- 2018 Posts
- Caregiver Specialist Heather Resnick on Caregiver Support
- Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
- Center Launches North Shore Senior Options
- On Blindness, Alzheimer's and Love
- Shared Vision: Winnetka Congregational Church Woman's Society Benevolence Committee
- Protecting Seniors and Adults with Disabilities: Adult Protective Services
- A Jack of All Trades: Al Davis
- Family Tradition: Gone Fishin'
- Dedicated Volunteer: Fern Kamen
- Generous Soul: Mitchell Slotnick
- Assessing the Older Adult Members of your Family
- Giving Back: Fay Goldblatt
- Adult Protective Services (APS) Program Benefits from Shamrock Shindig
- Humble Beginnings: Bobbi Halloran
+ 2017 Posts
- Arts and Crafts at the Center
- #GivingTuesday at North Shore Senior Center
- Leisure Time Well Spent - Daytrips at the Center
- New Advisory Council Formed
- Playreading with Vivian Mitchel
- North Shore Senior Center's Foundation Board
- Wills vs. Trusts
- Joan Golder Distinguished Senior Lecture Series showcased actor Mike Nussbaum
- 20/20 Corporate Campaign
- Functional Fitness: Training for Everyday Life
- Benefits of Pet Therapy for People with Memory Loss
- Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Benefit from Oktoberfest
- Small Screen Big Stars: Oh What a Night!
- Sharing a Common Thread
- Helping You Make Informed Choices for Care
- 2017 Janet Burgoon Philanthropic Excellence Award for Distinguished Community Partner
- 2017 Janet Burgoon Philanthropic Excellence Award for Dedicated Corporation
- 2017 Janet Burgoon Philanthropic Excellence Award for Outstanding Philanthropist
- Special Needs Trusts
- Gifts in Kind Increase the Center's Impact
- Enrich your Life with Lifelong Learning
- A Little TLC Goes a Long Way
- PEARLS: Reducing Symptoms of Depression Home-based Counseling Services Available
- Big Stars to Chair Annual Benefit
- Evanston Community Foundation
- Million Dollar Round Table Foundation
- Super Senior Day
- New Physical Therapy Services Now Available at North Shore Senior Center!
- Stroke Prevention Tips
- Why Powers of Attorney are Important to You!
- Get Expert Help with Your Tax Returns
- North Shore Senior Center Awarded Gold Status for Philanthropic Efforts
- Fitness as a Goal for Life
- Men's Club Offers Unique Programs to Community
- Spread the Love at North Shore Senior Center
- Jean Griswold Foundation supports House of Welcome Adult Day Services
- "I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for people." - Maya Angelou
- "A true hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart." - Zeus from Hercules
- Winter Safety and Health Tips
- "A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." - Joseph Campbell
- A Granddaughter's Love for her Grandmother
- Six Things to Consider Before Making Gifts to Grandchildren
- Lending Closet for Durable Medical Equipment at North Shore Senior Center
- Seniors Can Save Lives by Donating Blood
+ 2016 Posts
- Lifelong Learning Catalog Wins International Award for Best Brochure
- Life Stories are Gifts that Keep on Giving
- Visiting Aging Parents During the Holidays
- Edna Weber Garden of Light Wing at the House of Welcome
- Learn More About What Makes This World Tick
- 60 Years of Service: Advocacy
- 60 Years of Service: Compassion
- Myrna and John Cruikshank, III: Steady and Committed Philanthropists
- Kenilworth United Fund: Longstanding, Civic-Minded Community Partner
- Radford Green at Sedgebrook: Dedicated Corporation and Vested Supporter
- Simple Tips to Improve Your Balance
- 60 Years of Service: Creativity
- Daily Money Management Fosters Peace of Mind
- Opportunities for Learning, Exploring, and Connecting
- The Edna Weber "Garden of Light" Wing
- Protecting Vulnerable Seniors: Adult Protective Services Promotes Quality of Life
- Top Ten Reasons Why Older Adults Continue to Work
- Super Seniors We Admire!
- Scams and Fraud: Protect Yourself
- The State's Devastating Impact on Our Budget
- North Shore Senior Center Southern Hub Moves to Niles
- Alzheimer's Family Support Group
- Evanston Support Group for Family Caregivers
- Family Caregiver Support Group in Skokie
+ 2015 Posts
- Music + Dance + Dialogue = A Musical!
