A Resident’s Perspective – Look Up and See the Flowers

Written by Panorama resident, Bob Bowers. July 2015

I recently was taking a walk one afternoon in the hot summer sunshine and chanced to wander across Golf Club Road into the Pea Patch.  Obviously the Pea Patch is a popular place for gardeners because the gardens were flourishing.  Bright varicolored dahlias, pretty roses,  larkspur, snapdragons, and such welcomed my eyes.  Vegetables and fruits were obviously doing well by the looks of their bright green leaves and growing edibles.  And, there was sweet corn and zucchini in abundance getting ready to be picked and eaten.  What a place!

Photo taken by resident Charlie Keck. August 2015.

Photo taken by resident Charlie Keck. August 2015.

Before I left I chanced to see a somewhat hidden garden over in a far corner.  Its wooden frames were full of blooming colorful flowers.  A sign stood in front of the frames announcing that this was the “C & R Flower Garden.”  I took several shots and, because it was hot, went on my way to seek a cooler place.  But, my heart was brightened by the cascade of blossoms.

This garden was created many years ago by resident gardeners who wanted to provide fresh flowers in season for the dining tables of Panorama’s Convalescent and Rehab center (C&R).  Under the careful leadership of Cathy Smith, the PC/CARE flower arrangers use these beautiful flowers to provide small bouquets for each dining table. They brighten the day for those who are confined to long-term care.

That’s just one of the many good things we are fortunate to have here at Panorama.  Thanks to the flower growers and arrangers for bringing a tiny bit of Panorama’s beauty to our C & R Residents.

Bob Bowers Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – Panoramans Walk to Armenia

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. June 2015

All Panorama residents were invited to register for our June Summer Challenge and pick up a T shirt, pedometer, water bottle, progress card and brain games packet.  We’d compete only with ourselves—Yeah!  I was eager to start.  The challenge was to move a little bit more than we usually did with suggested activities:

“Walk the Loop”

around McGandy Park on Tuesdays with neighbors and go as many rounds as desired

Ride a bike

Take a Fitness Class

Exercise our Brain through Puzzles or ??


Clean and Organize

And anything else to JUST MOVE MORE!

We calculated our steps, miles, or time with our pedometer and recorded it on our progress card.

The timing was perfect.  With diabetes in my family history, I’d just learned I was pre-diabetic.  I needed to eat more veggies, less sugar, etc.  I could do that.  After an hour of writing my life-story book, I needed to stand, walk around, do a few exercises, and snack every two hours!  Wow, I hardly ever snacked!  I could get used to an apple or whole wheat cracker with peanut butter, or a handful of nuts in plain yogurt.

Walk_CompressedI aimed to walk a mile or two a day.  With our campus of 140 acres and smooth sidewalks among beautiful trees and flowers and McGandy Park, I was spoiled into walking alone or with others, who were on foot, with walkers, scooters or being pushed in wheelchairs.  Sometimes I stopped into one of the three campus buildings to use the electronic treadmills with an option to watch the large flat-screen TV on the wall.  Although I walked often, since we haven’t had nor needed a car for three years, I still needed to walk more.  The weather here is great almost every day of the year for strolling.

I figured I’d use some of my daily chores to get more exercise.  I energetically did squats to dry the shower down while holding an oldie-but-goodie, water-sucking towel with both hands.  Why not do stretches and squats while brushing my teeth?

Weekly I scrubbed the kitchen and bath floors with enthusiasm.  I tackled my craft room—somewhat—but vigorously.  I watched our closed circuit TV channel or news while I did my chair and floor exercises in our family room.  My windows sparkled like the cleanser-ad on TV by the end of June.

Melissa, our fitness coordinator, expected about 50, but reported 200 participants!  When turning in our progress cards, we automatically entered the drawing for prizes at our July 4th picnic.  I didn’t win the $100 or $50 grocery or shopping gift cards, or tickets to the Seattle Mariners Game.  Not even the free session of Fitness Classes or Gift Certificate to our Restaurant, but I won–over and above my own expectations.

