Category Archives: Uncategorized

Chicago premieres arts program to help early-stage Alzheimer’s

Chicago arts program helps early-stage Alzheimer’s and others

This June 15 Chicago is pioneering a new arts-inspired idea. Arts Camp for Brain Health is a half-day workshop just for those with early-stage memory loss, diminished cognitive and neuro-motor function, and those who care for them. The goal is to help attendees experience new ways to feel their best through artistic endeavors. Several of Chicago’s most-respected arts institutions are participating (see listing below).

Attendees will choose from programs that consist of discussion and hands-on activities in seven areas: adaptive dance, rhythmicity with drumming, improv theater, video biographies, modern portraits, stained glass and singing. At only $10 a person, this is a unique opportunity both for those with early-stage Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or other conditions that limit cognitive or neuro-motor abilities, and for their caregivers.
This collaborative effort is a significant achievement for arts organizations that were already offering this kind of programming, but hadn’t previously thought to tailor it to this particular target group, according to Stacey Foisy, creator and co-chair of the undertaking. Potentially a model for other cities, the workshop will take place right here in Chicago on June 15 at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4545 N. Lincoln Ave. Get more details and register here.
*Brain Camp participating organizations:
Art Institute of Chicago, Boomers Plus, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Loyola University Museum of Art, Northwestern Medicine-Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Old Town School of Folk Music, and Video Family Biographies.

5 more where-to-stay ideas in Phoenix, Arizona


Getting older leads some folks to want to escape the winter weather here in Chicago. If warm weather’s your objective for your upcoming winter vacation – whether you simply hate the cold or just want to treat yourself – think Arizona. A very nice variety of Four-Diamond-and-better hotel accommodations await your pleasure. We mentioned a few Scottsdale/Phoenix accommodations here, and below are five more to consider:

Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix opened in June 2012 at CityScape Phoenix’s hotel/residence/office complex.  The boutique Hotel Palomar Phoenix is an urban retreat that balances the energy of its city setting with Arizona’s laid-back lifestyle. Its 242 spacious guest rooms and suites all provide views of the surrounding city and mountains. Multi-use space of 10,000 square feet includes ten customizable meeting rooms. Its restaurant, Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, features new American cuisine for lunch, dinner, late-night snacks and weekend brunch, and the cocktail program raises the bar for drink culture in the city. The third-floor outdoor pool terrace and adjacent Lustre Rooftop Garden bar provide a scenic venue for gathering.

Phoenix’s light rail line travels past Civic Space Park in Downtown Phoenix and towards the western end of the line, which terminates at Montebello and 19th avenues in Phoenix. Civic Space Park opened in 2009 and makes use of sustainable design to generate power, keep the area cool and capture rainwater.

The Sheraton Grand Phoenix (formerly the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel) , is located a block from the new Phoenix Convention Center. Its 1000 guest rooms make it the largest hotel in Greater Phoenix and in the entire Grand Canyon State.

The Sheraton conference center – more than 112,000 square feet of flexible meeting space – includes 17 meeting rooms, two ballrooms, two boardrooms and a terrace for outdoor events. High-speed Internet access and videoconferencing capabilities and an audiovisual staff are available on site.

When meeting attendees and their families are ready to unwind, they can do so outside at a 2,000-square foot outdoor pool and sundeck or inside at a 6,500-square foot fitness center and spa. The Sheraton Grand Phoenix also features a contemporary restaurant with a full bar, private dining room and outdoor seating. The hotel opened Oct. 1, 2008.

The Westin Phoenix Downtown provides another boutique lodging option in Phoenix’s urban core. Catering to discerning business travelers, it features 242 super-sized guest rooms (all of which are at least 540 square feet), and its upper-floor meeting spaces have floor-to-ceiling windows that afford mountain views. Province Urban Kitchen & Bar is lead by Chef Allison Bird and specializes in sustainable ingredients and features organic wines, plus an enclosed patio accented by a waterfall cascading down from the second-story Lapis pool.

And then there’s the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa where each eveningScottish bagpipes usher in the sunset in homage to Scottish immigrants’ contributions to Arizona’s railroads, mines and towns.

Patio at the Arrogant Butcher in downtown Phoenix

Since 1931 the Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Downtown, a 12-story icon in Phoenix, has stood as a brilliant example of West Coast Art Deco architecture thoughtfully restored to that era’s glory. Come in and experience the swank and sophistication of a bygone era. The 24-feet-tall, two-story lobby features original marble floors, Deco-era Corinthian capitals, bronze elevator doors and original wrought iron details. All 170 guest rooms boast the brand’s signature bedding featuring fresh, white duvets and crisp linens. Relax in an ergonomic desk chair and write postcards or get some work done on a spacious and clutter-free work desk with. Enjoy the convenience of a mini fridge, microwave oven and Keurig coffee maker. Impressive window views in every room and suite. The Hitchcock Suite – which features a unique private terrace – stands as a tribute to the filmmaker who used the building in the opening sequence of “Psycho.”


