A Cautionary Tale

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. July 2020

We all know the fear of falling at our age . . . and in preparation for a possible unforeseen happening, we signed up for the “Learn How to Fall” class that was given by our fitness coordinator. That was last Fall before the coronavirus shut down gatherings, lectures and classes. I am so grateful for the tips I learned. Our instructor suggested falling on soft things. That was not in the cards when I fell on a hardwood hallway floor! Due to the tips I learned, I was able to save wrist damage, head damage, and no broken hip.

Much damage can be done when one keels over, and the first instinct is to brace yourself thinking you will break your fall. However, protecting your head should be the first consideration in that insane second and a half you have from upright to flat down. Falling backward requires you to tuck your head forward. Falling forward (in my case) you must keep your head/face from hitting the floor. Tilting your head back as you go down will save dangerous and unsightly damage.                            

I have always moved too fast, for no real reason. I am tall and that is just how I move, indoors and outdoors. Well, I was moving too fast when our beloved cat raced along in front of me, perhaps thinking I was on the way to her food bowl. She has literally never done this before!

Finding me sprawled on the floor . . . we were all alarmed. I tried assessing the damage and just wanted to get up, which I did by myself, only to feel a terrible pain in my dominant arm elbow. Carefully, I felt a bone piece moving about and went directly to the freezer and got the frozen peas. Not being a mom, I only learned of using frozen pea packages from friends in the face of an awful injury.

What is a lifesaver, or at least a comfort to us at Panorama, is the closeness of a Providence outlying clinic for urgent care about 12 blocks away that has x-ray and lab capability and immediate care with no long waits that can occur in the main emergency room at Providence St. Peter’s hospital 6 blocks away. Coming from a community where medical help was 2 hours away, this is such a luxury. This is not to say our walk to our Panorama Clinic in 4 minutes isn’t helpful . . . it is wonderful. But trauma as I was expecting this to be is best seen where x-ray is available.

My x-ray did show a displaced fracture of the olecranon (in medical-ese) and the provider I saw sent a referral to the Orthopedic department for follow-up and probable surgery. To make a long story shorter, I was seen and booked for pinning and wiring of the bone piece back onto the lower arm bone from where it broke off. An interesting side-bar to treatment options came to light. Fractures are looked at in terms of a patient’s usual modes of living. Sedentary lifestyles may result in less invasive procedures. Active lifestyles result in repairs destined to give the patient as close to 100% mobility as was experienced before the injury. Who knew?

In due course, I showed up for the outpatient/same day surgery under general anesthesia.

This brings up my morbid fear of general anesthesia, having worked for years in a post-anesthesia recovery room, seeing patients waking from it. It IS poison of a high order, after all. The anesthesiologist explained it was a total arm block of numbing and I was relieved, as I imagined this would be with me awake. No, it was to give me 24 hours of pain-free post-op time before it wore off and I was aware of all the damage that had been fixed! I dreaded the block needle, but it seems that it was done with me asleep, using a sonogram to identify the main nerve in my comfy pre-op bed!

Looming over me was a cheerful nurse offering me some ice chips! I said no and that I couldn’t have any as I was due to have my surgery. She laughed and pointed to my arm in a splint and sling that was bigger than my leg and said, “You already have HAD surgery!”

The entire process of the block, moving me onto the operating room table, then off the table into a post-operative bed happened while I was just not there!!! It seems that anesthesia and procedures are way advanced from when I retired from nursing in 1992. Well, of course, it is now 2020, 28 years of advances have happened! I was admitted at 7 AM and home at 12:45 PM same day!

So, what is the point of all this rambling and what is this woman getting at, you ask? I think we can all be grateful for the services we have locally. Then we can be grateful for medical advances that are a slam-dunk, mostly. And last, but not least, is the concern of our Social Services department here at Panorama. With a husband, I had plenty of help at home, but they were there and wanting to know the progress and what they could do to help.  I am further grateful that I could muddle along, albeit a LONG healing process ahead. I worry now about 77 year-old bones healing properly. I am minding all the doctor’s orders and waiting until I can do things again! I took myself off the opiates that were prescribed after day two and have done well on Tylenol. Shifting a standard transmission vehicle seems daunting just now.

