In a giving mood

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Lois A. Bowers
Lois A. Bowers

Friday marks what many consider the start of the holiday shopping season.

Personally, I like to avoid the hordes on such days, so you won't find me in a mall or big box store. I also like to celebrate one holiday at a time. So although right now my mind is focused on what I am thankful for (including my mother's stuffing recipe and the family members who will help consume the batch I make for Thursday's Thanksgiving dinner), on deck are thoughts of potential gifts for loved ones.

If you're like me, you may be tickled to know that several senior living communities are partaking in fun projects to relay the vibrancy of senior living residents or informative projects to help employees, residents, prospective residents and their families understand or make the most of senior living.

A practical wall decoration

A 2017 calendar produced by the Gurwin Jewish - Fay J. Lindner Residences in Commack, NY, is designed to show older adults who are aging successfully and to share wisdom from them.

The fifth annual publication features 15 residents. Among those imparting wise words:

  • Stewart Greene, a former partner at the Wells Rich Greene advertising agency, known for many iconic ads, including Alka Seltzer's “I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing!” Greene, who retired young and sailed around the world, says that it is important to “pursue your passions.”
  • Two couples, Helen and Mel Morgenstein, married for 72 years, and Les and Lorraine Parver, married for 68 years. They offer advice on successful partnerships — for instance, the Morgensteins' reminder to always “respect each other,” and the Parvers' suggestion to “cultivate your own interests.”
  • Gerald Burberry, who escaped Nazi Germany along with thousands of other Jewish children via the Kindertransport. After marrying his wife, Helen, Burberry discovered his love for nature photography, which contributed to his determination to find the beauty in life despite his experiences as a young man. He leaves future generations with this piece of advice: “Appreciate nature.”
  • “The residents featured in our calendar are truly an inspiration,” said Herbert H. Friedman, executive vice president of Gurwin Jewish. “They have lived lives filled with a wide range of rich experiences, and they offer us not only a window into the past but a path to the future.”

Copies of the calendar are available free of charge by emailing or by calling (631) 715-8537. Watch the making of the calendar below.

Planner for new experiences

Another option is a book that will be used by events directors at Louisville, KY-based Atria Senior Living and was created for its residents. The senior living organization says the publication is fitting for all older adults.

“The Wisdom of Curiosity” is available online from Barnes & Noble, along with other books previously created by the company for residents and others.

The new 160-page book is a planner that provides a framework for a 52-week journey of learning and new experiences.

“We always strive to create a gift that is from the heart and will help our residents continue to live active, purposeful lives,” said Ronda Watson, senior vice president of Atria's events and culinary programs. “Curiosity is so often associated with childhood, but it motivates and invigorates people well into their older years. This planner offers our residents and older adults everywhere new ways to explore.”

The foreword to the book was written by tennis icon Billie Jean King, who also serves as Atria's well-being coach. At the organization, the book will be the gift that keeps on giving: Throughout 2017, events directors at each of Atria's 190 communities across the United States and Canada will develop programming around the planner's weekly challenges.

Memory care guide

On a serious note, the Arbor Co., an Atlanta-based operator of almost 30 senior living communities in multiple states, recently published an e-book to explain memory care options to the general public. The guide, “Comparing Dementia Care Options,” is available for free download at the company's website.

The book provides readers with a brief overview of dementia and memory care, including questions they can ask when considering options and things to look for when they are choosing a senior living community that provides memory care.

“People who are dealing with the stress of a dementia diagnosis of their spouses or parents don't need more anxiety when choosing the best course of care,” said Chris Harper, Arbor Co. director of communications. “Our new e-book provides readers with a good overview of common terms and industry language for dementia care options so that they may more confidently become advocates for their loved ones.”

Arbor recently also published two books to assist families with sensitive and potentially challenging conversations about senior care.

Just a few ideas

These are just a few of the undertakings that have come to my attention recently. See if you agree with the approaches taken by these providers, and please let me know if your senior living organization is making something widely available to others in the industry or the general public around the holidays.

Watch the making of the Gurwin Jewish - Fay J. Lindner Residences calendar shoot:

Lois A. Bowers is senior editor of McKnight's Senior Living. Email her at Follow her on Twitter at @Lois_Bowers.


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