- Flex and Strengthen Your Muscles
- Generous & Caring Corporate Citizen
- More Than Service and Fellowship
- Art Gallery a "Hidden Gem" at North Shore Senior Center
- Sound Off on Hearing Loss
- Making Sense of American Poltics
- Fitness Center Enhances More Than Muscle Strength
- Virtual View of Art: From the Basics to Specialties
- Social Connections are a Key to Successful Aging
- North Shore Senior Center Celebrates Super Seniors!
- Super Senior Spotlight
- What is a Senior Center?
- MDRT Foundation Aids Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program
- Social Worker Reaches Out to Seniors in Need
- How to Achieve Your Healthiest Brain Yet
- AmazonSmile: Your Online Shopping Can Help NSSC!
+ 2014 Posts
On Blindness, Alzheimer's and LoveMarch 19, 2018
By Jan Klingberg
As pianist Heidi Musser accompanied the choristers in their singalong, her blindness and their memory challenges melted away. The singers are participants in the House of Welcome Adult Day Services (HOW) program; Heidi is a volunteer musician. Her mother, Erika Musser, enthusiastically led the group in patriotic songs and old-time favorites, like “America the Beautiful” and “You Are My Sunshine.”
Though Heidi was blind from birth, her parents empowered her to be invested in life, and she has overcome numerous challenges. Both she and her mother also have been relentless advocates for individuals with vision disabilities. They have helped open the eyes of policymakers and educators about the importance of creating opportunities for students with disabilities to fully participate in education and athletics. Indeed, as a classically trained pianist, college graduate, decorated triathlete, and mentor to children in piano and Braille, Heidi also has led by example.
Starting at age nine, Heidi learned to play piano under the guidance of Mary Sauer, former principal keyboardist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She was well equipped, therefore, to respond “yes” to the suggestion from fiddler and community volunteer Margaret Sents ten years ago that she share her talent with HOW day program participants.
Heidi’s visits now have taken on new meaning. Through the years, she became familiar with the benefits of HOW activities as she listened to participants sing, gently rib each other, and call out names of songs. So when Heidi’s father, Fred, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016, she and her mother almost immediately felt that HOW could be a resource for their family. With Fred now a participant in the day program and seeing firsthand how much he enjoys his hours there, Heidi and Erika sing the praises of the program. Heidi commented, “He loves being part of the friendly environment and has found friends who accept him and love him just the way he is.”
The day program is a place where individuals living with memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias feel valued and respected. Skilled professionals, along with a cadre of volunteers, provide therapeutic programming five days a week. “Every activity can be therapeutic,” said Cynthia Phon, LCSW, director of HOW, “whether it’s drawing, singing, baking muffins, gardening or eating lunch together.” Music activities and music therapy, for example, help facilitate social interaction and can tap into memories of pleasurable experiences or cherished loved ones. Programming is based on clinical and research-based techniques and addresses the physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of participants, whatever the degree of memory loss.
Support for participants’ caregivers also is a key component of HOW programming. For instance, Clinical Manager Mary Lu Osterberg, LCPC, facilitates a monthly support group for family members. Erika expressed gratitude that staff has been her teachers as she navigates the challenges of being a more understanding caretaker for Fred. With their loved ones participating in meaningful activities in a safe environment, caregivers like Erika also can count on a regular break from caregiving duties.
When Fred was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the Musser family wanted him to participate in the day program. “But we were already shadowed with worries about the financial burden of caring for him,” said Erika. “By learning more about the program and working together, though, this weight has been removed.” According to Cynthia, misperceptions persist that the day program is pricey compared with other types of care. “It’s actually less costly than home care on an hourly basis,” she noted. “And what you’re getting is so different: stimulation, creative activities, socialization and family support.”
To make the day program more accessible, North Shore Senior Center has a generous sliding fee scale for people with limited income and assets. In addition, because HOW is CARF-accredited, participants can use long-term care insurance, depending on the coverage. HOW also is an approved adult day services provider through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Though the program is fee-for-service, the daily fees do not cover the full costs of HOW. So the Center relies on contributions to subsidize the program, in fulfillment of the mission to provide accessible and high-quality services to older adults in the community.
Erika is convinced that love grows as it is shared, and it returns to the giver in abundance. Her daughter exemplifies this. “My biggest strength is being able to give,” Heidi said. As she now gives her gift of music to older adults with memory loss she, in turn, is experiencing kindness and acceptance. She also knows that her dad has been warmly welcomed into the secure and supportive environment of the HOW day program and is engaged in activities that reinforce who he is—his memories, his skills and his values.