I’d like to let everyone know; you aren’t in trouble on your own! Reach out to the services and help that we have here. It is a blessing. You can rest easier if you know bad things can happen and guard against them, but be grateful you are in this caring community with services so helpful.

Makin’ Do

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush – March 2020

The situation today that is affecting so many populations makes me harken back to my bringing up. My grandmother came through the depression and essentially raised me until I was about eleven. She instilled cooking and sewing skills and ways to solve problems, “makin’ do” she called it.

Then my family was a one-earner blue collar family and it was hard some of the time. Polio scare came and went with the vaccine. My dad was a staunch union supporter and we went through long strikes where he wouldn’t cross the picket lines, and that was hard on a young family.

Now, finally in my waning years, I am ensconced in a caring community. Panorama was a life-affirming decision we may in our early 70s. Six years we have enjoyed what the community has offered us. Outings and activities have let us explore a new region and keep fit at the same time. 

Now I am impressed, as we all head into uncharted territory with a new health and public safety issue. I am impressed that our management and board of directors have our well-being out center in their sights.

We are experiencing disruptions to our daily patterns and find we are in new territory as a community. In our various neighborhoods we are readily watching out for those who are less prepared for the deprivations ahead. All of our workers and service people have family issues of their own in this time.  I am so grateful for them all!!!

I am betting on our common sense and abilities to ride this thing out. One hopes this is a passing threat and will resolve as other flus have. But in case this is the new normal, boy, will our frugal and caring ways come to the fore. Limiting our actual contact with friends and neighbors is best, but phones and email work!!!

Everyone is stressed, and that is not so good re: our immune systems fighting what may be a casual contact with this virus. We need to get our books and readers out, work some puzzles, and try to laugh at funny stuff. The media is making most everyone nuts. The less time spent monitoring that is best.

Our TV and Kya functions are keeping us posted with what is important to us. Keep tabs on it and share with those who might not be so electrically hooked up….we really are all in this together. Let’s enjoy the spring and the blooms and now the snow and the rain. We are so very lucky to live in such a place as Panorama.

My Favorite “Parking Spot”

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. October 2019

Sometimes I enjoy giving my tablet, craft scissors, and a book I’m currently reading a change of scenery, so I load up my walker, grab an elevator from 5th floor to 1st, and choose my “favorite parking spot” in our Panorama Hall. With the activity sign-up desk to my left, the lovely Chihuly glass fixtures above the huge fireplace looking out at the assortment of large couches, smaller couches, chairs, and magazines neatly lined up yelling, “Pick me, pick me!” I find the perfect round table with large windows of light to my back.

The armchairs to my left and to my right turn slightly to offer a seat to anyone wishing to visit.

While I “work” I have the perfect view of the “traffic” . . . residents and non-residents passing as a single or in groups. Today several dressed anticipating the Luau Dinner tonight. Others hesitated to study maps while they explored the campus on their own as new residents. I smiled as I recalled wearing out our own Panorama map in 2011. “Need some help?” “Oh, yes, the gift shop?”

The half-circular hallway makes a cozy, homey walk, but newbies don’t realize the banks, Gifts Etc., elevator & stairs to Seventeen51 Restaurant, the hallway leading to the Convalescent & Rehabilitation Building, and pharmacy are “just around the corner”.

After tapping out a full page on my tablet, I sensed an increase in volume of excited voices. I returned a nod and big smile back to a couple’s hearty wave. They strolled a few more steps, then jerked a quick U-turn and rushed over to me.

“You’re the lady who writes the blogs for Panorama’s web site! We always look forward to reading about Panorama, your decision to come, how you checked things out elsewhere before coming, and how your husband really didn’t want to come up from your home in Las Vegas to see retirement places in Washington.”

I offered a handshake. “So, you read that when I finally got Chris to come up and look, he whispered, ‘Maybe we’d better sign up!’”

