Couple Stays Close in Different Levels of Continuing Care

Couple from Redwood Terrace CCRCHans Noordhoorn did all he could to take care of his wife Anita at their home in Rancho Bernardo, Calif. Anita had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2006. He cooked their meals, helped her get ready for the day, and took her to fitness classes and other activities at Redwood Elderlink, a service offering home care and rehabilitation therapy. But when Anita continued to lose self-sufficiency and began to wake up in the middle of the night, Hans knew he needed more support.

In June 2012, the Noordhoorns decided to move to Redwood Terrace, a continuing care retirement community in Escondido, Calif. They lived together in independent living until it became apparent Anita needed more assistance. While Hans, 83, still lives independently, 82-year-old Anita now resides at Gannon House, Redwood Terrace’s memory care center. It was a tough choice: The move meant the two would have to live apart for the first time in their 53-year marriage.

“That was a difficult decision to make because I know she will never come back to independent living to be with me,” Noordhoorn says. “But I knew I couldn’t handle her care by myself.”

The Noordhoorns are one of many couples dealing with the challenges of living in separate levels of care within a CCRC. Many moved into the community because of its continuing care benefits and have found other ways to stick together.

Hans takes comfort in the fact that he only needs to walk a few steps to join Anita in the afternoons for a stroll through the gardens. The Redwood Terrace staff helped him throw a big birthday celebration for Anita this summer, with her favorite chocolate cheesecake.  In independent living, he can play golf in the morning, work out in the community’s fitness center and participate on resident committees.

“I try to keep myself busy as much as possible,” he says. “I know this is better for her.”

Watch this video to learn more about the benefits of staying together in a CCRC.


Exercise Sue at Kirkwood Orange

Kirkwood Orange residents work up a sweat twice a week with fitness instructor Sue Burchfiel, also known as “Exercise Sue.”

More than a dozen residents—from assisted living and memory care—participate in Burchfiel’s weekly fitness classes consisting of everything from strength training to balance exercises. “I like to focus on every single part of the body, building our strength and muscle tone, so that they have more capability to continue to do things,” says Burchfiel, who has led the classes for two years.  “What I love most is that every class is different.”

Burchfiel keeps the residents moving—and smiling—with chair volleyball, aerobics, badminton, bowling and light weight training with water bottles. Check out the fun:



Opera at the Point


For more than 20 years, Regents Point resident Pat Orcutt and her late husband Ken held season tickets at nearly a half-dozen opera houses nationwide—including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, L.A. Opera and Nevada Opera. “We saw about 35 operas a years,” says Orcutt, who also owns about 100 DVDs of various performances.

When they moved to Regents Point in 2004, they met other opera lovers. But for various reasons, many of their new neighbors weren’t able to attend. The Nevada couple decided that if their neighbors couldn’t go to the opera, they would bring the opera to them. They set up “Opera at the Point,” which enables community fans to see performances of “Aida,” “Ernani,” “Nabucco” and “Macbeth.”

“It’s a low-key program but what a lovely way to spend the afternoon,” says Orcutt, who plays host to the program every other month. “We’re just a bunch of friends getting together to enjoy something that we all love.”

Opera is among the many art forms that are celebrated at Regents Point. The Irvine community is home to many writers, painters, photographers, musicians and singers. Twice a month, residents also have the opportunity to see popular musicals like “Gigi” in a separate program called “Musical Matinee.”

For Orcutt, the opera and music have been part of her life since growing up in the Midwest. She and her sisters learned to play the guitar as children. Orcutt says her husband Ken would always sing many of the melodies from their favorite operas.

“We felt like opera was the quintessential form of entertainment, and we wanted to help others to have the chance to continue to enjoy it.”




Windsor Wins Glendale Beautiful Award

Congratulations to Windsor for receiving the 2014 Glendale Beautiful award for its lovely landscape and floral garden surrounding the community! The nonprofit group recognizes local businesses and organizations each year that help to improve the quality and look of Glendale neighborhoods.



