Senior Nation: Ask Irma on When to Downsize

Senior Nation is committed to offering resources to help us deal with the challenges and opportunities of aging. To that end, we are launching a new monthly video blog called “Ask Irma” by Irma Toce, where we focus on all topics related to aging.


This video is approximately one minute in length. For information about Londonderry on the Tred Avon please go here

A Fit Retirement with Janet Pfeffer: Paula Lowry

Editor’s note: From the moment the Spy profiled Janet Pfeffer with the YMCA of the Chesapeake, a few years ago, we hoped that our paths would cross again.

Janet is perhaps Talbot County’s most popular exercise instructor of a certain age. With a long-standing following at the Saint Michaels Family Y, Londonderry, and the Oxford Community Center for her classes, she has seen inspiring examples of transformation with her friends and students as they move from a rewarding professional career to a physically fit and purposeful retirement life.

We are happy to report that Janet accepted a Spy proposal to seek out some of these fit and purposeful retirees to share their unique stories over the next year.

Janet begins this series with her friend and colleague Paula Lowry. Paula, a native of Cambridge, and with a forty-two-year career as a community social worker in the fields of child welfare and substance abuse prevention, was the first to admit that full-time retirement was going to be a challenge. But as she describes her transition to Janet, it becomes increasingly clear however that the same passion she applied to her professional life could be used in her commitment to gardening and travel.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the YMCA of the Chesapeake’s programs please go here.






Maryland Community for Life℠ – Talbot Hosted Innovations in Aging Presentation

By 2030, nearly 40 percent of Talbot County residents will be over the age of 60. To help address the growing concerns for services for this age group, Maryland Community for Life℠ – Talbot hosted a presentation, “Innovations in Aging” by Rona E. Kramer, Secretary for the Maryland Department of Aging to a full house at the Brookletts Place – Talbot Senior Center.

Kramer spoke of the Department of Aging’s role to “keep Maryland residents living at home or in the community – wherever they want to age.”

She commented, “Within two years of entering an assisted living or nursing home, the average citizen spends down all of their resources. With this huge population aging, we can’t afford not to find better ways to serve everyone.”

Kramer explained that this means backing up services earlier in life and offering them at a reasonable cost to everyone who can afford them. Her recent trip to Israel to learn how they handle services for their aging population was enlightening. She said that in Israel there are no nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The country brings non-medical services to people in their homes as they age.

Photo: From L-R – Rona E. Kramer, Secretary for the Maryland Department of Aging; Frank Divilio, Talbot County Council; Delegate Johnny Mautz, Senator Addie Eckardt, Gary Gunther, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging; Mayor Robert Willey; Chuck Callahan, Talbot County Council; Ron Engle, Easton Town Council; Pete Lesher, Talbot County Council; and Michael Bibb, St. Michaels Commissioner.

Maryland’s Department of Aging researched the “Community for Life” concept and helped communities implement this model locally. To date, there are five “Community for Life” communities in Maryland, including Broadmead in Cockeysville, Keswick in Baltimore, Ocean Pines, Allegany,  and Talbot County. This creative and unique program provides a package of services for homeowners and renters. Developed for older adults living independently in their own homes, the Maryland Community for Life program delivers key services in a cost-effective and supportive manner. Specifically, for a monthly fee, members receive basic home repair and maintenance by a community “Handyman,” a list of vetted contractors and contract review, transportation trips, as well as regular contact with a “Service Navigator” to help coordinate access to services and to assist with any needs that may arise.

Before introducing Lee Newcomb, President of the Maryland Community for Life℠ – Talbot Board, to present how the program works in Talbot County, Kramer highlighted a few other innovations being rolled out by the Maryland Department of Aging. These include a statewide Durable Medical Re-Use Program and a Senior Call Check Pilot Program.

Newcomb introduced Maryland Community for Life℠ – Talbot program, explaining that currently there are 21 members of the community, with 24 vetted volunteers serving them. She stated, “A Service Navigator, Stacey Woodworth, is now on board to serve members. She works with members to create a program that fits needs now and can be adapted as needs and circumstances change.”

Membership  in Maryland Community for Life℠ – Talbot is open to individuals or households up to three people aged 65 and older who live in Talbot County. Core services are personalized to individual needs. Membership to the program costs $80 a month. While the program does not provide medical services, the Service Navigator can connect members to medical services.

Newcomb clarified that members can receive eight round trips per household per month for their transportation benefits and up to four hours of “handyman” services a month. Social and educational programs are also being offered to members and the public to address social isolation. The first program on preventing fraud will be offered on January 18 from 1 to 2:30 at the Talbot County Free Library in Easton.

