Awesome! The energy, enthusiasm and excitement of what’s on offer at Collington!

Contributed by Marian Fuchs

Friday’s Activities Fair filled the Auditorium with residents at tables presenting 45 campus activities, ranging from audio-visual training to yoga.  Arranged by the RA Executive Committee, this event was a huge success, offering a dazzling variety of things to do for the lucky people who live on campus.  The photos below are just a few of the dozens of people who showed up to promote their favorites.

Marion Robbins at the Yoga table, Shirley Denman of the Coloring Club, Bud Gardiner at the Camera Club, Scotti at Dining Committee, Clarita Rickets painting for Creative Arts group.

Pat Duggan and Joyce Garrison of the Flower Committee, Peter Pfund of the Sustainability Committee, Jim Giese promoting audio-visual training, and Don Peterson representing both the Garden Committee and the Composting project.  Liz Barbehenn is at the next door Weed Warriors table. 

Here are Delores Padrone and Mary Bird offering Spanish;  Pat Kirkham, Herb Stone and Joyce Koch three of the large Library contingent, and Elizabeth Gill representing both the Marketing Committee and the Ambassadors Program.

 Noel McPherson and Faith Torsani on the Collington Singers table; Gretta Esty and Nancy Brown signing up a new member of the Fitness Committee. Lorrie Rogers is talking to Anita Myers about the Collington MACCRA branch

RoAnne and Helen Hindinger were showing some of the Glass Case wares they sell for the benefit of the RA; Stephen Poole and Bill Lively were playing to promote the newly created Chess Club (although Bill is obviously taking a moment to chat with Elizabeth Gill).  On the right Florence Zook shows what fun is to be had playing mahjongg.

Here are Irmgard Dugge for the Weed Warriors, Dorothy Yuan for the Booker and Beyond Book Club and Eloise Brache and Marion Henry for the ever-popular Drama Committee.

On the stage were Jim Florini with his drones (unpictured, alas), and two gentlemen billiard players; Laurie Cobb was at the table of the Health Service Committee, and in that picture Barbara Florini is talking Bonnie Cronin of the Women’s History Month, shown in the next picture. Peggy Latimer is representing the Collingtonian.  Jane Miller was one of three women at the knitting table. 

 As time wore on, the Auditorium became more and more crowded, and the noise level went up.   Two residents were said to have removed their hearing aids.  The energy, enthusiasm and excitement were palpable.

What a rich and lively campus we have!  What an extraordinary number of activities we (and the residents before us) have created for our education, enjoyment or self-improvement!  As if the array of activities on offer in the fair were not enough, there are many, many others – perhaps as many as another 45.

Consider, for instance, the unrepresented operational committees and groups (e.g. Grounds, Fiscal Review, Committees, Low Vision Group), so many other opportunities (working at the Country Store, visiting in Creighton Center, welcoming newcomers at dinner).  Think of our many musicians, (the Kollington Kats, and the many great singers and players who accompany evening glasses of wine in the Ivy Bar.)  Think of our radio hams, and the many folks who fix things in the woodshop/hobby shop, where a plethora of tools are on offer. Then there’s the list-serve and the residents’ website keeping residents informed of what’s going on. There are the diverse ways of worship in the Chapel, and residents bringing worship to folks in the Creighton; there’s the Speakers Program, the Neighbor Program, and the wonderful array of concerts that come our way on Sundays and throughout the week.  There’s the Interiors Group, bringing art to the walls of our Community Building, and the OO Shop that finds new homes for the things we no longer need, and funds all the wonderful things that we do.

What energy on the part of our community!  All this activity is generated by us, the residents.  These things are neither initiated, funded or organized by Management, or Sage or anyone but just us, and the residents who came before us.

When asked if they had seen anything like the verve of the Activities Fair in their previous CCRC positions, Justin Reaves and Megan Barbour both said they hadn’t.  It is they who used the word ‘awesome’.

Let’s give ourselves a big pat on the back!

 

Breakthrough on Collington Healthcare and a Pledge

Sometimes we use this blog sot to update our friends with information that has been shared already with residents, but should also be helpful for those who care about them.  This is one such.

We are now officially moving forward with having MedStar Health taking over our clinic, as the first phase of further changes.  The most important thing about this is that the new system we develop with MedStar will be modern gerontology focused, rather than traditional primary care.  Indeed MedStar has long been operating a geriatric program so we can expect quick changes with their expertise.

Let us hope and plan that as we welcome these new providers to our community, we will start from day one as partners, not only as institution to institution, but also as patient to individual provider.  I once ended my first meeting with an oncologist by saying , “you must tell me how I can help you,” and she replied, “you already have.

What a lovely way to start working together.  Lets start with the same spirit.  With all the work that our health and strategic planning groups and management have done to put this together with just this spirit,  I have great confidence that we will.

 

 

 

Composting! A new green venture on campus!

Contributed by Marian Fuchs

A small group of entrepreneurial residents have got together to start a new eco-project at Collington.  All of us who drink tea or coffee have the chance to recycle our old grounds and tea bags in the Collington compost project, along with fruit rinds, vegetable waste, dead plant leaves and the like.

The implementing team consists of Don Peterson and an ad-hoc committee of four:  Nini Almy, Liz Barbehenn, Shirley Denham and Marilyn Meek.    Below are Don and Nini — two of the instigators!

