Music & Parkinson’s – An Embracing Life Session

Written by Panorama staff. May 2016

The monthly meeting of the support group, Living with Parkinson’s, was a bit different Embracing Lifethis month. Embracing Life brought on choir director and voice teacher, Troy Fisher, for this May meeting. The purpose of this session was to give people with Parkinson’s a safe place to work on activities to help strengthen their voices and express themselves freely. If I could use just one word to describe this particular meeting, it would be “fun.”

Troy had the class start with breathing exercises, inhaling deep breaths and releasing. As the group moved onto tongue and humming exercises, Troy actively engaged with the group. His lively and energetic personality made these normal exercises more entertaining and enjoyable. Then, the real fun began.

Troy had the class sing “Getting to Know You” from the King and I. Each receiving a paper copy of lyrics, the group sung along with Troy. They sang the song several times, working on singing it by memory or increasing their singing volume. Volume was an important topic to this group. Nearly everyone who has Parkinson’s experiences a soft and hoarse voice, making their speech hard to understand and hindering their communication abilities. Troy commented that when a person loses their volume from a disease like Parkinson’s, your pitch tends to lessen, causing a softer and lower voice. He said that if you want volume, you up your pitch, even if it means just going up an octave. He used one particular exercise with volume. He had each group member say their name normally. Then, he had them say their names again, upping their pitch just a bit. The change in volume was drastic! Even if a person feels like they’re yelling, knowing they have the capability to communicate is worth it.

The group and Troy spent the rest of the session singing other songs and doing some dance movements. Troy’s engagement with the group brought out more laughter, smiles and energy at the end than in the beginning of the session. He left the group with a great message that can apply to everyone. He stated that everybody can sing and should sing; everyone should experience the joy of participating and not just listening. By giving the group tools to improve their speech and communication ability, Troy was able to give the group the chance to gain a better quality of life.

A Six Day Odyssey that Dazzled Our Senses

6 day Panorama hiking odyssey

Written by Panorama hiking guide, Steve Pogge. May 2016. Photos by Panorama resident, John S.

Eight hearty Panorama residents, plus myself (Steve Pogge) and my assistant guide, (Mark Akins) set out on an adventure that took in some of the most magnificent scenery found anywhere in Northwest.  We stood on cliffs a thousand feet above the crashing surf, walked on soft pine needle paths through 400 year old giant cedars and firs, hiked into see waterfalls plunging 200 feet off of ancient lava flows, walked in the foots steps of Lewis and Clark, strolled through stretches of beautiful yellow, purple and white wildflowers while listening to a multitude of native birds serenading us.

It started out on May 8 when we jumped into, hopefully the final voyage of the OLD BROWN VAN, and headed to the far northwest corner of Oregon where Lewis and Clark spent the winter at Ft. Clatsop.  We toured the camp with the ranger and sat down at the first of many picnic lunches that featured a variety of meats and cheeses, fruits and vegetables, bread, humus and of course chips, cookies and chocolate just to keep the diet balanced.

Panorama hikers at Ft. ClatsopPanorama hikers at Ft. ClatsopAfter lunch we took a leisurely walk along the Lewis River.   One could imagine Lewis and Clark canoeing down this river 210 years ago on the way to trade with the Indians or make the trek to the coast to watch for passing ships or maybe to see a beached whale.  When we got to Seaside Oregon we continued our walk along the Ocean past a replica of Lewis and Clark’s salt kiln, where 3 members of the corp. spent weeks boiling water to provide enough salt to preserve the meat they would need to get back.

We made it to our Inn late that afternoon and many enjoyed a glass of wine or beer out on the deck, while watching the crashing waves along our secluded cove.  Dinner followed shortly at one of the fine dining establishments of the town.   This would be the first of many scrumptious meals on the trip.  To add to the enjoyment and variety we decided early on that we would order 3 or 4 desserts at the end of the meal and share them.   However there was one caveat, no double dipping with a used spoon.

We all slept well that night listening to the waves and dreaming of our next day hike to Cannon Beach.  We awoke the next morning to a glorious sunny day and cool weather.  Our group was evenly divided into the hard charging Mt. Goats and the beauty seeking nature lovers who came to be referred to as the “Fluters”.  This name was coined after the participants occasionally heard an Indian Flute on the trail.  The haunting melody seemed to almost drift through the forest trees.  The player of the flute, turned out to be just me, a novice trying not to be too off key.

