Noble Horizons Blog


Create Your Own Legacy

Probate Judge Diane Blick spoke to an audience at Noble Horizons for one reason only: to dispel worries about the probate process.

In her third term as probate judge for Litchfield County, Judge Blick, known affectionately as the "judge on wheels" due to her habit of traveling to the homes of residents who need her help, said that planning was the most important advice she could give.

Compile and store in a safe but accessible place detailed information about all the assets you have, hire an experienced attorney to draw up a comprehensive will and healthcare directive and then relax. You will have done everything you can to avoid Connecticut laws of intestacies that could take control of your estate out of your hands.

Following questions from the audience, Judge Blick spoke at length about powers of attorney, conservatorships of persons and conservatorships of estates, trusts, the limits of tax-free estates in Connecticut, and the time it takes to complete the probate process.

After Judge Blick's presentation, Amanda Halle of the Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging offered practical advice about avoiding Medicare fraud. Rising to the top are two key take-aways: never share your Medicare information with anyone but a trusted friend or family member and your doctor; be aware that Medicare officials never, ever make unsolicited phone calls. Stay wise to such calls and report them to authorities.

 

A Fed Bear Is A Dead Bear

"Don't feed the bears," was the key point in a presentation on black bears by Paul Colburn, a Connecticut Master Wildlife Conservationist, who spoke at Noble Horizons on April 29. The large and very engaged crowd was an indication that black bears have made their presence felt, frequently in our backyards. There were 6,600 reported sightings in the state in the past year.

Colburn said that Native Americans regarded the bear as a powerful and spiritual creature to be treated with respect, but everything changed with the arrival of European settlers. In 1650, Connecticut was 100% forested and bears were abundant. By mid-19th century, only 20% of the land remained forested and the black bear had been shot, trapped, and poisoned into extinction. Only in the 1980s, with agriculture declining and more land returning to its natural state, did the bears return.

While the eastern black bear is wary of humans, they are on a continual hunt for food and that can bring them in contact with humans and human habitations, potentially lessening their natural timidity. At worst, a bear may become aggressive and be euthanized.

How to Avoid Feeding the Bears

 Hang bird feeders only between November and March

 Keep garbage in a sturdy container, preferably in a garage

 Do not leave a grill that has not been cleaned outside

 Do not put meat or sweets in a compost pile

Colburn asked each attendee to pass this message to five other people and to help keep track of our ursine neighbors by reporting bear sightings at www.ct.gov/deep/blackbear or call 860-424-3011.

 

Giving Their Regards To Broadway

Fifteen local elementary school students and a similar number of Noble Horizons residents had the good luck to work with seasoned theater professional Michael Berkeley for several weeks to prepare for a performance of "The Golden Age of Broadway: Bridging Generations" for a very appreciative audience at Noble on April 28. It turned out to be a rollicking afternoon as the performers, young and old, put their all into showcasing some of the most memorable tunes from thirteen Broadway shows, with both students and Noble residents taking featured parts.

The workshops, the brainchild of Pamela Chassin, were funded by a grant on behalf of Region 1 Schools. The project was made possible by the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

Celebrating Earth Day

Sweethaven Farm's Noreen Driscoll arrived with piles of planters, trays of sedums and succulents and buckets of soil and stones for Earth Day on April 22. In short order, 50 enthusiastic participants from Noble and the wider community made their own sedum tablescapes to bring home. Such free events ending with a creation of one's own are popular, and with good reason.

 

Volunteer Recognition Dinner

The extravaganza that is the Volunteer Recognition Dinner on April 18 had a game show theme with scores of volunteers cheering on the lucky few chosen by chance from the audience to compete for many wonderful prizes. The Volunteer of the Year was Stephen Moore, the Resident Volunteer of the Year Lib Grannan, and the perennial winner with the highest number of volunteer hours, Josh Brennan, was awarded the first-ever Josh Award. Josh is out of the running for winning it again but will no doubt present it next year to a new winner with the greatest number of volunteer hours.

 

Flower Arranging with a Pro

Kamilla Najdek of Kamilla's Floral Boutique in Millerton was the guest speaker April 8, at a flower arranging presentation and workshop. Known for her contemporary design skills, Kamilla was generous with advice as well as with buckets of blooms she provided to participants who made their own floral creations to take home.

 

St. Patrick's Day Luncheon

Corned beef and cabbage and Irish music played with spirit by the Wildcat Creek Band make a perfect St. Patrick's Day on March 17.