After the laughter calmed down, the lady visitor exclaimed, “We just attended a get-together for other boomers on the ‘list’. We really don’t HAVE to move, but we want to come before we end up like our parents . . . poor darlings . . . they waited so long. Wish we had known about Panorama. They were in wheelchairs, not knowing anyone, unable to get to places on their own, and asking, ‘When can I go home?’ We want to get involved in the tons of activities here. Panorama has everyone getting around so easily. They all seem so happy. We can hardly wait to come.”

He added, “Yeah, and we have two cars. We aren’t ready to give them up, but maybe after we move here, we’ll think about getting along with only one. Do you have one or two cars, Mary Jo?”

“Oh, we haven’t had a car since 2012. We used it only one year. Figured we could be going places in a limo with the money we saved each year . . . insurance, tires, tune-ups, repairs, car washes . . .”

The couple looked at each other with raised eyebrows. “Don’t you miss a car?”

“Are you kidding? On weekdays, Panorama buses take us to grocery stores twice a day . . . and several different stores and shopping centers, no fee.”

“How do you get to church?”

“The Panorama bus takes residents to several churches . . . no fee. We pay only $3 for the trip to our Sacred Heart Catholic Church about three Sundays a month, but we’re praying we’ll be able to ride every Sunday before long, and no fee.”

They asked about other places the Panorama buses take us. Where would I start? I just dove in.

“They take us to Seattle and many other cities to events, operas, musicals, plays, lectures, sport games, shows . . . you name it. We do pay a reasonable fee for those trips. Panorama is always asking where we’d like to go. If enough people are interested, and we ask far enough in advance to get it organized, it’s written in the monthly Panorama News activity calendar.”

We chatted about 15 minutes, having answered many other questions. Finally, “Well, we’ve got to drive back home before it gets dark. So glad to meet you. Keep writing those blogs for us.”

Well, here you are!!

A Resident’s Perspective – Barbecue

Written by Panorama resident, Verl Rogers. September 2017

The other day on the back deck of the Quinault we had a party.  It brought about 28 residents of Panorama Assisted Living together for hot dogs, potato salad, potato chips, beer or wine.  We lived it up, and I was glad to see everyone coming out.  We have a few hermits and I like it better when they socialize.

A few of our group need daily help in getting up and getting dressed; more need supervision in medication.  Most of us have an impairment of some kind that is a hindrance to living independently.  We take prescribed pills daily, for heart or liver or stomach trouble, as well as pain pills.  Sore backs are common.  Myself, I take 6 pills each morning and 8 at bedtime, with no supervision.

A few months ago, I complained of my 14 daily pills to my doctor.  He went through the list and said, “Take them all!”

The group I saw are mostly rich, shaky, old people.  The rent begins at $4000 per month, three or four times more than rent for ordinary independent living.  We are paying for the many extra services we need from being ill and feeble.  A small example is at the table, where a few of our number need help to cut their food into bite-size pieces.  The staff workers do very well for us in big chores and small; I am happy to be here.

You can’t see the money; we dress in blue denims and well-worn shirts and tops.  Conversation is ordinary.  We don’t think of ourselves as rich, though most of us saved and invested our money to get here.  I would like to spend my last dollar on the day I die, though I’m not sure how to do it.  We still look for bargains at the store.

Two people have birthdays today, and we sang “Happy Birthday” for them.  Somehow, those little events made everyone smile.  Our group is mostly in the eighties or nineties.  Helen Blair is 97.  Our oldest resident, Russell Day, 104, (no birthday today) was there eating a hot dog.  He told me he was born in 1912, and graduated from high school in 1930, when I was 3.

Helen’s birthday reminded me of the story of a 10-year-old girl. She was introduced to an old lady, and the child asked, “How old are you?”  The reply was “97 years.”  This was too much for the little girl, who thought her teacher was impossibly old at 30.  She hemmed and hawed.  “Er – um – did you start counting at one?”

