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.”

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.

Senior Nation: Life at Londonderry on the Tred Avon

Easton has three distinctive examples of the Gothic Revival Style; one is the rectory of Christ Church, the second is the Trippe-Beale house at the corner of South and Aurora Streets and the third example is the Magnolia Manor, located on the grounds of Londonderry on the Tred Avon and formerly known as the Manor House. Londonderry began its life as a 600-acre tract of land known as London Derry. The land granted in 1667 from Lord Baltimore to an Irish Quaker, Francis Armstrong. A portion of the land grant was sold to Talbot County and was later used to build the courthouse and the Friends Meeting House in Easton.


Magnolia Manor was built shortly after the Civil War and was designed by one of the founding members of the American Institute of Architects, Richard Upjohn, who chose Port Deposit granite, brought in by boat up the Tred Avon River, as the house’s exterior material. The distinctive polygonal shaped entrance bay that projects from the front façade, the elaborate exterior detail indicative of the Gothic Revival style with its steeply pitched gable roof crowned with an ornate cross gable, the cornice, arched windows and shutters are a few of the reasons this manor house is now a Maryland Historic Trust Property. A fire destroyed the third floor and the porches in the 1960’s but fortunately the elaborate Gothic details remain.

On April 16, 1992, ground was broken and Londonderry transitioned from a private historical residence to one of less than ninety-eight senior living cooperatives in the country. Londonderry was the first independent living cooperative established on the Eastern Shore for residents aged 62 or older.

Londonderry not only provides maintenance free living on the Tred Avon River, but a vibrant community life as well.

Londonderry on the Tred Avon has grown to over 170 residents with five different apartment floor plans and eighteen different cottage floor plans. Cottages and apartments range from 574 square feet to over 3,000 square feet. With permission, residents may modify or add features to their apartments and cottages to reflect their personal tastes and interests. Three of the cottages were designed by Easton architects. Christine M. Dayton, Architect, designed the “Bellevue” and “Royal Oak” models and Atelier 11 Architects designed the “Skipton” model. All of the original lots have now been sold.

When the community was in its incipient stage of growth, the residents used Magnolia Manor as their Community Center. While Magnolia Manor is still used by the residents, it can also be rented by the public for special events. Over the last 25 years Londonderry has added a larger Community Center including the dining room “Tred Avon Tavern”. Recently the Spy reported on the opening of the Clubhouse, designed by Atelier 11 Architects, as a center of community life including fitness, hobby, and personal care activities. All the cottages and apartments are conveniently located near the new Clubhouse and community building.

The grounds of Londonderry on the Tred Avon are surrounded by nature. Residents enjoy strolling along the waterfront, biking or relaxing on their patios. Each cottage and apartment is unique; if you had the opportunity to visit every residence in Londonderry you would see how each of them live “Your Life, Your Way”.

For more information about Londonderry on the Tred Avon or how to rent Magnolia Manor for your event, contact Rachel L. Smith, Director of Sales and Marketing at 410-820-8732 or 800-752-8732 or or visit the web site at or The “Bellevue” and “Royal Oak” models were designed by Christine M. Dayton Architect, 410-822-3130,, The “Skipton” model was designed by Atelier 11 Architects, 410-822-3680,,

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.

Senior Nation: Ask Irma on Taking a Long Trip at 86 Years Old

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,

I am 86, in pretty good health and I want to go on a safari in Africa My children are upset and my oldest daughter doesn’t even speak to me at the moment Should I stay home? I really want to go.
The Old Adventurer.

Dear Adventurer,

Your children are likely upset because they are worried about you. Have you shared your travel plans with them? Is it an organized trip and if so have you given them as much information as you could?

If you feel healthy and up to a trip and your physician has given you a clean bill of health by all means enjoy the adventure You might want to bring an iPhone or iPad so you can FAceTime or Skype with your children and that might make them feel better I am sure they’ll all get “over” it when you return and I hope your oldest daughter is going to give you a big send off

Bon voyage!

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: The Dixon House 99ers by Amy Blades Steward

When you meet Ellen Walbridge and Helen Crow, residents of Dixon House in Easton, you won’t suspect that they are both 99 years old. Both women are vibrant and enjoy recalling their full and rich lives. This is the case for several residents at The Dixon House in Easton.

According to Linda Elben, Executive Director, “We are seeing more and more residents coming to us later in their lives, in their 90s, still very active and living quality lives. Most just need to simplify their living and have less responsibilities.”

She adds, “These two women are remarkable. They join a number of our residents who are centenarians or who approaching 100 years of age. It is a testament to them living active lives surrounded by family and friends.”

Ellen Walbridge, a resident of Dixon House, will turn 100 in February 2019.

