Pain Management with Yoga

Written by Panorama resident and Yoga Instructor, Charles Kasler – April 2020

We greeted the year with a silent meditation + tea on New Year’s Eve, and a free class on New Year’s Day. We held our spring meditation retreat in the lovely chapel. Connie focused on new scientific research in meditation in her dharma talk. Charles began working with interested yoga students individually outside of class.

We have temporarily discontinued all classes while we shelter in place until the virus threat passes. Likewise we cancelled our spring equinox gathering, the first time we have missed a gathering since we began. Needless to say, we are all looking forward to practicing together again. In the meantime, there are audio and video classes for students to follow at home.

The original purpose of yoga was for inner peace. That’s still true today but there are also many side benefits, among them pain management. One of our students said that her yoga practice is like medicine. So true! Regular practice can lower stress and can have a feedback effect to improve chronic pain. 

“Yoga can teach you how to focus your mind to change your experience of physical pain. It can teach you how to listen to your body and take care of your needs so that you can participate in the activities that matter to you. It can give you back the sense of safety, control, and courage that you need to move past your experience of chronic pain.” – Kelly McConnogal, Stanford University

Practicing yoga on a regular basis can affect your response to pain, decreasing your level of perceived suffering. The increased flow of oxygen to the brain and muscle tissues improves energy level and sense of well being. Combining breath awareness with the physical movement of yoga helps release muscle tension in your body. For people with arthritis, moving joints through their range of motion and stretching muscles can decrease the intensity of pain, or relieve it completely. 

You can manage pain in two ways: 

Symptom Improvement – reduce pain for conditions that cause acute or chronic pain, such as low back pain, or recovery from surgery.

Adjunct to Western Medicine – aid in treatment of conditions that have pain as the main feature, such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic headaches, and cancer treatments.

The level of pain you feel is influenced by how your brain perceives the experience. Several factors can influence pain perception, including: 

Age – As brain areas degenerate with age so does brain circuitry, so older people have lower pain tolerance and it may be harder to deal with pain.

Memory – Our past experience dealing with pain can influence our neural responses to it, causing us to be more sensitive to pain.

Acute vs. Chronic Pain

Chronic pain differs from acute pain in three ways: 

  1. Your body can become more sensitive to the threat of pain, leading to fear and anxiety.
  2. Your brain can become more likely to interpret situations as threatening, and sensations as painful.
  3. With the experience of repeated reactions to pain, your ability to differentiate between the many aspects of the pain response may become blurred.

Chronic pain is challenging because it goes beyond the physical presence of pain, and affects your mind-body connection. Chronic pain can affect your daily functioning due to changes in: 

  • Breathing. Your breath can become more shallow and shaky, making exercise and even normal physical activities more challenging. 
  • Muscle Tension. Because your body is in a constant state of alert, muscle tension can increase. This will limit your range of motion, which in turn can worsen stiffness. 
  • Movement Patterns. As you try to protect the area of pain, your movement patterns can change dramatically. Some people stop all nonessential movement, limiting what they can do in the short term and causing stiffness and weakness in the long term. Other people grit and bear the pain, only stopping when the pain is so intense that they can’t continue, but they may be creating unhealthy movement patterns that result in uneven physical wear and tear. 
  • Body Image. How you view yourself can change from physically capable to weak and incapable, which makes you less willing to take on physical challenges or even to keep exercising. 
  • Thought Patterns. Chronic pain can cause you to become less optimistic about pain and your life in general.
  • Emotions. Your emotions may become more volatile, leading you to become angry, frustrated, tearful, and overwhelmed. 

Although chronic pain can cause each of these issues, they are all problems that you can treat with yoga. And as you consciously address your chronic pain, you can improve or reverse the physical, mental, and emotional damage it has caused. 

The “Blue” Zone

Written by Panorama residents, Alice Falter & Jim DeYoung. December 2019

There are a few places in the world that are known as the Blue Zone. The term refers to geographic areas in which people have low rates of chronic disease and live longer than anywhere else. These regions are home to some of the oldest and healthiest people in the world. Although their lifestyles differ slightly, they mostly eat a plant-based diet, actively move about as part of their regular lifestyle, have good spiritual, family and social networks, and drink moderate amounts of alcohol.

