The New Fountain

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Many will remember the old fountain that recently stood forlorn and dry in the Courtyard.  It had been donated by long term resident Warren Unna, often described as the Washington Post’s first foreign correspondent. The fountain cracked and could not be repaired.

But now, we now have a lovely new fountain, as similar as possible to the original, happily bubbling to the side of the Courtyard.  The new location makes outdoor catering easier.  A million thanks to the Courtyard Group.

Enjoy.   Maybe it will stimulate thoughts about additional water projects.

 

 

 

Collington – Veterans and their stories

Collington residents have many stories to tell of how military service impacted their or family histories.

John Geron is encouraging folks to share their stories. Read the initial submissions – a young girl lies about her age to join the British Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps; A WWII vet goes on to a career as a journalist and later and academic; military careers are forged through hard work and opportunities.  Consider submitting your own history to John to expand the collection.

The collected stories, Military Histories submitted by Collington Residents, are listed on the Resident Directories page.

Also note that at the bottom of the Collingtonian page there are special issues from 2000-2002: We Were There: Collingtonians and WWII.

Our Intergenerational Music Program Featured as National Cutting Edge. Newspaper and TV

Collington is now the Poster Child for Intergenerational programs!

Samantha Flores and Collington are the featured story (with photo of our auditorium) in The New York Times reporing on a newly issued report on inter generation initiatives for seniors.  The story begins.

When Samantha Flores wasn’t taking classes at the University of Maryland for her master’s degree in cello performance this past academic year, she could often be found hanging out with a bunch of 80-somethings. Ms. Flores, 28, along with another music student, was participating in a new artists-in-residence program at Collington, a nonprofit retirement community in Mitchellville, Md.

As the article reported:

Marilyn Haskel, a 72-year-old resident of Collington involved in selecting the students, said the young people often invited fellow music students to practice on the grounds, resulting in pop-up concerts. With no family nearby, Ms. Haskel said, “it was delightful for me to sit down and have conversations about their careers and what they’re planning.”

When residents learned that Ms. Flores didn’t have a car, they often drove her to campus. Ms. Flores struck up close friendships with many of the residents, including one she met in September who had recently been given a brain cancer diagnosis.

“We bonded over Bach,” she said, engaging in lengthy conversations about him. When the man died in February, Ms. Flores played a piece he had requested at his funeral: Bach’s “Sarabande: Suite for Solo Cello No. 5 in C Minor.”

“I promised I wouldn’t cry, but you can’t help that,” she said. “It was a very emotional moment.”

The trigger for the article is a new report from Generations United and the Eisner Foundation survey of 180 intergenerational programs.

That report itself cites a Harris Poll that found:

[P]lenty of support for programs that bring diverse age groups together to fend off loneliness. Ninety-two percent of Americans believe intergenerational activities can help reduce loneliness across all ages.

Moreover,

A strong majority of Americans (94 percent) agree that older people have skills or talents that can help address a child’s/youth’s needs and 89 percent believe the same about children and youth addressing the needs of elders. More than four in ve Americans also say if they (85 percent) or a loved one (86 percent) needed care services, they would prefer a care setting with opportunities for intergenerational contact rather than one with a single age group. Americans were also clear that age segregation is harmful, finding that almost three quarters (74 percent) agree that “programs and facilities that separately serve different age groups prevent children/youth and older adults from benefitting from each other’s skills and talents.

Given all that is now happening in this field, way beyond music, we will need to keep innovatintg to stay in the lead — another major task for our strategic planning process.  Indeed, onsite child care was an idea that came up frequently in the process.

P.S.  One little thing I would like the photo committee to do is take on making a set of before and after photos of our residents, showing the huge impact grandchildren visits have on us.

P.P.S.  The TV version is on WJLA, here.