 

HVRHS Students Host Annual Senior Prom

Students from Housatonic Valley Regional High School have, as part of their community service commitment, organized every detail of the Senior Prom held at Noble Horizons on February 25. Decorating, socializing, photos galore, a sumptuous meal, donated gifts, and dancing for everyone were highlights of the day.

 

Roberta Willis Reflects on Years of Service

Former State Representative Roberta Willis, retired after many terms in the CT State House, was on hand February 25 to talk about past legislative successes and the issues soon to be before the government. The room was packed with devoted admirers.

 

Valentine's Day Dance

The annual resident Valentine's Day dance on February 14 was a fun, elegant and a romantic way to mark the day complete with an in-demand professional DJ in tuxedo.

 

Valentine's Day Dinner for Two

On Saturday, February 11, Noble's own chef Jose Lalvay was pleased to show an attentive Valentine's Day crowd the way to prepare a special Valentine's dinner. On the menu was beef carpaccio, arugula salad and espresso creme brulee. Prepared the chef's way with careful attention to detail and a few tricks of the trade, this is a meal that is sure to be remembered.

 

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year was observed on January 26 with a meal of Asian favorites and a room filled to brimming with decorations.

 

Poems That Ignite

December 2016 saw the return of former teacher Maura Wolf to Noble for a midday poetry appreciation class. She brought together a devoted group of readers and writers from Noble and the wider community. Maura selected poems that accomplish something special, specifically, igniting a passion in the reader for the special qualities of poetic language, universal themes and verses that bring about an instant connection. Poems by Dylan Thomas, William Butler Yeats, Edna St. Vincent Millay, e.e. cummings, William Stafford and Mary Oliver, among others, were discussed.

 

Holiday Time at Noble Horizons

Parties and get-togethers with friends and family have been constants in the year-end calendar at Noble. 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the Auxiliary's Festival of Trees, an event that has come to be a must-see for the wider community. School children arrive in waves to marvel at the glittering lights and decoration. The annual Holiday Fair of handmade goods and Christmas decorations coincided with the opening of the Festival, so everywhere there were crowds full of holiday happiness. The Gala Party was the finale to the festival but not the end of the season's parties. Christmas Cheer devoted to residents, staff and families saw an especially large turnout with platters of food and drinks all around. Concerts and a resident art show were shoehorned in and plans are set for medical levels of living to mark the season with parties nearly up to Christmas day.

 

Side by Side Concert with Jean and Bill McClelland

Jean and Bill McClelland wowed a capacity audience at Noble Horizons on November 5th with their polished presentation of show tunes by Oscar Hammerstein II and Stephen Sondheim. Pianist Bill set the pace of the hour-long show like the Broadway professional he is, while vocalist Jean contributed keen insight into the production histories of the musicals and the close, personal relationship between the famed librettist and mentor Hammerstein and his protege composer and lyricist Sondheim. Jean held the audience in her hand with her vocal stylings and sparkle.

 

Russia in the Age of Putin

Keith Moon, a member of the faculty of The Hotchkiss School and a frequent visitor to Noble Horizons where he has led a number of workshops on Russian literature, was at Noble on the afternoon of October 15 to share his thoughts on Vladimir Putin. Fluent in Russian and a frequent traveler to the country, Mr. Moon described Putin's spectacular rise to power, from his years in the KGB in the '70s and '80s, his return to what was then Leningrad (St. Petersburg) to work for the deputy mayor and becoming President of the Russian Federation in 1999. With an extension of his term of office and other political alterations to the system, there is every reason to believe that Putin will hold sway over Russia for an indefinite period. Mr. Moon said that while Moscow and St. Petersburg are vibrant cities, the remainder of the country hasn't changed. As an interesting side note, he mentioned that Putin's personal fortune is estimated to be between 2.2 and 98 billion dollars.

 

Family Gathering

Every year families of Noble residents are invited to attend the family gathering. It's a perfect opportunity for residents to introduce their family to their Noble friends and to show off their grandchildren. The gathering on September 10 featured a reprise of the recreation department's version of The Wizard Of Oz, first presented at the the volunteer dinner last spring, and ended with Auntie Em's own apple pie and ice cream.

 

Annual Lobster Dinner

The yearly lobster dinner, made possible by the Noble Horizons Auxiliary, packed the house with the Riga Dining Room and the private dining room filled to capacity. Chowder, lobster, coleslaw, baked potatoes and biscuits were on the menu.