More specifically, these people tend to (a) have a specific purpose in life, (b) are physically active, (c) eat healthier, and (d) have an active social network.

Each of these individual lifestyle factors have been associated with a longer life. By incorporating them into your lifestyle, it may be possible to add a few enjoyable years for you as well. You then share a like lifestyle with those people who live in the blue zones throughout the rest of the world. We might add that they also get enough sleep, an occasional nap, and that is okay.

There are specific areas or zones throughout the world that are considered Blue Zones. They include small communities in California, Costa Rica, Italy, Greece, and Japan. As diverse as these locations are, Panorama could be considered its own Blue Zone for its healthy lifestyle and number of individuals who, by living out the key characteristics listed above, are unknowingly creating their own Blue Zone.

There is a new structure in the Panorama Pea Patch, in the very back of the garden, with the words “BLUE ZONE” across the front of the structure. At the right time on Friday afternoons when the sun is shining, a group of gardeners are enjoying each other’s company as well as a touch of the vino – promoting the concept of living in a Blue Zone.

The Blue Zone structure is a place to meet with friends, or to just quietly sit and contemplate the surrounding gardens and/or the turning of the earth. The name of the C&R Garden is also being changed to the “Blue Zone Gardens” to promote the pleasure that flowers bring to a healthy lifestyle.

In summary, the Blue Zone is not a social club or organization, but is comprised of those individuals who live a lifestyle that includes one or more of the above characteristics.

Yoga & Summer Solstice

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. September 2019

Who are those crazy people still in the Pea Patch at 9:30 pm? We weren’t gardening; we’re yoga students celebrating the summer solstice on the longest day of the year. We enjoyed pleasant company in the beautiful gardens at twilight. We also did a little chair yoga and silent meditation. A good time was had by all!

We also had a summer workshop on self care with yoga. Our next event will be high tea on the Fall Equinox & then the Fall Meditation Retreat in October.

Yoga works on many levels. Foremost it is a spiritual practice, whatever your religious beliefs, because it quiets the agitation of the mind. We experience moments of inner peace and contentment through practice. Yoga trains the mind in concentration, which is a precursor to meditation – those transcendent moments of quiet mind and open heart. Compassion is an essential part of yoga as we realize the world is all one family.

And movement is what most people associate with yoga – twisting into pretzels. Of course, our practice is designed for seniors in a way that is accessible to all. In a recent survey the question was – how do you know your class is effective? I responded – because I see people moving like someone 20 years younger. It’s true!

Breath training is also an essential part of yoga. We all have dysfunctional breathing. Yoga helps release chronic constriction around the breath. Breath is the bridge between mind and body. It has a direct impact on emotions as well. Conscious breathing can quiet the mind as well as calm the emotions.

Students sometimes say I didn’t feel like coming this morning but I’m glad I did. I’ve heard that often over the years. Yoga becomes more effective and enjoyable the longer we practice. And, of course, we continually modify and adapt out practice to accommodate any limitations.

Come take a trial class and join the fun. You’ll be glad you did.

Those Stairwells….

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. June 2019

What is it about those stairwells?

We, as a couple, decided that we are just not into being confined in rooms with lots of folks in exercise or meditation mode. We do our meditation out on the trails we love in NW Washington. We additionally swim laps twice a week.

But we have found that the tall stairs on either end of the Quinault building are excellent for cardiovascular work-outs. We walk all over campus to functions, meals, the bank, the gift shop, and pharmacy, but not ever at the rate that gives your heart an extra push.

We always do one set up and down, mostly in the north stairwell. The south stairwell provides an extra flight up to where Operations folks maintain equipment on the roof. And if you start in the basement, it gives you an extra flight as well. It is enough for us at 76 and 82 to get a heart rate up and build some “wind” for our lungs. If you have heart issues, be sure to check with your MD regarding what is safe for you.

We urge you to wear your SARA pendent and it’s always best to have a buddy along, or just let someone know where you are going. Taking a cell phone with you might also be prudent.

