New Sedro-Woolley Superintendent visits Village Concepts

Dr. Mickelson, the new superintendent for the Sedro-Woolley School District, recently spent time getting to know the community one outing at a time, including Village Concepts, Country Meadow Village. Country Meadow Village is proud to continue the strong partnership with the school district as they support our seniors through volunteer opportunities and invaluable generational connections.

Fairwood retirement community welcomes change – and you! – this spring

At Village Concepts of Fairwood, residents can choose from many fun-filled ways to fill their days – recently, in preparation for Spring, they enjoyed some fun gardening activities!

With restrictions lifting, there’s even more to enjoy when you call this place home

We’ve all seen plenty of changes over the last year – and Village Concepts of Fairwood is no exception. Since opening their doors last March, as restrictions continue to lift they’re excited to welcome change – and you!

The brand new independent livingassisted living and memory care community nestled on the Fairwood Golf Course offers residents scenic views of the greens and the amenities and recreational opportunities of the club, including the 18-hole golf course, swimming pool and dining room.

While Village Concepts is new to Renton, their team has provided exceptional housing, support and services for seniors across Washington for more than 40 years – putting you and your loved ones in the right hands.

So what can look forward to when you call Fairwood home?

Recently, they’ve been excited to make some noise with live musical entertainment – so you can kick back, relax and enjoy the talent.

Painting classes and arts and crafts sessions let you explore your own creativity, or if you prefer to get your blood pumping or stretch it out with yoga, exercise and activity classes are also resuming. With a fully equipped fitness centre, there’s something for everyone.

Refuel after your workout in their newly reopened dining room. welcoming diners from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

And, with visits also reopened, you can show off your new digs to your loved ones. Guests are welcome in residents’ apartments, which has been especially popular for many!

“This is the change that’s definitely brought the most joy to our residents, they’ve spent months restricted to seeing their loved ones through a computer screen, for example,” Lynda White Eagle, Executive Director at Village Concepts of Fairwood, says. “Some are meeting their grandchildren for the first time, it’s a really heartwarming experience and a welcome change.”

Soon to return are Fairwoods’ weekly social events, including happy hours and coffee socials. And with the beauty shop reopening, they’ll have you looking your very best as you mingle with your friends and neighbors!

As restrictions continue to lift, there’s no better time than now to call Village Concepts of Fairwood home.

To learn more, make sure to visit them online or contact them today!

Easter parade brings smiles to residents of retirement community

Katya Matsko, president of the Future Business Leaders of America Club and Earth Club at Sedro-Woolley High School, passes out Easter eggs Friday at Country Meadow Village

SEDRO-WOOLLEY — The Easter Bunny paid an early visit Friday to Country Meadow Village retirement community.

With COVID-19 protocols in place, members of Sedro-Woolley High School’s Future Business Leaders of America and its Earth Club worked with facility Program Director David Bricka to put on the parade.

Residents of Country Meadow Village wear hats made by fellow resident Betty Newcombe during an Easter egg hunt and parade Friday at the retirement community.

Residents came out on the sidewalks at the facility’s front entrance and the students paraded parallel to them — safely distanced — in the parking lot.

“They listened to the song ‘Easter Parade’ and wore festive hats created by resident Betty Newcombe,” Bricka said.

Residents also hunted for festively decorated eggs dyed by students on behalf of the Easter Bunny, and in return the students received special Easter treats from the retirement community’s residents and staff.

A resident spots an egg in a tree Friday during an Easter egg hunt and parade at Country Meadow Village in Sedro-Woolley.
Betty Newcombe stands in front of a parade of residents Friday at Country Meadow Village in Sedro-Woolley for an Easter egg hunt and parade. As creator of the decorated hats worn by the residents, Newcombe led the parade through the parking lot of the retirement community.
Randy (left) and Mary Miller collect eggs Friday during an Easter egg hunt and parade at Country Meadow Village in Sedro-Woolley. Randy was awarded a stuffed animal duck for finding one of the golden eggs.
Randy Miller collects eggs Friday during an Easter egg hunt and parade at Country Meadow Village in Sedro-Woolley.

Sedro-Woolley assisted living community hosts show for resident artist

Rosemary Boissonade stands next to some of her artwork March 8 at Country Meadow Village, an assisted living facility in Sedro-Woolley. The 95-year old is a resident at the facility who did not take up painting until her 70s. Oliver Hamlin, Skagit Valley Herald

SEDRO-WOOLLEY — Residents of Country Meadow Village had little idea how talented an artist was they had within their midst.

