Welcoming Change with Open Arms

It’s time to write something for the blog again.  I haven’t written for months.  The reason is that I have been trying to handle the changes in my life.  Most of us have experienced a bunch of change in our lives if we have lived for any time at all.  Bryan Willis, the guru of our writing group, Panwriters, recently gave us an assignment to list all the homes in which we have lived from birth to the present time.  Then we were to write about the smallest one of those homes.

I began listing homes.  I went into quite a reverie about where I had lived. I compiled a list of 45 different homes in the 82 and one-half years of my life.  In the past two months I moved into home 45—the 5th home I have occupied in Panorama’s complex.  For each one of those 45 homes a change has occurred in my life—some of them major changes.  Change is one of the facts of life that every one of us who live in Panorama must face.  We are seasoned changers.  We expect to change.  We know that coming to Panorama or any other retirement community isn’t going to suddenly stop change.  In fact, we call this a Continuing Care Retirement Community, and that means that if we change, the community still has a place for us and will continue to guide and support us.

So, I have been dealing with change in my life and writing for the blog was set aside for a time.  In December, my companion with whom I was living began to have some health problems.  Our agreement was that we would live together in her home, but, since both of us had cared for a period of time for a spouse who subsequently died, we would not take on the task of caregiving for each other.  I didn’t want to burden her with my care nor did she want me to be burdened with her care.  For several years we had a very meaningful relationship with each other that filled our lives with caring and love.  We did some traveling, attended lots of concerts, visited each other’s family members, and supported each other in our own little life interests and projects.

Her health began to worsen and she moved into the Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center to receive the care she needed.  I remained at our home.  But, I was cared for, as well.  I realized that she would not be coming back to live with me.  Her health was too fragile and deteriorating.  I visited with Panorama’s leadership team of social workers and those in charge of housing and we came up with a solution to meeting my own need.  I agreed to take an apartment in the Quinault building.

Then, I faced the task of packing my possessions and moving them to my new apartment.  Again, Panorama and I worked together to accomplish the move by July 1st.  I am now comfortable in my new apartment.  Unfortunately, my companion died the day after July 4th.  Her family was provided guidance and help to accomplish vacating her home.  The other day, I happened to walk through the area and saw the evidence and heard the sound of working that indicated the home was being prepared for the next occupant(s).

And, here I am writing for the blog again.  Declining health of a companion, changing relationships, moving to a new apartment, and making plans to live alone again aren’t easy things to accomplish.  Each one of them has its own degree of pain.  But change is a fact of life and beyond the change is more life.  We don’t necessarily welcome change with open arms, but, with help and compassion, change brings new life and we go on.

A Successful Farewell to the Heart Bank Party

On Tuesday, September 12th we celebrated the legacy of PC Care and its Heart Bank coin boxes during the Heart Bank Farewell Party.  Seventy-five people collectively contributed $3,260.29 which will be used exclusively to enrich the lives of residents living in the Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center (C&R).

As volunteers were busy counting coins, guests took some time to touch and feel some of the items that have been purchased through past Heart Bank contributions and enjoy a treat.

Carol Lambert, Joe Zabransky, Bob Bowers, Boh Bohman and Kathy Houston busy counting coins. 

 Mary Jo Shaw entertains guests  

Heart Bank contributors enjoy discussing how their contributions will enrich lives.

Residents in the C&R benefit every day from your contributions. Because of your generous charitable gifts nearly $30,000 will be spent this year to support activities meant to enrich the lives of your neighbors in the C&R. A few of these activities include: massage therapy, music and memory therapy, chair yoga, live entertainment, movies, “The General Store”, a holiday gift for every resident, and so much more!

You have a heart of gold! A thank you gift for everyone who attended the Heart Bank Farewell Party.

The Heart Bank Farewell Party was the perfect way to bid “farewell” to the tradition of gathering coins to support life enriching activities in the C&R.  If you missed the party, it is never too late to make a contribution! Any contribution to Panorama’s Office of Philanthropy can be directed to enrich lives in the C&R any time of the year.

 

The Office of Philanthropy’s mission is to enrich the lives of Panorama residents through the acquisition and use of charitable gifts. It is committed to provide enriching experiences, programs, and other amenities throughout the continuum of care.

