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Art is Ageless® call for entries underway

Print Kansas City Presbyterian Manor has issued a call for entries for the Art is Ageless® juried exhibit to be held May 9-13, 2016. Entries of artistic works will be accepted from any area artist who is 65 years of age or older to exhibit and/or compete for an opportunity to be featured in the 2017 Art is Ageless calendar.

The Art is Ageless® Program encourages Kansas City Presbyterian Manor residents and other area seniors to express their creativity through its annual competition, as well as art classes, musical and dramatic events, educational opportunities and current events discussions throughout the year.

Having a creative outlet benefits the mind, body and spirit.

“The exhibit and competition always draw a wide array of impressive artwork from talented seniors,” said Sarah Drew, Art is Ageless coordinator. “We’re expecting this to be another great year for creativity and variety of works on exhibit.”

Local competition winners will join winners 17 other Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America communities to be judged at the systemwide level.

Entry forms and information can be picked up at Kansas City Presbyterian Manor, 7850 Freeman, Kansas City, or by contacting Drew at 913-334-3666, ext. 2317 or sdrew@pmma.org. Or go online to ArtIsAgeless.org to view rules, download an entry form or enter online.

Artists may choose to enter the exhibit only. For the competition, works are to have been completed in the past five years (since January 2011). There are nine categories, as well as designations of amateur or professional. Works to be entered for judging need to be at Presbyterian Manor by April 29, 2016.

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Art is Ageless® exhibit and reception

Basic RGBSince the beginning of time, creative expression has brought joy to both its creators and those who experience their art. The Art is Ageless® program offers senior artists the opportunity to share and display their artwork and reaffirms the agelessness of human creativity.

Some have resumed art after putting it aside for a career, others have been creating beautiful pieces throughout their lives, and others never picked up a brush until after they retired, but all are now expressing themselves through art. This month, their works are on display at Kansas City Presbyterian Manor.

“It’s inspiring to see the beautiful pieces these seniors have created,” said Sarah Drew, Art is Ageless coordinator. “The joy it brings to them and others is wonderful, and that’s something we want to celebrate and share with the entire Kansas City community.”

The Art is Ageless exhibit will feature works from local artists who are 65 and older, including a few Presbyterian Manor residents. The public is welcome to visit the community to view the exhibit of acrylics, oils, photography and various other mediums, ranging from amateur to professional levels. The exhibit is open 2:30 to 4 p.m. May 9 – 13.

In addition to the exhibit, Presbyterian Manor will honor local senior artists during a reception at the community at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, May 13.

The Art is Ageless program has been encouraging creativity in seniors for more than 35 years, and is sponsored by Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America (PMMA), which is a nonprofit organization that owns and operates 18 senior living communities in Missouri and Kansas. Each year the organization publishes an Art is Ageless calendar, featuring works by amateur senior artists. Proceeds from the sale of calendars are reinvested into new art programs and opportunities for PMMA residents.

Music therapist celebrates service milestone

Music Therapy Celebration and others 097 Diana Ice has been providing her soothing, rejuvenating and beneficial music therapy services to Kansas City Presbyterian Manor residents for 15 years, and we celebrated her in big way recently. Residents gathered at a reception in her honor, where she brought her usual smile and spirit in song.

Diana completed her master’s in music education with a major in music therapy in 1984. She’s served at a variety of different health institutions, before realizing her dream of starting her own music therapy contracting business. So what does a typical music therapy session look (or sound) like?

“A session is usually 30 to 35 minutes long. After I greet each resident personally, which allows me to quickly assess them, we begin. We always start out with our ‘hello’ song, which I composed, and which all the residents know and sing with me. Then we do our warm-ups, which include breathing, moving in rhythm, and singing a couple of familiar songs.

“Smiling is encouraged!” said Diana. “The main body of the session will consist of movement, drumming, or singing, depending on my goals for the day. We end the session by singing the ‘goodbye’ song. This is a typical format for my sessions, but the content, pace and approach varies according to the group with which I am working.”

Residents benefit from music therapy in many ways, including:

• social interaction, feeling like part of the group

• physical energy, which in some cases may mean simply waking up

• memory recall

• orientation to the day, holiday, season, etc.

• smiling

• having fun

All music therapy protocols are evidence-based, meaning that the methods have been researched and found to produce desired results. Research has shown that, in general, people respond best to the music of the years during which they were teenagers and young adults. So, for example, the music we use with older adults, say in their 80s, will be music of the 1950s. This is only a general rule, and we are aware of special requests, the resident’s background, and musical education,” said Diana.

Diana also serves as a church organist and piano accompanist, and she sings in the Lawrence Civic Choir and church choir. She leads a couple’s Bible study and loves reading, gardening, traveling, and the arts of all kinds. In addition to all this, she has two children and 15 grandchildren!

We’re so glad Diana has shared her expertise with us for the past 15 years, and she’s grateful to have had the opportunity to help others.

