Category Archives: Communities

We Celebrate the Most Inspiring Senior of the Year, Luella Shell

A wise man once said, “You’re never too old to win.”  Well the axiom has been proven by Merrill Gardens resident and 99 year old super-senior, Luella Shell.

Luella Shell - Most Inspiring Senior - Merrill GardensLuella didn’t just win a local spelling bee. She was named by SeniorHomes.com as the Most Inspiring Senior, in the Best Senior Living Awards 2014. In this national competition, Luella won with a whopping 31% more votes than the second place contender.

A resident at Merrill Gardens of Santa Maria, CA, Luella is an inspiration to everyone she meets.  With a constant smile on her face, she’s likely to take you on your next adventure with her by clicking her feet together and saying “Let’s Go”.

The General Manager of the Santa Maria community, Audie Sherberg, says this about the dynamo, “Luella is an ongoing inspiration to our residents and team members alike.  She is the true example of celebrating life to its fullest!”

In addition to her love for dancing, she is always creating opportunities for Merrill Gardens residents to get more involved with the community. Two special events started by Luella are the Funky Fashion Show and Talent Show.

“The overwhelming success of both events impacted the entire community,” recounts Sherberg. The emotions, laughter and joy were wonderful to see.  Clearly it was an experience that touched the emotions and hearts of everyone involved!”

When she’s not dancing or coming up with new activity ideas, you may find her in the kitchen making cookies. Is there anything this woman can’t do?

We congratulate Luella for being recognized for her inspiring ways and we are so happy that she chose to make Merrill Gardens her home!

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Exercise + Gaming: A Formula for Fitness Fun

Going to the gym used to mean running on the treadmill or pumping iron in the weight room, but we think that sometimes, that’s just a little too boring. Sure, you can still do those things if you want, but no one’s ever going to confuse either of those activities with anything even remotely resembling something “fun.” That’s where our new SMART (Sensory Motor Activity Reaction Training) Sportwall System comes in.

Merrill Gardens Sportswall

The Sportwall covers all the fitness bases: it’s  a combination of enjoyable, safe and ability-scaled physical activity, multisensory cognitive stimulation and even social engagement. But most of all, it’s actually fun to do. It’s the best way for our residents to get a great workout without feeling like they’re actually working out. It’s exercise without realizing you’re exercising.

But hey, it’s not all fun and games— there’s some serious science behind this thing. Studies show that some of the most important aspects for “successfully aging” include promoting joint health, maintaining ideal body weight, and improving functional mobility for common activities of daily life.

With the Sportswall’s rapid moving, socially engaging, low impact, “quick thinking” gaming programming, all these goals (and more!) are achieved in a way that challenges and delights users physically and cognitively.  It also helps that the gaming side of the program creates a motivational and self-competitive environment, always driving our residents to beat their latest high-score!

Want to see what the Sportswall can do? Here’s a great video preview:

 

This cool new technology is being installed at our new communities in Huntington Beach and Lafayette, California and we can’t wait to see our residents in action!

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It’s Pets Month at Merrill Gardens

April is our month to celebrate the many wonderful felines and canines that live at our communities. We asked our residents to share some stories of their four legged friends. It was tough to get any interesting comments out of the four legged friends, as they mainly gave us a bunch of confused stares (and a couple of barks).  Luckily, our human residents were a lot more talkative!

Here are the first set of stories we’d like to share.

Sophie and Pumpkin & Batman
Merrill Gardens at Campbell, CA
Merrill Gardens at Campbell, CA
Sophie is a pre-nursing college student and the yoga instructor at Merrill Gardens at Campbell. This spring she wanted to take a trip to New York to visit her family, but needed a temporary home for her bunnies, Pumpkin and Batman. The Merrill Gardens community volunteered to take care of the fluffy creatures, where they received constant attention and were loved (nearly) to pieces by the residents, visiting family members, and people on tour visiting our community for the first time. Needless to say, the bunnies were a delight and are invited back anytime to visit. We promise to always have carrots stocked up, just in case!

Bob & Dixie with Gizmo
Merrill Gardens at Willow Glen, CA
Merrill Gardens at Mountlake Terrace
Bob, Dixie and Gizmo have lived in the community since day one. Gizmo and Bob have a standing lunch date each day, followed by a long walk. Gizmo’s favorite part of the walk?  Sitting and watching the traffic go by!  While those two are on their afternoon walk, Dixie cooks Gizmo her dinner.
Bob got Gizmo at two and a half, and she’s now ten. Gizmo is unique in that she’s smaller than your normal Pekingese, her paws are shorter, and in another obstacle towards her getting a basketball scholarship, Gizmo cannot jump at all. Bob’s grandkids gave Gizmo her name after the movie Gremlins, and it fits her perfectly.

Peggy & Jim with Enzo
Mountlake Terrace,
A Merrill Gardens Community, Seattle

Peggy and Enzo
Enzo is the only dog that resides at Merrill Gardens Mountlake Terrace. He belongs to Peggy and Jim. One special note about Enzo is that he’s never left alone, because he tends to worry.  So another wonderful resident, Sandra, takes care of him everyday during the lunch and dinner hours so his parents can eat in the dining room together. This is just another great example of how residents in this community care for one another!

Lea with Moses & Frankie
Merrill Gardens at First Hill, Seattle
Merrill
Lea Black has been a Merrill Gardens resident for more than three years, where she takes care of her silver Persian cat Moses and her blue-silver son, Frankie. Both cats love to cuddle on the couch with their mom, watching the birds and big cats on Animal Planet. Lea speaks five languages, including Hebrew, which is how Moses got his name. He’s named for the term Moishi, which means teacher. Francis is named after Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

Theresa and Noble
Merrill Gardens at Gilroy, CA
Merrill Gardens at Gilroy
Noble is a fantastic companion whose antics bring laughter and enjoyment. If Noble wanted to (and could get around the paperwork), he’d likely have a great career ahead of him as a personal trainer! He’s Teresa’s workout partner and chief fitness motivator– encouraging her to exercise and take him for walks.

