In the News

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The Panorama, a 52-year-old concrete highrise on University just east of Boren, was sold in September for $73.9 million. Shortly after the sale, new owners Security Properties notified resident they would need to be out by summer 2015 for the massive renovation. A Federal Way-based housing company is offering seniors at Panorama special deals at two of their retirement communities: El Dorado West in Burien and Mill Ridge Village in Milton. Village Concepts is also offering to pay for residents’ moving costs and one month’s rent. Back in October, Village Concepts director of corporate development Tracy Willis told CHS the company would help tenants pack, help pay for the move, and give them a month or two of free rent to get them on their feet. “Whenever we see these stories we always reach out to see what we can do,” Willis said. “There are some really frail people.” After news of the Security buyout emerged, the company promised to refund all security deposits and offer substantial relocation assistance in accordance with Seattle’s tenants rights laws. In a statement, a company spokesperson said the $15 million overhaul would include replacing the buildings electrical and fire safety systems, as well as updating apartment interiors and adding washers and dryers in each unit. Despite the promised relocation assistance, some residents have said they will never be able to rebuild the community and relationships that developed over the decades. KING reporter Linda Brill, who lived at the Panorama and moved out after hearing of the renovations, spoke with some building residents in September. " ["post_title"]=> string(72) "Displaced First Hill seniors offered discounts at retirement communities" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(7) " " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(10) "new-post-5" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-12-29 00:08:25" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-12-29 00:08:25" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(39) "" ["menu_order"]=> int(50) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#2973 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(5892) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-11-12 04:32:02" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-11-12 04:32:02" ["post_content"]=> string(3433) " IMG_0477 

They didn’t know each other until they moved into Riverside East Retirement Community in Bothell, but their stories sound like they’ve known each other a lifetime.

“War called. I went to war,” JJ Smith remembered.

Smith, 91, was an Army Air Corps Pilot during WWII.

“I was 20-years-old,” he said. “I did fly 156 combat missions.”

He still remembers the second he’s amazed he survived.

“Right about there,” he said, pointing to his right chin. “And it gave a pretty big wallop because I was doing about 450 mph.”

Hit by enemy air strike, Smith healed and continued to fly many more missions. It’s a courage and humility only his neighbors really know.

“Sometimes we’d keep our fingers crossed if we were going to make it or not,” Norman Tiegen said.

Smith, Tiegan and other veterans at Riverside East talk every so often about those days so long ago. Days of war they wish didn’t look so much like today.

“Lots of women, in barracks just like the guys,” June Lasse said.

Lasse served in the Air Force from 1952 to 1954. She is grateful for the “thank you” messages she receives on Veterans Day.

But more than “thank you”, they hope the rest of us will listen to their stories.

“So it won’t happen again, but it keeps happening,” Smith said.