They found out recently when an art show titled “The works of Rosemary ‘Cooper’ Boissonade” opened at the Sedro-Woolley assisted living community.

The 95-year-old Boissonade has lived at Country Meadow Village for the past eight months, moving from Roseville, California, to be closer to her son and daughter-in-law.

“I was very surprised and happy with all the positive comments,” Boissonade said about seeing her paintings in a gallery-like setting. “Everyone has been so complimentary. I’m so glad that my son (Bob) helped David (Bricka, program director) set this up. Everyone loves all the animal pictures.”

“Horse Whisperer” by Rosemary Boissonade hangs on a wall at Country Meadow Village, an assisted living facility in Sedro-Woolley. The work was part of a show titled “The works of Rosemary ‘Cooper’ Boissonade,” which featured one of the facility’s residents. Oliver Hamlin/Skagit Valley Herald

Though artistic as a child, particularly with regard to music, Boissonade didn’t put brush to canvas until 2003 when she was in her 70s.

Shortly thereafter, she took a class taught by Margot Schulzke, an acclaimed pastel painter and author in Newcastle, California.

“I just thought it would be a fun thing to try,” Boissonade said. “And then people that were working in Newcastle saw my work and wanted me to come work with them.”

It wasn’t long before Boissonade was entering her work in juried art shows. Her first entry, titled “Horse Whisperers,” was of two rather stunning white horses.

She eventually began to sell her work while also giving paintings to family members. She produced about 300 paintings and still retains a vast portfolio of unframed pieces consisting of still lifes, landscapes and portraits.

“I entered lots into shows over the years,” she said. “I received plenty of kudos for my work. If there was a show, I’d enter it.”

Joan McMurray, who lives in Thousand Oaks, California, was a classmate of Boissonade at the Schulzke-led class. Both were members of Northern California Arts, Inc. — a group that supports artists — and both took the Schulzke class to work on their pastels.

McMurray described her classmate’s work with one word.

“Awesome. She was an awesome pastelist, and she was prolific at it as well. She always had a painting with her in order to have the teacher critique (it),” McMurray said.

“Alex’s Friend” by Rosemary Boissonade hangs in her apartment March 9 as part of her private collection at Country Meadow Village, an assisted living facility in Sedro-Woolley.

“And very little had to ever be changed following those critiques. She was just that good. She certainly worked at her art. She never just threw something together to take to class. She worked at it every day, but I believe she was a natural.”

Pastels were Boissonade’s favorite medium and the reason was simple.

“They were cheap and not too messy,” she said.

Boissonade said animals, including horses, dogs and cats, were her favorite subjects to paint.

It was her portraits, however, that impressed McMurray.

“Most of her paintings I saw were of people,” McMurray said. “She had lots of portraits and some still lifes, but mostly portraits.

“She never worked small. She always worked pretty good-sized pieces. Most people start out with a little, small piece. But she always started out with a big piece. Regardless of the size of the work, they were really amazing.”

Residents, staff vaccinated at Sedro-Woolley assisted living facility

Laura Foster (front) vaccinates Colton Peach while Caroline Davis (back) vaccinates Sandra Jensen on Wednesday at Country Meadow Village in Sedro-Woolley.

SEDRO-WOOLLEY — Country Meadow Village hasn’t had a case of COVID-19 among its residents.

And staff have done everything possible to keep it that way.

“We started screening visitors the last week of February 2020 as we realized the virus was on its way,” said Country Meadow Village Building Administrator Sandra Jensen.

In the ultimate effort, the owner of the Sedro-Woolley assisted living facility, Village Concepts, provided 101 COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesday to Country Meadow Village’s residents and staff.

“Once we knew the vaccine was getting close, we registered with the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) as did as a lot of other long-term care providers in order to get the vaccine and provide it to our seniors in their living areas,” said Village Concepts Corporate Director of Wellness Laura Foster.

Village Concepts partners with CDC-approved Consonus Healthcare for its 14 facilities in the state and the Consonus pharmacy provides residents with their pharmaceutical needs.

“We contacted them (Consonus Healthcare) and worked together to bring all these vaccines to our residents,” Foster said. “It has been a great relationship. They helped with a lot of the heavy lifting in regards to paperwork and we took care of that on our end while we provided the nurses and clinics within the communities.”

The vaccines were administered by Foster and Country Meadow Village Resident Care Director Caroline Davis. After receiving the injections, individuals were monitored for any reactions. There were none on this day, and Foster said the vaccination has been tolerated well by those at the Village Concepts facilities.