Today the staff workers, 12 of them, all came out and ate hot dogs, salad and chips with the residents.  The Administrator gave out coffee mugs as door prizes.  The staff workers like their jobs; one told me it is like helping her grandparents.

All in all, the party united our group and lifted morale mightily.

A Successful Farewell to the Heart Bank Party

On Tuesday, September 12th we celebrated the legacy of PC Care and its Heart Bank coin boxes during the Heart Bank Farewell Party.  Seventy-five people collectively contributed $3,260.29 which will be used exclusively to enrich the lives of residents living in the Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center (C&R).

As volunteers were busy counting coins, guests took some time to touch and feel some of the items that have been purchased through past Heart Bank contributions and enjoy a treat.

Carol Lambert, Joe Zabransky, Bob Bowers, Boh Bohman and Kathy Houston busy counting coins. 

 Mary Jo Shaw entertains guests  

Heart Bank contributors enjoy discussing how their contributions will enrich lives.

Residents in the C&R benefit every day from your contributions. Because of your generous charitable gifts nearly $30,000 will be spent this year to support activities meant to enrich the lives of your neighbors in the C&R. A few of these activities include: massage therapy, music and memory therapy, chair yoga, live entertainment, movies, “The General Store”, a holiday gift for every resident, and so much more!

You have a heart of gold! A thank you gift for everyone who attended the Heart Bank Farewell Party.

The Heart Bank Farewell Party was the perfect way to bid “farewell” to the tradition of gathering coins to support life enriching activities in the C&R.  If you missed the party, it is never too late to make a contribution! Any contribution to Panorama’s Office of Philanthropy can be directed to enrich lives in the C&R any time of the year.


The Office of Philanthropy’s mission is to enrich the lives of Panorama residents through the acquisition and use of charitable gifts. It is committed to provide enriching experiences, programs, and other amenities throughout the continuum of care.


Superbowl Sunday Snow – Thank you , Panorama!

Written by Panorama resident, Deb Ross. February 2017

This blog is a little off my usual  topic of “newbies, boomers, and would-bes” but I wanted to express my gratitude for Panorama’s awesome response to yesterday and today’s Superbowl Sunday snow event (“storm” might be a little too strong a word). First off – we vaguely heard the phone ring during the last thrilling minutes of Super Bowl – or was it a ref whistle? Were we going to answer it? No way! But Panorama left a voicemail message letting us know that some events and facilities might be closed tomorrow (Monday) due to the snow event. Later on, after catching our breath following the game, we checked and confirmed that the Aquatic and Fitness Center would indeed be opening late. Thanks to Jenny, Security, and others for great communication! We know that some staff worked beyond their normal hours to ensure the safety and awareness of residents and staff.

In the morning, we also got an email from Grace Moore to let us know of Monday evening’s concert cancellation. Thank you so much, Grace, for being on top of communications! While email is not yet available to some residents, it’s a great way to communicate last-minute changes to the schedule.

At about 11 Monday morning I ventured out, equipped with my Yaktrax tread devices on my boots (thanks to fellow resident Susan W for the suggestion!), and, of course, my SARA pendant. During my walk, three snowplows came by, and there were Panorama staff out at each neighborhood shoveling walkways. Most sidewalks were shoveled by then, as were most roads. A shouted “thank you” to staff was invariably met with a smile. 

Inside the Quinault, by the door, were two armchairs that allowed me to take off (and then put back on) my Yaktrax before heading to the exercise room. 

So, KUDOS to Panorama and staff for their great efforts at communication and response! 

Deb Bio_Edit


A Resident’s Perspective – Transitions

Written by Panorama resident, Deb Ross. December 2015

I went to visit George and Mary Jo, who have recently moved from Holladay Park to an apartment in the Quinault. I wanted to ask them about how they dealt with transitions, both to Panorama several years ago, and now this latest move.

