The healing power of beauty through artistic expression in the elderly

Fran DobinLearning, creativity, and self-expression are joys that can be pursued throughout a lifetime. Although aging may place some limitations on these pursuits, an assisted living community that provides the opportunity and guidance for creativity can truly enrich the aging experience.

Instructional programs in music, dance, poetry, writing, and art give participants broadened opportunities for socialization with their fellow residents. Communication increases, and support is shared.

Consider the benefits of a fine arts program, which taps into the innate human need for creativity and self-expression. Making art can give the elderly an additional “visual voice” through which to communicate, especially if they are memory impaired. Watching something grow and develop brings hope and focus on life.  The fundamentals of art – color, light, shape – are the words of that voice that the senior artist can use to share the uniqueness of who they are and their abundance of experiences.

The need for self-expression does not diminish with age. Encouraging the elderly to share the richness of their lives through art brings insight and joy to both the artist and to those who love them.

Consider services, programs, and enhanced care when choosing an assisted living community

When selecting an assisted living facility for yourself or a loved one, there are many factors to consider, some of which can be evaluated during a personal tour. Is the facility clean and orderly? Are residents engaged in activities? Does staff provide assistance, if necessary, with daily needs such as medication management, bathing, and dressing?

Along with basic services, consider the program of activities available to residents. Learning does not stop with aging, and opportunities for art classes, acting workshops, dancing, and other stimulating pastimes encourage seniors to maintain their many interests and perhaps even develop new ones.

In addition, consider the benefits of a facility that also provides a residence with skilled nursing care should the need arise. The ability to “age in place” minimizes the stress of change for a senior with increasing health needs.

Through thoughtful communication and careful planning and investigating, a move to assisted living can prove to be a welcome lifestyle change.

September 13 -19 is National Assisted Living Week!

With the percentage of the U.S. population over age 65 steadily increasing, specialized residences and health care must be available for the growing and varied needs of seniors. Residences offering appropriate levels of care based on an individual’s need are often the solution. Here are various senior living options:

Assisted Living is for seniors who require the least amount of care. Meals are provided along with assistance in medication management, bathing, and dressing. Housekeeping and laundry services may be available; community social activities or outings offered; and depending on preferences and budgets, residents may have the option of choosing a private room or a shared apartment.

The concept of Enhanced Assisted Living can vary, but essentially these facilities, in addition to the services of Assisted Living, offer opportunities for “aging in place” by providing higher level care, services, and therapies as a senior’s needs increase.

Although some Assisted Living residences may provide services for seniors with cognitive impairment, a Memory Care residence is a specialized community for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Providing 24-hour supervision and security, the Memory Care environment is designed to meet the unique challenges of Alzheimer’s patients.

A Skilled Nursing Facility, sometimes known as a nursing home, provides the highest level of care as well as round-the-clock availability of medical care. Skilled Nursing usually provides long-term care for seniors who are too sick or frail for other types of residences.

Reutlinger expands rehabilitation therapy

In a move to provide integrated health care, the Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living in Danville has formed a strategic partnership with Affirma Rehabilitation. “This alliance benefits our residents by allowing them to get needed care in place — immediately and at regular intervals — alleviating the stress and wait for off-site doctor visits,” said Reutlinger CEO Jay Zimmer.

The therapeutic services also will be available for those in Reutlinger’s short-term rehabilitation unit needing post-hospital discharge care, Zimmer said,  “and plans are already underway to offer services to the community at large as well.”

The comprehensive services — including orthopedic and stroke rehabilitation, cardio-pulmonary care and dementia therapy — will be part of a broader outpatient program with an increased focus on wellness for Reutlinger’s assisted-living community, Zimmer added.

The Reutlinger Community joins forces with AFFIRMA Rehabilitation to offer onsite therapy

The Reutlinger Community joins forces with AFFIRMA Rehabilitation to offer onsite therapy Strategic Partnership to improve care and outcomes for Danville community‘s Senior Population Danville, CA – In a move to provide integrated healthcare, The Reutlinger Community has formed a strategic partnership with AFFIRMA Rehabilitation. “This alliance benefits our residents by allowing them to get needed care in place – immediately and at regular intervals – alleviating the stress and wait for offsite doctor visits,” explains Jay Zimmer, CEO of The Reutlinger. “It also makes our short-term stay rehabilitation unit ideal for those needing post-hospital discharge care; and plans are already underway to offer services to the community-at-large as well.”