She added, “We also hope to offer supportive memberships for people who can’t afford the membership fee.”

Maryland Community for Life℠ – Talbot is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization operating as a component fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. MD Community for Life℠—Talbot is located at 10 S. Hanson Street, Ste 18, in Easton, Maryland. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. To become a member or volunteer, email or call 410-443-0760.  For further information, visit Contributions are tax deductible.

Talbot County Unboxed: Londonderryopoly

The hot game in Easton everyone is talking about might not be Pickleball anymore. It’s a variation of a board game that almost everyone is familiar with, and it’s called Londonderryopoly.

Londonderryopoly, modeled after the classic Monopoly board game, was created by the Londonderry team as its 2018 holiday gift. The game board features images of Londonderry and the amenities. The property squares are named after the cottages and apartment floor plans located in Londonderry, names such as Waverly, Neavitt and Tred Avon.

The game pieces feature symbols of the Eastern Shore like a duck and sailboat. The entire game experience is uniquely “Londonderry” and has received rave reviews from residents, community and business partners.

The Spy received its own copy and decided to unbox it as a community service.

This video is approximately one minute  in length. For more information about Londonderry, please go here.

Acts Retirement and Integrace Sign Agreement

Acts Retirement-Life Communities, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit senior living organizations, has entered into an agreement to affiliate with Integrace and assume management and operation of its four senior living communities located throughout Maryland. The affiliation is expected to close on May 1, 2019, at which time Integrace and its current entities will become affiliated with Acts.

Founded in 1974, Integrace is a not-for-profit system of retirement communities consisting of Bayleigh Chase in Easton; Buckingham’s Choice in Adamstown; Fairhaven in Sykesville; and Copper Ridge in Sykesville, along with an industry renowned research institute, The Integrace Institute. Collectively, the four communities are home to approximately 1,080 residents and provide a continuum of services including independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, short-term rehabilitation and specialized programming for Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia and other types of neurocognitive disorders.

Bayleigh Chase

“Our affiliation with Integrace is an exciting opportunity for Acts as our organizations share a common mission, values and desire to enrich the lives of seniors,” said Gerald T. Grant, Acts President and CEO. “We are excited to welcome Integrace into the Acts family, further strengthening both organizations and helping to secure a positive future for all the residents and staff under our care.”

Heron Point of Chestertown

With the affiliation, Acts will be expanding its presence in Maryland, where it operates another senior living community, Heron Point of Chestertown. Acts is one of the strongest companies of its kind among not-for-profit senior living providers with assets of $1.5 billion and maintains an A- rating from Fitch Ratings. Upon regulatory approval of the affiliation, Acts will manage a network of 27 faith-based senior living communities in nine states totaling 9,504 units, maintaining its status as the third largest multi-site senior living organization according to the LeadingAge Ziegler listing of the nation’s not-for-profit aging services providers. The Acts communities are located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

“We are delighted to be joining forces with Acts, which is one of the industry’s premier senior living organization’s that throughout its history has demonstrated a strong commitment to residents and employees,” said Jackie Harris, Integrace President and CEO. “We believe that our faith-based organizations blend very well, and that our affiliation will contribute greatly to the continued excellent lifestyle and care for residents and growth experience for employees.”

Five Champion Trees Recognized at Londonderry on the Tred Avon

Five trees on the Londonderry on the Tred Avon campus have been recognized by the Maryland Big Tree Program as Talbot County Champion Trees. Champion trees are identified at the County and State level as being the largest identified members of their species. They are measured and scored based on their circumference, height and average crown width.

The trees were identified as Londonderry was taking care of routine forestry work around its campus and were nominated for recognition by Agnes Kedmenecz of the University of Maryland Extension Service. The trees were later measured by members of the Londonderry Community, University of Maryland Extension Service and the Maryland Big Tree Program, which is a volunteer-coordinated effort sponsored by the Maryland Association of Forest Conservancy District Boards and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Service.

The five trees are in various areas of the campus with several near the Manor which was constructed at the close of the American Civil War.