Panorama hikers - May 2016The Mountain Goats were not disappointed about not having a flute player along.  Their focus was on what Lewis described in his journal as one of the toughest hikes of their entire trip.  The trail was not much different after 200 years.  Mark, who led the group, ended up doing a 9 mile hike up and over Tillamook head that took them next to an old lighthouse, massive rock formations, old growth forest and secluded beaches not to mention having to get over 80 downed trees.  The Fluters meanwhile were sauntering down a warm sand beach, next to Hay Stack rock, trying to decide what flavor of ice-cream we would have at the end of our walk.  Needless to say we all had an incredible hiking day.

On to day three, we loaded up the Van and took off for Tillamook Oregon in search of Cheese, but not without stopping at Oswald State park first and walking through a giant old Sitka Spruce grove, we then had to scramble across a suspension bridge before reaching a secluded surfing beach.

Panorama Hikers - May 2016 DSCN2563We followed the 3 cape scenic route to Cape Look Out.  We soon learned how it got its name.  The trail followed a narrow path overlooking the ocean far below, with the wind whipping through our hair and whales and eagles off in the distance.  We were both invigorated and mesmerized.

Day Four brought with it many new and exciting options.  We were staying at the beautiful Oregon Garden Resort in the town of Silverton.   In addition to tours of the Garden, there were spa treatments, tours of a Frank Lloyd Wright house, a mural tour in town and of course one of Oregon’s premier parks, Silverton Falls, featuring the walk of the Ten falls.  Most of us didn’t have trouble finding things to do this day and by late afternoon we were just hitting our stride.  We left that evening for Mt. Angel, a nearby Bavarian village that had an excellent German restaurant.  After dinner we visited a small Catholic seminary a short drive from Mt. Angel.  It is located atop a high bluff overlooking the surrounding countryside.  A circle of 100yr old Sequoias surround the seminary and the sunset that evening was spectacular.  On the way back home we stopped and walked across the Gallon Bridge, one of the many historic covered bridges that are scattered around that part of Oregon.  Most of us slept well under down filled comforters that night.

Panorama Hikers - May 2016The Mt. Goats were still feeling strong the next days so they took the longer hilly route.  The Fluters decided to  scale back and do a peaceful walk along the Salmon river in an old growth forest located at the base of Mt. Hood.  People swore they saw hobbits and fairy hiding in the wood sorrel and wildflowers.  Although it was only a short walk, the memory of the sound of river cascading over the rocks and the smell of pine needles under a canopy of ancient cedar, firs and maples will last a lifetime.

Panorama Hikers - May 2016After the walk we took the short drive to our last lodging of the trip.  It was a complete change from our first two accommodations.   Our last night was at a very peaceful, Spartan religious retreat center.   It soon became several people’s favorite lodging for the week.  It was tucked back into the forest off the beaten path and prided itself on being environmental and eco-friendly.  The staff went out of their way to make us feel at home.  They cooked for us that night using only organic fresh food and served it family style.   We were told that our group would be included in their daily prayers for one week before and one week after.  It was a comforting thought having strangers pray for our well being.

As all trips go, there is usually one or two unexpected occurrences that come up.  Ours occurred on the last day when we had planned to visit Larch Mountain, overlooking the Columbia River with views of 5 of the tallest peaks in 2 states.  The Mountain is a little known extinct volcano and we were going to hike into the crater itself.  Unfortunately the road was closed 5 miles from the top.  So we turned the van around and headed down to the Gorge where we toured several waterfalls off of the Old Columbia Gorge highway in addition to visiting Crown Point, the multi-million dollar bathroom built around the turn of the century.  It made for a good final goodbye.

Panorama Hikers - May 2016We had our last picnic at Bridal Veil falls and headed back to Lacey that afternoon with a sense of kinship, accomplishment and happiness from having had a trip that dazzled the senses.

Steve Pogge Bio

Palliative Care: What Is It? – An Embracing Life Session

Written by Panorama staff. May 2016

This Embracing Life session was facilitated by Julie Ostling, RN & BSN of Assured Embracing LifeHospice. Many people hear about hospice care, but what is palliative care? Julie had the answers, but first, she wanted to hear from the audience. She started off by asking the audience what questions they had to ensure she covered them during her presentations. Some questions or topics were:

  • Palliative care at Panorama
  • Palliative care vs. hospice care
  • Different types of palliative care that are available

Julie supplied the audience with a packet of information, all of which she covered during her presentation. She initiated it by stating that palliative care is a relatively new concept and is available locally. Palliative care is meant to help relieve suffering and improve quality of life for people at any stage in a serious illness, whether that illness is curable, chronic or life-threatening. Palliative care focuses on comfort and management of symptoms, including physical, emotional and spiritual symptoms. But how is hospice care different? While palliative care helps people at any stage of a disease, hospice care is a specific type of palliative care for people who likely have 6 months of less to live. Julie emphasized this particular statement: “Hospice care is palliative, but not all palliative care is hospice care.”

