Meet Bill and Carolyn Hines

“Have fun, will travel” is their motto
Planes, Trains & Automobiles is a popular movie, but if you add a motorcycle, you get a good idea about how Carolyn and Bill Hines like to spend their time.

They fly across the country in their own plane. They drive their snazzy Subaru BRZ. They sail on Lake Hefner, and Bill tools around on his motorcycle. They have traveled in Europe, partly by train. They have also ridden the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad between Chama, New Mexico, and Antonito, Colorado, and the White Pass Scenic Railway out of Skagway, Alaska.

Along with traveling, Carolyn (73) and Bill (74) are deeply committed to community service. Their long list of volunteer activities includes helping at the Oklahoma History Center, ushering at the Civic Center, and spending time with WhizKids, an after-school program connecting under-served Oklahoma City children with mentors to build reading skills, confidence, and moral character.

Each is active physically. They enjoy hiking; the couple have hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, spent the night at Phantom Ranch, and hiked back up the next day. They skied in Colorado and New Mexico for over 40 years. Carolyn has practiced yoga for many years.

They retired about a decade ago as longtime civil servants at Tinker AFB, he in human resources recruiting engineers and she as a program controller. “We’re native Oklahomans, and we wanted to remain in the Oklahoma City area, where our four children live,” says Carolyn.

Search leads to Parkview
The Hines had wanted to downsize for a while from their northwest Oklahoma City home and only became serious about it over the last two years. The couple wanted to make the decision as to where they would live before a health crisis might require their children to make it for them. “It’s part of planning for old age,” Bill says matter-of-factly.

Their children appreciated their forethought and agreed moving to a retirement community was a “wise decision.”

So the search began. “We visited several,” says Carolyn. “Some were more like a hotel, where the people seemed to be very quiet and not as outgoing and welcoming as the people living in Touchmark. Others were welcoming, and the residents seemed to be having a good time, but the houses were not as nice as those in Parkview. But it was the people living at Touchmark who caught our attention.”

Bill agrees. “They were so friendly. Touchmark seemed to be the friendliest, had the most fun activities, and had really interesting people. Every time we sat down, someone was talking to us.”

Rescue dogs play a role in decision
They knew they wanted to choose their floor plan and build a home from scratch. Then there was Coco and Gidget to consider. They needed a fenced yard with room to run and play. “The nearby Coffee Creek neighborhood trails are wonderful,” says Carolyn. “We can walk the dogs almost every day. Parkview is perfect.” They also like how close Parkview’s gazebo is to their home. “It’s on the other side of our backyard, and is such a comfortable setting!”

The close proximity to the YMCA at Mitch Park was a plus for Carolyn, as well, who is highly committed to yoga classes there.

The parties also attracted the couple. Oktoberfest, with its German beer and pastries, was a favorite for Bill. “We never felt alone. Someone would always stop and ask where we were from,” he says.

“Touchmark’s a fun place,” says Carolyn. “It’s nice to not have to do the yard, to not have to get a cleaning lady. Everything is just kind of convenient and carefree.”

Whether taking a road trip, flying somewhere, or staying put in their new home, carefree and fun best describe these Parkview neighbors.

Employee Profile: Chris Bullard

Executive Chef, Touchmark on Saddle Drive

Chris joined the Touchmark team in 2015 seeking an opportunity to grow as an Executive Chef and work with a different population. Since then he has learned the inner workings of serving residents and how to listen to them to create unique menus that take into account their diverse needs and preferences.

What keeps you at Touchmark?

The strong sense of camaraderie among residents and staff.

What is your favorite part of the day?

At the end of the day, I know we have made a difference in residents’ lives.

What is your favorite dish to make?

It’s a toss-up between a good Hungarian goulash or chicken and dumplings. When cooking for residents, I enjoy making our surf-and-turf dinner: USDA choice roasted and carved beef tenderloin and cilantro lime shrimp satay with seasoned asparagus, baked potato, and baklava for dessert.

If you could describe Touchmark in one word, what would it be?

Progressive.

Rocket science—just one of her many passions

tafv-dorothysmithKeeping a sharp mind and an active lifestyle helps us feel more vibrant. Dorothy Smith’s extensive knowledge and seemingly endless energy are definitely key contributors to her enriched lifestyle. Her favorite subject? Science!

Dorothy’s lifetime love of learning, science, math, and travel has helped her lead a very interesting and full life. Her first job, right out of college, was with an oil company. She and her colleagues were brought contour maps, seismographs, and local data from an area. Their job was to combine the data and try to find oil.