That being said, doing one set of stairs (like those who live in the Quinault building) is always beneficial. I know some folks who save up their flights and log a large number on the recording sheet. Whatever you do, it is beneficial. Some have said it is hard on knees to go down stairs, so going up the stairs and taking the elevator down is a perfectly healthy option. Those with balance problems should hold on to handrails and going down the flights might be more of a safety issue than going up them!!!

We decided to create a form to check off as a good way to guarantee that we actually get over there to do them as we don’t live in the Quinault. I know a lot more people “do the stairs” than are shown in the log results. That is fine; however, our Aquatic & Fitness Coordinator, Erin, logs the number of flights traveled as we turn them in at the end of the month and she often reports the numbers to the Board of Directors.

There is a benefit for making the effort up the north stairwell. On a clear day, in the foyer by the 5th floor elevator, you can see a mostly unobstructed view of Mt. Rainier. Sometimes at dusk, if it is clear, you can see the “Alpine Glow” of pinks.

There are also chairs to sit and catch your breath at the top of that stairwell. I hope you enjoy the views, when they are available, but I also hope you will join us if you are able to add some exercise in your life. Perhaps we will see you there.

What Brings Us to Yoga?

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. Photos by Charlie Keck. March 2019

What brings us to yoga? Many reasons – to get into better shape, relax, reduce stress, improve chronic issues like back pain, or fear of falling. All good reasons; however, the joy of practice eventually becomes its own reward. We don’t practice to get something; it just becomes part of our lifestyle. It’s who we are. Of course, we still receive the many side-benefits of yoga.

Some people are intimidated because it seems too exotic, or they’re not flexible. No problem. Yoga adapts to each person. There is no goal except to have a positive relaxing experience. Our next summer workshop will go into detail about self-care with yoga. It doesn’t replace Western medicine, but it adds a nice complement that can be empowering for everyone.

Practice changes over time! Ageing has been compared to living in a house on fire. How do we find grace and ease in bodies, and sometimes minds, that gradually decline?

There is endless research showing the healing effects of yoga on body, mind and spirit. There are over 3000 papers and studies on meditation alone. All it takes is consistent practice. Attending a class helps, providing support, learning, fun, and community.

We celebrated New Year’s Eve with a silent meditation in the chapel, tea and visiting afterward, and then a free yoga/meditation class on New Year’s Day. Connie taught a workshop in January on cardiovascular health. She is always well-informed and entertaining.

The Spring Mindfulness Retreat will be at the end of March, after our Spring Equinox gathering. Quarterly social get-togethers are popular with our yoga/meditation community. Classes are ongoing…take a trial class for free. Everyone is welcome!

Apple Around Campus

Written by Panorama resident, Tam Alden. Video produced by Panorama residents.
January 2019

One of the joys of living at Panorama is that the Chehalis Western Trail borders the campus.  The trail is a tremendous asset that I enjoy. I can boast that I have ridden my bike from Woodard Bay to the “T” at Highway 507. Not all in one day, of course, but still – been there, done that.  On one autumn day a lowly little crabapple stopped me in my tracks.  In my zeal for exercise and fresh air, I had never noticed the crabapple tree growing alongside the trail until it tossed one of its apples in front of me.  I passed it by and screeched to a halt.  “Might make an interesting photo,” I thought.  I turned around and squatted down to rest my iPhone on the asphalt for a close-up portrait of the apple with my bike in the background.  I was so delighted with this photo that I picked up the apple and took it with me.  Suddenly, my focus changed from trying to best my previous speed record to slowing down and looking at the trail with fresh eyes, searching for other unique places to take apple photographs.

Until the apple became too old and wrinkly, it was my companion.  I took it with me walking around Panorama and that tiny apple introduced me to the campus in a detail that I’d previously not noticed.  The apple and I even saved a life.   As I watched with horror, a honeybee flew into the fountain pool located between the Aquatic Fitness Center and the Auditorium.  The precious honeybee would have certainly drowned.  I floated the apple in the fountain pool to give the wet bee a life raft so I could lift it to safety. I left the bee to dry in the sun where it efficiently squeegeed off the water with its tiny legs before busily getting back to work.  Without my iPhone camera and the apple, I would not have noticed this drama taking place.