 

Employee Recognition 2016

Noble Horizons staff members were guests at the annual employee recognition event, this year held outdoors beside the ponds on a beautiful afternoon in September. Big Green Truck Pizza from New Haven, featuring wood-fired pizzas made fresh on-site, was a first for Noble. Thin crust pizzas of all sorts, tossed salad, soft drinks, espresso and gelato were on the menu and, by all accounts, more than a few employees ate themselves silly. A raffle and years-of-service jewelry and gifts were part of the festivities.

 

Cottage Resident Mimi Davis Wins Art Prizes

During the summer of 2016, cottage resident Mimi Davis won two monetary prizes for paintings at two separate art shows at the Kent (CT) Art Association. One was "The Presidents' Show, Sascha Maurer AWS Memorial Award for Watercolor" for Plaza Hotel at Holiday Time. The second was the "Members' Show Award of Excellence, Any Medium" for Lily Pads.  Congratulations, Mimi!

 

Sixth Annual Vintage Race Car Parade Roars to Noble

It was waving all around at the Sixth Annual Vintage Race Car Parade as it wended its way to Noble and around the traffic circle to the cheers of Noble residents, family and staff. The 90 or more fine motor cars were part of events at Lime Rock Park in advance of the long Labor Day weekend.

 

Dr. Cook Returns Presents Update on Alzheimer's

Dr. Ian Cook, Professor in Residence in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science and Professor of Bioengineering at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, spoke to a group of 50 area residents at Noble on August 6. The eminent Dr. Cook spoke at Noble 10 years ago, and family connections in Salisbury brought him back to town and, fortunately, to Noble once again.

Having described the human brain as "the most complex object in the known universe," Dr. Cook focused on the various forms dementia can take, including Alzheimer's, the most common and, thus, the most feared. While the rates of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia continue to rise, advances in treatment have been made, including medications that temporarily stabilize patients' brain function. For more information about Dr. Cook and his research go to iancook.com

 

Maximizing Your Memory Workshop

"If you can't remember where you put your car keys, that's normal age-related absentmindedness. If you don't know what car keys are or what they're used for, that could be Alzheimer's," said memory expert Paul Lupia.

That opening statement was reassuring to the great majority of the 55 attendees of Mr. Lupia's presentation, "Maximize Your Memory," at Noble on July 28. While recognizing and using familiar objects isn't an issue for this particular group, all were eager to learn how to enhance their powers of memory and recall. Mr. Lupia offered tips, tricks and specific strategies to do just that.

 

Noble Residents Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

On May 5, the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, animated Noble Horizons. Recognized in the United States as THE day to celebrate Mexican food, culture, and traditions, Noble Horizons residents enjoyed a Mexican fiesta, replete with margaritas, salsa, chips, guacamole and other culinary specialties. The Community Room transported party guests to Mexico via sombreros, red, white and green Mexican flags, mariachi music, and other traditional party decor and costumes. Despite the widespread belief that Cinco de Mayo recognizes Mexico's independence, it is actually a minor event in Mexico, although in the US, and especially at Noble Horizons, it provides a terrific opportunity to celebrate our southern neighbor's culture and most popular customs.

 

Best Selling Authors Daniel Klein and Thomas Cathcart

Noble's Community Room has been the scene of any number of informational or entertaining events. There has been only one, however, that was 70 minutes of non-stop laughter. Who knew Aristotle and Kant could be so funny?

On January 28, a capacity crowd gathered to learn how philosophy and humor intersect as explained by Daniel Klein (wearing bowtie) and Thomas Cathcart, two old friends and one-time Harvard roommates. The two are also the co-authors of the New York Times bestseller Plato and a Platypus Walk Into A Bar, and separately the authors of The Trolley Problem or Would You Throw The Fat Guy Off The Bridge? (Cathcart) and Every Time I Find The Meaning Of Life, They Change It (Klein). They told the audience that every now and again they spend a weekend together to write, but they obviously spent at least some of that time working out a well-practiced and hilarious routine that had their very receptive audience in stitches.

 

Volunteer Cassandra Whitehead Wows Residents

Cassandra Whitehead, though still in high school, has poise and stage presence far beyond her years, not to mention polished talent that promises to take her far. A "triple threat," (a performer who can sing, dance and act,) Ms. Whitehead is also a dedicated Noble volunteer, who has proven to be great favorite among residents. On November 29 she entertained many of her Noble friends with a brief recital in the chapel. With a repertoire that runs from opera to "Anything Goes," Ms. Whitehead's powerful yet pleasing voice, plus a little bit of tap dancing delighted her audience.

