Does It Really Work?

Written by Mary Jo Shaw, Panorama resident. June 2018

A fictional story explaining how the Panorama Benevolent Fund Social Assistance Program works. All characters appearing in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons living or deceased is purely coincidental.  

 

“I can’t help it that I have all these things wrong with my legs! Why do you keep yelling at me?” Mary’s tears made Jim even more upset. He stormed out of their once happy little apartment in one of the Panorama buildings. The slam of the door matched their volume.

Heading toward Panorama Hall for a cup of coffee, Jim’s frown and fuming red face caught the eye of one of the on-campus Independent Living Services social workers arriving for work. “Are you all right, Jim? How is Mary?”

“Oh, I don’t know how I can take this much longer, especially with all the bills we have lately. I’m running out of steam trying to care for her, cook, do laundry, and take care of the house. I’m so wound up at night, I can’t even sleep. This is the first time I’ve been out of the house in days. I’m frustrated and not myself. I know our garden plot needs upkeep. I love Mary very much and want to care for her, but I just can’t keep going on and on and on.” Jamming his waving arms into his wrinkled pockets, he traced his old shoe on the parking stripe on the asphalt. Jim needed to vent; the social worker simply nodded her concern.

“We’ve been almost frugal with our spending, but I’m getting nervous with our finances…my set of dentures, her hearing aids…it all came so sudden.” After more details, the social worker offered to refer them to the Benevolent Fund Social Assistance Program to see whether they qualified for temporary help until Mary was able to be back on her feet again.

He hesitated, but a glimmer of hope helped him take a deep breath. “Maybe. But I don’t know if Mary would approve. She always worked so hard. But it sure would help.” Jim was reminded that only two people knew the names of the independent residents asking for assistance in qualifying for funds.

A Benevolent Fund worker arrived the next day to talk with the couple and gathered information about financial resources to take to the office. After several phone calls to health care agencies, and final arrangements, the Benevolent Fund office assured Jim and Mary they would be able to have a caretaker.

Olivia was well trained in her work of home care. She prepared meals, freezing some for her off-days, changed sheets, did laundry and some vacuuming. Mary enjoyed Olivia’s pleasant visits during the three days of weekly appointments. Jim joined the other guys in the Pea Patch, bringing home veggies and flowers to a happy home once again.

After a few months when Mary was ready to be on her own, she and Jim hugged Olivia. “You’ve been a God-send. Panorama is so good to us. The Benevolent Fund really does work!”

Clarifying My Twin Sister

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. April 2018

“Look at the twins! You look so cute. How old are you?”

We chimed in unison, “We’re twelve years old.” Or whatever age we were at the time.

My sister and I loved to hear those questions. We were the same height and size. Year after year, we dressed exactly alike from the bow or hair clip, to the dress and jewelry, down to our shoes and socks. We gave each other the same birthday present at our shared birthday party, which Mom let us have every other year.

Unfortunately, we don’t get recognized anymore for being twins or get to answer questions like how old we are. Maybe it’s because we don’t look alike anymore, or we’re too old to be asked our age. But if we’re together, we still go out and dress alike.

When we were married and both lived in Las Vegas, we decided to have lunch at the Texas Steak House to celebrate our 70th birthday. We’d grown up in San Antonio, Texas, and it would be our treat to each other.

RRRING. RRRING. I ran to the phone in my undies, jeans over my arm and various fashions spread out on my bed.

“Wear your white pants and your nice, black T-top,” my sister laughed. “I’m wearing mine!”

“Oh, of course! Why not? Sounds fun. Wear your long, red scarf like mine.” I dashed into the closet.

“I’ll pick you up in fifteen minutes.” She slammed her phone down.

Only fifteen minutes? I scurried around, but lost precious time during her next three calls. After a disheveled closet and bedroom, we matched black earrings, shoes, and shoulder-strap purses. I held tight to my seat belt in her shiny red Jaguar racing down Sahara Avenue. She accelerated more to beat the stale-green light at Decatur.

We were grinning Cheshire cats strolling into the steak house. She was much shorter than I. My hair was turning gray; hers was thin and colored dark brown.

The hostess swiped a look at our matching outfits, raised her eyebrows, and hinted a side smile, “Welcome, ladies.”

I relieved her curiosity, “Oh, we’re dressed alike because we’re both seventy years old today.”

Relaxed, she alerted the waitresses. “We have special twins today celebrating seventy years young.” She royally escorted us to the highly polished, but western, hammered-to-look-old table-for-two. We were at the center of many crowded tables. Clients dressed in business attire to cut-off western shorts, bandanas and straw hats.