In an era when hospitals are being penalized for readmissions, sending institutions will benefit from The Reutlinger – AFFIRMA partnership through improved patient functional outcomes when discharging to the community. According to data released by The Reutlinger, the community already enjoys low readmission rates – under 3% compared to the industry of 8% – and an average length of stay of only 19 days compared to 27 days.

The Reutlinger – AFFIRMA partnership will offer state of the art modalities in conjunction with evidencebased clinical programs to help with fall reduction, contracture management, orthopedic rehabilitation, stroke rehabilitation, cardio-pulmonary care, and dementia. The suite of comprehensive rehabilitation services covering musculoskeletal and neurological conditions, cardiac, respiratory, dementia care, and more, will also be available as a broader, out-patient program with an increased focus on wellness to the assisted living community as well as the outside community.

Zimmer also explained, that another major benefit of onsite rehabilitation services will be better coordination and communication from therapy services to all departments associated with residentpatient care resulting in improved transitions from skilled nursing to assisted living or home. AFFIRMA will have a lead Facility Rehabilitation Director at The Reutlinger to act as the liaison between all caregivers.

“This partnership will bring us new programmatic capability for both in/out-patient populations, new service delivery options, andstate of the art equipment to name just a few benefits,” expressed Zimmer. Ruth Miller, Senior Regional Director for AFFIRMA added, “This partnership will improve the quality of care for all residents associated with The Reutlinger and help each person achieve their highest functional ability.”

About The Reutlinger Community Established in 1950, The Reutlinger is a non-profit senior living community that is proud to offer a true continuum of care from Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care to Skilled Nursing including Short-term Rehabilitation. Located in the beautiful rolling hills of Danville, CA. The Reutlinger offers a full range of activity programming in every level of care 7 days a week; and welcomes people of all faiths and background. For more information visit www.rjcl.org. About AFFIRMA Rehabilitation AFFIRMA is a nationwide company dedicated to providing superior rehabilitation therapy services. We are an integrated healthcare provider meeting resident’s needs through the care continuum. AFFIRMA stands for quality and clinically is able to address all aspects of cognitive and physical rehabilitation. AFFIRMA uses innovative techniques to achieve optimal measurable outcomes for each resident under care. For more information visit www.affirmarehabilitation.com

Carla Adamic joins The Reutlinger as Director of Marketing

Established in 1950, The Reutlinger is a non-profit senior living community offering assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing.

The Reutlinger Community is pleased to announce that Carla Adamic has joined its leadership team as Director of Marketing. In this capacity, Adamic will oversee the coordination of all inquiries, admissions, sales calls, outreach to referral sources, and marketing. She is also a Registered Nurse.
Jay Zimmer, CEO of The Reutlinger commented upon her hiring, “Carla and I have worked together in the past, implementing new procedures and programs. She is dedicated, compassionate and concerned about the residents, we are very fortunate to have her join The Reutlinger Community’s team.”
“I respect Jay’s leadership style and was intrigued that he made me an offer to join the staff at The Reutlinger. I am excited to be here to work passionately to safeguard the quality and reputation of The Reutlinger. I will do everything in my power to ensure that our special residents are given superior care, and that they are cared about,” expressed Adamic.
Carla further explained that she has had the pleasure of working in the senior living industry for the past 10 years in four different communities. She re-entered the workforce after a leave of absence to raise her three children. In her previous position she had to commute a minimum of three hours a day. “I love my new commute,” she declared. “I am blessed to have discovered my passion and occupation are one in the same – seniors!”
Adamic and her family have lived in Danville for more than 23 years. She has 2 sons, a daughter, son in law, and a precious 2 ½ year old grandson. She is engaged to married this summer to, as she states, a wonderful man.

About The Reutlinger Community
Established in 1950, The Reutlinger is a non-profit senior living community that is proud to offer a true continuum of care from Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care to Skilled Nursing including Short-term Rehabilitation. Located in the beautiful rolling hills of Danville, CA. The Reutlinger offers a full range of activity programming in every level of care 7 days a week; and welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds, with an emphasis on Jewish values. For more information visit www.rjcl.org.
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Increasing beauty among the elderly

By Betty Rothaus

In my career as director of the art program at The Reutlinger Community, I was invited to participate in a fascinating three day international conference entitled “Beauty: The Color of Truth”. The gathering brought people from a variety of realms together- scientists, artists, theologians, and scholars – to look at beauty. We discussed what it is and the roles it plays in our lives collectively, culturally and individually.