Another part of palliative care is that it helps increase comfort for the patient and the family by lessening pain and stress and controlling symptoms. When it comes to different types or forms of palliative care, Julie states that every form of palliative care is different, depending on the illness, person and/or situation. There is no specific type or form of care.

There are many forms of palliative care in the community. Ten years ago, St. Peter’s Hospital started an in-patient palliative care that consists of MD’s, ARNP’s, RN’s and Social Service support. There is also outpatient palliative care at Group Health Clinic & Providence Community Palliative Care. Home setting palliative care is possible, but an individual must meet Home Health criteria for homebound status. As far as palliative care at Panorama, depending on your situation, you can seek palliative care from the many sources in the community.

Julie’s presentation was informative and resourceful. She referred the audience to multiple sources that can provide a form of palliative care or offer information. After her presentation, the audience discussed the “Death with Dignity” law and how palliative care is being used more often.

Going hand-in-hand with the “Embracing Life” theme, palliative care is a wonderful choice for people who need help with physical, psychological, social or spiritual distress as a result of illness treatment. Seek out the sources in your community and have the conversation with your physician. You’ll never know what is out there unless you look or ask!

Intergenerational Forum – On Life and Issues of Death & Dying

Intergenerational Forum at PanoramaWritten by Panorama staff. May 2016

“Do you remember thinking about death when you were younger? Or even thinking about aging for that matter?

As we age, our perception of life and thoughts about death change but is it something we can talk about? How do we bring it up with our kids or grandkids? These are some of the questions we’re exploring with our year long Embracing Life program.

One concern of vital importance for each of us is communicating to our loved ones how we want our lives to go on as we age and what a good death looks like to each of us as individuals. If there comes a time when we need their support at the end of life or if they need to make decisions on our behalf, we can feel more confident knowing our wishes are understood.

In exploration of this, we hosted an Intergenerational Forum which included a panel of 4 High School Seniors and 4 Seniors Who Once Were in High School. The four high school seniors joined us from Timberline, South Sound, Riveridge, and North Thurston high schools, while the four “young but not as young” seniors were all Panorama residents. Questions were posed to each age group and surprisingly, we found more commonalities than differences.

1) What is old?

High School Seniors:

“Old is not a number; it’s how mature you are.”

“Old isn’t necessarily a thing you have to be; it’s all about mentality.”

“The older you get, the more you mature as a person; it’s about how you grow.”

Panorama Seniors:

“Being old is a privilege; you can really appreciate the wonderful things around you and let go of the petty things.”

“I’ve enjoyed every era of life.”

2) What do you want your life story to be? How will you “Embrace Life”?

High School Seniors:

“I want to do the most I can to help people; I want to be remembered as a good person.”

“I want to know that other people enjoyed life because of my presence.”

“I want to know that I built something good. It’s so easy to tear apart but I want to know that I built.”

“I think about how I want to feel at the end. On my death bed, what will I wish I did more of? Top of the list, for me,  is time with family.”

Panorama Seniors:

“Are we making a difference? That’s something I’ve come to think about every single day as I’ve gotten older.”

“My mother always said ‘To make life worth something you must live with as much joy as you can.’ and that’s something I’ve tried to live by.”

3) Do youth today have respect for seniors like the generation before them did?

High School Seniors:

“Lack of respect comes from lack of empathy.”

“We just have to understand that we’re not different; we were just born at different times.”

“We have to know that one day we have the option to be what they are.”

“Contact is crucial to find common ground – to work together to grow the community as a whole.”

“{If intergenerational communication was more common} kids wouldn’t be so scared of growing up.”

Panorama Seniors:

“Each generation thinks the next generation is not as good as they were. But maybe they could be better. It varies from person to person.”

“Lack of intergenerational communication contact creates a lack of understanding and respect. Communication bridges that.”

“{My wife and I}…participate in Road Scholar and have had the opportunity to see our grandkids interact with kids their age in a positive way – that helps provide perspective for us.”

“I must be the only 80+ person playing online Playstation but I get to interact with multiple generations in the game and we talk generally about everything together.”

“We have so much in common – if only we just talk to each other.”

4) Do you talk about death and dying?

High School Seniors:

“We do talk about it but in the way of living your life.”

“I don’t really think about death. I don’t want to think about it. I want to have a life where I know I built something bigger than death – I built life.”

“A lot of younger people don’t think about their actions now; they don’t think ahead to the legacy they will leave behind.”

Panorama Seniors:

“I look forward to the time when I can speak openly with my family {about death} & we can express our love.”

“We’ve dealt with the administrative issues {of death} but not the deep stuff, such as what we want our legacy to be.”

“When you’re really young, you just don’t relate to it. When we get older, we think much more about the manner of death we want.”