 

 

Memorial Day Weekend – The Collington Way

By Marian Fuchs and Lois Brown

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There was more wind this year and more action in the five-boat regatta on the Collington Lake on the Saturday of Memorial Weekend 2018.  The crowd enthusiastically cheered or groaned as the sturdy little boats made their rounds. Meanwhile, hamburgers, hotdogs, and trimmings were available to bolster spectators’ energies.  Cluster 1000’s boat, the Priscilla, skippered by Dick Garrison, came in first.  He received the trophy that evening at the Commodore’s Ball.
The Ball was to have started with cocktails and canapes in the courtyard, but fearing the predicted downpours (which in fact never came), the goodies were on offer in the Clocktower and corridors instead.  Much-praised raw oysters, shrimp, and other offerings were enjoyed to the background of the Kollington Katz doing their thing.  Their ‘thing’ is getting better and better with every performance — some attendees couldn’t resist the chance to start dancing early.
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Ball-goers moved to the auditorium for a scallops appetizer, lobster-tail and steak entree, and a hand-made fruit tart dessert.   Wine was flowing, inhibitions lowering, and the eight Big Band players attracted dancers right away.   The best dancers of the night were by no means the youngest, but were certainly the most fun to watch. A very good start to the Memorial Weekend was had by all, including the foot-tapping servers!
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As Memorial Day approached Collington became more serious. Sunday afternoon, Jessica Bateman on flute and Sherry Anaveson on piano presented their program “A Tempo.” The audience was moved by the patriotic, spiritual, and classical music. During “The Armed Forces Salute” Ms. Bateman gave her piccolo a real work out. The audience showed their appreciation as they stood for their branch of service.

Memorial Day brought Collington’s own unique service. Mary Ann Pellerin, in honor of her mother, has constructed our own “Memorial Wall” of remembrance. Going back to 1988, by year, the names of those late Collingtonians are written with their date of death.


The service included prayers and music and concluded with the naming out loud of Collingtonians who passed from January 2017 through May 2018. The audience then added other loved ones to the recital. Taps was played and the service concluded with a benediction.

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The weekend ended on a high note with a Memorial Day brunch prepared and served by our dedicated culinary staff and enjoyed by residents, friends, and family.

The Potential for Clinical Trials at Collington

As we move forward with our repositioning of health care at Collington,  of necessity the potential of Collington as a research location has taken a big of a back burner – but only for now.

This New York Times article is a timely reminder of how us seniors are often forgotten when it comes to clinical trials:

Salt matters to geriatricians. It’s associated with conditions many older people contend with, particularly high blood pressure, but also swelling and heart failure.

Though doctors frequently urge older patients to reduce salt in their diets, it’s not clear how much reduction is necessary to improve health, or even how much salt most people actually consume.

“There’s a lot of controversy, but that’s why we need the data,” said Dr. Covinsky. So he read on, until he reached the paragraph explaining that the study used “randomly selected, nonpregnant participants aged 20 to 69 years.”

He did a double-take. Once again, the population probably most affected — older adults — had been left out of an important study.

“How is this possible? Unacceptable!” Dr. Covinsky protested on Twitter. “I can think of no good rationale for this exclusion. This has got to stop.”

Indeed, I have been told by researchers that it is hard to recruit seniors for trials.  This may be for a variety of reasons, lack of trust, fear of the unknown, inconvenience, failure to understand modern protocols and informed consent.  As the Times adds:

Starting next January, [NIH] grant applicants will have to explain how they intend to include people of all ages, providing acceptable justifications for any group they leave out. The agency will monitor investigators to make sure they comply.

Moreover, there are often problems with exclusions of research candidates who have multiple medical conditions (like almost all seniors.)

This has all led to the idea that Collington may indeed be a perfect research partner.  We have many scientists here, and many with experience with statistics, data, and research protocols.  We are an easy to reach population, and we are also racially diverse — another important consideration.  Moreover, we might be able to help enroll and provide services associated with the research to those in the community.  (In particular, fear of not being helped with other conditions is a major deterrent to certain categories of patients.

So, as we move forward, lets keep this is mind.

Salt, anyone?

p.s. Dorothy Yuan adds the following thoughtful comment.

You have absolutely right that we have an ideal population for clinical trials.  I can already think of many parameters.  First, the age bracket is quite limited.  Second, living conditions are similar.  Third,  access to minimal  medical care is generally available.  Forth, although the daily menu provides a lot of choices it is still rather limited in scope. Fifth, and most important, easy access for researchers to do follow-ups.
Whereas these conditions are not suitable for all areas of study.  For example, salt intake will be rather difficult since we don’t prepare our own meals.  However, we would be ideal for many other studies.  
All we need is a way to advertise our availability.