Better Living in Boulder

BoulderMeridianThis week I took another trip to Boulder which meant another run up the gauntlet of the repair work on highway 36 and another assault on my poor little car. The destination was another first for me and, as it turns out, another one of Boulder’s stellar retirement communities named Boulder Meridian. This just happens to be the place where Theresa Reed coordinates the activities and she is the one making sure that I show up ready to entertain and make the residents happy!

As you drive along the humps and bumps of the Boulder Turnpike your mind goes back to a time when the pioneers first put everything they had on the line and joined wagon trains heading out first across the prairies and then the rocky mountains to find the promised land on the other side. Or, even before that when Lewis and Clark ventured out to find a pathway to the great ocean in the west and used the services of a young Indian girl named Sacajawea to guide their expedition across this huge, unending wilderness. I wonder if she knew that the men on this expedition were getting paid 23% more than she was, and that the work she was doing wasn’t considered valuable enough to warrant equal pay for protecting the lives of the men she was guiding? How about this? Move the year up to 2014 and the characters of Lewis and Clark are replaced by a couple of our more “conservative” presidential candidates, and Sacajawea wants to talk about woman’s equality in the work place? Can you imagine the response? Can you imagine what that response would be if those “conservative” candidates also found out that a few thousand of Sacajawea’s relatives were also sitting on the other side of the hill? I’ll bet they’re glad she wasn’t overly emotional! I wonder why they didn’t ask for her birth certificate?

I know I’m being silly, but sometimes silly ideas have their day, and this week when politicians of all stripes were sitting around on their fat behinds, expounding on, and judging the value of, women in the workplace, your imagination goes wild and sends silly messages to your brain that tend to get skewed, and it’s not long before they take on a logic of their own. Even so, I can’t help but wonder how a good many present day hospitals and care facilities would even function if it wasn’t for the Sacajawea’s of this world and all the other dedicated women who come to their jobs every day and make miracles happen. When you meet them, please look them in the eye and say Thank You. Maybe that will make up for all the politicians who don’t seem to know how.

The world I work in currently, has a great many more women than men holding down the fort and making sure that seniors in retirement communities enjoy living their lives in a wholesome environment that inspires both mental and physical activity. Women are making sure these are places where each person’s life is treated with respect and dignity which, after all, is what we want, right? I ask you this. If everybody’s Mom is so important, why are we allowing them to be cared for by people we don’t want to pay equally and offer them the dignity and respect they deserve? Something’s wrong with this picture!?
So that’s it. If you’re not into considering women as equals in our workforce, then don’t bother thinking about Surpreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Sonia Sotomayor, or Diane Feinstein or Billie Jean King or Eleanor Roosevelt or Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi, or another zillion women not mentioned here who have made their mark as well. Last but not least, let’s not forget the original trailblazer, Sacajawea!

Will Rogers once said, “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts!” If Mr. Rogers could be here and watch the circus we’ve got going on today, he probably wouldn’t be able to stop laughing long enough to write anything down!

As usual send me your comments and critiques. I’ll read them all and use them if I can.

Thanks again,
Rod
Posted by All Around Seniors at 4/16/2014 3:45 AM

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Over There is Balfour Care!

BalfourCare3It’s springtime in Denver. What a wonderful time for planting and raking and growing all those wonderful things in our gardens that give us a reason to get up in the morning and make living here a really special place to be.

PotholesIt’s also the season for another kind of growing. The kind that we commuters hate and front end alignment shops universally love! My car is old, but I’m familiar with all it’s little moans and groans and it’s perfect for hauling my music gear so we’re kind of welded at the hip as they say! My car is also a pothole magnet and will go miles out of it’s way to drop a front wheel in a big deep one just for the joy of listening to me fuss and cuss about Colorado road conditions in the spring!

