Author Archives: richardzorza

The New Fountain

IMG_20180707_165957670

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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. 

 

The Full Memorial Day Photo

I have used Willard Colby’s wonderful Memorial week Regatta photo as our new header on this website.  Many may want to see the full photo, so here it is:

memday

A Brief Memory of Justice Marshall

The announcement of the film “Marshall“, to be shown in the Collington auditorium on Monday, reminded me of the one time I was lucky enough to even be in the same room with him

When I was in law school, our teacher Tony Lewis, arranged for us to hear a Supreme Court argument, and then to meet with the Justice.

Before we met Marshall, we were reminded that we should never, ever, ever, mention the pending case, or the argument, with him. So Marshall, inevitably, with his impishness and lack of respect for decorum, walked into the room and asked, “So that was a pretty bad argument, was not it?”  (He was right, of course.)

The most important think I remember, however, is that he talked with some deeply felt irritation at the superficiality of the press, recounting specifically when a journalist asked to see him when he was Solicitor General, and how so he prepared with every possible question — and the jornalist came in with “Could you speak at my son’s graduation.”  As we were leaving, I said something to Tony Lewis about how Marshall could see the press clearly and yet still be such a powerful advocate for the First Amendment.  I will remember Tony Lewis’ simple reply all my life.  “That is greatness.”

Marshall told some hysterical anecdotes, such as the time he espied his wife in the gallery watching an abortion case, and had a US marshal deliver a note that said something like:  “Why are you worrying about abortion?” and her sending back the reply “May I remind you that it takes two to tango.”

A great man who never forgot his humanity — and ours.

P.S. Nancy Lively just emailed me  legal bio of Marshall, adding her own personal note:

The law case cited in Anne Arundel County (our neighboring county to Prince George’s) was won by Marshall in 1939.  The man bringing the suit for equal pay for Black teachers was the father of a close friend who is also the pianist in our church.  Her mom and dad were both school principals when we moved to Annapolis in 1968 and we got  to know Valerie in 1972 if memory serves me. This victory was the first in the USA to gain equal pay across race lines and 14 other states quickly followed suit. An elementary school where Mr. Mills was principal is named for him.  Thurgood Marshall made a big impression in Annapolis and is memorialized by a magnificent statue in the most prominent location in town with adoring children across from him also as statues looking with love at his statue. It is located near the place where he often argued cases.

Every time I see Valerie which is weekly I recall her father, his bravery in bring suit and Marshall for the courageous stands this young lawyer took right before the year I was born.  Nancy Lively