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Rachel Kidd, RPC of Brookdale Assisted Living Facility poses with residents, Leora Henderson (L) and Bertha Moore (R) as they celebrate their birthdays.

by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer

The birthday activities were just beginning Tuesday morning, May 3, 2016 at Brookdale Assisted Living as birthday balloons were scattered around. Two of the residents were celebrating birthdays today. Not just any birthday but their 100th and their 108th.
Resident Bertha Moore turned 100 years old. Born in Oklahoma, she lived here her whole life. She has three children and some great grandchildren. Living at Brookdale for 8 years, she has come accustomed to the everyday activities, etc. Bertha enjoys being around other people and likes the excellent care that she is given. She has seen such a change in the progression of automobiles and technology. She said that when she was young, she rode a horse and buggy to school. “Quite a change from those days.” I commented. Bertha remembers the days of working on the farm helping out in any way that she could. She has fond memories of her father working for Sinclair Oil and later on, getting a job herself, working for Sinclair Lease.
The other resident celebrating her 108th birthday is Leora Henderson. She has been a resident of Brookdale for 8 years now. She was born in Oklahoma, just 1 year after the state of Oklahoma was established. She remembers working in the soup kitchen during World War I and being a school secretary at the time of World War II. She can still recall when food had to be rationed. She also rode a horse and buggy to school and has some memories of the depression. In Leora’s opinion, history books don’t do women justice. She believes firsthand accounts are the most important.
Surrounded by family and friends, these two women celebrate their birthdays. Thanks to Rachel Kidd and Brookdale Assisted Living Facility for recognizing and honoring these two fine women. Happy birthday, Bertha and Leora!

Jim Jinkins, President, and Donna Johnson, Board Member, solicit new members for the 21st C. Norman Seniors Association at 2nd Friday Art Walk in Norman in May.

by Judith Coker Center

If you live in Norman, you may want to join a new non-profit group for seniors called the 21st Century Norman Seniors Association. They are in the middle of a membership drive and seek active seniors and their family members who are interested in senior issues. There are no dues or age restrictions.
The association plans to advocate for Norman seniors on local issues and want to have a positive effect in building an inclusive community for Norman. They have no political, religious, or social affiliation. Currently they have over 200 members.
“We saw a need for this kind of group several months ago,” says Jim Jinkins, president of the association. “Working together seniors can create change that will benefit everyone. We welcome members of any age who are interested in improving life for seniors in Norman.”
At this point 21st Seniors has a temporary board and slate of officers, but with an enlarged membership, plan to hold elections in the fall. The original founders have been deeply interested in the Norman Forward plans for a new senior center and will continue to be involved in this as time goes on. However, long term the group wants to serve as a purposeful voice for seniors, networking with other groups for the larger good. They also want to promote Norman as an attractive retirement destination.
You may run into the 21st C. Norman Seniors Association at different locations in Norman this month as they look for new members. Stop and talk with them for more information. Also, the website,, now under construction, has information about the group’s mission statement, temporary officers and board members, and other posts of interest to Norman seniors. There is a place on the website to join the group. You may also write to the group at PO Box 722082, Norman, OK 73072.
The Association plans to hold a meeting in June for members to socialize and discuss future plans. “You never know what good you can accomplish until you meet with like-minded people, set goals, and use your knowledge and influence to improve you own city,” said Jinkins. “Seniors have deep knowledge and rich experience, and are a resource Norman needs.” Join us and enrich your own life by working together and building new friendships through the 21st Century Norman Seniors Association.

