Many seniors want to continue to live a life of purpose in retirement and have turned to volunteering to satisfy that desire. The medical community recognizes the benefits of charitable work to enhance the physical, spiritual, and mental stimulation of older adults. The National Institute on Aging suggests that volunteering prevents isolation and can have a healthy effect on one’s cognitive behavior and potentially even thwart the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (“Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease and What Do We Know? Is Keeping Your Brain Active Important?” Oct. 8 2015, National Institute on Aging). Senior volunteers can testify that acts of charitable giving provide a sense of purpose and direction by filling days with meaningful activities.
About Keri Singer
People are Listening to What “Kerisays”
“The web and technology can provide communication tools, but we should not neglect personable experiences that result in creating certain moods and emotions. We need to learn from those encounters in person and see how to best translate them online. We should keep those experiences genuine, creative, engaging and fun! The companies and the individuals that find the right balance between the virtual and the real world will become the true leaders in my mind.”– Keri Singer
Some may say they are in the business of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). I like to say that I have the “Sass” to attract others whether for professional growth, to engage audiences, or discover new business opportunities. I hope others will contribute their own personal “Sass” or “Kerisma” on this site and share their experiences. I look forward to this blog to be a way to connect, enrich, educate and enlighten others of all ages.
© 2008 – 2012 Kerisma https://kerisinger.wordpress.com is copy written by Keri Singer and is a Kerisays Inc. production. All Rights Reserved.
A Random Observation: I can’t believe this world today and it’s getting worse with smartphones!
PUT DOWN the PHONE and TALK to a PERSON. Everyone wants to connect virtually and not personally. I watch a young man walk into Panera wearing his headphones and looking at his phone. He grabbed his dinner from a cubby with his name on it and left. No “Hello.” “Thank you for your help.” Or, “Have a nice day!”
I sit alone outside on Boylston street in Boston eating dinner. I watch people pass by looking down at their phones. No acknowledgement of others. No smiles. No, “Can I help you?” We are all addicts – Even me at times! Yet, I still make a point to say HELLO and TALK to PEOPLE.
SMILE 😀 and STRIKE UP A CONVERSATION with someone today. You’ll notice life was better WITHOUT YOUR PHONE all the time. Connect with a PERSON IN PERSON and enrich your life!
Think about all the things you might have missed and make your reality REAL!
Expand your knowledge and embrace our cultural differences. Let your roots reach farther than you ever imagined and make a world of a difference.
Think about leaving the USA and having to pick yourself up to move to a strange country. You’re told there are more opportunities, but you don’t know the language, the customs, the people, you have no friends, family, and no idea how to survive. You leave and sacrifice everything to come to this country. It would take a bit of adjustment and people may discriminate against you because “you are different.” You may not assimilate, but initially try to seek out acceptance, fit in, or search for people that share your ethnic background, or perhaps religious beliefs.
Many immigrants have taken the jobs that most Americans don’t want. Yet, when there is a scarcity of jobs, a large percentage are also taking the competitive jobs we all need to survive. Initially, companies hired immigrants to pay cheaper labor, but that’s not always the case today.
Celebrate Our Cultural Differences
Who is to judge if one assimilates better in this country than another? For example, should Muslim women remove their burkas because it’s not an acceptable way of dress and it disguises their appearance? Should Hassidic Jews stop being covered and wear mini skirts because it’s the latest fashion trend? Should Amish people drive cars instead of horse and buggies and assimilate with new technology? Should people not be given the freedom to dye their hair purple and assimilate with blonde, black, red or brown hair colors? In America you are given the freedom of choice.
You move to this country and you can’t communicate, you don’t know the customs, and you’re fearful trusting foreigners. This would be a challenge for anyone. Some Americans when traveling to other countries assume, “the people should all know English,” and many do know the language as well as others. Some also assume these countries should be similar to our own upbringing, customs and norms, when they are not.
People tend to feel more comfortable surrounded by people that have similar traits as their own backgrounds, rather than get out of their comfort zones. In this country, some are taught to accept our differences, while others are taught to discriminate against them.
There are many traditions passed on from generations that make us all unique, but we’re all Americans. These are wonderful gifts that have lasted for many years. In fact, some started way back by our ancestors. For example, think of the wonderful diverse ethnic foods and the influence that changed neighborhoods. Many celebrate these unique differences and experiences in our own backyards. Some do not.
You walk the streets of Boston and hear multiple languages spoken, but some are frustrated they can’t hear their native tongue. I agree that it can be tough when people you interact with all day can’t speak English. We give those people the opportunity to learn our native English language, but we don’t force American born citizens to learn other languages. It’s a choice. Spanish is by far the most spoken language in the US and one of the fastest-growing. Does it make it wrong if immigrants don’t want to learn English, or perhaps it’s too difficult for them to understand? It is a choice. In some foreign countries, they are taught at a young age three languages including English. Yet, some Americans that are born in the US are lucky enough to speak correct English! It’s a failure of our education system.
