Lisa Sydnor, senior programs manager for the Salvation Army, says the upcoming Senior Living Fair on April 29 will help seniors and their families connect with needed resources.

Senior Living Fair set for April

by Bobby Anderson, staff writer

As Senior Programs Manager for the Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command, Lisa Sydnor helps families struggling with crucial decisions when loved ones have an unexpected life change.
She was one of those people years ago when her mother faced a world-altering event.
That’s why this month’s Senior Living Fair has a special place in her heart.
The Salvation Army Senior Living Fair will be held Saturday, April 29 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the OKC-County Health Department northeast campus.
This year the focus is on the families of seniors and providing resources for them as they help their loved ones make decisions about downsizing, finding affordable housing and more.
More than 65 vendors who can connect seniors and their families to these much needed resources are expected to attend.
The Senior Living Fair is an annual event that is free to the public thanks to sponsors and includes exhibits for health and wellness, housing, Medicare information, insurance, aging-in-place, and fun ways to stay active.
The Salvation Army Senior Programs offer participants the opportunity to learn, innovate, promote healthy activities, express and fulfill artistic talents, and socialize. The enhanced self-worth, dignity and hope are intrinsic to the well-being of every person.
The non-profit Sisters in Motion group will be there, teaching seniors the benefit of hula hooping to improve their flexibility and range of motion.
“What we want to do is bring all those people together,” Sydnor said. “It’s not just a health fair. It’s about living now but taking care of the contingencies.”
Sydnor’s mother hadn’t taken care of those contingencies a few years back.
So Sydnor became one of those family members who didn’t know where to turn when her mother took an unexpected turn for the worse.
“I can tell you from experience,” Sydnor says. “If you don’t know what you don’t know then you make a mistake. When you realize the mistake then you have to start over again.”
Sydnor remembers walking in to check on her mother one day after work and the entire house had blackened walls.
Her mother was sitting in the middle of it all and Sydnor was aghast.
“She was sitting there barely breathing and said she fell asleep while cooking,” Sydnor said. “The walls were black with soot. Had the neighbor next door not smelled something and basically kicked the door in … mother probably would have died from smoke inhalation because she had limited respiratory function anyway.”
“I had to do something.”
Within 72 hours, Sydnor was forced to downsize her mother to a shared room at a nursing home.
The phone book was her only resource.
She thumbed through, praying the next call would be the right one for her mother.
Turns out it wasn’t.
Within two weeks of choosing a home she knew she had made a mistake.
“Not knowing what questions to ask, you just don’t ask them,” Sydnor says. “I don’t want to see somebody else like that.”
So she pulling her mother out of the center and moved her in with her for the time being until a more permanent situation was found.
During the process, she found out her mother had made no final expense arrangements.
In taking care of her mother’s finances and living situation, it became clear that she needed to have a conversation with her own children.
That’s why the Senior Living Fair is so important. Sydnor says experts from a number of relevant industries are brought together to provide a resource – not just for seniors but for everyone as they age.
“I want to see the seniors come with their families and with their children or grandchildren who will make decisions and help them,” Sydnor said.
This year will be the first time the event has taken place on a Saturday. The move from Thursday mornings was intended to accommodate families who help seniors make important life decisions.
Downsizing, supplementing Medicare, finding the right place to live after an illness or crisis – these are just a few of the topics Sydnor says will be covered.
“Just myriads of questions,” Sydnor said. “We also have health agencies. We’re trying to reach the families so they can make better informed decisions.”
And for Sydnor, she hopes that others aren’t caught unprepared when the unexpected arrives on their doorstep.