“The fresh corn. My daddy would always bring it in.” Glennell Combs

“Not the tornadoes. I just like everything being fresh”. Ethel McKinney

“The flowers and everything growing. “Doris Wright

“I always loved planting the garden with my granddad.” Michael Burdick




Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn

The state of Florida has many popular and well known resort destinations, where you can find gourmet dining, beautiful ocean front vistas and upscale comfortable resort hotels. Undiscovered by many frequent Florida vacationers, is Vero Beach and the Vero Beach Hotel and Spa, which has all any tropical traveler requires.
Located on Florida’s East Coast an hour’s drive from Melbourne and about an hours and a half from Orlando, the Vero Beach community, with entertaining attractions, art and jewelry galleries is worth the travel time. (You might also consider flying into the Vero Beach Regional Airport.) Crossing the bridge over the Indian River from the mainland you might be surprised at the commercial development. Once you reach the Vero Beach Hotel and Spa, conveniently located in the middle of the action, you can be secluded on the beach as with the best of any ocean side resort. You will discover beach activities that accommodate family needs, seaside casual dining and beverages, near the outdoor pool.
The twin tower hotel hosts the indoor/outdoor Cobalt restaurant where breakfast and gourmet dinners are served. They are happy to prepare a breakfast Eggs Benedict to your tastes and the evening sea bass is a light and delicious repast. Adjacent is the Cobalt bar and lounge, where the cocktail wait staff and bar tenders are eager to prepare your Martini or other exotic cocktail, to your specific specifications. This added attention to your request is a rare commodity at many exclusive lounges. The Vero Beach Hotel and Spa prides itself on its attentive and congenial service. The happy hour specials are not to be missed, are not watered down and come at a friendly price point. You can also partake of specially priced appetizers as meet other congenial travelers looking for a relaxed yet lux atmosphere.
The Vero Beach Hotel and Spa includes the full service White Orchid Spa and salon where you could spend an entire day taking in their many services. You may find an amendable spa partner when having an expert and extensive Mani-Pedi. Your fellow Salon patrons might include a fascinating personality such as Toronto’s, Barbara Reed, who as a successful professional, also creates exotic one of a kind jewelry pieces, which she is happy to share. It’s this kind of serendipitous happening that keeps resort travelers returning to discover a happy encounter with like-minded persons.
For an evening or matinee be sure and check the schedule of the Riverside Theatre about 3 blocks from the hotel, accessible by taxi or a leisurely fifteen-minute walk. If your call for a taxi is too long a wait the front desk has a secure list of Uber drivers eager to please with prompt timing. Expert Theatre plays and elaborate musicals are presented year round, such as this Spring’s Sister Act, and next season’s Mame and Chicago. Good last minute seats are usually available.
Next door to the theater is the Vero Beach Art Museum with special exhibits and a convenient Museum café with fresh sandwiches, before or after your viewing of the esoteric museum exhibits.
With all this actively you can take many leisurely strolls along the clean and constant surf along the beach, where a stroll lets you really appreciate the beauty and power of nature. Be sure and ask at the front desk, or at the other establishments you visit for the current Inside Track Almanac, the official guide to the Treasure Coast, which is filled with attractions you can consider to entertain you in your leisure time. While you may not have heard of Vero Beach, it is highly recommended for putting on your list of Florida’s favorite resort destinations where Vero Beach Hotel and Spa can be your resort oasis. All Vero Beach’s specials can be found at:

Mr. Terry Zinn – Travel Editor
Past President: International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association –

From left, Lisa Tippeconnic, human resources and scheduling; Charlotte Carey, administrator; Weama Kassem, owner and COO; Pam Ross, RN, director of nursing; Amber Kotula, human resources; Abbey Trammell, media and brand communications and Linda Saraya, billing specialist; are part of a team serving the needs of the greater community at SYNERGY HomeCare.

