Category Archives: Emotional Wellness

Meet Stacey Tamura, Another Amazing Keiro Volunteer!

Stacey Tamura, South Bay Keiro Volunteer

Stacey Tamura, South Bay Keiro Volunteer

Volunteering is an important way for the next generation to get involved in caring for seniors! Below, Stacey Tamura shares her experience volunteering at South Bay Keiro Nursing Home.

I am a high school student and organize nursing home visits with high school students at my school. We have volunteered at South Bay Keiro Nursing Home a few times to participate in fun activities such as origami and bingo with the residents. All the activities have been enjoyable to do with the residents. Also, the staff were very welcoming and accommodating. After the activity, we talk with the residents and get to learn more about each other. They are always friendly and warm to us whenever we visit. I am glad to know that we may be making their day a little more fun.

Stacey is a junior at the California Academy of Mathematics and Science (CAMS), which is located in Carson, California. She participates in Biomed/HOSA Club, Key Club, Robotics, and National Honors Society with her school. During her free time, she enjoys cooking, baking desserts, and playing piano.  

The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer

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When it Comes to Learning, Age Ain't Nothin' but a Number!

Intellectual wellness is an important part of genkiliving. Ms. G., a Sansei and family member of a former Keiro resident, shares her experience of going back to school in her 40s and 50s!

How I went from unemployed legal assistant to Licensed Clinical Social Worker is all about making a scary decision to return to academics, in my 40s. Actually, my family thought I was crazy, but I had the support of my two adult children. To make it even more dramatic, I had worked about 20 years with a high school education.  I knew nothing about college academics.

I don’t know how my lil’ brain was able to pass the science and math courses, but it did. I began attending community college courses and earned an Associate in Arts degree in Liberal Arts, but I thought I needed more. Then I enrolled in a 4-year college and earned a Bachelor’s degree. As you can guess by now, I have really challenged myself, emotionally, financially, and physically. Going back to my brain-power, I was most amazed that I was getting higher grades in college than in elementary school. After much debate with my daughter who had a Master’s in Social Work, I took the leap of faith and enrolled in the Master’s program as well. At this point, I was really wondering if my brain cells could get me through working part time in the day and attending night courses for 4 years. To my surprise, while in my 50s, I finally found my comfort zone. Every course that I took, I truly enjoyed and absorbed…except for Statistics. I’ve been happily doing work that I really love. Just imagine if I had let age and family critics get in my way.

Through my personal experience, I challenge anyone to pursue their dreams. What is age, but just a number. You will be amazed what you can do when your heart is behind…pushing you forward. 

The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer

If you enjoyed this article, click the “like” button below!

Scrapbooking is more than cutting and pasting!

Mei Kameda, Keiro Intern

Click clack and smile! Photography is one of the greatest technologies that has been invented to store memories and warm one’s heart. But do you ever wonder how to store all these pictures that have been taken for many years? Well, I have a fun solution for you: scrapbooking. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, a scrapbook is a “blank book in which various items (as newspaper clippings or pictures) are collected and preserved.” The idea of scrapbooking began in the 15th century and became popular in England due to its booklet form. In the United States it became popular in the early ‘80s. The industry doubled in size between 2001 and 2004 and it became one of America’s favorite ways of enjoying arts and crafts.

Scrapbooking is Good for the Soul

I’ve been scrapbooking for years and it’s a lot of fun! Not only does it entertain me, but it is also therapeutic. You may wonder why it’s good for the soul. Did you know that art has been proven to provide a healthy environment and put many people at ease? I chose scrapbooking in particular because it allows me to draw, cut, paste, and create my own, one-of-a-kind booklet.  It also includes photographs of familiar faces, events, and nostalgic memories that make me feel happy.

I love scrapbooking. Since I enjoy taking photos, I have hundreds of them on my hard drive that in the past, I did not know what to do with. Then I began scrapbooking. Not only does it give me the satisfaction of completing a project, but it also is enjoyable and relaxing for me as I make it, as well as when I look back at the wonderful memories from the past.

Getting Creative

The only downside about scrapbooking is that it is expensive! If you go to arts and crafts stores like Michael’s or Jo-Ann’s, booklets cost over $10. It’s a lot of money in the long run if you are an avid scrapbooker. Then you add stickers, markers, glitter, and printing. Luckily, there are ways to save money and enjoy your own scrapbooks! For instance, if you take colored construction paper, three-hole punches, and some ribbons, you can make a colorful and creative booklet. As for other supplies, Target has many festive and generic stickers for 99 cents and can print pictures for 10 cents a photo – what a deal!

Scrapbook supply checklist:

  • Construction paper + three whole punches + ribbons (or get a pre-made booklet)
  • Glue
  • Double-sided tape (this works better than glue to maintain a clean look!)
  • Markers, pens
  • Stickers, magazine cut-outs, newspaper cut outs, glitter
  • Photos (you can print them at home or ask stores to print for you)
  • Quotes that are relevant to the event

sample scrapbook for IHA

This is a great project for people of any age. It is also a wonderful way to bring people together and share fabulous memories!

Scrapbooks are great for gifts too!

Mei Kameda is an intern for Keiro Senior HealthCare. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Long Beach in Health Science and Communication Studies. She loves to exercise, cook, and do arts and crafts!

The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. Full disclaimer

If you enjoyed this article, click the “like” button below!