 

Kids and Christmas Come Together at the Festival of Trees

The whole Santa piece—sleighs, reindeer, chimneys, decorated trees, presents, cookies, color and a little bit of magic—seems eternally fascinating to children, and a source of great joy for mindful adults, too. It's also why the Festival of Trees at Noble Horizons is eagerly anticipated year after year.

The seasonal display of trees, wreaths and holiday decorations is made possible by the dedication of the talented and imaginative members of the Noble Horizons Auxiliary who, beginning in June, painstakingly plan every little bit of this free, two-week long community event. The theme in 2015 is "A Dickens Christmas," but decorations of all types are on display.

 One day shortly after opening successive waves of school kids were seen peering across Bob Cratchit's dinner table laid out with handmade faux food. They were challenged to find a variety of animals, wild and domestic, studied the little snow-covered villages among the displays, and discovered jellied candies in an old-fashioned apothecary jar. Mrs. Claus made the long journey from the North Pole to visit with each group and read Clement Clarke Moore's immortal poem, "The Night Before Christmas."

 

We Honor Our Veterans

Noble Horizons along with the whole country paused on November 11 to honor the veterans in our midst. Guest speaker and Cobble resident Edward Nickerson, pictured left, reminded all in attendance at the noontime dinner that uniformed service to country takes many forms, each job being important to the entire effort.

 

Boo Fest Kicks Off Halloween

The first annual Boo Fest at Noble Horizons brought out an astronaut, a Civil War soldier, action heroes, Minnie Mouse, a scarecrow, Peter Pan, a ghost and more pretty princesses than anyone could count. Games of skill and games of chance, pumpkin bowling, balloon batting, sand castle-making, crafts with Nina the Very Good Witch, face painting, prizes for winning and prizes for just being there, lunch, sweets, and a very good cause were all part of the gathering. Some employees of Noble and their children attended, but there was a tremendous turnout of local families with youngsters, many whom had never been to Noble before.

Noble is definitely a family place, but it is also a place where serious issues, like Alzheimer's disease, is part of everyday life. So it was not surprising that Noble teamed up with The Alzheimer's Association Connecticut Chapter to co-host the Boo Fest. Plenty of tee-shirts and other choice giveaways in the branded purple color of the Alzheimer's Association were carried away at the end of the day to help spread awareness of the many challenges of Alzheimer's disease.

 

TRIAD presents "The Other Conversation" Panel Discussion at Noble

There are many important conversations families routinely have, but perhaps the least discussed within a family are the plans and wishes members may have when nearing the end of their lives. TRIAD's "The Other Conversation" was designed to help families understand the ethical, legal and medical implications of a person's final choices in life. Discussed among other topics were living wills, "do not resuscitate" orders, hospice, and legal issues. Underlying all of these were ways to cope with the emotional as well as the practical concerns families face at such transitional moments in life.

Members of the panel discussion were, from left, Attorney Donna D. Vincenti, Mark Marshall, MD, hospitalist at Sharon Hospital, and Barbara Martby, MA, medical ethicist.

 

Chili for All

Noble has come to count on sunny Chili Cook Off days, always the Sunday of Columbus Day weekend during Salisbury's Fall Festival. It's the perfect place and time in New England. Forty-eight professional and amateur chilies were ready for tasting by noon and 90 minutes later the crowd finished off the last spoonful and voted for the favorites. GOZA, the salsa band, was as hot as any of the chilies and played throughout the event, inspiring some dancing and lots of rolling around on the lawn. SOAR, the enrichment program at the local elementary school, teamed up with Noble to host the Cook Off. Proceeds were directed to SOAR activities.

 

Casino Day

Casino Day at Noble Horizons on September 26 brought out the high rollers to play blackjack, craps, roulette, and slots for big money, though of the non-negotiable kind. Each sport started off with a $1,000 funny money stake and more than a few increased it many times over, cashing in their chips for prizes, such as caps, straw sunhats and pots of mums, though at $6,000 to $10,000 those went only to the big winners. The gamblers' blood was up and the professional casino party company staff, aided by Noble volunteers, kept the action fast and furious.

 

Icebox Cakes Are Back

What's old is new again. Icebox cakes date from WWI when ice boxes—cooled with real ice, that is—were in every kitchen. The "cakes" were very much in vogue through the'20s and'30s, embraced by busy housewives because it was a showy dessert that could be put together with store-bought ingredients and no baking, really an early convenience food. Very modern and very trendy.