“We made these maps that looked very similar to weather maps,” Dorothy remembers. “And then we’d try and make educated guesses on where oil could be. I liked that job a lot, because there was something exciting when you did all your calculations right.”

Dorothy worked that job while her soon-to-be husband fought in World War II. They had had plans of going to medical school together, but when the war ended, Dorothy had graduated. They were married, and he returned to school. So she started teaching math at a couple of universities until she found a job working at the US Naval Research Laboratory in Wisconsin. There, she worked with a small group of men and women doing calculations for an atomic scientist.

“There was a scientist working on Flame Theory for ramjets. We were the computers, since back then we didn’t have computers like now. We did all the paper calculations and statistics, basically backing up what he was trying to prove.”

Traveling the world
Dorothy also worked for many years with the Friendship Force International, an organization that strives to build a world of peace through adult foreign-exchange programs. She’d spend a week or so with a family, go to work with them, learn bits of their language, and experience life with them. She participated in trips to Colombia, Korea, Germany, Russia, China, Japan, up the Amazon, all over the US and Canada, and to nearly countless destinations all over the world. “I loved traveling. I’ve been to all seven continents, including Antarctica, and to every state and province in the US and Canada.”

These days, Dorothy likes to watch videos and take online courses on subjects in the medical science field. She “picks up a class or two” on anatomy, physiology, and neurology. “Just fun courses to keep my mind sharp!” She also enjoys learning about astronomy and watching the sun, moon, and stars from her deck.

“Before I moved to Touchmark, I would drag my lawn furniture out at all times in the middle of the night and gaze at the stars. My daughters actually got me a star for my 90th birthday. There’s a star named after me in the Orion constellation.”

In addition to continuing her learning, Dorothy stays involved with church groups and was recently awarded a Lifetime Service Award by the Friends of Hospice organization. She also enjoys “always finding something fun to do at Touchmark,” and going on outings with friends.

“I’ve had a great time getting settled in Touchmark. It’s such a nice, homey feeling here. I’ve recommended Touchmark to lots of people.”

Reclaim your space! Restoring order to your kitchen

The kitchen is the gateway to the home. It’s the most congested, most productive, and typically most beloved space—and worth our attention to organize and optimize this essential household thoroughfare.

The key to kitchen organizing is setting it up correctly. If you’re always digging for things, unload the space entirely and begin anew. Assign a purpose to each cabinet and drawer based on frequency of use for the items stored.

An ordered kitchen facilitates preparation and easy cleanup. Create these zones: bakeware (for oven use); cookware, hot pads, and stirrers (for range); food prep (for bowls, colanders, and food processing); storage ware (bags/wraps/containers); beverage station (coffee mugs, hot-drink items); serving pieces/utensils; and everyday dishware and glassware. Establish an office supply drawer and one utility drawer. Label each cabinet and drawer with post-it notes to retrain yourself on items’ new locations.

The food pantry is a related but separate project. If you don’t have a pantry, identify a bank of cabinets to dedicate to food, ingredients, and daily vitamins/supplements.

Finally, create room for comfortable conversation, beauty, and hospitality, which are the central functions of a healthy, welcoming kitchen. These touches make a kitchen personal and inviting. Now, enjoy your ordered heart-of-the-home kitchen!

An entire chapter on kitchen organizing is featured in my room-by-room organizing book Restoring Order to Your Home.

Vicki Norris, president of Restoring Order®, is a nationally recognized organizing expert, author, and speaker. Her team of professional organizers serves home and business clients in Washington and Oregon. You can watch her organizing segments on KPTV’s Fox 12 More Good Day Oregon. Visit RestoringOrder.com for more information.

Practicing self-care as a caregiver

When a loved one is diagnosed with a deteriorating health condition requiring daily assistance and support, it’s only natural to focus on that person’s well-being.

Taking on the role of caregiver for a family member or friend is one that often comes without any notice or preparation. Responsibilities can increase over time until they become all-consuming, often leaving other areas of life in neglect. Putting the needs of an ailing loved one first is gracious, but often unhealthy for the caregiver.

Over time, caring for a loved one can result in sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, poor eating habits, and a general failure to care for yourself. But the best way to care for a loved one is to make time for your own physical and emotional wellness.

