What’s Blooming at Panorama?

Here we are in the midst of winter when everything feels so dreary and cold. When you look outside, it seems there is an overall lack of color. On the contrary, our campus houses one of the largest collections of plants in Washington state. There’s always something lovely to discover in the gardens and along the pathways at Panorama.

So what’s blooming right now?

Pink Dawn Viburnum






Pink Dawn Viburnum, the first of the winter shrubs, has been in bloom since December.








Witchhazel in the shade of bronze is out right now. Yellows and reds are soon to follow.







Inconspicuous by sight but powerful in fragrance, Sweetbox will draw your attention from a distance.

Learning in Retirement – Stress, Sleep, and Aging

Our current Learning in Retirement topic is “Stress and your body.” Yesterday’s lecture in the Panorama Auditorium focused on the connections between stress, sleep, and aging. While stress and sleep are important topics for people of all ages, this particular lecture spoke directly to our audience, which was filled with retired seniors of varied ages.

As we age, our body’s ability to handle stress begins decreasing. This explains why a 30-year-old and a 75-year-old could fall in the same manner, on the same patch of ice, and the 75-year-old ends up with a broken bone, while the 30-year-old walks away unscathed. The same concept applies to mental stress.

Sleep is controlled by the release of certain hormones. The presence of stress, anxiety and depression tend to upset the balance of these hormones, affecting the amount and quality of sleep we are able to attain. So, what does aging have to do with this? As previously stated, aging affects our body’s ability to handle stress. The imbalance of hormone activity that happens in response to stress can be more pronounced in older adults, thus affecting sleep to a greater degree.

The lecture covered all the science and explained the details. The key take away: While the fact that stress has a direct affect on the amount and quality of sleep for all ages, the impact commonly becomes larger as we grow older.

Armchair Traveler: Alaska

Yesterday’s Armchair Traveler had audiences in awe, feeling up close and personal with the Kodiak and brown bears of Alaska. The resident presenters first visited Alaska in 2004 and have since returned on 3 separate occasions; most recently in 2012. They shared the memories and photographs of these trips to Ketchikan, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Denali and Kodiak where they saw Mt. McGinley, Lake Clark National Park, the surprisingly gorgeous fall colors, and lots of bears.

IMG_1276IMG_1279IMG_1287IMG_1290IMG_1286 Armchair Traveler is a monthly series held in the Panorama Auditorium that features residents who have been to interesting places. Residents who are comfortable sharing their pictures, memories, and stories are invited to present for the enjoyment of their fellow Panorama residents.


Who Cares for Us at Panorama: Part 2

Welcome to “Who Cares for us at Panorama: Part 2” The previous post covered the first four presentations that were given at our recent Health and Wellness Forum. For the last portion, the format changed from organized presentation to an open discussion with audience involvement.

Our last speaker was Bill Strader, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Panorama Corporation. Bill presented this time as an opportunity for residents to ask any question they want, as long as it was pertaining to his area. The mic was open to anyone with a hand raised. Here are the questions our residents asked, along with summarized responses:

When you ask for applicant financial statements, what are you looking for? How do you use the information?

“The main thing to look for is this: is there a high probability that their resources will last the rest of their life in the home they are looking at? The last thing we want is to put residents in a situation that will lead to financial strain.”

What are your capital expenditure priorities for the next 3-5 years?

“Campus renewal. If independent living is successful it feeds everything else. Occupancy is good for everybody.” Panorama has been here for 50 years. It’s time to renew any rundown buildings. In our renovation projects, we try to stick with products that wear better or are cheaper to replace after time. The focus is on an investment in the longevity of Panorama.

Why don’t we add more locations around the northwest?

“In my work experience, I’ve come from a lot of large chains.” Expanding brings a lot of very expensive start-up costs that involve borrowing funds. Panorama is the 15th largest CCRC in the country. It’s in a great spot. We want to be the best we can, right here. That means putting funds back into this location, rather than expanding to other locations.

The session came to a close with a comment from one resident who said “Bill, you are the absolute best hire Panorama has ever made”, followed by applause from the audience. This marked the forum as a success for everyone; presenters and audience members.

Active Retirement – What on Earth is Zentangle?

We’ve recently been noticing this word “zentangle” popping up all over our Panorama activity calendar.

Zentangle. What an intriguing word to stumble upon. So what is it?  Zentangle is a creative art form that combines fun with relaxation, resulting in beautiful and intricate designs. A traditional zentangle is created with ink pens on a 3 1/2 inch square paper tile. Completed tiles can be combined together to create a larger mosaic.

