Celebrating 15 Years of the Village Movement with Dr. Atul Gawande

PNA Village is proud to announce that renowned surgeon, public health researcher and writer Dr. Atul Gawande will be the guest speaker at the 15th Celebration of the founding of Beacon Hill Village and the subsequent Village Movement they inspired on Monday, February 13, 2017.

20696006His conversation, entitled “Being Mortal’s Villages: The Value of Community and Choice as we Grow Older,” will be moderated by Robin Young, host of NPR’s Here & Now, and feature a discussion on aging, living life with purpose, and how we can transform the possibilities for the later chapters in everyone’s lives. The live event will begin at 2pm PST and be simulcast from Boston to more than 150 of the 350-plus villages open and in development across the country, including the PNA Village.

All are welcome to join the PNA Village for a viewing party and subsequent conversation facilitated by Cecile Andrews, author of Living Room Revolution: A Handbook for Conversation, Community, and the Common Good.

The Village Movement is a burgeoning, world-wide movement that champions an alternative approach for adults as they grow older. Villages are unique in that they are created by and for older adults, empowering their members to make wise, safe, and vibrant choices about how they wish to live.

WHEN:  Monday, February 13, 2017; 1:30 – 4:00 PM
WHERE:  Phinney Neighborhood Center, Brick Building, Community Hall
6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103 (parking and elevator)

Phinney Books1 will be at the event with copies of Being Mortal for purchase. Cash or credit cards accepted.

Please bring a snack or dessert to share and RSVP at 206-789-1217 or village@phinneycenter.org

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Casual Uncluttering at GSC

Professional Organizer Lauren Williams will do a traveling demonstration of a typical organizing session, while humorously discussing what to do with those confusing items everyone has laying around.

Learn organizing techniques and tips on preparing for disasters, choosing contractors and where to donate!

Casual Uncluttering
Tuesday, August 9
10:30 – 12:00 pm
Greenwood Senior Center, 525 N. 85th Street

Free event. Please register by calling: 206-297-0875.

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Social Calls

By Diana deParadis

A new option for Members is the Social Call where the Volunteer would offer a reassuring short check-in phone call or enjoy a longer, more sociable, chat. This Social Visit via telephone, email or texting is intended for those who are not as active as they would like to be, or who might feel a bit isolated from social contacts.

An important benefit is that there is total flexibility in choosing what kind of Social Call, the days and times agreed on by both Member and Volunteer. Another benefit is that there is no travel involved and the call can take place within the comfort of home, or if texting or emailing, it can happen anywhere.

A main requirement is that the Member must provide an emergency contact phone number to the Volunteer during the initial call.

This program will officially launch before mid-April and details will be posted in the PNA Village Newsletter and on the Village webpage.

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Multigenerational homes are back in style, with more breathing room

Terry Cadd, center, walks over to her granddaughter, Josie, 2, as Barbara Spangler, left, Becky Cadd and Jim Cadd gather in the living room at their home in Bel Air, Md., March 30, 2016. As more American parents, their grown children and their grandchildren live together, homebuilders accommodate the demand with specially designed houses. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The New York Times)

By Janet Morrissey
The New York Times—April 13, 2016
(Republished in The Seattle Times)

The number of Americans living in multigenerational households rose to 56.8 million in 2012, about 18 percent of the total population. The homebuilding industry is responding quickly to this shifting demand by creating homes specifically intended for such families.

Bob and Myrna Conrad, both 65, share a house with their son Wade, 41, his wife, Dana, 42, and their grandson Bryce, 21. Isn’t it crowded? Don’t they cramp one another’s style? Actually, no.

“We just set some ground rules, and it’s been working great,” said Wade Conrad, who has been living with his extended family since late 2013 in a NextGen multigenerational home, built by Lennar in Spanaway.

The Conrads are among a growing number of families seeking specially designed homes that can accommodate aging parents, grown children and even boomerang children under the same roof.

Click here to read the rest of this article on The Seattle Times website. (If you do not wish to leave the PNA Village webpage, please do not click the link.)

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New ‘purple card’ system would help people with dementia

The language of Madeleine Fraley's purple card could be the basis for a similar card used by the state [Credit Dean Koepfler - The News Tribune ]

The language of Madeleine Fraley’s purple card could be the basis for a similar card used by the state [Credit Dean Koepfler – The News Tribune ]

By Allegra Abramo

Crosscut.com—February 11, 2016

Like many people caring for someone with dementia, Madeleine Fraley often found herself awkwardly trying to explain why her husband, Larry, couldn’t answer questions or would act peculiarly.

