Category Archives: Resident Life

Words From The Wise Video Series – Telling Our Resident’s Stories

When you look back at your life, what will have mattered most to you? What if we considered this possibility now?  We decided to ask the people who live at Merrill Gardens to share their wisdom with us and we are so pleased to introduce our Words from the Wise video series.  Through these interviews with residents, we celebrate their lifetime of experiences and the joy that’s possible at every stage of life.

Words from the Wise gives Merrill Gardens residents center stage as they share their insight with candor in our first video focusing on advice for young people.  These seniors speak from the heart as they share what really matters.

We’ve traveled to our communities for the past few months to bring this video series to life.  We asked lots of questions and it’s been truly enlightening.  Talking to people who who were born in the 1920’s and giving them an opportunity to reflect on their lives and share what they have learned is a privilege.  Its also been a whole lot of fun to set up our cameras, ask some questions and just see where it goes!

We hope these videos in some small way communicate the life stories and experiences of those who came before us. As they share their dearest thoughts and reflect on their lives, we can learn so much in return.  Its such an honor for us to share these stories.

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My advice is… pick the way you are going to go and don’t be deterred.  If its what you really want, stick up for it.. and do it.”  Leta Mertes, born in 1923

 

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“I have always been a great advocate of paying it forward. I think if we help our fellow human beings and require that they help someone down the line, that would go a long way in curing the ills that we have… if people would just take a better attitude towards each other.”  Tom Tompkins, born in 1926

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You meet people from all walks of life, and you learn a lot about yourself by meeting other people. They come from all over the world, the country and everything like that… each one has a story to tell.”  Joan and Vince Cangiano, born in 1926, married for 56 years                                                                                 For many of us, growing older is a scary thought and our society doesn’t always do a good job of honoring those who have come before us.  We want our video series to shine a new light on the joy that comes from reflecting back on a life well lived.  We think you will love getting to know the people we profile as much as we did!

 


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Honoring Our Veterans

Last week marked the celebration of Veteran’s Day, a day in which we can pay tribute to the heroes among us that have served our country, as well as those currently in active duty. We are so honored and blessed to be surrounded by these incredible citizens every single day.

To recognize their service, we spent Veterans Day recognizing all of the exceptional veterans living with us in our communities. Here are just some of the celebrations that took place this year, at our communities in Green Valley Ranch, NV; Santa Maria, CA; and First Hill, WA.

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Happy Veterans Day

Today we thank all Veterans for their service to our country.

Click on the image below to see a video created by our residents in Mountlake Terrace, WA. Enjoy.

Mountlake Terrace Video

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Merrill Gardens Gives Back to the Community

We want to congratulate the warm hearts and giving spirit of Merrill Gardens of First Hill, Willow Glen and The Patrician. These three communities all participated in events to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

First Hill raised close to $5000 through their fundraising and participation in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Seattle, while the folks from The Patrician hit the streets of San Diego. At the same time, Willow Glen hosted their own fundraising event. It was all part of Merrill Gives Back Month. Great job guys!

There are too many great photos for one blog post, so make sure to check out the photo albums on our Facebook Page.
First Hill photos
The Patrician photos
Willow Glen photos

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Merrill Gardens at First Hill Raises $5000 for Alzheimer’s Research

Merrill Gardens Gives Back Month continues, and this week we want to recognize the team at our First Hill community in Seattle. Through their fundraising and participation in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the group raised close to $5000.

If you missed the event on September 20 but still want to support the fight against Alzheimer’s, click here to donate as part of the Merrill Gardens First Hill team.

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Merrill Gardens Tacoma Accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

Well THAT didn’t take long.

Yesterday, we watched Merrill Gardens President Tana Gall and her team get doused with buckets of ice water, as part of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Tana then passed along the challenge to Merrill Gardens Tacoma, University and Renton.

Well, less than 24 hours later, Krista Solomon and her team from Merrill Gardens Tacoma stared that challenge straight in the eye.

