bed linens and valences, in her favorite colors, her artwork from home, and some temporary furniture. I brought her back for the second visit and she stayed the night.”

Eric remembers that the first week of Natalie’s stay at Dixon House, she got her hair done and had a pedicure. With her usual sense of humor, Natalie quips, “I came for a haircut and pedicure and decided to stay!”

Natalie has made friends at Dixon House and Eric feels she is content. Eric’s partner, Mike Thielke, now also serves on the Dixon House Board of Directors. As a special treat on Natalie’s birthday each year, which she shares with one other resident, Eric buys crab cakes for all the residents and staff and hosts a birthday party. He also contributes throughout the year as needs arise, recently donating a flat screen television at Christmas. He comments, “I am a big fan of Dixon House. I have peace of mind that my mother is safe and being cared for here.”

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information on Dixon House, please go here.

Community Makes Dixon House Holiday Celebration Special

Again this year, the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore and local residents Jackie Dianich, Joy Frost, and Marcia Kirby, brought holiday joy to the residents of Dixon House in Easton, MD.

For the last five years, the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore has created arrangements of greens and flowers to be placed throughout the Dixon House during the holidays. This year, the group made 16 arrangements and Dixon House residents helped to decorate some of them.

According to Posey Boicourt of Trappe, a member of the group, the holiday arrangements has become one of the club’s most popular events. Members participate by bringing greens from their gardens and creating the arrangements. Boicourt comments, “It takes people out of themselves when they can help others this time of year.”

Another special tradition at Dixon House during the holidays is the Advent service provided by local residents Jackie Dianich, Joy Frost, and Marcia Kirby during the four weeks preceding Christmas. Dianich started the service over 12 years ago and Dixon House residents look forward to the group’s weekly lessons, singing, and the lighting of the Advent wreath. Dianich adds, “I have always enjoyed talking with residents of Dixon House. We get as much out of it as anyone!”

Dixon House Residents Celebrate 105th and 106th Birthdays with Fanfare!

You could hear the band playing from down the street. Balloons lined the porch railings, announcing that a party was about to begin. This was not just any party – it was a party celebrating the birthdays of Dixon House residents Milton Agreen (age 105) and Oneita McCall (age 106). According to Linda Elben, executive director of The Dixon House, “We even had the Mayor, our State Senator, and a representative from the Governor’s Office in attendance to celebrate with us.”

Pictured left to right are Dixon House residents Oneita McCall (age 106) and Milton Agreen (age 105) at their recent birthday party.

Pictured left to right are Dixon House residents Oneita McCall (age 106) and Milton Agreen (age 105) at their recent birthday party.

Both Milton and Oneita spent the afternoon toe-tapping on the porch to songs of bygone days played by the Free and Easy Band. Both residents seemed to enjoy the nostalgia of the old tunes. Oneita lived in Cambridge much of her life – working in a restaurant with her husband for many years and volunteering at Soup Day at St. Paul’s Church in Cambridge up until the age of 94. She was able to live independently until she was 96 years old. When asked, her children comment that she has lived a healthy life – maintaining her weight and taking good care of herself. Her stepdaughter Betty McCall, adds, “I love the care she gets at The Dixon House. It feels like an extension of our family.”

Milton worked for years as an accountant and Post Office worker. He moved to Easton in 2000 from Florida. Although his wife died in 2001 after 60 years of marriage to Milton, he maintained driving his car until age 96. When his children were asked about their father’s longevity, they shared a comment from Milton’s sister, Elsie Agreen, who said that Milton was a teetotaler and would probably live forever. His daughter-in-law, Linda Agreen, comments, “It’s been wonderful for him at The Dixon House. He has peers to be social with and we feel he is being cared for here.”

Both residents received proclamations from the Governor and the State of Maryland Senate. Mayor Bob Willey, who was in attendance, comments, “I have been coming to The Dixon House for many years. It’s nice to see the residence providing this much-needed service for the town.”

For further information, contact the Dixon House at 410-822-6661.

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The Dixon House Bids Farewell to Faye Shannahan

The Dixon House Independent and Assisted Living recently acknowledged Faye Shannahan for her years of service. Faye is retiring from the Board of Directors where she has served as a member for 7 years. During this time, she was also actively involved on the Personnel Committee and the Events Committee.

“The Shannahan family has been, and continues to be strong supporters of The Dixon House in so many ways, and we are sincerely grateful to Faye and her predecessors” said Linda Elben, Executive Director of The Dixon House.

The Shannahan family’s dedication to The Dixon House dates back to the 1950’s, and includes two of Faye’s family members who served on the Board of Directors then continued to visit with residents following their retirement.

“Our senior residents have known the Shannahans for decades, and we will be pleased to see this tradition continue,” said Ms. Elben.

Board of Directors President, John Atwood and Executive Director, Linda Elben thank retiring Board Member, Faye Shannahan for her years of service to The Dixon House. (Left to right: John Atwood, Board President, Faye Shannahan, Retiring Board Member, Linda Elben, Executive Director)

Board of Directors President, John Atwood and Executive Director, Linda Elben thank retiring Board Member, Faye Shannahan for her years of service to The Dixon House. (Left to right: John Atwood, Board President, Faye Shannahan, Retiring Board Member, Linda Elben, Executive Director)

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Spy Reconnaissance: The Dixon House with Linda Elben

The one thing the Mid-Shore had a surplus of in the early 1900s was a disproportion number of widows. While men dying before their spouses was, and still is, a well-known fact, there were significant challenges in those days for those who had survived the death of husbands, who had made the family living as farmers or teachers, and the loss of income and assets that came with those tragedies.

