Happy Kwanzaa

As we live into our commitment to be diverse and inclusive here at the campus, we aim to be intentional in the ways that we grow in our understanding and celebration of who WE are. There are friends and family who celebrate Kwanzaa and there is much to learn about this celebration which honors African heritage in African-American culture and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving. Kwanzaa has seven core principles (Nguzo Saba). It was created by Maulana Karenga and was first celebrated in 1966–67. Maulana Karenga, a black nationalist who later became a college professor, created Kwanzaa as a way of uniting and empowering the African-African community in the aftermath of the deadly Watts riots. Having modeled his holiday on traditional African harvest festivals, he took the name “Kwanzaa” from the Swahili phrase, “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits.”

Many people celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas. Though often thought of as an alternative to Christmas, many people actually celebrate both. “Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but a cultural one with an inherent spiritual quality,” Karenga writes. “Thus, Africans of all faiths can and do celebrate Kwanzaa, i.e. Muslims, Christians, Black Hebrews, Jews, Buddhists, Baha’i and Hindus, as well as those who follow the ancient traditions of Maat, Yoruba, Ashanti, Dogon, etc.” According to Karenga, non-blacks can also enjoy Kwanzaa, just as non-Mexicans commemorate Cinco de Mayo and non-Native Americans participate in powwows. Kwanzaa centers around seven principles which are umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity) and imani (faith). Kwanzaa also has seven symbols–mazao (crops), mkeka (mat), kinara (candleholder), muhindi (corn), kikombe cha umoja (unity cup), zawadi (gifts) and mishumaa saba (seven candles)–that are traditionally arranged on a table. Three of the seven candles are red, representing the struggle; three of the candles are green, representing the land and hope for the future; and one of the candles is black, representing people of African descent. Some families who celebrate Kwanzaa dress up or decorate their homes in those colors. Homemade and educational gifts are encouraged. U.S. presidents habitually wish the nation a happy Kwanzaa.The holiday also has made inroads with the U.S. Postal Service, which has issued four separate Kwanzaa stamps since 1997. The latest, from 2011, features a family dressed in traditional African garb lighting the kinara.

When he envisioned the celebration of Kwanzaa, Karenga recognized that on the whole, African Americans do not live in an agricultural setting. Nonetheless, he sought to emphasize that the basic principles found in producing the harvest are vital to building and maintaining strong and wholesome communities. Kwanzaa is that time when we reflect on our use of the basic principles, share and enjoy the fruits of our labor, and recommit ourselves to the collective achievement of a better life for our family, our community, and our people. We celebrate family, community, and culture, and wish our friends, Happy Kwanzaa! *

Looking Forward to 2019

Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were filled with love and joy. I want to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to all of you for making Beatitudes Campus the wonderful, spirit-filled community it is. Your warmth and compassion for each other is inspiring. Your wisdom has taught me so much about living life to its fullest. You have blessed me with the lifelong gift of your friendship. Thank you!

Now that 2019 is upon us, many of us have resolved to change some of our “bad” habits and replace them with “good” habits. How did the tradition of New Year’s resolution even start? Some 4,000 years ago, the Babylonians rang in their new year by making promises to the gods in hopes they would earn good favor in the coming year. They often resolved to return borrowed items and get out of debt. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus. During the Middle Ages, knights would renew their vows to chivalry and uphold the values of knighthood by placing their hand on a live or roasted peacock.

Things have come a long way since then! Modern new year’s resolutions became “a thing” in the 19th century. The first recorded use of the phrase “new year resolution” appeared in a Boston newspaper in 1813.

The tradition of making resolutions at the beginning of the year certainly can put a lot of stress on us – especially if we don’t keep them. Every year, in some way or another, I resolve to be a better person, get healthier, work less, save the world, become smarter, be more philanthropic, become more spiritual, engage more in the world around me – whew – what a tall order! And what a lot of pressure! By the end of the year, I usually haven’t fulfilled all of my resolutions in the way I imagined I would in January. Sometimes life doesn’t quite go the way I planned it to go. But by bending with the winds of change, I adapt to changing circumstances. But even then, that sometimes means I don’t accomplish my New Year’s resolutions. What if I could just lighten up a bit and allow myself to live each moment of every day fully – rather than pressuring myself and forcing change and feeling bad when the change doesn’t happen?

So, this year, my “un-resolution” is to resolve to get out of my own way and trust that the better version of me will come through when it’s ready to do so. I am hoping that taking time off from forcing change through new year’s resolutions will open new doors of discovery for me. And I’m excited! 2019 is going to be the best year yet – a year of incredible growth and evolution!

May the new year add a new beauty and freshness in your hearts.*

Healthy Holidays

The holidays are often a time of joyful experiences, but they can also bring about unique health challenges. During the season of giving, it’s still important to take care of yourself; we hope to provide a few tips to stay healthy this winter.

Be Mindful of Medications: With winter cold and flu season upon us, be mindful of over the counter medications, which can have unintended side effects. For example, medications that have sedating or pain mediating effects, such as decongestants and cough syrups, can lead to confusion. Consult your doctor before taking beginning new over the counter medications for cold symptoms, and always being aware of multi-symptom products that treat coughing, sneezing, pain, etc. These medications can contain similar ingredients to medications you are already taking, which can put one at risk of overdose.

