CPR/Stroke Classes for Seniors

Lear Hands-Only CPR flier

Of the many people who experience major medical emergencies each year, a number of the victims do not receive the help they need because their emergencies are not obvious—to themselves or passersby.

EMS has designed a free, non-certifiable course especially for seniors* to help them recognize the signs of stroke, learn hands-only CPR, and learn what to say to 911 dispatchers when someone is experiencing a medical emergency.

There will be a free, one-hour training at Balllard Community Center on Oct. 23 from 10:30-11:30 am.

Ballard Community Center
6020 28th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
October 23, 2017
10:30 – 11:30 AM

Please consider taking the time to attend this class. You could be the difference in someone’s life.

* Notes: This class is intended for those 60 and older, but you will not be turned away if you attend.  This is a FREE class. No preregistration required. Just show up and sign in when you arrive. If you cannot attend one of the classes offered in October, there will be others offered in locations around Seattle through winter and spring of 2018.

(Original posting appeared on Nextdoor.com by Recreation Specialist Carol Baxter-Clubine with the City of Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation:  carol.baxter@seattle.gov).

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Safe and Sound in the Hospital

Did you know that medical errors in the hospital are the third leading cause of death in our country?¹ A successful hospital experience includes knowing what actions patients and their families should take.

Please join us for:

Safe & Sound in the Hospital: A Short Course on Patient Safety
Tuesday, July 25
10 am – noon
Greenwood Senior Center

RSVP to village@phinneycenter.org or 206-789-1217.

Participants will learn about some of the opportunities and challenges that hospitals face and what patients and their families can do to help. Bring a notebook to write down specific tips and tools that you can use when you or a loved one is in the hospital.

This content was compiled by and presented with permission of CampaignZERO, a non-profit organization dedicated to zeroing out preventable medical errors. (For more information visit campaignzero.org. )

¹ Journal of Patient Safety, Sept 2013 – Vol 9 – Issue 3 p 122-128.

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A Mother’s Day Vigil


Ninth Annual Mother’s Day Vigil at the Northwest Detention Center

By Teresa Burciaga & Dick Gillett

Dick and Teresa’s original article was published in the newsletter of Seattle’s St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the PNA. Please feel free to comment and join the conversation.  

On Saturday, May 13, more than 100 people gathered in Tacoma’s shabby industrial area, alongside the barbed wire-topped chain link fence surrounding a starkly nondescript prison: the Northwest Detention Center. After the crowd had laid down a mound of Mother’s Day bouquets near the fence, a Latino group played music and we prayed and chanted, hoping the prisoners inside would hear us and take heart. “No, No, No Basta Rezar,” the group sang, and we responded (No, it is not enough to pray).

We were gathered at the behest of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice, and the Washington Community Action Network. This was the 9th Annual Mother’s Day Vigil at the prison. The Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma is owned by the GEO Group, one of the largest security firms in the world—the same corporation that runs Guantanamo Bay.  It is the nation’s second largest for-profit prison operator, with a capacity for more than 1500 persons at the Tacoma facility.

“They are mothers and fathers who have lived alongside us. They are our neighbors.”

Emboldened by new policies under the current administration, the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agency has stepped up raids. These sweeps include men and women who have no criminal record— mothers and fathers who have held jobs for over 20 years; who have American-born children—that are being detained and deported. Civil rights don’t extend to these immigrants being held at the Northwest Detention Center. They can be held there indefinitely.

“They are mothers and fathers who have lived alongside us,” stated Teresa Burciaga. “They are our neighbors. Their children go to school alongside ours. They hold jobs, sometimes as many as three to make a living—and pay Social Security and Medicare tax. They shop at our supermarkets and stores and pay sales tax. They are good, law-abiding people. Now their lives are in jeopardy.”

There were testimonies at the Vigil. One young mother spoke of her hope for a better life for herself and her family. Another mother, a United Methodist lay woman, told us she was there to remember and pray for her son, two years after he was deported to Mexico. Many immigrants come to this country to escape chronic poverty, criminal violence and government corruption. The prayerful community gathered at the Vigil stood in solidarity for love, justice and compassion. As their signs proclaimed, “Love has no borders, ” and “No one is free when other people are oppressed.”

We have an opportunity now to stand up for them and create more sanctuary cities and states. And we’ve recently learned that St. Mark’s Cathedral is proceeding to become a sanctuary church. Meanwhile, we in the faith communities might work to eventually close down this private prison, the Northwest Detention Center.

·     ·     ·

Author (Rev. Canon) Dick Gillett is a Member of PNA Village, a retired Episcopal priest, and a regular contributor to our PNA Village Connections blog. His many previous articles include, “Martín’s Journey to the White House”“”Generation Nice’ at Herkimer Coffee”, and “Johnny Cash & Global Warming.”

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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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Intergenerational Living in the Netherlands

PBS header

Student Onno Selbach interacts with two nursing home residents at Humanitas in the Netherlands. Selbach helped create an intergenerational program there that offers students rent-free housing. (Photo courtesy of Humanitas)

By Carey Reed
April 5, 2015

A nursing home in the Netherlands allows college students to live rent-free alongside the elderly residents under two conditions: Be a good neighbor and do not be a nuisance to the seniors. The students are required to do a variety of activities with the older residents, including watching sports, celebrating birthdays and offering companionship when seniors fall ill. The program is aimed at warding off the negative effects of aging.