“It was a joyous day at Country Meadow Village, and my arm feels good,” program director David Bricka said.

In three weeks, Consonus Healthcare will return to Sedro-Woolley to administer the second dose of the vaccination, completing the two-shot program while also offering an initial dose to any new residents and employees. Those new individuals will get the final dose during a third visit.

“We have received nothing but positive feedback (from those receiving the vaccine),” Foster said. “They were all excited to see it coming today. They were very excited to see that vehicle pull up with the vaccines in it.

“It gives them hope that maybe they can eventually eat meals with their friends again in the dining room and see their families and loved ones. All those things.”

Village Concepts is offering vaccinations to residents and staff at all its facilities. Foster said Village Concepts has encouraged everyone to get the vaccine.

“We have 14 buildings and this is day 10,” Foster said. “So we have four more clinics to go and we’ll be through our first round with our residents and part of our staff. And we’ve had a very good turnout.

“We have that second round all scheduled so we’ll have a little break and then start back again. And we even have a third. It’s great to be able to have three clinics set up in order to offer choices for everybody.”

Local Seniors Make the Hollywood Scene

Star-Studded calendar earns national attention and raises money for the Alzheimer’s Association

Jennifer Angell is the mastermind of the calendar project that gives local seniors the full Hollywood treatment. She does all the make-up, costuming and takes the photos. This 2020 takeoff on the movie “Elf” features Bill as Will Ferrell’s title character. Bill is one of dozens of residents at Spiritwood at Pine Lake retirement community to pose for the calendar project that benefits the Alzheimer’s Association.

Seniors at a local retirement community are dressing up like Hollywood stars. For the last three years, residents at Issaquah’s Spiritwood at Pine Lake have had the full Hollywood treatment—including elaborate makeup and costumes—all for the sake of gracing the pages of best-selling calendars to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

“The project came about because I was looking for a way to earn more for the organization,” says Jennifer Angell, community relations director at Spiritwood. “We’ve had many benefits at the community to support that cause and I am always on the lookout for something unique.”

Jennifer recast Jack as Tom Cruise’s character in “Top Gun.”

Jennifer is the mastermind behind the project. “I costume, photograph and provide the makeup for the residents,” she explains. The seniors are delighted to participate in the major makeovers that make them look like celebrities.

Over the years, star turns have included Marilyn Monroe, Tom Cruise in Top Gun, Queen Elizabeth, Alfred Hitchcock, Liza Minelli in Cabaret, the crew of Star Trek, the famous candy factory scene from I Love Lucy, Marlon Brando from The Godfather, and so many more.

The original inspiration for this unique project came when Jennifer noticed a strong resemblance between one of the residents and Katharine Hepburn. She thought to herself how fun it would be to dress her up like the iconic movie star.

And then, why not dress up even more residents like Hollywood celebrities? Taking their photos, creating calendars and selling them to earn money for the Alzheimer’s Association was the logical next step for Jennifer.

The project started in 2018, resulting in 2019’s calendar with its recreation of famous movie posters. Other photos have reinvented scenes from TV series.

Spiritwood residents were transformed into iconic characters from the original “Star Trek” for the 2020 calendar, photo by Jennifer Angell.

“In wake of the pandemic, I am only doing single photos this year instead group shots like years past,” explained Jennifer.

She describes 2021’s calendar as Famous Faces. “It focuses on look-alikes of famous people. We are featuring Salvador Dali, Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, Colonel Sanders, Willie Nelson, Mary Tyler Moore, the Bride of Frankenstein, John Lennon, Elton John, W.C. Fields, Andy Warhol and Charlie Chaplin.”

Jennifer had no idea the project would take off like it has, garnering attention from around the country. The calendar has been covered on CNN, the Good News Network, The Kelly Clarkson Show and Access Hollywood, to name only a few of the media stories. Jennifer remembers how the residents “went crazy” when Access Hollywood’s host, Mario Lopez, said the name of their community on TV. “The reaction has been fantastic,” she exclaims. “We’ve been getting letters from all over the country.”

During Jennifer’s recent appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, she was presented with a “National Award for Kindness” and a check for $1,000 to go toward the cost of more costumes.

The theme of the 2021 calendar is “Famous Faces,” featuring residents who are look-alikes to famous individuals. In this photo by Jennifer Angell, Carla poses as Eleanor Roosevelt.

The start of all this attention was a bit of an accident.