Healthy Healing Alternatives: Try alternatives to over the counter cold and allergy medications, such as resting, drinking more fluids, saline nasal sprays, and drinking honey in your tea for coughing.

Winter Workouts: It’s easy to fall away from your usual exercise routine during the holidays, but maintaining an exercise regime for 30 minutes a day helps boost your mood and energy levels. Try to carve out regular time for yourself to prioritize exercise even on busy days.

Seasonal Schedule: Keeping a usual medication and sleep schedule, especially if you are travelling, also boosts your immune system and energy levels. Aim to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day, and be consistent in taking your medications on time. If traveling, have an updated copy of your medication list with you, along with your labeled medications and pill organizer. Before you leave for a trip, make sure you have enough medications for the duration of the trip and for the days after you return, so you won’t need to rush to refill medications.

Holiday Food and Spirits: Maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging during the holidays, but it is important to stick to your regular diet as closely as possible. It’s okay to treat yourself, but eat rich, fatty and sugary foods in moderation and add more vegetables to your holiday plate. This season is also a time when people are more likely to drink alcohol at parties and gatherings. Studies show that regular drinkers have a tendency to over-imbibe during the holidays, while many holiday drinkers who do not drink regularly need to be aware of their lower alcohol tolerance. Be mindful of the risk of confusion and falls when drinking, and ask your physician or pharmacist about how alcohol interacts with your specific medications.

Keep these tips in mind and
enjoy a happy, healthy holiday
season this winter!! *

 

Becoming Midwives of Hope

One of the most memorable Christmas sermons that I have heard was preached by the songwriter, activist and pastor, John Bell. He began by asking; “I wonder who among us was once a shepherd?” A quick glance around me didn’t see any hands being raised. We were, after all, sitting in the middle of a large urban area not exactly renowned for its shepherds. Then he asked; “I wonder who among us was once a wise man?”. People began looking slightly uncomfortable, as it didn’t appear by the lack of hands being raised that wisdom was in any more plentiful supply than shepherding skills. He went on with other questions, before there began to be a gradual sense of where these questions were leading. My thoughts were confirmed when he asked; “I wonder who among us had once been the hind legs of the donkey”. So, which nativity characters have you played?

For many people, their introduction to the Christmas story will have been while taking part as a child in a school or church nativity play. For me this annual event was always a highlight of the year, if only for the opportunity to create headscarves out of tea towels, and to challenge each other off stage to duels with our shepherds crooks. The artistic standard wasn’t particularly high in my elementary school. One year, the memory taken away by the audience wasn’t of a fine retelling of the greatest story ever told, but instead of the little girl playing Mary declaring at the top of her voice “this baby isn’t even real” as she looked at the doll in the manger.

The irony of the school nativity play however is that besides the Christ child, there are no children with leading roles in the Christmas story. Many of the characters in the nativity narratives are seniors – Elizabeth, Zechariah, Simeon and Anna have their elderly status clearly underscored often during the account. The Shepherds were certainly not toddlers; and the Magi certainly would not have been considered wise unless they too were old. In these days wisdom did not come through attaining a Ph.D in your mid-twenties. The story of the birth and early years of Jesus’ life center around God expecting and trusting older people to enable new and surprising things to happen. So, if you were once a shepherd or an angel or even the hind legs of the donkey, don’t let Christmas simply be a time for regression therapy…..particularly when now as always, God is looking for older adults to be the midwives for the new ways that love, hope, joy and faith can be born into our world. *

It’s the “Feeling”

One of the most important aspects of why folks choose a lifeplan community is the environment.  By that, I am not referring to the air quality or the paint color.  It’s the “feeling” that they have when they come to campus and the sustained sense of inclusion and acceptance once they have moved here.  Those of you who already live on campus are one of bedrock reasons decisions are made to live at Beatitudes Campus and you are additionally the cornerstone of continuing satisfaction and engagement.

I recently became aware of an NPR story about the influx of people who are choosing to retire in some of the highest growth areas of the country (Maricopa is the fastest-growth county in the nation, according to the U.S. Census data) and just this morning I heard that 200 people a day move here.  The piece discussed several new senior living sites but also noted that continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs, or life plan communities) are still one of the strongest choices of all.

Beyond the details about the various options in Phoenix, there was something else about the NPR story that caught my attention.

“The last house I’m gonna have”

The reporter had interviewed a woman named Sara Klemmer, who currently lives in a thriving historic area of town.  For Mrs. Klemmer, the decision to leave the neighborhood she loves makes sense financially and logically, but still, she says it’s been emotionally difficult.  And the notion of joining a continuing care community is a psychological adjustment, too.

‘This is the last house I’m gonna have, the last apartment,’ Klemmer said. ‘You come face to face with your mortality.’”

In all honesty, I hear this sentiment a lot from people who are considering a move to a lifeplan community.  At the heart of this and similar comments is the idea that, “I know I should do this—it makes sense in every aspect—but it’s the finality of it that is holding me back.”

There are four common refrains I often hear when it comes to seniors’ apprehension about a lifeplan community/CCRC move—the reasons that people give for not being “ready,” several of which were voiced or implied by Ms. Klemmer.

“I’m still active and independent.”

“I don’t want to leave my home.”

“Moving is too much of a headache.”

