September’s Creative Corner – featuring Ida Zinam

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 touching short story written by Ida Zinam.

Put it on the Tab, Mr. Joe

Our Dad was a boxer and wrestler, a Lightweight Champion of the South. But when I was a child, he was noted for his store, “Dattlo’s Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.”  He would pass out small samples of cantaloupe one day, pear or honeydew melon the next.

Like so many others, Dad lost a fortune when the stock market crashed. If I told you the sum, you wouldn’t believe me. Throughout the Great Depression, we six kids were no longer able to go to the movies every Saturday, nor could Mom buy us all new clothes at Christmas and Easter.

One night at dinner Dad announced that the McCarry boy had been in the store. When Dad added up the total of his meager purchases, the boy just said, “Put it on the tab, Mr. Joe.”

This became a common practice. Some families would drop by occasionally to pay down their tab, but other customers simply couldn’t. Parents too ashamed to ask outright for charity just sent their children to do their shopping.

Years after my father retired, Vincente McCarry sought him out. “Remember how, after you’d bagged the produce, I’d say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Joe, put it on the tab’? Mom always found extra beans, some ripe bananas or a couple of apples in the bag. Well, I’ve come to pay off the tab.”

My father said, “Listen, we all have tabs in heaven.  Let it go at that.”

“OK, Mr. Joe, I won’t quibble. I’ll just pass it on.”

 

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Creating a Home at The Kenwood

Our Kenwood by Senior Star staff aims to create a home for each and every one of our residents. By enriching the lives of our Senior Stars, they are able to have a better day and a better senior living experience.

From our superb level of staffing to our flexible programming and our delicious dining options to our high quality of life, The Kenwood is proud to offer outstanding care at every level of service.

“After the first day I was hired, I was terribly excited. Within the first week, I knew that I was home,” says Annette DeCamp, manager of programs and events at The Kenwood. “If you’re looking for a community that embraces senior living, that will make a difference in your loved one’s life, pick The Kenwood. There isn’t a person here who isn’t going to try to make a difference in that person’s life and give them a fulfilling experience.”

To learn more about how our community makes a difference, call (513) 823-3029 to schedule a tour.

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The Kenwood by Senior Star Brings Mobile Virtual Dementia Tour to Cincinnati

The Kenwood by Senior Star team joined forces with Second Wind Dreams, an international nonprofit organization, to bring a mobile version of the Virtual Dementia Tour® to Cincinnati. It is the third U.S. mobile offering of the program, launching first in Florida and Nashville.

The tour, which simulates common Alzheimer’s and dementia symptoms and impairments, is a scientifically proven educational tool to help improve individuals’ understanding of dementia behaviors. As caregivers, this plays a key role in bridging our caregiver-care recipient divide and helping those impacted by the disease.

This past week, our staff and PK Beville, founder and CEO of Second Wind Dreams, visited news stations within the Cincinnati area to administer the mobile tour. Media were surprised – and touched by the VDT – which helped them understand what it’d be like to perform everyday tasks while experiencing both mental and physical restrictions.

 

 

If you’re interested in experiencing a VDT for yourself, please email Shelley Goering or call 513-823-3029.

Want to learn more about our programs? Call 513-258-2815, come visit us, or request a brochure.

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Mobile Virtual Dementia Tour: What You Need to Know

Imagine a slow, steady prickly sensation at the bottoms of your feet. You lift your head to observe your surroundings, only your vision is dark and blurry around the edges. You feel as though you’re looking through small slits, and when your caregiver tries to speak, the words are jumbled and the voice is inaudible. You both try to understand each other, to communicate, to connect, but there are so many obstacles…

While an estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, in 2015, more than 15 million caregivers provided an estimated 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care. On top of that, nearly 60 percent of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers rated the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high.

This stress could in part stem from a lack of understanding for what a loved one affected by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia regularly experiences.