Sometimes Larry would cut in line at a store, to the consternation of people in front of him. Or he would follow service people working on their house in Port Orchard, asking questions or telling them to leave. Then there was the time he decided to hitchhike to the Kingdome — years after it had been demolished.

But explaining these occasional incidents in public sometimes meant embarrassing Larry. Fraley had an idea: Why not create a simple card explaining the situation that she could discretely hand to restaurant servers, the plumber and others she and Larry encountered? So she devised a purple-hued card the size of a business card that states, “My companion has memory problems. Please be patient. Thank you!”

Read the rest of this story on Crosscut.com

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Downsizing: Get On With It!

Downsizing: Get on With It!

Reprinted from Personal Safety Nets
PSN e-Newsletter—August 2015, Issue 80

At Personal Safety Nets (PSN) we’ve downsized. For individuals, downsizing has often been undertaken to make life smaller, less cluttered, or more affordable. In the business world, it’s often been connected to reducing immediate expenses by decreasing the operating payroll. For PSN, though it does have these aspects, the downsizing is intended to expand usefulness and access by moving to an online format. This correlates with research showing that, today, both individuals and businesses are downsizing in search of results that say a lot about a desire to live a better life. In this column we focus on personal downsizing.

Blogger Nina Nelson calls downsizing the opportunity “to focus on those things that matter most to me.” Nina’s downsizing focuses upon time and time management. As a result of re-prioritizing her work and life schedules she found her life and that of her family improved in several different ways.

First: Her health and that of her family improved. With time to research and implement the things she learn about, her family “rarely gets sick now. And when we do, it doesn’t last very long.”

Second: Extra time also fuels her creativity, “Which, for me, fuels joy. And I find that I become so much more creative in other ways – I’m not just making new things, but I’m also more creative with parenting problems.”

Third: Downsizing has given her a look at her and her family’s stressed, overworked and exhausted life. “Maybe your kids don’t need such a busy schedule. Maybe you don’t need to volunteer for 50 different organizations. Maybe you need to take a nap every once in a while without feeling guilty about the things you aren’t doing while you do take said nap.”

Fourth: This new outlook has provided much more time for fostering relationships. Now she and her family are more able to interact with those who are important to them and not have to one day ask, “Why didn’t we spend more time with them?”

Fifth: Downsizing has also meant meeting with a financial planner to pay off debts faster which “lifted a giant weight off my shoulders and now our living situation allows us even more freedom to travel, save money and put more time into relationships.” Cutting expenses certainly helped too.

Remember, this is a process, but you have to start somewhere. Do you need to downsize? Decide. Get some help if you’re uncertain. If you do make the decision to downsize, make a plan and start taking the steps you need to take back your life.

Rodney Harrell of AARP also says that while older Americans often equate downsizing with changing their housing arrangements, they are quickly finding out that the decision has wider effects. Issues related to financial hardship, health, taxes, insurance, upkeep, public transportation, opportunities for social interaction and entertainment will all arise and should be part of what’s considered.

David Friedlander of LifeEdited suggests not waiting for a good time to start. Once the decision is made: START NOW … maybe by downsizing possessions. “The time to start something is – and always will be – now. Don’t worry if the changes are tiny – maybe throwing away a pair of old sneakers you never wear – make them as soon as possible.”

While it may sound easy, Friedlander knows it’s not. “The unfortunate fact is a certain amount of sacrifice is necessary for simplification.” However, the more you change, the easier it will be. “Remember, simplicity is the path to a downsized life, and simplicity and manageability are contagious.”

The Power of LessLastly, for this column, Leo Babauta, in his book, The Power of Less, also echoes Nina as he talks about streamlining life – identifying the essentials and eliminating the unnecessary – thus freeing you up from everyday clutter and allowing you to focus upon accomplishing goals that can change your life for the better.

Babauta gives us goals to follow:

1. Simplicity: identify what’s essential, then eliminate the rest. Focus on what’s essential to your goals and your personal satisfaction. Choose to pay attention only to things that matter the most and instead of spreading yourself too thin. You’ll be able to focus on the essential which will help you accomplish the things that matter most.

2. Limits: Set limits – they don’t set themselves! Without setting limits, it’s very easy to waste time and energy working beyond the point of Diminishing Returns.

3. Focus: Only one thing at a time. Multitasking – don’t even try it. Every time your focus shifts, it takes your mind a while to load the information it needs to operate effectively.