“I’m worried that I can’t afford to move to a Life Plan Community this early.”

All four of these reasons for putting off a Life Plan Community move (whether to a patio home, entry fee or rental apartment) or wavering about the decision to move are completely understandable.  However, many of you analyzed your circumstances and came to some conclusions that are often pretty startling until you give them some thought.

Here are a few important points that we ask folks to weigh… and it is always of great benefit when we are able to ask so many of you to tell the story of how you came to your conclusions to move to the campus.

Choosing to “age in place,” instead of downsizing and moving to a Life Plan Community, likely is the easiest solution in the short-term. But should you experience a health setback in the future, this option may end up being not only physically challenging (especially if you do not have a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor of your home) but also costly (the current average cost of in-home care is around $4,000 per month. But this is based on just 6 hours of care per day. If you require more care, especially if it is 24-hour care, it could double or triple this amount.

Opting to remain in your home also can cause tremendous issues in the long-term for your adult children, who may end up dealing with the many challenges that come with caregiving for an elderly parent. This can be an especially difficult situation if your adult children live far away, have young children of their own to care for, or lack flexibility with their job.

The fact is, someone will have to sort through all of your belongings eventually—likely your adult children or another loved one. They will be forced to choose what to keep and what to give away or sell, pack and move everything, and then sell the home. It is a daunting task to put on someone else’s shoulders, both physically and emotionally.

Making the right choice for you

The sentiments expressed by Ms. Klemmer in the NPR story are extremely common. After all, moving out of a cherished home and into a Life Plan Community is a major life change. It would be concerning if a person had zero apprehensions about it!

But I can tell you this, having spoken with literally hundreds of Life Plan Community residents over the years: the vast majority of people who decide to move to a Life Plan Community are extremely happy they did. Yes, most residents say there was an adjustment period when they first moved in, but in the long run, the benefits of living in a Life Plan Community—including services, amenities, and a continuum of care services available onsite—far outweigh the inconveniences that come with downsizing and moving.

In many surveys, the number one reason given for delaying a decision about moving to a Life Plan Community was, “I don’t feel that I’m old enough yet.” Some who are well into their 80s even said this.

The idea that this will be your “final move” does force one to confront their own mortality, as Ms. Klemmer points out, and some people aren’t entirely comfortable with facing this reality. This fact may be at the heart of this common sentiment voiced in surveys that “I’m not old enough yet.”

However, what I hear from most residents is how glad they are that they moved earlier, rather than waiting until some unspecified time in the future when they felt “ready” or “old enough.” Moving sooner rather than later has given them the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with other residents, establishing a solid social and support network for the unknowns of the future (such as dealing with a health crisis or a partner’s passing). This ready-made support system, along with the peace of mind that comes with knowing your care needs will be met no matter what, is a compelling reason to put aside your trepidation and put the wheels into motion on making the move.

I’m happy to bring you up to date that we have a substantial number of planners getting ready to join us in the next year.  We have contracted for 29 of the 34 new patio homes and have an additional two on hold!  The campus mission marches on!  Be sure to welcome your new neighbors as you see them at events and around campus.  And don’t forget that there is a great resident referral bonus available to all of you who live on campus.  Stop by the marketing office to get the details and your referral form!*

TOWN HALL Recap for December 5, 2018

Rev. David Ragan, Sr. VP of Resident Services, called the meeting to order at 2:15PM, wishing all a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and a Joyous Holiday Season. David also asked residents to be sensitive to those who may have lost a loved one recently or have other reasons to be sad over the holidays. A kind word or deed can make a big difference. He shared the spirit of the holidays by showing some pictures of staff, both now and in previous years. Staff Christmas photo cards from years past of Michelle Just, Joe Kane, Mike Smallwood, Peggy Roberts, Jon Schilling, Barbara Wood and many others brought gales of laughter from residents. How we do change over the years!! David called attention to the Welcome Coffee held the fourth Wednesday of each month, but taking a break in December, with the next Coffee on Wednesday, January 23rd.

Michelle Just, President and CEO, also wished residents happy holidays and provided updates on several items. She thanked residents for their participation in the Holleran Survey and said the findings will be used by Senior Staff, the Board of Directors and others in planning for the future. Michelle also thanked residents for their generosity in raising over $165,000 for the Employee Appreciation Fund. The staff party with be on Friday, December 7th, and employees are very grateful for the money they receive from the Fund. It will definitely make a difference for Christmas. As for the redevelopment, residents have no doubt noticed that the homes along 17th Drive and Myrtle Avenue have been demolished. Abatement will be started tomorrow in regard to the old patio homes. They will not be demolished until sometime in January and residents will be duly notified of the date so that they may party on their balconies. A new name has been given to the Courtyard buildings. It is to be called the Promenade Residences. In response to letters received and rumors, Michelle assured residents that the Mall would not be closing down for this phase of the redevelopment. That will not occur until the Promenade Residences are built 2 ½ years down the road. She has also received word that residents are very happy with the Holiday decorations and she assured us that the Poinsettia tree in the Life Center will remain lovely without watering as the flowers are silk! Michelle asked a favor of residents—that some residents (in their Beatitudes T-shirts) would attend the Alhambra Village Planning meeting on December 18th at the Washington Adult Center. More information will be available in the Roadrunner.