Don’t consider yourself a talented artist? No problem! In the words of Kay, one of our residents who dove fearlessly into this concept, “Anyone can do it! It’s so easy to learn!” Kay, along with other Panorama residents, has been delighting in the zentangle workshops and idea exchanges that are being offered on campus.

Kay has been part of the zentangle world for about 6 months and, as I’m sure anyone who’s asked her about it could tell you, she loves it! She even provided a few of her original pieces. Not shy about imperfections, she pointed out a mistake in one of her pieces. She explained the philosophy of zentangle that mistakes are part of life and there are no erasers; you won’t find one in a zentangle kit either. Rather, mistakes must be incorporated into the design.

Traditional Zentangle vs. ZIA  These two pieces are examples of traditional zentangle versus ZIA, zentangle inspired art. The piece on top is a traditional zentangle created on a 3 1/2 inch tile. The elephant is a ZIA.







Additional pieces created by Kay:

Zentangle - Red Ink

Colorful -  without background




The Voice of Panorama

Each quarter, all of us here at Panorama get to delight in the talented works of select resident writers. A publication, appropriately named “The Voice of Panorama”, is produced, edited, and distributed by residents. The Winter 2013 issue was released today, featuring an artistically illustrated cover, designed and created by a resident who is well known for her work in the art of zentangle.  Beyond the cover lies a collection of original pieces of varying styles, each written by a Panorama resident, along with a handful of new resident introductions.

One valuable purpose served by “The Voice” is to introduce residents who are new to our community. Newcomers are interviewed by their fellow residents who then produce a short introduction and condensed biography that focuses on their history, some of their hobbies, and what brought them to Panorama. This is one way we get to know the new faces and welcome them to our Panorama family.

The remainder of “The Voice” is filled with stories and poetry that make you laugh, warm your heart, and reflect on artfully interpreted perspectives. Here are two personal stories as featured in the current issue, with the exception of the writers’ last names.



An advertisement for Yamato Transport and Allied Van Lines emphasizes care in packing. Their symbol is a mother cat carrying a kitten in her mouth, implying the gentleness with which the company will move your goods.

Which company was involved in our move from Tokyo, Japan to Portland, Oregon, has long evaporated from my memory. My story might be a move for which they can claim credit.

Twenty two years had elapsed, from the day we first set foot in Japan to the time we had to leave. We arrived with a minimum of goods, but by the time we left, we had a household of things to take back.

On the day of the move the packers needed instruction now and then as to what was staying and what was going. We had several Japanese dolls, clad in beautiful kimono, in glass cases, about which we were concerned. These were treasured gifts accumulated during our life in Japan. We watched as they carefully and gently wrapped the dolls, returned them to their glass cases, and then saw to it that the glass cases were placed in protective containers.

There were Japanese scrolls, four-panel folding silk screens with artwork, and a whole variety of memorabilia. All were packed with care. We had no idea what we were going to do with many of the things we were taking, but memories were attached! We could not leave them behind.

By the end of the day, the moving van was filled . Their next step was to transfer our goods to a shipping container and put it on a ship bound for the States. Shipping was to take about a month.

We finished cleaning out our apartment, packed our bags and went to a hotel in Tokyo. On departure day we took a taxi to Haneda International Airport in Tokyo for our flight to the United States, with a stop-over in Hawaii. I remember how heart-warming it was as I went through customs and immigration, to have my passport stamped and hear the officer say, “Welcome back to the U.S.A.”

We landed in P0rtland, and after a couple of days found a suitable apartment. We notified the local receiving company of our address. In about a week, we got a phone call telling us when our goods would be delivered.

It was a bit like Christmas! We wondered about the Japanese dolls. They all made it without breakage! Box after box demonstrated the skill with which the items had been packed.

Of course there were those boxes of memorabilia for which we had no room in our small rental apartment. So we didn’t unpack them. In fact, some didn’t get opened for another 23 years! When we moved to Panorama, we finally unpacked them- and gave them away!

But back to unpacking. We came across a box that had no label as to its contents. It was well wrapped. There was no sound of anything broken inside. It was a mystery.

We opened the box, unwrapped the contents to find our kitchen garbage can – filled with garbage! How considerate! They had moved us back: lock, stock and garbage!





Years ago a travel agent found the perfect cruise for Bob and me: a 14-day positioning cruise from the Caribbean to Portugal. All ocean. No ports.

When the ship finally docked in Lisbon, we went directly to the airport for our return flight, floundering amidst Portuguese signs and directions. Eventually we did spot the TWA desk (which gives you an idea how many years ago this was), and we strode to the First Class check-in. This luxurious flight (I told you it was a long time ago) was my inaugural First Class trip. As we waited behind another customer, a smiling TWA lady asked if we would answer a few questions. “Of course,” I told her.

