Tag Archives: Seniors

Family Devotion, Every Day

 A great Father’s Day story to share courtesy of ABHOW:

ABHOW_FathersDay

Judge Winton McKibben and son, Brian, connect at Piedmont Gardens in Oakland

At first glance, retired Judge Winton (Mac) McKibben and his adult son, Brian, may not seem to have a lot in common.

Before his retirement, Mac, now a resident of Piedmont Gardens in Oakland, presided over numerous challenging cases as a Municipal and Superior Court judge in Oakland. Before Brian retired, he was a music teacher, educator and administrator in Berkeley. The two men had different careers and different interests. Still, father and son can be found together at breakfast every Friday morning — and frequently more often. Beyond their differences, they are bound by what they do have in common: love and devotion to family.

This love and devotion became critically important in 2008 when Margaret, Mac’s wife of 66 years at the time, fell, hitting her head. She suffered a brain injury that left her with symptoms of dementia. Unable to provide the 24-hour care she needed, Mac transferred her to a skilled nursing community in the area.

“From that time on, I have spent more and more time with my dad,” Brian says. He says he tried to fill the void his mother’s absence left by deepening his relationship with Mac. “Dad and I really enjoy each other’s company. Our conversations run far and wide: sports, politics, foreign affairs, music, and just the activities of the day,” he says.

Whether it’s sharing breakfast, going on shopping trips or having Sunday dinner, Brian sees his dad frequently. It helps too that in June 2013, Mac wanted to live in a community where he and Margaret could be together, so they both moved into Piedmont Gardens — he, on the residential living side and she, in skilled nursing.

Brian, still in nearby Berkeley, wanted to be involved with Piedmont Gardens as well. When his parents moved in, he volunteered to begin a musical program for residents, including his mother, several times a month.

In his program, Musical Memories, Brian uses his MP3 player to play familiar songs that bring back memories, but also new songs that create memories. According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, music can help stimulate and engage adults, even those with late-stage dementia. Songs that were familiar in childhood can spark interaction, while unfamiliar songs can help develop new responses, such as increased relaxation.

Brian McKibben leads a Musical Memories program at The Grove, ABHOW’s memory support program.

Brian McKibben leads a Musical Memories program at The Grove, ABHOW’s memory support program.

Brian thoroughly enjoys sharing his music with the 20 – 30 regular resident attendees who become increasingly active during the program, tapping their toes or fingers to the beat. “We have a rocking good time,” he says, playing selections that might include Beethoven, Schubert, The Beatles and Sinatra. “My mom often keeps time by clapping or tapping her fingers. She doesn’t remember individual pieces very well, but she responds actively to the wide variety of songs and pieces I play. It makes me happy to see her enjoying the music,” he adds.

Kevin Smith, Piedmont Gardens’ Executive Director, says he welcomes the opportunity to involve families in activities with residents. “It’s a match made in heaven when something done for the family also embraces the rest of the community.”

Mac appreciates Brian’s contribution too. “I don’t have that skill or talent that he does,” he says of Brian’s musical ability. “I think he gets those qualities from his mother,” Mac says, which makes it even more special. Sometimes Mac joins Margaret for the musical treat, but other times, he’s busy with his own activities and misses his son’s program. But that’s all right. He knows his son is nearby and that they’ll see each other soon.

This Father’s Day, when Mac goes to Brian’s house for dinner with his son and Emily, Brian’s wife of 46 years, it may be a special holiday, but because of the closeness between father and son — this family time won’t be an unusual occurrence.

Valle Verde Adds 40 Residential Living Residences on Campus

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.: Valle Verde, a senior living community in Santa Barbara, recently completed construction on 40 new single-story residences and will offer the newest residential living option for older adults in the area.

VV Expansion 3“The need for residential living has grown and is continuing to grow since we first opened in 1966,” said Tim Wetzel, executive director at Valle Verde. “The new homes will provide older adults and their families a familiar, welcoming and active place for them to spend their retirement.”

Studies suggest there will be 72 million seniors by 2030, a number that will represent about 20 percent of the United States population. According to the United States Census Bureau, Santa Barbara residents 65 and older make up more than 14 percent of the population, 3 percent higher than the population of older adults in California.

VV Expansion 2“In addition to the new residences, we’ve continued to expand our community by offering new activities and amenities for our residents,” said Wetzel. “Residents are enjoying the new bocce ball court, putting green, outdoor events plaza, wellness clinic, fitness center and a new styling salon with a massage treatment room.  We’re also looking forward to having a new poolside cafe by this fall.”

The community’s expansion will also provide additional parking spaces, a renovated theatre, convenience store, multi-purpose art room, card room, and meditation chapel.

2015 Annual Conference Call for Proposals: Deadline July 31

The 2015 Annual Conference is built around LeadingAge California’s Strategic initiatives of developing “out of the box” innovative programs that will enrich the care and services of California’s growing aging population. The primary areas of programming will include workforce development (specifically cultivating leadership and attracting new talent to the field of aging), increasing and expanding the use of technology in all care settings and stimulating innovation in the aging field and advancing new models of service delivery.

Click here to submit an application. SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS JULY 31, 2014

Questions? Contact Jan Guiliano at jguilian@aging.org or call 916-469-3367.

CCH Sierra Meadows named “Best of the West” by HUD

SM_01HUD recently featured LeadingAge member CCH Sierra Meadows as a “shining example of a project that successfully incorporated federal, state and local strategies to meet affordable housing needs,” highlighting how the Section 202-funded development supports sustainable design while delivering social services to its 42 residents. In 2013, the project received special recognition with a MetLife Foundation Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing.

CCH President and CEO, Don Stump, stated, “This special recognition from HUD highlights the unique skill set which CCH has spent five decades developing.  Our approach allows us to bring financing, construction, sustainability and rich service together into one integrated housing package.”

Click here to read the full article.

 

 

 

A Classic Game Provides a New Outlook on Life

mahjong-tiles-bamboosBy Yvette Kamakawiwoole, activity director, Asian Community Center
Nursing Home

When Ms. Le first arrived at the Asian Community Center Nursing Home as a hospice patient, things were not promising – she had given up on life and was awaiting the inevitable. The family worried about her and hoped for a miracle to turn things around – and the unexpected miracle came from an old Chinese game called Mahjong.

With a little encouragement from her roommate and staff, Ms. Le agreed to play for just a little while – three hours later she was still engaged in the game, and like her peers she was disappointed that the game had come to an end because of dinner. Ms. Le was now a part of the “Mahjongers,” and was making plans to meet and play each day.  If there is one thing to know about Mahjong, it’s that you need four players, so Ms. Le was now part of a group that needed her. She was not about to disappoint her new friends!  Ms. Le found herself playing mah jong for hours, conversing, laughing, and joking with her friends. Her outlook on life had changed for the better; not only was she juggling a social schedule, she even began to wear jewelry and lipstick again! Since then Ms. Le has revisited old hobbies like sewing and crafting. She’s still visiting with friends and family, participating in group activities with friends and yes, still playing Mahjong.

Mahjong was Ms. Le’s catalyst to a second chance on life, a way to occupy her time, and also get intellectual, emotional, and social stimulation without being the direct object and focus of someone’s attention.  Mahjong is not western style therapy or one-on-one intervention, it’s an opportunity to make new friends.  Ms. Le has since graduated from the hospice program and has been a happy, busy and contributing member of the ACC Nursing Home community.

Yvette Kamakawiwoole can be reached at ykamakawiwoole@accsv.org

Age is Just a Number