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Peg’s Perspective: Taking Care of Your Telomeres

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“Fifty Tips on Aging Well to Celebrate 50 Years of Excellent Service”

As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Peg’s Perspective:

As we age we all think about many health tips we have learned along the way.  But, emerging research suggests that taking care of our telomeres should be our top priority!

Elizabeth Blackburn is a Nobel Prize-winning biologist who studies telomeres. “If you think of your chromosomes (which carry your genetic material) as shoelaces, telomeres are the little protective tips at the end,” Blackburn explains during an interview with The Guardian.

“Telomeres wear down during our lives, and when they get too short they can no longer protect our chromosomes. These chromosomes then become inactive. When this occurs, there is an increased risk for major conditions and diseases of aging, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer,” explains Meghan Routt ANP/GNP-BC, AOCNP, who is the Director of Physician Services and the nurse practitioner in the Schafer Clinic at Wesley Glen.

Blackburn’s work surrounds her belief that we can lengthen our telomeres, or at least stop them from shortening, in order to stay healthier longer.

So, how can you protect your telomeres?

In summary, it’s the same message we’ve all been talking about lately – we need to improve our lifestyle by managing chronic stress, exercising, eating healthier, and getting enough sleep.

Blackburn suggests incorporating a combination of various exercises, such as walking, swimming, yoga, and weight-lifting, to increase telomere health. One interesting finding of the study is that moderate exercisers keep their telomeres as well as marathon runners.

According to Blackburn, a balanced diet centered around whole foods has a “quantifiable effect” on telomeres when compared to a diet high in processed foods.

It is good to remember that the daily choices we make impact the quality of our cells. So, make healthy food choices, get moving, and try meditation to reduce stress and improve the quality of your sleep.

The cells you save may be your own.

 

Source:

The Guardian

Peg’s Perspective: More about a good attitude. . .

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Tip # 5

“Fifty Tips on Aging Well to Celebrate 50 Years of Excellent Service”

As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Peg’s Perspective:   More about a good attitude. . .

As I walked across the driveway from my office to the main lobby at Wesley Glen this morning, three residents were outside singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” with their strong and smooth voices.

“Oh, what a beautiful morning

Oh, what a beautiful day

I have a wonderful feeling,

Everything’s going my way.”

If you remember the movie Oklahoma and this song, I am quite sure you now have the tune in your head. (And if you do not, please look it up on Youtube, you won’t regret it.)

This line of the song hits three aspects of keeping a positive attitude:

  1. ‘Oh, what a beautiful morning’–Wake up, breathe in the fresh air and look around at all things for which you are grateful.  This is an excellent way to begin every day.
  2. ‘Oh, what a beautiful day’–Throughout the day remember to stop and see the beauty.  Take a walk…spend timewith family…do something that you love every day.
  3. I have a wonderful feeling, everything’s going my way’–Keep a positive outlook on life, even when something worrisome occurs.  Step back and realize that although you are not in control of the situation, you are in control of how you react to it.

I know the residents who were singing this morning, and I promise you, they are interested and interesting, but their lives have not been without hardships.  And yet, sometimes-oftentimes, actually- if you expect a beautiful morning, you will receive a beautiful morning.

So, how to age well?   Focus on the positive and face the negative with a few deep breaths and the knowledge that “This too shall pass.”   It will.

“Those who wish to sing will always find a song.”   Swedish Proverb

 

Our Trip to the Orchard

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By: Cheryl Fey, Life Enrichment Coordinator at Wesley Ridge Retirement Community

Before our trip to the Branstool Orchard, we stopped to get lunch At Watts Family Restaurant. As we sat around the table waiting on dessert, we discussed our most memorable moments at orchards. Below are a few of the residents’ responses!

One couple, Bill and Martha, have been going to orchards in the Utica area every year since 1972.  First, they went to Legend Hills, then to a little roadside stand operated at the farm of Mr. Branstool.  Later Mr. Branstool enlarged his orchard and opened a larger building that has been successful for many years.

Hope remembers her time at Muskingum College when, during her freshman year, she went to an apple orchard, sat down on the ground, and ended up sitting in poison ivy!!  Something she has never forgotten.

Mary Lou went to the Hayes-McClay strawberry farms on Ebright Road to pick strawberries in the fields.  She was a member of Sweet Adelines, and the group would go to the Hayes home for homemade strawberry shortcake made specially from her hand-picked strawberries.

Mary Jo and Jim, who lived near Richfield, Ohio, used to go to Babb’s Orchard for apples and peaches.  As a child, Mary would peel the peaches in extra thick slices, so she could have lots of peach to eat with the peels!  As an adult, she would go to a family farm to get apples, plums and sour cherries to make pies and cobblers and for canning

One resident remembers going with her mom to an orchard with apples and peaches.  She would climb a ladder to pick the fruit – lots of fun.

