The Wake Robin Honey Harvest

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As summer transitions to fall, gardens full of fruits and vegetables are producing the last of their harvests. There is another type of harvest that Wake Robin residents and staff anxiously await every year. The honey harvest!

This sweet endeavor started in 2008. In that span of time, the Wake Robin bees have produced a total of 738 pounds of honey. Since 2008, Wake Robin has been home to over 3 million bees. That’s quite a population! With Wake Robin being situated on over 136 acres of land, the bees are quite happy to enjoy all the wildflowers and clover that stretches throughout campus.

Residents are involved in production from start to finish. Residents visit the bees throughout the year and especially keep an eye on them over the cold winter. During honey extraction, the beekeepers decide how much honey they need to leave in the hives so that the bees can survive the cold winter temperatures. Then there is another group that volunteers to assist with the extraction and jarring process. The honey is extracted from the hives and is then poured into 8 oz. jars that are labeled with the Wake Robin logo. The honey is sold in the Wake Robin corner shop, as well as, given to incoming residents in a welcome basket.

Unfortunately, this winter was not kind to the Wake Robin bees as it was so long and cold; many of the bees did not survive. The beekeepers welcomed fifty thousand new bee residents into the hives.  They seemed to settles in to their new home just fine as this year; the bees produced 42 pounds of honey. The head beekeeper mentioned that they might decide to extract again before winter. They are five residents that helped with the bees this year, including three that were a part of the jarring process.

Beekeeping is certainly one of the more unique activities at Wake Robin. While not every resident is brave enough to don the white beekeeping suit, the beehives represent what it means to be a truly resident driven community. In 2008, when a resident had the idea to place hives in the fields of Wake Robin – that idea flourished into a now 10 year tradition.

 

(information provided by beekeepers of Wake Robin)

Wake Robin Busy Bee – Patrick Krok-Horton

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While walking through the hallways of Wake Robin, you might hear the dulcet tones of an older song drifting around a corner. If you continue onward, you’ll eventually run into Patrick Krok-Horton, a Recreation Services Assistant who has been with Wake Robin for almost 7 years. In 2017, he won the VHCA’s (Vermont Health Care Association) Recreation Services Assistant of the year award, partially due to his dedication and creativity in thinking of new programs and activities to offer here at Wake Robin.

With Wake Robin going through the transition of renovations throughout the community, especially in the Linden Health Center, one would imagine it would make it more difficult to maneuver in the temporary and new spaces. When asked if his job has changed at all since the beginning of the project, Krok-Horton mentions that, “Since the start of construction my job hasn’t changed dramatically. It is sometimes hard to navigate through certain paths when going around the construction, or to support residents when the noise or construction impacts their living area.” However, he goes on to say that helping residents through this time has been a team effort with nursing.

Outside of Wake Robin, Krok-Horton is just as creative! He graduated from college with a degree in Art, focusing on Print Making. His art has been displayed in Burlington during the Art Hop. He says his favorite medium is woodcut, but he has worked in intaglio, silkscreen, and lithography. His artistic talents have been utilized through his work at Wake Robin. Two of his creations have been a “Horse Racing track where I make the track, jockeys, large dice and racing flags”. He has devised a 500-car racing game where he made the cars, track, deck of cards, and prizes.

His next inspired endeavor involves pumpkins! Every Fall, Krok-Horton and his wife set up a huge Halloween pumpkin display at their home. They have quite a following of repeat visitors year after year! This will be their 8th year and every year they have had a different theme. This year’s is Dinosaurs, but some previous themes have been: Pirates, Aliens, and Classic Movie Monsters. Last year they had a record 62 carved pumpkins – which they purchase from a farm down in Rutland. This masterpiece is crafted with Krok-Horton and his dad working on bigger structural pieces, while his wife and her father do most of the carving. He is promising to bring in photo albums to show his handiwork to pass along through the Linden Neighborhoods.

When asked about what makes Wake Robin culture so special, he says, “The sense of community here is a huge part of Wake Robin. Although many people from many backgrounds and lifestyles mix together, the willingness of each person to help others is amazing. The things that people do here when they come together are very inspiring.” Bringing his interests and artistic flair to his work life continues to bring joy to the residents of Linden Health Center and the community as a whole.

Furry Friends at Wake Robin

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Walking along the paths and neighborhoods at Wake Robin, one cannot help but run into a friendly four-legged friend. The Wake Robin  community has always been pet friendly. All furry or feathered companions are welcome!