Ellen Walbridge, born in West Virginia, had ties to the Eastern Shore. At age 15, she followed her brother, who came to work at Fike Orchard in Skipton. While living here, she met Alvin Walbridge at a church social and the rest is history. Over the years, she supported her husband who started Walbridge Builders. Family is very important to her. She and her husband had five children, one boy and four girls. She now has 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Walbridge moved to The Dixon House in 2017 after living independently. When asked about the reason for longevity, she states that her brother lived until age 96 and she never drank or smoked. She was active in 4-H, loved to garden (she tends the flowers at The Dixon House), and enjoyed knitting, crocheting, and sewing. She also loves to bake, helping with the baking activities at The Dixon House, and lemon meringue pie is her specialty. She comments, “I don’t feel real young, but I don’t feel 99.” She will turn 100 in February 2019.

Helen Crow, a resident of Dixon House, will turn 100 in April 20.

Born in rural Ohio, Helen Crow was always physically active. Her father, a builder, was also a physically active person. Helen recalls doing handstands and headstands when she was young. Today, she doesn’t miss an exercise class at The Dixon House. She and her husband, Elmer, nicknamed “Amo” married after Amo served in the Army’s 17th Airborne Division as a paratrooper during World War II. The two had three children, and today she has three grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Amo had a career as a master craftsman, training many young men who entered the flooring trade, while Helen did office work for a law firm, then a refinery.

Both Helen and Amo participated in an activities group for art in Cincinnati, where Helen enjoyed oils and watercolors and Amo enjoyed stained glass, caning, and pottery. The two also enjoyed music, attending Cincinnati Symphony concerts for 40 years. The couple retired to Florida and then to Easton, where their son, Roger and daughter-in-law Heather live. The two then came to live at The Dixon House in 2014. Crow comments, “Easton is a nice town. We were amazed at the quality of friends we have made at Dixon House.” She adds, “I have had a good life.”

The mission of The Dixon House is to provide high quality and affordable residential care to seniors in an enriching home-like environment. For further information, contact Linda Elben, Executive Director at 410-822-6661 or visit

Maryland 3.0: Ralph Meima Does a Start-Up Out of Heron Point

The term “entrepreneur,” which has grown very popular these days, is a revered one in this era of the internet and creative business models. Described as one who  organizes and operates a business with financial risk, is it also a title for some of the most creative people in any community.

And that word would describe Ralph Meima to a tee. A product of the Landon School, Yale, years of university study in Mexico, and a first career in the U.S. foreign service, Ralph found himself in early retirement for family reasons and started a series of companies, beginning with a import-export business specializing in marine parts in 1982. Almost forty years later, at the age of 91, he’s still at it.

Now living with his wife, Barrie, at Heron Point at Chestertown, the urge to create is still part of Ralph’s daily routine. In fact, he’s recently launched a new specialized service where he reviews dozens of the most popular boating magazines in the country monthly, and summarizes his findings for boating trade executives, saving them countless hours of homework.

In the Spy’s continuous search to profile our unique community we talked to Ralph at Heron Point a few weeks ago about his native entrepreneurship.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. 

Senior Nation: Dixon House’s Hazel Newnam Celebrates 100 Years

Pictured back row, left to right: Granddaughter Sheila Herbert, Sheriff Joe Gamble, Mayor Robert Willey, Senator Addie Eckardt, Delegate Chris Adams, Delegate Johnny Mautz, grandson Cooper Towers, and Wendy Towers. Pictured front row, left to right: Granddaughter Courtney Springer, daughter Debbie Kudner holding great-granddaughter Elisabeth Claggett, Hazel Newnam holding great-grandson Gabriel Claggett, grandson Bo Claggett holding great-granddaughter Francesca Claggett. Absent from the photo is great-grandson Cruz Springer.

She credits her long, healthy life to a good attitude, good friends and her Christian faith. Hazel Newnam, age 100, a resident at Dixon House for the last three years, embraces life. Fiercely independent, Hazel managed to live alone until coming to Dixon House. She had visited a friend at Dixon House for years and when it came time to make the transition to assisted living herself, Dixon House seemed like the logical next step. She recently gathered with family, friends and dignitaries to celebrate her 100th birthday. Newnam was honored with proclamations from Governor Hogan, the Maryland Senate, the Maryland House of Delegates, the County Sheriff’s Department, the Town of Easton, and even a letter from President Donald Trump. Music was provided by Cabaret-style singer Daryl Grant Lindsay.

She commented at the event, “It was so wonderful to celebrate with family. I think it’s wonderful they all remembered me.”

