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?




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.



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.


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.



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

Mid-Shore Hospice Care: The Special Needs of Vets with Deborah Grassman

It’s hard to think of anyone more qualified to talk about the needs of war veterans as they enter their final stages of life than Deborah Grassman. A nurse practitioner by training, Deborah has had a remarkable record of working at the Veterans Administration specifically focused on hospice care for 30 years, and has directly participated in the final days of over 10,000 veterans.

Those experiences led Grassman to start her own organization, Opus Peace, to educate family members and hospice volunteers to be more aware of the very different emotions many aging vets have at the end of their lives when wartime memories involuntarily surface after years, sometimes decades, of suppression.

That was the primary reason Talbot Hospice invited Deborah to the Mid-Shore so she could share those stories and what she learned a few weeks ago. The Spy sat down with her before her evening lecture to talk about the extraordinary coming to terms to take place with many veterans as a come to the close of their lives and what families can do to help facilitate an honorable and peaceful death.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about Talbot Hospice please go here

Beacon Hill to Talbot County: A Needed Village for Those Wanting to Age in Place

One of the unique shared experiences for those who helped start the Talbot Village Connections (TVC), or became a founding member, was learning about an experiment in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston in 2002 at almost the same time.

For TCV president, Lee Newcomb, it was an NBC News special, for Marion Donahue, vice president, and a founding member, Shirley Sallet, it was an ongoing series in the Boston Globe, but the net effect on all three was being intrigued by this revolutionary new program to help seniors age in place.

The idea was surprisingly simple. A core group of members and volunteers created a collective with modest dues to provide services or share resources aimed at those over 65 years old. From handyman jobs to connecting Roku streaming boxes, offering rides for doctor appointments, or provide healthy social opportunities, the Beacon Hill project made it easier for members to stay in their homes for as long as possible.

With Lee seeing this as a volunteer extension to her work with Talbot County’s Department of Social Services. and Marion a great link to her former career as a nurse, the two helped form the Talbot Village Connections in 2014 to try and replicate the Beacon Hill model for the County’s large senior population.

The Spy sat down with all three women a few weeks ago to talk about Talbot Village Connections, and understand the goals and mission of this new approach to senior living.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. Talbot Village Connections will be having a Meet and Greet and  on Tuesday, March 27 at 2 PM – 7121 Station Road, Newcomb. RSVP to Suzanne Fino Carley – 410-829-3678. For more information on Talbot Village Connections please go here



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.