Senior Nation: Updating Dixon House with Residents in Mind

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For Don Wooters, co-owner of Dwelling and Design, taking on a large manor house’s interior and creating a totally new environment for its occupants is nothing new. For years, Don has traveled the country doing just that for dozens of clients who have purposely sought out his unique eye for design.

What is new is that one of his most recent clients, the historic Dixon House, the assisted-living residence on North Higgins Street in Easton, was seeking more than a fresh look. With most of its residents well over 90 years old, Dixon was asking to use a new design with colors, fabrics and textured wallpapers that were both comforting but also stimulating to the eighteen men and women that call it their home.

And now that the paint is dry and the work crews have left, the Spy thought it would be a good time to check in with Don, and with Dixon House’s director, Linda Elben, to talk about this particular project.  Challenged to ensure that the non-institutional feel of Dixon was preserved, Don and Linda speak in their interview about their selection of colors, getting feedback from residents, and how the new look has dramatically changed for this group-living space.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Dixon House please go here

Inside the Sandwich: Muscular Dystrophy Carnivals and Annual Giving By Amelia Blades Steward

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During the 1960s and 70s, it wouldn’t be summer if we didn’t hold a Muscular Dystrophy Carnival in my neighborhood near the high school in Easton. A group of about 10 kids from my neighborhood looked forward to these backyard carnivals, to benefit “Jerry’s kids.” The Muscular Dystrophy Carnival kits came in the mail and included tickets, posters and an idea pamphlet to help us raise the funds to help find a cure for the disease. It was an important and noble cause. We had watched for hours the Jerry Lewis Telethons on the television and wanted to do our part to help the kids we saw in the images on the screen. We didn’t have many children in wheelchairs in our school, so it seemed particularly important to reach out to those who were unfortunate enough to be in that situation.

We used each other’s backyards to host the carnivals and rotated from house to house each year, based on the parents who agreed to having their card tables placed in the grass outside and their clotheslines strung with sheets, providing backdrops to the games we played. The O’Briant family’s yard was the most popular one in which to hold the carnivals. We each had aluminum wash tubs to contribute for bobbing for apples or for the floating duck game, where you picked a duck and got a prize based on the number on the bottom of the duck. There were magic shows, fortune-telling booths, and Kool-Aid stands. Everything required a ticket and the tickets cost about five cents each.

We assembled our props and got the carnival set up, borrowing from each other’s households. An alley connected our backyards, so it was easy to get things from one place to another. There was Kool-Aid to be stirred, cookies to be baked, and we had to get out the word so people would come to our carnival. The nearby

Elks Club pool provided the perfect place to share our news. Word spread among the kids when the carnival would take place. Of course, we counted on our mothers coming – they helped fill out our numbers and usually donated extra money.

The carnival started around 11 a.m. and went until 1 p.m., when the pool opened. We didn’t like to miss our pool time. We took our carnival jobs seriously, whether running a game, performing, or selling drinks or food. We knew the more we smiled and encouraged our patrons, the more money we would make. As the day wore on, however, so did we. The sun shone high overhead and the humidity rose. Some of the excitement waned and my friends and I grew weary.

Once we had drunk the Kool-Aid and eaten the cookies, we were ready to pack up the games, return the tables, chairs and props and head to the pool. Before we did, however, it was exciting to see how much money we had raised. If we made over ten dollars, we were excited! We weren’t old enough to have checkbooks, so one of our parents would deposit the money and write a check to be mailed to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. We waited anxiously for the return “thank you” letter in the mail from Jerry. It confirmed our hard work had paid off and showed we did something meaningful with our summer. These backyard carnivals instilled in us a compassion for helping others, something that still rings true today as the annual appeal letters arrive in the mail. While I no longer get that personal letter from Jerry, I still find satisfaction in anticipating the “thank you” after my annual donations are made – a confirmation that we can still make a difference, no matter how small the gift.

 

Compass Regional Hospice hosts Hope & Healing for the Holidays Workshop

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Compass Regional Hospice will host the workshop Hope & Healing for the Holidays on Saturday, December 2 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Hope & Healing Center, 255 Comet Drive in Centreville. Come for conversation and creative activities designed to help those grieving the loss of a loved one during the holiday season. The workshop fee is $10 and is open to anyone 18 and older.

Hope & Healing for the Holidays will be led by staff of the Compass Regional Hospice Hope & Healing Center. The workshop begins with a light breakfast and will include art projects and opportunities to talk about how to remember loves ones while facing the grief that accompanies their memory.

For more information and to register for Hope & Healing for the Holidays, contact Ann OConnor or Linda Turner, 443-262-4100, aoconnor@compassregionalhospice.orglturner@compassregionalhospice.org.  Learn more about the Hope & Healing Center grief support programs at www.compassregionalhospice.org/hopeandhealing.