The five trees identified as “Champion Trees” are the following:

• Japanese Maple measuring 5’ 8” in circumference, 33’ high and a 44.5’ average crown width
• Bitternut Hickory measuring 9’8” in circumference, 144’ high and a 68.5’ average crown width
• Nordmann Fir measuring 7’8” in circumference, 73’ high and a 34.5’ average crown width
• American Beech measuring 12’4” in circumference, 104’ high and a80’ average crown width
• Southern Red Oak measuring 20’3’ in circumference, 107 feet high and a 107.5’average crown width

“Our community is beyond thrilled to have five champion trees on our campus,” said Londonderry CEO, Irma Toce. “These trees are part of our rich history and it is wonderful that they can now be recognized by our residents and our neighbors throughout Talbot County. I’d like to thank our community members who worked so hard on this project.”

Londonderry on the Tred Avon was originally part of a 600-acre land grant known as Westmoreland which was granted to Irish Quaker immigrant Francis Armstrong in 1667. A portion of the land grant was sold to Talbot County upon which the first Talbot County Court House was built. As the property changed hands over the next 100 years, it became known as London Derry, and eventually Londonderry, as it is called today.

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

Londonderry on the Tred Avon Celebrates the Holiday Season

Londonderry on the Tred Avon celebrated the holiday season with several outreach efforts and social activities over the past few weeks. Londonderry residents decorated a tree for the Festival of Trees, supported local toy drives, performed holiday concerts out in the surrounding community and gathered together in the Tred Avon Tavern for a holiday dinner.

“Everyone at Londonderry truly embraces the holiday spirit,” said Irma Toce, Londonderry on the Tred Avon CEO. “Everyone who lives at Londonderry makes a point to celebrate with each other and to help make the holiday a bit brighter for those in need.”

Over Thanksgiving weekend, Londonderry sponsored a tree for Festival of Trees in support of the Talbot Hospice Foundation. The tree was themed “Star Light, Star Bright, Children’s Magical Christmas Night” and was displayed at the Tidewater Inn and later at Londonderry’s new Clubhouse for the whole community to enjoy through Christmas.

Londonderry residents also supported the Easton Police Department’s Annual Toy Drive as well as Toys for Tots by donating more than 100 toys that will be given to underprivileged children this Christmas.

Londonderry’s Choral Group, the Jammers, performed and spread holiday cheer throughout Easton, and concluded their tour with a special performance for their Londonderry neighbors on December 17th.

Finally, the Londonderry community gathered together on December 11th for their Holiday Dinner. Residents enjoyed a festive evening featuring prime rib and lamb prepared by Chef Jordan Lloyd.

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

Integrace Bayleigh Chase Named “Best Nursing Home” by U.S. News & World Report

Integrace Bayleigh Chase has earned the designation of “Best Nursing Home” for 2018-2019 from U.S. News & World Report.

To compile the 2018-2019 rankings, U.S. News researchers evaluated nearly 13,000 nursing homes nationwide. Now in its ninth year, the overall ratings methodology was updated to emphasize staffing quality. U.S. News also added a Short-Stay Rehabilitation rating this year to provide a clearer view of the quality of care provided to short-stay patients in need of intensive rehabilitation or nursing services before they return home after a surgery, stroke, accident or illness.

To earn the Best Nursing Homes recognition, nursing homes must receive a high-performance rating in either the Short-Stay Rehabilitation or Overall ratings and must rank at least Average in the other.

The full list of the 2018-2019 Best Nursing Homes is available at U.S. News & World Report’s Nursing Home Finder (

About Integrace Bayleigh Chase

Located on a 35-acre campus in historic Easton, Bayleigh Chase is a not-for-profit life plan community that affords residents a lifestyle of flexibility and choice to live life on their own terms. Bayleigh Chase offers independent living options in its villas, cottages and apartment homes, as well as a continuum of supportive living services, including assisted living, neurocognitive support, outpatient and short-term rehabilitation, skilled nursing and diagnostic and treatment support through the Samuel and Alexia Bratton Neurocognitive Clinic. For more information, please call 410-763-7167 or visit

About Integrace

Integrace is a forward-thinking non-profit organization that strives to ignite in all people the passion for meaningful living. Integrace oversees a family of vibrant senior living communities in Maryland, including Bayleigh Chase in Easton, Buckingham’s Choice in Adamstown, and Fairhaven in Sykesville. Integrace is also an internationally-recognized leader in the art of neurocognitive support, with the Sykesville-based Copper Ridge community and Integrace Institute, as well as two neurocognitive clinics in Easton and Sykesville, serving as catalysts to a profound shift in how we perceive, and relate to, those living with Alzheimer’s, dementia and many other forms of cognitive change. Integrace communities provide a continuum of services to support both residents and the greater community, including assisted living, skilled nursing, short-term rehabilitation and more. Each of these innovative programs focuses on person-centered living, honoring the abilities, possibilities and authenticity of each individual. For more information, please visit

Popular “Ask Irma” Series Expands to Video

Following the success of the “Ask Irma” online column and radio series in partnership with the Talbot Spy and WCEI, the monthly Q &A focused on seniors will add a monthly video series in January. In addition to answering submitted questions, Toce will also host experts and guests for in-depth conversations on topics related to aging and seniors. The video series will be hosted by the Talbot Spy and a new edition will be published each month.