I come from a long line of Canadian cussing champions. My Dad was in a class all by himself and when a special occasion would come along, he was a miracle to behold! People for miles around knew when Fred was on his game and if Ripley had ever come by our house when Dad was at his peak, he probably would have built a statue to him right there on the spot! By the time I was about seven, I already had a PHD in Canadian cuss words which I use liberally today on the potholes that line the highways and byways every springtime in good old Denver Colorado!

BalfourCare41The other day, I was invited by Dianna Ryel to come up to Balfour Retirement in Louisville to entertain the residents.Just in case you’re unfamiliar with the local geography, I’ve inserted a map that shows you roughly where it sits. It’s actually close by the Boulder Turnpike which is currently under reconstruction. This is also the normal route you take to get to Louisville, and the current uncrowned pothole capitol of the world!

Please don’t get me wrong. I know the highway department isn’t letting these potholes sit there tearing up my front end alignment because they like to hear me bitching about it! I also know the highway department isn’t spending millions of dollars every spring fixing and filling those potholes just because they don’t have anything else to do! They’re busy people just like all the rest of us but our streets and highways have seen better days with all the wear and tear over the years and the money simply isn’t there to totally rip the old ones out and put new ones in. Boy, it would be nice if they could huh?

When I finally got set up and started to entertain at Balfour Care, I realized that they are blessed with an especially fine crop of singers and one little ladies man with a Don Juan complex who is absolutely sure he is God’s gift to the retired ladies at Balfour, but that’s another story! After we finished one song (and did a really nice job of it!) I suggested that we shut this place down, go buy ourselves a used school bus, load it up with band gear and head up to Helena Montana to play us a Bar-B-Que!

The ladies didn’t feel that sounded like much of a plan, and I got the feeling that they thought I had as many potholes in my brain as they had out on the Boulder Turnpike! My Don Juan buddy is another story! He was all over that idea like hair on a dog and it didn’t take long for me to realize that sometimes, I need to just shut up and sing like I’m supposed to!

So, if you happen to be headed north on I-25 some day soon, and see two old guys by the side of the road with their thumbs out, one in a wheel chair with a sign that says “Helena Montana or Bust!” and the other one holding a guitar, how about giving us a lift? We’re harmless, and if you don’t hit too many potholes, maybe we’ll sing you a little song!

As usual, send me your comments and critiques. I’ll be sure to read them all and if I can use them I certainly will!

Have a great week everybody!

Thanks again,
Rod
Posted by All Around Seniors at 4/2/2014 3:50 AM

How do you get to Dayton Place?

MngstarDayton
How do you get to Dayton Place? That was the first thing I asked Valerie Herder when she invited me to entertain at Morningstar, Dayton Place. Then, the silly stuff took over my brain and my inner self said, “Well first, you have to be retired! Second, you have to be looking for a wonderful retirement place to live, ho ho.”

It all kind of reminds me of the one about the kid in New York City who needed directions to Carnegie Hall. Soon he asked a stranger for the best way to get to Carnegie Hall and the mans reply was, “practice son, practice!” I know that’s an old joke but maybe that’s the best I can offer today.

The answer to the question of course is, Morningstar Dayton Place is located in SE Denver not far from So Parker Road and Jewell Ave. It’s a good sized facility with accommodations for approximately 200. I don’t quite know how that splits out in Independent living, Assisted living, and Memory Care but it’s a lot of minds to keep busy! To be an activities coordinator for all this is a big job and although I know Valerie has assistants to help out, her duties make her one busy, busy lady. Obviously, a place like this has a multitude of options for the residents in their entertainment scheduling and no doubt the bingo cards get a daily workout, but I have trouble keeping me entertained so I have a hard time comprehending what it must it be like when you’re trying to put a daily schedule together for 200 retirees!

The day I showed up to entertain, they first had me in a small but comfortable room off the main dining room playing for the folks in assisted living. These may be assisted living folks but it’s a pretty sharp crew of assisted living folks! Since getting everyone involved has always been a theory of mine, questions about bygone days are always good, and it follows that sometimes even dumb questions are OK as long as folks have an idea where you’re going with your dumb questions! Sometimes, if you frame them right, people will give you a pretty good insight as to how old they are and what they really remember. Don’t ask what folks back then traded those green stamp books for, if you don’t want to hear the answers!