As Barbara Carpenter came forward to report on the Residents Council, David noted that there had been a Barbara Luncheon. Barbara said that 18 Barbaras attended and had a lovely time.

Barbara reported on the November Residents Council Meeting, noting that David Ragan welcomed the Representatives, Committee Chairs, Staff and Residents. He had updates on the demolishing of the new patio home and garden apartment sites, the Community Channel and a new loop system for the Life Center. Bylaws and Elections Chairman, Herb Komnick, reported that the elections went smoothly, each building has elected representatives, and over 60% of independent living residents voted. Dining Services Chair, Pat Dellisanti, shared the mostly positive comments that the committee had received on our dining venues. Bette Henriques, Employee Appreciation Chair, announced that the 2018 fund had broken the previous record and she, too, thanked all who participated so generously. Enviroment Chairmen, Gerald Roseberry, said that servers in Buckwald’s and Elaine’s will be offering water on request as part of our conservation effort. It was approved for the Recycling Sub-Committee to move to the Facilities Committee. Facilities Committee Chairman, Roger Benson, and his committee are working with our Director of Plant Operations on the serviceability and appearance of the campus facilities. Committees reporting in December include Communications, Community Relations, Health and Wellness, Life Enrichment, Spiritual Life and Welcome. Representative, Nils Larson, of Plaza View welcomed new representative, Dick Tucker and reported on happenings there. Kathleen Hall of Plaza South and Hollister Newlin of Central Park South each reported about good things in their buildings and all independent living areas will be celebrating the season with holiday events starting next week. Donna Ellis reported for the newly formed Diversity and Inclusion Action Council, which will be working to promote these values, a part of the Beatitudes Promise. The Residents Council will be appreciating all our 2018 volunteers, electing new officers and seating our new representatives next week so join us for an exciting glimpse into 2019 on Wednesday, December 12th at 2:00PM. Cake and coffee will be served. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT IN 2018!

Jessica Meyer, Director of Success Matters, announced a Courtney Cookie Send-off to be held on Thursday, December 20th from 10 to 11AM. Courtney Ramos has completed her internship at the Beatitudes and we thank her for her work on Campus and wish her well in her upcoming career as an occupational therapist. Courtney, who has now completed her Master’s Degree, thanked the residents for being so welcoming and expressed her feeling that this is a wonderful community.

Didi Cruz and Monica De La Rosa, Life Enrichment Specialists, combined forces to remind residents of several upcoming opportunities such as the Holiday Light Tour Off Campus on Monday, December 17th and Wednesday, December 19th at 6PM. Call x12905 to reserve your seat. There will be a trip to Organ Stop Pizza on Tuesday, December 18th at 3PM. Organ Stop Pizza accepts CASH ONLY and to join this trip, call 12905 by Friday, December 14th. If you plan on decorating your balcony, and don’t mind having folks stop by around 6PM on weekdays, call Didi at 18473 by Thursday, December 13th. Those who participate will be entered in a raffle to win a $25 gift card. Free gift wrapping is available on Saturday, December 15th from 9AM to 5PM. Volunteers will be available to help wrap your gifts. All supplies are provided and please schedule a time by calling Monica at x18526. If you would like to be a Town Crier, and be available from 8 to 8:20AM to announce the events/classes going on for the day and the following day, and answer questions regarding the events/classes, contact Korry Nelson, Communications and Media Design Specialist at x18493 or talk with a Communications Committee member. You can volunteer for one day a week, or two days a week or whatever you might be able to do.

Michael Smallwood, Fitness Specialist, provided riddles and jokes along with good news about keeping fit. It seems that as Americans continue to live longer, we also are aging better and thriving more in later life. Seniors are more satisfied with their standard of living, worry less about finances, have a significantly higher sense of well-being and have reduced amounts of stress in their lives than their younger counterparts. Hawaii ranks as the #1 state for older Americans well-being, followed by ARIZONA, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Colorado. The least happy states were Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky and West Virginia. So stay here at the Beatitudes and join a workout and wellness class! The B-Fit winner for December is Norma Dieffenbach.

Tena Alonzo, Comfort Matters Director of Education and Research, introduced John Czaplewski, a Doctoral student, whose dissertation project involves the cognitive examination of people at least 90 years old. John said that participating in the project will require 20 to 30 minutes of activities such as puzzles, identifying pictures, remembering a short list of words, drawing pictures and connecting the dots. If residents participate, they will be a part of something that will benefit the care of others, create something new, represent individuals 90 years-old and over and impact the field of Neuropsychology. There is no other research like this in the country. If you are interested in participating in this important study, contact Tena at x16182.

David said that the DirecTV installation is complete and Cox is terminated throughout the campus. If Cox is trying to bill you for the white boxes that were in your apartment, tell them to cease doing so as they are part of the bulk account between Beatitudes Campus and Cox and this does not involve you. Always put in a work order should you have any issues involving your television or internet from now on.

The Arizona Republic is for sale in the Bistro for $2.00 a copy, including Sunday. Remember the Hootenanny takes place each and every Wednesday night in the Life Center. Bring your friends and enjoy the music. Wednesday Sundaes with Dave will take place on December 19th from 2 to 4PM in the Bistro. Enjoy a free yogurt sundae and share your thoughts with David. A big Thank You to Gregory’s Fresh Market for the bags of fruits and vegetables given to residents as they came to Town Hall on Wednesday.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL. The next Town Hall will be at 2:00PM in the Life Center on January 2nd, 2019.