" ["post_title"]=> string(38) "Veterans tell stories to remember past" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(7) " " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(35) "veterans-tell-stories-remember-past" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-11-12 04:32:02" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-11-12 04:32:02" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(39) "" ["menu_order"]=> int(5) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#2828 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(5902) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-11-10 18:06:21" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-11-10 18:06:21" ["post_content"]=> string(854) " Pig
Lisa Hopper holds BB the pig for John LeClerc to kiss. This was the culmination of the seventh annual Harvest Benefit Dinner held Saturday night at the Vern Burton Community Center in Port Angeles. The fundraiser for the Port Angeles Senior Center welcomed more than 280 guests to an evening of food and music and the “Kiss the Pig” event. More than $9,000 was raised for the senior center. Joe Cammack of Jim’s Pharmacy, D Bellamente of the senior center and LeClerc of Park View Villas competed to see who could collect the most donations from diners ​at the fundraiser ​for the honor of kissing BB. LeClerc won — and did it while wearing bright red lipstick.
" ["post_title"]=> string(23) "Lip-smacking fundraiser" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(7) " " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(23) "lip-smacking-fundraiser" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-11-10 18:06:21" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-11-10 18:06:21" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(39) "" ["menu_order"]=> int(5) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#2826 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(5909) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-10-29 00:10:45" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-10-29 00:10:45" ["post_content"]=> string(2089) " 68422bothellwiibowlingatRiverside Riverside East, a retirement and assisted living community in Bothell, was recognized by the Village Concepts executive team with the Excellence in Customer Retention and Excellence in Staff Retention awards. Village Concepts presented the award at a corporate retreat at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Wash. on Oct. 3-4. “We’re thrilled that our staff at Riverside East was recognized for our tireless dedication to our beloved residents,” said Jennifer Bolton, executive director of Riverside East. “I’m honored to lead such a diligent and caring team, and I look forward to seeing our staff continue to provide a high quality of life for our seniors, as well as many more achievements for our community.” The Excellence in Customer Retention award honors Village Concepts communities who have excelled in customer retention with a turnover at or below 25 percent. The Excellence in Staff Retention award recognizes Village Concepts communities who demonstrate workplace satisfaction and service excellence through positive leadership that nurtures commitment and quality of the front line employees of their communities. Village Concepts is committed to improving the senior living industry at all 15 of its senior living communities, serving more than 1,400 residents throughout Puget Sound, the Olympic Peninsula and Central Washington. A third generation, family-owned business, Village Concepts is at the forefront of the industry with programs and facilities to offer the best care, including on-site physical and occupational therapists, individualized care programs designed for each resident and certified and licensed staff on-site 24 hours a day. Pictured: Riverside East residents participate in a Wii bowling night with UW Bothell and Cascadia students. " ["post_title"]=> string(64) "Village Concepts recognizes Riverside East in Bothell with award" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(7) " " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(56) "village-concepts-recognizes-riverside-east-bothell-award" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-10-29 00:10:45" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-10-29 00:10:45" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(39) "" ["menu_order"]=> int(5) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [5]=> object(WP_Post)#3298 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(5912) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-10-10 00:13:35" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-10-10 00:13:35" ["post_content"]=> string(1884) " 10712390_10205182951999114_5077473372953511988_o On Tuesday, September 30, the Washington Health Care Association (WHCA) recognized El Dorado West resident Marie Montes, 94, as this month’s Silver Spotlight winner. An award ceremony was held at El Dorado West, a Village Concepts retirement, assisted living and memory care community located in Burien, Wash. The Silver Spotlight Award Program is designed to honor the achievements from individuals whom now reside in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities throughout the state of Washington. Montes will be featured in a 2015 pictorial calendar with other statewide award winners, and is invited to a reception at the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia, Wash. on December 4, 2014. “Village Concepts is honored that one of our residents in our communities received this prestigious award,” said Tracy Willis, corporate director of development at Village Concepts. “Marie is a beloved seamstress and artist, and her dedication in learning the craft of tailoring on her own and giving back to the community is receiving the recognition it deserves.” Montes is a well-known fixture in the Burien area, having run an alteration and sewing shop for nearly 20 years. She also spent many years teaching oil painting at the Highline Senior Center. Prior to teaching, Montes had a successful career in the clothing manufacturing industry, where her bilingual language skills advantaged her in directing production shops in the Los Angeles area. Today, Montes continues to hall residents with their tailoring needs at El Dorado West. " ["post_title"]=> string(106) "Washington Health Care Association honors El Dorado West resident Marie Montes with Silver Spotlight award" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(7) " " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(101) "washington-health-care-association-honors-el-dorado-west-resident-marie-montes-silver-spotlight-award" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-10-10 00:13:35" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-10-10 00:13:35" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(39) "" ["menu_order"]=> int(5) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [6]=> object(WP_Post)#2825 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(6563) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-10-07 00:01:09" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-10-07 00:01:09" ["post_content"]=> string(715) " The executive team at Village Concepts Retirement Communities headed over the mountains for a corporate retreat at Suncadia Resort for seminars, workshops, and an awards ceremony. Congratulations to Mill Ridge Village, Riverside East, Country Meadow Village, High Point Village,Sound Vista Village, Pioneer Village Senior Apartments, Grandview Village, and Spiritwood at Pine Lake for receiving President's Awards recognizing your excellence in staff, customer, and occupancy achievement! 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Village Concepts, a third generation family-owned business that owns and operates residential and assisted living communities throughout Washington state, is aiming to change this view of aging through their Evergreen Program.  The Evergreen program is a lifestyle program that enhances brain vitality,  physical and emotional growth, and helps residents prepare for the next phase in life through a combination of self-reflection, exercise, and activities. The program is introduced to the staff through new employee orientation, and routine refresher seminars.  It is here that the staff gets involved in the program through day to day activities, customer interactions, and active participation in selected pieces of the program’s whole.  