Awakening Your Inner Spirit

Many people experience a need for connection with something greater with themselves whether it be religious in nature or simply a sense of connection with the natural world. For some of us, this can be a rewarding, lifelong journey. For others, it can be a way to change our perspective so we can see our best selves. Here are a few ways you can try to awaken your inner spirit.

Guided Meditation – For many of us, meditation can be a way to let the worries of the world pass over us and reengage with our inner selves. This doesn’t have to be religious in nature. Rather it’s simply a way to clear your mind and simply be. Consider doing this with some music or perhaps outside where you can hear the soothing sounds of nature.

Take a Nature Walk – The beauty and scope of nature is limitless. Taking a walk outside, especially in the spring can be glorious. Whether it’s a walk high in the mountains with gorgeous views and crisp air, a walk on the beach, or a simple stroll through the park where you can see the wildflowers bloom, few things are as invigorating as a simple walk outside.

Pray – Whatever your religion, prayer can have a powerful effect on a person’s spirit whether they are looking to simply appreciate life more or connect to something greater. Prayer has been proven to have a powerful positive effect on a person’s outlook and mental health. Psychologists say that prayer reduces the stress of daily life, helps a person’s sense of self-control and even makes them more pleasant to be around.

Listen to Music – Music is a language that can express the inexpressible. The emotional and spiritual effects of music can be profound. This is true of almost any type of music. Happy music can lift us up. Sad music, ironically, can do the same. A scientific study demonstrated that people trying to feel happier while listening to music by Aaron Copland actually works!

To learn more, call us at (925) 648-2800 or visit www.rcjl.org

SEVEN REUTLINGER RESIDENTS’ WORKS FEATURED AT ART WITH ELDERS EXHIBITION

 

The 24th AWE Exhibition Reception and Gala Celebration was a wonder-filled day for all 100 resident-artists, their friends, families and caregivers as well as the staff and board of AWE who create this blessed event each year. The exhibit and program took place in the historic Gerald Simon Auditorium (Bing Crosby used to broadcast his White Christmas Show there), at Laguna Honda Hospital in the San Francisco Twin Peaks area.

The residents in the show excitedly discovered their own paintings hung with a beautiful bio and black and white photograph of themselves. As viewers in the large room proceeded to move through the exhibit, the entire show was being projected on the stage visible to all the tables.

Light refreshments were brought to the tables and the celebration continued both before and after the program; each artist’s name was called by their teacher from the podium. Mark Campbell, the executive director dedicated the show to AWE’s founder, Brent Nettle.   Mark inspired us saying that beyond the beauty created and the benefits to the artists, one of the main reasons for this program to exist is for this elder generation to teach all the others generations how to age! They teach us to ignore any cultural negativity, defy the “limiting ways of being” we are taught, and live a completely, glorious life filled with creativity, beauty and achievement-our entire lives!

It is such an honor to work toward this day and then see everyone light up with inspiration, and a recognition and  celebration of the human spirit. This year our Reutlinger party included 41 people!!!!! There is much that goes on behind the scenes to make this happen. Thank you to every single person in Nursing, Vickie in the salon, Dietary, Concierge(s), Activities who contributed and special a thank you to Abdul and Ramiro who delivered us safely, Kim, Jackie, and Sue for taking care of us on the trip.

Thank you to the families of the artists for joining us and making it an especially memorable day, our friends Evelyn Ostreicher, Bob Dematteis, Sybil Marblestone, and Selma Moses, Shonny and Joe Potozkin and last but not least, our honored artists who created such stunning work:

Michie Takashima, Loraine Hornbeck, Maher Salama, Fran Dobin, Rita R. Goldman, Katarina, Kivel, and Rhoda Wasserman.

Betty Rothaus, Artist-In-Residence
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Legacy Projects Benefit Young and Old

 Carla Adamic Outside

A legacy project is a way that we can record our stories for future generations. It’s one way we can transfer our voice into the future for our children, our grandchildren and our grandchildren’s grandchildren to hear. As we record our memories we better remember our lives and our connections.

 

It’s also a way we can remind ourselves of our own story, even through the cloud of fragmented memory that might occur as we age. As our memory becomes impaired, giving background knowledge on ourselves to those who are caring for us will be of great benefit. If you move into a senior living community, one that is truly caring and concerned about your total well-being, will ask detailed questions about your likes, interests, family history, birthdays, important occurrences, former pets and more. With this knowledge, they will be able to help us remember, they will help trigger our memory, as we age. We will not feel lost.

 

Not everyone shares their stories in the same way. We all have our own unique voices and our own talents. For some of us, our stories are told through generations of family recipes. For others, they’re told through photographs and scrapbooks. Still for others, it’s through keepsakes and family trees. These stories are our legacies, they’re how we connect our past with our family’s futures, and they’re how we demonstrate that we are a key chapter in the never-ending story of our families and communities.

 

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LEGACY PROJECT IDEAS

 

Write A Memoir

While it might be the most obvious way to create a legacy story, writing a memoir can also be one of the most thorough and satisfying. What better way to tell a story than to write it down? You don’t have to begin at the beginning if you don’t want to. Just write what you feel like talking about as it comes to you. You can sort things out as you go. Share your stories as you write them. Who knows? Maybe writing and talking about your past will help you remember some wonderful memories you may have forgotten?

