Spring Village hosting ‘Candles of Care’ event

Spring Village at Floral Vale, a 50-bed Memory Care Community in Yardley will be hosting a “Candles of Care” Candle Lighting Ceremony on Thursday, April 24th beginning at 7:30pm. The event will honor their past and present residents, families and caregivers who have been affected by Alzheimer’s or related illnesses.

The evening will begin in their Town Square with a heartfelt ceremony and proceed outdoors to the front circle of the community to light the candles. A dessert and coffee social will follow. If you know anyone affected by any dementias, feel free to join them in this spirit of support and remembrance. Please call Spring Village to RSVP at 215-497-3003.

As many as five million Americans have been affected with Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia. Spring Village at Floral Vale is an innovative memory care community with a mission of providing care with respect, love and understanding.


Levittown senior has wish to meet Eagles player granted


Levittown resident Katharyn Reid was the recent recipient of a surprise visit from former Eagles wide receiver and broadcaster, Mike Quick, thanks to Doylestown-headquartered nonprofit Twilight Wish Foundation and the Philadelphia Eagles organization. 

Katharyn, 84, has been an avid Eagles’ fan for decades, even painting her living room “Eagles’ Green.”  This mother of eight, grandmother of 13, great-grandmother to 17, with one more great-grandchild and one great-great-grandchild on the way, is well known in her family for her loyalty to her beloved Eagles. In fact, there is “no chit-chatting allowed” by her during the games. Sadly, Katharyn is battling brain cancer and currently undergoing chemotherapy. To boost her spirits, her daughter, Nancy Sherlock, submitted a wish request on her behalf, writing that a visit from a Philadelphia Eagles’ player would provide a much-needed respite from her medical treatments. 

When the Eagles heard of Katharyn’s story, they jumped at the chance to brighten this deserving senior’s day and arranged to have former Eagles player Mike Quick and a cheerleader visit Katharyn and make her wish come true. In addition to the visit from Quick, the Eagles’ organization also brought her a gift bag with a jersey and other Eagles items and arranged to have Jeremy Maclin record a special video message just for Katharyn which was shown to her that day. One of the highlights of the surprise visit was when Quick put broadcast partner Merrill Reese on speaker phone to speak with her! Thanks to the Philadelphia Eagles and to Mike Quick for granting this wish for such a deserving senior.  

If you would like to nominate a deserving senior or get involved with Twilight Wish, visit the website at www.twilightwish.org or call 215-230-8777 ext. 104.

PHOTO CAP: Katharyn Reid with Mike Quick


Seniors complete unique jigsaw puzzle of Morrisville’s Presbyterian Tower


by June Portnoy

Bill Buch, a Morrisville Presbyterian Tower resident, recently presented a unique gift to six of his neighbors at the assisted living apartment building for seniors.

Bill, an avid catalogue shopper, came across a Great Britain company that takes satellite photos of your residence and neighborhood, then converts the photos into 500-piece jigsaw puzzles.

Knowing that residents Ruth Gillmore, Darlene Peterson, Richard Hansel, Linda Swiss, Jean Smith and Bob Foster assemble two to three puzzles a week, Bill thought that this personalized puzzle would be the ideal present for his friends, all between the ages of 65 and 90.

The puzzle arrived in early January, and the gift recipients immediately got to work, assembling it using a high power magnifying glass to help them manipulate the small pieces.

The puzzle piece on which the Presbyterian Towers was photographed was the largest piece and also the starting point, placed in the middle of the puzzle. From that point, the group added the rest of the pieces.

The puzzle includes photos of sites up to a four-mile radius around Presbyterian Tower.  “On the east side, you can actually see as far as Trenton’s Capital Dome,” says Bill. The puzzle also includes such local landmarks as the Delaware Canal, Morrisville High School and the playing fields of Williamson Park.

Bill adds that if you look at the puzzle under a microscope, you’ll see magnolias and blooming trees, indicating the photo was taken sometime during the spring.

Bob Foster, a Morrisville resident all his life, could look at the puzzle and pinpoint specific houses and streets, and as he did so, he gave the other five group members a trip down memory lane.

“My incentive for giving this group the puzzle was to bring like-minded people who all enjoy assembling puzzles together,” says Bill.  “Plus, it’s a great activity to sharpen one’s mind and eyesight.”

It took the group a little over a week of devoting most of their time to complete the puzzle. Bill plans to mount the completed puzzle on a board and then display it in the Presbyterian Tower community room for all to see and admire.

PHOTO CAPS: The Jigsaw Puzzle group, from top left, clockwise, John Grier, Bill Buch, Betty Ennis, Cathy Jablonski, Lorraine Tonan, and Terry Halpin. Photo by George Price.


Twilight Wish welcomes new board member

Twilight Wish Foundation, headquartered in Doylestown, has announced that John Uetz recently joined their board of directors. John is a recent graduate of Villanova University School of Law and is currently an Associate Attorney with the law office of Haviland Hughes in Philadelphia.   

