Second Installment: Bernie Lemack
Goddard House Assisted Living Resident Bernie Lemack let it be known that he was not always into poetry. A life-long novel reader he was constantly interrupted with people asking about the books he was reading and adding their own commentary. "I couldn't finish a book!" Lemack quips.
In the past year, he came across an article on American poet Louis Simpson, who died in 2012 at the age of 89. After noticing that they shared parallel life experiences, he picked up several volumes of Simpson's poetry. He says, "I found him very interesting, more-so than the novels I was reading. Poems are so immediate and easy to read. People aren't as likely to bother you when you're reading poetry--they can't just glance at the book jacket and say they've read it!"
When Bernie learned that expressive arts therapies intern Sarah Kulig was starting a poetry group at Goddard House he was excited. He enjoys promoting the group at the assisted living community because "Interesting people come who are stimulated by what we do. Everybody has ideas for discussion and we learn from them. A wide variety of poetry is presented so there's something for everyone. This group keeps growing."
Lemack was offered an opportunity to take the show on the road. Earlier in the year, he wrote a poem as a tribute to a staff member at the PACE day program he attends through Harbor Health Services in Boston. Impressed, she hung it on the wall. When she heard that Lemack was a pivotal member of the poetry group at Goddard House, she asked him to lead a similar group for seniors attending the PACE program. "The first one was great," he said. "Everyone is excited." Lemack is now holding a group there once or twice a month, reading and discussing a handful of poems at each meeting. "I'm nearly ninety", he adds. "It's a great time to start to experience poetry."
First Installment: Sarah Kulig
Lesley University art therapy intern Sarah Kulig wanted to lead a poetry writing group soon after she arrived at Goddard House last fall:
After two weeks, it was clear that the residents were much more interested in reading poetry and learning about poets than they were in writing. I believe that reading and exploring a poem can be as creatively engaging as writing a poem and the participants are proving that. Each week, I select several poems—many suggested by residents and others inspired by the season, holidays, or an event that is relevant to the residents' lives. I often bring biographical information about the poets as we are keenly interested in the lives that inspire the poetry we are reading. I read the poem aloud once or twice, and then we all ask questions: What do you hear? Do any words or phrases surprise you? Can you personally relate to what this poet is saying? Often the conversation takes off with just one question, and we are sharing life memories, interpreting the poem, and posing our own questions in ways that instill the whole group with curiosity, eagerness for learning and connection to one another.
We recently read Irish Poet Eva Gore-Booth's "Little Waves of Breffny" that ends with the following lines:
The great waves of the Atlantic sweep storming on their way, Shining green and silver with the hidden herring shoal, But the Little Waves of Breffny have drenched my heart in spray, And the Little Waves of Breffny go stumbling through my soul.
Memories of places that have "stumbled through our souls" abounded after reading this poem. We were struck by how a poem written around 1900 can still feel vibrant and encapsulate the way that places we have loved stay with us. The poem’s artistry captures that and brings out our own creative associations about our lives and experience.”
Let poetry inspire you! The Poetry Foundation
Next Installment: Resident Bernie LeMack
By Trevor Joneswho
Wicked Local Brookline - Posted February 13, 2013
Brookline is joining select company in becoming part of a worldwide network geared at helping communities support aging populations.
The World Health Organization has announced that the town joins eight other U.S. municipalities as part of its network of age-friendly cities and towns. Brookline becomes the first New England representative to join a network that includes Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Portland, Ore.
The application was collaboration between the Board of Selectmen, the Council on Aging and the Brookline Community Aging Network, or BrooklineCAN. The group sought to join the network with the goal of calling attention to existing age-friendly features in town and to strengthen those efforts going forward.
Read the entire article HERE.
Anne Hollis, O.T.R. of DriveWise at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center was a featured speaker (along with Angela Catic, M.D. and Betty Joel, L.I.C.S.W.) at Aging Behind the Wheel: Considerations for Older Drivers and their Families held recently at Goddard House in Brookline. The talk focused on the need for older drivers, families and physicians to take responsibility for driver safety. Recognized as a national first-of-its kind model, DriveWise offers objective evaluations of driving for people of all ages who have health concerns that may impair their ability to drive safely.
Dr. Catic, a geriatrician at B.I.D.M.C., emphasized the need for doctors and other health care professionals to take a proactive role in having patients assessed and helping with the difficult process of deciding to stop or limit driving. "It can be so difficult for families to take this on by themselves. Doctors need to step up to assist in decision making about driving. It affects the safety of everyone on the road."
Brookline Senior Scene television producer and social worker, Betty Joel, discussed her own decision to stop driving that offered a number of up-sides including saving a lot of money by not having a car and being able to make use of the many senior transportation programs available in the area.
Fay Gano proudly states that in her lifetime, she's had 3 full-time jobs – it's how she defines herself. The first and foremost job - mother of 9 children. After she decided to take in a neighborhood girl who had been living on the streets (her 9th child), one of Fay's sons remarked that he was never surprised to find someone new living in their home.