Luxury in the Florida Keys at Hawks Cay Resort


Imagine a vacation place where you can feel at home in the Florida Keys. Just heard about Hawks Cay Resort Hotel and compound, a Triple-A four-diamond resort located in the Keys. If you like luxurious surroundings. If your group or family wants tons of activities for every age. If you like the idea of five totally different types of pools. If you crave top-notch hotel food, services and amenities, it sounds like you couldn’t do much better.

Whether you are a couple looking for a total relaxation experience or a family of 4 generations looking for a place where each member of every generation can have his/her own idea of fun any time they want and then come back together as a family again for chosen times and activities, this place has it all. Along with stunning vistas, private lagoons, a pirate-ship swimming pool among other features in Coral Cay kids’ place, and a full-service spa and diving shop.
Oh, and they’ve got snuba diving – which means you and your kids (as young as 8) can experience the excitement and joy of deeper-level diving in a sea loaded with coral reefs and astoundingly diverse sea creatures without carrying the traditional heavy air tan on your backs (the tanks float above you on a raft) and without having to pass the sometimes-challenging certification process required for regular scuba diving.
Hawks Cay draws visitors from all over the world (their biggest international clientele comes from Canada). The resort works with the local Turtle Rescue to help sea turtles who’ve been wounded (sometimes by man-made things like boat propellers) rehabilitate themselves and get back out to sea where they belong. Visit the Turtle Rescue while you’re here and see one up close.

Hawks Cay underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation in 2008, and now with new owners, has just completed another extensive upgrade with plans for more. The place is gorgeous, with matchless views of the ocean on all sides. It sits at mile marker 61 in Duck Key on that long road from mainland Florida out to all the Keys.

At Hawks Cay there’s no need to be athletic – relaxation is the biggest goal of many guests of all ages. Make yourself at home in one of 177 guestrooms in the main section, or one of 2f50 two-, three- and four-bedroom  suites, all within walking distance of Coral Cay (the kids’ place). Or get moving with volleyball, camp morning/afternoon, all-day sessions for kids in the Pirate Ship swimming pool area, all included in the $39/day resort fee.
Family accommodations are readily available as well as lots of adult suites. Sixteen four-bedroom units to group families together.
Because there are very few natural beaches in the Keys, Hawks Cay has sculpted the area and shipped in fine sand. Blue is the fishing boat service. Lagoon for kids to experience snorkeling, paddle boarding, and kayaking.
Hawks Cay’s 5 pools include the main, the Tranquility pool, the family pool, the Sunset Village (spectacular sunset views!), and the Pirate Ship pool.
Flying from Chicgo to either Miami or Ft. Lauderdale (easier to get in and out of), it takes your jet airplane about an hour and a half. Or if you’re up for true luxury, you can get private flights into Key West or Marathon and then you’re only 15 minutes from Hawks Cay. If you’re up for luxury, you won’t be disappointed.

Uber rides this week for $3.12


Thank you, Timeout Chicago, for sharing this important information about such a deal on Uber travel good for rides generally in the 312 area code.  If you want to travel in Chicago in a square bounded by south of Irving Park, north of 71st Street and east of Western Avenue, you’ll automatically get the $3.12 fares through Friday at 10pm.

If you’ve been hesitant to try Uber, it’s time to jump in and give ’em a try. Around here, we use Uber regularly and have had mainly very positive experiences – on the whole better than some taxi rides.  With this kind of deal in this heat. why resist?

P.S. Tried it today, Thursday August 18. Worked fine. $3.12 for the ride but it was only available for UberPool at 6 pm. Turned out fine  because another person was going in the same direction at the same time, so there was no wait.


5 holiday gift ideas for boomers 2015


Anti-fatigue mat. Feet hurt when you’re standing by the sink or the stove? Love to go barefoot when you cook, but it makes your legs ache? Recently received a sample of a super-cushiony anti-fatigue mat from Wellness Mats. It was a pleasant surprise to feel such firm-softness underfoot by the kitchen sink. The mats have beveled edges, come in multiple sizes, and are guaranteed for seven years not to curl—important to prevent falls—or deform or lose their cushiony-ness. Plus, they’re made 100% in the USA.

These mats ought to make a big difference in comfort for a bunch of scenarios. For example, if you:

  • Don’t have a dishwasher—or just like washing dishes by hand
  • Love to cook…
  • Stand and fold laundry…
  • Have a bad back or simply for better health want to use a standing desk
  • Want to cushion a hard seat at sports or entertainment events…
  • Work at a tool bench on a concrete basement or garage floor…
  • Kneel when you garden…
  • Have to stand a lot when you travel…
  • and so on.

You can buy cheaper mats, but most are more industrial-looking. These will go with almost any décor. Prices range from ~$70 for a small companion/travel size, ~$130 for a 2’x3’ professional-grade for medical, industrial apps, to $260 for a 6’x2’ mat from one of the designer collections. The designer collections are beautiful and look classy on your floor, almost like a sculpted rug. (Update 2/23/17: Be careful not to trip on this – even though it’s beveled at the edges, it’s thick and can definitely trip you up if you’re not paying attention. Also, take care not to fall off the edge when you’re side-stepping! See post here about using the mat for in-home exercise.)