I still power walk and ride my bike from place to place on the Panorama campus, taking advantage of pickleball, ping pong, water volleyball, bocce ball, Pub Trivia, Spanish class, basket weaving, needle felting, movies, book club and entertainments at the Auditorium (whew!). However, I also now take time to stop, slow down and really see the amazing detail of the world in which I am so blessed to live and to marvel at my immense good fortune to live in the best place on earth – Panorama.

 

Balance

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. August 2018

We held our annual Summer Solstice gathering in the Pea Patch, keeping watch for the last hour of light on the longest day. It was very pleasant sitting and walking among the flowers. I taught a balance workshop in August with simple home practices to help prevent falls. Fall/winter will bring more gatherings: a meditation retreat, a mindfulness introduction workshop, a New Year’s Eve silent meditation, and maybe a New Year’s Day class. We have a rich and close community of yoga/meditation students here at Panorama, open to all residents. I think of it as a silent support group.

Connie at the Activity Fair

Summer Solstice in the Pea Patch

People sometimes think their injuries, illness or limitations prevent them from joining a yoga class. Not at all! We adapt movements to each student. Yoga is for everybody, seniors especially. We’re all in this together, teachers included. That’s a beautiful part of yoga at Panorama – we live together, we’re friends and see each other outside of class as well. In addition, we care for and support each other as we go through different challenges. That’s the true spirit of yoga beyond a movement practice.

People are living longer, even as the body declines. We need to stay active in order to live independently. As we age, we lose muscle mass and strength and reaction time is slower, affecting balance. Our reflexes and coordination also slow down with age. A third of people over 65 fall each year. At 80, half of the seniors fall each year. Falling, not osteoporosis, is the strongest risk factor for fractures. In addition, some people fall and aren’t seriously hurt, but can’t get back up. Falls can be reduced by up to 50% with balance training. Over the years, many yoga students have reported that their practice has improved their balance, and sometimes averted a fall. Yoga develops mental clarity and concentration, as well as improved body awareness and control. The two go hand in hand. While age is a risk factor, a person who is healthy and fit effectively has a lower chronological age, leaving them less susceptible to falls and fractures. Yoga can help us age gracefully with improved quality of life.

A Resident’s Perspective – Walk Events

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. June 2018

Over the five years we have been in residence at Panorama, I am always amazed at the outpouring of support and inclusion of our community, by both residents and staff when activities happen. Three events are prime examples: the 5K walkabout on campus, Walk the Loop Tuesdays, and the Arts Walk.

May found many of us signed up for and completing the 5K walk around campus. Much energy was put in designing the path and then marking it in orange rain-soluble chalk.  Then there were the water stations at many points. It was also designed so that benches were along the way for resting awhile, if needed. It seemed every department was represented in the effort. Security, Emergency Response, Marketing, Bus Transportation drivers, Aquatic & Fitness Center, Lifestyle Enrichment, Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro, and Independent Living Services were all manning some aspect of keeping us safe and connected. And then there was the start-finish boom box with fun music at the Aquatic & Fitness Center!

5K or 3 miles onward!

Walk, ride, or whatever!

Besides “Shanks Mare” (walking), there were bicycles, upright segues, scooters, three-wheelers, canes, and walkers used. The overcast day kept the temperatures bearable for those of us who abhor walking in the heat!!!!  This time of year, with the unbelievable array of color in the Rhododendrons, it was an additional treat to walk the neighborhoods that the route took us.

Vibrant Rhododendrons

Grace, from Lifestyle Enrichment, in her cheerleader hat!

Medals at the end were a nice touch!

And now it is Walk the Loop time for summer Tuesday evenings from 6:30 PM on. These are gentle walks, allowing you to do what length you want and enjoy the learning stations along the way. Riddles, quizzes and informational postings add to memories or learning or just plain fun. The Panorama campus is flat and is such a treat for those who are mobility-impaired and using various aids, such as canes or walkers or scooters, to enjoy the fresh air of an evening. Also, it is a gab-fest for folks you don’t see day to day. The opportunities to connect and stay moving here at Panorama are such a bonus.