The Virtual Dementia Tour®, created by P.K. Beville, founder of Second Wind Dreams, aims to build sensitivity and awareness in individuals and caregivers – helping them better understand and empathize with those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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The patented program simulates changes associated with cognitive decline by taking participants through a virtual dementia tour. It has been experienced by more than 1.5 million people in 17 countries and has been implemented in over one thousand health care facilities in the United States, Canada, UK, Israel and other countries around the world.

By using ordinary objects, such as dark goggles to reduce vision, or thick gloves to decrease grip and sensitivity, to mimic the disease, participants can feel what it is like to perform everyday tasks while tethered by certain physical and mental restrictions. This can allow participants to better sympathize with those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The VDT also helps caregivers comprehend why a loved one might be acting a certain way. Signs of frustration might not be caused by apathy or stubbornness, but instead by pain or confusion they are unable to express. This helps many caregivers realize there might be a deeper-rooted cause for Alzheimer’s or dementia behavior, which increases their ability to help those affected.

The Kenwood by Senior Star trains each and every staff member with the VDT to ensure they are fully equipped to assist residents coping with the disease. Not only does it improve each individual’s understanding of dementia behaviors, but it also helps bridge our caregiver-care recipient divide in order to become better caregivers.

This month, The Kenwood is proud to team up with Second Wind Dreams to bring a mobile version of the VDT to Cincinnati, in the hopes that many people – especially caregivers and family members of those with Alzheimer’s or dementia – experience the tour to better understand and empathize with those affected by the disease.

If you’re interested in experiencing a VDT for yourself, please email Shelley Goering or call 513-823-3029.

Want to learn more about our programs? Call 513-258-2815, come visit us, or request a brochure.

 

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Daunted by Downsizing? These Quick Tips Will Help

As many can attest, moving can be an emotional experience regardless of age. Downsizing to move into senior living can be especially challenging, though, because it can be difficult to leave your home filled with memories and tokens of a life well-lived.

The good news? The Kenwood by Senior Star strives to make this process as easy as possible by providing new residents with tried and true tips. After all, new beginnings should be an exciting adventure – not a stressful burden.

 

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Envision yourself in your new home and community

Helping new residents understand what life will be like at our community is key when it comes to downsizing.

Though many seniors are used to entertaining in their living rooms, dining rooms and more, their socializing space can extend beyond the walls of their home to outside of it. At The Kenwood, we have many shared spaces where seniors can meet with one another and participate in socially and mentally engaging activities.

On top of that, our community also offers a gourmet dining experience – not only for our residents, but for residents and their friends and families.

Because of this, our Senior Stars can feel at ease letting go of their large china sets, kitchenware, excess furniture and other necessary items for hosting.

Consider the size of your new space

A simplified way to determine which items to keep and which to leave behind is to consider what space you’ll have at your new home, and which items belong in said space. If you have one room for dining, you won’t need both a kitchen and a dining table. If you have only have space for two couches in the family room, you won’t need to hold on to furniture that decorated your basement.

Ask for a helping hand

While this might seem easy to decide, we know it is especially tough to let go of items that are close to our hearts. For those who feel overwhelmed by downsizing, or could benefit from an extra boost, we recommend hiring a company to help move.

One of The Kenwood’s favorites, Golden Transitions, provides services for older adults that will help them transition into their new home. The company keeps seniors on task and offers an objective perspective that can help older adults determine what they need. From cleaning to packing and more, a professional helping hand can go a long way.

Prioritize your prized possessions

Most importantly, when it comes time to downsize, we encourage residents to abide by a certain rule of thumb: “Bring what you love.” Doing so will always help residents feel at home.

 

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Defeat The Heat With These Summer Tips for Seniors

Summer can be a fun time for everyone – including seniors. However, with temperatures in the triple digits, humidity levels rising and the hot July sun beating, summertime can be dangerous for seniors if proper precautions aren’t taken. Here are some tips that will help seniors and their caregivers defeat the heat this summer.