Redevelopment Update

As Many of you know:

Several trees from the demolition of the residences on Myrtle have been boxed and moved to the west end of the Nelson Property.

The trees are on an automatic watering system.  There is one large specimen Elm that has been boxed and remains in place.  It will be moved to the nursery on the Nelson property using a crane in a few weeks.

Those trees that survive the boxing and move, will be replanted according to our landscape plan.

The geotechnical testing of the properties along 17 Drive and Myrtle has begun.  You can see the drill rig there now.

The testing has been completed, and abatement of the Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) of the existing Garden Apartments has begun.

More information on the Patio Home project and the Garden Apartment demolition will appear here every two weeks. *

A Christmas Classic

At Christmas-time I love watching the timeless and treasured classics like Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas. This year celebrates the 53rd anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas and I learned some of the history of how the classic came to be. The special–a collaboration between Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, producer Lee Mendelson, and director Bill Melendez–first aired on December 9, 1965 and was loved from the start. One of the most moving moments in the show is when Linus explains the meaning of Christmas by reciting the story of the birth of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke. Schulz did not have the support from the other executives who wondered if an animated special was the right place for the religious text. Director Bill Melendez told Schulz (whose nickname was Sparky), “Sparky, this is religion. It just doesn’t go in a cartoon.” But Schulz had a simple response: “Bill, if we don’t do it, who will? We can do it.” The passage stayed in — and we are glad it did.
Another unique part of the production was that Schultz insisted on using real kid’s voices in a time when it was standard practice to have children’s roles performed by adults. Fortunately, they were able to find the right children to voice all of the characters even though a few were so young they couldn’t read or understand the script! Jazz musician and composer Vince Guaraldi wrote the original music for the show, which was the first animated network special to feature jazz. The score includes “Linus and Lucy,” otherwise known as the Peanuts theme. Guaraldi also wrote the music for “Christmas Time Is Here” (the song’s lyrics were penned on the back of an envelope by Mendelson in just 15 minutes). Schulz didn’t even like jazz but fortunately for us he didn’t let his dislike stand in the way of an iconic score.
Then there is the small, struggling tree that Charlie Brown picks out with its uneven, almost bare branches. In 1964, Mendelson read the Hans Christian Andersen story The Fir Tree — about a tree desperate to grow to match its taller brethren — to his children. When work started on A Charlie Brown Christmas, Mendelson mentioned the Andersen tale to Schulz, which prompted the cartoonist to dream up Charlie Brown’s tree. And though it was mocked, things turned out okay for that tree in the end. As Linus says, “I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.” Executives at CBS didn’t think the show would be a hit. The expectation was that it would make its debut, then disappear forever — and if there had been a programming alternative the special might not have made it on the air at all. Fortunately, it was shown — and about half the country watched Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang celebrate Christmas. Now, 53 years later, it remains as popular and beloved as ever. *

‘Tis a Gift

Gifts arrive on birthdays, at Christmas, on Hanukkah, anniversaries, retirements and on so many other beautiful occasions throughout our life’s journey.  We celebrate great events and individuals who are extra special to us by offering something of ourselves in the form of a gift that reflects our gratitude and appreciation.  Some of you might have figured out that I try to send a birthday card of appreciation to all of you and begin writing them just before the new month.  Not a card goes by that I do not find myself reflecting on what a gift to the Campus, and to me, the particular individual is to whom I am writing.  We give gifts, but the greatest gift is not the gift itself but the giver and receiver themselves.  They make for the true treasures in life. And, like all gifts, with time, they are all meant to be shared and that is what makes our Campus so beautiful.  The sharing is abundant!

As the Holidays approach, and as much as gift giving is on many of our minds, it is a strange phenomenon whereby individuals forget just what an amazing gift they genuinely are.  This time of the year can be especially painful for the ones who just cannot see the truth and beauty about themselves.  In that we shine when it comes to gifts that keep on giving, I want to encourage you to make an extra special effort to keep an eye out for a neighbor who might very well be struggling and needing a special word or a little affirmation from you.

You are a gift! There might not be a more perfect time than now to share the gift you are by inviting someone you have not seen for a while to join you for dinner or a Campus event.  Or when you notice that fellow resident a few tables down eating alone consider checking and seeing if they might be open to some company.  They will be gifted by the amazing individual that is in you and I am willing to bet you will receive a beautiful gift in return in the gift they are as well.

It is every day of the year that Beatitudes Campus excels at sharing and caring for one another, but the Holidays allow us to be even more sensitive and compassionate creating a community where everybody belongs and is unmistakably valued.

You are a gift!  And there is no greater gift than sharing yourself to uplift another.  Enjoy the Holidays. *

‘Tis The Season of Giving!

Tis the season of giving! On Saturday, December 15th between 9AM to 5PM we will have volunteers on campus to help you wrap your Christmas gifts. Volunteers include students from Washington High School, the A-Team of Worldmark Scottsdale and multiple off-campus individuals. Please take advantage of this opportunity and get your gifts wrapped free. You can schedule a time to ensure the volunteer availability or simply walk up. We will be out at the Central Mall and Plaza Club.