The Arts Walk involved so many artists and supporters of artists in amazing displays in many venues about campus! These were concentrated in a few buildings and environs, so the “walk” part was not excessive. Buses ran on a schedule to get folks to all the venues. The creativity of residents is wonderful to see. Music was heard all over the venues by various groups with different instruments and vocals in the Auditorium. Actors and readers were reprising the “Dixie Swim Club” play from earlier this year and it was just as funny with good attendance in the Auditorium. The afternoon found our Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro dispensing ice cream products under the portico of the Auditorium.

I always think no wonder there are 400+ folks on the wait lists to get in here! We are so very fortunate. Do get out and enjoy campus as we roll into summer, in a few weeks. The grounds crew has made this such a vibrant-hued community in ALL seasons.

A Resident’s Perspective – Walking and Hiking Season Begins Apace!

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. May 2018

The celebration of May Day saw the opening, in earnest, of the Panorama outings into the environment! The day was wonderful with overcast and NO RAIN! Nine of us spent a lovely leg stretcher, after so much winter rain, by hiking up to Mima Falls.

There was a second trip planned the next day to accommodate an increasing interest in joining these hikes. The gathering at the Falls was a snack break and gab session. A new resident of three weeks (!) joined this trip.  She managed to put aside her unpacking to investigate these wonderful outings.

Spring brings with it so much bird song & flowering of wild flowers. There were also the croaking frogs along with the splash of the falls. A quiet day in the woods is always rejuvenating. I’ve only included a few pictures of things abloom, but there were so many. So many shades and hues of the trilliums were a treat. Also pictured was the flowering Oregon Grape.

This trail accommodated dogs on leash, as well as horses. We were treated to seeing two lovely horses ridden up the trail and back down past us. A further fun thing was a group of eight from Jubilee retirement facility who were working their way up as we were coming down to go to lunch. It was a “hail fellow, well met” happening. A particularly interesting discovery along the trail was the VERY RARE pretzel tree, quite festooned in honor of spring!

The trip was shortened by two miles, due to the worst up and down of the second section of the trail. For a first time out, this was such a great decision. For hikers and walkers interested, our leader, Steve Pogge, always has options on lengths and portions of trail that give us a walk or hike that meets our abilities. Steve is always available to answer questions regarding any planned hikes, and you can call him or email him with questions. The Activities and Events section of the Newsletter where hikes are described has his contact information for questions.

The trailhead did not provide comfortable lunch seating, so we drove around the corner to Mima Mounds recreational prairie reserve. There have been many spring wildflower walks out at this lovely destination and we ate our packed lunches looking out over the mounds. Many things were blooming, but the blue camas were in great profusion.

Watch the Activities and Events section of the Newsletter to find these gems of outings. It is such a luxury to have someone drive you out and back. We are so very spoiled!!!

Enjoy the spring! Panorama will help you do that!!!!!

A Resident’s Perspective – Activities at Panorama

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. April 2018

I thought I’d take just a few minutes to share what impresses me about our planned activities here at Panorama. Everyone gets the monthly “Panorama News” bulletin, either by electronic media or on paper through our mail boxes. Along with the “Resident Handbook and Directory,” these provide us with all the happenings around Panorama.

We are informed about the current state of Panorama affairs by various departments, such as Maintenance or Grounds. Special interest groups can outline upcoming events that they are providing and other opportunities available are spelled out.

What has become almost a “bible” for us in our household is the long section of activities organized by the Lifestyle Enrichment department. On-campus offerings often provide bus transport to movies at the auditorium or Resident Council transport can be arranged for other things. Speaking for myself, I always make a copy of the often 8 pages (!!) of happenings and descriptions outlined to keep next to our paper (yes, paper) calendar. Movies, either foreign or first run recent films, are listed along with classics, which often run on special times or holidays, like Christmas.