Booths around the walls were raised, looking down onto our table. We waded through empty peanut shells, strewn across the wooden floor. It was allowed in those days. Customers tossed them after nibbling the contents.

“Happy birthday, ladies!” Waitress spoke with enthusiastic volume. “It must be fun to be a twin. Thanks for celebrating with us.” We delighted in the attention of smiles and nods over menus, huge deep-fried blooming onions, and platters overflowing with Texas-sized steaks.

AAAHH! The aroma from peppered, mesquite-grilled steak snuggled close to steaming, baked yams dripping with butter and brown sugar, and heavy hunks of homemade cornbread: carriage back to our Texas home. All was washed down with cold ice tea for her and Lone Star Beer overflowing from a frozen mug for me.

We were queens-for-a-day. A parade of servers ushered one large dessert bowl of double-chocolate brownie fudge cake, topped with two extra-large helpings of vanilla ice cream slobbered in hot, chocolate syrup. This heap of luscious lust was crowned with fluffy whipped cream, crushed Texas pecans and two shiny red cherries. Two 12-inch spooned-straws shot out diagonally from the base of the fudge cake. The entire restaurant belted, “Happy Birthday, dear Twi–ns, Happy Birthday, to you-u-u.” Then a loud finale of cheers and clapping. We each blew at our never-go-out candle, while we entertained the crowd of spectators who eventually left us to ourselves.

My sister and I fidgeted with pursed lips and bug-eyes. She was diabetic! Worse, she was severely allergic to dairy: anaphylactic. If a spoon had stirred anything with milk, and it hadn’t been washed thoroughly with hot, soapy water, her tongue would swell within seconds. She had warned the waiters about her condition, but obviously in their energetic enthusiasm, they’d forgotten. We didn’t want to disappoint a generous heap of loving kitchen kindness.

We stared at its majesty ruling our table and swallowed hard. With two fingers, Sister gracefully removed a long spoon and began carving a portion of the heap. “Mary Jo, you eat fast on it, and I’ll just stir so it looks like I’ve dined on it too.”

We bent over the mound and energetically worked on our plan. I held my head, “OOOH!  I’m getting brain freeze.”

Squirming and straining laughter, Sister admitted, “I have to go to the restroom. You eat lots while I’m gone, you hear?” She sprinted to the back, ahead of her shoulder-strap purse. Sister took her time in the ladies’ room to give me time to gulp ice cream, hot syrup, and brownie fudge cake while waiters were occupied elsewhere. My brain was a solid glacier.

Sister returned. “Mary Jo! You didn’t!! You finished the entire dessert?”

I loosened my belt. But why did I feel I had to finish it? Was it because I didn’t want to hurt the employees’ feelings, or was it because I couldn’t resist the indulgent luxury? Was it because I knew we couldn’t take it in a doggie bag? Maybe it was all of those. It was the last day we’d be the same age that year. Jerri was born before I was a year old, making us the same age for a week. We never said we were twins. When asked how old we were, we simply answered their question and enjoyed the consequences.

Do We Like Our Move to the Quinault?

Do We Like Our Move to the Quinault?
Written by Mary Jo Shaw, author of Convent to Catwalk

We loved our neighbors, our garden home on Woodland Court, and figured we’d be there a longer time. But, after six years, the time was now. Do we like our new apartment in the Quinault Building?

Although we miss our neighbors, we still are able to see them often. After all, we live only a few blocks away on our Panorama campus. We attend the same events in the large auditorium and Aquatic & Fitness Center, and we walk the Circle Loop on Tuesday evenings during the warm season with other residents for exercise and visiting.

Now, there’s no need to walk to the large Quinault building where I have always played weekly in Assisted Living and where Chris and I attend many events in the smaller auditorium. I take art, weekly Bible, and other classes there. I’m one floor up from Monday Catholic services…reading often and playing piano.  Exercise rooms/classes are on lower level, close to where Chris enjoys the coffee room, movies, and newspaper. I use the Resident Council office and business area where all residents are welcome to run off copies. That same office has a laminating machine, latest computers and other office advantages, always with an expert to help us! I itch as I pass the Weaving Room, Wood & Metal Shop, and the closed-circuit TV studio, also available in the lower level. I can’t wait to participate in those opportunities.