 

A Resident’s Perspective – Walking the Loop

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. July 2017

“Walk the Loop” group has been functioning since June 6th for this 2017 summer season. It began some years ago and then Panorama celebrated its 50th Year and bright yellow t-shirts were printed carrying the message, not only of the walking group, but for the anniversary. After attending two Tuesdays of walking, you can get a T-shirt to join the brightly colored gang. There are also yellow bandanas for all the furry walkers.

CaptureEvery Tuesday through August, starting at 6:30 PM officially, a wonderful array of walkers shows up to walk a loop or five of the circle around McGandy Park. For the second year in a row, the local high school marching band came to lead off the group for one circuit on the first Tuesday of the walks. It is fun to walk/march to a band and we made a colorful group. Three-wheeled bicycles, push walkers, canes, walking sticks and wheel chairs are all very welcome.

Many walkers have found the start time somewhat problematic for dinner times and have either started way early or come to the walk later after dinner. The start time doesn’t matter, really, if you are logging your laps on the four-paneled roster sheet kept and updated by the Bartruffs. Getting there before 7:30 PM closing will let you check off the number of circuits you have done that evening. No, it isn’t a contest and if you get there before the lists are up, just add your checks when it is posted and before you go home. If you are new to walking with the group, do sign in on the new walker sheet at the table.

The added fun is a group of six stations on the light bollards with trivia questions and their answers. These have been diligently researched and posted by the Bartruffs. We learn something every Tuesday that we go. Walkers also get to see, talk with and smile at folks they don’t see day to day in their particular interest groups.

When the weather is toasty and legs in shorts are seen around the loop, there is often a water dispenser and cups at the table at the Aquatic Center where all this is happening. One Tuesday, there was a wonderful plate of fruit to help with energy. And now that it is Pea Patch season, lemon zucchini cookies are a treat. The furry walkers can enjoy water from bowls placed at two homes around the loop.

Walkers should wear their SARA buttons and your name tag will help new and other folks learn your names. It is after all a “talk the loop” group as some have named it.

The campus is abloom now and walking gets you all the colors of the hydrangeas. We enjoy how something is always blooming around campus.

So, bring your new neighbors to introduce them to a fun activity in the summer. The last walk always has a treat scheduled and don’t miss that! Catch up on the news of other neighborhoods. Just enjoy the end of the day with a leg stretcher. Happy walking!!!!

Sandy Bio

 

Boys & Girls Clubs Fundraiser

Written by Panorama resident, Bill Cornette. June 2017

On the 25th of May 2017, a breakfast was held on Saint Martin’s University campus to raise money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Thurston County (BGCTC). Panorama sponsored a table at the breakfast, which was attended by eight residents who also contributed to the fundraiser: Mary Jo Shaw, Sue Ballard, Jan Prokop, April Works, Rosa Barton, Suzanne Hanson, Bill Cornette, and Sylvia Cornette. The day of the breakfast was also National Red Nose Day, a global campaign to raise awareness and money for impoverished children across the world, so each participant at the breakfast was given a foam red nose to wear.

Boys-Girls club

The day started early, with everyone arriving before 7:00 a.m. Each person was greeted by a large group of cheering kids who gave us all big “high fives” to welcome us to the event. A buffet breakfast was provided with scrambled eggs, hash brown potatoes, bacon, muffins, and pastries, along with coffee, tea, and orange juice. During the breakfast, the Tumwater High School Jazz Band entertained us.

The program began at 7:30 a.m. with the Boys and Girls Club Members leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Jerry Farmer was the Master of Ceremonies with Opening Remarks, followed by Recognition of Sponsors, a video showing “A Day in the Clubs,” and a Welcome and Acknowledgements from Katya Miltimore, the BGCTC Executive Director. Then Dick Cvitanich, the retiring Superintendent of Olympia Public Schools, was presented with the Governor’s Leadership for Youth Award.

Seattle Police Detective Denise “Cookie” Bouldin gave the Keynote speech, telling her life story of growing up in the Chicago projects and dreaming about becoming a police officer – and how the support she got at a Boys and Girls Club was instrumental in her achieving her goal.

Sebastian “Zebbie” Castilleja, who is the 2016 Washington State Boys and Girls Clubs Youth of the Year and received the 2016 Governor’s Community Service, told about growing up with a meth-addicted mother and an alcoholic father, but due to his participation in the Boys and Girls Clubs, he is currently attending Washington State University.

