Unconditional Love From A Veteran

Vintage residents have a deep history. For many, that deep history includes memories of being an active part of the war. Each Vintage community honors these residents by putting their pictures on a “Veteran Wall.” Learn about Wallace, a veteran and his wife, Marilyn.

This story began in the city of Pasadena.  Wallace and Marilyn met when they were four years old.  They attended the same church and their mothers were friends.  Wallace lived in Montebello and Marilyn in Pasadena.  They grew up knowing each other and spending Sundays together.  They attended different schools but were friendly throughout their childhood and adolescent years.

In 1943, Wallace joined the marines and was sent to Iwo Jima with the 5th Marines.  He had just become engaged to a high school sweetheart right before departing for battle.  But after enlisting and being sent off, he reconsidered and broke the engagement, thinking it would be unfair to have his fiancé wait for him.  The next six weeks of war were very challenging ones for Wallace.  The battle was treacherous and difficult to fathom.  But Wallace persevered.

Wallace acknowledged it was a horrible war.  When the flag was raised at Mount Suribachi, he shared that a roar could be heard from all the Americans.  The point was so high, Americans could easily spot the American Flag.  “It sends a chill in me to think of it” Wallace would say.  “The flag stands for something.  It stood for a lot that day.”

Wallace was discharged in 1946.

When Wallace returned in 1946, he once again became engaged to his high school sweetheart.  Marilyn was invited to the wedding. But two weeks before, the wedding was once again called off, this time by the soon to be bride.  It was for the best as Wallace did not feel as bad as he thought he would. It simply was not meant to be and this opened the possibility of a romance with Marilyn.

Marilyn and Wallace continued to be friends throughout this time.  In fact, Wallace’s father would encourage Wallace to ask Marilyn out as he was fond of her.  Finally, after week s of prompting, Wallace did ask Marilyn out after church one Sunday.  Their first date was going to see  “I’ve Always Loved You”, a war movie.  Their courtship was quick and they become inseparable thereafter.  Their relationship continued to strengthen and their romance was alive and well!

They were married in 1947 at the Church of Roses in Pasadena (which is still there).  Marilyn was studying English literature and they moved into her mother’s home in Pasadena. Wallace found a job in the van and storage business and Marilyn found herself pregnant.  They have resided in Alhambra for 57 years with 3 children.

For 65 years, Wallace and Marilyn have been together.  They had a happy marriage, she shares, with many good times.  Wallace was firm but never got angry and never raised his voice.

They both moved to Massie Hall at California Mission Inn in July of 2011. Marilyn shared she knew it was the right place when she visited and discovered the building was built in 1926, the same year as she was born, and was originally a home for missionaries.  Her faith has always been strong.

“We love being here, it’s home” she says. “The staff is wonderful to us, from the food servers to the caregivers.  They are all kind, considerate, ready to do the next step and so good at anticipating our needs. I am so happy here!”

In March of this year, 2012, Wallace moved to Recollections.  Marilyn stayed in her apartment.  Fortunately, they are on the same floor so she can visit him frequently.  “Separating from Wallace was the hardest thing I have ever done.  But I’ve gone the road as far as I can go with Wallace and we are in the best environment now.” They still dine together as well as spend quality time together, watching Dancing with the Stars, a favorite activity.

Marilyn concludes, “We have three wonderfully supportive children and three wonderfully supportive grandchildren. We could wish for nothing more.  And here, we are surrounded by wonderful people.  We are lucky!”

For more information on how Vintage has honored our veterans, visit our YouTube channel.

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Super Soaker Alzheimer’s Fundraiser

Vintage proudly supports the Alzheimer’s Association in the fight to end Alzheimer’s. For the second year in a row Eric Dobner, Activity Director at Narrows Glen, rode his stationary bike from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on July 13th in order to raise money for the Walk To End Alzheimer’s. Donations provided the opportunity to soak Eric down with a Super Soaker. Resident Stan Allen was first in line! Eric raised $500 dollars for the Alzheimer’s Association. Thank you Eric! Call a Vintage Senior Living community near you. Join us in our efforts to end Alzheimer’s.


Ask The Expert, Episode 4

Learn about Assisted Living – questions answered: What support is offered for seniors transitioning to assisted living? What happens when siblings disagree about moving mom or dad? What causes family issues surrounding moving to assisted living? Is guilt normal? Knowing when it’s the right thing to do – moving mom into assisted living or memory care for dementia.


Reasons to Keep Your Sodium Low with Vintage Senior Living

Vintage takes pride in our healthy diet plans. “At Vintage, we don’t want to meet the standards, we want to go above and beyond them” says Shawn Stanchfield, Director of Food Services for Vintage Senior Living. One focus of our communities is our Low Sodium Diet.