George said that the decision to move to Panorama several years ago was not difficult. He was 66, and Mary Jo 65 when they came here. He no longer felt secure going up on an extension ladder to clean the roof, and did not feel like doing so much yardwork. His kids were not so enthusiastic: “Oh, Dad, you don’t want to live with those old folks!” said his son. George’s daughter-in-law put an end to the argument: “Your parents are doing what they need and want to do.” This bit of wisdom has guided George and Mary Jo’s decisions in retirement: they want to make transitions when they have control over them, not when there’s an emergency.

At first, George and Mary Jo were called “those young whippersnappers:” they were on the very young side of Panorama residents at the time (since then, the average age has dropped). “We both became very active: the Benevolent Fund board, the pea patch, Resident Council, driving for Resident Transit – we immersed ourselves in Panorama life. We particularly enjoyed the neighborhood concept of Panorama and loved Holladay Park.”

At the same time, they were always thinking ahead. “Where would we want to be in ten, fifteen, or twenty years?” They decided to put their names on the wait list for the Quinault. That way, when the perfect unit came up, they could be ready to move. (The Quinault wait list is open to all current Panorama residents, and operates similar to the wait list for other Panorama units.)

Mary Jo’s health deteriorated about four years ago, but they were still comfortable living in Holladay Park. Then, a unit on the top floor of the Quinault became available. Did we want it? “We were really not ready. But Mary Jo replied, ‘I think we should take it.’” This time, the kids were completely supportive and endorsed the philosophy of making the transition on George and Mary Jo’s own terms.

George and Mary Jo love their new apartment. It has everything: spaciousness, proximity to C&R if needed, an inside walk to the restaurant and bank, all amenities that would enable them to continue to live independently for many years. But one of the best things about Panorama is that they can still stay connected to neighbors and friends whom they’ve come to know over the years, as well as making plenty of new friends at the Quinault.

Advice from these wise people? Come to Panorama early so you can take advantage of all it has to offer. Make a long-term plan to know when you are ready to make transitions both to and within Panorama: it gets harder as you get older. And downsize before you move, not after. “Do I really need that turkey roaster and two dozen wine glasses?” George laughs ruefully.

Deb Bio

How to Help Someone Who Has Fallen

This article is featured in the December issue of the Panorama News. Although it was written specifically for our campus, the information is important for all to know.

Written by Panorama Health Services Director, Marla LeFevre. 
Introduction by Panorama resident, Judy Murphy.

Falls are a common occurrence among people of all ages, but they can lead to serious consequences, particularly among older folks. Many people are embarrassed that they have fallen and immediately try to get up, which is not the wisest thing to do.  We may think we are still 20, but our aging bodies do not respond to a fall like a 20-year-old would.  In addition to potential physical injury, a fall can sometimes cause dizziness or confusion. 

If you see someone who has fallen or are with someone who falls, you may wonder what the best course of action is.  Here are some brief guidelines to help you help someone else.      – Judy Murphy

*Call 911 immediately and then the Urgent Response Aide (using a SARA pendant, pull-cord, telephone off-hook, or dialing 413-6000).

*Stay with the person who has fallen (the patient)

*Ensure that the patient is in a safe place (divert traffic, etc.)

*Do not move the patient unless their life is at risk in the current location (i.e. burning car, building collapse)

*Do not assume there is no injury even if the patient states they are fine; many patients don’t realize they are hurt until after they have tried to get up

*If a person is bleeding profusely, apply pressure to the wound with a clean item (if a First Aid kit is not available, clean clothing is ok to use) until the Urgent Response Aide or fire department arrives

*The fire department crew is trained to do a full assessment to determine injuries and can stabilize wounds/injuries until full medical care is received (such as transporting to a hospital)

*All head injuries should be evaluated at a hospital


There have been questions in the past about the role of Panorama’s Urgent Response Aides (URAs) when a person has fallen. URAs are Nursing Assistants who are certified in First Aid/CPR/AED, but they are not qualified to make comprehensive injury assessments, which is why 911 is always called.  The URA carries a cell phone and will call 911 if nobody else has called.


Urgent Response Aides will not lift a person up, because this may cause further injury to the patient and may also cause injury to the URA. Fire dept crews have sufficient staff numbers to lift an uninjured person safely.