story and photo by Jason Chandler

When Pam Ross was a young girl, she always knew she wanted to be a nurse, she said. Today this registered nurse serves as the Director of Nursing at SYNERGY HomeCare.
“I wanted to help people because my passion is to help them feel better”, Ross said. “Through personal experiences of my own with my own family, I feel I have a good sense of how to do that with SYNERGY HomeCare.”
Ross started her career working in hospitals and surgery centers. She joined SYNERGY HomeCare a little over a year ago and has been a registered nurse for 24 years.
“I feel like we’re family,” she said. “I admire everyone’s loyalty and passion to help others.”
Ross said she enjoys working with Weama Kassem, the owner and Chief Executive Officer of SYNERGY HomeCare as well as with Charlotte Carey, the Administrator.
“SYNERGY HomeCare is not a home health nursing agency, but is a non-medical care provider,” Carey said. The company provides one hour to 24 hours of care for people in their place of residence, whether that is in a home, assisted or independent living community as well as in hospitals and rehab facilities.
Being non-medical, SYNERGY HomeCare does not require a doctor’s order as is the case with home health.
“We do have a Director of Nursing, Pam Ross, and an Associate Director of Nursing, Ramona Wilson on staff with us,” Carey said.
Carey said SYNERGY HomeCare looks to the in-depth experience and knowledge of different diagnosis and disease progression in both Ross and Wilson.
“Our nurses are able to impart some of that knowledge to our caregivers through their daily interactions as well as our monthly in-service training. Although we are non-medical, the knowledge and experience is important because it allows the RNs to work effectively in the capacity of a case manager to coordinate care with different agencies to accomplish a complete continuum of care for our clients,” Carey said.
“SYNERGY HomeCare helps individuals to maintain their independence for as long as safely possible,” Carey said. “It also adds a set of eyes, ears and hands for family caregivers who usually bear the responsibility for caring for an aging or disabled loved one.”
Carey said Kassem’s heart trickles down through the staff. She has attracted a team of people with similar passions which has created the company’s own synergy.
“We have a wide range of caregivers in the field,” Carey said. “We hire CNAs and CHHAs to take care of the clients in their places of residence,” Carey noted. “We do have some caregivers that are not CNA level certified, but our RNs see to it that they are supportive assistant trained. We don’t have “companion sitters”. Some other companies do and that is one of our distinctions. We’re also one of the largest providers for veterans in the state and we are quite proud of that.”
SYNERGY HomeCare has a Moore and Norman territory as well which allows them to cover north to Guthrie, south to Lexington, east to El Reno and west to Shawnee. The home office is based in Edmond, Oklahoma.
“We’re in the process of opening a new office that will serve Moore, Norman and south Oklahoma,” said Kassem.
She said her family has always been dedicated to taking care of elder members of the family. This sense of family inspires her career.
“We stay with our elders. We are the caregiver for them,” said Kassem, who was born in the United States but lived for a time in the Middle East before returning to the U.S.
She earned her Masters Degree in Business Administration at Oklahoma City University and decided to focus on her passion of caring for others at home.
“I love to take care of people, especially the elders. It’s something that’s just in my blood,” Kassem said. “Starting the franchise is one of my greatest accomplishments.”
The corporate owner in Phoenix, Peter Tourian, began the company as a caregiver 15 or so years ago. Kassem liked Peter Tourian’s message of compassionate care. “For Kassem to have been born in Arizona, then to live in the Middle East with her parents only to return to the corporate headquarter in Arizona where she was born is an amazing example of destiny. She has come full circle,” Carey said.
“The people in this company are my family,” Kassem said. “And we go for the bigger picture which is our client. They are our family. We become part of the family with each client, with each family. I fill my life with the love that they give. I love to give to people a lot. This is my truest passion.”
You can reach Pam, Charlotte, Weama, or any other members of this staff at (405) 254-3046 or Contact

Right: Synergy HomeCare Owner, Weaam Kassem (center) and Staff celebrated Memorial Day early with live entertainment, great food, face painting and activities for all ages. Clients, caregivers and community enjoyed a patriotic fun filled event held Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at Synergy HomeCare off Bryant Ave in Edmond.
Right: Synergy HomeCare Owner, Weaam Kassem (center) and Staff celebrated Memorial Day early with live entertainment, great food, face painting and activities for all ages.  Clients, caregivers and community enjoyed a patriotic fun filled event held Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at Synergy HomeCare off Bryant Ave in Edmond.
Synergy HomeCare Owner, Weaam Kassem (center) and Staff celebrated Memorial Day early with live entertainment, great food, face painting and activities for all ages. Clients, caregivers and community enjoyed a patriotic fun filled event held Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at Synergy HomeCare off Bryant Ave in Edmond.