Jerry Farmer thanked everyone for their support of Boys and Girls Clubs of Thurston County, and closed the ceremony at 8:40 a.m.

Here are some of the thoughts from our Panorama attendees after the breakfast:

“Any day where the community focuses on kids is a GREAT day.” – Sue Ballard

“Was amazed at the number of agencies represented who truly help children. It showed Washington’s commitment to the youngest and most vulnerable citizens.” – Rosa Barton

“It was so exciting to be greeted by the very enthusiastic Boys and Girls Club members. Revs me up to work with them on the Minaert Gallery project this summer. ” – Suzanne Hansen

“Attending the Boys & Girls Fundraiser enthusiasm–from kids to speakers–woke up my 55 years of teaching. I’ve always loved working with children…encouraging, teaching, playing, listening. I don’t have lots of time, but want to make time to help and be with the children when I am able.” – Mary Jo Shaw

“Jan and I had no idea how influential and effective the Boys & Girls clubs are. What an inspiring way to start off our day.” – April Works & Jan Prokop

“Kudos to the boys and girls, the speakers, and the officials for educating attendees about the importance of BGCTC to the kids and to the community, we left with a feeling of awe and a smile on our faces. We’d be delighted to be back next year.” – Bill & Sylvia Cornette

Superbowl Sunday Snow – Thank you , Panorama!

Written by Panorama resident, Deb Ross. February 2017

This blog is a little off my usual  topic of “newbies, boomers, and would-bes” but I wanted to express my gratitude for Panorama’s awesome response to yesterday and today’s Superbowl Sunday snow event (“storm” might be a little too strong a word). First off – we vaguely heard the phone ring during the last thrilling minutes of Super Bowl – or was it a ref whistle? Were we going to answer it? No way! But Panorama left a voicemail message letting us know that some events and facilities might be closed tomorrow (Monday) due to the snow event. Later on, after catching our breath following the game, we checked and confirmed that the Aquatic and Fitness Center would indeed be opening late. Thanks to Jenny, Security, and others for great communication! We know that some staff worked beyond their normal hours to ensure the safety and awareness of residents and staff.

In the morning, we also got an email from Grace Moore to let us know of Monday evening’s concert cancellation. Thank you so much, Grace, for being on top of communications! While email is not yet available to some residents, it’s a great way to communicate last-minute changes to the schedule.

At about 11 Monday morning I ventured out, equipped with my Yaktrax tread devices on my boots (thanks to fellow resident Susan W for the suggestion!), and, of course, my SARA pendant. During my walk, three snowplows came by, and there were Panorama staff out at each neighborhood shoveling walkways. Most sidewalks were shoveled by then, as were most roads. A shouted “thank you” to staff was invariably met with a smile. 

Inside the Quinault, by the door, were two armchairs that allowed me to take off (and then put back on) my Yaktrax before heading to the exercise room. 

So, KUDOS to Panorama and staff for their great efforts at communication and response! 

Deb Bio_Edit

 

A Resident’s Perspective – Friendship

Written by Panorama resident, Deb Ross. January 2017

An article by Paula Span in the New York Times inspired me to write this blog entry. The title of the article is “Loneliness Can be Deadly for Elders: Friends are the Antidote.”

The article notes that the importance of maintaining social contacts is well known: having someone you can call in the event of an emergency, keeping mentally and physically fit, and less likely to succumb to depression, all contribute to health, safety, and longevity. The article goes on to say that this can be difficult for seniors, as our old friends move away or pass away. Interestingly, as we get older, our definitions of friendship evolve: we seek out more meaningful relationships and can overlook quirks and tics in our friends that would formerly have annoyed us.

My non-Panorama friends and relatives often ask me how I am fitting in here. Of course, I mention the many activities and amenities that our community has to offer. I always add, though, that I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of folks I genuinely like and consider friends, not just acquaintances. A surprise because, of course, we baby boomers believed that we shouldn’t “trust anyone over 30.”

Capture

The Times article notes, “I couldn’t help noticing how many of the elders I spoke with had benefited from living in retirement communities and nursing homes – the very destinations so many people dread. They can provide proximity, shared activities, and a larger pool of prospective friends.”