You’re up Creekside!

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Merrill Gardens Takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

You’ve probably seen it in your Facebook feed. Maybe you’ve even had the guts to do it.

The “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” is a public awareness campaign to raise money to combat the incurable, degenerative disease ALS. The challenge is simple — your friend nominates you to participate via social media. Then you either donate $100 to the ALS Association, the nation’s largest ALS charity, or you take a video of yourself (or someone else) dumping a bucket of ice cold water on your head. Your reward – you get to nominate someone else for the cold shower.

Never one to back down from a challenge, Merrill Gardens President Tana Gall gathered the team. Do they look like they are having fun or what?

Is the fundraiser working nationally? Well last year the ALS Association raised $22,000 during this 2 week period. This year – $1.35 million! That’s a lot of buckets. In fact, the Merrill Gardens corporate team not only took the challenge but made a nice donation as well!

“We’ve seen an explosion in donations in the past week,” said Erin Fleming the group’s associate director. “89 percent of those funds will go directly to research and educational programs — including ground-breaking stem cell and gene silencing research that could provide the first therapy for the disease. “

The challenge has reached everyone, with NFL teams taking a break from training camp to get doused – many of them challenged by the NFL commissioner himself. Here‘s the head coach of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks taking part.

Nice work Team Merrill Gardens. Now it’s up to the teams at Merrill Gardens University, Tacoma and Renton to take the bucket and run with it. Good luck!

If you’ve accepted the challenge yourself, visit our Facebook Page and drop us a link to your video.

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Merrill Gardens Creekside Residents Enjoy a Family Barbecue

Sunshine, fine food and great people. It’s the magic combination for summer fun. And the team at The Creekside knows how to throw a fun party. We love these pics from their Friends and Family Barbecue! (Click the photos to enlarge.)

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Plus, there was lots of dancing!

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Keep up to date on activities from all the Merrill Gardens Communities at our Facebook page!

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Love is in the Air at Merrill Gardens

It’s a traditional love story straight from the 1950’s, being played out today in 2014.

Lillian and Ron - 2013 Senior PromOur stars tonight are Lillian and Ron, residents of Merrill Gardens in the lovely town of Santa Maria, California. Our young lovers may now need to live in different buildings in the community. But physical proximity cannot keep them apart.

Rain, shine, snow or fog, the two lovebirds have every Friday dedicated for a date with each other. If you sit in the lobby of the Garden House (our living area for residents who need supportive care) you’ll see Ron romantically picking up Lillian from her apartment. They’ll walk side by side to the dining room, so that she can play the piano for a dedicated audience of one. Some days Ron will share her talents with the rest of the community, and they’ll head to the Baby Grand Piano in the lobby. There, she’ll delight the room with musical ability only overshadowed by the smile on her face.

Lillian and Ron - Wedding PhotoAfter that, the couple will often do what they’ve been doing for decades – celebrating with each other at Happy Hour and toasting the day. Their affection is contagious, and brightens up the room.

The love and loyalty Ron and Lillian share are inspirational to residents and team members alike. We salute Lillian and Ron for making Merrill Gardens a special place to live.

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Meet Merrill Gardens – Hiker in Chief Corneil Vacirca

We’re rounding out Fit and Fun Month at Merrill Gardens with a profile of one of our Fittest and Most Fun team members, Corneil Vacirca. We sat down and had a conversation about hiking and the outdoors.

1) Hi Corneil. Can you tell us a little bit about your role at Merrill Gardens?
I am the Director of Sales. My mission is to help educate, equip and encourage our community sales teams so that they can help more people understand how great life can be when they choose to move into one of our communities. I help develop programs so our team members can focus on building relationships with our future residents and their families, and walk them through what they need to know when making this very important life decision.

