Helpful apps for seniors

8 tech solutions to maintain independence and give caregivers peace of mind

By Jeff Salter for Next Avenue

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Every day for the last 24 years, I’ve worked with the elderly and, by extension, with their families. As the founder of Caring Senior Service, a non-medical in-home care provider, my goal is to ensure that people can age with dignity in their own homes and to reassure families that their loved ones are safe and secure. Increasingly, technology helps on both fronts.


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The importance of listening to the person with dementia

We need to hear well before the voice is silenced by the disease

By Mike Good for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

(Editor’s Note: This is the eighth in a series examining and interpreting a commonly used “bill of rights” for dementia patients.) 

People with Alzheimer’s or other dementia are an invaluable part of our society. Millions of them are brilliant, wise and actively advocating for their rights and needs.

As my friend with Alzheimer’s, David Kramer said, “It’s not something that necessarily makes us idiots.” No it doesn’t, but unfortunately the vast majority of people don’t understand the disease, and therefore, don’t know how to listen to the person with dementia.

Just like anyone else with unique challenges and special needs, people with dementia need to be able to communicate their needs, wants and fears without being judged.


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It happens to the best of us: I’m not cool anymore

Despair turns to hope during a humdrum trip to the grocery store

By Peter Gerstenzang for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

A few mornings ago, I saw a reflection of myself and had to summon every bit of strength to keep from shrieking. What was staring back at me, from a darkened winter window, was sad, morally repugnant and just plain creepy.

As I caught a glimpse of myself on the NordicTrack, wearing a velour sweatsuit and horn-rimmed glasses so I could watch CNBC, I had the most unsettling epiphany: I’m not cool anymore.

I looked beyond the window at my snow-covered suburban lawn and wondered what had happened to my rebellious nature. Where was the guy who once wore mirror shades and motorcycle boots, whose long hair was held in place by a bandana? How did he morph into the guy who was exercising before dawn? Who chugged prune juice? And now dressed like senile mobster, Vincent “The Chin” Gigante? I did not know. And I was bummed about it.


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Art and friendship make powerful tools to fight ageism

College students and older adults become ‘pals’ in this creative arts program

By Linda Bernstein for Next Avenue

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Credit: paletteprogram.org Caption: PALETTE participants bridge the generations

“Whom would I meet? What would I say? Would I seem dorky?” These were Rena Berlin’s concerns before she met her Partner in Art Learning, the new “pal” she’d been matched with through a program that pairs a college student with an older adult to create art.

“For the first time in my life I really felt like a senior,” says the 68-year-old educator from Richmond, Va., with a laugh. “They were transporting a small group of us from the Weinstein Jewish Community Center in a van to the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. A van. That mean’s you’re getting old. I was also nervous.”

It turns out she had nothing to worry about. “After my PAL and I got started, it was amazing,” she says.


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The secret to a long marriage

Our relationship is different from our parents’ but just as lasting

By Candy Schulman for Next Avenue

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Credit: Getty Images

When I mention I recently celebrated my 40th wedding anniversary, friends stare incredulously as if to say, “How is that possible?” I joke that I was a child bride in an arranged marriage, sold with a dowry to the highest bidder. The truth is I did vow “I do” at 23.

My husband, Steve, and I married young and had a child late.


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High-quality food for a high-quality life

jose-photo-1New Aberdeen Village Marketing and Sales Director Chrissie Ammann has nearly two decades of experiences working in the senior living industry, but there’s something she’s found here she wasn’t expecting.

“Just in the short time I have been here at Aberdeen Village, I felt an immediate connection to Chef Jose Diaz. He is so passionate about what he does and the department he runs. He has created a menu that is by far one of the most stellar menus I have seen in my 18 years working in the industry. He makes sure that every resident, regardless what level of living they may be in, has the same dining experience and options. Our independent living residents get to enjoy filet mignon as an everyday option, but so do our health care residents. That is certainly not typical in other communities,” said Chrissie.

leap-community-logo-1Another thing that isn’t typical is our new LEAP program (Lifestyle Enrichment for Alzheimer’s Prevention). This is a holistic approach to Alzheimer’s prevention, developed by the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

“Dining services will have a major part in this program by offering/highlighting menu items that are known to be brain healthy meal options. Residents can simply look for little LEAPing figures next to foods that can help in preventing Alzheimer’s as well as leading to an overall healthier lifestyle,” said Chrissie. “So far residents are really enjoying it. People get more of the vegetables now and more are choosing the fish specials.”

We’re honored to provide not only high-quality food, but a high-quality life here at Aberdeen Village.

From dining services to dream career

brooke-photo-2Many high school students find part-time jobs as waiters or waitresses, but Brooke Raymond’s waitressing position is unique in the foodservice industry. So unique and fulfilling has her position been, that she’s decided to pursue a full-time career in the foodservice industry now that she recently graduated.