The menus at Vintage Senior Living meet or exceed the recommendations set forth in the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for men and women age 70+, established by the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, and National Academies in 2010. This includes the recommendation to limit sodium to 2300mg per day.

These are not “therapeutic” diets, but are meant to be consistent with the recommendations for a healthy elderly population. The regular diet offered by Vintage Senior Living contains ~2300mg sodium to reduce risk for transient sodium-induced hypertension.

We need sodium in our body for:

  • Marinating fluid balance
  • Nerve transmission
  • Impulse contradiction
  • Muscle contractions

If we consume too much sodium:

  • May be detrimental to bone density
  • Blood pressure/hypertension

Hypertension often has no warning signs or symptoms. The high blood pressure increases risk for heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure and kidney disease. Come visit a Vintage Senior Living near you and see how we can accommodate your health needs and help you be your healthiest.


Resident of the Week

Rosemary Kotch, resident of the month and resident at Las Palmas in Laguna Woods, CA comes from the sunny state of Arizona. She married in 1946, and her husband decided to move to Southern California. After their move out West, Rosemary went to work as a secretary for the first J.C. Penny’s buying office when they opened their first West coast branch. Together they had four delightful children.

During the war, her husband was in the Air Force stationed in France. They decided to move the whole family to Chateauroux, France, which is 150 miles south of Paris for three years. Her favorite part of living abroad was traveling throughout Europe with their four young children. Rosemary loved boat rides on the French Riviera as well as her trips to Paris, her favorite European city.

When she returned to California, Rosemary and a business partner started a fabric store called “Fabric Lane” in Garden Grove. When they started the business, between the partners they had 10 children and neither had much business experience. They enjoyed what they did and were quite successful in their store, holding classes, selling fabric, and holding fashion shows. Rosemary and her business partner had a wonderful relationship for 16 years before they decided to sell their business.

When her husband also decided to retire, the two took some time to travel all over the world. They traveled to Europe, Asia, the Pacific Islands and throughout the United States. They frequently traveled to Hawaii since her husband got his wings there! Hawaii functioned as a second home. After traveling extensively they lived in Arizona for 30 years until Rosemary moved to California to live at Las Palmas. She loves volunteering at the hospital. Rosemary enjoys oil painting and ceramics as well as staying fit. She played tennis 3 days a week until she was 80 and she loves swimming, water exercise, and walking. Visit our Activities Page for more information about Vintage Senior Living’s Activity Program. Rosemary really enjoys Chef Louie’s cooking and delights in not having the responsibility of having to cook anymore! We are glad to have Rosemary in our Vintage family.


Blog Post From Don Bishop, Narrows Glen Resident

When Betty was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease we were living in a downsized, one-level home. As time moved on and cognitive ability continued to fail, it became apparent that we would need to move. She was not willing so I finally told her that “I needed to move” and that she should come with me.

We began searching the area for retirement communities. My parameters were: close to family and, if possible, within our city of University Place. We visited a number of communities and all were nice but had drawbacks. When we found Narrows Glen we liked what we saw and began regular visits to experience the lifestyle and get Betty used to the surroundings. We attended social hours and different activates for 6 months total where Betty was also able to meet many very friendly residents. The residents and staff were really the deciding factor, however, the physical plant and the landscaped grounds certainly added to the mix. So, we moved into a two-bedroom unit. It had a patio and a garden area that appealed to me. It was also very close to the main parlor and the Rose Garden.

My passion has been gardening. After moving in, I got involved in the Garden Club and was quickly put in charge. I started to care for and nurture the Rose Garden and then the Dalia Gardens, Resident Gardens, etc. A plant/grow room was assigned to me, which I took to like a “duck to water.” The next thing I knew, I was elected President of the Residence Association. This has been an interesting experience and has put me in closer contact with management and residents. I am an advocate for the residents and work closely with the management for the betterment of all. There are so many activities available for residents that there is something for everyone, from trips to Wii Sports to various outings. All make living at Vintage a great experience.

As Betty’s disease progressed, it became necessary for me to move her to the Memory Care area, as I could no longer give her the care that she needed. Again we visited before the move to view the surroundings and get better acquainted with the surroundings and staff. Some of our family was not ready for the move and some were upset with me for “just doing it,” but they stepped up and one of them took Betty out for about two hours while the others prepared her new apartment. When she was brought to the new apartment many of her favorite pictures and belongings were in place. This was their way of trying to make her feel more at home. She has adjusted well and seems happy, has made many friends and is close so that I can visit frequently. The rest of the family is happier now and actively visiting as well.

The staff is just remarkable in what they do. The staff is familiar with all the idiosyncrasies of the residents and they know how to deal with them. For example, if I go to visit and it is time for me to leave, Betty doesn’t usually want to say goodbye. Immediately the staff will interject and get Betty actively helping them with another project so that she can be diverted – something that I can’t do on my own.