“How long have you been in Portugal?”

“Hmmm. Nearly two hours.”

“You don’t want to see Portugal?”

“We were in Lisbon a few years ago.”

Silence.   “We’ve been at sea for two weeks.”

Silence.   “And we have no more vacation.”

“Do you have a camera?”

“No.”   Silence.

“Do you speak Portuguese?”

“I’m an American. I barely speak English.”   Silence.

“Why are you so … ”

As she searched for the correct English word, she motioned toward her face.

“Pretty? Young?”   She meant tanned.

“Well, we just finished a two-week cruise.”

Silence.    “And we’re from California.”

Silence.     “It’s always sunny there.”

“But you are not wearing American shoes.”

Finally! Something we can talk about. I was preparing to tell her how I had found these terrific Italian loafers on sale, no less, at Nordstrom’s, when she made it apparent that Americans wear sports shoes. Like Nikes.  The questions kept coming, and so did my wrong answers.

“If you were on a cruise, do you know any of these people here at the airport?”

Apparently everyone at the TWA terminal had been watching our inquisition unfold, or perhaps they were just keeping an eye on the pool of perspiration that was forming on the floor under me. I turned toward the Tourist Class passenger check-in, and I spotted Fred. We had just eaten breakfast with him, but as I waved, he turned his back to me. I started to point out a few other familiar faces, and almost in unison, they looked away. Talk about rats abandoning a sinking ship.

Our interrogator turned away and handed our tickets and passports to the ticket agent. When the ticket agent completed our check-in, I reached for the passports and tickets, but she handed them to a uniformed gentleman who was carrying a walkie-talkie, and she said, “Would you please follow my colleague.” The colleague motioned for us to follow him onto an enormous escalator. Now I’m really worried because we’re obviously going to be questioned by the next level of security. I knew this wasn’t exactly a scene out of Midnight Express. We hadn’t done anything wrong, and we weren’t even in Turkey. But we had come and gone through Portugal in two hours, we were too tanned, we wore European shoes, and no cruise ship passenger knew us.

After a lot of writing on-his pad of paper and speaking into his walkie-talkie, the colleague turned to us and said, “What would you like to drink after the champagne?” My first thought was, “this is going to be one civilized interrogation!” But my lack of worldliness had come shining through because the man was only taking us to the First Class Lounge so we could comfortably await our flight.

So if you’re ever in Portugal, heed this advice: dress like an American, bring a camera, stay out of the sun, and fly Coach.


Who Cares for us at Panorama?

It was truly a packed house on Thursday when residents gathered in the Panorama Auditorium for a forum sponsored by the Health and Wellness Committee of the Resident Council. The topic: “Who cares for us at Panorama?” A panel of management personnel presented information about each of their departments as they pertain to the well being of Panorama residents. As this is understandably a very important topic for our residents, there was not a single seat left empty that morning.

H&W Audience   As we all piled in, the scene on the stage was a panel of familiar faces, including the resident moderator who has been a Panorama resident for 12 years and has recently finished his term as President of the Resident Council. There are few people who would fit the position of moderator as well as he did for this particular forum. Sure his 12 years of experience living at Panorama and his work as Resident Council President are enough to qualify him. In addition, however, this gentleman is one who has seen the full spectrum of care to be had at Panorama, standing by his wife through long -term care and experiencing the support from several departments, such as social services and resident transportation. As moderator he introduced each speaker with a brief background and interjected a few of his own comments and recommendations, learned through personal experience.

We were welcomed by the Chair of the Health and Wellness Committee, the group responsible for forums like this, and the first speaker was introduced.

Marla LeFevre, our Director of Health Services for Independent and Assisted Living, is an experienced registered nurse who has been with Panorama since 2005. Her multifaceted role can be summarized as the support of resident needs to maintain the highest level of independence and quality of life. She began by touching on one responsibility of her job, which is to ensure new applicants who are intending to take residence at Panorama are appropriate for independent living. To that end, Marla meets with each person who is in the process of selecting a home at Panorama. The applicants’ needs are assessed and Marla addresses the ways in which Panorama can help residents meet these needs. Marla’s role extends in many areas outside of the new resident assessments. Recently, she has been updating Panorama’s disaster preparedness and coordinating with Panorama DART (resident Disaster Assistance Response Team) to review and adjust campus plans and procedures in the event of an emergency situation. As a leading management member, Marla has joined a group of Panorama directors and administrators, in conjunction with Providence, who are working towards a goal of transforming the Providence Clinic at Panorama into a geriatric center of excellence. By the end of her presentation, audience members got a clear view at just how busy a day in the life of Marla can be.