Book—Act III: Your Anti-Retirement Playbook. Received a review copy of this book and found it clearly written, easy to read, and full of positive ideas and practical tips for getting more out of life after retirement, along with a bit of history about the concept of retirement. Did you know the idea of retiring was introduced in most countries only in the late 19th century? Before that, people didn’t live all that long, and so mostly they just worked until they died. Lucky for many of us, we get to think creatively as we age about how we want to nurture our interests and even expand our relevance.

If you haven’t yet discovered the paths you want to take in this last part of life, this book uses mind mapping and questionnaires to help you discover your passions and set goals in the areas of technology, relevancy, relationships, health and finance. Sounds overwhelming, but don’t let this intimidate you. A quote from the book, “Find the smallest possible thing you can do to make an improvement and start with that.”

And even if you’ve already settled into a nice routine, the book may help you discover something new about yourself and what you care about. It takes a straightforward, no-nonsense approach to finding and pursuing your purpose in life—I think it would be good for anyone—even younger—who has free time and for whom the bills are mostly taken care of. Written by Cecilia Williams, PhD and Paula White, CPA, MBA. Price ~$15 ($9.99 for Kindle).


Book—How Memory Works—and How to Make It Work for You. Are you lost without your smartphone? Can’t call your friends without speed dial? Never remember names? A review copy of this book reveals that its title is succinct and accurate—it contains a lot of scientific research about memory, explains a number of common tricks (acronyms, acrostics, rhymes) to sharpen mental skills, and gives practical tips to strengthen your memory as well as exercises to test yourself.

The author, Robert Madigan, PhD, says learning about memory is akin to walking rather than driving in the sense that “walking offers opportunities for self-reliance, healthy exercise, and personal satisfaction.” He details the following ideas for remembering something, saying you must:

  1. 1intend to remember it and have a plan for doing so (hmm, pay attention!);
  2. 2attach a deeper meaning to the item;
  3. 3add it to some existing memory;
  4. 4attach a visual image;
  5. 5associate it with another easier-to-recall memory;
  6. 6practice remembering it; and
  7. 7organize it, if possible, into categories (which automatically reinforces meanings you’ve attached per #2).

The chapter on “Remembering Life” may particularly appeal to anyone thinking of writing a memoir. Did you know that people over 50 tend to most vividly recall, except for very recent events, their memories from ages 15 to 30?

Though clearly written, this is a complex book. Not designed for a quick read but very good if you’re seriously into the topic. ~$12 paperback or e-book. $9.99 for Kindle.


Book – The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing: Change Your Life without Changing Your Routine, by Margery Leveen Sher, gives readers a light-hearted guide to paying attention to the ordinary people, places, things and events that make up a typical American life. Her premise is that we are overly scheduled and too much on our screens, that our anxiety is increasing, and that there’s a realistic solution. Her book relates anecdotes about her life and offers tips on how to enjoy and appreciate life more by truly noticing the things and people around us. She says “Noticers” seem to have less anxiety, experience more joy and make deeper connections.

Even though the author is a professional life-work-balance consultant, she writes in a cheerful, easygoing voice. The conversation-starter ideas in each sub-chapter consist of questions you ask and answer with grandparents, kids, friends or co-workers. Resulting discussions might be like little mini-workshops you conduct together. The ideas encourage talking to each other about simple things that are worth noticing—some cute, some tough (like how to act when we make a mistake), and some that are just there (like the stuff that accumulates in closets and junk drawers). She uses quotes from great authors and often suggests conversations based on content from books.

This one’s an easy read. Something you could keep on a shelf by the coffeepot to leaf through each morning and pick something to notice that day. Price ~$12 paperback, $6.99 Kindle.


Book – Cookies & Beer: Bake, Pair, Enjoy by Jonathan Bender. Yes, you read it right: Cookies and beer. While this may seem like heresy, the more you read about it, the more sense it makes. Both things have important ingredients in common: grains, spices and fruits. The book points out how the perfect beer can bring out unexpected flavors in a cookie, and how the right cookie can awaken flavors hardly noticed before in a beer.

The cookie recipes are fascinating—some of them even include beer as an ingredient as in, for example, Rye IPA Apricot Crumble Bars, which are made up of an apricot-beer-lemon-maple-sugar compote, a rye-flour-sugar-butter shortbread, and a caraway-black walnut crumble. Isn’t your mouth watering just thinking about that? The chef’s notes say: “Rye beers (IPA or otherwise) will amplify the rye and caraway seeds in the bar cookie and tease out a bit of sweetness from the apricot filling.”

How about a beer milk shake? Made with vanilla ice cream, milk, chocolate syrup and beer syrup (made out of dark beer and raw sugar—the result of which can also be drizzled by itself over ice cream) sounds like a dessert that would love the company of almost any cookie. You’ve heard of pumpkin ale, right? Check out his recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies served with Russian Imperial stout. The chef says: “When you add the stout to the cookie, it’s like you’ve just invented creamy pumpkin pie without the pie. The cookie pops up to lend lushness to this big, dark beer.”

You can tell this guy’s a food writer. This book is fun to read and dream about—even if you never make any of the recipes. Price ~$15, $9.99 for Kindle.