“The difficulty is family members struggle with hearing us talk about it and hearing our wishes.”

“Many times, grandchildren can talk to grandparents easier than they can with their parents. It’s a good thing to talk to grandparents.”


Register online for our Embracing Life Conference (June 9th) for an opportunity to learn about how to talk to your loved ones about your legacy and your wishes.

To read about last year’s  Intergenerational Forum visit this post.

PC Chorus Spring Concert – May 2016

Written by Panorama staff. May 2016

With ten minutes until the start of the concert, the Auditorium was already packed with people. Residents, friends and family members squeezed together in excitement for the start of the PC Chorus Spring Concert. The chorus eagerly sat on the stage, waiting to start performing the songs they had practiced repeatedly.

As the concert began, a theme was introduced: “A Grand Night of Singing.” Each member of the chorus was asked to pick their favorite song from 10 years of past spring concerts and the top favorites were compiled into the concert’s program. The selections were fantastic with famous songs like “Mr. Sandman,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” and “Amazing Grace.”

Panorama Chorus Spring ConcertThe audience could enjoy songs with the full impact of the entire chorus singing. Sometimes, songs were split within the chorus, between the altos and sopranos or the tenors and basses, allowing those groups to shine and standout. The chorus finished with a huge patriotic bang, singing “Stars & Stripes Forever” and “You’re a Grand Ole Flag.” The concert was a must-see event at Panorama this past weekend! Events like this are a wonderful opportunity to experience the diverse talents alive in this community.

PC Chorus Concert 2016

Panorama – Not Perfect?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2016

Why would I select such a title about Panorama?

While taking inventory of my many handmade items in our Gifts Etc. in April, Customer entered, and in a few minutes selected a card (no, it wasn’t mine).

“Ahh…this is the perfect Easter card for my teenage granddaughter. She’ll love the bird nest in the tree, and the little rabbit among the pastel spring flowers.”

She laid it on the seat of her four-wheel walker, pushed it a few yards over to the cash register, and stirred her quivering fingers around in her pocket book.

Saleswoman checked the price on the back, flipped the item over, and smiled at the colorful scene.

However, she pointed to the edit on the front and held it over the counter for Customer to observe. “It’s a beautiful card, but the crafter accidently printed ‘Happy Birthday’ instead of ‘Happy Easter.’ Would you like to select another one?”

Customer examined the item and burst out in laughter, “Oh, no! Indeed not! My granddaughter will cherish it even more–it’s one of a kind–and will be valuable one of these days.”

Our gift shop is full of unique handmade articles: some perfect, some not so perfect–in a perfect way.

This fragile little lady had found a hidden treasure.

Mary Jo Bio


A Resident’s Perspective – The Bench Surprise

Earth Day was celebrated at Panorama recently with the dedication of three new Sequoias, planted in McGandy Park.  Following that was a French film, “The Fox and The Child,” sponsored by the Green Team and shown in the auditorium.

The dedication was heralded with words from our soon-to-be-retired CEO, Joe DiSanto. Further words and thoughts were provided by the Green Team’s Don M. Following both, were poems read by one of our thespians, Mike T. finishing with a wise Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.”

The first loamSome expected the trees to be mere 5 gallon starters, but no, Panorama in its true caring fashion, planted 15-18 foot Sequoia starts. Shovelfuls of rich loam were available to shovel around the tree closest to the gathering marquee. Our CEO initially got to add loam and then all who wished could add a spade full.

The gathering was wonderfully accompanied by ethereal harps being played under the tall, tall trees in McGandy Park. Harps, trees and forests seem to be linked back through the ages.

The film at our auditorium was visually lovely regarding a 10 year old’s venture into watching and then befriending a fox in her wild environs. It came with many messages on this year’s Earth Day. While the film worked as an allegory, I know many of us in our youth and even in our later years have loved the thought of a “friendly” wild being.  The outcomes of such activities often lead to disaster for the animal/bird, or whatever. It really was a nice treatise on what makes wild things so intriguing to us. We all must remember that human interventions, even if caring ones, do have repercussions.

But, for me, the special part of the proceedings came when I arrived early and found the bench, in all its glory, positioned near the harp array. Expecting a bench, what I found was a lovely work of art, really. The wavy width of the seat and the knotholes showed the wood grain. The very special part for me was the upper back of the bench which had been scalloped out, almost like the historic wood carvers using adzes. It reminded me of fish scaling and our water environment here in the northwest.

Sequoia Bench

When I find where it will finally reside, you will find me sitting there.

Earth Day, on many fronts, was celebrated by the Green Team and Panorama in lovely fashion. We can be proud of the philosophy of our Continuing Care Retirement Community, being good stewards of what our earth has to share.

Sandy Bio