Jennifer, who is always looking for uplifting stories— especially since COVID upended everyone’s lives— sent the Good News Network a video of residents singing the national anthem at a “virtual ballpark visit” and she accidentally attached a picture of the calendar. The news outlet skipped over the video and instead wanted the calendar.

After that, calls from other news programs and entertainment shows came pouring in.

“This project has been heartwarming, and it’s created an even closer bond between us,” says Jennifer of the special relationship she has with the residents. “Posing as the stars and then autographing glossy photos of themselves makes the seniors feel like stars themselves.”

After the photo shoots, the ‘stars’ would parade through the dining hall in their costumes to the clapping and cheers of their fellow residents.

“Everyone would go nuts!” says Jennifer. “Seniors have something amazing to offer,” she adds. “They feel wonderful, plus it all benefits a good cause.”

Jennifer’s makeup, costuming and photo transforms Dale into W.C. Fields. Dale has appeared in all three calendars.

Even during COVID, community members were still able to observe the photo shoots. “Having the calendar has been a lifeline for many of our seniors, even those not in the calendar itself,” says Jennifer. “It’s been so much fun for everyone,” she adds.

CNN interviewed Kip Steele who, with his best friend Jack Guptil, posed as the Blues Brothers. The wheelchair-bound Kip told CNN that his experiences give him the confidence to try new things, like art class or “popping wheelies over curbs.” His big goal, he said, is to get out of the wheelchair and walk on his own. But in the meantime, he’s working on a final goal, reported CNN. “You know what the last thing on my bucket list is?” asked Kip with a laugh. “Don’t kick it.”

Jennifer reflects on what the project has meant to her. “The calendar has been the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life. Working on it makes me want to give more time to the community. I tear up when I think of it. It has changed my life.”

Issaquah seniors star in their own Hollywood productions

Residents of this assisted living facility take on the roles of showbiz icons.

 

ISSAQUAH, Wash — The Hollywood of the Northwest might just be this senior living facility in Issaquah.

“Everything’s a party here,” said resident Phyllis Soldano.

For the past couple years, the residents of Spriritwood at Pine Lake have been playfully recreating iconic Tinseltown scenes from TV and movies in photo sessions.

From sci-fi thrillers to gangster classics, the photos are published each year in a calendar.

“We look at residents and we picture the icon,” said Executive Director Michelle Strazis.

The models are carefully cast and photographed by Community Relations Director Jennifer Angell, with some help from Strazis.

“My favorite was Liza Minelli,” Angell said, “But I really enjoyed the Blues Brothers. The two guys were phenomenal. They were so fun.”

One of those guys, Jack Guptil, also posed for the Star Trek pic.

Guptil said, “I pretty much look like Spock. I’ve been mistaken for him walking down the street.”

Angell added, “It’s uncanny because they look so much like the character.”

Resident Dale Voight is the spitting image of screen legend Alfred Hitchcock in his photo.

“Everybody said I look more like Alfred than Alfred himself,” laughed Voight.

Residents look forward to the modeling sessions each year.

Resident Diane Edwards said,  “We all like to get together, and relax and have a good time.”

But things don’t always go smoothly.

“That’s what I love about it,” Angell said.

Recreating the famous candy factory scene from the ‘50s classic ‘I Love Lucy’ took some fine tuning, coordinating the comic expressions of multiple models.

“Trying to get those three women to do the same part at the same time was hilarious,” Strazis said.

The wardrobe doesn’t always match the model, as they discovered with a character’s dress during the ‘Gilligan’s Island’ shoot.

“It was three sizes too small,” said Angell. “She got stuck in it!”

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These Fabulous Seniors Are Recreating Iconic Movie Posters to Raise Money for Alzheimer’s

They’re proving you’re never too old to make a difference—or model for the camera. 

When you picture nursing homes, you might imagine a dull and stuffy vibe, but the Spiritwood Assisted Living Nursing Home in Washington is anything but. The residing senior citizens are huge movie buffs, know how to smize for the camera, and have quite the impressive collection of costumes.

In a charitable project that combines all three, they’ve turned themselves into models for a cause. Decked out from head to toe in vibrant wigs, makeup, and costumes, the fabulous group of seniors recreate iconic scenes and characters from classic movies. Village Concepts, a family company that owns the senior home, turns the photos into calendars, and every penny earned from sales goes straight to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Jennifer Angell, the community relations director at Spiritwood at Pine Lake, first came up with the idea for the photoshoot in 2018 when she spotted a senior sitting in the dining room that had an uncanny resemblance to Hollywood legend Katherine Hepburn. The celebrity doppelganger inspired her to start scouting other residents at the assisted living community.