Do we make it ‘too easy’ today for people to immigrate here? Perhaps, we are too lenient in some areas and there are loopholes in our systems. Also, I know some natural born citizens that couldn’t pass the citizenship test, because they’re not familiar with our American history.
What about the many American citizens now fighting with ISIS? Do they have the same rights anymore in this country? Many would agree no. Some believe the ‘self-centered Westerner way’ is trying to tell the world how to run their countries, or we’ll bomb their lands.
Hate is the Root of All Evil
We don’t believe dictators can strip people of their rights, coerce them into wrongdoing, and threaten their survival. Of course, we’re against stopping these leaderships seeking to invade other countries with mass killings, terror threats, and destroying property to overrule others. Yet, the USA sits back and watches some other countries ‘duke it out’ until it exacerbates, or we turn a blind eye. Maybe we only focus on countries that protect our foreign interests or investments? Who knows the truth.
What about the White Supremacists that are citizens discriminating against other US citizens, because they’re black, Jewish, or green? They would probably fight for this country, but are some of their fundamental values correct? Let’s say if I was born in Syria. I immigrated to the USA, or I was born in the USA by Syrians. Do I fight for my own heritage, or my country? One should want to protect the freedoms of their people wherever certain leaders threatens the lives of your relatives. Whether in Syria, in the USA, and ultimately other countries.
What about the Americans born here afraid to fight in a war. They’re born here with many freedoms, but thankful there is no required draft. These people live off their freedoms of fast food, cell phones, hooked on ‘reality’ television, listening to all music, Starbucks, and more. Would they fight for our country today? Some aren’t willing to give up certain conveniences and can’t imagine going to war, or they are shocked by the conditions people moved to this country. Some give up their right to vote, while others in some foreign countries fight for that right every day.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
I believe part of it comes down to resources and a set of beliefs and traditions being threatened. People create hate and separatism when there is fear, or they feel threatened. In America you are given many more choices. You can choose to do right from wrong and hopefully better yourself, your family, and contribute to society. In some countries, you are given very few choices at all.
Many Americans are talking about “Making America Great Again,” while others are scared of some politicians creating more HATE. How is creating more hate the right thing? We should start asking those same people if they want to be shipped to the Middle East and go fight? You will probably get a group that would say yes, but actually another large group may surprise you.
We have to be grateful to those people around the world that fought for our freedoms and the freedoms of other countries, regardless of where they were born, or immigrated. Those people caring for others around the world, regardless of their heritage. Those people bringing people together of different backgrounds into classrooms to laugh, learn and share their experiences. Those are the examples that need to be celebrated around the world to bring all of our cultures together.
Excerpt from my Hebrew SeniorLife ReAge Blog Post- November 18, 2015:
Giving Back to the Community in Retirement
Charitable giving positively impacts the lives of seniors at Hebrew SeniorLife
Hebrew SeniorLife geriatrician Dr. Jennifer Brinckerhoff of Orchard Cove regularly prescribes seniors to take action in their communities. She explains, “Resident engagement with real application and effect is a key piece of establishing and sustaining well-being in the individual. Focus and a caring heart that can come from volunteering all lead to the improved well-being and community growth.”
Although the holiday season is often a time of year when people think about giving back, residents of our senior living communities at NewBridge on the Charles in Dedham and Orchard Cove in Canton extend their outreach as volunteers all year long. “I think at NewBridge there is a spirit of cooperation, giving and sharing. It’s the best in the sense of a community that comes together,” said Frankie Wolff, NewBridge resident and member of the Volunteer Outreach Committee. “It’s certainly important at this stage of my life to remain active mentally, physically, and spiritually. Being at NewBridge offers all of that.”
Every month, the volunteers come together to give back to different programs locally and around the world. They gather groceries for the Dedham Food Pantry, collect used phones for Cell Phones For Soldiers, manage a clothing drive for Ukrainian Jewish women, and collect toiletries and eyeglass frames to donate at local shelters. The Committee also assembles a monthly Birthday in a Box to surprise a child in need on his/her birthday.
Over the past twenty years, residents at Orchard Cove have raised over $150,000 to help fund the educational and future career pursuits of their employees from surrounding communities through the Scholarship Committee.
The talented quilters and knitters at Orchard Cove use their skills to give back to children who have experienced traumatic circumstances through the Greater Boston non-profit chapter of Project Linus. For thirteen consecutive years, Orchard Cove seniors have donated handmade quilts, blankets, sweaters, hats and mittens to help sick and disadvantaged women and children find comfort during a troublesome time in their lives.