Newnam was born on August 2, 1918. A native of Clairton, PA, she met William “Bill” Newnam while he was working construction in Pennsylvania and after he had graduated from the Pittsburgh Aeronautical Institute. The two were married in 1940 and then Bill became a Marine and flew Corsairs in Japan as part of the U.S. peacekeeping efforts during World War II. The couple lived in Oxford in the late 1940s after the war ended. Bill brought a Corsair back to Talbot County to sell war bonds. Soon after, he purchased Maryland Airlines, a private charter business, where he continued his love of flying.

Bill imparted his love of flying to Hazel by teaching her how to fly when she was in her 50s. She comments, “The opportunity was there and I took it. I felt like I was doing something special and I enjoyed the whole experience. Knowing I could fly gave me confidence and Bill was really proud of me.”

The couple ran Maryland Airlines until the 1990s and during this time Bill also managed Easton’s Airport. They had two daughters, Suzanne Towers (now deceased) and Debbie Kudner. Today Hazel has four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

After her husband died in May 1991, the Airport name was changed to Easton Airport/Newnam Field, in memory of Hazel’s husband, Bill.

She states, “I tried to live the right kind of life. I stayed active with the Oxford Methodist Church, sang in the choir, lead the MYF, and served as a member of the WSCS. I also served a number of years as a volunteer for the Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.”

Hazel’s daughter, Debbie Kudner, recalls, “Mother was totally independent and had lots of friends. She used to load up the Cadillac, which I called the ‘Gospel Bus,’ and take trips up and down the East Coast with her church friends.”

Today, Hazel’s days are a little quieter, but she still enjoys getting out. The recent celebration at Dixon House was a testimony to her love of a good time.

Senior Nation’s Ask Irma: My 86 Year Old Mom is Falling More Often Now

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,

Mom has been falling more these past few weeks, should we place her in a nursing home? She is 86 and currently lives alone

Thank you very much for your question.

First of all let’s have a look in mom’s home. Are there any trip hazards? Area rugs, lots of furniture, different flooring in different rooms, stairs etc.

Secondly how is mom’s diet? Is she eating well balanced meals and snacks throughout the day.

Does mom exercise, does she take yoga or balance classes?

Thirdly, and most importantly, is she drinking enough fluids throughout the day (8 glasses of water) Dehydration is a common cause for dizziness, urinary track infections etc. all of which can cause a person to fall. This is the season to hydrate even more because of the heat and humidity.

There could be numerous causes for a person to fall, I only mentioned a few but please have mom checked by her physician to rule out any medical issues.

Take care!


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 Sexagenarian’s Musings on “Aging in Place”

One of my favorite movies is “The Thin Man,” based on the first of six mystery novels by Dashiell Hammett. Nick Charles is a retired detective who manages his wife’s inheritance; however, his wife’s adventurous spirit soon has them assisting the police in solving cases. The inspired casting of William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora made the series pure pleasure to watch.

In the first movie, “The Thin Man,” Nick and Nora are asked to help find a missing inventor who had shown signs of forgetfulness. During a New Year’s Eve party at the Charles’ apartment, the son of the inventor is surrounded by reporters asking questions about why his father would want to disappear. The overly erudite son answers “Well, he is a Sexagenarian.” One of the reporters exclaims “I can’t print THAT” and the camera pans to show Nick’s bemused face as he chuckles over the reporter’s limited vocabulary.

As this sexagenarian reaches another birthday this week, I am contemplating, even more, the challenges of “aging in place” in my early 20th-century farmhouse. Shortly after moving in, I removed the tub shower in my first-floor bath and modified the floor joists to slope the floor in the shower area. The added benefit is the extra floor space I now have in my small bathroom. I am currently designing my kitchen renovation with five feet between my galley kitchen layout for ADA clearance if that ever became an issue for me.

Whenever I design a new home or undertake a major renovation with a client, we discuss design features that would enable them to remain in their home as they grow older. Instead of the 36” wide hallways stipulated by the building code, 42” wide hallways are better for maneuvering a walker or wheelchair, and 36” wide doors make access to rooms easier. Stacking closets in a two-story house creates a shaft for a future elevator so the house could be fully accessible. Leaving space in an attached garage for future addition of a lift to the main floor eliminates the need for an exterior ramp. Many houses have three steps from a deck or porch to grade, and the code does not require a handrail. However, adding handrails is safer for people like me who need to grip a handrail for support when maneuvering steps.

I just completed a “Smart Home Technology” course as part of Continuing Education for renewal of my architectural license. This technology has had an enormous impact on home design and can be as simple or complex as you need. Voice-activated controls, security systems that can lock exterior doors and provide video of your exterior door areas, lights that can be voice or motion activated to eliminate the need of timers for lamps, etc., are all part of the technological integration of your personal devices with today’s technology to keep you independent as long as possible. It’s then easy to relax, pour one of Nick’s signature martinis and watch a great movie like “The Thin Man.”

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.

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