“I’ve been working here at Aberdeen Village as a waitress for two years now. I have other friends who are servers at normal restaurants, and they can’t believe how nice it is here. They said it’s cleaner, and they’re impressed with the quality of the food. It’s a unique place to work and I love it,” said Brooke.

So how did Brooke come find out about Aberdeen Village? A family connection.

“My grandmother, Shirley Raymond, lives here, and she told me about the position. My grandfather wanted me to work here, too, so I could be around them. Unfortunately, he passed away passed away on September 20, 2014, right before I started. But I was already familiar with the people here. I ate with my grandparents here on Sundays. I love chatting with all the residents. They feel like family,” said Brooke.

Brooke has always had a passion for baking, spending hours in the kitchen with her mother growing up. Her experience at Aberdeen Village has only added to her desire to spend time in the kitchen.

“I recently made a wedding cake for a friend, and I’ve even gotten to do some cooking here at Aberdeen Village. I made a molten lava cake for one of the wine parties. That was fun!” said Brooke.

Brooke has so much fun in the kitchen that she decided to apply for a four-year food services program in New York City, which she’ll begin soon. While we’ll miss her here, we’re thrilled for her to have this opportunity. She’ll still be here from time to time, though.

“I plan on staying on part time to help out over holiday breaks when I’m back in town,” said Brooke. “I would miss it too much if I wasn’t able to come back occasionally!”

Best of luck Brooke and we can’t wait to see what you’ll cook up next!

Chaplain: What wonderful world

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By Diane Gunsolley, Aberdeen Village chaplain 

Louis Armstrong, with his one-of-a-kind gravely style, could get more out of a song than anyone.

“I see trees of green, red roses too

I see them bloom for me and you

And I think to myself

what a wonderful world.”

That song was a slow stroll through the day. It encouraged pausing to take it all in. The gift of reflection brings to focus the wonder of everyday moments. Here we are at the highlight of nature’s beauty. The trees are alive in fall colors. It’s not too hot and not too cold. I’m determined to take a scenic drive, soak in the beauty and say to myself, “What a wonderful world.”

I’m also convinced that Satchmo had it right when he said that even a “hello” among friends is an expression of love.

“The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky

Are also on the faces of people going by

I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do

They’re really saying I love you.”

Human friendship is richer when we are intentionally present in the moment. A smile and a few kind words can make my day. If that is true in the natural, how much more is it true in our spiritual life? Experiencing God has much to do with our deliberate purposeful acknowledgement that He is with us. It’s dialoguing with our Father throughout the day and scheduling time to unite with Him through Scripture reading and prayer.

I’m discovering that connecting with God is far richer if I make time to regularly sit and be with Him. Our Brandt chapel is open for prayer and reflection on Thursdays from 10:00 until 11:00. Stop by for a few minutes, soak in His presence and enjoy connecting with our Father. May we, like King David of old, seek the one thing that really matters:

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” Psalm 27:4 New International Version

Gaze on His beauty and you may just find yourself humming, “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”

4 life lessons from Tony Bennett and other 89-year-olds

Bennett and Dick Van Dyke are going strong and happy

By Liz Fedor for Next Avenue

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Caption: Tony with his son Danny, 2007 Grammy Awards

Singer Tony Bennett, at 89, isn’t resting on his laurels.

He recently released a new album, The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern. In an interview with NPR, he recalled how much he loved singing for his relatives as a boy. “It created a passion in my life that exists to this moment as I speak to you, that is stronger now at 89 than in my whole life,” Bennett said. “I still feel that I can get better somehow. And I search for it all of the time.”

Bennett’s not the only 89-year-old who is defying stereotypes of older age.  Actor Dick Van Dyke  just wrote a memoir titled Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging.  Queen Elizabeth continues to carry out the royal responsibilities she inherited in 1952. And Marilyn Hagerty, my friend and former colleague, continues to write regularly for the Grand Forks, N.D., Herald.

Their daily lives offer four lessons for all people of all ages:


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Fiftysomething diet: 7 trendy (and healthy?) foods

They are getting a lot of attention and may even be good for you

By Maureen Callahan for Next Avenue

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In the never-ending parade of new food products that make headlines every year, there are always a few that catch on and become trendy, almost fashionable. They are options that beg to be included in any healthy diet.

The question is: Are they worth bringing to the table? Put another way, will they help you age more gracefully and do they have unique nutritional benefits?

Here’s a look at seven of the trendiest edible offerings that people are talking about around the water cooler, at book clubs and in the coffee shop, along with details on what they do and don’t offer when it comes to health, nutrition and disease prevention:


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