About the Hope & Healing Center

The Hope & Healing Center is a collection of programs and services available for the family of patients who died under hospice care, as well as members of the community who are grieving the death of a loved one. Services available in Queen Anne’s, Kent and Caroline Counties include, individual and family grief counseling, grief support groups, school‐based grief counseling, a grief retreat Camp New Dawn, and remembrance events and specialized workshops. Since most grief support programs are offered free of charge, Compass Regional Hospice depends on donations to cover the cost of operating the Hope & Healing Center.

Much like a compass, the priorities of the Charting Our Course Together capital campaign points the way toward the future of Compass Regional Hospice. In order to meet the unmet and growing needs of our community, the existing Hope & Healing Center located at 255 Comet Drive in Centreville needs to be renovated so that we can continue to expand our grief support services. The planned renovations will create the additional space needed to accommodate new support services and healing modalities. For more information about the Charting Our Course Together capital campaign or how you can donate, contact Kenda Leager, Development Officer, 443‐262-4106, kleager@compassregionalhospice.org or visit www.compassregionalhospice.org/otherwaystogive/campaign

“Gratitude and Grace” This Sunday at Unitarian Church

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Reverend Susan Carlson Browning, Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River, in Chestertown

On Sunday, Nov 19, 10 a.m., Rev. Sue Browning will give a sermon entitled”Gratitude and Grace” to the Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River,  914 Gateway Dr., Chestertown. In this harvest season we take time to say thank you for the abundance around us. Join us for an intergenerational Unitarian Universalist Bread Communion service where we’ll reflect on the grace underlying our gratitude as together we’ll set a table and share in the harvest. The service will include a Child Dedication service welcoming an infant into community.    

 
Childcare will be available during the service.  All are welcome! For more information, call 410-778-3440 or visit the website.

Unitarian Universalists: “Trusting in Abundant Love”

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Reverend Susan Carlson Browning, Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River, in Chestertown

On Sunday, November 5, at 10 a.m., Reverend Sue Browning will give a sermon entitled “Trusting in Abundant Love” for the Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River, 914 Gateway Drive (Crestview), Chestertown. Our Universalist ancestors held that love was an unlimited resource and felt called to offer unconditional love. Rev. Gordon McKeenan describes, “Universalists believe that all of us are going to end up together in heaven, so we might as well learn how to get along with each other now.” At this service, Rev. Sue Browning will draw on this rich history as we consider modern day connections between the UU faith and social action.

Special music for the service will be performed by Pam and Bob Ortiz.

Childcare will be available during the service.

All are welcome to our service. For more information, visit our webpage.

Maryland Touts new Generic Drug Price-Gouging Law

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Following Maryland’s recent efforts as the first state to enact a law that protects consumers from generic prescription drug price-gouging, local leaders and health care advocates on Tuesday highlighted the benefits of the legislation and urged Marylanders to share their personal stories about drug affordability.

The law went into effect Oct. 1 and restricts manufacturers of generic and off-patent prescription drugs from price gouging, or the “excessive and not justified” increase in the cost of a drug, according to a state analysis.

In July, the Association for Accessible Medicines, the trade association that represents America’s manufacturers of generic and biosimilar medicines, filed a lawsuit against Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and Dennis Schrader, secretary of the Maryland Department of Health, charging that the law was unconstitutional. The association said in July that the law was only protecting high-priced brand name drug companies and punishing lower cost generic alternatives.

In September, a judge rejected portions of the association’s argument and allowed the law to take effect. The association in a statement has said it plans to appeal.

“As a caregiver, prescription drugs are a big part of my life,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker in a press release. Baker on Tuesday explained how the law has personally affected him and his family. His wife was diagnosed with early onset dementia and the cost of her medication had shot up from $100 during his earlier pharmacy visits to $300 in recent visits.
“You think about the fact that I have some of the best insurance as county executive. … I have resources, but what happens to somebody that comes in and can’t afford to pay $300?” Baker said.

Generic medications account for 88 percent of drugs dispensed nationally, and 22 percent of generics studied by the Government Accountability Office experienced an “extraordinary price increase” of 100 percent or greater between 2010 and 2015, according to the office of the Maryland Attorney General.

“I take care of patients, not laws,” Dr. Stephen Rockower, past president of MedChi said Tuesday. “My job is to make sure that patients get better, which means patients taking their medicine, and I can’t do my job when they can’t afford their medicine.”

EpiPens and Naloxone are medications that officials have raised concerns about recently — citing prices that rose sharply from October 2013 to April 2014. Prices of EpiPens had a 508 percent increase in price. Naloxone, a medication used to treat opioid overdose — an especially important medication amid the nation’s opioid crisis — increased in price by 553 percent, according to the office of the Maryland Attorney General.

“It’s outrageous that companies can jack up prices like this,” Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative President Vincent DeMarco told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service. “This law is a life-saver and we’re confident that the attorney general will continue to succeed in court with this legislation.”