The URA can assist with basic first aid, supporting/reassuring the patient and their loved ones, crowd control, obtaining medical history, gathering items needed if a patient is transported to a hospital, notifying emergency contacts and primary healthcare providers, and tidying up/locking up the home. The URA will call the resident the day after an incident, to see if any further assistance is needed.


Please contact the URA Supervisor Tim Templet at 7561 or Independent Living Services Coordinator Marla LeFevre at 7564 if you have any questions about emergency care.    – Marla LeFevre, Health Services Director

A Resident’s Perspective – Music and Memory

Panorama Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center

Written by Panorama resident, Bob Bowers. May 2015

On Tuesday, April 28th, the Panorama Auditorium showed a Learning In Retirement segment that all of us should see.  It was titled “Music and Memory” and featured the work of Dan Cohen in awakening residents of nursing homes and gentle-care facilities from their seeming withdrawal from life.  Dan Cohen is a social worker who observed how withdrawn long term residents with dementia and, particularly, Alzheimer’s disease seemed to be.  But, he also observed another thing about them:  music, particularly, their favorite type of music seemed to reach deep within their brains and light a fire of memory, animation and socialization.  They came alive.  Cohen followed this observation by using the technology of the I-Pod player to provide residents with a way to play their own music over the simple headset.  He founded a non-for-profit organization dedicated to getting as many nursing homes and gentle-care facilities as possible in this country to use the simple technology to bring life to their residents.

As I watched the LIR video play out I was so glad that last year about this time of year PC/C.A.R.E. and the Panorama Foundation were responsible to bringing the program to the Activities Department of our nursing facility.  As a result we have 30 I-Pods in use or will have shortly.  It is a thrill to see people who have been in the deep slumber of dementia waken to the tune and beat of their favorite music played on their personal I-Pod in the quiet of their own room.  The video showed this so well.  I’m delighted to have a part in this program that is so worthy.  And—you should be too!  Because it is the dollars you have contributed that have made the difference.  Thanks!

By the way, Katherine Billings told us the auditorium will be showing the video again soon. Watch for it and see for yourself the value of their program.

Bowers Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – It’s More Than the Beauty of Campus

Written by Panorama resident, Bob Bowers. April 14th, 2014

Julia and I spent Saturday and Sunday at her beach house on Kamiliche Point near Shelton.  It is a heavenly place when the weather is beautiful…..Puget Sound fluctuating with the tides, shore birds returning, a few boats plying the waters, Mount Rainier visible on the horizon.  In any weather it is a great place to be.

Circle Lane in SpringBut, then, Sunday afternoon we returned to campus.  As soon as we crossed 14th Avenue on the way home, the campus blossomed. Trees and grass in rich hues of green.  Rhodies beginning to bloom.  Flowers of all colors brightening flower beds.  I felt myself feeling very grateful to be living here.  But, as I reflected, it is more than just the beauty of campus that makes me glad I’m here.

Around my neck is my SARA pendent, letting me know that the Benevolent Fund and Panorama care enough about my safety and welfare to connect me at all times with helpers if I need them.  I think of the social workers and emergency responders and the security department who quietly and untiringly keep us in mind as they maintain safety and security.  I know I can get help from them when I’m physically and mentally challenged by what is going on in my life. I think of the Convalescent Center that will care for me when I face physical or mental  challenges that seem to be too much for me. I think of the folks at the clinic, the dentist, the rehab folks, the banks, and the pharmacy who try to help me keep my health and sanity. And, there are people who love me and express their concern.

It’s not just the beauty of the flowers, or the superb entertainment and venue of the auditorium that make me glad I’m living in Panorama. Tonight Julia and I will go to the Panorama Auditorium to hear another soft and sweet performance by one of our favorite performers. What a place to live out our retirement!

As I walk the paths of this campus I’ll give you a nod and a word of greeting.  You do the same for me.  We are both fortunate to be here.  Let’s make the best of it for the good of all of us.