Suddenly, an hour has flown by and you have to tell your brand new friends that you’ll come back another day. After the goodbyes, you pack up and head across the large courtyard to set up and play for all the Independent living folks. The format is usually somewhat the same but this time you lead off with something really intelligent like, “Who’s gonna win the Super Bowl?” The answers are usually as varied as the opinions and there’s no shortage of either one! People love to be entertained but many times they love to have the opportunity to offer their own two cents worth as well! It’s no surprise that another hour of entertaining goes by in a flash and soon you’re down to wondering out loud whether or not the Governor of New Jersey is a Bronco fan and whether he’ll shut down traffic on the George Washington bridge during the Super Bowl if he isn’t?!

Tonight, I’ll tell the man upstairs thanks for throwing good fortune my way and allowing me to meet Valerie Herder and all the great residents at Morningstar Dayton Place. I’ll also ask if I should make one of my special, super dooper, 2000 calorie “Dagwood Bumstead” sandwiches and send it to the Governor of New Jersey as a peace offering to make sure he gives the Broncos safe passage and they get to the Super Bowl safe and sound. The rest of it, I’ll leave up to Peyton and the guys. GOOOOOOO Broncos!

As usual send me your comments and critiques. I’ll be sure to read them all and use any that I can.

Thanks again
Rod
Posted by All Around Seniors at 1/29/2014 5:39 AM

You Meet Some of the Strangest People!!

In my Retirement Community entertainment travels, I’ve had occasion to meet some fairly “unique” individuals but this one was provided to me by my friend Rick Chinisci from one of the engagements he played recently at “The Gardens at Columbine.” The lady in question is our mutual friend, Heidi Marino.

Actually, there’s nothing strange about Heidi at all. She’s one of many bright, hardworking, dedicated, activities directors (coordinators) throughout our city who constantly look for new and unique ways to educate, inform and keep things fresh for the seniors at their respective retirement facilities and doing a fantastic job of it!

In her search to keep things fun and interesting, Heidi is always looking around for a different “theme” idea. I never did hear what the theme for this particular program was, so maybe it had something to do with “Wooly Worms” or some other crawly creatures or maybe they were just getting ready for Halloween. Ya think?

People who are in the same occupation as Heidi, working in retirement communities around our city need big hug and a huge “Thank You” from all of us who know seniors or are close to them in any way. We all know (or should know) that as people grow older, it’s very easy to get into just going about your daily routine without exercising your brain or your body and sometimes these things require a little outside stimulation. Heidi and her cohorts all over town spend a good portion of every day working at defeating the humdrum of daily living and creating unique ways of making sure seniors stay active and curious. Hey, that’s what keeps folks alive and happy and makes the wheels keep on turning right?

I remember as a kid, sitting in my Grandmother’s living room, watching her with a little “button box” accordion she had, trying to find the right notes to “The Old Folks at Home” or some other Stephen Foster tune, and encouraging me to learn to play the piano because it was good for my brain and besides, it would keep me out of trouble!

That little accordion still sits on the mantle of my fireplace today and in my mind, I can still see her fumbling around, trying to figure those songs out and realize how that ongoing battle with music worked like a brain teaser that helped keep her sharp which she was almost to the time she passed away. Naturally, I was far too brilliant for the piano and took up a real brain twister like the banjo instead, which led to rock and roll, which led to the guitar, and that’s another story for another day!

To Heidi and all the wonderful people up and down the Colorado front range who do what you do, what I really want to say to all of you is a huge, huge, Thank You! Many times your work goes unappreciated and people quite often don’t say Thank You, enough. Whether you’re dreaming up special field trips, dressing up like Wooly Worms, or all the special brain teaser games you play, you make life fun for the seniors you serve and that’s no small thing! For myself, I have benefited greatly by getting to know you and entertain for you. That experience has made every day a richer day for me!