Without much fanfare, the group have set up a series of seven compost bins – four by the greenhouse and raised beds (pictured above), the other three at the Hilltop Gardens.  Totally compostable bags are available in the greenhouse, up at the Gardens and in the Country Store.

If you haven’t already started recycling, here are the compost instructions – copied on every bin.

Near the compost bins is a big trash can, where you can contribute the things that should not be composted, as shown below.

It will take about a year for the items in the bins to turn into good, rich, compost that Collington gardeners can use in 2019 to improve the soil in which they will be growing their herbs, vegetables and flowers.  What a win-win project!

 

Moving Modern Geriatrics to Take Advantage of Nurse, Family and Patient Intuitions

As our strategic plan moves forward in the health area, we are given a useful reminder in the New York Times of the value of instinct in alerting people to potential medical crises.  The Times article focus on the instincts of nurses, and is fascinating.  I have done a blog that asks if we can also take value from the intuitions of the family and the patient themselves

I suspect that we could “train” patients and families to be much more mindful about patient monitoring, including how to trust their instincts and how to communicate their feelings to the medical personal.  This, of course, should be accompanied by training of medical staff on how to take the most advantage of, and how to solicit such communications.  It is not hard to construct model ways of doing so.

I suspect that when things work, that is very much happening in our long term care facility already.  Nurses and care staff know the patients, and communicate with them regularly.  It makes such sense to empower them to raise their concerns, to train and encourage family and resident to do so too, and finally to ensure that all medical personnel not only listen to, but affirmatively seek such help as part of an inclusive team.

I am sure that this will fit in well with our general themes of community cultural change and inter-generational initiatives, as well as the specifics of modern geriatric medicine.

 

 

Denny Klass’ Thoughts on Palliative Sedation

Editor Note:  Collington is lucky to have as a resident and resource Denny Kass, a renowned expert on issues relating to death and mourning.  A recent Washington Post article on how doctors can and do take steps that have the effect of easing the path to peaceful painlessness within the constraints of current law caused us to ask Denny to reflect on the rapidly changing landscape for us at Collington.  The key  quote from the post is : “Under palliative sedation, a doctor gives a terminally ill patient enough sedatives to induce unconsciousness. The goal is to reduce or eliminate suffering, but in many cases the patient dies without regaining consciousness.”  The opinions expressed are personal to Denny.

Will someone help us die when we are ready? The question has been, in different forms, part of the ongoing conversation at Collington for a long time. Last year the majority of Collington residents signed a petition to the Maryland legislature supporting an Oregon-style assisted dying law. A bus load of residents lobbied for the law in Annapolis. In February this year four residents attended a two-day conference on assisted dying at the National Science Foundation.

In this brief posting I will think about a few issues and possibilities in assisted dying in a way that I hope can help our community focus the discussion.

Physician assisted dying (PAD) modeled on Oregon’s law is now legal in several states. I believe the recent appointments to the Supreme Court will make it harder for PAD advocates, and because its opponents link PAD with abortion, the Court may restrict PAD as part of reversing Roe v. Wade.

Not having Oregon-style PAD actually has little effect at Collington. Those laws do not really fit our situation. The laws permit physicians to give lethal drugs, after many safeguards, to people who have a disease, usually cancer, that will kill them within six months. The same prognosis qualifies a person for Medicare to cover hospice. Howeer, that’s not the way most of us will die.

As we look around us, we can easily see that advanced aging is a series of debilitating physical and cognitive changes that slowly eventuate in death. Many of us have included Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) orders on our MOLST forms in the hope that if death comes quickly, emergency responders will not reverse it. But that will not happen for most of us.

An article in the Washington Post last week explored palliative sedation, a long-standing way physicians in both acute care and hospice have been legally assisting dying for a long time. The practice rests on a distinction between active euthanasia — giving medications to cause death, and passive euthanasia — giving medications (usually morphine) to relieve pain that may as a side effect hasten death. Thus passive euthanasia is treated the same as withholding or stopping active treatment.  The article notes that the opponents of PAD accept this distinction. Palliative sedation will probably escape legal changes in assisted dying that I think are coming in the next few Supreme Court sessions.

The Swiss have a different kind of PAD law in which all competent individuals retain their autonomy to determine their own manner of death. Individuals can decide when death is preferable to living. The film You Before Me was about a young quadriplegic traveling to Switzerland to die. In early May, we read news articles about  104-year-old Australian scientist David Goodall who took what he called the Swiss option. I think, however, the ultra-conservative Supreme Court majority would oppose a Swiss type law in the United States.

In the present legal climate, we can ask whether palliative sedation could be extended to the trajectory of dying most of us are on. Old age is a terminal condition. Even though it is composed of many diseases and syndromes old age always ends in death. The question remains: Will someone help us die when we are ready? Each of us could decide for themselves when our failing capacities makes death a better option than living, and after we have made that decision, could we ask to be put into a drug-induced coma that will hasten death.

For many in our community individual autonomy is the prime value. The opponents of PAD do not hold individual autonomy as a prime value. They think whether we live or die is God’s decision. Our Collington community is open to many religious beliefs. If some of our members wish to wait for God to decide their time has come, we should provide whatever support they need to be comfortable while they wait. Could Collington provide as much support for those who decide death is better than living as we provide to those who choose to wait for God?