One of the things that Panorama encourages is the development of social interest groups – whether it be genealogy, book groups, politics, foreign language, neighborhood get-togethers, or just having fun. Panorama can provide meeting spaces, transportation, copying and communication services, and other assistance for these activities. There are also numerous places around campus just to “hang out” and share a cup of coffee, work on a jigsaw puzzle or launch an impromptu card game. In time, we may even have a Resident Portal on the Internet to make it even easier and seamless for us to share ideas and friendship.

Deb Bio_Edit

A Resident’s Perspective – Love & Community in the Aftermath of the Orlando Shooting

Written by Panorama resident, Mike Turner. June 2016

Flag Flies at Half Staff for Orlando_June  2016Like everyone else around the world I was shocked, angry and numbed by the violent events at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. It is hard at times like this to know what to do, what to say…

Though everyone is touched by such events it hits a little harder and closer to home when the group that is being targeted is one you belong to.

Once again I have to congratulate and thank the residents and executives of Panorama for again doing the right things. My husband Jay and I received numerous emails and personal comments of comfort from friends and neighbors who wanted to express their concern and sorrow.  They were much appreciated.

President Obama ordered that all federal buildings and embassies around the world  lower the American flag in honor and respect for those who died or were injured in Orlando. I was so glad to see that the American flags here at Panorama were also lowered.  They didn’t have to be, the order was for government buildings only.  Mr. Di Santo made the decision to lower the Panorama flags as well.  I went to his office and thanked him for the heartfelt and deeply appreciated gesture.  His response was a simple “of course we did”.  A simple, noble and appreciated response.

I have said it and written it over and over again about how special and caring everyone here at Panorama is. This was another on my list of why we enjoy our life here.  People care and are not afraid to show it.

Though terrible situations like this happen and are difficult to stop, it is always nice to know that when/if they do, you have an entire community that comes to your aid in words and deeds. And sometimes that is all you need to get through your sorrow and pain.

Thank you Panorama!

Mike_Edited copy

 

The Panorama “Tribe”

Written by Panorama resident, Deb Ross. June 2016

In a previous blog, I learned about dealing with transitions: the decision to move to Panorama, then on to the Quinault or Assisted Living when that’s appropriate. Recently I’ve been pondering another kind of transition: how do we respond to the loss of our neighbors and friends through death or dementia? As a baby boomer living in an “advanced” society, I’ve been sheltered from regularly experiencing the death of friends and neighbors. And I have found few on-line resources that address the question.

I started thinking about this topic a while ago, when my close friend moved out of her retirement community because she could not handle becoming friends with someone, only to have them “die on her.” Another person was reported to have said, “Why bother making friends here? We’re only going to lose them.” I decided to interview some folks who see loss on a regular basis. Two are hospice volunteers and the third is a pastor. They all agreed that each person deals with the loss of a friend in a different way: there’s no “right” way or magic wand. Suggestions included attending the person’s memorial service, writing a letter to them (perhaps when they are facing the end) telling them what they mean to you and how they will be remembered. My pastor emphasized that it’s OK to grieve for the loss of a friend: only by allowing yourself to grieve can you move on and be able to continue to love.

Today, I heard a radio interview with Sebastian Junger, who has written a book called Tribe. Junger notes that in the past, we all belonged to small groups, or tribes, who relied on each other for food, warmth, shelter, and protection. As our society became more isolated, we lost that sense of tribe. But remnants exist, including military service, summer camp, and communal response to disasters. In these situations, our need to support one another makes us feel more fully human and alive (Junger noted that after 9/11, suicide rates went down in New York City).

It occurred to me that we here at Panorama are, or can choose to be, a kind of tribe as well. Through the Benevolent Fund and the Foundation, we support each other financially and physically. The intimate size of our districts allow us to get to know each other and make sure we are looked after – a notable example is the Map Your Neighborhood program.

As voluntary members of the Panorama tribe, we can grieve the loss of one of us, knowing that we fully embraced and appreciated their contributions while they were alive. Thus grief, which can be experienced as isolating, instead becomes a shared experience. We often refer to this as “community.” I think the term tribe, though, adds that sense of inter-reliance that allows us to support each other while recognizing the gifts we all bring and will continue to contribute as our legacy survives.

Deb Bio_Edit