Royal Oaks’ William Rider Discovers the Poet Within

Bradbury Oaks resident Will Rider and Khandice Morente

Bradbury Oaks resident Will Rider and Khandice Morente, Bradbury Oaks resident services coordinator

The poet within Royal Oaks resident William Rider emerged in the middle of the night. In May 2013, Rider woke up at 2 a.m. with many stories and thoughts to share through poetry.  He went to his desk and began to write.

“The words just began to flow,” says Rider, who crafted more than 80 poems that he published two months ago in his first book.  “I would just put down what was in my heart. For me, it all comes from God, and I would cry tears of joy after every poem I liked because I knew I had done something right.”

In his first poetry collection, “Love and Live: God’s Words Written in Poetic Form,” he explores the importance of faith, as well as the gift of giving and learning new things. He also tapped into some overwhelming emotions like loneliness, which he described as “scary.”

“Mr. Rider has totally blossomed into a totally different person through writing,” says Khandice Morente, resident services coordinator at Bradbury Oaks, the community’s assisted living residence. Morente helped Rider to compile his poems, create a design for the book and work with the online self-publishing site

“Through the poetry and writing, he’s really opened up in a different way,” she says.

Rider, who has lived at Bradbury Oaks for almost two years, chimes in that he’s just “having a lot of fun doing lots of different things.”

The St. Louis native, who spent most of career in computer programming, has always kept himself busy. When he moved to Royal Oaks with his late wife 10 years ago, he served on the resident council and volunteered on various committees, including library and landscaping. But now he’s found a new avenue to express himself.

And that spirit to write poetry has yet to leave him. He’s already finished a second collection that he hopes to publish in the next couple of months and has begun a third book—all of which are snippets of heart-warming and funny moments in his life.

One of his latest adventures was a trip with Royal Oaks neighbors Yu-Lan and Gunar Freiberg to a poetry reading in Santa Monica. The venue was filled with “young bohemian artistic types”—not what Rider and the Freibergs were expecting. “That’s all part of the fun,” Rider says.


Westminster Gardens ‘Conservation Evangelist’

Westminster Gardens resident Rita Lossett

Westminster Gardens resident Rita Lossett

With the flip of a coin, Westminster Gardens resident Rita Lossett decided her future as an empty nester.

If the coin turned up heads, she would become a docent at the Los Angeles Zoo; tails, she would volunteer at the Huntington Gardens.  “Heads it was,” says Lossett.

In 2004 Lossett began the 23-week training program offered by the zoo in conjunction with UCLA Extension. She memorized the basic wildlife biology and zoo history, but most importantly she learned the fundamental principles behind the zoo’s education and conservation efforts. Ten years later, she now mentors new zoo volunteers.

“My background and degrees were all in language and linguistics; I really had to study and train over the last 10 years,” says Lossett, who has developed an expertise in botany and primates.

“What I have come to love the most is the conservation efforts of the animals and plants, as well as understanding the relationship between the two,” she says.

Lossett, who moved to the Duarte community in 2012, says her love of wildlife came during her missionary work in Ethiopia in the early 1980s and ’90s. She taught English while her husband, Ken, taught science and math. During their first missionary stay the couple lived in Addis Ababa, but traveled near the lower eastern countryside during the widespread famine that nearly decimated the country. Lossett remembers the parched land and nomadic Ethiopians desperately searching for water and food.

“It was horrifying,” she says. “But I learned so much while we were there—the importance of conservation, our connection to our environment and what role we play in that as stewards,” says Lossett.

Since living at Westminster Gardens, Lossett has become the community’s resident botany expert. So far, she has identified several plant types on the grounds and has begun to work on a revised edition of the community’s own botany book, titled “Trees, Shrubs and Vines in Westminster Gardens, Duarte, California.” It was written in 1985 by former resident and botanist Ralph R. Stewart.

Lossett also has written articles for the residents newsletter about the many trees at Westminster Gardens, including its beautiful orchid tree, jacarandas, California live oaks, California pepper trees and Canary Island pines. She’s also treated her neighbors to a special community tour of the various trees.

“They call me the naturalist,” says Lossett, who also writes for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s quarterly publication “All Creatures.”

“I consider myself a conservation evangelist, and I do all of this because I want to help others to become better stewards of their environment.”

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