Creative Writing Corner – featuring Win Swormstedt

Each week, many of our residents meet for Creative Writing Group with Lisa McKenzie. The class offers a creative outlet and the opportunity to flex their writing muscles.

This month, we’d like to highlight a short story by Win Swormstedt:

Two Visitors

I opened the door early in the morning to retrieve the newspapers, as always, and there stood a tiny barefoot girl in green sleepers.

I literally gasped.

A child on the 15th floor of our retirement home—in her sleepers and bare feet!

Who was she?

Was she a mirage?

“Good morning,” I said.

“It’s my birthday!” she exclaimed.

“Well, happy birthday. How old are you?”

“Three!” She held up three fingers.

The door across the floor opened and an unrecognized woman appeared.

“Good morning,” she said. “This is my grand-niece. She called at 7 o’clock this morning, ‘It’s my birthday! Are you going to take me to McDonald’s?’ ”

The little girl peered into my apartment.

“Would you like to come in for a few minutes?” I asked. ‘Oh, dear,’ I thought, ‘what do I have for a little girl’s birthday? Most of the toys have been sent to the great-grandchildren in New Jersey and Maine.’ Then I thought of the birds. A few were left on the little bedroom windowsill—authentic Cornell-sponsored plush birds—a present to my ornithologist husband Dave.

“Would she like a bird?”

“Oh, yes. I have a cabinet full of china and glass birds.”

The little girl slowly looked over the Audubon collection of Wild Republic Plush Singing Birds—perfect replicas of the Red Cardinal, the ugly Roadrunner and the bright Western Tanager. She chose my favorite—the Painted Bunting.

My mind went back 20 years to the South Carolina home I’d shared with Dave; and another early morning door opening to an amazing sight: a Technicolor bird—red, yellow, green and blue—sitting on the limb of the hickory tree!

“Dave, Dave, come out here. I think someone’s pet has escaped.”

Dave’s eyes widened. “It’s a Painted Bunting—first I’ve seen on Hilton Head!”

We watched until the Bunting flew off in a burst of color, and Dave went off to consult his Birds of South Carolina.

Two sights I shall never forget: a tiny barefoot girl in her green sleeper on the 15th-floor hallway of our Kenwood, a rainbow colored bird in the hickory tree in our parking area.

Two visitors.

I’m glad they’ve met.

creative writing

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Songs by Heart Shares Musical Memories with Residents

On Sunday, March 26, The Kenwood by Senior Star residents were fortunate to experience a program not yet offered in Ohio: Songs by Heart. Emily Becker, its artistic administrator, contacted us to ask if she could share the program with our Memory Care residents. Emily’s grandmother is an Independent Living resident at The Kenwood, and Emily had hoped she could share Songs by Heart with her as well. We jumped at this opportunity.

When Emily sang Moon River, a resident in a wheelchair got up and danced with his daughter in front of his chair. It turns out that was the father-daughter song they danced to at her wedding. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It was a blessing to share that moment with them, and we look forward to a time in the future when this program will be offered on a regular basis.

On behalf of the residents and family members that enjoyed this, we thank Emily for giving and sharing her gift with us.

Emily Becker, artistic administrator of Songs by Heart, pictured with her grandmother Lillian.

Emily Becker, artistic administrator of Songs by Heart, pictured with her grandmother Lillian.

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Creative Writing Corner – featuring Edith Samuels

Each week, many of our residents meet for Creative Writing Group with Lisa McKenzie. The class offers a creative outlet and the opportunity to flex their writing muscles.

This month, we’d like to highlight a short essay by Edith Samuels:

How closely I observed my father as I was growing up, storing fragments of his life without even realizing it, like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle I still haven’t completed. I continue to turn the bits and pieces around and around, fitting them together, noticing ones I have ignored or forgotten along the way.

My picture of my father is becoming more and more complex, richer with memories and a gentler understanding that age brings.

“Daddy, did you or I have any inkling of how important you have been to me in making me the person I am?”





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4 Signs it Might be the Right Time for Memory Care

There comes a time when many caregivers must consider whether or not their loved one or parent needs to move into a memory care community.

While there is no definitive answer, there are a handful of signs that could indicate a need to consider professional assistance.

  1. Your loved one is becoming unsafe in their current environment – Oftentimes, a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia has the tendency to wander, which could lead to confusion, agitation or even physical harm such as falling. This increased risk for injury could have grave effects on your loved one’s health.
  2. Your loved one needs a level of care that is beyond your abilities – As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, your loved one may become increasingly dependent on you. Many find themselves unable to dedicate enough time to assisting with medication, dressing, eating and more – which can often feel like 24/7 care.
  3. You are neglecting other responsibilities including your job and other family members – Because caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can quickly turn into a full-time job, many caregivers’ responsibilities – and even commitments with other family members – may fall to the wayside.
  4. You are too stressed, irritable and impatient to provide quality care – Many caregivers can attest that caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is often tiring. While it is both mentally and physically exhausting, it can also lead to caregiver burnout – compromising the caregiver’s own health.

Are you considering whether or not it is the right time for Memory Care? Our Guide to Alzheimer’s and Dementia can help answer any questions you have – or, give us a call at 513-823-3029 to schedule a visit.

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February’s Creative Corner – featuring Joan D. Satler

Each week, many of our residents meet for Creative Writing Group with Lisa McKenzie. The class offers a creative outlet and the opportunity to flex their writing muscles.