  1. Drink plenty of water – As you get older, your awareness of thirst and ability to conserve water decrease. Make a conscious effort to drink several cups of water a day to stay properly hydrated.
  2. Let your clothing cool you down – Remember that your clothing can be an integral component in lowering your body temperature. Wear natural fabrics and loose fitting close to help you be cool and comfortable.
  3. Wear sunscreen – Seniors can use sunscreen, as well hats and sunglasses, to protect their skin from the sun.
  4. Check your medications – Some medications can make you more sensitive to UV rays, and others are rendered useless if stored in a place higher than 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Talk to your doctor today in order to take preventative measures.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        person-1461909_1920

What are your tried and true smart summer tips for seniors?

 

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Creative Corner – featuring Myra Ehrke

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 essay written by Myra Ehrke, a former travel writer:

Oops!

I’m at Club Med Tahiti, where all meals, all beverages and all activities are included in the price. My family has finished breakfast. Daughter Maxine has headed off on a two-man sailing catamaran with a cute guy. Hubby Chuck, daughter Lori, and son Jim have boarded a charter boat to fish for marlin. They have been joined by a Japanese party of five.

That leaves me. I’m hoping all will go well for Jimmy as he practices his Japanese language skills. The last time he’d tried was at his girlfriend’s home in Tokyo. He’d joined the family and some VIP’s from the Mitsubishi Corporation at the dinner table, raised his glass on high for a toast, and shouted, “BONZAI.” This toast was met with hostile looks and an uncomfortable silence. His girlfriend, Akiko, whispered in his ear that although that word was close to the word for “cheers,” it was actually a war chant, used when attacking an enemy. A red-faced Jim had apologized in Japanese, something he’d had to do many times.

I wander around the harbor, snorkel and mask in hand, looking for a boat to go shell-hunting. Only one problem; no one speaks English. I pass three boats with skippers barking destinations in French. At the fourth, a sailor looks directly at me and yells what sounds like “shelling.” Isn’t that nice, I think. He knows I am American.

I board the boat, going somewhere, for an unknown amount of time, and think, “This is fun!” I like surprises.

Twenty minutes later, I find myself ready to disembark with 30 plus other shell seekers, but wait, something’s… wrong. Shouldn’t the other people have net bags to carry the shells they find? And shouldn’t they have brought snorkels and fins?

Oops. As soon as the other resort guests hit the beach they strip ‘till they are completely naked. It isn’t a pretty sight. Let’s just say I feel better about my body but very embarrassed to be the only person wearing a bathing suit. I remember my mom’s advice to look before I leap. Too late.

I want to hide behind a coconut tree or bury myself in the sand. Instead, I put on my gear and snorkel in four feet of water. After all, that’s what I came here for.

I am following the shoreline, hands outstretched, when I bump into a soft object. I look down and see two human legs. I stand up and come face to face with a naked, very amused Frenchman. Of course I apologize; my face the color of a boiled lobster. Thank goodness people are getting dressed and boarding the boat. I board the cruiser with as much dignity as I can muster and sit without making eye contact with anyone. I daydream about being with my family this evening, digging into some wonderful French cuisine, sipping wine, and telling them about my adventure.

 

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Innovative Memory Care Programming at The Kenwood

The Kenwood by Senior Star prides itself on offering a holistic approach to memory care, with many programs that create a calm and positive environment, foster a sense of community and mentally stimulate residents.

Two of these special offerings include our Snoezelen® Therapy and Dakim® BrainFitness™ programs.

Located in our memory care wing, the Snoezelen® Room multi-sensory environment is filled with soothing lights, sounds, scents and textures providing residents with a relaxing atmosphere away from challenges, confusion and agitation. A great resource for residents who struggle with high anxiety, the room radiates a calming effect. From a bubble machine and dim lights to soft music and a cozy recliner, residents become comforted and tranquil. Not only is Snoezelen® Therapy a good tool for residents to take a break, but it also helps our staff engage residents to improve their day.

Meanwhile, our Dakim® BrainFitness™ is a self-adjusting, easy-to-use touch screen that is the only clinically-tested brain fitness software designed specifically for adults over the age of 60. Not every residents enjoys group activities, but many desire mental stimulation. Dakim® engages a resident at their level – adjusting questions based on the resident’s answers. With puzzles, sorting and memory games to choose from, Dakim® keeps Senior Stars’ brains active and engages all, no matter what Alzheimer’s or dementia stage they are in.

