Senior Nation: A Chat with Upper Shore Aging’s Gary Gunther

While it is true that the Mid-Shore has benefited significantly from the number of affluent couples who have chosen to retire in Kent, Talbot, or Caroline Counties, there are an equal number of those over 65 years old who are some of the region’s most frail and at-risk elders with their physical and mental health. With an estimated total of over 22,000, these individuals now faced even greater hardship as the threat of both federal and state funding caps on essential programs make it even more difficult keep pace with the cost of living and inflation.

This funding gap directly falls on the shoulders of one particular agency to fill these much-needed services to Mid-Shore elders, and that would be Upper Shore Aging, who has been doing just that for the last 43 years.

The Spy thought it would be a good time to sit down to check-in with Gary Gunther, who has been leading Upper Shore Aging for close to three decades, to understand more clearly their role in helping seniors. Gary has been one of the most consistent senior care advocates on the Shore as he and his agency face the ongoing challenge of providing essential services to the aging, manage three senior centers in Chestertown, Denton, Easton (and very shortly in St. Michaels) while continuing to run such well-used programs like Meals on Wheels and low-cost warm lunch meals to thousands in the region.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information or to make a donation to Upper Shore Aging please go here

Talbot Hospice Offers Memoir Workshop

Talbot Hospice is offering a six-week memoir workshop – Looking Back with Gentle Eyes – facilitated by Anne McCormick, M.Ed., Tuesday mornings 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., March 20 – April 24, 2018. The class is free of charge and open to the public. Class size is limited to ten participants. Advance registration is required and can be made by calling 410-822-6681.

McCormick is the retired Associate Director of the Learning and Counseling Center and adjunct professor of English at American University, Washington, D.C. She is the co-author of two books and numerous journal articles about accommodating college students with disabilities. Since retiring to the Eastern Shore, Anne has co-offered numerous workshops in memoir writing and served on multiple advocacy boards for individuals with disabilities.

Senior Nation: Store Opens on Mid-Shore to Help Seniors Age in Place

101 Mobility, experts in mobility and accessibility solutions, is now open on Kent Island. 101 Mobility sells, installs and services products to help seniors age in place, or individuals with illness or limited physical mobility stay in their home. They are your one-stop shop for stairlifts, modular ramps, in-home lifts, vertical platform lifts, inclined platform lifts, patient lifts, hospital beds, scooters, auto lifts, lift chairs, pool lifts and more. Rental options are available on some equipment. 101 Mobility also provides bathroom and other home modifications to adapt your home to your changing needs.

101 Mobility/Kent Island is locally owned and operated, and serves both sides of the Chesapeake Bay and Southern Delaware. They offer a wide variety of products from the most trusted manufacturers in the industry, backed by their signature service warranty. 101 Mobility is the leading provider of accessibility and mobility equipment with over 60 locations across the US and Puerto Rico.

Call 443-453-5737 to schedule a free, in-home assessment to find the best affordable options to meet your needs. To try before you buy, visit their new showroom in the Chesapeake Bay Business Park at 58 Log Canoe Circle, Stevensville, MD. They have working stairlifts, vertical platform lifts, scooters, lift chairs, modular ramps and more. Hours are 9-5 Monday-Friday, or evenings and weekends by appointment.

Bayleigh Chase: The Future of Memory Loss on the Delmarva with Dr. Terry Detrich

Showing his strong native roots on the Mid-Shore, the first thing Dr. Terry Detrich notes about the establishment of the Samuel and Alexia Bratton Neurocognitive Clinic at Bayleigh Chase in Easton was his long-festering grievance that the center’s location had replaced his favorite goose hunting spot. Growing up as a boy in Easton, he and his friends had used the farmland west of Route 50 for that purpose before leaving the Shore to attend college and medical school to become a neurologist.

Dr. Detrich returned to Talbot County after that intensive training to become the Delmarva’s first general neurologist and since the 1960s has been watching his field go from “diagnosis and adios” to stunning new breakthroughs in eldercare treatment for cognition disorders.

And while there have been peaks and valleys in the understanding of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease since the doctor started his practice forty plus years ago, he noted in his recent Spy interview that he has never been more encouraged than over the last two years as he and his colleagues began to see an evolution in how patients are treated with better results and more precise tools for prevention.

That was one of the reasons that led Dr. Detrich to join the staff of the Bratton Clinic this year and the Spy caught up with him on first day on the job late last year to talk about this new phase of Neurocognitive work and his renewed faith that real progress is being made.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about the Samuel and Alexia Bratton Neurocognitive Clinic at Bayleigh Chase please go here

Senior Nation: Updating Dixon House with Residents in Mind

For Don Wooters, co-owner of Dwelling and Design, taking on a large manor house’s interior and creating a totally new environment for its occupants is nothing new. For years, Don has traveled the country doing just that for dozens of clients who have purposely sought out his unique eye for design.