Metal Shop

Woodshop

In the adjoining Panorama Hall building, we have banks and the gift shop where I consign my crafts and books almost daily (and pick up my check once a month)! We also have the convenience of the beauty salons, and the pharmacy with its last minute stop-n-go type foods and necessities. The community living room with a large fireplace offers the activity desk where we can sign up for events; it also features sofas, tables, and the friendly Executive and Lifestyle Enrichment offices. Chris reads and visits there faithfully.

Panorama Hall

Then the best part! Every time we walk out of our fifth floor apartment, we are greeting friends. If time, we visit or search for puzzle pieces together in the many areas with large windows. We are closer to the Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro where we can relish the unusually cordial atmosphere of residents for many organized brunches, luncheons, and dinners. We love impromptu meals, or as an arranged date! What fun to invite other residents to join us and chat as long as we please.

To do all of this indoors, we simply walk the steps or elevator ourselves from our small apartment with the latest flooring, kitchen and bath upgrades, granite counters, light fixtures, and cabinets-and-pantry pull-outs. We have plenty of storage and a nice-sized family room with huge wall-to-wall windows that display our small balcony with patio furniture.

We are able to attend the over 100 published monthly activities on our campus, but now we have the additional Quinault Activity calendar of events planned by our #1 manager, Dodie. Her energy and planned get-togethers and parties include her homemade cookies, huge bowls of homemade foods, including, potato or bean salads, meatballs and spaghetti, pigs in the blankets, apple streusel, campus Bistro brunches, games, planned off-campus trips to restaurants…etc.

Our Resident Council on-campus transit is still available for our use. Panorama provides the late model vans with volunteer dispatchers, drivers, and maintenance.

Then there is the adjoining Convalescent and Rehabilitation building where I play piano in three areas regularly, including a Christian service monthly on Saturdays. I play in the building’s entrance on a beautiful grand Yamaha piano often. Must I continue?

No, we don’t like our move to the Quinault…we love it! Aware of new reasons daily, we thank and praise God for the many blessings for our new home, its friends and advantages.

A Resident’s Perspective – Amazing Grace in Christian Hymn Song

Panorama Corporation has no religious affiliations.The community of residents at Panorama is active in pursuing a variety of hobby & interest groups; the Corporation and Panorama staff enjoy helping to support these groups as needed.  Membership to any group on campus is voluntary.

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. November 2017

“Christian Hymn Sing” is a resident-driven happening that meets at Panorama on the first Wednesday of each month in The Gallery at Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro to give praise to God in an informal way, not to perfect our singing skills, but just use what’s left in us to enjoy praising in song, visiting with new or old friends and enjoying a no-host breakfast together. No RSVP needed. All are invited from on or off campus.

In 2010, words of their pastor’s sermon preyed on two Panorama couples’ heartstrings, “…even if you’re old, you can still do something.” They “prayed,” worked, studied, used individual talents to begin what God nudged and named, “Christian Hymn Sing.”

Mary N. and Mary P. selected copyright-free hymns. Bill used his computer to copy them, and Les worked at his piano. Excited, loving hearts beat nervously long hours and days. The four aimed at making the event a monthly hour of inspiration for Panorama residents. Did they have too many ideas, or not enough? That first event had to be a success so the participants would return. The four weren’t afraid, just had hopeful concern that people would come whether they could sing or not. Maybe five or six would attend and help spread the word for the next months.

Chris and I had just moved to Panorama in July 2011. Our closed-circuit TV caught my attention, as well as notices on bulletin boards: No RSVP needed and ALL invited. Can’t sing? HUM ALONG…

I was one of 19 who showed up to the smaller dining room. A little basket held tiny papers with a short Bible verse for each to take home. We enjoyed visiting with old and new friends over a no-host breakfast, followed by hymn singing…with Les leading us at the upright piano.

Each month we greeted 20, 24, 25..then up to 30! Nov. 1, 2017, we welcomed 39!!! Maybe we’ll overflow into the main dining room. We are invited to share anything for a few minutes. Several have played an instrument, given a testimony, read a snippet, or ?? It’s over in 60 minutes!

Doug has led us now for a couple of years with his strong, beautiful voice and tidbits about the hymn itself, and wife, Patricia, collates and staples the song sheets. I enjoy “advertising” with posters, PCTV reminders, and with this blog. Together we make a “joyful noise to the Lord.”

The poem below that Betty C. brought in November tells the story:

MUSIC TO MY EARS
By JoAnn Miller

How I long to hear the old hymns
That I sang when just a youth
In the church that I grew up in –
Where I learned the Gospel’s truth.