The hiking, walking and outing offerings have always been uppermost in our interest as we are pretty mobile at this time. Being from out of state, the meal outings, such as Brunch at Its Best and Dinner at Its Best, have introduced us to places that locals already know about. This has been a wonderful learning service provided for getting to know Olympia and environs. Hidden parks you would never find on your own have been a delight to discover.

Many of the offerings include bus transportation to Seattle (and who wants to drive there??) and night performances at many theaters where parking and night vision make driving, in our circumstance, a bit of a crapshoot, if not, downright dangerous. Get to know the activity desk folks (9:30 AM to 12:00 PM weekdays) in Pan Hall to sign up for these outings. Also, get your suggestions about things you’d like to see & do to the Lifestyle Enrichment department, as well.

The listed activities coupled with special lectures for Learning in Retirement have been so very helpful as we maneuver through our aging years! The Office of Philanthropy underwrites performances and Lifestyle Enrichment department supports and covers so many other opportunities. The Panorama Board of Directors also supports administrative decisions for many activities.

We have met some wonderful folks on these outings and have had a good time. And we always look forward to the next month’s issue with listings of doings/outings to sign up for. This brings to mind the query I get from people from our old community on “what on earth do you do there?” This always makes me laugh. We are finding our calendar as full as it was ten years ago!!! Granted, the activities have changed. The opportunities to learn are different. But for anyone wondering what there is to do, these activities are a gold mine. Those who volunteer for many of our functions and interest groups find time at a premium, but still manage to go to a movie now and again.

I am hoping you will acquaint yourselves with this bulletin and what it offers. I know, many of you are still in boxes and moving in can be a bear. But remember that Panorama is rich in what they are providing us and we are rich in being the recipients of such energy and planning.  Enjoy Panorama!!!

(P.S. The magnolia finally bloomed as well!!!!!!!”)

Yoga & Breathing

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. February 2018

If there’s one thing people love about yoga, it’s the breathing! Along with all of our movement, classes are an hour-long breathing practice. It feels great! We all have dysfunctional breathing from habit, bad posture, stress, osteoporosis. Yoga helps normalize our breathing. It’s both calming and energizing, bringing us into balance.

Yoga breathing is at once a physical-health practice, a mental-health practice, and a meditation. It is not just breath training – it’s mind training using breath as a vehicle. It enhances our entire life. We tend to breathe quickly most of the time – 14 to 20 breaths per minute, which is about three times faster than the 5 or 6 breaths per minute proven to help us feel our best. Yoga slows and deepens breathing. There is a very direct relationship between breath rate, mood state, and autonomic nervous system.

Studies on meditation have demonstrated there is overall improvement in respiratory function from just meditation alone: “Vital capacity, tidal volume and breath holding were significantly higher in meditators than non-meditators.” Of course we have a weekly sitting meditation group as part of the overall yoga program at Panorama.

Aging and the Respiratory System

The respiratory system undergoes various anatomical, physiological and immunological changes as we age. The structural changes include chest wall and thoracic spine deformities (Dowager’s Hump, or kyphosis, and also scoliosis), which can impair the total respiratory system compliance, leading to increased work in breathing. The internal lung tissue loses its supporting structure, which can lead to the air spaces dilating and getting bigger than normal, resulting in “senile emphysema.” This reduces the ability of oxygen to get into the bloodstream (though not the ability of carbon dioxide to exit the blood stream and return to the lungs). Respiratory muscle strength decreases with age and can impair effective coughing, which is important for airway clearance of mucus and phlegm, and can increase the risk from respiratory infections.

Interestingly, the lung matures by age 20–25 years, and thereafter aging is associated with progressive decline in lung function, although gradual. So younger adults need to be mindful of this, as well as older adults. The airway’s nerve receptors undergo functional changes with age and are less likely to respond to drugs used in younger adults to treat the same disorders. Older adults have decreased sensation of shortness of breath and decreased breathing response to low oxygen and high carbon dioxide levels, making them more vulnerable to lung failure during high-demand situations, such as heart failure or pneumonia, that may lead to prolonged illness and even death. – Baxter Bell, M.D.