This month, we’d like to highlight a poem written by resident Joan D. Satler.


A Circle of Gratitude

A circle is a never ending line

It’s joined together til the

End of time

When you feel all is lost just

Pick up the phone and dial

A friend. The circle is together


There are many circles in one’s

Life ad you can pick and chooe

The one that brings you the

Most gratitude




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Understanding The Difference Between Independent Living and Assisted Living

You’ve decided that senior living is your next big adventure. After much consideration, you’ve chosen a retirement community, like The Kenwood by Senior Star. As a continuing care retirement community, you’re offered different levels of care, including Independent Living and Assisted Living, among others. How do you know which option is best suited for you?

There are a few key differences between Independent Living and Assisted Living, and it’s important to understand these variances when making your decision:

Independent Living (IL)

Just as it sounds, IL is for those who can live independently, but enjoy having access to assistance when needed. It is also a great option for those looking to lessen the responsibility that comes with owning a house or condo. In many cases, IL offers you convenient access to dining and entertainment options, while also providing some basic services like socialization, housekeeping or transportation.

Assisted Living (AL)

AL is designed for residents who require additional support or a helping hand with daily life activities such as bathing, dressing and preparing meals. Here, you can receive help from a community staff member when performing these tasks. Most retirement communities have different levels for AL with additional costs per level, so it is important to figure out what each provides.

If you’re still unsure of the difference between IL and AL, or are struggling to determine which option would be the right fit, give us a call at (513) 823-3029 and we can help you assess your ideal level of care.

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Caring for Caregivers All Year

While November is National Family Caregivers Month, our appreciation doesn’t need to be limited to one month of the year. The Kenwood by Senior Star’s executive director Tom Rotz recently discussed ways to honor caregivers year round.

There are several ways — both big and small — that senior living professionals can honor caregivers while encouraging others to honor them and thank them for their hard work. A few of my favorites to pass along to families of our residents include:

  • Send flowers, a card or something sweet to show you are thinking of them.
  • Prepare dinner – and make plenty enough for leftovers.
  • Run a few errands on their to-do list.
  • Offer to help with yard work, get their house cleaned or water their flowers.
  • Organize a local fundraiser to help with caregiving costs.
  • Pick up a few items at the grocery store to save them a trip.
  • Spend time looking after their loved one while they visit a caregivers support group or take time to recharge.
  • Walk their dog, or watch their children.
  • Treat them to a night out with movie tickets or dinner while making arrangements for someone to look after their loved one.
  • Give a stress-relief care package, full of aromatherapy oils, lotion and more.
  • Offer to wash their car or fill up their gas tank.

Read more from Tom at McKnight’s Senior Living.


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January’s Creative Corner – featuring Phyllis Rubinstein

Each week, many of our residents meet for Creative Writing Group with Lisa McKenzie. The class offers a creative outlet and the opportunity to flex their writing muscles.

This month, we’d like to highlight a humorous meditation, written by resident Phyllis Rubinstein, regarding social media acronyms.

For years I have accepted the jumble of letters indicating the days of the week that appeared on the calendar above the numbers of the month. These abbreviations of the days were a help for me. MON was short for Monday, and so on. I liked that. But then came Facebook and Twitter—and even more abbreviations.

LOL— means Laughing Out Loud.

OMG — means Oh My G-d.

I know what a dictionary is!

I know what a thesaurus is!

But is there anywhere I can find what those few letters mean when punched out on a cell phone?

Now let’s move on to the TV.

TV is short for television.

Raise your hand if you know what CEO stands for.

Do you know what FBI stands for?

How many TV watchers know (or care) what DCOF stands for? Dental Center of Florence!

I try to read the abbreviations that quickly move across the screen under the main pictures, like PM for Prime Minister, Pres. Elect for President Elect, WH for White House.

I must admit that I called my youngest son who lives in Florida to ask him this question: I didn’t have the slightest idea what the meaning of these letters was. I called him because I figured he wouldn’t tell his brothers about my call and his friends don’t know me. I asked what POTUS means. Of course, now I should feel stupid, or really dumb, but I don’t! I can’t imagine that five letters are used to represent the real term for the President of the United States. What can I do when the whole world is too busy (or too lazy) to use real words, just abbreviations? My family has an answer—maybe buy a computer or try Facebook or Twitter. My acronym is TBNT. Thanks—but—NO THANKS.


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2017 Golden Globes Fashion Insight

The 2017 Golden Globes, the first major fashion event of this new year, featured many elegant gowns – as well as a few risky designs. Residents Evelyn Johnston and Gerri Lewin shared their unique insight regarding their favorite and least favorite fashions.

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Kenwood Employee Powers Holiday Baking Frenzy for Residents

Many of our staff members go above and beyond to make our residents feel special – especially during the holidays.

One, Kathy Evans, is an avid baker and bestows sweet goodies on residents. Every holiday season since 1999, Kathy has taken a week of vacation to bake homemade treats and distribute them to Senior Stars at The Kenwood.

This year, with the help of her “elves” (her daughter-in-law, friends and co-workers), Kathy compiled 215 holiday bags, each with 11 homemade goodies inside, for independent living residents, as well as 54 boxes for health services residents.

The treats usually take 4-5 hours to bag and 5-6 hours to personally deliver. One health services resident, Willie Redmond, was up bright and early to help deliver the cookies at 7 a.m.

“It gives residents a happy heart – and it gives me one, too,” Kathy said.

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