Residents are then introduced to the Evergreen program upon move-in, and continue through the program with educational offerings, participation in activities, reflection, sharing of expertise through teaching and mentoring, as well as future planning. The Evergreen program includes four “core” seminars that introduce the program’s main holistic aging topics:  Adaptability to Change, Positive Outlook and Gratitude, Brain/Body Connection, and Re-Imagining Yourself.  Educational classes are built on the core seminar topics, and are taught by an employee, resident, family member, or community member through “Village Concepts University.”  Students may include residents, staff, and community members. Each Village Concepts community also infuses movement into daily routines.  There are four types of exercises including: cardiovascular exercise through walking, swimming, biking and gardening; strength training with free weights and weight machines; flexibility through yoga and gentle stretching; and balance through Tai Chi, chair balancing, and toe walking. Based on research that correlates less depression and higher life satisfaction in elderly people with thankful and positive attitudes, the program infuses gratitude in the everyday lives of residents and staff at Village Concepts.  Research also shows that routines lead to cognitive decline, so Village Concepts encourages small daily changes to help residents improve brain function.  These changes may  include shopping at different stores, sitting near someone different at lunch, trying new foods, listening to different types of music, and more. The concept of the program is based around the Evergreen tree, which has qualities Village Concepts aims to emulate.  While set in one place, the Evergreen still moves with the changing seasons and winds, making the Evergreen stronger with its ability to accommodate to change.  As the Evergreen ages, it becomes stronger and more well-defined.  Similar to people, the Evergreen tree is best suited with others: a forest of Evergreens is strong, and the group supports the individual. Village Concepts draws upon 40 years of experience, and a proud tradition of providing personalized care to more than 1,400 residents in 14 senior living communities throughout Washington State.  Each community encourages residents to “bring retirement to life” by providing personalized care, fostering new relationships, and encouraging independence through programs such as the Evergreen program. Families, friends, volunteers, and community members are all encouraged to learn more about the Evergreen Program and assist in enriching not only their own lives, but the lives of residents, through active participation in all of the program’s distinct parts. During the second half of life, people have an opportunity to share their wisdom and knowledge with others. Village Concepts has made it their commitment to help residents share their stories through mentoring, teaching a class, or writing a book.  Whatever the outlet is, it will surely bring great life satisfaction. The older generation has the ability to thrive and grow, and Village Concepts recognizes that.  This is no standard retirement program. Through new enlightened experiences through the Evergreen program, older adults don’t need to leave their active, enriched lives behind. Tracy Willis is the Director of Corporate Development.  She can be reached at 206-316-7555, or email her at " ["post_title"]=> string(21) "The Evergreen Program" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(7) " " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(17) "evergreen-program" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-07-29 00:22:33" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-07-29 00:22:33" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(39) "" ["menu_order"]=> int(5) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [8]=> object(WP_Post)#3167 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(6458) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-07-22 18:44:16" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-07-22 18:44:16" ["post_content"]=> string(4661) " 91226whidbeymb-harbor-tower-village-2
Hazel Welliver, the executive director of Harbor Tower Village in Oak Harbor, is proud of the retirement community, with good reason. Harbor Tower Village was recently awarded the bronze Commitment to Quality Award from the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living. This award is given to communities that exemplify a commitment to the goal of making lives for their residents better. The bronze award is the first applicants can receive; after that, they can then apply for the silver award and then the gold. But Harbor Tower Village, while planning on applying for the silver award in the fall, won’t be changing anything about how they run their facility to sway their chances. “We’ll always just do what we’ve got to do and try to make (life) better for them,” said nurse Shannon DelCiello, who runs the Wellness Department for Harbor Tower Village. Welliver credits DelCiello as being instrumental in earning the national recognition. As part of their application for the award, the community had to provide a measurable example of how they improved the life of a resident, so DelCiello suggested the story of how two residents with uncontrolled diabetes were saved from having to go on insulin. She said when she arrived at the community, the two residents had very high blood sugar and were quickly approaching a point of needing insulin. “I thought, you know what, we’re going to see if we can stop that,” DelCiello said. Her plan involved working with the two residents to get them to make healthier choices in regard to food and exercise, and to educate them on how to continue making those choices without constant supervision. “So the staff, the entire staff, the kitchen, myself, the doctor and families all worked together in unison to try to get these people to make healthier choices for themselves without having to be watched all the time,” DelCiello said. Eventually, one of the residents no longer needed to regularly check their blood sugar at all, and the other resident went from having to check four or more times a day to only checking twice a week. So when she was asked to provide a measurable example for the award application, this was first on her mind. “I think that if you can take something like that and be able to make their lives better so that they, one, felt so much better about themselves and, for two, they accomplished something that was great in their lives,” DelCiello said. “I think that was fantastic.” According to her, the all-inclusive, hands-on approach to helping improve the lives of their residents is their normal strategy. “You have to be involved with all of your residents on a personal level,” DelCiello said. “They’re not just diagnoses, they’re not just ‘folks in a home,’ they are actually people, and we need to be able to take what they’ve got and make it better.” DelCiello has been a geriatrics nurse for 32 years and started when she was 17 years old. She said geriatrics is her passion. “They do an outstanding job of quality for their seniors in their community, and they are working toward making sure everybody has good, great experiences at their building,” said Stuart Brown, chief operating officer of Village Concepts, the assisted living management company Harbor Tower Village is a part of. Eight Village Concepts communities received the bronze award for commitment to quality this year. Brown said that so many communities receiving the award this year helps the company recognize that they are “consistently, throughout all of our communities” committed to quality care. “It’s a privilege to come into work,” Welliver said. “That’s how all of us feel. We’ve got a tremendous staff. “You can’t teach somebody to have that compassion gene. They either have it or they don’t. You can teach them to do a job, but you can’t teach them to care. And this staff cares.” Pictured: Lou Biddle looks through a selection of books brought by the Sno-Isle Library Bookmobile. Program Director Arielle Corrin arranged for it to start coming once a month so the residents could check out books to read that aren’t offered in the Harbor Tower Village library. Image Credit: Photo By Michelle Beahm/Whidbey News-Times
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