Yoga has many potential beneficial effects on our respiratory system. Structurally, regular practice can address changes to the chest wall bones and the thoracic spine to improve the boney alignment of these structures via postural improvement and increased movement. Specific postures can be used to target problem areas. Yoga can also address the issue of weak muscles around the lungs and strengthen the muscles around the chest wall. You can actively challenge the diaphragm via extending the length of the inhalations and exhalations.

Regular yoga practice can also reveal unusual or unhealthy breathing patterns, such as excessive tension of the abdominal muscles during breathing. You can then work with your teacher to re-establish a healthier pattern of respiration.

Recent studies have shown some yoga tools are effective in improving lung function in those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

And because yogic breathing exercises help to regulate the autonomic nervous system’s responses to stress, such as being able to dampen the sympathetic response (Fight or Flight), practicing yoga to improve respiratory function will have the added benefit of lowering overall stress, improving your sense of well-being, and even having positive effects on mental-emotional conditions, such as depression, anxiety and concentration, all of which can be present in those with breathing challenges. – Baxter Bell, M.D.

Improve your quality of life. Take advantage of the many therapeutic yoga classes and events at Panorama. Residents enjoyed the Winter Solstice gathering and the annual New Year’s Eve meditation. March events: Spring Meditation Retreat and Spring Equinox student gathering.

 

A Resident’s Perspective – Free In-Home Exercises?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. February 2018

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” Not this time!

Every morning Jenny Leyva, Aquatic & Fitness Coordinator, and resident Reath wake Chris and me up in time for 9 o’clock exercises in our own apartment– it’s FREE!

Actually the best part: we are in our jammies or showered and ready for the day. Our own TV screen shows two videos filmed by Greg Miller, Marketing Retirement Advisor. Other residents across the campus are sharing the experience at the same time!

Jenny teamed up with Reath who demonstrates the modified version of each exercise so residents can have options.

Video #1: Exercise for Independence – about 15 minutes

*  Total body exercise

*  Simple, functional exercises designed to help keep us active and independent.

Video #2: Strength & Balance for Fall Prevention – about 20 minutes

     *  Fall prevention exercise

*  Key lower body strength exercises that have been proven to help reduce the risk of falling

Jenny reminds us to breathe deeply and gives us 10-second water-breaks.

What do I like about these exercises? I can do them on my own during the day, watching TV or waiting for our meal in the restaurant. No, not putting my hands over my head, but the simple foot bends under the table. In the elevator, I practice breathing deeply and exhaling. I’ve learned to feel the weight on my heels before getting up from my chair and to take control of myself as I sit down, instead of ploppin’ down as I usually do. When writing on my laptop, I stop a few minutes to do the arms-over-the-head exercises, or stretching forward. I don’t always remember reminders, but I look forward doing them out of habit.

The first day I started, I noticed being more invigorated walking the Quinault halls. Chris and I remind each other to sit and stand tall. What’s nice, too, is on a day we might not be home at the assigned time, we will be able to do the exercises on our own. The schedule time is good…it’s over…there’s no temptation or distraction to stop to check a do-list or email. But then I’m the only one that has that problem!

Jenny says the idea to create the videos began as a direct response to the Quality of Life survey that was given to us by Panorama. The results of the survey indicated that a large percent of residents feel afraid to fall or have experienced a fall recently. The team of Sharon Rinehart, Dr. Behre, Grace Moore, and Jenny Leyva laid out the foundation of the fall prevention video. At that time, they also decided to update the Silver Sneakers video that was currently playing on our PCTV. That was where the idea came to show two different videos.

Another great innovation and example of how Panorama constantly asks for our suggestions and needs, and implements them when feasible for many of the residents!

Thank you again, Panorama, Jenny, Reath and the other team members!

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.

The Christmas Day Outing

Written by Panorama resident, Sandra Bush | December 2017

Each year, Steve Pogge organizes a lunch walk on Christmas Day. The first few were somewhat sparsely attended, but this year, we were with about 15 walker/hikers.  We did a fairly easy walk through a lovely trail at Priest Point Park, only a short bus ride away – which was newly dusted with the snow we had on Christmas Eve. The trail was good and at 36 degrees, it wasn’t slippery. The parking lot with slush was a place to be cautious.