I was asked to speak about beauty in the context of healing and spirituality in the elderly, and to share the “Discovering the Artist Within” program at The Reutlinger as a living example.

My panel offering, “Discovering the Artist Within: The Healing Power of Beauty” outlined our community’s art program and provided visual references of our residents’ works and quotes. I addressed the actual experience of beauty and creativity in our lives and the healing affect of beauty on our body, mind and most importantly, spirit-particularly in our aging population.

I spoke about how old age and aging is a part of life, and like any other, full of possibilities, limitations, and challenges. My art students in their 80s and 90s want to grow and learn, find beauty and share it. They have not stopped “becoming” – in fact, they are coming closer and closer to who they really are. What most people see (when they meet an elder) is an outer image. But each person has a spirit inside, no matter his or her age. This is part of my joy in teaching, to see that spirit set free, and expressed.

Though we say something is beautiful it seems to have more to do with energy than material embodiment.  We are stilled when we experience beauty, often followed by the feeling of awe, of aliveness or appreciation of that precious moment. Whether it is received through the senses or imagined with the inner eye, it is intensely felt.

When we encounter beauty we are filled with this experience; we shift into a different state of being- a more sensitive state of openness and receptivity. OUR EYES OPEN. WE SEE WHAT WE DID NOT SEE BEFORE.  In our alternative state, time and place of the material and mundane world completely disappears, our mind chatter stops and pain lessens, and there is peace.

All it takes to slip into this alternative state is a willingness to focus on beauty. This is a lovely way to share precious moments with an aging loved one. Some tips for making this happen:

  • Go out in nature together and discuss what you see. What is beautiful in books, large nature photographs or in other cultures?
  • Read a lyrical poem that touches you or a mystical story.
  • Listen to a symphony or opera or sing together.
  • Watch a dance concert, study a work of art, or create a painting of your own.

These are moments that can transport you and a senior resident to a world in which his or her spirit can soar into sound and color. Refreshed and renewed, you will be creating a shared experience and beautiful memory that will be treasured.

Betty Rothaus, MFA, is the Artist-in-Residence at The Reutlinger Community in Danville, CA.

Seniors | Elders let their inner artist shine in Danville exhibition

Fifty years ago, Maher Salama enjoyed swimming and rowing, followed by dinner with his wife on the river bank.

His graphite and watercolor painting recalling that scene is one of many on display in “Discovering the Artist Within,” an exhibition at the Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living in Danville, where Salama resides.

The 14th annual exhibition reflects the talents of residents who participate in the facility’s award-winning arts program, under the direction of full-time artist-in-residence Betty Rothaus.

The largest piece in the show, a portrait by Rhoda Wasserman, is a graphite and oil-on-canvas panel. Creating art, Wasserman says, “is a matter of making a good choice, working it through and coming to a completion.”

The smallest piece in the show is a 5-inch sculpture by Harriet Rotman, a resident who only recently began using the art room.

Michie Takashima painted “Seafoam Crest,” a landscape representing a composite of her memories of the California coast. “We used to go to Pescadero Beach when we were youngsters, where we watched the waves come in over the rocks, felt the wind and frolicked in the water chasing the waves,” she says.

Ruth Janger began her painting without knowing what it would look like when finished. As she progressed, she felt she “needed more” and remembered her mother saying, “Don’t look for the gold, you’ll find it. The gold will always be there.”

Now, she says, “I know this image was in my mind all the time.” She named her work “All That Glitters Is Not Gold.”

Rothaus meets several times a week with interested residents, individually and in groups, including those in the memory care units. “Everyone does their own thing,” Rothaus says. “I try to help them clarify and realize their vision, and what they want to do.”

Participants come to the program with a range of skill levels, from lifelong artists to those “who remember doing art as children,” according to Rothaus.

“People benefit so much from making art,” she adds. “It is expression; they learn a new visual language, develop skills in composition and color. It gives them so much to think about outside of any problems they may have. It is positive and healthy and something to look forward to.”

The show is a major event for the senior community, according to Reutlinger CEO Jay Zimmer. In addition to the exhibition, artwork — much of it done by residents — is permanently displayed throughout the building.