Corneil Hikiing2) A little bird told us you are an outdoor and hiking enthusiast. What drew you to this activity?
Sometimes keeping all of the balls in the air can get a little overwhelming. For me, spending time in the outdoors is the ultimate escape! No phones, no computers, no deadlines. Just me and the beauty of God’s creation and a great physical challenge! My husband is a fisheries biologist for the US Forest Service who lives and breathes the outdoors. He took me for my first real hikes. (If he ever tells you the destination is “just over that ridge” prepare to hike for at least 3 more hours!). I fell for him and the outdoors in one fell swoop! It’s been a 20+ year love affair with both that’s still going strong!

3) Do you have a favorite place in Seattle to hike?
I actually make my home in Wenatchee and spend most of the work week in Seattle. So the only “hike” I’ve done in Seattle is in Ravenna Park, which is lovely. But in Wenatchee, I love hiking the Wenatchee Foothills Trail. The Sage Hills trailhead is less than a mile from my front door, so it is great for a quick trail run or an easy hike. The wildflowers are amazing in the springtime!

4) If someone wanted to get started with some easy hiking, where would you suggest they start?
Start in your own neighborhood! Especially here in Seattle, there are great walking trails all around. If you’d like to get away from the city and more deeply into nature, the great thing about Seattle is that you can drive 30-45 minutes in any direction and be able to find a trailhead. The Washington Trails Association has a great website and if you click on the “Find a Hike” button, your possibilities are endless!

Corneil Camping5) What’s the toughest hike, mountain, marathon, etc.. that you tackled and completed?
I’ve been an avid day-hiker for many years, but last year I graduated to multi-night backpacking trips. Our best (and longest) trip of the summer was a three day/night trip in Central Washington (Leavenworth/Chelan area) from Phelps Creek Basin, through Spider Meadows and over Spider Gap, through Lyman Lakes, Heart Lake and to Holden Village. It was a total of about 21 miles.

6) Ever seen a scary animal on the trail? I saw a bear camping on the Rogue River years ago and almost paddled home. (I was camping, not the bear.)
Fortunately I haven’t run into any scary animals on a trail. But we did see pretty fresh bear track on the trail near Heart Lake last summer. We did have a camping trip many years ago when a bear thrashed around our campsite looking for food. He destroyed a foam cooler and broke into a regular cooler. We learned that lesson the hard way – now we tie up all of the food in a tree!

7) What’s the right thing to do if I see a bear on the Burke-Gilman trail?
Don’t run! Hopefully you are prepared and have bear spray, just in case.

8) Besides bear spray, is there a piece of hiking equipment or clothing that we all should own?
Proper fitting hiking shoes can make or break your hike! (If you read Wild by Cheryl Strayed you get a very vivid picture of not having the proper footwear – ouch!). If the feet aren’t happy – the hiker isn’t happy!

9) What are some other outdoor activities you enjoy?
I enjoy running (especially when I’m able to visit our communities in Southern California and run along the beach!), swimming, snorkeling and biking. I tried paddle boarding last summer and that was awesome! Ohme Gardens in Wenatchee had a free outdoor yoga class last summer and that was great – though don’t know if that technically qualifies! 🙂

10) In a city where the weather is so unpredictable, how do you get outdoors during some of those “less sunny” months?
I grew up in the high desert of New Mexico, so I wasn’t sure how I’d adjust to Seattle’s weather, but I have to say it is really not that bad (don’t worry, I won’t tell the rest of the world!). Give it an hour or two and it usually changes up! And it is hard to beat a sunny day in Seattle – there is no better city to enjoy on a gorgeous sunny day!

Corneil Mountain 11) What’s your favorite part of being outdoors?
I love the sounds and the colors. Hearing the wind rustle through the trees, the water running over the rocks of a stream, the squirrels squeals warning their fellow creatures that we’re coming and the sound of my boots hitting the dirt, just makes me happy. When the blue of the sky meets the green of the trees and the grey of the mountains spotted with white snow all reflected in the crystal clear mirror of a glacial lake… it is my paradise and instant “ohm” for me!

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