On behalf of Maryland School, we would like to thank those that donated smocks to the art program at Maryland. They are still in need of more, if you are interested in donating smocks, or large T-shirts, please contact resident Sybil Eppinger at x15132. In addition, we now have five residents who are tutoring refugee students of Maryland who live at Avenue 15 Apartments across the street, after school. They are meeting them in the Bistro on Monday and Thursday afternoons (Residents Nell Bennett, Mim Hoover, Nadine Smith, Dan O’Horo, and Marilyn Lucas). Three Syrian brothers and a brother and sister from the Congo. This is such a wonderful model, and we are hoping that other residents observe this happening and might want to get involved.

There is also an opportunity to teach adult refugees right here on our very own campus. The next session starts at the end of January. The commitment is minimal and training is provided!

Lastly, we are looking for volunteers to be Roadrunner readers during the weekdays, between 8 and 8:20AM. This is a great opportunity for our residents with low vision to be able to hear the happenings within the Roadrunner and ask any questions. This awesome opportunity is put together by our Communication Committee as they are always looking for ways to get all information to you in the best way possible. We hope that you will take advantage of these readings that will start on Monday, January 7, 2019! If interested in being a reader, please contact the Communications & Media Director, Korry Nelson, at x18493.

For all other interests and inquiries, please give me a call at x18526 or email me at [email protected] *

A Casino Christmas

Last Friday the campus Everett Luther Life Center was transformed into Vegas—well not exactly, but staff did enjoy the blackjack, roulette and craps tables that filled the room for this year’s Casino themed Employee Christmas Holiday Party. Fun was had by all who attended, and at the end of the night, four $100 gift certificates and two $250 gift certificates we given to six lucky winners of the evening.

Prior to the casino play, we had the opportunity to hear from Betty Henriques, Chairperson for the Employee Appreciation Committee, as she thanked the staff for their work and Barbara Carpenter, President of Residents Council, who read a beautiful poem written for our staff by Bob Longoni. On behalf of our entire staff, I thank you for your generosity this year in raising a record-breaking $165,000 to distribute to the team members* who live out our our Mission and Core Values each and every day for you. What a difference you make for them as well, especially during the holiday season with your holiday gift!

This special event also allows us to honor the milestone anniversaries for our staff. Please join me congratulating the following team members for their years of service and dedication:

Five Years
Christina Coffman
Angela Duran
Deborah Knaack
Terri Kosmulski
Denise Lenzi-Monson
Yolanda Mendoza
Edward Odom
Nycole Person

Five Years (Cont.)
Melissa Preston
Tiffany Reyes
John Sweeney
Sylvie Tchitchiama
Angela Yepez

Ten Years
Liudmila Bosovski
Mitch Bradshaw
Enrique Creach-Vargas
David Hinsley
Shirley Kendrick
Korry Nelson
Jon Schilling
Lori Wilson

Fifteen Years
Lori Eddings
Maria Flores
Moreen Helean
Sara Keeter
Scott Mardian
Ni Ni Mya

Twenty Years
Tena Alonzo
Kathy Amend
Leona Fox
Jamie Isabelle

Twenty five Years
Mary Long
Mark Trent

Thirty Years
Judy Orlando

Thirty Five Years
Karen Mitchell

 

The Employee Christmas party allows our team to come together for fun and fellowship as we celebrate our successes of the year. Thank you again for making the staff’s holidays so special.  May your season be merry and bright. *

 

Watching, Waiting, Hoping

Advent, which we now find ourselves in the middle of, is without doubt my favorite season of the year. Described by the poet Malcolm Guite as “a season for stillness, for quiet, for discernment … for active waiting, straining forward and listening”, Advent brings into sharp focus the advantages of learning to wait well and to exhibit patience whenever we can. We open the doors of our Advent calendars or light the candles of our Advent wreaths, with each being another step on a challenging journey of waiting. The whole idea is, according to the Prophet Isaiah, that by waiting well our inner strength is renewed by the time the Christmas festivities begin.
Learning to wait effectively is never easy no matter where we are on life’s journey. In our increasingly digital age, being patient and learning to wait is made more difficult each day. We don’t have time anymore to wait. Waiting is seen almost exclusively as a bad thing. Perhaps as a reaction to this, a British restaurant chain is currently trialing an initiative encouraging families to hand in their cell phones before being shown to their seats. The idea is to encourage people to view the time spent waiting for their food as an opportunity to talk to one another, to engage with one another, to listen to each other. The need to provide and receive an instantaneous reply to our wants and needs seems to be encroaching on all aspects of our lives, as is our need for speed in all things and our impatience when we are left waiting. It would appear as though waiting time is now wasting time.
Yet this season of Advent, when our eyes and ears are surrounded by all the glitz and glitter, with all the pressure and sales-hype and the stresses on our schedules and the wallets, it is good to pause. To be still. To wait. Of course, the partying and celebrations are wonderful things, and there is great joy to be had in the real meetings of faith and friendship in these days, but whilst Advent is still Advent, it’s good to keep a quiet space, a sacred time, a sanctuary away from the pressures, to be still and to listen to how God is speaking to each of us. That is the Advent challenge. *

A Redevelopment Update

As many of you know:

The five homes along 17th Drive that served Dosia Carlson and many families so well since the 1970s, will give way to eight new Patio Homes.