New transitional care center located near Integris Southwest Medical Center

StoneGate Senior Living CEO John Taylor announces that Accel at Crystal Park celebrated the grand opening on February 23, 2017. Located at 315 SW 80th St, Oklahoma City, Accel at Crystal Park is currently completing local and state inspections and is expected to begin admitting patients the first week of April. The facility will be fully open immediately thereafter.
The new transitional care center, near Integris Southwest Medical Center. represents the second new health care center developed in the Oklahoma City market-area by Lewisville, Texas-based StoneGate Senior Living. The first—Medical Park West Rehabilitation—is located adjacent to Norman Regional Health System’s HealthPlex Hospital in Norman.
Accel at Crystal Park features 59 private transitional care suites designed for patients recovering from an acute care event. All patient suites will offer modern amenities and technologies—flat-panel TVs, Wi-Fi—and a high-quality dining experience, with meal service available in patient rooms and the center’s dining room. Accel’s rehabilitation gym will offer modern equipment and technologies that help patients complete post-acute rehabilitation as quickly as possible and return to their lifestyle.
StoneGate’s web-based EHR software will be utilized at Accel, facilitating easy access to important patient health information by physicians and other providers, as well as transparent sharing of clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction data with physicians and acute care partners. Expected patient length-of-stay at the transitional care center will vary based on diagnosis, and the expected overall average length-of-stay is 15 to 25 days. Accel’s overarching mission will be to rehabilitate patients as quickly as is clinically feasible. Accel at Crystal Park’s architecture and interiors are designed to complement the look and feel of local real estate, and will offer the same attention to architectural and design details as Medical Park West in Norman.
StoneGate Senior Living manages 42 properties across Texas and Oklahoma, and is currently developing two new transitional care properties in Colorado and another in College Station, Texas. Recently ranked as the nation’s 31st largest transitional and long-term care company by Provider magazine, StoneGate is a fully-integrated post-acute health care company, with service-lines and business units that offer transitional care, long-term care, assisted living, memory care, rehabilitation, wellness, home health, pharmacy, care navigation and post-acute analytical services.

Don Weaver receives a Project Red, White & Blue gift bag.

Every month, RSVP of Central Oklahoma volunteers put together Project Red, White & Blue gift bags to be given to older veterans throughout Oklahoma and Cleveland Counties.
A single line from the insert included in the bag says it all. “Freedom isn’t free…Thank you Veterans!” From toothbrushes to socks, snacks to tissues, Project Red, White & Blue allows older adult RSVP volunteers in the community to express their thanks to veterans for serving and protecting.
RSVP of Central Oklahoma, Inc. is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service and a United Way partner agency. Thanks to the Kirkaptrick Family Fund, RSVP volunteers are able to assemble these bags and have them delivered to deserving older veterans throughout our community.
Kim Sanders is an RSVP volunteer who delivers the bags and is able to see firsthand the impact Project Red, White and Blue has.
“When I deliver the bags, they’re so excited to get them. There are useful items in the bag that people have thoughtfully prepared and they really appreciate them,” Sanders said.
The gesture may seem simple, but for a veteran to know that someone took the time to create a bag full of useful goods and to deliver it to them can mean the world.
“It is so nice to be thought of and appreciated. I live alone and on a fixed income. This bag has so many items that I don’t have to go out and purchase. RSVP has always been so wonderful to me. I truly appreciate this thoughtful gift,” World War II veteran Don Weaver said.
RSVP of Central Oklahoma, Inc. enriches the lives of older adults by connecting them with meaningful and rewarding community volunteer opportunities. Since 1973, their vision has been for older adults to continue to live a life full of purpose and meaning.

What are you hoping for this year? AllianceHealth Midwest Hospital Volunteer Services

I’m hoping the country comes together this year and there’s not so much division and meanness. Mary Boutin

Another trip to Scandinavia. The last one was out of this world! Lucy Dinberg

I’m just wishing for the best for my grandkids growing up. Kay Rogers

Personally, I pray everyday for a better attitude and stronger faith. Terry Wilkinson

Octogenarian, Harold Stevenson to be honored with a Legislative proclamation and reception at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Oklahoma Artist Harold Stevenson to be recognized by Oklahoma Legislature

Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn t4z@aol.com
Past President: International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association http://realtraveladventures.com/author/zinn/
www.seniornewsandliving.com – www.martinitravels.com