 

Myrtle and Muffin
Merrill Gardens at Albertville, AL
Merrill Gardens at Albertville
Myrtle and her cat Muffin have been companions for six years. The two joined up when Muffin showed up at her house one night, making a clatter outside. She heard a knocking, scratching and meowing. When her husband opened the front door to investigate, the little rascal bolted inside. Muffin’s been with her ever since.

One of Muffin’s cuter qualities is her human-like ability to pout. When this cat is told “No,” she turns around and sits on the armchair with her back to Myrtle like she is mad– until her owner finally gives in (which is most of the time).

Stay tuned for more stories of cuddly companions from all our Merrill Gardens communities.

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I Believe I Can Fly!

Our residents took to the sky recently when they visited iFly Seattle to do some indoor sky diving.  Residents from Merrill Gardens at The University (WA) and Merrill Gardens at Renton Centre (WA) showed no fear, putting on their flying suits and going airborne! 

Once again our residents show us that age is just a number.  After learning the basics, they were up, up and away! 

Picture 005Evelyn from Renton getting ready to fly!

Evelyn from Renton flying!

Maury from Renton flying!

The whole group after our day of flying. Everyone had a blast!

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Support Our Troops Week Smashes Record!

Our annual Support Our Troops week was a great success. Our 56 communities nationwide helped us raise an enormous amount of money for the USO.

We want to congratulate our community teams for coming together to support the USO. This year was our biggest year yet with a total contribution of $66,000! The past two years we raised $50,000, bringing our grand total for all three years to $166,000. This is a significant contribution and the folks at the USO are deeply grateful.

While all communities did a great job raising money, we want to recognize a few who went above and beyond.

The top money raiser was Green Valley Ranch, bringing in a whopping $6,484!

Kirkland was not far behind with $6,115, followed by Admiral Heights with $4,008, University with $3,129, Canyon Lakes with $2,605 and Fremont with $2,520.

Congratulations to these communities for their wildly successful events. We are so proud of all of our communities, staff, and friends. Thank you everyone who donated to the USO this year.

We can’t wait until next year!

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Admiral Treats and Treasures

Halloween is in the air. From parties to dress up, our communities have been having a blast!

At our Admiral Heights community, we participated in the Admiral Merchants’ annual trick-or-treat event. Merchants in the community dressed up, pulled out some treats, and let trick or treaters come visit.

We invited trick or treaters into the community and handed out some tasty treats.
Even the Hulk muscled in on some candy!

Our residents handed out candy and had a great time with the children. Here are a few shots of the creative costumes.

How did you celebrate Halloween?

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A Gift of Summer Camp

We are so proud of the Resident Council at Merrill Gardens at The University! The Resident Council presented a check for $1,506 to sponsor a terminally ill child to attend the Stanley Stamm Summer Camp.

The money was raised at the resident’s recent big bingo event.

Dr. Stanley Stamm, who lives at The University community, was a heart specialist at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital. Dr. Stamm founded the camp to give children with serious illnesses the chance to go fishing, ride horses and have fun at a week-long, sleepover camp near Mt. Rainier.

We are so proud of our communities and their efforts to help others. Way to go!

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Oktoberfest at Merrill Gardens

Oktoberfest is not just taking place in Germany – it’s taking place at Merrill Gardens. This month, our communities at Canyon Lakes and Puyallup hosted a variety of Oktoberfest activities.

Our Canyon Lakes community in Kennewick, WA celebrated Oktoberfest right! They served pints of beer along with traditional German fare. General Manager Charlotte even donned some sweet lederhosen and residents danced to a live Oompah band.

From lederhosen to pints of German beer, Canyon Lakes was in full swing!

At Merrill Gardens at Puyallup (WA) we went all out for Oktoberfest with bratwurst, pork schnitzel, sauerkraut and German potato salad. We even had an accordion player. To top it off we enjoyed pints of beer – Oktoberfest wouldn’t be complete without a little beer!

Everyone had a great time and can’t wait until next year – cheers!

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WWII Tribute at Fremont, CA

Merrill Gardens at Fremont (CA) recently hosted a WWII tribute to remember those who were affected during the Holocaust.

The community’s art class had been hard at work creating butterflies for Houston Holocaust Museum’s “Project Butterfly”. The museum is collecting 1.5 million butterflies to honor the children of the holocaust who never saw another butterfly.

To celebrate the completion of the butterflies, they were mailed off during a
musical WWII patriotic tribute.

During the tribute, representatives from VITAS  (palliative care for children and adults ) presented the community with a large poster celebrating war veterans who had given their war stories to national archives.

It was a touching celebration and a day of memories.

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Mystery Trips at Queen Anne

September was Spontaneity Month at Queen Anne and we celebrated accordingly!

Throughout the month of September, various “Mystery Trips” took place. Mystery Trips took groups to fun undisclosed locations.

For our first Mystery Trip, residents had no idea where they were going until they arrived at the Wallaby Ranch in Fall City. The owners gave them a tour and each of the residents got to hold a 7 week old male wallaby. Adorable!

Later that day, we went to lunch a Snoqualmie Falls Candy Factory and then stopped at Snoqualmie Falls.

The fun didn’t end there! Mystery Trip #2 took place shortly after.
This time we went to the NorthWest Trek!

We had a ton of fun at both locations and can’t wait for Mystery Trip #3!

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