4. Goals: No more than 3-4 active goals and/or projects at a time. Do these well.

5. Prioritize: Have three Most Important Tasks (MITs) every day, and do those before working on anything else.

6. Batch: Batch similar tasks together to preserve your focus. Practice grouping similar tasks together, then tackling them all at once.

7. Positive Habits: For best results, focus only on installing or changing one habit at a time, and start with small increments. Practice that habit until it becomes second-nature, requiring no thought or willpower to do every day. Then, and only then, should you choose another habit to install.

8. Minimize Your Active Commitments: Don’t be afraid to say “no.” your time, attention, and energy are finite. When you overwhelm yourself with commitments, you’re shortchanging the most important activities that will contribute the most to your productivity, satisfaction, and success.

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What Makes a City a Good Place to Grow Old?

Walkable neighbourhoods and feeling part of the community, for a start

(photo via The Vancouver Sun)

By Erin Ellis
August 15, 2015—The Vancouver Sun

When one-quarter of British Columbians are over 65 in about 20 years, where will they be living?

Cities are an obvious choice for people who want to ditch the car — or are forced to do so — with ready access to shopping, transit, parks and health care.

Plenty of B.C. communities are magnets for retirees who already make up more than 25 per cent of residents in Parksville and Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, or Penticton and Peachland in the Okanagan.

Around the world, municipal leaders are looking at ways to make cities better for an aging population: New York has re-installed many of the bus benches it had removed to stop homeless people from sleeping on them, this time adding strategically placed arm rests to make lying down impossible. Walk signals at wide intersections have been lengthened — or medians added — to give slow-moving pedestrians a fighting chance of making it across the street.

New York is one of 258 cities and towns in the World Health Organization’s network of age-friendly cities. Sixteen are in Canada, with Saanich on Vancouver Island the only West Coast entry.

Read the rest of this article in The Vancouver Sun

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Village Member Survey


The results are in!

The 2015 PNA Village survey showed that 84 percent of our members are very satisfied or extremely satisfied with Village membership.

Check out the “Top Ten List” and read the full report

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Wonders of Green Lake

Ann Rodgers and Friend at Greenlake Spring 2015

By Ann Rodgers

Dear Village friends:

I wanted to make sure you knew that this is possible on the Green Lake walk.  I have been feeding the red-winged blackbirds for about three years now.  It is a delightful feeling when one lands on your hand!

Ann Rodgers and Friend at Greenlake 2015 close up

woman feeding birds by hand

Related posts:



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The House II

By Marilyn Zuckerman

Zuckerman home deck (courtesy Louise S. Wright Design)

(Photo courtesy Louise S. Wright)

Deck Afternoon

Hello Louise,
I’ve been sitting
on your beautiful deck
imagining I am
on the deck of a steamer
although I am listening as well
to the pileated woodpecker
ratatatting away
a few blocks below me
(unless it was a neighbor
driving nails)
but, no it had that intermittent
woodpecker tattoo.
So thank you.

Pileated woodpecker

The deck for me is the star of the show for one who can no longer travel. It is my ship reaching out to the Sound and to the mountains and to go on sea voyages. So I’m almost surprised not to feel the swell, not to get seasick.

When one is of ripe old age, it is easy to imagine many things as one watches the sea and the earth with its billions of years – earthquakes, mudslides, floods and death that old trickster lurking.

My Ship

Sitting alone
on the deck in the dark
in a steamer chair
counting airplanes and Christmas lights
instead of stars
watching the storm break
breathing fresh air
staring at the Sound
for this is what I came for

I said I wanted a deck to see the world from, a balcony of cables so slender you could forget they were there. I said I wanted something spacious, I wanted sun and shade and now here’s the railing burnished red, there the fragile cords fine as threads. Now someone as restless as me is calmed by the scene before me – the sea, the trees tumbling to the ground, the wild wind singing.

Crows: An Anthropomorphic Poem

Crow on a Branch by Kawanabe Kyosai (1831–1889)

What do two crows say to each other
sitting on a wire above the deck
staring as I am at the sunlit waters of Puget Sound
They are:
sometimes posing in haughty indignation
beaks at dueling position
a high wire act
as one sidles over in sad supplication

She: seductively
maybe we can stop tormenting eagles
and settle down
spend more time together
He: sleepily
we’ll see
though he has clearly
begun to feel
the lure of a quiet life

when one flies off
the other follows in hot pursuit

·    ·    ·

Dedicated to Louise Wright who designed not only the deck, but so much of the house.

These poems form the second installment in an ongoing sequence about the construction of my home—read the first here.


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