Maryland joined 44 other states on Tuesday in an antitrust investigation of the generic drug industry. They asked a federal court for permission to file a new complaint to increase the number of generic drug manufacturer defendants from six to 16, and drugs at issue from two to 15.

“We have to go after it,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh told Capital News Service. “We’ll see the drug companies collapse and take it to trial.”

Supporters of the legislation urged consumers on Tuesday to submit their stories to www.healthcareforall.com/hearmystory, a new webpage created for the public to share how escalating drug prices have hurt them or their families.

“As legislators, one of the ways we were able to fight was to hear the stories of individuals and repeat them in court by talking to people who could not afford the medicine that they needed,” said state Delegate Ariana Kelly (D-Montgomery). “We need your help to make sure that the legislation works.”

By Georgia Slater

Senior Nation: When Dad is 106 Years Old with Nina and Peter Newlin

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It seems unfathomable to imagine what it must feel like to be 106 years old. In the case of Shipley Newlin, You continue to wear your favorite shirt, you are still surrounded by loving children, and you can still make others chuckle around you using your unique brand of humor. But Shipley, who only just lost his independent living at age 102, is also aware that he is an infrequent exception in the world of mortality statistics.

That exceptionalism is also shared with his children. Nina, a curriculum administrator with the Kent County Public Schools, and Peter, an architect in Chestertown, also acknowledge the rarity of their family trait, which includes their mother, who still plays tennis at aged 97, and grandparents that were also in “Century Club” themselves.

In fact, the Newlin children (three other sons are scattered around the country) have never hesitated to celebrate their father’s longevity. They also encourage him to flex his memories and find other ways to engage the former mechanical engineer like trade jokes with him and laugh at his puns as all three of them carry on their day-to-day lives.

Now living with son Peter, and his wife Gail, Shipley and his “kids” gathered around the dinner table last week to reminisce and talk about what it’s like when dad is 106 years old and going strong.

This video is approximately three minutes in length.

 

 

 

Commentary: The Passage of Time by Philip Hoon

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The Passage of Time And so it goes, hour to hour & day to day . . . before long, it is week to week & year to year . . . and then it is gone with the wind.

We live in the now, but at the same time the history of our own lives, as well as the society in which we live. The future is an eternal mystery.

There are those many things that matter . . . friends & foes, cars & kids, things new & old, high tides & full moons, the Pirates & the Steelers.

And yes, family, hopes & disappointments, new experiences & old routines, challenges & successes, goals & failures, the Cardinal Virtues & the Deadly Sins.

The scope and scale of the perspectives of life can thrill & intimidate . . . ancient Greece & Rome, the Renaissance, Shakespeare, The Greatest Generation, the now.

All of those things are reflected in and embraced by the generations of families & friends, a universal truth for all but the unfortunate for whom it is elusive.

As our lives and living history march on, the death of a loved one causes an interruption for consideration on the meaning, perspective and temporary reality of life.

Albeit brief, that moment is one for reflection that the passage of time marches on . . . what was, what is and what might be.

And as our Founding Fathers expressed about the course of human events, some truths are self-evident, timeless and immutable.

Among them are the gifts of a father to a son . . . wisdom, humility, gentility and personal responsibility.

And then the stormy seas at the end of a voyage of life become the calm of eternity.

And so it goes . . . the passage of time and its gentle winds, with the memories of a loved one and the hopes for the future.

Mid-Shore Health: The YMCA’s Winning War against Diabetes

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There are a few things that the local health community knows about type 2 diabetes. The first is that it is an epidemic, with close to 28 million Americans already diagnosed facing a lifetime of a disproportionately higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, and a variety of other conditions that often lead to chronic disabilities and death.

The second is that close to 100 million Americans are assumed to be prediabetic. That’s right, about 100 million folks are walking around who could very quickly transition to a condition is experts say is the 7th leading cause of death.

The third is that those whose blood tests indicate a prediabetic condition can dramatically reduce the odds of developing full-blown diabetes by shedding 7% of their weight and committing to some form of exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.

That third fact is what the YMCA of the Chesapeake is now focused on.

Working with adults who are prediabetic, the Y has created year-long classes and support groups throughout the Mid-Shore to slowly and methodically educate their members that their pre-diabetic condition can be controlled or even eliminated with simple, common sense eating and light exercise.

Under the direction of Bridget Wheatley, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program Director, these outreach efforts are now starting to show some stunning results in the first two years of operations. The three formal classes are running at capacity, and more and more participants are forming informal support groups to maintain personal goals.

The Spy caught up with Bridget and several members of the Y’s support group in Denton a week ago to talk about their experience and the extraordinary sense of well-being that has come with modest changes in lifestyle.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about the YMCA of the Chesapeake and its Diabetes prevention programs please go here