As usual, send me your critiques and comments. I’ll read them all and, if I can use them, I certainly will.

Thanks again,
Rod

Posted by All Around Seniors at 10/30/2013 3:42 AM

The Return of Dallas the Dog

HERITAGE LAKEWOOD

The Good: In recent weeks I have written about all manner of things related to strife, turmoil, famine and flood, so for a change of pace, I thought that this week’s blog should be kind of a “feel good” story. The character I’ve chosen to write about is a good old dog named Dallas.

The Better: Dallas is the unofficial mascot and a stranger to no one at a Retirement Community named Heritage Lakewood. His owner is the lady I work for and her name is Brenda Slone. Ever since I first started entertaining at Heritage Lakewood, Brenda would come to every performance to make sure things were going right, and Dallas would be right there at her side to greet everyone and perform his magic! I only say that Dallas was something of a magical dog because he can make food disappear faster than the Great Flambini! No cupcakes escaped! No little coconut crispy squares or anything of the sort! Dallas was a truly magical and mystical dog and his appetite for goodies is the stuff legends are made of!

The Bad: We all enjoyed our little four legged friend when he would make his rounds until there came a day of great sadness. I showed up to entertain but Dallas was not to be found. I asked everyone who worked in the building and no one seemed to know. Finally, the story came out that Dallas had been banned. No one knew what the infraction was except that our doggy vacuum cleaner was Persona non Grata and we all missed him! Next thing you knew, Brenda had to take time off for personal reasons so she was gone as well! Would we ever see our friends again? No one knew! Stay tuned!

The Good is Back: Last Thursday, a miracle happened! I showed up to entertain at Heritage Lakewood and who was there to meet me but my friend Brenda, accompanied by her little furry buddy, Dallas! We were overjoyed and we made sure the whole world knew it! The songs were a little brighter, the mood was a little lighter and Dallas came by to greet everyone individually, especially if they had any spare food handy! Dallas is back and the world’s a better place! In every life there’s just some things that make living more pleasant and a little more fun. In this case, it’s a dog named Dallas!

And The Very Ugly: This week we all got treated to a full blast of political featherweights posing in front of TV cameras, talking about shutting down the government and defunding Obamacare. Personally, I believe that if, the Affordable Care Act was really going to be the huge failure Republicans are spending so much time bellyaching about on the 5 O’clock news, they would gladly allow it to go forward so they can come back hollering “I told you so” to the whole wide world the minute it flops!

We’re spending $174,000 per year plus a deluxe health care package on each one of these clowns for that? What’s wrong with this picture? Let’s face it, they’ve been clawing around, trying to find something to bring down and defeat this President ever since the first day he got elected. This would suit their purposes to perfection if it fails, but I believe they’re a lot more worried about their own political position if it succeeds! I know it’s cynical to have that kind of an attitude, but after watching this congress in action the last few years, they really haven’t given me any reason to think otherwise. I hope they surprise me, but I wont hold my breath.

There’s a quote attributed to Jay Leno that goes, “Politics is show business for ugly people.”
Mark Twain said, “Congress is the only permanent criminal class in America.” You be the Judge!

As usual send me your critiques and comments. I’ll read them all and try to use them if I can.

Thanks again,
Rod
Posted by All Around Seniors at 9/25/2013 5:53 AM

Names Change, Players Are The Same

Sometimes things happen right under your nose faster than you’d ever expect. Morningstar Senior Living in Applewood changed hands as if by magic and became Atria Senior Living at Applewood fast as you could blink your eye!

Fortunately, although the names have changed to protect the innocent, the players are still the same and the new Atria Applewood still employs the same wonderful cast of characters as always. That’s a definite plus in anyone’s books!