 

Create A Time Capsule

Sometimes our stories are best told through our possessions. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, the things we love become real in ways that other objects simply don’t. The meaning we attach to objects, be they a signed baseball, a family quilt, candlesticks or things that we can’t even begin to guess about. After all, these are objects of meaning to you. We can’t live your life for you, only you know what’s really important. Leave a note with the Time Capsule about when it’s to be opened. Explain what you’ve included and why. Future generations of your family will be more whole for your efforts.

 

Create a Recipe Book

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Many families have passed down recipe books through generations, with each generation expanding the repertoire of the next. Through recipes we create the kind of memories people don’t usually expect to be able to pass down. Through food our descendants can taste what we taste and can be sustained and nourished both literally and figuratively by those who came before us.

 

Make a Video or Audio Documentary

Some of us write, others record. We have more tools than ever to record our stories these days. Anyone and everyone can purchase recording equipment relatively inexpensively. Whether you want to take videos of yourself and places of importance for you or if you simply want to tell your story in your own voice for others to hear, it’s easier than ever to become a documentarian.

 

Create Art

Many of our residents at The Reutlinger choose to take part in our award-winning art program. Through art our emotions and lives can be expressed visually in a way that is distinct from photographs. A great artist can transfer a part of their soul into a sculpture or onto a canvas. Things of beauty are utterly unique to the creator and can provide warmth and illumination to the homes of their descendants.

 

For more ideas on legacy projects or to learn about our art program, please contact us at www.rcjl.org or call us at 925.648.2800.

 

5 Ways You Can Volunteer to Help Seniors

Carla Adamic Outside

There are over 40 million Americans over the age of 65. That’s a substantial and growing portion of the population as people are living longer and living healthier. Supporting our seniors is the responsibility of every decent society and many of us are looking for opportunities to contribute to ease and improve the lives of our senior citizens. Here are five ways you can get involved:

1. Help A Retired Neighbor With Their Chores

As people age they become less mobile. Actions that were once easy like driving to the supermarket or cleaning their home become more burdensome. While there are paid services available to help with those needs, most seniors are on fixed and limited income. Just a few hours of your time each week can help Seniors to reapportion their expenses and schedules to be able to spend their money enjoying their golden years rather than simply enduring them.

2. Visit An Assisted Living Community

Many seniors live in places where their day-to-day needs are taken care of, but they still might wish to spend time with people outside of their communities. Some seniors who live in Assisted Living Communities have family that can’t visit often and long to form relationships with people who live nearby and feel part of a larger community. Your visits can do exactly that.

3. Join An Economic Relief Program

 While the worst of the financial crisis may have happened in 2008, many people lost a significant portion of their savings when it came time to retire and are in need of help to make ends meet. Organizations like the AARP offer volunteer opportunities to help Seniors deal with their finances from teaching programs to help people over 50 to save better, to tax aide programs to help seniors maximize their deductions during tax time.

dad-822294_6404. Home Repair and Renovation

Many volunteers don’t have the time to visit with seniors on a regular basis but still want to contribute. One way to do that is to help repair and renovate a senior citizen’s home. Fixing a door or a sink might not seem like much in the scheme of things, but when you consider how many times you go through a door or use the sink in a given day, that single act is paid forward hundreds of times.

5. Create an Event

Seniors want to feel acknowledged and appreciated and what better way to do it than by bringing your community together to create an event to salute its seniors? Holding concerts, shows, and parties in celebration of our seniors is easier than it seems and the reward of seeing the faces of smiling seniors makes the effort worthwhile.

 To learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit us at our website.

5 Ways that Volunteering is Healthy for Both Sides of the Generational Divide

Carla Adamic Outside

Winston Churchill said that “You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.” Some of us are students, not certain where our careers and futures will take us. Others are retirees, having concluded our careers, but still living with purpose. Both groups have something to give and something to gain by volunteering their time and their talents. The benefits of volunteering are many for the old, the young and everyone in between. Here are a few ways volunteering can make your life better.

Fight Depression

No matter where you are in life, depression can strike.  One of the key factors that causes depression is social isolation. By coming together with others for a common cause, that isolation decreases. Couple that togetherness with a sense of purpose and feelings of self-doubt can be driven out and replaced with those of self-worth.  Complements from your fellow volunteers will serve important reminders that the world is a better place because of you. 

Learn Valuable Skills

Everyone has something to teach someone else. There are no exceptions. Seniors have lifetimes of experience that they can pass down to others. Younger people are more in tune with the rhythms and technologies of modern life. Volunteers can help each other find skills that can range from the entertaining to the life altering. Maybe by volunteering for an art program you could discover a passion for the arts? Or by helping to renovate a home you discover a talent for carpentry? Maybe you’ll discover a love for blogging? The possibilities are endless.

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Create Lasting Friendships

There is no rule that says that friendship only occurs within the same generation. Bonds of friendship between generations are more common than you think. By volunteering together people both young and old can create lasting and meaningful bonds. Travelling together, watching sports, performing in concerts, and simply enjoying a good walk are experiences that can be shared by almost anyone. 

Make A Real Difference

While volunteering has a number of side benefits the main reason, to change the world for the better, is valuable in and of itself. Doing good is always its own reward.  There is no substitute for the pride, satisfaction and joy that comes from helping others.

To learn more about volunteering opportunities, visit us at rcjl.org.

 

The Healing Power of Beauty Through Artistic Expression in the Elderly

Carla Adamic Outside

 

 

 

 

 

By Carla Adamic, The Reultinger Community

Learning, 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.

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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.

 

We welcome your questions. Call (925)648-2800 or visit www.rcjl.org.