Octogenarian, Harold Stevenson will be honored with a Legislative proclamation and reception at the Oklahoma State Capitol on the afternoon of April 19 followed by a public reception.
At press time details are being formulated but for more information you may contact Melodye Blancett, at Meloyde.Blancett@okhouse.gov or me at TRAVELSWITHTERRY@aol.com, with the subject line being “Harold Stevenson.”
This recognition comes as a result of decades of exhibitions with Harold’s studios ranging from Paris, to Idabel Oklahoma, Key West, and Wainscott, New York. As a native from Idabel Oklahoma, he now has returned to his beloved community as an example of the circle of life. He returned to his childhood home on Avenue A and subsequently passed it on to his nephew who built him a cabin in the Idabel woods.
In a 1998 Persimmon Hill Magazine interview by M.J. Van Deventer, she writes: “Harold Stevenson was drawing and using colors even before he learned to write his name. “I invented painting all by myself,” he says. Today, he is considered an iconoclast, an uncompromising artist who listened only to his own voice and paints the subjects that bring him the greatest pleasure.”
Harold says, “I was very precocious and by nature, I became very gregarious. There’s no such thing as a stranger to me.” At the age of twelve he opened his own studio in downtown Idabel. “Other kids my age were delivering papers or milk. But I had an art studio in the middle of town. I actually sold my paintings. I made my own job.”
Born on March 11, 1929 in Idabel and growing up in Idabel Harold was readily accepted by his neighbors when he asked to paint their portraits which later resulted in a larger than life exhibition of his works titled, The Great Society. With encouragement from the founder of the Oklahoma Art Center in Oklahoma City, Nan Sheets, Harold received education from the University of Oklahoma in 1947, Mexico City College, and studied under Yasuo Kuniyoshi and Max Schallinger.
Decades later his larger than life portraits were accepted into the Fred Jones Junior Museum of Art’s permanent collection accompanied with a monumental exhibition. The Museum recently accepted a collection of Harold’s paintings from longtime friend, Buddy Dugan, from his San Francisco’s home collection.
Besides the Fred Jones Junior Museum of Art collection, his works are also in the permanent collection of New York’s Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim, and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Besides other exhibitions his reclining panoramic portrait, inspired by actor Sal Mineo, is in the Guggenheim. Of note was his huge painting of Spanish bullfighter, El Cordobes, when it was hung from the Eiffel Tower. Harold is best known for his large canvas paintings, some ranging from six feet by ten feet.
Harold’s contemporaries and acquaintances include artists; Marcel du Champs, Jackson Pollack, Andy Warhol, Poteet Victory and philanthropist Peggy Guggenheim where he visited her at her Venice palazzo. He has been described as one of the art worlds living icons with work that spans almost seven decades. He is part of a generation that was once classified by a 1962 art show in New York City as the “New Realists.”
With an avid interest in classical history Harold Stevenson’s subject matter includes realistic depiction of classical subjects, Oklahoma cowboys, native Americans, landscapes and an admiration of the human form.
In coming back to his home in Idabel, Harold reflects: “There a providence that ties all these generations together. You cannot see the thread or the links that bind life together. But it is curious to me that in the last cycle of my life I would come back to this – my roots. It is a great reward for me to still be a local. I’m an armchair relic of the past, living in the house in which I was born.”
Harold continues from the 1998 interview. “But gradually I’m becoming a part of the current generation of Idabel people. I’m very interested in knowing the next generation. I have a new following. And it is very flattering.”

Dear Savvy Senior,

When my father passed away a few months ago we had him cremated, but are now wondering what to do with his ashes. My sister and I would like to do something celebratory for his life, but aren’t sure what to do. Any suggestions?