It seems like just a minute ago I was writing a blog about this very same establishment. It was the beginning of football season and I was going on about the mighty Broncos and their prospects for that year. Well, here we are again, it’s football season once more and I have no idea as to whether our prospects are any better or any worse than they were back then! All I really know is, if it’s football season, can snow season be far behind? I haven’t even finished my Christmas shopping for last year yet! Hello long johns! Hello snow tires! Time sure flies when you’re having fun!

So there I was a couple of weeks ago, working at the brand new Atria Applewood for my friend Nikki Crouse. Trying my hardest not to forget the song lyrics or do anything else really dumb and remembering all the time that Nikki is this super singer in a Christian Rock group that she and her husband are involved in. No worries! The residents there are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. They love to laugh and they love to sing and they go out of their way to have a good time and make sure that you do too! How can it get any better than that?

On a personal note, I’ve begun my internship studies to complete my Certified Music Practitioner CMP ticket at Parker Adventist Hospital in Parker CO. Once I get past that hurdle, I’ll actually be able to play healing music for patients in hospitals which will be another long blog in the future I’m sure. Having said all that, I sincerely want to thank all the wonderful friends who have had my back all this time and given me their love and support. Believe me, it hasn’t gone unnoticed!

As long as we’re speaking of things of a healthy nature, Linda Jennings (a current advertiser) has grown her business since she began, and moved into bigger digs. Her new office address is;

Reconnective Healing
Vast Wellness Center
2323 So Troy St. Suite 3-108
Aurora CO 80014
303 883-8476
http://www.spectrumofhealing.com

Give her a try. She’ll make you feel good!!

As usual, please send me your critiques and comments. If they’re not X rated and usable, I’ll use them I promise!

Thanks again,
Rod
Posted by All Around Seniors at 8/28/2013 4:13 AM

Accessibility for Seniors and Shut Ins

In the period of time that I’ve been entertaining seniors and writing about my experiences, I’ve sometimes wandered the path of negativity. Not because I’m a naturally negative person, it’s just that there’s just so many things I love to rant and vent about!

This week, we’re going to change direction a little and talk about more positive things! I’d like you to meet some people I’ve met, who are involved in improving lifestyles for folks who are older and sometimes less fortunate than you and me! That company would be right here in Colorado and their name is Accessible Systems.

Accessible Systems is a local company sitting right here in beautiful south Denver CO. My contact person is a lady named Amy Dickinson. I believe she prefers Amy Dee but she says their location is just off the southwest corner of the intersection of Hampden Ave and Federal Blvd. If you stop at the McDonald’s, you haven’t gone far enough and if you go another couple of hundred feet, you’ve gone right past it!

Naturally, in any successful business venture,  there’s always a lot of hard work and dedication involved, but if you look closely, you’ll probably uncover a little bit of genius as well. The genius in my estimation, is that not only can Accessible Systems sell products to make life easier for the aging and handicapped, they are also a general contractor which enables them to retrofit your home and surroundings in order to make those products work better for you!

Why is this such a plus? Here’s the reason. Not only does Accessible Systems service and install the products they sell, but when it comes time to retrofit your house in order to adapt to one of these devices, they’ve got plenty of experience in what works best for each product and where can it be used to your best convenience and advantage as well. These can be very good people to know!

These days, the cost of living is higher than ever and money has never been tighter.  People are looking at every option to be able to continue a decent level of living without breaking the bank or being a burden to their relatives or children. Consequently, in many instances, a company like Accessible Systems can make the difference between living a comfortable retirement in your own home with it’s familiar surroundings and all the other alternatives!

I’ve probably gone on long enough about this whole thing, so I’ll close with this. Give Amy Dee a call at 303 693-7787. Tell her about your personal situation. Whatever your problem or situation might be, I’d be surprised if she can’t come up with a solution!

Here’s a link to their YouTube video: youtu.be/K93urW0dnko

Once again, send me your critiques and comments. I read them all and I’ll use them if I can.

Thanks again,
Rod
Posted by All Around Seniors at 8/21/2013 2:26 AM