While their early popularity faded, this old favorite has been revived as evidenced by the publication of Icebox Cakes: Recipes for the Coolest Cakes In Town, by Jessie Sheehan and Jean Sagendorph. Ms. Sheehan, pictured left, was at Noble on September 12 to demonstrate that they are indeed easy to make. Technically more a torte than a cake, icebox cakes consist of layers of cookies or graham crackers or ladyfingers—Ms. Sheehan emphasized that pretty much anything goes—whipped cream and ganache, which she made on the spot from chopped chocolate and yet more cream, warmed this time to melt the chocolate. Once assembled, the cakes spend a day in the refrigerator where the cookie layers soften and become cake-like. Her very attentive audience not only enjoyed the mint chocolate ice box cake she served, but most bought a copy of her book.

 

Fifth Annual Vintage Race Car Parade

The 2015 Vintage Race Car Parade wended its way from Lime Rock Park to the front door of Noble Horizons on September 3, delighting the dozens of residents, family members and staff who gathered to watch. Vintage and antique cars of all types participated. Even a motorcycle and a handsome tow truck made the circuit. In some cases, very familiar faces were behind the wheel, like Noble's own Peter Fitting, left.

 

Seen at the Auxiliary's August Tag Sale

The two-day tag sale was packed. Packed with furniture, books, decorative objects, glassware, jewelry and appliances. And packed with shoppers, too, their arms overflowing with treasures. Tag sales everywhere could take a lesson from the Noble Horizons Auxiliary: if you offer good stuff at the right price and take care with organizing it, then all you have to do is stand back and count your profits.

 

Cruisin' with "Beach Blanket Noble"

Noble was the scene Sunday afternoon August 16 of a '50s and '60s rock and roll beach-themed songfest featuring Danielle Bailey of the recreation department, Deirdre Broderick, chapel organist, guitarist David Spinozza, and Eve Vansyckle as back-up singer. But there was more than just music. Each song was set-up with a clever skit played out between the performers, with props and decoration and with straw hats for audience members.

 

Artist Karen LeSage Conducts Summer Art Workshop

Professional artist Karen LeSage of Lakeville conducted a drawing and painting workshop during August 2015 with an enthusiastic group of residents. Fruit and flower still life arrangements placed the length of wide tables afford lots of room for artists to work.

 

A Visit by The Wilderness School

An intrepid group of travelers, eight teenage girls and three adults, stopped by Noble Horizons on August 3 for lunch and to share with residents what they've gained from their Wilderness School adventures so far. They were on the twelfth day of a 20-day outdoor experience—hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, camping—what one described as "trying new things that I never thought I'd do." Improved self-esteem, personal responsibility, tolerance, cooperation, and setting and achieving goals were some of the terms they used in telling residents what the Wilderness School is all about and what they're learning. The Wilderness School is a program of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.

 

The White Hart Inn, Farm to Table

Gaby Rios, pastry chef at Salisbury's White Hart Inn, made a group of ice cream lovers very happy on July 31, in yet another of Noble Horizon's very popular Farm To Table series, which pairs local chefs with locally-produced ingredients with delicious results. Ms. Rios, demonstrated how she makes ice cream at the inn, in this instance a velvety vanilla custard concoction of eggs, milk, cream, sugar and vanilla seeds. While that was churning in the industrial-model ice cream freezer she'd brought from the inn's kitchen, she made a quick berry compote, blueberries, raspberries, sugar and citrus peel, simmered to flavor-intense perfection. Then it was time for tasting, scoops ice cream topped with the berries, served with Ms. Rios' freshly-baked gingersnaps. The room got very quiet, till one voice shyly asked, "Can we have seconds?"

 

Summer Science Series Concludes with Tie Dying

The '60s came alive in the Community Room on July 30 as tie-dye tee shirts were the order of the day in the fourth and final session of the senior edition of the summer science series, adapted from a series for Region 1 students at the Mahoney-Hewat Science and Technology Center at HVRHS. The series makes science fun and imparts a few concepts along the way. Everyone had a good time, learned a little about chemistry and got a truly unique retro artifact to take home and wear with pride. Along with green and red and blue stained hands, that, they were assured, would fade in a few days.

 

Oobleck and Gluep Explored in Summer Science Series

The secrets of oobleck and gluep became a little less mysterious in the third session of the senior-edition of the ongoing science series at Noble on July 23.