Next was Tim Templet, who wears many hats here at Panorama. Tim is the Resident Transportation Supervisor. This department provides off-campus transportation for residents who need it. This service is often used by residents who have doctor appointments outside of the local Lacey area; such as Seattle. Tim is also the Supervisor of Urgent Response, our team of First Aid and CPR trained nursing assistants who are on duty 24/7 responding to emergency alerts and requests. Urgent Response Aids perform resident well checks when requested by concerned family members, friends, or staff. They are also equipped to assist residents as needed in situations where 911 has been called and emergency responders are en route. In addition, Tim serves as the Resident Assistance Coordinator. Under this title, Tim assists residents in independent living with keeping individual emergency information and disaster plans up-to-date, coordinating moves within campus (i.e from a single family home to a smaller, more accessible apartment), as well as assessing questions, concerns, and general problem-solving.

Health and Wellness PanelFollowing Tim was a presentation by Adele Hadley, our Independent Living Social Services Coordinator. The purpose of the Independent Living Social Services department is to support residents in various aspects of life while they navigate Panorama’s continuum of care. Adele referred to her department as a “concierge” of sorts, helping residents to get what they need. The social workers work across lines with other professionals at Panorama and elsewhere to ensure residents have access to resources that will meet their needs. Adele explained not only the role of her department but also the big reason behind what we all do here at Panorama. Addressing the resident-filled audience, Adele proclaimed “You are the drive of what we do. You are our focus.” Throughout each presentation in this forum, this particular statement reflects the very purpose of each department and each position at Panorama. She went on to describe “independence” as a gray area. “We all need help from each other, no matter what age.” Because of the social workers in this department, Panorama residents are never far from an expert in resource finding who strives to be a helping hand for each and every resident on campus.

The Independent Living Social Services department facilitates several resident support groups on campus.

Caring for the Caregiver is a support group for those who are a primary caregiver for a loved one.

Life After Loss is a bereavement group for those who have lost a loved one recently or at any time.

Long-Term Care Support Group is for residents who have a loved one living permanently in a long-term care setting.

Living with Parkinson’s is for any resident coping with Parkinson’s Disease or other movement disorders.

Lunch Bunch is a no-host social luncheon group that meets in the Chambers House Restaurant.

They also facilitate forums and classes such as last year’s financial planning forum, the Living Well workshop that focuses on living proactively, hearing aide services, the mobility fair, and assistance with Medicare open enrollment. As Adele finished speaking, it was clear that the Independent Living Social Services Department covers a very broad range of topics and needs that we run into as we age, addressing the various issues of life in order to allow our residents to comfortably  “age in place.”

As a bridge between independent living and long-term care, assisted living is an important aspect of our continuum that provides residents the assistance they need without losing the freedoms of a more independent setting. Kristin Scott, the manager of our Assisted Living department gave the audience an inside look at what goes on in her territory. Residents receive assistance with activities of daily living, as needed, and have access to activity programs that are brought right to their building, such as exercise classes, craft projects, and baking events. Kristin explained her desire to clear any misconceptions about assisted living. The department holds regular town hall style meetings where residents are asked to give constructive feedback for management to consider.

Stay tuned for a review of the last portion of “Who Cares for us at Panorama?” where we hear from the Vice President and CFO of the corporation.

Active Retirement – K-Pan Live!

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to take part in the production of a live radio show? Or witnessed your own original script being brought to life on stage? Introducing K-Pan Live!

Where Panorama residents write their own radio shows and commercials, create the sound effects that bring them to life, man the technical operating systems, and direct the shows as they play out on stage in front of a live audience.

IMG_0240K-Pan is a fun and lively organization of Panorama residents that learn the skills to produce entertaining radio shows right here on campus. They take classes in voice over and radio techniques from the “On the Air” program at Panorama; where an industry professional teaches microphone techniques, script interpretation, and industry terms. Residents learn to create characters for animation and post production sound elements for film and television.

IMG_0264Once they have been armed with the knowledge and skills of production, our K-Pan players get to work! Building their shows from the ground up, members of K-Pan produce the show, direct the scenes, act the parts, and manufacture the sound effects. All their hard work culminates into the entertaining performances they put on in the Panorama Auditorium, which are most thoroughly enjoyed by fellow resident audiences!