The Heits take their grandkids every year to pick fruit.  One year the kids were each given their own bags to fill and when they went to check out, there was 85# of fruit!  Even though they really didn’t want to buy that much, they had to because the fruit was already picked!  No one had a credit card, so everyone was digging through their purses and wallets to come up with enough cash to settle the bill.  Obviously, they never did that again!

It is always a joy for me to hear about the residents’ experiences. From cooking and family to poison ivy and bags over flowing with fruit, their stories never disappoint!

Peg’s Perspective:   It’s all about attitude

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“Fifty Tips on Aging Well to Celebrate 50 Years of Excellent Service”

As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Peg’s Perspective:   It’s all about attitude

By: Peg Carmany

According to Time Magazine, The average human life span is 71.4 years, although life expectancy in the United States is just under 79 years. The article also explains, the oldest living human being that we are aware of was Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who lived to be 122 years, 164 days.

Some of you are thinking, “Good for Jeanne, but no thanks,” I know, but as life expectancies rise, shouldn’t we all study how to live better as we live longer?

And, at The Wesley Communities our residents’ life expectancies far exceed the average human life span of 79 years. This is due to many reasons, but I believe one of the most impactful is living in community with one another. I believe that this helps not only in developing relationships, but also to improve attitude.

As I interview our residents, several common themes emerge, and chief among them is attitude.   That is, a positive one. Time Magazines article ‘How to Live Longer, Better”, mentions a Yale University study released this year found that in a group of 4765 people with an average age of 72, those who carried a gene variant linked to dementia, but also had a positive attitude about aging, were 50% less likely to develop dementia than people who carried the gene but faced aging with pessimism and fear.

But, this doesn’t just go for our residents! The Time Magazine article quotes Carla Julli, a 90-year-old Italian women, “After World War II, my entire generation went a bit crazy and wanted to enjoy life. . . . I tried to remember that thought out my life: go out and dance.”

So my advice on aging well?

  • Embrace what comes next.
  • No one’s getting out of here alive.
  • Take that trip.
  • Make things right with people in your life.
  • Try something new that you’ve always wanted to do.
  • “Go out and dance.”

 

Source: “How to Live longer, Better” by Jeffrey Kluger and Alexandra Sifferlin, Time February 18, 2018.

 

 

Our Artist-in-Residence, Larry Johnson

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By: Taylor Hudecek

Larry moved to Wesley Ridge in May 2013. Although Larry’s 6th grade art class was the only experience he had, he decided to give the art program at Wesley Ridge a shot in 2014. Since joining, he has created more than 70 exceptional pieces of artwork! When asked why art is important to him, Larry responded with, “I like creating something that I believe is beautiful, but more importantly, I like creating something that others find beauty in”. Larry’s artwork is known for its logo on the bottom right corner, which includes a cursive “L” for his first name, surrounded by a cursive “J” for his last. When you see this logo on a piece of artwork, you’ll know it’s a Larry Johnson original!

Larry, a true “Hoosier at Heart”, was born and raised in Milan, Indiana. At age 18, he moved to Wilmington, Ohio on a 4-year work-study program with Wilmington College where he earned his B.S. in Business Administration. There he also met his future wife, Kathryn (Kathy) Humphreys. After their wedding on August 12, 1962, they moved from Wilmington to Cincinnati, and then from Cincinnati to Bethel, Ohio. A promotion with State Auto Insurance Companies led their family to London, Ohio in 1979 where he retired after 35 years. They moved to their ‘retirement home’ in Pataskala, Ohio in May 2000 and became members of Tri-Village Christian Church. Larry and Kathy spent the first part of his retirement years spending time with grandkids, fishing, hosting garage sales, taking long walks in the woods and volunteering a large amount of their time to Tri-Village where they cared for the landscaping, worked in children’s ministry, and Larry headed up the Security detail and did a lot of building maintenance.

Larry was married to Kathy for 43 years before she passed away in 2006. Together, they had three children: Timothy Wayne; 8/2/65- 7/10/15, Kenneth Lee; 10/31/66, and Kathleen Diane; 6/19/69. Larry also has nine grandchildren born in the years spanning 1993-2003.  From oldest to youngest: Emily, Alexander, Haley, Kassandra, Olivia, Sophie, Hannah, Noah and Nathan.

We are glad to have such an amazing person living and thriving at Wesley Ridge Retirement Community.

Peg’s Perspective: What’s Marilyn’s key to a long, healthy, and happy life?

