Senior Nation: Preparing for Dementia with Integrace’s Tabassum Majid – Part Two

Very few things are more worrisome for those over the age of sixty-five than the possibility of experiencing some form of dementia in their senior years. And there is a good reason for that concern since it is turning out that one out of every three Americans will indeed have this condition in their lifetime.

Adding to this grim fact is the growing awareness that dementia, like cancer, is turning out to have many different sub-categories. In fact, the current number used by experts in the field believe there are at least 120 identifiable sub-types, and that number seems to be growing every year.

But along with those sobering facts is also the growing awareness the lifestyle choices can have a dramatic impact on the severity of these many different types of memory loss. In fact, with modest improvements like regular exercise, a balanced diet, and social interaction, the odds improve significantly in mitigating the worst effects of the illness.

In the second of a three-part series, the Spy continues our conversation with Dr. Tabassum Majid, executive director of the Integrace Institute and expert on dementia, about the growing body of evidence that lifestyle changes can significantly improve the quality of life of those with the illness.

 

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Integrace Institute or the Integrace Bayleigh Chase please go here.

 

Senior Nation: Ask Irma

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 column called “Ask Irma” by Irma Toce, where we focus on all topics related to aging.

Dear Irma,

When is the right time to move into senior housing?

Respectfully,

“Stayathomemom”

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Dear StayAtHomeMom,

This probably is the question I have heard most throughout my career And my answer is always “Move and enjoy before it is too late”

I say that because all too often consumers wait for an “event” to happen Whether it’s moving into independent living, assisted living or a dementia assisted living, it has become very clear no one is ever quite ready to make the move So we wait and I have seen prospects actually wait so long they now do not qualify for the senior living of their choice

My advice is when you start thinking about senior living, start to look while you are still able to make decisions and fully capable of participating with all the amenities and programs that are being offered to enjoy life to the fullest Don’t wait for that fall to happen or someone wondering off

Start a whole new fresh chapter in life with wonderful peers to share stories with and make new memories with.

Fondly

Irma

Irma Toce is the  CEO of Londonderry on the Tred Avon with over 25 years experience work with seniors. Her years of experience in the field is accompanied by BS in social work and an MA in health management, Irma not only leads the dynamic community of Londonderry, but she is also nationally recognized as an expert in the field of aging.

 

Senior Nation: A Different Kind of Homecoming for Washington College Alumni at Heron Point

With just over a dozen Washington College alumni living at Heron Point in Chestertown, it’s hard to say that there is a WC  dominance at that retirement community which has over 300 residents. But that doesn’t mean the graduates of the local liberal arts college don’t hold a distinct advantage over their Heron Point neighbors.

Knowing the school so well over fifty plus years since they graduated, the WC alumni at Heron Point have the unique experience of watching this 238-year-old institution grow and prosper from the early days of their undergraduate life to now enrolling in classes at WC’s Academy of Lifelong Learning.

They also are part of a national trend where alumni are returning to their former college towns to not only continue their educational interests but to take full advantage of music and theatrical productions, nationally known speakers, and the fun of watching their alma mater compete sports and develop pan-generational friendships with younger students.

While retirement community developers and colleges have been marketing to these traditional retirees, particularly in the 80-plus range, with significant levels of success, there now is a movement afoot to reach out to the “just retired” 62-plus group as well.  Stressing independent living and the benefits of reconnecting with old college friends, hassle-free maintenance and these kinds of projects for several years, universities and colleges themselves are playing an increasing role, seeking new sources of revenue and a way to cement ties with alumni.

The Spy sat down with several of the WC alumni at Heron Point, including Mackey Dutton, Dick Fitzgerald, Bill Russell, Jack Stenger, Helen and Bob Tyson and Sigrid Whaley, to talk about their homecoming experience and reminisce about a school they clearly love.

This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information about Heron Point in Chestertown please go here

 

Senior Nation: Preparing for Memory Loss and Dementia with Integrace’s Dr. Tabassum Majid

The data speaks for itself. One in three Americans who are 65 years or older are facing some form of significant memory loss or dementia. This factoid is a sobering forecast for many seniors, but it also is a important reminder that it is better to be prepared for this inevitability rather than ignore it.

That is what Dr. Tabassum Majid is trying to make clear with her work as the Executive Director of Integrace Institute when she visits the Integrace Bayleigh Chase campus in Easton. After leaving the world of academia with a degree in biology and molecular medicine, which emphasized the translation of diagnostic indicators to the bedsides of older patients and their families, Dr. Majid is now using those skills to test and implement innovative, person-centered studies to enhance meaningful living for older individuals and families who face hard choices after the diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimers.

As part of her mission, Tabassum is starting a free educational series for family caregivers in Maryland, including  those on the Mid-Shore, to present evidence-based, practical information to help those caregivers understand the latest findings in dementia research, and the newest advancements in care to better navigate their loved one’s journey.

The Spy had the opportunity to talk about much of this a few weeks ago at Bayleigh Chase after her latest workshop to talk about the unique needs of families and professionals alike who are eager to maintain a high quality of life for loved ones and patients.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about the Integrace Institute or the Integrace Bayleigh Chase please go here.