“Discovering the Artist Within” is on display through 2015 in the main building, located at 4000 Camino Tassajara, Danville. For more information, call (925) 964-2034 or email betty.rothaus@gmail.com.

Art is Alive and Well for the Residents of the Reutlinger

14th Annual Exhibit Showcases Residents’ Art

Danville, CA (February 16, 2015) – Fifty years ago, Maher Salama, a resident at The Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living, enjoyed swimming and rowing. “I used to take my wife to the Club Nautique Hellenic and row there on the banks of the great river followed by dinner together,” he remembers.

His graphite and watercolor painting about those long-ago days on the River Nile is on display in the 14th Annual Exhibition of Art at The Reutlinger, located in the San Francisco Bay Area town of Danville, CA.

The exhibition reflects the work of the 70-, 80- and 90-year olds who participate in the facility’s awardwinning art program, which will celebrate its silver anniversary in September.

The largest piece in the show, a portrait by Rhoda Wasserman, is a graphite/oil on canvas panel. Making art, she said, “is a matter of a good choice, working it through, and coming to a completion. Even if an idea doesn’t work into the current painting, it might work in the next.” A 5-inch sculpture by Harriet Rotman, a resident who just started coming to the art room, is the show’s most petite piece.

Opening the show is a landscape, “Seafoam Crest,” that is a composite of the artist’s memories of northern and southern California. “We used to go to Pescadero Beach when we were youngsters, where we watched the waves come in over the rocks, felt the wind and frolicked in the water chasing the waves,” said its creator, Michie Takashima. Michie incorporated the foam “working up in the water and then floating away” and added Glendale palms “to give the painting more color, contrast and space,” she explained.

Ruth Janger began her painting without knowing how it would look when finished. As she progressed, she felt she “needed more” and remembered her mother saying, “Don’t look for the gold, you’ll find it. The gold will always be there. Now, I know this image was in my mind all the time,” she said, and named her work “All That Glitters is Not Gold.”

Such exceptional results would not happen without Betty Rothaus, MFA. She is the full-time Artist-inResidence/Director of the Art Program at The Reutlinger. Rothaus meets several times a week, individually and in groups, with any resident, including those in the memory care units, who is Media Contact: Jeanine Genauer The JPR Group (973) 980-0100 jgenauer@jprgroup.com interested. “Being available full time provides a consistency that allows a much greater involvement from the residents,” she said.

“Everyone does their own thing,” Rothaus said. “I try to help them clarify and realize their vision, and what they want to do.” The residents come to the program with a wide range of skill levels, from some who were dedicated to art all their lives to those who remember doing art as children.”

“People benefit so much from making art,” said Rothaus. “It is expression; they learn a new visual language, develop skills in composition and color. It gives them so much to think about outside of any problems they may have. It is positive and healthy and something to look forward to.” The show, aptly titled “Discovering the Artist Within,” is a major event for The Reutlinger, said CEO Jay Zimmer.

In addition to the exhibition, he said, there is “always art at the Reutlinger. Beautiful works of art are permanently displayed throughout the building; over 350 of these are resident creations.” Fourteen Reutlinger artists were chosen to be represented in the 2015 calendar for the California Association of Healthcare Facilities. Reutlinger artists also exhibit at well-known public venues through a collaboration with the Eldergivers “Art With Elders” program, and in exhibitions at Jewish facilities throughout the Bay area. In a few months, the Reutlinger will hold a reception for families, residents, staff and visitors.

The resident artists will read their statements and add a few words, if they wish, while their art is shown. “It is a very moving program to see and then hear what the residents have experienced and achieved,” said Zimmer. “It is especially meaningful to have their families sharing this day.” The art show is on display in the main building through the end of the year at 4000 Camino Tassajara, open 9am to 5pm seven days a week through the end of the year.

For more information, call 925-964- 2034 or email betty.rothaus@gmail.com. “All generations may learn about living and aging gracefully from our residents; we also look to them for how to age with meaning and purpose,” said Rothaus. “In this exhibition, our elders share their secrets, teaching us about living full lives, and that possibilities of growth, fulfilling our dreams and blessings always await us.” The Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living is a multi-level care facility that is home to 180 residents living in the Sukkat Shalom Skilled Nursing unit, Assisted Living apartments, the Tikvah Enhanced Care Center and the Traditions Memory Care Center. It is rated 5 stars by the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. # # # Photos: Reutlinger1-Michie Takashima Reutlinger2-Ruth Janger Reutlinger3-Rhoda Wasserman

Jay Zimmer Appointed Chief Executive Officer of Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living

Danville, CA (November 19, 2014) – The Board of Directors of The Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living is pleased to announce the hiring of Jay Zimmer, MBA as the new CEO of the senior living community. The appointment comes at a time that RCJL will be undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, Renew Reutlinger. The Reutlinger is a five-star rated multi-level, faith-based, nonprofit senior care organization that welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds, with an emphasis on Jewish values.