Bowers Bio

Parkinson’s Awareness Month at Panorama

 April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

Nearly one million Americans live with Parkinson’s – approximately 30,000 here in Washington including dozens at Panorama. Fortunately, Panorama has many programs offering help and support to residents coping with this disease.

Panorama Social Services facilitates a Living with Parkinson’s support group. The group provides an opportunity for residents with Parkinson’s and their caregivers to come together to share and receive information from guest speakers, staff and each other. Topics include self-help tips, nutrition, art and music, speech therapy, legal advice, exercise and more.

Studies consistently show exercise helps alleviate Parkinson’s symptoms so Panorama offers a Parkinson’s Exercise Class twice a week at the Aquatic and Fitness Center. The class is taught by a certified Movement Class Instructor.

These groups are an essential way for residents to maintain a healthy, supportive and engaging lifestyle at Panorama. “It reminds us that we are not alone,” said the spouse of one resident who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s eighteen years ago. The partnership among residents, staff and professionals in the community is what makes our programs special.

Parkinson’s Awareness Month will conclude with a showing of the PBS documentary My Father, My Brother, and Me on April 30th at 1:30pm in the Panorama Auditorium. In the hour-long film, journalist Dave Iverson shares his story of how he, his father, and his older brother were all diagnosed with Parkinson’s.  Iverson sets off on a personal journey to explore the scientific, ethical, and political debate that surrounds the disease. The film is both educational, inspirational and a must see for everyone. There will be FREE Parkinson’s publications, worksheets and information on how you can support research toward finding a cure.

If you would like more information about these and other programs, please contact the Living with Parkinson’s support group facilitator and Campus Social Services Worker, Sara Wasser at 438-7776.



A Resident’s Perspective – The Smartest Decision in Our Retirement? – Part 2

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo, on February 18th, 2014.

Rachel Dobry, in marketing, was patient and understanding about the hesitancy of Chris (my husband) to visit and tour Panorama.  (See my first blog written in February, 2014.)  She assured me it was normal that one of the spouses wasn’t as eager as the other to move to a retirement center.  We’d e-mail easily, or talk by phone when Chris wasn’t around.  She answered any questions about activities, meals, transportation, housing and prices and was never “pushy,” which I especially appreciated.

I gathered info and studied nuances of every possible, affordable retirement facility for us that was online in Lacey and Olympia.  I filed all packets and brochures they sent us, highlighting statistics.  Even made my own “in-a-nut-shell” large chart comparing at a “glance” the pros and cons of all potential residences.  But each had its drawbacks.

In January, 2011, Melody and John (who kept going to Lacey for job interviews, hoping to move out of Las Vegas, per my 1st   blog) did visit retirement places we might be interested in if we could swing the finances.  But I still thought we’d run out of money at each of those places…over $4,000 for a couple each month!

“Mom, Dad, you don’t want to go ANYWHERE EXCEPT PANORAMA.  No place begins to compare with Panorama.  Not only are the grounds and buildings beautiful, they have so many activities and much more to offer.  Residents seem much happier and friendlier than the other places.  Residents are walking around on the grounds, in and out of the buildings.  Even the employees are happy.  The new Convalescent/Rehab Center doesn’t look like a nursing home or hospital…wide halls.  Bright. Squeaky clean.  Lovely carpeting.  Cheerful and friendly.  And a beautiful piano, Mom! Not a single odor like some places we visited.  Dad, you like to walk.  They have a gorgeous park with fantastic mature trees. We asked tons of questions for you.  Ya’ll have to go up with us when we go back in March.  We took lots of pictures and videos.  Can’t wait to show you, Mom!”

They were exciting.  We saw pictures of other places they visited, too.

Rachel had sent us an informative packet and super DVD that answered more questions and had interviews of about ten couples/singles. On it, I looked out the windows of residents’ homes, saw the game room and restaurant.  I observed the home of residents, Jean and David H., and admired the beautiful items he’d made in Panorama’s woodworking shop. Chris watched it a few times, but I watched it often when he wasn’t home and made new lists for Rachel to answer!

