Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Front Porch Foundation Partners Fund Robotic Seal for Memory Care Communities

Paro, the robot baby harp seal, which was recently pilot tested at Front Porch communities, will soon be a permanent fixture at Front Summer Houses and other Front Porch memory care communities.

California Lutheran Homes, FACT, Pacific Homes and Sunny View foundations have all approved funding to purchase one or more of the audio-animatronic, interactive seal that helps engage those with memory issues including Alzheimer's Disease. As Front Porch partners, the four foundations philanthropically support Front Porch retirement communities. Paro will debut in the coming months at five Front Porch memory care communities and continues to be used at Summer House at Sunny View, the community at which Paro was pilot tested.
Paro isn't hard to love. It wiggles and squeaks. It shakes its head when its whiskers are touched. All of this courtesy of a 32-bit CPU and sensors that recognize touch, light, sound, temperature and position. Paro draws its energy from a battery charger. The Food and Drug Administration has designated it a "Class II medical device," the same designation as a wheelchair. [READ MORE]

Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing Receives Grant to Confront Online Security Among Seniors

Many people are victims of Internet scams. Others are concerned about online security for themselves and their loved ones. Some of the most vulnerable are seniors.
Ellie Piers

To help confront online security issues, Ellie Piers, a Carlsbad By The Sea resident for many years, bequeathed a generous monetary gift to Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing.

The gift will benefit the Center's ongoing mission of using technology to enhance wellbeing among older adults. Her contribution will allow the CIW to confront the issue of elder security by using adaptive technologies to develop initiatives related to senior online security, specifically in the Greater San Diego Area.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, elder abuse is a significant public health problem. Each year, hundreds of thousands of adults over the age of 60 are abused, neglected, or financially exploited. In the United States alone, more than 500,000 older adults are believed to be abused or neglected each year with many such crimes believed to be not reported or under-reported.
"We are honored and grateful that Ellie has chosen to contribute to Front Porch in hopes of benefitting others," said Kari Olson, President of the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing. "The Center has been interested in addressing the topic of senior online security and her gift will give us a unique opportunity to focus on this important area of wellbeing. We are honored to pay tribute to Ellie's memory and passion to help others by making a difference." [READ MORE]

Find a Unique Gift at Front Porch Gallery

This holiday season, stop by the Front Porch Gallery for some unique holiday gifts guaranteed to delight. While visiting, be sure to view the current exhibit ... "Perspectives:The Berlin Wall" now on display through January 5, 2015.

The exhibit commemorates the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and reflects through art an enduring moment of the 20th century. While born of a tragic history, it illuminates a peak in humanity. This exhibit showcases mixed media, photography and sculpture - including actual pieces of the wall - from international artists currently residing in San Diego and Los Angeles. Come, experience the transformative power of these works!

The Front Porch Gallery is located adjacent to Carlsbad By The Sea Retirement community at 2903 Carlsbad Blvd. in Carlsbad. Visit frontporchgallery.org for more information.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Upcoming Events from the CLH Center for Spirituality and Aging

by Nancy Gordon, Director California Lutheran Homes and Sunny View Centers for Spirituality and Aging, a Front Porch Partner

Today, just a few days before Christmas, I am struck by how thankful I am to be at the CLH Center for Spirituality and Aging involved in a variety of efforts to support those who care for older adults in nurturing and sustaining the spiritual dimension of the aging journey.

Our workshops this year focused on Alzheimer's disease, beginning with Jade Angelica and her workshop on "Meeting Alzheimer's," which offered some experiential improvisational exercises to hone our communication skills. In April Cordula Dick-Muehlke deepened our understanding of person-centered dementia care, stressing both the personal caregiving skills needed and the organizational setting that enables person-centered care to happen. And then this fall, Judith-Kate Friedman inspired us with her use of music to enhance the journey of aging with dementia for both caregiver and care receiver.

I've had the privilege of putting some of my thoughts in writing with the newsletter and on the web. For Alzheimer's Awareness month I wrote "Alzheimer's Caregivers - Create a New Lens, Explore the Opportunities" about creating a new outlook for responding to the disease that was published on Ask.com. Earlier in the year they also published "Touching Spirits" an article about the importance of spirituality in programming. Our director emeritus, Don Koepke, is in the final editing phase of a book, The Essential Spirit, which the Center is publishing next year. It was fun to write a chapter for that and to co-write the final chapter with Don. You'll be hearing more about it in 2015!

And there is more great stuff coming in 2015! In October we will be hosting the 6th International Conference on Ageing and Spirituality in Los Angeles.


The Centers for Spirituality and Aging are excited to be hosting this event; it will be the first time it is held in the United States. Distinguished plenary speakers from around the world have been booked and proposals for workshops, seminars and posters will be received beginning in January. You can find at more about this conference at the conference website. And sign-up here to receive updates about the conference as it continues to take shape. And if you would like to help spread the word, here is flier that you can distribute far and wide!

And we have some great Center events coming up this next year as well, including the celebration of the Center's 15th anniversary next spring. See more information about these events below.


Vital Connections in Long-Term Care - February 19 & 26 

One of the spiritual issues of aging is keeping and creating connectedness with oneself, others, the wider world and the sacred or significant. That's why this practical, experiential workshop by the authors of Vital Connections in Long-Term Care is so important. They will emphasize the spirituality of relational connections in the aging process and provide practical ways of strengthening connections in the settings where care for the aging occurs.

Vital Connections in Cupertino, CA

Vital Connections in Anaheim, CA


Wingspread - March 25th  

As our population ages faith communities are seeing and will be seeing more and more of their members facing the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease. This event offers the riches of presenters who are in Chicago for the American Society of Aging Conference to faith communities in the Chicagoland area.

Register now

California Lutheran Homes Turns 15! - April 13 & 14 

We're celebrating 15 years of service to the aging community with a two-day event, April 13 and April 14 at Walnut Village in Anaheim, CA. Day one will celebrate congregational ministry to the aging. On day two we feature Wendy Lustbader presenting a workshop titled, "Beyond Care: Exploring the Glorious Adventure of the Spirit." Wendy was one of the first presenters when the Center opened in 2000, and it's an honor to be able to have her come back. Stay tuned for more about this two-part event.

From all of this, I think you can see why I feel blest to be here now. It's a deep privilege to bring together so many people who love working with older adults and supporting their spiritual journey. May your year be blest with great joy.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Playing Computer Games to Boost Aging Brains

By Sonya Collins, WebMD Health News

For more than 2 years, Jeanne Roach found a seat at an open computer terminal in the e-cafĂ© at the Villa Gardens retirement community in Pasadena, CA, and she did a “20-minute circuit workout” for her brain.

“You look at a series of pictures, then the pictures are removed, and you’re asked, ‘In which picture were the men wearing hats?’” says Roach, 88, a retired human resources specialist. “There are math problems – what we used to call ‘story problems’ when I was growing up. I happened to do pretty well with the word games, but not well with the math.”

The challenges, according to game-maker Dakim BrainFitness, are meant to exercise six mental skills: long-term memory, short-term memory, language, computation, critical thinking, and the perception of spatial relationships between objects (called visuospatial ability).

Read article in full at webmd.com