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Answers from an interview with Marilyn Sells-Webb, a woman who knows how it’s done!

Marilyn Sells-Webb was born on May 10, 1915—you can do the math! (Yes, she is 103!) She is often seen spending time in the Wesley Glen lobby chatting with friends, or in the Wellness Center keeping up with her exercise routine! But my fondest memory of her is when she led the way on a community walk, as in LED THE WAY, when she was a mere 101!

When asked about the key to living a long, healthy, and happy life, Marilyn jokes that longevity is “in the genes!” Her brother lived to be 100, and two sisters lived well into their 90’s.

But, along with good genes?

Happy Friendships

She proves this tip every day at Wesley Glen as she walks around the campus putting a smile on each person’s face! Marilyn explained that she is, and always was (even from childhood), a happy person, with lots of friends. She remembers the porch from their childhood home – when it would rain, the porch would fill up with kids, and they would play games and cards.   She remembers “we always had fun.”

Hard Work   

Marilyn also credits good old-fashioned hard work. Her first job was at Kresge’s at State and High. She was paid $7 (“seven whole dollars!”) a week!  She would pay her mother $3 and keep $4 for herself.

School, Church and Music

Marilyn also remembers that she loved school and did very well. And, like others I have interviewed, music and church were a strong foundation for her.

The list of things that Marilyn loved in her life is long: singing, being at home with her three children, working, family vacations (and working some more). But, I would argue that laughing should be at the top of her list! Anyone who has met Marilyn knows that her laugh is infectious, and she laughs quite a bit!

We are lucky to have residents like Marilyn to fill our communities with happiness and joy. As she says, “We have a good life.”

Peg’s Perspective: What’s John’s key to a long, healthy, and happy life?

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Our Wesley Ridge resident, Dr. John Kirker has some definite ideas on the key to a long and happy life. And at 97, he’s an expert on the topic.

John Kirker was born in 1921 in Watertown, Massachusetts.    He served in the Coast Guard from 1942-1945 and went to Capital University on the GI Bill. John was happily married to his wife, Shirley, for 54 years before she passed away in 2017. They had three children, two girls and a boy.

In all his life experiences, John has endless advice! But, regarding living a long and happy life here are his top recommendations:

Good attitude. 

As anyone who meets him already knows, John always enjoys people, and has a very positive outlook on life. He is known for stopping by to brighten days with his big smile and pocket full of candy! Resident and staff alike are joyed by his presence.

Exercise. 

He and Shirley would walk every day for about 15 minutes, right after breakfast. Not only was it great quality time together, but it also kept the two of them active. Also, John has been playing golf for a long time! He began playing in Caddie Camp, a league for beginner golfers, in 1934.

Staying busy/hard work.   

John had a very successful career as Dean of Men, then as Chairman of the Department of Education. He enjoyed his years of work so much that he began an entirely new career after retirement. His post-retirement position consisted of evaluating projects for a not for profit foundation.

John also loved working around the house to keep himself busy. He painted the outside of the house several times and worked on other miscellaneous projects around their home. The work “never bothered me,” John explained. He truly enjoyed the work he did at their home.

Listening.    

John describes himself as a verbal individual. He enjoys talking with others and learning about their story. But, he believes that the ability to really listen to people is very important.

Church and Family.   

His motto is “I am Third”, meaning God is first, family is second, and he is third.

His wife brought him so much joy during their time together. And, John is extremely proud and thankful for his three children.

Music.

John enjoys listening to music, playing music, and even writing musical lyrics (which read like poetry). John is a gifted musical writer. He showed me lyrics that were a testament to a broken heart, but he added “This could be an ode to losing someone to dementia.”

Dr. John Kirker,   “Once an advisor, always a friend,”   we thank you for your insight.

Why should I discuss end of life decisions with my loved ones now?

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By: Amy Shaffer

Nineteen years ago my dad, Mike Poly was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer.  He was 50 years old-just a year older than I am now.  This was a man who was still playing softball with his friends and open gym basketball with the kids at Bishop Ready High School in Columbus, Ohio. We were in obvious shock when he was diagnosed. Thinking of life without him was unfathomable; but thinking of what was in store the next 8 months wasn’t even on our radar.

The first few months flew by as Dad had surgery and began radiation treatment.  My dad, my sister and I celebrated our “triple birthday” together (sadly, it would be our last).  He loved the beach, so he went three times that summer. We also made a trip to Keuka Lake, New York for a family wedding.  He even went to the Ohio State Fair about five times that year (he loved his corn, steak on a stick and lemon shake ups!).  Although his medical team was very honest with us about his prognosis, we still had hope because he was continuing to do the things he loved.