Mojo pauses for a picture.

 

There are many activities at Wake Robin that are dog friendly. Dogs are welcomed to cruise along the over four miles of walking trails, accompany a resident collecting their mail inside the community center (except during meal times), or visit a friend living in Linden. The front desk is always equipped with an assortment of dog treats and pats from staff members. There are dog waste containers located around Wake Robin for convenience and even a dog park located right on campus.

When a resident’s needs increase and they are thinking of moving into the Linden Health Center, there is a worry of – what happens to my furry companion? Residents can choose to move their feline or canine friends into their new homes in Linden with them. If they are still able to care for them, they are welcome! There was even a guinea pig that lived in Linden for a period of time!

A resident and her dog, Sadie, going for a walk along the trails.

Wake Robin is an active community with residents that are walking, hiking, swimming, kayaking, or just enjoying the outdoors. This might be one of the reasons that there are so many dogs spotted walking around the community.

According to a study published in Scientific Reports, people who live alone and own dogs are more likely to live a longer life. Maybe Wake Robin is on to something!

Just to note, there are many feline companions that call Wake Robin home. Cats are not as seen and heard, since all cats live inside. While they are not mentioned as much in this blog – There are 25 cats that live here at Wake Robin that are just as loved as their canine counterparts!

 

How Seniors Can Safely Stay Active, Even in Extreme Heat

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Article By Katie Rosenbrock

(Originally posted August 4, 2015 in The Active Times)

From swimming in your backyard pool to enjoying long evening bike rides, there are so many things to love about summer. But one downside to the season that we don’t discuss often is the increased risk for heat-related illnesses that comes along with extreme summer heat.

Everyone should be aware of the dangers, but Linda Phypers, R.N., L.N.H.A., director of health services at Wake Robin, Vermont’s first Continuing Care Retirement Community, says the elderly community should take extra precautions.

“High heat and humidity can be dangerous—and people may feel differently on different days regardless of what the thermometer reads,” Phypers explained.

When it comes to engaging in physical activity on hot and humid days, she suggests choosing cooler times of the day, like in the early morning or late evening, or if it’s really a scorcher, opting not to exercise at all that day.

What should seniors be most concerned about when it comes to staying active in the summer?

“Dehydration and overexertion,” Phypers said. “Take extra breaks, remove gear and clothing to let the body cool down. Drink lots of water and give your body extra time to recover after exercise in extreme heat — the body gets overexerted and fatigued more quickly in high temps.”

She also suggests exercising with a friend so you can keep an eye on each other and said that these tips apply not just to seniors, but really anyone who wants to be active when it’s unusually hot and humid.

But what if it’s really just too hot outside and you want to fit some form of activity into your day?

Phypers suggests making use of an indoor pool if you have access to one.

“The number one indoor activity — if you have access — is to use an indoor pool,” she said. “ [It’s a] great way to get a good workout while keeping the body temperature down.”

If you don’t have a pool, Phypers suggests exercising inside where there are fans or AC.

“Do gentle resistance exercises with free weights or resistance bands,” she explained. “There are lots of free videos on YouTube focused on active seniors. Local fitness centers and senior centers have training and exercise programs indoors. Try yoga or tai chi. These are excellent activities in any weather. They build muscle, improve flexibility and improve balance — all important as we age. There are lots of videos for these exercises, too.”

Also, you could reach out to local senior centers. Phypers said they often plan activities to accommodate summer weather and usually have AC.

Her final piece of advice: if you take any medications, be aware of their side effects.

“Sometimes older people are taking medications that make them more susceptible to the heat — and make it harder to stay hydrated,” Phypers said. “Seniors should be aware if this is the case for them and either avoid strenuous exercise in the heat and take extra measures to stay hydrated.”

Wake Robin Takes on Boston

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blog post by Jena Necrason, Resident Program Coordinator (pictured above)

Twenty Wake Robin residents enjoyed a three-day trip to Boston on October 16-October 18. The fall foliage made for a scenic ride from Shelburne to this beautiful and historic city. We boarded our coach bus Monday morning and by early afternoon we were experiencing the thrilling art and rich history of Beantown. Half of our group ventured into Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market to take in the sites and eat lunch. The other half spent the afternoon in the immersive experience of the famed Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, enjoying art, flowers and plants, textiles, furniture, and architecture.