Synergy HomeCare staff members, Pam Ross (Director of Nursing) and Lisa Tippeconnic (Human Resources) visited with Veteran and client, Jimmy Horton,  at their patriotic Memorial Day party held on Wednesday, May 25th at Synergy HomeCare off Bryant Ave in Edmond.
Synergy HomeCare staff members, Pam Ross (Director of Nursing) and Lisa Tippeconnic (Human Resources) visited with Veteran and client, Jimmy Horton, at their patriotic Memorial Day party held on Wednesday, May 25th at Synergy HomeCare off Bryant Ave in Edmond.

Hearing Loss Association of America, Central Oklahoma chapter heard from Dr Shannon Winters at the April meeting of the evening group. Dr Winters told us that there are an estimated 10 million Americans with noise induced hearing loss and another 40-50 million with Tinnitus, thought to be a precursor of hearing loss. The Doctor suggested that we should protect our hearing by avoiding excess noise. But the question raised was, “How can we know what is excess noise?” Some common sounds that are too loud are a lawn mower or chain saw. Music is often too loud, like concerts and ear buds, even driving with your windows down could be loud enough to damage your hearing. A Thunder basket ball game is definitely too loud for hearing and even some churches play their music too loud. What can we do to protect our valuable hearing? There are three things that people can do to protect their hearing: Move away from the sound, turn the volume down, or wear hearing protection.
Hearing Loss Association of America Central Oklahoma Chapter (HLA) has 3 meeting times each month for your convenience. Evenings; 2nd Monday , 7PM, Lakeside Methodist Church, 2825 NW 66, OKC. Norman group, 2nd Saturday, 9:30AM, Norman Regional Hospital Education Center, 901 N Porter Ave. Day group; 3rd Thursday, at 1:30PM at Lakeside Methodist Church. Everyone is invited. All meetings are open to the public and there is no admission charge.

Jun 2/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9:30 am – 4 pm/ 951-2277/ Palinsky
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100
Jun 7/ Tuesday/ Norman/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 307-3176/ Palinsky
Norman Regional Hospital – 901N. Porter Ave.
Jun 10/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
SW Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
Jun 15/ Wednesday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 522-6697/ Palinsky
Office of Disability Concern – 2401 N.W. 23rd, suite 90
Jun 14/ Tuesday/ Yukon/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 350-7680/ Edwards
Dale Robertson Center – 1200 Lakeshore Dr.
Jun 18/ Saturday/ Moore/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 799-3130/ Palinsky
Brand Senior Center – 501 E. Main
July 7/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9:30 am – 4 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
Integris 3rd Age Center – 5100 N. Brookline suite 100
July 8/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
S.W. Medical Center -4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
July 12/ Tuesday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 691-4091/ Palinsky
Rose State, Professional Tng. & Ed. Ctr. – 1720 Hudiberg Drive
The prices for the classes are: $15 for AARP members and $20 for Non-AARP. Call John Palinsky, zone coordinator for the Oklahoma City area at 405-691-4091 or send mail to:

If you have a brain, then you’re at risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Today, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and by 2050 that number is projected to reach as many as 16 million. There are currently 62,000 Oklahomans living with the disease.
Misunderstanding crucial facts about the disease can have devastating consequences that keep people from seeking an Alzheimer’s diagnosis and reduce access to needed resources, clinical trials and support services. To debunk these harmful misconceptions, the Alzheimer’s Association is highlighting several essential truths during Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month in June, including:
· Alzheimer’s disease is fatal – there are no survivors. From 2000-2013, the number of Alzheimer’s deaths increased 71 percent, while deaths from other major diseases decreased.
· Alzheimer’s disease is not normal aging. Alzheimer’s is a fatal and progressive disease that attacks the brain, killing nerve cells and tissue, affecting an individual’s ability to remember, think and plan. Brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s may begin 20 or more years before symptoms appear. Although age is the greatest known risk factor, Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging.
· Alzheimer’s risks are higher among women, African-Americans and Hispanics. African-Americans are about twice as likely as whites to have Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Hispanics are about one and one-half times as likely. Additionally, more than two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women.
The Alzheimer’s Association works with caregivers to enhance care and support for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Comprehensive online resources and information are available through the Association’s website at and the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.
During Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging everyone to uncover the truth about Alzheimer’s and to show their support for people living with the disease by doing the following:
· Participate in The Longest Day® ( on June 20, a sunrise-to-sunset event to honor those facing Alzheimer’s disease with strength, heart and endurance.
· Join the Alzheimer’s Association in wearing purple throughout the month, especially on June 20. Share photos of yourself, family, friends and co-workers wearing the movement’s signature color via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. with the hashtag #ENDALZ.
· Attend a free education program ( to learn more about the disease. Special programs in June include The Basics, Effective Communication, Know the 10 Signs, and Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body: Tips from the Latest Research.
This content of this editorial is provided by Alzheimer’s Association Oklahoma Chapter.