“I am so proud of the success of the ‘Ask Irma’ series and I am excited about its evolution to video,” said Irma Toce, Londonderry on the Tred Avon CEO. “Over the past year, I have enjoyed engaging with our community and responding to their questions on aging, and I look forward to the more interactive video format in the months ahead. We have some exciting guests on the calendar for next year, and I am eager to share our discussions with our audience in hopes that it helps them and their loved ones.”

Toce has more than 25 years of experience in working with seniors. She holds a BS in social work and a MA in health management and is nationally recognized as an expert and mentor in the field of aging.

Toce has been Londonderry’s CEO since 2014. Under her leadership, Londonderry has grown and expanded its residences, recreational and gathering spaces and programming to better serve seniors on the Eastern Shore.

The video series will replace the written column on the Talbot Spy (, but the monthly radio series will continue in its current format on WCEI (96.7 FM). Questions may still be submitted to All questions will be answered anonymously.

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

The Residents of Londonderry: Bob Woods

One of the many questions you could ask Bob Wood about his exceptional life is, “how in the world did a graduate of West Point end up teaching Navy Midshipmen how to sail?”

It’s a great story.

When Bob Wood transferred from Brown University to West Point in 1941, the United States had yet to enter WWII. As the reality of going to war set-in as their school careers progressed, he and his classmates were excited and anxious to serve.

Bob Wood graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in January of 1943 in the top quarter of his class. This is significant as 1943 was the only year where there were two graduating classes. With the United States fully committed to WWII, it was critical to get soldiers overseas as soon as possible.

Bob entered the Army Corp of Engineers following graduation and completed additional training at Ft. Belvoir in Virginia. He was later assigned to the 7th Armored Division known as the “Lucky Seven.”

As Bob and his fellow soldiers were on the Queen Mary in New York getting ready to head overseas, the troops received news of the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. When they landed in Scotland, they traveled through Southern England and then joined-up with the Army in France and stayed through the conclusion of the War in Europe.

Following V-E Day in May of 1945, Bob remained in Europe for the next few years and was stationed in Germany to assist with the Corp of Engineers’ rebuilding efforts. His wife, Cynthia, or “Cynnie” met him in Germany and they took up residence in a resort community in Bavaria where they lived in the house of a former Nazi officer. Their first daughter, Michael, arrived soon after, and Cynthia’s mother also joined them to help with the baby.

The young family returned to the United States and Bob left the Army and took a job in Chicago. Shortly after, he was called back to West Point to join the General’s Staff to help run the school as other officers had been sent overseas to serve in the Korean War. Cynthia and Bob welcomed their second daughter, Cindy, during their time in West Point.

Following the Korean War, the Woods returned to Chicago and then moved with Bob’s career – living in New York and the New Jersey where their son, Robert Jr., called Casey, was born. Bob worked as a consultant on Wall Street for many years while he and Cynthia raised their family.

Bob and Cynthia later relocated to Annapolis when Bob accepted a new position in Washington D.C. Both Bob and Cynthia were avid sailors and enjoyed being on the water.

Following Cynthia’s death, Bob remained in Annapolis and later met his second wife, Frances.

During his time in Annapolis, Bob became a sailing instructor with the Naval Academy, a role he enjoyed immensely. While Bob didn’t boast about his Army career, he was eventually discovered when a Midshipman caught sight of his class ring and realized a West Point graduate was teaching them how to sail!

After more than a decade in Annapolis, Frances convinced Bob to move to the Eastern Shore, an area she had grown to love with her first husband, and they settled in St. Michaels in the 1980s. They enjoyed and active retirement and continued sailing.

Frances passed away in August of 2014 and Bob remained at their home in St. Michaels until he moved to Londonderry in September 2015. He continued sailing until just recently.

This past May, Bob attended his 75th Reunion at West Point with his two daughters where he was joined by another classmate, and the families of several others. They also took some time to visit their old homes in New Jersey and New York as they made their way back to Easton.

Bob will celebrate is 98th birthday this month and is a proud father, grandfather, great-grandfather and veteran.

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