If you think your loved one could benefit from Snoezelen® Therapy, Dakim® BrainFitness™ and/or some of our other memory care offerings, please contact us to schedule a personalized tour.

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Miss USA 2015 Visits The Kenwood to Celebrate The Longest Day

This summer solstice, The Kenwood by Senior Star joined together for its fifth annual celebration of the Alzheimer’s Association’s The Longest Day.

While those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their caregivers face a challenging journey, The Longest Day is meant to commemorate their endurance and passion. Hundreds of teams nationwide gathered to participate in activities all day long.

2015 Miss USA winner, Olivia Jordan, visited The Kenwood to help our residents, employees, family and friends celebrate.

From a 16-hour trek around the community campus and a cook-out, to a benefit Concert by Ebony Strings, it was a long day. However, every day is a long one – not only for those facing Alzheimer’s, but also for those caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.

If you’re interested in helping The Kenwood by Senior Star fight Alzheimer’s disease, you can donate to our ongoing fundraising efforts for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, taking place in October.

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Five Questions with Miss USA 2015, Olivia Jordan

Miss USA 2015, Olivia Jordan, will join us at The Kenwood by Senior Star this upcoming Monday, June 20 for our Longest Day festivities. In advance of her visit , which will include a special presentation for residents, she answered five questions for us on the importance of raising awareness for Alzheimer’s research and her time as Miss USA.

  1. Tell us more about your experience lobbying beside the Alzheimer’s Association in Washington D.C.

I was able to lobby twice this year as Miss USA. First, in September during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, a group formerly called OCNA. I was amazed that simply by wearing the Miss USA sash that elected representatives were interested in me and what I had to say. The title was very new to me at the time and I didn’t realize the power it could have, at the very least, to get people’s attention. I was so empowered by the experience that I pushed to go back again with the Alzheimer’s Association, a cause I have known and have worked with more extensively. I felt I could reach out to my contacts from the fall and speak more about the needs of the NIH. My dad (who has been a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association for 20 years) and I traveled together. With our combined knowledge and the intrigue of the Miss USA and father duo, we were able to get many senators to sign on to a bill that would improve healthcare for Alzheimer’s patients and push the needle forward on the need for research funding.

  1. What was the biggest lesson you learned while lobbying?

I had always heard that one person can make a difference, and I believed that. I had seen how President Obama, Mother Theresa, and Oprah had changed the world in my lifetime. What I learned from lobbying, though, is that every voice can make a difference; you don’t have to be the president, a saint or have your own network. Everyone’s voice matters. When you use your voice, you inspire others to do the same, you can create a ripple effect that evokes positive change. I was just one ripple this year, but it’s the combined efforts of a few dedicated people that can truly change the world. Find your passion and speak to it! Be part of creating good in this world.

  1. Why is it important to advocate for Alzheimer’s disease at the community level? 

Alzheimer’s disease affects so many people. Beyond the 5.4 million diagnosed, this disease requires caregivers. Many people have to give up their job to become the necessary full-time caregivers. This is detrimental to not only the economy with our aging population but also for the quality of life for patients and their families. We need more support for patients and families. We need to fight for a cure.

  1. Tell us why you think it’s important for someone – millennials in particular – but at any age level, to join the fight against Alzheimer’s and use their voice to support the cause. 

Every 66 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s disease. This disease is affecting more and more people each day. We have to band together and use our voices to create positive change. We can be the generation that finds a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But we need people talking; we need funds being allocated to that end.

  1. What are you looking forward to most when visiting The Kenwood by Senior Star for The Longest Day?

I am excited to be part of the festivities to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease. The Longest Day is a fantastic opportunity to get people talking and thinking about Alzheimer’s. Being at The Kenwood for the Longest Day is a fantastic way to kick off my two-week tour spreading positivity and sharing my experiences of my past year as Miss USA.

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