Mom and Dad had never had a reason to establish power of attorney, create a living will or elect a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order before now.  But just a few short months after his diagnoses, we were faced with these questions of his wishes. The social worker at Mt. Carmel first broached the subject of advanced directives with my parents while my dad was hospitalized for pain management.  She talked with them about a DNR and end of life decisions.  He was only 51 at this point; how could he and my mom even think about whether or not he wanted resuscitated?  As the cancer was ravaging his body, we began to learn the benefits of having advanced directives in place; about how important it was to know what dad wanted at the end of his life; about how we should carry out his choices; about what a gift it truly is to be reassured with these difficult decisions that we were doing what he wanted; we were honoring his wishes. Once we understood, it became a little easier.

But for many families, it’s not always as clear.  Our loved ones may live full, healthy lives, so we don’t think about what might happen if one day they can’t express their wishes. Or perhaps they have always refused to think or plan for their future, for fear of the unknown.  Most people think they have taken care of everything because they have a will or a pre-paid funeral plan, but never really face the reality of what may happen between now and when they pass away. My experience with my father as well as working in the healthcare and long term care industry has given me special insight.  I have shared the journey so many families are faced with.  I have witnessed the slow deterioration of our brains and bodies from a long term illness like dementia or Parkinson’s.  I have watched families face the difficult decisions of initiating or withholding life-sustaining treatment.  I have also witnessed acute, life threatening events like a stroke or heart attack when the decision for heroic, life-sustaining treatment must be made in a moment of anguish.

Please consider discussing advance directives and end of life decisions with your partner, your parents and your closest friends.  Encourage them to communicate their choices and urge them to put a legal document like a power of attorney, a living will and/or a DNR into place.  Then, have that courageous conversation with your kids and let them know your wishes.  There is no gift more valuable than to make your choices known so that your loved ones aren’t left to these difficult decisions in a time of crisis.

 

Peg’s Perspective: Life Lessons I Learned from Our Residents

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By: Peg Carmany

I first began to work in senior housing in 2002, and it’s remarkable to me how fast those 15 years have flown by.   As I look back, I think my biggest misconception at the beginning was that I was here to help them. In reality, they have given me invaluable gifts of knowledge and friendship.

Here are but a few of the things I have learned from my residents over the years:

  1. Adversity does not have to define you.     If you get a chance to live into your 80s (or 90s) (or 100s!), life will definitely throw you some curve balls.     Poor health.   Unexpected loss of a loved one.    Financial troubles.      You name it.    And at some point (and I’m not entirely sure at what age, but it will happen), you grieve, you adjust, and then you accept that everyone is carrying around something that is burdensome.
  2. Once you realize #1, you are kinder to others as a result.
  3. Gratitude is important. It sounds trite, “Count your blessings.”   But it is not trite, it is important.     Almost always, there is something, oftentimes more than one thing, to truly be grateful for, and to acknowledge.
  4. If you become a good listener, most people will think you’re a terrific conversationalist.
  5. Life is short, and it goes by quickly, and none of us are getting out of here alive. Don’t waste a day lost in meaningless details. Know that “This too shall pass,” eventually.

Now in 2018, I continue to remind myself how much our residents have helped me grow as a human being. I am better at handling the curveballs that life throws my way, whether it’s at home or at work and I strive, every day, to express my gratitude in a variety of ways. But most importantly, I truly enjoy spending time with the people who have taught me so much. There’s always room to grow.

Christmas Magic

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By: Trisha Mayhorn

Christmas at The Wesley Communities is always a magical time of year. The halls are full of decorations and employees are full of cheer! As for the residents, you can see how touched they are by all the holiday magic. I couldn’t imagine a better place to work, especially during the holidays. There are so many great people here, but one who stands out around Christmas is Phil Van Walsen.

Phil creates dazzling Christmas displays for us at Wesley Glen. They truly set the stage for the other holiday décor! The tradition started when a neighbor of Wesley Glen wanted to donate her 500-piece Christmas village collection. She was moving to Florida, and although it was hard to part with her things, she knew her collection had found a good home here at Wesley Glen.

Phil accepted the challenge to create the beautiful displays, and he has added another 500 or so pieces to the display over time. Each year residents and friends donate additional items and Phil finds a place for them.

He doesn’t use a blueprint. He just builds as the spirit moves him. This year, it’s a multi-level affair with motion and lots to look at, including custom Wesley Glen painted items! Phil even used the potted plants that are usually in the south lobby and he’s created a fun seek-and-find for specific items too.

Residents, staff and visitors love spending time looking at it. The Wesley Communities has the holiday spirit, and for that we would like to thank all of our residents and staff!