Dear Savvy Senior, Can you recommend some smartphones that are specifically designed for seniors? My 75-year-old mother is interested in upgrading from a basic cellphone to a smartphone, but will need one that’s very easy to operate.  Inquiring Daughter


Dear Inquiring,
I wrote about this topic just last year, but in the fast changing world of personal technology devices, there’s a new crop of simplified smartphones that have recently hit the market that are better than ever for tech-shy seniors. Here are my three top options.
Doro 824 SmartEasy: Offered by Consumer Cellular, the new Doro 824 SmartEasy is one of the best, simplified smartphones available today. It starts with a bright, 5-inch high-resolution touch screen display that offers large icons and text, and customizable volume settings. Its simplified design pairs down the options, providing uncluttered, easy access to key contacts and frequently used features – such as the phone, text messages, the camera email and the Internet – right from the home screen. And, it provides help as you go along from the built-in coach.
It also offers a unique pre-installed My Doro Manager app that can also be downloaded by family or friends. This app provides a number of tutorials showing your mom how to enjoy her phone, and gives her trusted contacts the remote ability to help manage and adjust her Doro smartphone from their smartphone no matter where they are.
And for added convenience and safety, the Doro 824 provides three physical buttons on the front of the phone for quick, one-touch access to the home screen, recently used applications, and a back button that returns to the previous screen. And an “Emergency Alert” button on the back of the phone that will automatically dial one, predetermined contact in the event of an emergency.
The Doro 824 is sold online at, over the phone at 888-532-5366, or at any Target or Sears store for $200 with no contract.
Jitterbug Smart: Offered by GreatCall wireless, the new 4th generation Jitterbug Smart is much bigger than previous GreatCall smartphones. This phone is actually an Alcatel smartphone that’s been rebranded and loaded with GreatCall’s simplified user interface software.
It has a big, bright 5.5-inch high-definition touch screen, and a simple single-list menu on the home page that provides easy access to only frequently used features, along with one-touch access to contacts and other apps.
It also provides convenient voice typing for emails and texts, and offers a variety of optional health and safety features, like MedCoach, that sends medication and prescription refill reminders. Urgent Care, which provides unlimited access to registered nurses and doctors to answer health questions. And a 5Star medical-alert service that lets you speak to a live emergency-alert agent around the clock. These trained agents will confirm your mom’s location via GPS tracking technology and dispatch help as needed.
Available online at, or at Best Buy, Rite Aid, Sears and Walmart stores for $150 with a onetime $35 activation fee and no contract.
Samsung Galaxy Note5: While this smartphone isn’t designed specifically for seniors, its large size (5.7-inch screen) and unique “Easy” mode setting that boosts the icon and font sizes and simplifies the home-screen layout, makes it a good option.
With the Easy mode turned on, the Note5’s home screen will display only the time, date and local weather, and six frequently used functions. To access your 12 most important contacts, you would simply swipe the home screen to the right. And to access your 12 favorites apps, swipe to the left.
The Note5 (see is available with 32 and 64 GB of storage from the major carriers (AT&T, Sprint, -Verizon, T-Mobile) and some smaller carriers at prices ranging between $615 and $840 without a contract.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.