Read the rest of this article at PBS NewsHour

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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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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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Finding Communities That Connect and Nurture the Like-Minded

Photo Credit Katherine Taylor for The New York Times

Dorothy Adelman, 99, lives at Lasell Village, a retirement community run by Lasell College in Newton, Mass. She takes various courses and teaches a weekly art class. (Photo by Katherine Taylor for The New York Times)

By Abby Ellin
The New York Times— December 26, 2014

Jon Allen lived most of his life very much out of the closet. He didn’t want to go back in when he grew older.

“Baby boomers won’t want to move into typical ‘old folks homes,’ no matter how nice they look.”

“After you live in Key West for 20 years, you’re out comfortably every minute of every day,” said Mr. Allen, 72. “The fear is not that you’re going to move into a place that’s homophobic but that at some point you might become fairly helpless and that you’ll come across some random odd caregiver who makes it his or her purpose in life to make you miserable or to let you know you’re a sinner or whatever.”

So in May, he packed up his belongings and moved into a three-bedroom apartment at Fountaingrove Lodge, a continuing-care retirement community in Santa Rosa, Calif., in the heart of wine country.

Read the full article here

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Confronting the Inevitable, Graphically

A full-page panel from Roz Chast’s new memoir, featuring “cautionary” tales from her childhood. Credit Roz Chast

A full-page panel from Roz Chast’s new memoir, featuring “cautionary” tales from her childhood. (Illustration by Roz Chast)

Review by Michiko Kakutani
May 5, 2014—The New York Times

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

#1 New York Times Bestseller / 2014 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? A Memoir
By Roz Chast
(Bloomsbury, 2014)

Roz Chast feels — and draws — our pain. Our neurotic worries and genuine fears, our mundane and existential anxieties, our daydreams, nightmares, insecurities and guilty regrets. Or, rather, she does such a funny, fluent job in her New Yorker cartoons of conveying the things that keep her up at night that many readers are convinced that she is somehow mapping their own inner lives.

It hasn’t been hard to discern the autobiographical impulse in Ms. Chast’s work. Though her earliest cartoons tended to be more conceptual, many of the later ones in her “selected, collected, & health-inspected” anthology “Theories of Everything” (2006) are clearly informed by her experiences as a daughter, wife and mother.

Her account is…by turns grim and absurd, deeply poignant and laugh-out-loud funny.

In her latest book, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?,” Ms. Chast tackles the subject of her parents, writing with a new depth and amplitude of emotion. Her account of growing up with them in Brooklyn as an only child and her efforts, decades later, to help them navigate the jagged shoals of old age and ill health, is by turns grim and absurd, deeply poignant and laugh-out-loud funny. Her fondness for the exclamatory (expressed in capital letters, underlined words and multiple exclamation points) is cranked up several notches here, and her familiar, scribbly people go from looking merely frazzled and put-upon to looking like the shrieking figure in Munch’s “The Scream” — panicked and terrified as they see the abyss of loss and mortality looming just up the road.

Read the full review


Find this book!

Seattle Public Library: http://seattle.bibliocommons.com/item/show/2974415030_cant_we_talk_about_something_more_pleasant

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781608198061

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18594409-can-t-we-talk-about-something-more-pleasant?from_search=true

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The Dutch Village Where Everyone Has Dementia

The town of Hogeway, outside Amsterdam, is a Truman Show-style nursing home.

Gabriel Rocha | Flickr

Gabriel Rocha | Flickr

By Josh Planosov
The Atlantic—November 14, 2014

When Yvonne van Amerongen received a phone call from her mother two decades ago, relaying that her father had died of a heart attack—sudden and painless—one of the first things she thought was, Thank God he never had to be in a nursing home.

Van Amerongen was working as a staff member at a traditional Dutch nursing home at the time, getting a front-line view of what she never wanted for her parents. That call from her mother spurred Yvonne into action as she became committed to making nursing homes more livable and less of a departure from reality for their residents. She envisioned a setup as far away as possible from the nondescript buildings and polished floors of her workplace, where everything carried the scent of a dentist’s medical cabinet. Over the next 20 years, she worked to secure the funding she’d need to make the idea a reality.

There are homes resembling the 1950s, 1970s, and 2000s, accurate down to the tablecloths.

Today, the isolated village of Hogewey lies on the outskirts of Amsterdam in the small town of Wheesp. Dubbed “Dementia Village” by CNN, Hogewey is a cutting-edge elderly-care facility—roughly the size of 10 football fields—where residents are given the chance to live seemingly normal lives. With only 152 inhabitants, it’s run like a more benevolent version of The Truman Show, if The Truman Show were about dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Like most small villages, it has its own town square, theater, garden, and post office. Unlike typical villages, however, this one has cameras monitoring residents every hour of every day, caretakers posing in street clothes, and only one door in and out-of-town, all part of a security system designed to keep the community safe. Friends and family are encouraged to visit. Some come every day. Last year, CNN reported that residents at Hogewey require fewer medications, eat better, live longer, and appear more joyful than those in standard elderly-care facilities.

Read the full article here

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