  • Visit your doctor. You likely spend plenty of time at doctors’ offices already, but be sure to go for at least an annual visit and share any changes in your sleep, behavior, mood, or appetite.
  • Be realistic. Remind yourself that the care you’re providing is helpful but the effects of the health condition are usually beyond your control.
  • Take breaks. Caring for someone is a round-the-clock job with no time off. Without time to yourself, caregiver burnout is inevitable.
  • Ask for help. It’s perhaps most important to accept and recognize when caregiving duties become more than you can handle. There may be a time when professional care or a move to a retirement community can enhance your loved one’s quality of life.

Talking to a friend, family member, or your doctor about how you’re feeling can provide valuable support for those carrying the stress of being a caregiver. Look into local support groups, as well. Paying attention to your own needs is just as important as the care you’re providing.

A wealth of memory care resources from Touchmark

Touchmark is committed to providing relationship-centered care that meets residents where they are and encourages them to live a full life. We use the industry-leading Best Friends™ Approach to care to get to know each individual resident and build a relationship with them.

To further help residents living in our memory care neighborhoods experience meaningful connections with family members, friends, and staff, Touchmark has developed the tools listed below.

  • The ABCs of Life Book: This picture-based communication
    tool helps people recall long-term memories by triggering them as they go through the alphabet. It is a 2014 winner of the ALFA National Mature Media Awards.
  • Memory Care Resource Flip Book: This valuable resource was created to provide caregivers and loved ones with
    information on a variety of subjects related to a dementia diagnosis and the journey of the disease.
  • Memory Blocks: Colorful blocks with words on them can help residents form sentences and short stories, recall memories from certain words, or sort blocks according to color.
  • Match and Chat Game: Based on local states/provinces and their corresponding flags, this game challenges memory to match the correct cards together, and also features a more personal reminiscing feature with questions about where a person has lived and traveled.

To learn more about these tools and how you can use them for yourself or with your loved one, speak with a team member in memory care.

FAQs: How do I make new friends when I move in?

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We get questions every day about what life in our community is like from those considering a move. We asked some of our retirement counselors to weigh in and address some of these questions in a regular feature on our blog.

For many residents, one of the most rewarding parts of living at Touchmark is the ability to build new friendships and be greeted warmly throughout the community as you attend events and enjoy all that Touchmark has to offer. We understand the importance of relationships and have these tools available:

  • Welcoming Committees and Resident Ambassadors: These groups are comprised of existing residents who have volunteered to help new residents adjust to life at Touchmark. They can help make introductions around the community.
  • New Resident Welcome Announcements: Information about new residents is shared with all existing residents upon move-in. These announcements encourage existing residents reach out to new residents and help make the experience of living at Touchmark as welcoming as possible from day one.
  • Resident and Team Member Directories: These resources contain photos and personal information to help residents and team members get to know a little about the people who have chosen to live and work at Touchmark.

Retirement Counselor Melinda describes the move-in process for new residents at Touchmark at Harwood Groves in Fargo, ND:

Touchmark’s Move-In Coordinator will walk you through the entire move-in process and make sure you are feeling settled. She also lines up current residents to have a meal with you, give you a tour, and stop by to introduce themselves.

We host a monthly social for new residents and resident ambassadors to mingle and get to know each other. Residents are very friendly and recognize new faces. Many will stop to introduce themselves to new residents because they know what it was like to be new.

Touchmark also has a designated team member check in every few weeks for the first two months because it can be overwhelming when a person first moves. We want to make sure to answer questions along the way, not just when you first move in.

Gratitude goes a long way

Giving back and expressing gratitude are synonymous with this time of year—it’s only natural to look back on all we’ve been thankful for over the past several months as we look forward to the start of a new year. As we gather together over the holidays, we can share these feelings with loved ones and give thanks to each other.

Showing gratitude can be as simple as giving someone a compliment, sharing a meal with a loved one, or trying to see the positives in a bad situation. More formal ways to give back might include volunteering at a local food bank, becoming a mentor, making a charitable donation, or teaching a class.

Ingraining these habits in our everyday lives helps make these feelings more prominent and can encourage others to follow our lead. In addition to helping others feel a sense of purpose and appreciated, giving to others benefits the giver, as well.

It can help:

  • Increase self-esteem
  • Stimulate the release of endorphins similar to the “high” that comes from exercise
  • Gain a new perspective and take your mind off of everyday concerns
  • Grow as a person and develop new skills and knowledge

This month, consider the ways in which you can show your appreciation for those who make your life a little brighter each day. Spread kindness, express your feelings, and enhance self-worth for yourself and others!