The three homes on Myrtle that served the Elliot, Grundy, and Bill Nelson families so well, will give way to twenty-six new Patio Homes.

The testing and abatement of the Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) were completed and the demolition of the structures is underway.

The demolition of the foundations and underground will continue next week.

The testing of the ACM in the Garden Apartments was completed.  The abatement will begin in mid-December.

More information on the Patio Home project and the Garden Apartment demolition will appear here every two weeks.

Additional questions and information? Contact Scott Mardian, [email protected]

 

Holidays and Empty Chairs

‘Tis the season to surround ourselves with friends and family, count our blessings and enjoy the excuse to overindulge in food.  It is a time to take inventory and acknowledge all that is good and sweet and right.  It is about celebrating presence but sometimes what this season is marked by more than anything else—is absence. Pastor John Pavlovitz writes: “Surrounded by noise and activity and life, your eyes and your heart can’t help but drift to that quiet space that now remains unoccupied: the cruel vacancy of the empty chair.  The empty chair is different for everyone, though it is equally intrusive. For some it is a place of a vigil; the persistent hope of a prodigal returning, of a severed tie to soon be repaired, of a long overdue reunion to come. It is a place of painful but patient waiting for what is unlikely, yet still possible.  For some, the chair is a memorial; the stark reminder of what was and no longer is, of that which never will be again. It is a household headstone where we eulogize and grieve and remember; a face we squint to see, a hand we stretch to hold, a voice we strain to hear. This may be the first time the chair has been empty for you, or you may have grown quite accustomed to the subtraction. Either way it hurts.”

I know that hurt as do you.  My father died twenty-one years ago on November 25th, so when my family gathers around the Thanksgiving table every year we are acutely aware of the empty chair which he filled.  The holidays are supposed to be filled with celebration, joy and peace but often they have a way of magnifying loss; reminding us of our incompleteness, our lack, our mourning.  The lessons that the empty chair teaches us are about living in the moment and being thankful for what we have, and about growing through our struggles.  Sometimes we acquire that wisdom and find that healing in our own way and in our own time and sometimes we don’t.  Life is unpredictable and messy that way.  In some way during the holidays, we all sit together gathered around this same incomplete table and one thing we can offer one another is our compassionate presence in the face of the terrible absence.  Pavlovitz suggests that “in this season each of us learns to have fellowship with sadness, to celebrate accompanied by sorrow. This is the paradox of loving and being wounded simultaneously.”  May we each make peace with the holidays and the empty chairs.*

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

The end of November and early December tends to be the time of year when we start decorating for the holidays.  It is also the time of the year in which we hear more about electrical fires caused by holiday decorations.  Below are some tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International to help make sure your home and building is safe for the holidays:

 

Inspect electrical decorations for damage before use. Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.

Do not overload electrical outlets. Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wires are a common cause of holiday fires. Avoid overloading outlets and plug only one high-wattage into each outlet at a time.

Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights. More than three strands may not only blow a fuse, but can also cause a fire.

Keep trees fresh by watering daily. Dry trees are a serious fire hazard.

Use battery-operated candles. Candles start almost half of home decoration fires (NFPA-National Fire Protection Association).

Keep combustibles at least three feet from heat sources. A heat sources that was too close to the decoration was a factor in half of home fires that began with decorations (NFPA).

Protect cords from damage. To avoid shock or fire hazards, cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors and windows, placed under rugs, located near heat sources, or attached by nails or staples.

Check decorations for certification label. Decorations not bearing a label from an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or Intertek (ETL) have not been tested for safety and could be hazardous.

Stay in the kitchen when something is cooking. Unattended cooking equipment is the leading cause of home cooking fires (NFPA).

Turn off, unplug, and extinguish all decorations when going to sleep or leaving the house. Unattended candles are the cause of one in five home candle fires. Half of home fire deaths occur between the hours of 11PM and 7AM (NFPA).

In addition to the tips from ESFI, please remember to ensure any cords and decorations are not tripping hazards or hazards for pets and children. We want you to enjoy the holidays and it never hurts to have reminders about safety.  If you have any concerns about your holiday decorations, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Maintenance and place a work request to have them inspected.

 

Wishing you all safe and happy holidays!*

Success Matters 2018 Year In Review

This year kept us busy—join us on a tour of highlights below:

We welcomed Occupational Therapy interns from A.T. Still University and NAU. Laura Milligan, Brian Keene, and Courtney Ramos each contributed to our Campus in their own ways. An extra “thank you” to Campus Residents for welcoming these young professionals into your homes and your lives.

We joined forces with Resident Services and Comfort Matters in our five-part Summer Series “Behind the Curtain”, which benefitted greatly from resident input.

We travelled to San Francisco for the American Society on Aging Conference.

Jessica participated in the leadership training with the Nollau Institute, and continues to be involved with the Caregiver Support Group; Better Breathers; Low Vision Support; Grief Support; and Accessibility Committee.

Josephine continues volunteering as a Medicare counselor with Area Agency on Aging, and completed her Assisted Living Manager Certification.

We continued our own staff training with our SimulAge experience, expanding it to quarterly trainings with new staff from across Campus.

We provided resident driver screenings with the help of NAU OT students, partnered with AARP to offer the Safer Driving Course, and presented Down the Road: Driving Decisions and  Alternate Transportation Options.