During his time at Villanova, John participated in various pro bono and public interest law programs including the Homeless Advocacy Project, an organization that provides a variety of legal services to Philadelphia’s homeless population free of charge. John also participated in Villanova’s Civil Justice Clinic, which serves indigent members of the community by providing pro bono representation in civil matters, including landlord-tenant disputes and civil forfeiture cases.

“When I first heard about Twilight Wish Foundation, I knew it would be a great fit for me because I had seen firsthand the impact that granting a wish can have on a senior’s life,” said John. “My grandmother is an amazing cook, but she had only ever cooked at home. Her wish was to be a sous chef in a local restaurant for a day. When her retirement home granted her wish, she talked about how much she enjoyed the experience for months. I saw how much joy it gave her to have that experience and I am very excited to have the opportunity to play a part in making a positive impact on my community by being involved with Twilight Wish.” 

PHOTO CAP: John Uetz


Life insurance policies can reduce Medicaid eligibility

submitted by E. Garrett Gummer, III, Esquire, and Maureen L. Anderson, Esquire, www.GummerElderLaw.com

To qualify for Medicaid in Pennsylvania, usually you can’t have more than $2,400 in “countable” assets. When calculating your total assets, many people overlook life insurance, which can count as an asset depending on the type of insurance and the value of the policy.

Life insurance policies are usually either “term” or “whole life.” Term policies won’t affect Medicaid eligibility because they don’t have an accumulated cash value. On the other hand, whole-life policies usually have a cash value that the owner can access, so they may be counted as an asset.

Medicaid generally exempts whole-life policies with a death benefit of $1,500 or less. But if a policy’s face value is more than $1,500, then the policy’s cash surrender value, less $1,000, becomes a countable asset.

Example: A whole-life policy has a death benefit of $3,500 and a cash surrender value of $1,500. Because the death benefit is more than $1,500, the $1,500 cash surrender value, less $1,000, counts toward the $2,400 asset limit.

If you have a life insurance policy that may disqualify you from Medicaid, you have several options, including:

  • Surrender the policy and spend the cash value.
  • Transfer ownership of the policy to your spouse or to a special needs trust.  If you transfer the policy to your spouse, the cash value will be counted among the assets that the spouse is permitted to keep.
  • Transfer the policy to a funeral home. The policy can then be treated as a prepayment of funeral expenses, which doesn’t count as an asset.
  • Take out a loan on the cash value. This reduces the cash value and the death benefit, but keeps the policy in place.

Misperceptions about selecting cremation arrangements

submitted by Jason “Oz” Oszczakiewicz, Owner/Supervisor, Varcoe-Thomas Funeral Home of Doylestown, Inc.

When a family chooses cremation it does not limit their funeral choices.  There are several misperceptions that many families believe, but families can be just as creative as families selecting traditional arrangements.

While advertising makes it seem like direct cremation is the only choice, when you choose cremation you can have any kind of service or any kind of memorial you wish. That means you can have a traditional service and a cremation, direct cremation followed by a memorial service, a scattering and a permanent cemetery niche, or space in a cremation garden. A permanent place to remember loved ones fills an important need that a scattering just can’t.

Many families don’t realize that with a direct cremation, when the body is removed, they can view a loved one again prior to cremation. Many funeral homes require positive identification before cremation occurs, especially when family members are not in attendance at the place of passing. Many states also require 24 hours to pass prior to cremation for any investigative purposes or before a death certificate can be signed by a physician and a cremation permit issued by a coroner’s office.

Many religions also accept cremation as a form of disposition. Today, there are some families that still do not think the Catholic Church allows cremation, but the Cremation Rite has actually been around since the 1960’s. Families should check with their individual clergy or church regarding cremation and religious restrictions.

Cremation also has the connotation as being the “inexpensive” type of funeral. In many ways, cremation can be less expensive than traditional burial expenses, but can also be as equally as expensive if a family selects traditional visitation, selection of a wooden or rental casket, urn selection and burial of the urn or placement in a niche.

Families should consider all options before making hasty decisions when it comes to cremation arrangements, because there are many different options available today to meet the needs of each family.


Spring Village offering free caregiver advice

Spring Village’s “Serving Hearts” is now offering free help and information for caregivers of memory loss family members or friends.

Whether your loved one has mild or severe memory loss, one of the dedicated team members of “Serving Hearts” at Spring Village of Floral Vale can help you. Spring Village is a quaint, secured memory care community in Yardley committed to providing care with respect, love and understanding.  

Once you visit Spring Village’s community, you’ll experience a warm and welcoming atmosphere where staff understand your caregiving journey, so they can offer you the advice you need.

To schedule your free appointment with “Serving Hearts” at Spring Village of Floral Vale, located at 600 Township Line Road, call 215-497-3003.