Employee Profile: Kim Lehmann

Director of Health & Fitness Operations

Kim has been with Touchmark for 10 years and appreciates the opportunity her job provides to do the work she’s passionate about in a fun place with great people. She oversees all Touchmark Health & Fitness Clubs and focuses on meeting the needs of the active aging adult.

What is functional fitness?

Functional fitness is multi-dimensional exercise that trains muscles to work together in a way that promotes the common movements of daily function. These types of exercises are important to maintain one’s quality of life and activity level regardless of age.

What are the benefits of staying active longer?

Staying active longer helps to slow down the effects of aging on the human body. It can help maintain or improve bone density, maintain healthy weight, reduce the risk for cancer, strengthen muscles, reduce injuries or recovery time for injuries, and improve quality and longevity of life.

What keeps you at Touchmark?

Touchmark leadership is dedicated to the happiness and well-being of residents and employees while striving to be the best in the industry. The company is dedicated to doing the right thing in all circumstances, setting the stage for ethical conduct at all levels.

If you could describe Touchmark in one word, what would it be?

Quality.

Touchmark on South Hill named winner of international excellence award

Touchmark on South Hill announced  it is a recipient of the 2017 NuStep Pinnacle Award®. The Spokane retirement community was selected from 30 applicants to receive the Bronze Award in the Senior Living Division. It is the first time the award has been given to a recipient in the Northwest.

The NuStep Pinnacle Award, now in its 18th year, is awarded to senior living communities and senior centers that have successfully integrated the whole-person wellness model into their settings and created a culture of wellness. Touchmark’s Full Life Wellness and Life Enrichment Program™
incorporates all seven dimensions of wellness: environmental, emotional, intellectual, occupational, social, physical and spiritual.

The application and review process for NuStep Pinnacle Award consideration is comprehensive and includes a five-page application and supportive documents addressing a program’s breadth, how residents are motivated to be involved, participation measures, supportive services, outcomes,
program enhancements, ongoing education about the seven dimensions of wellness and more. After reviewing all applications, NuStep selects finalists and does on-site visits.

“To receive this level of recognition for our community is an honor and wonderful tribute to all of the residents and team members of Touchmark,” says Jeff Bair. Bair is currently Touchmark regional vice president and served for 16 years as Touchmark on South Hill’s executive director.

When asked what makes Touchmark’s program unique, he explains, “We meet people where they are in terms of their health and well-being. Our program identifies residents’ individual strengths, skills, needs, interests and goals to help them lead a happy, healthy, and full life. When team members are hired, we identify their interests and talents, which can be drawn upon and shared with the broader community.”

Partnering with residents to identify their desires and dreams and working together to bring those needs, passions and abilities to life is the core of Touchmark’s program, both in philosophy and practice. “We encourage and support residents and team members to live happier, healthier lifestyles
by becoming involved and engaged,” Bair says.

The retirement community provides many noteworthy activities for involvement that include the A-MAY-Zing Race, Touchmark’s version of the popular TV show that incorporates the seven dimensions of wellness; vibrant monthly Men’s Club and Ladies Night; nature hikes with Touchmark Trekkers throughout Spokane; a multifaceted Brain Builders program; Wellness Lecture Series; Gonzaga University Game Night and happy hour; weeklong Ping-Pong® tournaments; an elaborate Mardi Gras celebration and well-attended Harvest Festival. Additionally, throughout the week, residents participate in spiritual pursuits and volunteer opportunities.

Touchmark’s Health & Fitness Center provides robust programming led by certified personnel. Classes include everything from Line Dancing, Ballroom Dancing, Functional Fitness Boot Camp and Stay Active & Independent for Life to Posture & Balance, PWR! Moves for PD (Parkinson’s disease)
and personal training.

The 2017 NuStep Pinnacle Award winners are:

Senior Living Division:
Gold – Carroll Lutheran Village, Westminster, Maryland
Silver – Friendship Village of Schaumburg, Schaumburg, Illinois
Bronze – Touchmark on South Hill, Spokane, Washington

Senior Center Division:
Gold – VINE Adult Community Center, Mankato, Minnesota
Silver – Peter B. Lewis Aquatic & Therapy Center, Beachwood, Ohio
Bronze – Milan Seniors for Healthy Living, Milan, Michigan

“Each of the 2017 Pinnacle Award winning organizations are notable in their dedication to helping individuals achieve optimum wellness,” said Steve Sarns, vice president of sales and marketing for NuStep. “Through their remarkable efforts, the quality of life of older adults — whether frail or active,
in assisted living or aging in place — is being enriched and enhanced in untold ways.”