“I often hear family members of residents say that they are so surprised that their loved one who rarely, if ever, speaks, will sing all the words to an old, familiar song,” said Diana.

Why I decided to make friends with death

We know we will die someday, so we must accept and plan for it

By Irene Kacandes for Next Avenue


Credit: Getty Images

(This article was written as a part of The Op-Ed Project.)

While we may fear meeting death alone, most of us are actually more afraid of dying surrounded by the wrong kind of people — that is, by health care workers.

Yet that is all too likely to be our fate. Statistics are squirrely, but many point in this direction. Seven out of 10 Americans express the wish to die at home. More than 80 percent of patients say they want to avoid hospitalization and intensive care at the end of life. And yet, the current reality is that about three-quarters of us actually die in some kind of institutional setting.

What is the source of this disconnect? As someone who has spent most of the last 15 years grappling with loved ones’ life-threatening illnesses and deaths (and co-authored a book on the topic), I’ve come to the conclusion that it starts with our attitudes — with our failure to recognize that our births guarantee our deaths.

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5 things to do during and after a hospital stay

Tips for making your time there as painless as possible

By George H. Schofield, Ph.D. for Next Avenue


Credit: Thinkstock

Any hospital stay can be a revelation. When it’s totally unexpected, the experience can be even more fraught with surprises. I speak from personal experience and have some advice based on it.

Last year, I had pain severe enough to require a middle-of-the-night visit to the ER. It turned out to be kidney stones — stones that felt like boulders and required an invasive procedure (a ureteroscopy) to view, measure and then zap them into dust. Star Wars inside my body while I was out cold.

The procedure was performed at a great hospital. I had a great specialist. It all went well.

Even so, as I was recovering, I realized just how important it is to be prepared for a medical emergency that requires hospitalization. What if the searing pain was a symptom of something far more serious — something that rendered me unconscious or otherwise incapacitated, such as what follows a stroke? What about an injury while I was out bike riding or a car accident?

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Purposeful aging: A model for a new life course

New possibilities for older adults produce dividends for all

By Paul H. Irving for Next Avenue


Credit: Thinkstock

Editor’s note: This article is part of Next Avenue’s 2015 Influencers in Aging  project honoring 50 people changing how we age and think about aging. Paul H. Irving was a member of the 2015 Influencers In Aging Advisory Panel.

Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Encore.org, offers an insightful observation about the promise and potential of longer lives. “Thousands of baby boomers each day surge into their 60s and 70s,” he wrote in a recent article for The Wall Street Journal. “It’s time to focus on enriching lives, not just lengthening them; on providing purpose and productivity, not just perpetuity.”

While population aging brings health, financial and social risks, an understanding of the opportunities is emerging. At the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging,  we study, convene, report on and respond to these risks and opportunities, searching for solutions to bring beneficial change. Joining with others who share our vision, we believe that it’s time to challenge conventional wisdom and established norms — that new possibilities for older adults hold promise for strengthening societies, expanding economies and improving life for all ages.

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5 ways to keep your kids from fighting over your will

Follow these rules now to prevent a family war later

By Patrick O’Brien for Next Avenue


Credit: Thinkstock

It is your worst nightmare. You’ve passed away, and now your adult children no longer speak to each other. Circumstances around your death have destroyed the family you spent your life building. As the CEO and co-founder of Executor.org, I’ve seen this all too often.

But this terrible scenario is preventable, if you plan properly.

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The 2 big misconceptions about long-term care

Cautionary words from a Next Avenue Influencer In Aging

By Sudipto Banerjee for Next Avenue


Credit: Thinkstock

(Editor’s Note: This article is part of Next Avenue’s 2015 Influencers in Aging project honoring 50 people changing how we age and think about aging.)

There are many uncertainties in retirement. For example, we don’t know how long we are going to live, what the interest rates will be or how the stock market will behave. But one thing is nearly certain: our health will decline as we age.

That means at some point, most of us will face serious functional limitations and, in the event of serious health shocks, maybe even permanent disability. As a result, a large number of older Americans might require professional medical care at home or in institutions such as nursing homes. But there is a lack of awareness about the risk of long-term care because of two big misconceptions surrounding the topic.

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Why am I just getting allergies?

Allergic reactions can strike adults, and here’s what you can do

By Emily Gurnon for Next Avenue


When my daughter was two, I took her and her older brother blueberry picking near our hometown of Arcata, Calif. The farm owners weren’t too concerned about children “sampling” the goods. So my kids scarfed plenty of fruit before we got out of there with a full bucket.

The next day, a red rash blanketed my daughter’s torso. She was allergic.

Now that she’s a teenager, the allergy has disappeared. Allergies are funny that way. We often grow out of the ones we had as children.

But — as many of us know all too well  — we can also grow into allergies as adults.

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This play puts Alzheimer’s caregivers in the spotlight

By Deborah Quilter for Next Avenue


Credit: Photo by Carol Rosegg Caption: (L to R) Sharon Washington, Marjorie Johnson, Finnerty Steevens.