Fresh air and all bundled up, we did a circle loop trail walk. Ferns and firs were festooned with the now melting snow that was plopping on our heads! We got a bit of everything. Lovely to have no wind which would have made the walk a bit uncomfortable.


The bridges were lovely and the railings were good. Many used poles that Steve usually has for those without. This was not a strenuous outing, though a bit cold. Poles give you another point for balance.

Led by two of Steve’s helpers, we walked for about 30 minutes and then gathered in one of the sheltered communal buildings, open to the fresh air. While we were out, Steve and a helper made a batch of potato/broccoli soup and had a fire going in a kettle that he had brought for outdoor fires. It was warming and lovely. Dark crusty bread made by his friend and hot cocoa, spiced tea or coffee were so very welcome as we trudged in. This was topped off by one of our walkers who brought just lovely tins of homemade cookies and bars!

A warm round of Christmas carols, sung by most of us, to a boombox and words given to us by a helper was a lovely way to share Christmas. There is always room for one more cookie!!!

I hope your Christmas was spent with those you love and you all had a good time. We certainly did!!!

Seeing a Chum Salmon Run

All photos taken by Carolyn Treadway.

Moving to Panorama from the Midwest, I had little idea of what a “salmon run” was, nor of the importance of salmon as a keystone species of the whole Pacific Northwest coast; nor that salmon is essential to the entire way of life of coastal Native Americans. But I kept hearing about salmon.  Intrigued, I wanted to learn much more. Thus I eagerly signed up for an outing to see a chum salmon run, sponsored by the Panorama Green Team.  Twenty residents conveniently rode a Panorama bus to Kennedy Creek, a nature area north of Olympia.  Our trip was expertly facilitated by fellow residents Warren Dawes and Cleve Pinnix, who serve as guides for the countless visitors to this particular salmon run each November.  They led us to observe and understand many amazing sights. How fortunate we were to have such an opportunity!

        Surprisingly, our mid-November outing was blessed with sunshine. The forest was lush and beautiful with giant evergreen trees, mosses, ferns, and tributary streams. Chum salmon abounded! They were returning to the very stream in which they had hatched, probably four years ago, to spawn and die. These amazing fish were born in this freshwater stream, then, after a time in the stream and estuary, had swum into the ocean, where they spent their entire adult lives, swimming as far as 18,000 miles to the Asian oceans and back to return home.  How do they find their way? (There is so much more to learn…)

The creek and streams were alive with salmon: females using their tails to dig holes in the stream’s gravel, males fighting each other for proximity to a female ready to lay a thousand eggs, so that their milt could fertilize those eggs. The streams were also littered with the bodies of salmon that had spawned and were dying or dead, thus completing their life cycle. The salmon provide food for all species that eat them, and their bodies provide nutrients to the forests into which they are carried by those species. Many tons of salmon carcasses are deposited to feed the plants, soils, and creatures of the forest each year.

It’s an amazing, incredible ecosystem, which has been kept in delicate balance by Nature for millennia. But now humans and wastes that we create are greatly impacting that entire ecosystem.  Our wise guides emphasized the importance of clean, fresh water for the salmon and their eggs and young fry, because polluted water makes reproduction even more fragile or kills the fish.  Pollution, habitat loss, and climate change have caused great decline in the numbers of surviving salmon in the Puget Sound and the Salish Sea.  As a result, the resident orca whales (whose food is salmon) are starving and their survival is at risk.  And so on and on.

Ah, yes. As Chief Seattle profoundly said over 150 years ago: “This we know, all things are connected.”  Recent Green Team programs have focused on connections between ourselves and our local environment. For example, local storm water runoff carries toxins directly into the Puget Sound, greatly affecting the health of fish and all species therein. Being present to the majesty of Kennedy Creek with chum salmon churning in its streams, we visitors could connect the dots. Our pollution affects the fresh, clean water these very fish need for their spawning. Let us help their return to their natal home by decreasing our pollution, so that these amazing salmon can birth the next generations.