Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. Photos by George Bush. November 2016
Over the years (3) that we have been here, we always get the strange question: “What are you missing here?” It follows closely on the heels of “what do you NOT like about living at Panorama?”
We’ve not found anything we do NOT like about living here at Panorama, so that is easy to answer. What is harder is what might be missing?
Administration has worked and is working hard to provide us with a pleasant and safe community to live in. There are so many opportunities for learning in retirement, exploring the great South Puget Sound area, meeting fellow residents, enjoying free movies and classics, ease in accessing restaurant/meal service, pharmacy, library and multitude of crafts, workshops and affinity groups. A big amenity is the exercise and pool complex. Fitness equipment lives in most of the buildings and many of us have our own.
But, what is it with those stairs………. We’ve realized what I call “elder code,” for lack of a better descriptor, has eliminated stairs. Only a few living arrangements have stairs internal to them. The tall apartment building and both Chalet and Chinook have stairwells, but also sport elevators to accommodate residents with mobility issues.
What has been fun for us is climbing the 5 flights of stairs in the south or north stairwells that empty out on the 5th floor of Quinault building. On a clear day, Mt. Rainier is in all its glory from the north set of stairs. Some days the cloud cover, rain or fog engulfs our mighty neighbor to the east. But sometimes at sunset on a clear or partially cloudy day, the alpenglow of the west side of Rainier is just spectacular. Sometimes lenticular clouds seem to tease the peak and sometimes the peak is poking out above the land fog. We have so many photographs, that we have quit taking them. Last week, after a nasty day of rain, a peculiar yellow light appeared at dusk and Mt. Rainier sported a giant and bright double rainbow between us and it. So very special.
Most of us can’t see Rainier due to tree growth in surrounding communities, so we use the stairs to treat ourselves and give us a destination. Why? Well, about 6 months ago, we decided we need the stair climb to help invigorate heart muscle and lungs. It is a cardio workout of sorts, not unlike what our gym-users strive for on the equipment here in profusion at Panorama.
Being a scientific type and lover of graphs and spreadsheets, my guy fashioned a grid to sign up if you DO climb the stairwell. There is a place for name and blanks to put in dates and numbers of flights climbed. We thought it would be fun to log what we do. Then we found that many other folks were actually signing in to the clipboard that holds the months tally on the top-most railing in both stairwells.
We also thought as part of general fitness that is promoted here, it might be interesting to J. Leyva, our fitness coordinator. So, at months end, we take the sheets to her and she has been keeping a tally. It is like walking to Indiana or New York by counting your steps or some such in a recent fun exercise program.
Logging in at south stairwell
The biggest caveat to this is wearing our SARA buttons and knowing what our heart and lung status is. Another important thing to consider is it might be best if you have a buddy with you. None of us should over-do exercise. But working up to more flights over time will help heart health. Some residents we have talked with find climbing the flights best but then take the elevator back down. Balance issues and leg strength are both important to consider. Others we have “run into” on the stairs take the elevator up and the stairs down by their doctor’s suggestion. Railings are available and should be used.
Wishing you some happy views of our magnificent campus and to the east, the mighty Mt. Rainier!!!