Senior Life’s Ask Irma: Concerned Daughter Needs Advice to her Mother’s Grief

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 column called “Ask Irma” by Irma Toce, where we focus on all topics related to aging.

Dear Irma,

Dad passed almost a year ago. Mom took such good care of dad. After my dad’s passing I’ve noticed Mom is not enjoying the things she once loved, she is not spending time with friends or taking care of herself. What can I do to help? Mom is healthy and was once vibrant.

Signed,

Concerned Daughter

********************************************

Dear Concerned Daughter,

Thank you for reaching out and showing concerns for mom.

Your mom is going through the grief of losing her husband. You also wrote that mom used to take care of him which implies that he was ill.

While taking care of a spouse is a difficult thing to do, it does give a sense of being “useful” and needed.

After your father’s passing all of a sudden the feeling of being needed is no longer there and mom might feel “useless.”

It also seems mom might suffer from depression because of her lack of interest in friends and taking care of herself

I would suggest to take her to her physician to check for depression and once she receives a clean bill of health to slowly introduce her to volunteering.

The Senior Center might be a good first place to start.

I hope you find a way to re-introduce mom to a social setting so she can enjoy herself among her peers.

Good luck to you and your mom.

Signed,

Irma

Irma Toce is the  CEO of Londonderry on the Tred Avon with over 25 years experience work with seniors. Her years of experience in the field is accompanied by BS in social work and an MA in health management, Irma not only leads the dynamic community of Londonderry, but she is also nationally recognized as an expert in the field of aging.

 

Profiles at Londonderry: Bob Welte

Londonderry has started a new series of “Resident Profiles” highlighting a Londonderry resident with an interesting and compelling story. We often hear, “you never know who your neighbors are” within the Londonderry and greater Easton community, and offer these profiles as a way to highlight some of our very talented, accomplished and interesting friends and neighbors.

His Londonderry friends and neighbors may know him best as their witty and competitive bridge teacher, but Bob Welte’s story spans 86 years and both coasts of the United States.

Photo Caption: Following a satisfying career in engineering and physics spanning both coasts of the U.S., Bob Welte has made his home in Easton at Londonderry.

Bob Welte was born in 1932 in what would later become Silicon Valley, CA, and was part of the region’s transformation from fruit orchards to the hub of technological innovation for the country. He attended the University of Santa Clara, and then Stanford University for graduate school, where he studied electrical engineering and physics.

He married his wife, Diane, and together they had six children in five years. Described by Bob as “some kind of babe,” he also lauded her patience, kindness and skill as a “superb organizer” to manage their full, yet hectic, life making a home for their growing and active family.

Bob spent his early career in California’s Bay Area working on military contracts supporting the design and development of fighter jets used by the United States Navy and Air Force during the Cold War period.

After their children were grown, Bob continued his career in military defense and accepted a new position based in Manhattan. He and Diane relocated to New York while the children stayed in California. In reflecting on the move, Bob commented that “getting the kids out of the house” was the best thing he and Diane could have done for them, as it forced them to finally be on their own.

After 25 years in New York, Bob and Diane began considering retirement and had planned to return to California until they received an invitation to Easton’s storied Waterfowl Festival. They had been to the Shore previously when Bob’s work brought him to Washington, D.C., but had never considered retiring here. After a fun Festival weekend with friends, the decision was made. Easton would be their new home.

For the next 25 years, Bob and Diane lived on five acres on the Ratcliff Manor property in Easton. They were active members of the community and Bob gladly played the role of “Mr. Gopher” to support Diane’s volunteer work.

In 2014, Bob’s beloved Diane passed away. After selling their home at Ratcliff Manor, Bob joined the Londonderry Community where he has made a name for himself as a formidable bridge player. His mother, who Bob says, “was a little old woman who would beat the pants off you,” taught him to play. He now shares the family bridge playing secrets four times a week when he teaches lessons to his friends and neighbors.

Bob enjoys the Londonderry community and appreciates his neighbors and his ability to create a balance between activity and time alone. Bob remains close with his children and grandchildren and returns to California several times a year to visit.

For more information on Londonderry on the Tred Avon please go here

Senior Nation: Introducing “Ask Irma” on Aging and Senior Life

As we age, change is our constant. Our bodies, our minds, and our relationships are all affected with the passing of time. These changes can be scary for us, and for our family and loved ones, too. The key to making the most of our later years is acknowledging these changes, asking for advice when needed, and developing strategies to work through our options.

Irma Toce

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 column called Ask Irma, where we focus on all topics related to aging.

Our guest contributor is Irma Toce, CEO of Londonderry on the Tred Avon. Irma has over 25 years’ experience work with seniors. Her years of experience in the field is accompanied by BS in social work and an MA in health management, Irma not only leads the dynamic community of Londonderry, but she is also nationally recognized as an expert in the field of aging. Most recently she presented at the Leading Age Conference in New Orleans.

Irma welcomes your aging-related questions via email, askirma@londonderrytredavon.com. All questions submitted will be handled in confidence. Are you a senior, an adult child of a senior or a friend or neighbor? Ask Irma will do her best to answer your questions, providing the support you need to deal with the challenges of aging.

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.

 

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 www.londonderrytredavon.com.

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.