That evening we were welcomed to the place “where everybody knows your name” eating dinner at the original Cheers restaurant in Beacon Hill, which inspired the TV show. A busy first day, we all collapsed at our hotel in Bunker Hill for a good night of rest!

Day two started with a ‘Windshield Tour’ of the city with an energetic and knowledgeable guide named Debbie. We saw many of the city’s most important historic sites such as the Old Granary Burial Ground, Paul Revere’s House and Trinity Church just to name a few. We enjoyed the gorgeous architecture, and how each neighborhood had its own distinct history reflected in every detail of the buildings. Our tour ended in The Old North End where we selected traditional Italian restaurants to dine in for lunch. Everyone raved about their homemade pasta’s and wood-fired pizza’s as we boarded the bus for our afternoon excursions. A small group went on a tour of Fenway Park, seeing the in’s an out’s of how the stadium works from the bottom all the way to the very top. Others spent the afternoon at Boston’s gorgeous Museum of Fine Arts, losing themselves in the museum’s 450,000 works of art. Next was dinner at the Union Oyster House where a raucous and delicious time was had by all. Did you know that the Oyster House has been running continuously since 1826?

Our third and final day brought us to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The museum’s comprehensive exhibits were highly educational and deeply inspirational. We all boarded the bus moved by his legacy of political action and public service based on courage, service, inclusion, and innovation.

Our ride home, helmed by our fantastic coach driver Hugo, was filled with laughter and chatter and a few naps here and there! We arrived home at Wake Robin just in time for dinner.

Snowshoeing during a Wolf Moon

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Written by Wake Robin resident, Ann

Did you ever think it would be fun to celebrate the full January Wolf Moon and full February Snow moon with an after dinner scenic snowshoe walk? Living at Wake Robin folks can do that as long as the weather cooperates.   full moon in the woods

Members of Wake Robin love sharing their passions. Bill’s passion was winter fun. Bill was part of the 10th Mountain Division in WWII and saw action against the Germans at Riva Ridge in Italy. After the war he wrote a book on snowshoeing and x-c skiing. It was basically his idea to gather Wake Robin friends for this after dinner snowshoe walk. Now others carry on his leadership.   Wake Robin has the ideal location for this one-hour adventure. Those interested gather in the Community Center. A short walk through the woods on the one of Wake Robin’s trails, with the moon making tree shadows on the snow, brings one out to our South Meadow Hill. From there one looks down on Lake Champlain and lights along the shore.

Another trail on the return brings one to a field with a view of Camel’s Hump.   On one occasion we were out ahead of the moon on a very clear night. My how the stars do shine brightly! After picking out many constellations, we turned around and found a huge moon rising from behind the top of the hill and some tall evergreens. Such a sight!

Bill started a tradition on these walks of our howling at January’s Wolf moon – even though it is a myth that wolves howl at the moon. Why do we do it?  Simply because it is fun. On occasion we have howled if the group gets separated to locate each other, which wolves will do also. Howling is quite satisfying. So is being outside on a beautiful winter evening.

snowshoe - from A Hiltz resized

 

Wake Robin Receives Green Award

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The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) has awarded Wake Robin their 2016 ICAA Innovators Green Award.

icaa-awardICAA’s goals are to change society’s perceptions of aging and improve the quality of life for older adults. The organizations that were considered for this award were judged based on their excellence in making a positive difference in the lives of older adults in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way.

Some green initiatives at Wake Robin:

  • Instead of using bleach in the laundry and Aquatic Center – Wake Robin uses Ozone. It saves 316,090 gallons of hot water and over $24,000 in one year alone.
  • Wake Robin releases 100,000 lady bugs in the spring instead of spraying pesticides to control the aphids and scale bugs.
  • Wake Robin sources food from local farms. 100% of the milk purchased is rBGH free. 100% of the ground beef used is local, hormone and antibiotic free. 100% of our bread is locally sourced. 90% of the cheese, yogurt, pudding and other dairy foods are local Vermont products. 27% of the fruits and vegetables served are sourced from local farms
  • 90% of food waste from Wake Robin’s kitchens is composted. Residents throughout the community compost – in fact, composting at Wake Robin was initiated by residents.
  • Wake Robin uses solar power from a solar farm in Monkton, VT. This reduces on-site energy costs by 24%.
  • Employee ride sharing is encouraged. Carpool employees can add their names for a gift card raffle that is drawn every month.

Environmental Services Director, Leslie Parker remarked; “The success of our green initiative – and the practices we have in place to preserve and sustain a healthy community – would not be possible without the commitment of the entire Wake Robin community – from the Board and Staff to the dedicated Residents.”