Tom Schindler, formerly a science teacher at HVRHS, demonstrated how to make plastics by having his students whip up batches of oobleck and gluep. Concoctions of such everyday items as borax, Elmer's glue, cornstarch and water mixed in the right combinations and vigorously stirred become solid and behave much like Silly Putty. It can be rolled around into the hand and formed into a solid ball, but if you stop moving it, it becomes liquid again.

The series of classes is adapted for older adults from an eight-week science series for Region 1 students this summer by the Mahoney-Hewat Science and Technology Center at HVRHS.

 

The Year Without A Summer

Author John Dippel was at Noble on Saturday, July 18 for a lively talk about the intriguing information he uncovered in researching his new book, Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death: The Impact of America's First Climate Crisis. In 1816, bizarre and unprecedented cold weather, with frost every month of the year, led to a disastrous harvest in New England and other regions of the country. The crisis accelerated demographic, political, scientific, social, economic and philosophical developments that were just emerging, including migration west that turned some New England farming villages into ghost towns.

This is Mr. Dippel's fifth book, and he has also been published in The Atlantic Monthly and New Republic. An independent historian, Mr. Dippel has taught at the university level here and abroad. He and his wife live in Salisbury.

 

The Road to Livability

Tia Murphy and Pat Lang, volunteers for AARP, were at Noble on July 17 to introduce the new AARP Livability index, an on-line research tool that assesses the "livability" of cities, towns, and neighborhoods all over the country. The rating is based on seven categories, among them housing, access to shopping, workplaces and health care, and transportation. Once you find how your town rates, the assessment can be personalized by ranking the categories up or down as being more or less important to you. To check how livable your town is go to www.aarp.org/livabilityindex

 

Soda Bottle Scuba Divers

For the second session of Summer Science at Noble Horizons, participants were shown how certain polymers react with water by expanding greatly to hold a quantity of liquid. Following that, the principle of buoyancy was explored with everyone making a Cartesian diver (named for Rene Descartes, the 17th century philosopher, mathematician and scientist) using plastic bottles, pipettes and a small weight.

 

Medicare: What You Need to Know

Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging representatives Daryl Willenbrock and Carl Stewart, experts on all things Medicare, were at Noble Horizons on July 14, armed with a presentation and answers to the often confusing choices that are necessarily part of the Medicare program. Their years of experience paid off for the 30 attendees. It seemed that persons new to Medicare or not benefited from the talk which, not surprisingly, went long. The two will make a return trip in the fall to help new enrollees decide which program plan is the better choice for them. Local residents are encouraged to take advantage of this free service. Watch for announcements of a date and time.

 

Summer Science, the First Class

The Summer Science at Noble Horizons series started off with a bang on July 9 with a roomful of eager students of all ages experimenting with the art and science of paper marbling. This age-old book art has a serious science side to it having to do with water tension. In the end though it may have been the delight in seeing colorful creations so quickly pulled from a liquid bath that kept the activity level high. The next class, Soda Bottle Scuba Divers, is Thursday, July 16 at 10:30am.

 

The Llama Named Jack

Jack, a llama owned by Debbie Labbe of Country Quilt Llama Farm in West Cornwall, visited residents this summer at a special afternoon gathering in the Community Room. Ever the aristocrat, Jack was generous with his time, letting himself be admired, caressed and whispered to. He made it clear that any and all secrets shared with him from those in his circle of new friends will surely be kept in strict confidence.

 

Legal Issues of Later Life

Attorney Donna Vincenti is on a mission of sorts, motivated by 30 years working with estate and trust law. Specifically, her view is that a court-appointed guardianship (in Connecticut it is called "conservatorship") should not be an acceptable remedy for managing the affairs of disabled persons, especially seniors. Witnessing that there has been an increase in conservatorships over recent years has led Ms. Vincenti to speak out on the topic.

Avoiding another's "substituted decisions" is the underlying purpose for the many legal instruments she discussed in an afternoon talk at Noble Horizons on June 4. Durable power of attorney, revocable trusts, healthcare representatives, and more, including the common misunderstanding of "living wills," were discussed. With detailed planning it is possible to maintain control of ones financial and healthcare choices, even after mounting age-related incapacities intrude. Understanding the scope of an appointment of a designated individual is at the heart of a well-crafted legal document.