We have never looked back at the decision to move to Narrows Glen and it has made everything so easy. It was the right move for us and the timing was good.

This post was written by Don Bishop who is a resident at Narrows Glen, a Vintage Senior Living community located in Tacoma, Washington.


Vintage Senior Living Wins California Championship

On Thursday, April 26, 2012 seniors from all over California gathered at Vintage Westwood Horizons in Los Angeles, CA to compete in the 2012 California Senior Championship of the NSL (National Senior League). This year, Vintage Senior Living had eleven teams participating in western regional tournaments in California and Washington including Vintage Cerritos, who captured the National Senior League’s 2012 Wii Bowling State Championship.

Vintage Cerritos, better known as the “Cerritos Falcons” were lead by 95-year-old Bill Burd who aided the team in successfully bringing home not only the California Championship title but a title of Western Regional Finalists.

            “This significant win marks the end of a long journey that included an entire year of practice,” said Burd. “Bringing home the first place trophy was important for us old-timers who still believe one is never too old to compete and have fun.”

The Cerritos Falcons battled the South Bay Blasters from Front Porch Community in San Diego at Vintage Westwood Horizons in Los Angeles. Surrounded by cheering fans, the eight-member teams played two games resulting in the following scores: Game one: Falcons- 879, Blasters- 653 and game two: Falcons- 830, Blasters- 583.

“The team has mastered the electronic game to a degree that they see it as real bowling with all the rules and playing techniques,” said Tracy Cofield, Activities Director of Vintage Cerritos. “What they enjoy most from Wii Bowling is being together and experiencing camaraderie and competition regardless of their age.”

In today’s electronic gaming world, even seniors are having a blast in front of the big screen—reliving the glory days of the neighborhood bowling alley.  Wii Bowling is giving Vintage Senior Living residents many thrills, especially after bowling a strike.  From a health standpoint, Wii Bowling offers a new form of exercise, and more importantly, encourages seniors to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. The game has even inspired the forming of teams from retirement communities across the country.

The communities’ common areas have been transformed into an electronic-driven playground where players and spectators enthusiastically exchange tips and comments. The opportunity to be on a team and participate in a league creates camaraderie among residents who might otherwise have trouble socializing.  Wii Bowling has even spanned across generations by encouraging young volunteers and grandchildren, who are no strangers to electronic games, to participate.


Featured Resident of The Week

Bill Wylie has found his second childhood since moving into Vintage Brush Creek in Santa Rosa, CA. When moving into the community Bill brought along with him Brush Creek’s first community Ping-Pong table and the inspiration to buy a small fleet of adult tricycle bikes that Bill rides during daily walks. Along with the bundle of toys, Bill also has started traditions such as Friday night Ping-Pong and pizza. He has even taught residents how to make paper airplanes and how to ride a tricycle. Outside of the community, Bill has shown residents hidden spots in Santa Rosa like Flat Rock and Brush Creek trail.

Bill believes he found Brush Creek for a reason. With this belief come daily actions of goodwill toward his fellow residents. He is known to loan a friend a coat when they are cold, offer a backrub when someone is looking sad, or walk a friend to an apartment if they get turned around. Bill has made a positive impact in the lives of other residents and in the lives of the staff. He takes the time to know people as individuals and genuinely wants to help us all lead happy lives. Lately, Bill has been sharing inspirational books and is always on the lookout for special events that he thinks residents should attend in their spare time. Bill is an inspiration and we thank him for all that he contributes to Vintage!


Featured Resident of the Week

Esther Houston, a resident in Rosemead, CA was born in Shady Side, OH as the oldest of all her siblings. Being the daughter of a priest, she’s been surrounded by religion her whole life. Esther dedicated her schooling to the study of religion. She was extremely successful in school, so much so that she was elected to be a part of Mensa, which is a group of people in our society who have high IQ’s. She now competes in an Annual Spelling Bee for California Mission Inn. We are so glad Esther has chosen Vintage Senior Living to call home.


Visit Vintage Senior Living – California Mission Inn in Rosemead’s website.


Welcoming New Residents

Each of our Vintage communities embrace a wonderful program for welcoming new residents called “The Ambassador Program.” The program is made up of volunteer residents that welcome each new resident into their community. When first moving in the new resident is paired with an ambassador to “show them the ropes” and provide them a knowledgeable partner or “buddy.” The ambassador welcomes the new resident into the community by inviting them to experience shared meal times, meet residents with similar interests, join activities and outings. The program is effective in helping new residents transition into their Vintage community with the help of someone who has made a similar transition. Helping our residents transition into their new home and lifestyle quickly is a top priority. The Ambassador Program is key in developing their social connections and, with a little time, their sense of belonging and being “Home.”