Once the models were cast, Angell would buy all the costumes, reserve a backdrop, and set the scene. According to Angell, one photo takes a minimum of two hours to create. The photo project is open to all members of the Spiritwood Assisted Living community, including those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, who are given special time and care to take on their role. The oldest participant is a 102-year-old model returning for her second feature this year.

Angell says that Alzheimer’s has always been near and dear to her heart, and as someone who’s always loved taking photos, a calendar setting seemed like the best way to contribute while incorporating something she feels confident in doing.

“We have a memory care program at Spiritwood, and so Alzheimer’s impacts us all,” says Angell. “Taking care of Alzheimer’s patients is very hard work. They need a lot more funding for care and research.”

When the initial round of calendars hit shelves, Angell says the first three boxes sold out in just four days. The community sold more than 150 of their first calendars, and in conjunction with other fundraisers, earned $14,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association.

To date, more than 40 residents have posed for photos with 300 calendars sold. However, the project’s full impact is incalculable. In addition to their Alzheimer’s contribution, Angell says the project has affected the mood of the community as a whole. The models would even stay in their costumes and parade through the dining room to celebrate their role in the calendar after the photoshoot concluded.

“The seniors are truly movie stars now,” says Angell. “It has bonded us all in a way that is beyond words.”

Angell says they are currently planning their next photo campaign for the 2021 calendar, which will be released in October. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Angell is planning fewer “group shots” and more individual portraits to adhere to social distancing guidelines. The calendar is said to include classic recreations of pop culture icons, like Marlon Brando from The Godfather, elves from Elf, Princess Leia from Star Wars, the Star Trek crew, and even newer TV series like Stranger Things.

If you are interested in purchasing the wholesome calendar for yourself (and contributing to a very worthy cause), you can place your order here.

“For these seniors, the calendar is a symbol that, just because you are at the point in your life where you have to go to retirement living, doesn’t mean you will be forgotten about or fade from memory,” says Angell. “You will still make more memories and you will still have things to contribute, just like our seniors who are making America smile right now.”

Seniors in Issaquah raise money for Alzheimer’s by dressing up as Hollywood stars

An assisted living home in Issaquah is helping residents have some much-needed fun during the pandemic by dressing up as Hollywood icons.

Seniors at Village Concepts Spiritwood at Pine Lake have been recreating famous pictures for what Community Director Jennifer Angell calls their “Hollywood Seniors Calendar.”

Angell takes all the photos and is in charge of casting.

“I go through the dining room, and I kind of look at all the residents, examine them, and see who best fits the character I’m thinking I want to do,” she said.

“They don’t approach me directly,” she explained, laughing. “What they do is, they go get their hair done at the hair salon and they let our hairdresser Jan know, who lets me know, ‘Jennifer, you know what, so and so would really like to be in the calendar.’ And then I go to them and invite them.”

In the three years since the calendar started, seniors have posed as a wide range of Hollywood icons, decked out in full costume and makeup.

“We had the Blues Brothers, which was, I thought, phenomenal, … I had a Marilyn Monroe that was just, there was something about it,” Angell recalled. “… My personal favorite, I did Cabaret — it was Liza Minnelli. And I just thought she came out really beautiful too.”

Angell says the calendar isn’t just for fun, it’s also for a good cause.

“It was something that I came up with to earn money for the Alzheimer’s Association,” she said. “I love taking pictures, so I was trying to think of something to incorporate that and came up with the calendar, and we started selling them.”

The calendars sell for $41 each, including shipping, and all the money goes to the Alzheimer’s Association.

As for the residents, after dressing up like celebrities, they’re starting to become them. They’re getting attention from national news outlets, including CNN and Access Hollywood. We’re also told they might make an appearance on the Kelly Clarkson Show soon.

So far, the calendars have raised more than $16,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association. Angell says they’ve also raised a lot of spirits around the retirement home.

“They felt like they were movie stars for the day,” she said. “They would keep their costumes on, and I would parade them through the dining room among their peers, and everybody would clap and they’d get applause.”

The 2021 calendar photo shoot wrapped this summer, and the calendar comes out in October. It includes recreations from photos of stars like Willie Nelson and Sonny and Cher, to name a few.

If you’d like to buy one, visit the Facebook page for Village Concepts Retirement Communities.