We partnered with the Health Services Advisory Group to offer a Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP) for residents, staff, and community members.

Educational offerings this year included Safer Stepping; A Matter of Balance; Financial Resources 101; Scam Awareness; Life Planning Documents; National Healthcare Decision Making Day; Medicare ABCs; and GoGo Grandparent / Transportation Alternatives.

We spoke at the Desert Christian Fellowship Luncheon about services on and off Campus.

We presented to Valley Leadership members about aging issues and how businesses might  address them.

We were hosted by Plaza South at their Spring Party, and had a great evening visiting with our 19North neighbors.

We hosted the Crisis Network to educate employees about how Network services can aid residents and staff.

Health and Wellness Committee partnerships included Blue Zones for Healthy Living; End of Life Planning Panel; and treating pain with Alternative/Integrative Medicine.

Thanks to the residents who work so closely with the Spay/Neuter Hotline to identify and trap cats on Campus.

We are looking forward to 2019 and the joy of the coming year!

Interested in getting monthly email updates from Success Matters, or in sharing our news with family? Send or call Josephine with the email address you would like added to our list! *

Finding Healing in Our Scars

This past week the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, celebrated his 70th birthday. I was reading an interview with The Prince which quoted him as saying that his birthday had brought him to the realization that he had reached a Biblical threshold, referring to the 90th Psalm: “The days of our age are threescore years and ten”. In reflecting on his own aging, Prince Charles described himself as having being prompted to examine “the scars’ of life which in different ways we all bear”. Those scars are perhaps the memories of things we wish we hadn’t done but can’t now do much about. Perhaps they are thoughts of things which we now wish we had done, apologies that we wish we had made, things left unsaid.

Many of Charles’ scars have been born under public scrutiny, and although the same cannot be said for most of us, none of us are impervious to picking up a few scars and scrapes along the way.

Reflecting on a similar theme, columnist Alexandra Heather Foss, wrote recently “I struggle because huge chunks of my life have not been beautiful. They have been ugly, marred by trauma, with pain, and anger… however I see beauty in the grace point between what hurts and what heals, between the shadow of tragedy and the light of joy. That way I find beauty and healing in my scars. We all have scars, inside and out. We have freckles from sun exposure, emotional trigger points, broken bones, and broken hearts. We have lived, and have the marks to prove it.”

Prince Charles was clearly mindful of a similar sentiment as he celebrated his threescore years and ten, but the ninetieth psalm which he quoted goes on to include a prayer following that reflection; ‘So teach us to number our days: that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom’.

As we all continue on our journey of life and take our own next steps in the pilgrimage of aging, let us all join in that prayer. As we number our days may we be mindful of our scars and discern in them opportunities for healing and growth as we reflect on how to apply our hearts unto wisdom.*

And the Survey Says…

There is a community in our neck of the woods which is very much like us.  It is about the same size, has almost the same amenities, even has the same food service as we do and is a non-profit.  One difference is that it is a “Life Care” Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) which means it has more wealth because it costs more to live there, but I do not think that is a factor.  From what I can tell, there is very little difference at all, except for one.  The residents and staff of the other community rave and rave about how they have the best community compared to anywhere else.  They believe they have the best food, the best people and the best quality of life.  Honestly, it gets a bit obnoxious and irritating.

When I accepted the position I have today at Beatitudes Campus, I was aware of a phenomenon that never made sense to me because I kept hearing differently from just about all of the residents.  I heard over and over about how wonderful life is at Beatitudes Campus.  I’d hear, “I should have moved here five years ago” and, “everyone is so happy” etc.    But then a Satisfaction Survey would come along and statistically our residents would rank us below the average norm across the nation.  I was missing something; it did not add up.

My entire adult life and ministry has been dedicated to creating a community that will work to assure that all others have the greatest quality of life possible – with individuals (no exceptions) always capable of reaching their fullest potential for happiness and wholeness and making a difference for the better in this world.  It still is my calling in life as I am determined now, as much as ever before, to do all that I can to see that this community strives for that same goal, not only for us, but for those around us as well.  My belief is that, when this occurs, the quality of life we experience today will be nothing less than extraordinary.

In order to go forward, though, we need to know where we are.    A large percentage of you have already completed the Holleran Resident Engagement Survey which benchmarks us against other communities and shows our progress toward the goal to see that you are “engaged and satisfied” with your community.  Your satisfaction is not my goal, though, nor the Campus’ and never has been.  Simple satisfaction is too low a bar for a community like ours which strives to help all realize purpose, happiness and the opportunity for extraordinary new possibilities in this chapter of your life.  So, though the survey  includes a level of  satisfaction, we are looking for “engagement, fulfillment, empowerment, delight and an acknowledgement that you are aware, more than ever before, that you made a wonderful choice to live here and are a beautiful addition to our community.  Because you are just that!

 Last Friday was the deadline for returning your surveys.  However, we still need your voice, as it is the only way we can become all that you want us to be.  If you still have not completed your survey, would you do so in the next few days?  It does make a difference.  Please, help get the word out to your neighbors as well: Fill out your survey!  The more participation the more we can all work together to create the community we want.

I know this is one of the greatest places for anyone to work and serve, and we all want our residents to one day believe it is one of the greatest places to live.  When we get there, we will not need to boast, we will be too busy making a difference in other’s lives to have time for that. *