Fay's second full-time job was the missionary work she carried out with her minister husband. They mainly lived in farm houses and cut a wide path throughout the U.S., living in Connecticut, Upstate New York, Wisconsin, Washington State, Oregon and Colorado! "There was always a fridge full of food, books for entertainment, and hand-me-downs which left the family wondering if their clothes would fit and for the most part, they did" says Fay.
Her third full time job, and perhaps the most glamorous, was travelling with different theater companies, including Summer stock, and her time in the movie and television industry. In the early days, Fay was a singer in a club where Jack Lemmon was the emcee. She recalls her time spent with the then undiscovered star, "It was a Gay 90's musical review show, and my first professional gig in New York City. Jack Lemon and I would eat lunch at Walgreens in Time Square on days we made Broadway agency rounds." Another highlight in her acting career was working as Joanne Woodward's stand in on a production with Paul Newman. Fay mused, "Paul was always letting off steam...one time he pulled me into a prop phone booth and did a Tarzan yell so loudly that the entire booth started swaying back and forth, I saw my life flash before my eyes!".
At 86, Fay stays in great physical and mental shape by practicing Tibetan monk exercises, and still does push-ups! She will be leading a resident happening called "A Fun New Life – Live, Love, Laugh, and Learn!" where she hopes participants will share some of life's wisdom and the joy in daily living. A recent addition to Goddard House in Brookline, Fay is excited to have already made many new friends, but is glad to be right down the street from her daughter, and she is enjoying the task of arranging her art collection in her new home.
Goddard House in Brookline applauds the efforts of our staff during the blizzard of 2013, many of whom worked through the night clearing pathways of snow and insuring the safety of our residents. Juan Carlos Solorzano, Maintenance Director, had this to say about the storm and the resilience of his team:
"The maintenance staff prepared for the storm by checking the generator, readying the snow blowers, and making sure emergency equipment was receiving power. Sand and ice melt was purchased to keep walkways clear to keep residents and staff safe. There were extension chords available for those residents that used equipment such as oxygen.
Throughout the storm, priority was placed on keeping residents safe. Emergency exits were cleared quickly as every two hours maintenance staff was out shoveling and snow blowing to keep ahead of the blizzard. The worst was at 1:00 a.m. when the visibility was very poor, the wind was whipping, and the temperature had dropped.
An all-wheel-drive, SUV was rented to pick up staff to care for residents. During one of his trips, Mauro, the Goddard House van driver was stuck for 2 hours and a plow had to dig him out, but in the end, everyone made it through! I am especially proud of my team because even though we were short handed, we were dedicated to keeping the facility and residents safe during the storm."
Mattie, a Goddard House certified nursing assistant, also praised driver Mauro noting that he cleared a path in the high snow drift outside her apartment door using nothing but his own body. She joked that she probably would not have survived without him!
Mother and daughter Goddard House staff members, Gladis and Sharlyn Ruano share their experience:
"We got home to Oak Square on Friday night safely thanks to Mauro and after the worst of the storm on Saturday, Mauro made it back to Brighton to pick us up along with Jean and Hernsie. They had to shovel a path from our door to the street so we could leave the house!
The snow was high as we made our way down the empty streets and we got stuck several times and had to get out and shovel. When we arrived at Goddard House, it was nice and quiet. Our Director Nancy Shapiro was serving breakfast so we helped out with that and afterwards we made sandwiches for Olmsted, our memory support program."
By Jennifer Campaniolo, from brooklinehub.com
Jessica Gittes, fitness instructor, and Immacule Cantave, Goddard House resident. If you have already broken your fitness resolutions for 2013, here's something to motivate you: as you read this article, senior residents in their 80's and 90's living in an assisted living facility in Brookline are taking to the treadmill and improving their strength and flexibility in classes like yoga and Pilates.
On Saturday, January 26, residents of the Goddard House, a non-profit assisted living facility at 165 Chestnut Avenue, celebrated their impressive fitness achievements: in the past year, 41% of residents took exercise classes in T'ai chi and yoga and/or worked out in the Goddard House gym. 12 residents worked out in the fitness center on a daily basis.
Read the rest of the article HERE.
It's a long-held belief that seniors, whether they retire to Florida or not, want one simple thing: to do as little as possible for as long as possible.
"That's out of date, to the extent that it was ever accurate," says Paul Irving, Milken Institute's senior managing director and chief operating officer. "Seniors want to remain active and engaged and healthy and connected to their communities. Many want to continue to work throughout life ... they want and deserve great health systems. They want to have a voice." Read the entire article HERE.
Boston, Massachusetts, ranked No. 1 for those over 80 because of its reputable health care facilities.
Brookline resident Harry Margolis, Esq. and Christina Vidoli, Esq. of Margolis & Bloom, LLP presented Law School for Social Workers, a professional training recently hosted Margolis Talk at Goddard House in Brookline. The elder law firm donated all proceeds from registration for the program to benefit FriendshipWorks, a network of trained volunteers that provides support and assistance to elders and adults with disabilities in Brookline and Boston.
Pictured from L to R: Janet Seckel-Cerotti, Executive Director FriendshipWorks, Attorney Harry Margolis, Nancy Shapiro, Executive Director Goddard House in Brookline and Attorney Christina Vidoli.