Betsy Sterman, an Orchard Cove resident, started the program over ten years ago. As Betsy shares, “It was really one of the first ‘do good’ programs at Orchard Cove. It has become a marvelous initiative that has grown. We never meet the recipients of our donations, but it’s very rewarding to receive the numerous letters from parents and nurses in their care.” In 2007, LeadingAge of Massachusetts recognized the Project Linus program at Orchard Cove with the Community Service Award for their outstanding accomplishments.
Consider volunteering in your community this holiday season and throughout the year. There are many different organizations accepting volunteers of all ages that need your support, including Hebrew SeniorLife.
Learn more about all the diverse volunteer opportunities at Hebrew SeniorLife, or check out VolunteerMatch.org to find opportunities for volunteerism in your community.
READ MORE from my Hebrew SeniorLife ReAge blog post
Excerpt from my blog post
As children we may look up to our fathers as superheroes. As we age, we realize our fathers are not invincible, but human with their own personal stories of how they overcame the most difficult challenges in their own lives. The Bussgang men, including NewBridge on the Charles resident Julian, and his father, Jozef (now deceased), survived many challenges in their lives. Julian’s own son, Jeff, applied that same determination to succeed and achieve many accomplishments in his life as well. Throughout it all, these men have been strong and inspiring role models to their children.
Fourteen-year-old Julian and his family left the comforts of their home to escape with Julian’s aunt and uncle to Romania. It was a treacherous trip and they didn’t know if they would be allowed to cross the border. At the time, Julian didn’t know that his father had already taken the first step to avoid future persecution in what would become known as the Holocaust. Jozef was fortunate to have gold with him and he used this gold to secure “capitalist” visas into Palestine for the family.
At sixteen-years-old, Jeff went to work alongside his dad and built an inventory tracking system for the business. Jeff then followed in his father’s footsteps and graduated from Harvard with a degree in computer science.
Julian continues to be a big influence in Jeff’s life. Today, Jeff is a successful technology entrepreneur (co-founder of Upromise), a partner in Flybridge Capital, as well as a teacher, mentor, author, and a proud father himself. He is a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School on the subject of Entrepreneurial Management and co-founder and vice chair of The Alliance for Business Leadership. He is the author of Mastering the VC Game as well as creator of the blog SeeingBothSides.com. Today, Jeff is on the board of many businesses advising entrepreneurs and he encourages them to accomplish their goals. “Entrepreneurs go through many different crises when running a new business. Whether it’s depleting one’s cash flow, or trying to determine new ways to find capital.”
Throughout Julian’s life, he has kept a strong and sound mind with great determination. Today, he and his wife have a very loving, talented and successful family. He has also become a wonderful role model for those that learn about his personal story of success and survival. Julian lives with his wife Fay at Hebrew SeniorLife’s NewBridge on the Charles residence. Each maintain a healthy body and mind by keeping busy with the different programs offered on campus. Fay is active in a few committees and Julian is very pleased to have moved to the community for their retirement. Their grandchildren attend the Rashi School on campus where they can stop by on occasion to visit after classes. Lynda Bussgang, their daughter-in-law, is the Multigenerational Program Manager for Hebrew SeniorLife, where she creates opportunities for both young and old to come together to enhance their lives. The Bussgangs are very pleased with their new way of independent living at NewBridge on the Charles. It offers a fulfilling social life, engagement with different people of all ages, and one of the best health care services for seniors. The convenience of it located in all one place together has become a wonderful location for them to call home.
The entire Bussgang family is very pleased to be part of the NewBridge experience and they continue to live a wonderful life as part of the community.
READ MORE from my Hebrew SeniorLife ReAge blog post.
Excerpt from my blog post
The creative arts are a way of life for the many resident artists who live in Hebrew SeniorLife’s independent living community at Orchard Cove. Our residents are always seeking new ways to stay active, keep social and remain creatively engaged. A variety of research documents show the value of creative stimulation to enhance cognition, improve wellness and foster interaction between seniors. Each resident has their own unique style, medium of choice, and eye for design. Some are professionally trained, with work featured in galleries and museums, while others picked up a paintbrush for the first time after moving to our community. Our on-site woodworking shop and a variety of drawing and art classes provide a stimulating environment for creative expression. “My art is very personal. When I’m drawing, I’m completely involved in the process. It’s just me and the subject I’m trying to portray,” says Orchard Cove resident artist Avis Brenner. When Avis Brenner moved to Orchard Cove, she decided it was time to transition from clay sculpture to drawing pastel portraits. In fact, it wasn’t until she moved to our residence that she developed a passion for illustrating portraits of some very famous people. Avis searches out photographs of women in politics that make a statement with their facial expressions. She recently completed an illustration of Massachusetts US Senator Elizabeth Warren, who took the time to write a personal letter to congratulate Avis for her ability to capture such a realistic portrayal. I was pleased to have the Senator recognize Avis for her talents and Elizabeth shared a personal letter. READ MORE from my article on the Hebrew SeniorLife ReAge blog.