Of course, these were Eastern Shore women, possessing a high degree of intelligence and common sense.  And some of these ladies, drawing from the Mid-Shore counties of Talbot, Kent and Queen Anne’s, organized an extraordinary solution – collective living in downtown Easton.

With a land donation from Talbot’s generous Dixon family, a core group of women gave up most of their worldly possessions to fund the construction of a twenty room living center on North Street. And from this new home, which opened in 1903, residents would cook together, eat together, wash clothes together, for the remainder of their years.

As Linda Elben, Dixon’s executive director,  highlights in her interview with the Spy, the nonprofit assisted living facility has changed considerably since those early years.

With a staff of twenty-seven full and part time help, and eighteen full-time residents, aging from 83 (the baby) to 105 years old, it holds its own in quality with much more expensive options in the area. Nonetheless, Dixon House remains in many ways the same, intimate community (now co-ed) when Mid-Shore women first started placing rockers out on its famous front porch and watch the world walk by.

This video is approximately six minutes in length

The Dixon House

Holiday Thoughtfulness brings Warmth to The Dixon House

Residents of The Dixon House Independent and Assisted Living were the recipients of holiday kindness this year in the form of hand-sewn fleece blankets from The Stitchers Club of Easton Club East.

“The old furnace is still doing its job but there’s nothing like a soft blanket to stay warm and cozy through the winter,” said Linda Elben, Executive Director of The Dixon House. “Our senior men and women are grateful for the gift, and for being remembered this season.”

The Stitchers Club invites all women from Easton Club East to participate in a one-day annual event for gift-giving. This year, 54 women created 76 fleece blankets for donation community-wide.

The Dixon House is a spacious and elegant Victorian house nestled in Easton’s historic district that offers affordable independent and assisted living for senior men and women. Since its inception in 1911, The Dixon House is committed to the enrichment of the lives of the residents it serves, and enjoys an excellent reputation for comfort, privacy and quality care.

The Dixon House, a non-profit independent and assisted living facility, is located at 108 N. Higgins Street in Easton. For more information, visit www.dixonhouse.org or call 410-822-6661.

Cool: Dixon House Makes National Registry of Historic Places

A plaque acknowledging The Dixon House’s place on the National Registry of Historic Places was recently added to the front façade of the residence. Founded in 1903, The Dixon House was named for Robert and Amanda Dixon and has served as a residence for over five hundred Eastern Shore residents for the past one hundred and eleven years.

This significant structure, which is managed by the volunteer Board of Directors, meets all state and federal codes required to serve its elderly population. Donations may be sent to The Dixon House 108 N. Higgins Street Easton, Maryland 21601. The Dixon House is a 501C-3 non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.

Pictured are Board of Directors President John Atwood, Board Member Joan Muzzillo and Executive Director Linda Elben.

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Easton’s Dixon House Celebrates Two Centennial Birthdays

The men and women of Easton’s Dixon House had a lot to celebrate in recent weeks, with two residents celebrating big birthdays totaling 207 years.

Milton Agreen's 104th birthday celebration

Milton Agreen’s 104th birthday celebration

Mr. Milton Agreen, born in 1909, celebrated his 104th birthday last month at a party which included his two sons, Russell Agreen from Denton, Maryland and Robert Agreen from Newcastle, Delaware. A lover of barbershop music, Mr. Agreen was serenaded at his party by the Bay Country Chorus of the Easton Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society .

Born in Woodbridge, NJ, Mr. Agreen worked as an accountant, a mailman and later for ALCOA. Friends describe him as a “very caring and devoted person.”  He’s known at Dixon House as a cheerful greeter with a great sense of humor, saying “hiddy-ho” to all with a smile every chance he gets.

Married to the late Anna Marie Agreen for 60 years, Mr. Agreen’s secret to long life is “Always treat your wife like an angel and treat everybody with respect.”  A resident of Dixon House since 2006, he enjoys looking at old photo albums, watching television, listening to music, playing checkers and Wii bowling.

After turning 103 years old on 9/17/13, Ms. Oneita McCall said “it’s hard to believe that I’m 103!” Born and raised in Dorchester County, Ms. McCall has lived at The Dixon House for 6 years. Along with her first husband, John Bramble, Sr., Ms. McCall operated Johnny’s Drive-In in Cambridge in the 1950s. She recalls the good old days when she’d make and sell homemade pies at the Drive-In.  She also worked at

Milton Agreen and Oneita McCall

Milton Agreen and Oneita McCall

Leggett’s Department Store in Cambridge and Airpax.

Ms. McCall married her second husband, Harry McCall in 1964 and gained a step-daughter, Betty Malik.  She’s very close with her family, and is proud to celebrate five current generations. Going out to lunch and for ice cream with her son and Betty is her favorite outing; she loves animals and music, especially gospel. Ms. McCall is the oldest member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.

The Dixon House was founded in 1889 when five respected Talbot women recognized the burdens for women left with the responsibility of maintaining their farms after the death of a spouse.

They founded “The Home For Aged Women”, and with grassroots support from the Easton community, built the home and admitted their first residents in 1910.

Still operating today as an assisted and independent living facility, The Dixon House is home to 16 residents. For more information about The Dixon House, call 410-822-6661.

 

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