It’s amazing how much better I feel at the end of only one month!  I don’t remember how long it was since I bent over to touch my toes. I feel even more energetic.  Most of all, I’m meeting new friends who continue walking, stretching and exercising just a little more than they did before June.

So, what does Armenia have to do with all of this?  Weekly, Melissa kept tract of our progress-card mileage on a large world map displayed in the fitness center.

We traveled 9,099 miles, did 517.3 hours of activity, and walked across the United States–all the way to Armenia!

Summer Challenge Map

Thanks, Panorama for my free trip and new normal of eats and exercise.  Everyone was a winner!

Mary Jo Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – Music for the Ages

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2015

Mary Jo - Piano 2Lunch was over.  Normally, the dining room in Assisted Living was cleared, but most residents sat listening.

Tears in my eyes welled up.  Lord, this is such a simple thing, and I enjoy it so much.  You’ve given me the talent and the joy of sharing it.  Each note I play on this piano is for Your honor and glory.

These are true short happenings I often experience:

A man recognized me as I entered the lunch room with my music bag.  He leaned toward his wife’s good ear, “The piano lady’s here today—we’re going to have good music.”  She turned.  I gestured with a nod and hearty wave.

Woman in blue smiled as I unpacked my bag, “I want to take this time before you start, to thank you for coming.  I enjoy everything you play.  I always get here early on Mondays.”

Purple-hat-lady sat tall, beamed, and gestured with both hands from across the room.

I caught the beginning of a remark from the men’s self-assigned, table-for-four by the wall, while I played a difficult section of The Impossible Dream.  In a pleasant tone, one man slowly said “As I get older, that song means….”  I had to focus on my music and block out listening to the rest of his sentence.  The round of applause from that table-for-four spoke louder than the words I had missed.

A former singer and his wife always sit close to the piano.  They showed up about ten minutes late.  Disappointed, she pulled out her chair, “Oh, we missed the first numbers.”  He was already humming along As Time Goes By, alternating soft, whistling tones like a bird.

Mainly, I play full arrangements of old time popular, favorites, musicals, hymns, some jazz and rags that I know they enjoy.  After I finished Chopin’s slow, four-page, Nocturne in E-Flat, a lady at the second table said, “I’m not a classics lover, but I must admit that’s my favorite today.  I enjoy any numbers you play.”

“Mine, too,” her friend emphatically nodded.

Twice a month, I get to play at Gentle Care, the Alzheimer/Dementia unit.  I’m so touched at the response from several delicate residents who don’t always seem receptive, despite their loving care.  Then I see a foot start tapping a rhythm, or a head lean back with a big smile and closed eyes.  Or I hear little Miss B humming clear as a lark from her wheeled chair with her dancing eyes on me and her hand on my electronic piano.  I know she’s someone’s mother, sister and aunt.  She could be my mother—my music makes her happy.

Last month as I headed down the hall after playing, I was called back.  The same Ms. B grabbed my arm with watery, red eyes, “Please don’t go.  We’re not finished yet.”  I bent down, my hand on her shoulder, “I promise, I’ll come back and play again.”  She gave me a beautiful, false-teeth-showing smile in assurance.

The first time I played in the Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center recreation/lunch room, I decided to try playing that long, slow, melodious, Chopin Nocturne in E-Flat.  One man wheeled himself over to the electronic piano, facing me the entire length of the composition.

Other residents were quiet and still in their wheeled chairs around the white-clothed tables—so still, I didn’t know whether they were breathing.  After I finished the last soft measures, the entire room lit up with a huge resounding applause.  They were far from sleeping and certainly were breathing!  The gentleman who had brought his chair closer begged loudly, “Play that one again.”

“If they let me come back, I promise—I’ll play it again.”

Music means so much to them and to me.  I’m blessed here at Panorama, and I never want to take my piano opportunities for granted.

Mary Jo Bio