Those hymns contained great messages
Of Jesus’ love for me
Told how He purchased my salvation
When he died “At Calvary.”

Today’s repetitive choruses speak
To our youth, some people say.
But I wonder how many have ever heard
Those old hymns of yesterday?

“I Can Hear My Savior Calling”
He calls me ‘Just As I Am”
And now “I Belong to Jesus.”
“I’ve Been Redeemed By the Blood of the Lamb.”

Since “I Serve A Risen Savior”
And He washed me white as snow
“Where He Leads Me I Will Follow”
He will “Abide With Me”, I know.

“Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”
“Blessed Assurance”; “Love Lifted Me”
“Halleluia, What A Savior”
Draw me “Nearer My God To Thee.”

“I Have A Song I Love To Sing”
With my voice raised high in praise,
I’ll “Take The Name Of Jesus With Me”
Throughout my earthly days.

He is the “Rock of Ages”
He’s been “My Help in Ages Past.”
So “Count Your Many Blessings”
Knowing His love for you will last.

“I Have A Song That Jesus Gave Me”
“Oh Happy Day”; “Amazing Grace”
”I Will Sing of My Redeemer”
Someday I’ll see Him “Face To Face.”

This is just a tiny sample
Of some hymns that touched my heart
And led me to the Saviour
“Precious Lord,” “How Great Thou Art.”

I pray the songs I’ve mentioned here
By title, line or phrase
Stirs your heart with “Precious Memories”
Prompting you my God to praise.

So “Sing Them Over Again To Me”
Those old hymns I love to hear.
“Sing The Wondrous Love of Jesus”
Ah, sweet music to my ear!

Employees Who Love Panorama

Did you know that 79% of our almost 400 current employees have worked at Panorama for over a year?

It’s well known that Panorama employees tend to stick around. In fact, an astounding 98 employees have given 5-9 years of service to Panorama residents!

19 employees have been here for 15 – 19 years

5 employees have devoted 20 – 30 years of service

and 5 more have  faithfully served Panorama residents for more than 30 years, with our most senior employee of 37 years!

What makes Panorama such a uniquely great place to work? Most of our 400 employees would agree it’s the people and the atmosphere. Panorama is a community in the truest sense of the word. Employees as well as residents take good care of each other in the process of working as a team to continue improving the lifestyle at Panorama. So thank you to all those employees who have committed their time and hard work to Panorama! And thank you to all those residents who make our place of work feel like home!

 

Panorama Employee Spotlight

We want to express our appreciation for the thoughtfulness carried out by a member of our grounds crew, Dennis Thompson.

A resident who has lived in the same home here at Panorama for more than 20 years recently had to transition into an apartment in our Assisted Living division due to a fall that greatly affected his mobility. He left not only his beautiful home on the lake but also an array of thriving plants that he personally installed and took care of. Transition from a home that one has experienced 20 years of life in is never easy; so Panorama employee, Dennis Thompson, thoughtfully provided this particular resident with a little piece of home. Dennis collected bulbs from a couple of plants in the resident’s yard, potted them and delivered the pots to the resident’s new apartment. Thanks to this thoughtful deed, the resident is now able to continue enjoying the plants that used to grace his home on the lake.

Thank you to Dennis for taking the time to better serve our residents.

Do you have a computer?

Sure you do! Most people these days have some sort of computer, but does your computer equipment include a Hallmark Card Maker, the ability to convert a VHS tape to DVD and video editing software?  Panorama’s Residents have access to a wide array of “state-of the-art” computer software and equipment at the Panorama Computer Learning Center (CLC).  Below is a list of CLC features that residents enjoy for free…it’s just one of many upgrades included in life at Panorama.

  • High speed internet
  • 4 iMacs
  • 11 PCs (with Vista, XP and Linux Operating Systems)
  • Hallmark Card Maker
  • Business card maker
  • Scanners that include Optical Character Recognition
  • Top quality graphics equipment
  • Photo editing software
  • Ability to convert VHS to DVD
  • Ability to convert audio cassettes to CD
  • Assistance setting up your own email account
  • Enhanced vision capabilities

Congratulations Providence St. Peter Hospital!

We would like to congratulate Providence St. Peter Hospital for earning the prestigious Magnet Recognition!  This award places them among the top 4 percent of hospitals in the nation.  We are proud to be associated with such a fine hospital with a  shared concern for seniors in our community.

For more information please use this link: http://www.providence.org/swsa/magnet.htm