What is new is that one of his most recent clients, the historic Dixon House, the assisted-living residence on North Higgins Street in Easton, was seeking more than a fresh look. With most of its residents well over 90 years old, Dixon was asking to use a new design with colors, fabrics and textured wallpapers that were both comforting but also stimulating to the eighteen men and women that call it their home.

And now that the paint is dry and the work crews have left, the Spy thought it would be a good time to check in with Don, and with Dixon House’s director, Linda Elben, to talk about this particular project.  Challenged to ensure that the non-institutional feel of Dixon was preserved, Don and Linda speak in their interview about their selection of colors, getting feedback from residents, and how the new look has dramatically changed for this group-living space.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Dixon House please go here

Inside the Sandwich: Muscular Dystrophy Carnivals and Annual Giving By Amelia Blades Steward

During the 1960s and 70s, it wouldn’t be summer if we didn’t hold a Muscular Dystrophy Carnival in my neighborhood near the high school in Easton. A group of about 10 kids from my neighborhood looked forward to these backyard carnivals, to benefit “Jerry’s kids.” The Muscular Dystrophy Carnival kits came in the mail and included tickets, posters and an idea pamphlet to help us raise the funds to help find a cure for the disease. It was an important and noble cause. We had watched for hours the Jerry Lewis Telethons on the television and wanted to do our part to help the kids we saw in the images on the screen. We didn’t have many children in wheelchairs in our school, so it seemed particularly important to reach out to those who were unfortunate enough to be in that situation.

We used each other’s backyards to host the carnivals and rotated from house to house each year, based on the parents who agreed to having their card tables placed in the grass outside and their clotheslines strung with sheets, providing backdrops to the games we played. The O’Briant family’s yard was the most popular one in which to hold the carnivals. We each had aluminum wash tubs to contribute for bobbing for apples or for the floating duck game, where you picked a duck and got a prize based on the number on the bottom of the duck. There were magic shows, fortune-telling booths, and Kool-Aid stands. Everything required a ticket and the tickets cost about five cents each.

We assembled our props and got the carnival set up, borrowing from each other’s households. An alley connected our backyards, so it was easy to get things from one place to another. There was Kool-Aid to be stirred, cookies to be baked, and we had to get out the word so people would come to our carnival. The nearby

Elks Club pool provided the perfect place to share our news. Word spread among the kids when the carnival would take place. Of course, we counted on our mothers coming – they helped fill out our numbers and usually donated extra money.

The carnival started around 11 a.m. and went until 1 p.m., when the pool opened. We didn’t like to miss our pool time. We took our carnival jobs seriously, whether running a game, performing, or selling drinks or food. We knew the more we smiled and encouraged our patrons, the more money we would make. As the day wore on, however, so did we. The sun shone high overhead and the humidity rose. Some of the excitement waned and my friends and I grew weary.

Once we had drunk the Kool-Aid and eaten the cookies, we were ready to pack up the games, return the tables, chairs and props and head to the pool. Before we did, however, it was exciting to see how much money we had raised. If we made over ten dollars, we were excited! We weren’t old enough to have checkbooks, so one of our parents would deposit the money and write a check to be mailed to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. We waited anxiously for the return “thank you” letter in the mail from Jerry. It confirmed our hard work had paid off and showed we did something meaningful with our summer. These backyard carnivals instilled in us a compassion for helping others, something that still rings true today as the annual appeal letters arrive in the mail. While I no longer get that personal letter from Jerry, I still find satisfaction in anticipating the “thank you” after my annual donations are made – a confirmation that we can still make a difference, no matter how small the gift.


Mid-Shore Food: Finding the Balance between a Restaurant and the Family Kitchen Table

Bill Lynch might be one of the few chefs in America that works in the home kitchen of approximately 180 people every day. While it is true that Bill doesn’t get in his car to visit each one, the metaphor works in describing what it is like to direct the food service at the Londonderry on the Tred Avon community just off Port Street in Easton.

And that is where the challenge begins for Bill as he and his crew as they navigate the expectations of sophisticated residents with significant international culinary experiences but who also seek out simpler food options for their day to day meals.

That’s not an easy task for any chef, but with Bill’s own culinary background, starting with learning to cook from his Italian grandmother in Philly, to progressing through the hierarchy of professional kitchens, including some of the best in the Mid-Atlantic region, he has found himself very much at home himself is the new and satisfying change from what a traditional restaurant faces daily.

A few weeks ago, the Spy sat down with Bill to talk about this unique balancing act.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about Londonderry on the Tred Avon please go here

Londonderry on the Tred Avon CEO Presents at National Aging Conference

Irma Toce, Londonderry on the Tred Avon CEO, presented at the Leading Age Annual Meeting and Expo in New Orleans, La. on October 31st. The event is the nation’s largest gathering of executives, experts and professionals in the aging services field and was attended by more than 7,000 individuals.