No Instructions Left

Dear No,
If your dad didn’t leave any final instructions on what to do with his cremated remains (ashes), you have a wide array of choices. They can be kept, buried or scattered in a variety of ways and in many locations. Here are some different options to help you decide.
Keep Close By: For many people, keeping the ashes of their deceased love one close by provides a feeling of comfort. If you fit into this category, you could keep his ashes in an urn on the mantel or in a cabinet, or you could also scatter some of them into your lawn or garden, shake them into a backyard pond or dig a hole and bury them. Another possible option is eco-friendly urns (like UrnaBios.com or EterniTrees.com) that contain a seed that grows into a tree or plant after being buried.
Cemetery Options: If you want your dad’s final resting place to be at a cemetery, you have several choices depending on how much you’re willing to spend. With most cemeteries, you can either bury his ashes in a plot, or place them in cremation monument, a mausoleum, or a cemetery building called a columbarium.
Scatter Them: If you want to scatter his ashes, to help you chose an appropriate location, think about what your dad would have liked. For example, did he have a favorite fishing spot, camping area, golf course, beach or park that held a special meaning? These are all possibilities, but be aware to that if you choose to scatter his ashes in a public location or on private land, you’ll need get permission from the management, local government or the land owner.
National parks, for example, require you to have a permit before you scatter ashes. If you wish to dispose of them at sea, the Environmental Protection Agency asks you be at least three miles from shore. Beach scatterings are also illegal in some states, including California, but are rarely enforced. And many public areas, like Central Park and Disneyland prohibit scattering ashes too, as do most professional and college sports stadiums.
Untraditional Methods: If you want to do something truly unique with his ashes, you have many choices here too, but they can get pricy ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Here are several to consider.
Scattering by air: This free-spirited option lets you spread your dad’s ashes into the sky so the particles can be taken by the wind. To do this, you could hire a private plane, helicopter or hot air balloon service, or use a balloon scattering service like EternalAscent.com or Mesoloft.com. Or, you could even send his ashes into outer space with ElysiumSpace.com.
Scattering by sea: If your dad loved the water, there are many businesses that offer ash scattering services at sea, especially close to coastal areas, or you could rent a boat and do it yourself. There are also companies like EternalReefs.com that offer reef memorials so your dad’s ashes can rest on the ocean floor.
Ashes to keepsakes: If you want a keepsake of your dad, you can also turn some of his ashes into a wide variety of memorabilia, such as: diamonds (see LifeGem.com or DNA2Diamonds.com); jewelry or other handcrafted glass items (ArtFromAshes.com and Memorials.com); vinyl records (Andvinyly.com); gun ammunition (MyHolySmoke.com); or an hourglass urn (InTheLightUrns.com).
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Pictured from left to right: Todd Hendricks, Jacob Lovell, Kelly Savas, and Kim Brewer

by Sheila Kennedy-Stewart, MSN, RN, CMSRN

As many nurses know today, the hospitals remain full. Unit nurses are faced with taking additional patient loads and emergency departments are over run and holding admitted patients due to no unit bed availability. Throughput comes to a standstill.
Throughput is a number one strategic priority of Integris Southwest Medical Center. Improving patient throughput by setting high goals, ensuring the goals are transparent to all the organization and meeting these goals in a timely manner are priorities of Leadership for this institution. Recently, Leadership of this hospital was not just merely voicing support – but was putting these goals into action.
With the ER holding sixteen patients to be admitted and less than a handful of rooms available for seeing new emergent patients, the leaders of Patient Care Services and the Emergency Department acted. With no additional nursing staff to open and staff an overflow unit, leadership of both these departments opened the floor with themselves as floor staff. This is True Nursing Leadership.
Kim Brewer, Patient Care Services Manager; Kelly Savas, House Supervisor; Tela Brown, Emergency Department Director; Jacob Lovell, Emergency Department Manager; and Todd Hendricks, Emergency Department Team Lead opened the overflow medical unit and began receiving patients from the ED. Within a few hours, ten patients had been admitted to the floor, assessed and orders initiated or continued for the quality care of these patients.
This is leading by example in its highest form. These nursing leaders are transformational leaders who exemplify our nursing philosophy. Integris Southwest is fortunate to have this caliber of nursing leadership in the ranks. Kudos!