How you can better cope when assisting a loved one or dear friend

by Gregg Rackin, CEO, Care Plus More Homecare

What most people who care for others don’t pay enough attention to is the tremendous and constant stress they are under. Many choose to ignore it. But inside, the stress doesn’t go away, and it can cause a lot of tension, even resentment. That’s why respite (relief) care is so very important when caring for a loved one or friend. It’s easy and it’s more affordable than most think. Talk to a homecare professional who can explain all your options.

Things to think about:

  • Recognize that caregiver stress is REAL. Without some time to yourself, how can you be at your best when caring for others?
  • Have you developed a care plan to best fit everyone’s needs?
  • Have you thought about how to improve your relationship with those you care for? If so, how do you do that?
  • Can stress as a caregiver affect your health?
  • How can respite care (relief) reduce your stress levels?
  • Will help for you and those you care for make things more manageable for everyone?
  • Are you concerned that you may not know the qualifications of the homecare professional coming into your home? Is the homecare professional Pennsylvania licensed, bonded and insured? Does the homecare professional agency screen and train its employees?
  • How long will it take for you to become comfortable with getting the help you need?
  • How much will it cost?

All of these are important questions that knowledgeable homecare professionals can help you answer. Caregiving is one of the most fulfilling jobs anyone can do. It’s also one of the most difficult.


Twilight Wish Foundation

Twilight Wish Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable organization whose mission is to honor and enrich the lives of deserving seniors through wish granting celebrations that connect generations. The vision of Twilight Wish is to make the world a nicer place to age, one wish at a time.

Twilight Wish enhances the quality of life for low-income elderly through programs that reduce isolation and allow seniors to maintain their independence, improving their medical and physical wellbeing.  Founded in Doylestown in 2003, Twilight Wish has granted over 2,090 individual wishes to deserving seniors across the U.S.

Wishes are granted to seniors 68 and older who earn less than 200% of poverty level or who are residents of a nursing facility and cannot make their own wishes come true. 

Twilight Wish was founded with one goal in mind: to make wishes come true for those in their twilight years who are unable to make their own dreams come true due to financial or other reasons. While Twilight Wish still grants big dream wishes, they are receiving and fulfilling more and more requests for basic needs wishes. These wishes often don’t make the headlines, but provide some much-needed comfort to those seniors who are often forgotten and the most at-risk. 

Many seniors who survive on a fixed income have been terribly affected by the economy and often end up cutting back on necessities such as food, medications and healthcare. Their wishes for basic, yet to them, unattainable items, illustrate the need for an organization such as Twilight Wish that works hard to bring compassion and comfort to the lives of these seniors.

If you are interested in donating or volunteering to help make a senior’s wish come true, visit their website, www.twilightwish.org, or call 215-230-8777 ext. 103. If you or someone you know would like to make a wish, wish applications are available on their website.


Feast fest at Chandler Hall Culinary Classics


by Mimi Rowland

Chandler Hall’s 11th Annual Culinary Classics event was a feast for the senses. Held last month in Wright Meeting Hall, the scents of a wide variety of gourmet foods filled the air. The sounds of a band could be heard amongst the conversation of hundreds of guests. Dappled lighting, sumptuous table linens, and vivid floral arrangements delighted the eye. This was indeed a fitting celebration of Chandler Hall’s 40th year serving the needs of the community.

Over 30 vendors donated food, beverages, decorations, and services, and auction items were provided by more than 70 donors to support the fundraiser. For the first time ever the event also featured a live auction. Items that were up for bid included a private tour of Hortulus Farm and Gardens offered by owners Renny Reynolds and Jack Staub, generous benefactors to Culinary Classics, a biplane ride, and a stay at a beach house in St. Croix. Guests were able to bid while enjoying their lobster bisque, fresh pasta, French cheeses, and ice cream sundaes!

The yearly fundraiser allows Chandler Hall to provide financial aid to those in need of hospice care. This program offers compassionate care to individuals facing terminal illnesses and much-needed assistance to their families, including bereavement support. Chandler Hall’s hospice program does not turn anyone away for inability to pay for services, so this fundraiser is crucial to the program and its philosophy of benevolent care. Over 400 people make use of the hospice program each year. Chandler Hall also offers a diverse array of programs including a day care center and a preschool where the children can interact with the seniors, and quality-of-life activities for residents including a wellness center and an art center.

 Save the date for next year’s Culinary Classics on Friday, November 14th, 2014, and bring your appetite!


PHOTO CAPS: 1. Chandler Hall resident Sylvia P. Wilson (right) with her niece, Rosemarie Stephano of Yardley.

2. Cathy and Bill Hooper of New Hope take in some refreshment.

3. Chandler Hall chefs John McCracken and Trudy Bandmann worked hard throughout the evening.

4. From left, Matt Schwartz (Head of Culinary Services at Chandler), with Co-Chairs of the Culinary Classics Committee, Jan Jalenak and Anne Yarnall.