THE BOSTON MARATHON 2013 and Today’s Anniversary
Today is the anniversary of that day Boston was shocked with fear and shook from two terrible bombs that had exploded on Boylston street. It’s one of those days you’ll NEVER FORGET. Where you were when you heard the news. NEVER FORGET the people who died and who were injured. NEVER FORGET who you were concerned about at the race and each day. NEVER FORGET how much love, compassion and BOSTON STRONG we stood, still stand and nothing will kill our spirit! NEVER FORGET how susceptible we are to harm, danger and death in a blink of an eye. NEVER FORGET sharing and appreciating those special moments with the ones we love and who love us back. NEVER FORGET the fun, the memories, and marathon parties of years past.
NEVER FORGET the fear and sorrow that hit our hometown. NEVER FORGET the cheers from the #RED SOX WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS.
Life and good people are a gift to be treasured. Treat them well with respect, love and embrace them forever. NEVER FORGET THAT!
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”
– Sir Richard Branson
Sir Richard Branson has always been an inspiration to me with his ability to strive for success, fail and continue to rise above the rest. A high school dropout, he was determined to put forth his ideas into business and create a magazine publication called the Student. Ironically, he has always been a student with each new venture and never had any trepidation to dive into a new opportunity. He is a true inspiration to all of us. “It’s easy to give up when things are hard but we have to keep chasing dreams.”
Richard is an influential leader willing to stand up to a challenge, coach and listen to his team, while he takes full responsibility for his actions. He isn’t an engineer or inventor such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg. Yet, Sir Richard Branson predicted a new opportunity in the market to create better customer service with a competitive advantage. Following the launch of his magazine, he created a mail order record company called Virgin to fund the publication. This lead to the Virgin Group that later launched the success of Virgin Records.
Sir Richard Branson realizes the importance of his employees and offers guidance and support to his teams across the globe. He takes pride in his work, but on many occasions he is willing to give up control, as well as sell his businesses. It says a lot about one who is able to delegate for the future success of the company. In fact, Sir Branson is very passionate about music and was very apprehensive about selling Virgin Records. However, this helped him to dedicate the time to create his next venture called Virgin Atlantic. He decided to innovate the transatlantic travel experience with cheaper flights and became the first airline to offer in-flight entertainment. Branson never followed the crowd, but rather became a leader of the pack, as he defied the standards of the industries and believed in his team to guide him onto the next adventure.
Branson is a leader of over 200 companies and continues to enter unchartered waters by hiring professionals and cultivating their talents. “Shape the business around the people. If a flower is watered, it flourishes. If not, it shrivels up and dies.” It’s unfortunate in these tough economic times that companies have put much strain on their employees. They are being overworked and underpaid with limited resources. Today is a significant time to invest in human capital and it’s important for one to take a subjective approach to identify the strengths and weakness to make an effort to empower employees by providing the proper training and resources. On many occasions, Branson has valued his employees’ contributions and allowed them to flourish. He is focused on empowering his staff to shape the organization, as well as create harmony among the people working for the company. It’s important for more organizations to follow his example to improve cost and time efficiencies, training, customer service, audience engagement and employee morale. Today, many professionals aren’t being valued for their hard efforts. This can lead to a breakdown of productivity in the workforce and poor customer relations. Additionally, many professionals are lacking the skills to remain competitive. It’s important for employers to adhere to new educational policies and procedures, as well as recognize the transferrable skills of others to apply on the job.
Today, Sir Richard Branson is a billionaire and recognized as a well-respected businessman. He has always remained humble and continues to give back to the community. Recently, he launched Virgin HealthMiles, an organization to partner with employers to incentivize their employees to live a healthier way of life. Richard Branson is one to never give up on his dreams no matter how difficult the challenge. He literally shoots for the moon establishing a company called Virgin Galactic to host trips for passengers to become astronauts and gain experience into outer space. He is one entrepreneur that continues to beat the odds and truly amazes others and myself as an influential leader.
Source of Branson’s Quotes: Richard Branson’s (CEO Virgin) management style and CIOs, http://mubbisherahmed.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/richard-bransons-ceo-virgin-management-style-and-cios/(October 24, 2011)