“Our nationwide search yielded many promising applicants but we were impressed with Jay’s experience in not only senior living, but all aspects of healthcare. Jay is a proven leader and innovator and we look forward to him leading us into the challenging new age of senior healthcare. He will be instrumental in the implementation of our new strategic plan developed in coordination with our consultants, Health Dimensions. Jay will be reaching out to the community-at-large as well as our East Bay Jewish community,” stated Dr. Marc Usatin, Board President.

The Board noted Zimmer’s leadership style saying it lends itself well to overseeing the care of their residents, staff and The Reutlinger’s renovation initiative. “He’s demonstrated a facilitative style, balancing equally between process, relationships, and results,” commented Dr. Usatin.

Zimmer says his leadership will be inclusive and encourage feedback and input from the Board, the community-at-large, residents, front-line staff, and the management team in order to continually elevate the quality of care and services offered.

“I’m very impressed with the RCJL team, their commitment to excellence in care, their friendly attitude and smiling faces. It’s great to see people who seem happy to come to work each day, demonstrate a great deal of respect for our residents and their families, and take their responsibility to provide outstanding, compassionate care seriously,” expressed Zimmer regarding his new team.

By utilizing his superior knowledge of the industry that he has gained over the past 20 years, and commitment to care of the aging, Zimmer will position The Reutlinger as the area’s premier senior living community that provides a continuum of care to age in place.

“Over the next few years the eldercare industry will experience rapid change in how care is delivered and for how it is reimbursed. The Reutlinger has planned and prepared for future changes and is poised to select and work effectively with partners in hospitals, home-health, hospice and rehabilitation spaces. Expanding our community presence, exploring new opportunities, and securing our future will be primary in achieving our goals,” he explained in discussing his vision of the industry and The Reutlinger.

As CEO, his goals initially will be to guide the community through a multi-million dollar physical plant renovation; develop a comprehensive marketing, repositioning, and branding plan; create a long-term development strategy to increase RCJL’s endowment; and, establish relationships, affiliations, and partnerships that will provide those pieces of the care-model continuum that cannot be accommodated in-house.

In his off hours, you can expect to find Jay Zimmer enjoying the outdoors running, hiking or cycling; or spending time with his wife Rochelle Blank-Zimmer, Nutrition and Health Counselor, Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Columbia Teacher’s College, NY, NY, three children, four grandchildren and of course, the family dog, Samantha (Sammy).

About Jay Zimmer

Jay Zimmer has over 20 years of senior management experience across the full spectrum of healthcare – university medical schools, community hospitals, large multi-specialty physician practices, long-term post-acute care and healthcare consulting. He has held senior level positions in healthcare strategic planning, hospital administration, healthcare mergers and acquisitions, continuing care retirement community (CCRC) administration, healthcare facility construction, renovation and rehabilitation. He has been directly involved in more than $750 million dollars of hospital, ambulatory, long-term care and CCRC design, construction and renovation projects. Jay served for many years on the Board and Executive Committee of The Jewish Federation of Atlantic and Cape May Counties and The Seashore Gardens/Hebrew Old Age Home, where he also served as President of the Seashore Gardens Foundation. During his time with Seashore Gardens, a brand new community was developed, replacing the former skilled nursing home with a state of the art skilled unit, assisted living, memory care and market-based congregate housing for the elderly. Jay holds two Masters Degrees – one in Psychology (MA) from the New School for Social Research, and one in Business Administration (MBA) from the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, City University of New York.

About The Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living

Established in 1950, The Reutlinger is a non-profit senior living community that is proud to offer a true continuum of care from Independent Living, Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care and Skilled Nursing including Short-term Rehabilitation. Located in the beautiful rolling hills of Danville, CA. The Reutlinger offers a full range of activity programming in every level of care 7 days a week; and welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds, with an emphasis on Jewish values. For more information visit www.rjcl.org. # # #