Wake Robin is proud to have been recognized for its initiative and will continue to keep this a part of the fabric of our culture.

Wake Robin Residents Visit the Adirondacks

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It’s one thing to travel, but Wake Robin residents like to take their adventures one step further and really experience all a place has to offer. That’s exactly what 40 residents, and future residents, did October 6-7 when they traveled to the Adirondacks as part of the Inquire program.

The kaleidoscope of autumn colors travelers witnessed as the bus wrapped itself along the most scenic routes, set the tone perfectly. Travelers were able to witness untouched natural areas, breath the air, hear the sounds, visit museums, and stay overnight in an authentic Adirondack Great Camp.

canoeing on the lakeDay one included a visit to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. There, participants were able to see historically significant treasures from boats and horse-drawn coaches and sleighs to an original Adirondack steamer with its rustic seating for summer transport. Dozens of authentic exhibits demonstrated the stark contrast of those who struggled to live in the wilderness verses the comfort of life those who used the Adirondacks as their seasonal playground experienced.

2 men in red chairs looking over sagamore and one man standing near lakeGreat Camp Sagamore offered residents a chance to step back in time, enjoy nature, and relax in a rustic and comfortable setting. The century old cabins, named after Vanderbilt children; George, Gloria, and Alfred, as well as the large chalet style lodge “Wigwam” held gorgeous stone fireplaces and woodwork inside making for a cozy overnight after a private tour of the camp, tasty dinner, and lively concert featuring local folk musicians and story tellers. The following day started out beautifully as some canoed, hiked or just relaxed in lakeside Adirondack chairs after a hearty breakfast and an optional morning meditation. It was quite a feeling to be taking in the same sights and comforts as celebrities like Cary Grant, Jean Tierney and Howard Hughes all of whom frequented the property to escape the Hollywood rat race. Imagine sitting in the room where Hoagie Carmichel wrote Stardust. We did.

group of 6 walking on trailThe personalized trip didn’t end at Sagamore though. The Wild Center, an Adirondack natural history museum, was the focus of day two. The group enjoyed dozens of exhibits on display to the public, but especially enjoyed the behind-the-scenes tour arranged just for Wake Robiners. Led by staff wildlife biologists, groups from Wake Robin were taken behind locked doors to experience day-to-day operations including animal care. Although intimidating, the resident porcupine was quiet and unthreatening – as were a bevy of native snakes, owls, hawks, and the museum’s grand dame – Skitters – a 14-year old otter.

over-tree walkwayComing home through Saranac Lake and Lake Placid was a perfect way to see peak color and the high peaks did not disappoint – deep reds, bright oranges, yellow, and just enough green to let us know what a treat we were seeing. The ferry ride across Lake Champlain was smooth as silk and the Green Mountains, although largely still green, were a welcomed sight for this bleary eyed group of adventurers. Back in time for dinner at Wake Robin and a good night’s sleep. Where to next?

Wake Robin Celebrates Food Day!

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buffetOn October 24th, Wake Robin celebrated Food Day. Food Day is a nationwide initiative that focuses on local, affordable and sustainable food. Some of the festivities included visits from local farms; Shelburne Farms came and spoke about cheese making, as well as the importance of their educational programs. Bella Farms discussed organic farming and their Wake Robin CSA. Staff also contributed dishes in a food competition in which 50% of the ingredients had to be locally sourced.

This year, there were with more than 7,500 Food Day events happening around the country. In New England 57 hospitals committed to serving meat free of antibiotics. Sustainable and organic farming practices contribute to reduced water and air pollution, richer organic material in soil and healthier farm animals and communities.

Thank you to all the local vendors who participated and made this event such a success!

Walk to End Alzheimer’s 2014

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flowers

Wake Robin participated in the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sunday, September 21st at the Shelburne Museum. It was a beautiful sunny day and over 1000 walkers came to support this cause. $178,000 was raised for the Shelburne Walk and with donations still trickling in we hope to make the $180,000 fundraising goal for the year!

Walkers were given flowers to represent their connection to the disease.

Blue represents someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia

Purple is for someone who has lost a loved one to the disease.

Yellow represents someone who is currently supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.

Orange is for everyone who supports the cause and vision of a world without Alzheimer’s

At the beginning of the walk, volunteers collected the flowers and “planted” the promise garden for walkers to discover upon their return.

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s.

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