 

Civic Life Project: Four Documentary Films

There was a screening at Noble on Wednesday, June 3 of four short documentary films conceived, written and produced by Housatonic Valley Regional High School students. The topics were timely and the creative effort commendable. What added substance to the event were group discussions about each film immediately following its viewing. A dozen or so tables crowded with the student filmmakers, educators, family and interested community members made for a lively evening.

Among the film topics: Use of Breathalyzers Before School Dances; Being a Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, or Transgender Teen; Navigating Religion in Public Schools; Overmedication of Youths with ADD/ADHD.

The Civic Life Project is a Connecticut-based educational endeavor that is gathering momentum statewide under the leadership of Managing Director and Co-Founder Dominique Lasseur, above left, and ably assisted by Ben Willis, Production Coordinator. The films viewed this night were supported by the 21st Century Fund for HVRHS.

 

Cancer Survivors Celebration

Seen at the recent 12th annual Cancer Survivors Celebration held at Noble Horizons on June 2 were, above from left, Master of Ceremonies Brent Colley, First Selectman of Sharon, student volunteers, and musical guest Michael Brown. Tables full of excellent items were raffled at the end of the evening.

 

Vo-Ag Visits with a Lamb and Goat

Students from the Vo-Ag program at Housatonic Valley Regional High School visited Noble Horizons at the end of May with two honored guests: a lamb and a goat. These docile, portable centers of attention drew residents in the skilled nursing areas to hold, pet, cuddle and whisper kind words. Thanks go to Karen Davenport of HVRHS for arranging the visit with student help.

 

Memorial Day 2015

With the help of the recreation staff, Noble residents have for years staked out a choice spot along the parade route, on the Salisbury green near the town flagpole. When the color guard arrives and the parade stops for a few minutes to lay a wreath and hoist the stars and stripes, all the action is right there. 

If tradition is the single most important ingredient in a Memorial Day observance, then it is a welcome thing that every moment of the parade and the program at the cemetery is unchanged from year to year. Of course, the cast changes slightly every year:  children grow up, families form and reform, older folk return a little grayer, some are absent.

One may think about this while watching the townspeople spread out across the cemetery lawn, along the way their footfalls on wild thyme sending a sweet fragrance into the breeze. The ritual seems unchanged, too:  band music, recitations, a personal reflection, the reading of the war dead, prayers, a song, another flag sent aloft, a rifle salute, taps, the steady silence from a gathering of hundreds. Up until this moment one doesn't necessarily expect to be struck emotionally. But there it is, once again, just like every year.

 

Mother's Day Ice Cream Social

Mother's Day 2015 was sunny and hot, the perfect combination for an old-fashioned ice cream social with family and friends, some of whom traveled a considerable distance to be together. The popular trio Sentimental Journey was on hand to entertain with songs ranging from Patsy Cline to Carole King to the Beatles. There was time for impromptu dancing, together and singly, as well as a family picture or two while the ice cream sundaes got good and melty.

 

Senior Prom

Community service takes many forms. Housatonic Valley Regional High School students have held a Senior Prom at Noble Horizons for the past two years. The students make all of the arrangements, including decorations, and secure a raft of door prizes. After a social hour and dinner, the dancing begins, with many residents showing their young partners just how dancing should be done. It's an enjoyable event that everyone looks forward to.

 

Trivia Night

SOAR, the after-school enrichment program at Salisbury Central School, holds a yearly trivia contest, which in early March took place at Noble Horizons for the first time. The contestants worked in teams of eight to ten, with Noble residents matching wits with elementary-schoolers. The questions, many of them quite tricky, were designed to make good use of the age spread. Some dumbfounded the kids but were easy for the adults, others stumped the older players but were child's-play to the kids, and some were questions that young and old had to work out together. The competition was fierce but friendly and everyone is looking forward to next year's competition.

 

Medicaid Informational Talk

A carefully planned PowerPoint presentation on April 25 quickly turned into a free-wheeling tag team Q and A with speakers Janet Carlson (pictured left), Executive Director, PharmaCares, Certified Choice Counselor and Foundation Assister, and Patricia Frasca, Navigator Coordinator, New Opportunities. It would appear that these two professional women know everything about the American health care system as well as the particular health care resources available in the Tri-State area.

Far more than just a discussion about Medicaid, attendees left with answers to all their questions about government administration of our health care dollars.

 

Zentangle-inspired Drawing Hits Home With All Ages

Amazing results await the conscientious student of Zentangle, the fast-growing meditative style of drawing, now a trademarked technique.