Toce’s presentation, “Creating an Amuse-Bouche Hospitality Culture,” focused on establishing and embracing a hospitality culture in senior living communities. Inspired by the “amuse-bouche” concept in fine dining where a chef will prepare a special surprise appetizer for guests, Londonderry has adopted this strategy across the entire organization as part of their commitment to a hospitality-focused approach. From time to time, residents will be presented with an unexpected gesture from various departments to enhance their experience at Londonderry.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to share our approach and success stories with other professionals in the field,” said Toce. “Hospitality is our philosophy at Londonderry. It means going above and beyond the expectations of our residents to provide an exceptional experience and create stronger feeling of community. This initiative has made a significant impact on the atmosphere at Londonderry, and I hope my fellow professionals can achieve similar success.”

Toce has been Londonderry’s CEO since 2014. Under her leadership, Londonderry has reached capacity and is currently expanding its facilities to accommodate additional demand for residences and recreational amenities. Toce has more than 20 years of executive level experience in the aging services field and is a well-respected expert and mentor in her community of professionals.

About Londonderry on the Tred Avon

Londonderry on the Tred Avon is an intimate residential cooperative community for adults ages 62 and over, offering a variety of housing options from convenient apartments to spacious cottages among 29 acres, including 1500 feet of waterfront shoreline. For more information, visit

Senior Nation: Preparing for One’s Second Life with Transition Training

While the goal for many who have migrated to the Eastern Shore for retirement is to enjoy a more relaxed phase in their lives, the reality for many former professionals and business executives is that they are experiencing a significant transition in their lives.

In many cases, these men and women who enjoyed career success in their work lives, or thrived as volunteer leaders in their former communities,  are now confronted with how to constructively spend the next three or four decades.

That is one of the reasons the Spy has been particularly interested in life coaching that focused on this kind transition.  And we, therefore, took special notice when Gerri Leder, a resident of St. Michaels, alerting us to her upcoming workshops in St. Michaels and Oxford in November to focus on this very issue.

And that was all it took for us to invite Gerri to the Bullitt House to talk about this process.

This video is approximately two minutes in length.

Midlife Transition Workshops in St. Michaels and Oxford are scheduled 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov 9 at Etherton Hall, 103 Willow St., St. Michaels, or 10:00 a.m. on Monday, Nov 13 at the Oxford Community Center.  For more information go to here or call (443) 279-7901.

Londonderry on the Tred Avon Celebrates 25 Years

Londonderry on the Tred Avon celebrated its 25th Anniversary at a gala event on October 4th on the grounds of the Londonderry Manor House. More than 200 residents and community members attended to commemorate this important milestone in the life of the cooperative. Maryland State Senator Addie Eckardt and Delegate Johnny Mautz presented citations in honor of the event.

Established in 1992 as Londonderry Retirement Community on some of Talbot County’s most historic land, Londonderry on the Tred Avon has grown from its initial 15 individual cottages and 17 residents to a vibrant community of over 97 cottages, 26 apartments and more than 150 residents. The cooperative independent living retirement community is resident owned and operated and was the first of its kind on the Eastern Shore.

Pictured is Senator Addie Eckardt presenting a Maryland Senate Resolution to Londonderry. L-R: Londonderry CEO, Irma Toce, Easton Mayor, Robert Willey, Londonderry President, Pat Lewers, Talbot County Council Member, Al Silverstein, Senator Addie Eckardt, Talbot County Council Member, Chuck Callahan, Delegate Johnny Mautz and Talbot County Council Member, Jennifer Williams.

“Londonderry serves an important need in our community. The location, beautiful facility and grounds, and quality of staff really make it an ideal place to call home. It’s wonderful that they are celebrating their 25th anniversary,” said Al Silverstein, Talbot County Councilman and President of the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce.

“This event celebrated our past and future,” said Irma Toce, Londonderry CEO. “It was a special opportunity to reflect on our history as we move into an exciting time with the construction of our new Clubhouse slated to open next year. Big things are happening and it was important for us to celebrate where we began.”

The celebration, planned and designed by Kari Rider Events, featured food from Blue Heron Catering, live music from Guy and Dolls from Rockville, and dancing with Schafers Swing Dancers from Baltimore, Md.

“It was a very enjoyable party and we were thrilled to be invited,” said Judy Geoghegan, event guest. “The people (at Londonderry) are always friendly and so interesting to talk to and, we loved celebrating with them”,

About Londonderry on the Tred Avon

Londonderry on the Tred Avon is an intimate residential cooperative community for adults ages 62 and over, offering a variety of housing options from convenient apartments to spacious cottages among 29 acres, including 1500 feet of waterfront shoreline. For more information, visit


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