Gotta find out in a few weeks about our visit with a surprise!

Mary Jo Bio

Peace of Mind in a 5 Star Facility

Selecting a skilled nursing facility for yourself or a loved one can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. To help ease this process, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, has devised a star rating system that assesses skilled nursing facilities across the nation based on data for each facility’s health inspection results, staffing sufficiency, and Quality Measures.

Here’s how the process works. Health inspection data, as collected by annual DSHS surveys, are reviewed along with any complaint surveys to determine each facility’s quality of performance in comparison to the state and national averages. Staffing hours for licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants, and physical therapists are divided among the total number of residents in a facility to calculate the number of professional care hours each resident receives per day. These totals are also compared to state and national averages to form a quality score. Finally, several areas concerning the physical and mental condition of residents, called Quality Measures, are analyzed to determine the degree to which skilled nursing staff are meeting resident needs. The scores of these three sub categories are combined to determine the overall performance quality of the facility.

CMS Five Star Rating

To view the extended CMS report for Panorama’s C&R click on the photo above.

Based on this extensive survey, Panorama’s Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center (C&R) is a five-star skilled nursing facility, meaning CMS has determined that Panorama performs “much above average” when compared to facilities throughout the nation.  In addition, the Panorama C&R has zero health deficiencies and zero complaint inspections.

The outstanding success of Panorama’s C&R is attributed to the devoted staff, led by administrator Sharon Rinehart. Sharon and her staff have developed a strategy of continuous improvement that focuses on each department individually. From Sharon’s perspective, maintaining five-star quality service requires an understanding of every position that contributes to operation of the facility and assurance that each staff member possesses the knowledge, skills, and abilities to do what is needed.

“It’s also about teaching critical thinking and having the right people in the right place. I have really high expectations for myself and my staff.” – says Sharon.

Panorama Convalescent and Rehabilitation CenterSporting a five star rating is not a finish line for Panorama. On the contrary, the burning question is “What would six stars look like?” Sharon and her team have established ways to surpass the already exceptional level of service. Their strategy follows the concept of Quality Improvement versus Quality Assurance. The latter focuses on meeting quality standards and performing at an acceptable level. This strategy is primarily used as a guide to reach regulation compliance and address areas that have lead to past compliance failures. For a five star facility like Panorama, it’s not about fixing failures, as they have met and exceeded all standards. Rather, in order to keep moving forward, the focus is on Quality Improvement which is a pro-active approach to exceeding standards. This is a continuous process that drives all staff members of the Panorama C&R to identify possibilities and test new approaches that focus on making great quality even better.

To establish the setting for this approach, Sharon has developed an environment of enthusiasm and challenge for her staff. In her words, “We can come to work and do an average job, or we can come to work and go far beyond that. That’s what I want people to do.”

In addition to quarterly meetings for all managers in the skilled nursing facility, Sharon holds annual leadership retreats. Prior to these retreats, attendees are assigned reading material to complete for discussion. This year, each manager was asked to identify one area of focus that could be adjusted to enrich the experience for residents and staff. From there, they each developed a project plan and progress measurement system, which they presented to their peers. After 90 days, the progress of each project will be reviewed and discussed with peers to address obstacles and determine a strategy for continued success.

It’s this enthusiasm for challenge and dedication to continuous improvement that makes Panorama a top-notch facility. There is no doubt they’re on their way to six stars, if a six star rating existed that is.

Introducing our new Director of Pet Therapy

Pet Therapy Coconut is the Director of Pet Therapy (in training) at our Convalescent and Rehab center. Boy has she received a warm welcome from her fellow staff members! She is a 15 week-old miniature Goldendoodle who is still teething, so we have to watch her closely but some of those adult teeth are starting to come through. Coconut is registered for puppy kindergarten at Paws-Abilities in Fife, which she will start on June 8th. This is the first in a series of classes she will take in order to receive Therapy Dog Certification.

For now she is just enjoying the life of a very lucky puppy with lots of admirers. She loves to visit different areas of campus and say hello to everyone.

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.