It is unlike other art classes. For one thing the average student age for the 2-hour April 25 Noble Horizons class fell somewhere between 9 and 90. Led by Katie Baldwin, pictured right, a local practitioner (and soon-to-be certified teacher), the class employed the very simple tools and techniques of the founders of Zentangle.

At the core of the technique are the beliefs that there are no rules, that no line placed on paper can ever be a mistake, and that the peace the artist experiences is as much a part of the final creation as the delightful dark pencil lines in patterns on a small square of paper.

 

TRIAD Presents Alzheimer's Event

On April 23, Noble Horizons hosted an event presented by Triad entitled "How to Recognize and Adapt to Early Alzheimer's." It was a return trip for presenter Carolyn DeRocco (pictured) and Jennifer Labrie from the Connecticut chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. Under discussion were the 10 signs for early detection of Alzheimer's disease, strategies for improving communication, coping with behavioral changes, and managing safety issues. A polished public speaker, Ms. DeRocco addressed a packed house interested in learning the latest information.

 

A Night At The Oscars

For this year's Volunteer Recognition Dinner on April 21 all the stops were pulled out for "A Night At The Oscars," awash in glitzy glam. The attendees, many dressed to the nines for the occasion, walked the red carpet, pausing to be snapped by the paparazzi, and moved into the Community Room along a walk of stars down the center of the floor.

There was a predictable amount of high jinks but much more heartfelt appreciation to the roomful of loyal volunteers who together give thousands of a hours of their time in all sorts of ways that ultimately help each and every resident of Noble Horizons.

Pictured here are just some of the evening's participants.

 

Bestselling Author Virginia Morris Speaks on Aging

Virginia Morris, award-winning journalist and author of the bestselling How To Care For Aging Parents, spoke at Noble Horizons on April 18. First published in 1996 and now in its third printing, the book has been widely praised for its breadth of information and practical, compassionate advice for caregivers of elderly parents. Ms. Morris has testified on eldercare issues before Congress and has appeared on Today, Good Morning America, ABC World News, Oprah, CNN, NPR and elsewhere.

 

After her presentation, Ms. Morris moderated a panel discussion that focused on local eldercare resources. Panelists included Virginia Gold, social worker with Salisbury Visiting Nurse Association; Valerie Lattrell, BSN, MSRN, Director of Nursing Services and chair of the Dementia Care Committee at Noble Horizons; Darylle Willenbrock, CHOICES Regional Coordinator, Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging; and Darilyn Woods, Vice President and Trust Officer, Salisbury Bank.  Ms. Morris signed the latest edition of her book during the reception that followed.

 

The event was co-sponsored by Salisbury Visiting Nurse Association and Salisbury Bank.

 

A Walk Through The Park

Dr. Thomas Gill, Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Investigative Medicine and Humana Foundation Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Yale, brought an informative program, "A Walk Through The Park: Promoting Independent Mobility In An Aging Society," to Noble on April 11. He explained the results of LIFE, ( Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders) a research study he designed to explore ways to help older adults improve their quality of life and remain independent.

The three-year study, conducted at eight sites around the country, involved volunteers between the ages of 70 and 89. Half attended classes on healthy aging, learning about nutrition, effective communication with their doctors, foot care, and other topics. The other half received physical training, focusing on fitness, strength, flexibility and balance. After three years, the second group fared far better in terms of maintaining mobility, as well as improved mood, better sleep and fewer falls. Thirty minutes of walking, five times a week spell the difference, he said, between vigor and dependency.

 

Happy 20th Anniversary to The Country Store

The Noble Horizons Auxiliary's Country Store celebrated its 20th anniversary on March 24 with a one-day sale—with many items offered, appropriately enough, at 20% off—and ended a day of successful sales with a reception for auxiliary members. Many of those enjoying the wine and excellent nibbles were auxiliary members who volunteer their time to staff the store or did so in the past. Singled out for special recognition were Marian Schwaikert and Arlene Dubin, who played key roles in getting the Country Store off and running, and Sharie Schwaikert, the store's very able buyer and manager.

The Country Store has raised $171,000 over the past two decades, all of which has gone to fund purchases and services that enhance the lives of Noble residents. And, as Sharie Schwaikert pointed out, the store is a social hub for residents and staff. It's also a resource for savvy area shoppers who appreciate its stylish merchandise and excellent prices.

Pictured below, from left, Sharie and Marian Schwaikert; Arlene Dubin; store volunteers at the reception.