IMG_0244When asked about the experience, one K-Pan player described it as a wonderful fellowship opportunity that allows residents to express their talent in a creative atmosphere. A husband and wife who participate in the group together said an experience like K-Pan is “something we’ve never had an opportunity to do. The great thing about retirement is you get these opportunities.”


K-Pan is just one of more than 80 clubs and organizations residents are enjoying everyday here at Panorama.


A Look Back at 2012

This past year brought great memories and opportunities for growth. Here are just some of the highlights of 2012 here at Panorama:

          Our Aquatic and Fitness center was visited 42,916 times by residents.

          The seats in our Auditorium were filled by over 29,000 visitors.

          98 active seniors made Panorama their home.

          Our Chambers House Restaurant hosted 312 outside groups & organizations.

          We currently have 400 dedicated and hard working employees, 270 unique floor plans, and 1,200 people who call Panorama home.


January –

Thurston County and surrounding areas were hit by a large winter storm. Snow, ice, and wind led to rough conditions with fallen trees and widespread power outages. Thankfully for those of us at Panorama, our grounds crew didn’t miss a beat! They were prepared before the storm hit and went straight to work.Snow 2012 Pan Hall Parking Grounds workers were here bright and early each morning to ensure streets, parking lots, and sidewalks were deiced and safe to use before tackling other pertinent issues on campus. In the aftermath of the storm, grounds removed 129 damaged trees, pruned limbs of 585 trees, and hauled 3,371 yards of debris off campus. When the storm subsided and the cleanup commenced, staff and residents collaborated to determine ways in which Panorama can continue to improve, as a community, in our storm preparedness.  As a result, the Storm Support Team was formed entirely of resident volunteers who are trained through a series of drills and protocols on how to interface with Panorama staff to assist their fellow residents during events like extended power outages.

February –

The Vikings beat the Panorama Pirates in the 5th Annual Kayak Races, as their vessel made of cardboard, plastic, and duct tape successfully completed 3 laps in our main swimming pool. Go team!Vikings Kayak

We invited local Baby Boomers to take a closer look at our campus and hear from fellow Boomers who have recently made Panorama their home. Attendees heard current resident testimonies and got a chance to ask their most pressing questions that could only be answered by residents themselves.

March –

Spring Fling Fashion ShowThe Panorama Spring Fling Fashion Show provided us with a sneak peak at the Chico’s new spring line. Attendees gathered in the Chambers House Restaurant as resident volunteers strutted their stuff on the catwalk, all benefiting the Ronald McDonald House.

April –

The Panorama Green Team donated $1,200 to help with the replacement of on-campus trees that were lost during the winter storm. Earth Day was commemorated with a tree planting ceremony that took place in our own McGandy Park.Earth Day Tree Planting

McGandy Park also received a new resident when our welcome pole, Kia, was installed and dedicated. Kia represents the sense of kinship and security we feel in our community here at Panorama.

May – June

          The stylistic overhaul of our resident lounge began in May. The project lasted for about 90 days and the result is a brighter, warmer room that is frequented by residents who come throughout the day to enjoy a cup of fine coffee, read the newspaper and converse with fellow residents by the fireplace.


July –

          The Panorama Benevolent Fund held its 35th annual Patio Sale. That weekend, our campus played host to hundreds of visitors who stormed the Patio Sale looking for slamming deals. Thanks to the hard work of Benevolent Fund volunteers and the patronage of community members, all proceeds benefit Panorama residents in need, as well as general efforts of continuous improvement in our community.Chihuly Exhibit at Panorama

Our newly renovated resident lounge received its finishing touches; most notably, a custom made Chihuly glass exhibit!


          A group of Panorama residents enjoyed perfect weather for their hike at Mt. Rainier.

We hosted an educational seminar about social media with a specified focus on the global phenomenon, Facebook. Residents and guests learned how to use social media websites like Facebook and implement the security features involved.

September –

Residents and staff joined forces and raised a value of $10,149 for the Thurston County Food Bank.

Taste of the OlympicsAn adventurous group of Panorama residents enjoyed a 4 day hiking trip that sampled trails of The Olympics.

October –

          We opened our resident lounge to a crowd of visitors for our Fall Open House. There were delicious fall treats, good company, and a giant pumpkin carved by a professional.

December –

          Many Panorama residents and employees began noticing a Barred Owl hanging around our campus. This type of owl is native to Eastern Washington and does not normally reside in our area but he seems to be making Panorama his new home!


Looking forward to 2013…

          This year is Panorama’s 50th Anniversary, which means we have big plans in store! We are excited to be celebrating 50 years of steady growth and success! Stay tuned for updates…