If you have ever cared for an older person with dementia or Alzheimer’s, a new play by Coleman Domingo (who’s also an actor and director) running through March 23 at  Manhattan’s Vineyard Theatre will likely touch a nerve. Though Dot focuses on a middle-class black family from West Philadelphia, audience members who stayed for a discussion about caregiving after the performance I attended found the message of this comedy-drama universal.

Shelly, sympathetically portrayed by Sharon Washington, is the put-upon daughter who performs the lion’s share of her mother Dotty’s care. Shelly, who also has a 9-year-old son, is already at the boiling point when the play opens. If we could see her blood pressure, it would be through the roof.

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PMMA observes Older Americans Month

ShowcaseB_300x250For more than 50 years, the contributions of older adults in the U.S. have been recognized every May during Older Americans Month. President John F. Kennedy established the observance in 1963 as Senior Citizens Month, encouraging us all to pause and pay them tribute.

Since then, Older Americans Month has evolved into a celebration of older adults’ ongoing influence in all areas of American life. Spearheaded by the Administration for Community Living, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the agency stages activities throughout the month to raise awareness about important issues facing older adults and to highlight the ways that they are advocating for themselves, their peers and their communities.

The theme for Older Americans Month in 2016 is “Blaze a Trail.” According to the Administration for Community Living, this theme “emphasizes the ways older adults are reinventing themselves through new work and new passions, engaging their communities, and blazing a trail of positive impact on the lives of people of all ages.”

Consider what older adults have done in the years since 1963, when only 17 million Americans were age 65 or older. Now, the number is more than 44 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s about 14 percent of the population. About 22 percent of men 65 and older remain in the workforce, as do 14 percent of women.

Many older Americans continue to serve as leaders in our economy, politics, the arts, business, and much more. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr. Is 69. Actress Rita Moreno is 84. And Ruth Bader Ginsberg, at age 83, has been a Supreme Court Justice for nearly a quarter of a century.

While Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America provide quality senior services guided by Christian values year-round, we will use Older Americans Month 2016 to focus on how older adults in our community are leading and inspiring others, how we can support and learn from them, and how we might follow their examples to blaze trails of our own. Find out more about the observance at acl.gov/olderamericansmonth.


Logos at http://oam.acl.gov/2016/logos.html

Resident artist recalls creative endeavors

March & April 2016 055

Donna Ashley holding a kitchen witch she created.

Donna Ashley is a woman of many talents. She’s been involved in making a variety of arts and crafts for nearly as long as she can remember. Recently, she’s submitted some of her stained glass work to Kansas City Presbyterian Manor’s Art is Ageless® display and juried art competition.

“I did Art is Ageless last year, and it was very enjoyable, so when Tina asked me to do it again, of course I said yes!” said Donna.

Tina Ashford, activity director, is thrilled that Donna, and many other resident and community artists participate in the annual event.

“Last year, Donna entered a quilt hanging, which was stitched all by hand. This year, it’s stained glass, so that shows the range of her interests,” said Tina.

Quilting and stained glass are just two of many areas Donna has explored, including painting and even “kitchen witch” making.

“Way back when, everyone had these little ‘kitchen witches’ hanging in their homes. They were just silly things that were supposed to ward off evil spirits. When I was first married, we didn’t have enough money to buy everyone gifts, so I made those. I gave them to my mom and sisters. I’ve been doing some kind of artwork all night,” said Donna.

Donna grew up and has remained in the Kansas City area. She met her husband Gene, whose parents emigrated from Lithuania, and they were involved in a Lithuanian dance group that met on Sundays to practice at a local church.

Gene (who also resides at Presbyterian Manor) and Donna had two sons and a daughter and have seven children and seven great grandchildren. Donna continued her passion for art as an outlet while her children were young. Her children, influenced by their mother’s artistic talent and their father’s musical abilities, have all enjoyed and participated in the arts.

“Our oldest boy was career Coast Guard and played in their band. My daughter had three years of college then got married, and her husband is in a ukulele band. Our youngest graduated from the conservatory of music, then became an attorney, but still plays in a band,” said Donna.

Donna fondly recalls the first time she and her family learned to create stained glass, which they all enjoyed making. “At the church where we practiced our dancing, the lady told us about a grant they’d received from the government to teach stained glass making. Well, nobody had signed up, so we did! My youngest son was especially fond of it, and has made some lovely things,” said Donna.

In addition to art and music, Donna’s family enjoyed traveling.

“My daughter’s husband was involved in repairing large cooling towers all over the world. They’ve lived all over, and we traveled to see them. We’ve been to Australia and China and Hawaii. And of course our oldest son was in the Coast Guard and was stationed different places, so we traveled then, too,” said Donna.

We’re glad to have Donna and Gene here at Presbyterian Manor to share their many wonderful experiences, memories and talents with us.