Don’t Cry for Me Argentina…

Don’t Cry for Me Argentina

My husband and I arrived at LAX on Friday, July 1, 2011, with a new suitcase filled with winter clothes, because we were on our way to Buenos Aires for a week to dance tango. It is only when we got in line to check our luggage that we found out a volcano in Chile had re-erupted and all flights to Buenos Aires, parts of South America, and New Zealand were cancelled.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

We had visited Argentina about five years ago, when our daughter was studying law at one of the universities for the summer. That first trip was fantastic! The dollar was strong, the beef was unbelievably tender (I ate beef in those days), the boulevards looked like Paris, Manu Ginobili posters were everywhere (although Argentina is more into soccer than basketball), and the Iguazu Falls (made up of 260 waterfalls) is truly a wonder of the world.   There was tango music everywhere and people danced tango in the streets!  This prompted us to try to learn how to dance the Argentine tango – what turned out to be the most difficult dance in the world. 

We have rescheduled our trip for later this year. Given that the flights to Buenos Aires are anywhere from 17 to 19 hours, my husband and I have been strategizing about how to tolerate those long flights. Do we take an e-reader, a ton of books, try to sleep, watch the movies, try to get up and walk in the over-crowded aisles, eat the airplane food, or not eat the airplane food? We don’t travel that often, so we don’t have the routine down.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently published the 2012 version of the Yellow Book. This book is published every two years as a reference to those who advise international travelers about health risks. While the book is written for professionals, it is also useful for laypeople.

According to the Yellow Book, Travelers can minimize jet lag by doing the following before travel:

  • Exercise, eat a healthful diet, and get plenty of rest.
  • Begin to reset the body clock by shifting the timing of sleep to 1–2 hours later for a few days before traveling westward and shifting the timing of sleep to 1–2 hours earlier for a few days before traveling eastward.
  • Seek exposure to bright light in the evening if traveling westward, in the morning if traveling eastward (although it requires high motivation and strict compliance with the prescribed light-dark schedules).
  • Break up a long journey with a stopover, if possible.

 Travelers should do the following during travel:

  • Avoid large meals, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Drink plenty of water to remain hydrated.
  • Move around on the plane to promote mental and physical acuity, as well as protect against deep vein thrombosis.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
  • Sleep, if possible, during long flights.

Travelers should do the following on arrival at the destination:

  • Avoid situations requiring critical decision making, such as important meetings, for the first day after arrival.
  • Adapt to the local schedule as soon as possible.
  • Optimize exposure to sunlight after arrival from either direction.
  • Eat meals appropriate to the local time, drink plenty of water, and avoid excess caffeine or alcohol.
  • Take short naps (20–30 minutes) to increase energy but not undermine nighttime sleep.

The use of the nutritional supplement melatonin is controversial for preventing jet lag. Some clinicians advocate the use of 0.5–5.0 mg of melatonin during the first few days of travel, and data suggest its efficacy. However, its production is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and contaminants have been found in commercially available products. Current information also does not support the use of special diets to ameliorate jet lag.

If you have any hints on how to survive long flights, please let me know.  If the volcano doesn’t erupt again, we’ll be on our way to Argentina later on this year.

Dianne Kujubu Belli is the Chief Administrative Officer of Keiro Senior HealthCare and Executive Director of The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro.  Dianne stays genki by doing cardio and light weight training 4 days a week at the gym and recently started yoga on most weekends – which she describes as “a whole new experience.”

The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer

If you enjoyed this article, click the “like” button below!

Protect Yourself This Summer (Crime goes up in the summer months!)

John Nakaki, Keiro Staff Member

Home Safety Tips

As members of the Keiro Senior HealthCare family, we have the assuring knowledge that our employer is providing us with a safe, clean, and well organized working environment. Since we are trained in our job responsibilities and held accountable to carry out our job functions as required, we tend to take for granted that there are departments that will take care of the cleanliness of the facility and grounds, provide nutritious and well balanced meals, give medical care for our residents, and even ensure security for the property and for all concerned. When there is an emergency people are trained to react and provide the proper procedures to alleviate the problem. We have all these things everyday when we leave our homes and come to work. That’s good.

But how prepared are we to act on an emergency at home? What happens if you or a family member falls and can’t get up? What happens if a child ingests some prescription medications thinking that they are candy? What about a fire? What if there is a break-in?

Ideally, you will never have to face an emergency situation at home. If you are lucky one may never occur. But as an old coach once said, “Luck is the sum of planning and preparation.” So let’s look at the top 15 home safety tips as stated by the Employee Health & Wellness Center. They can help us prepare and prevent an accident at home.

Preventing Falls

  1. Install grab rails in the tub and shower. Use non-slip mats.
  2. Have bright lights over stairs and steps and on landings. Keep stairs and walkways clear of clutter.

(For more fall-prevention tips, please see A Fall-Proof Plan: Reduce the Risks of Injury at Home.)

Prevent Poisonings

  1. Keep cleaners, medications and beauty products in a place where children can’t reach them. Use child safety locks.
  2. For poison help call 1-800-222-1222. Keep this number handy and call if you need help about poisons. Call 9-1-1 if someone needs to go to the hospital right away.

Prevent Fire and Burns

  1. Have working smoke alarms and hold fire drills. If you build a new home install fire sprinklers.
  2. Stay by the stove when you are cooking, especially when you are frying foods. Have a fire extinguisher available.
  3. Regularly clear and dispose of dry or dead vegetation in your yard or areas near your home.
  4. Keep your hot water at 120 degrees F to prevent burns. Use back burners and turn pot handles toward to back of your stove. Use a travel mug when you are drinking something hot.

Prevent Choking and Suffocation

  1. Things that can fit through a toilet paper tube can cause a young child to choke. Keep coins, latex balloons, and hard round foods, such as peanuts and hard candy, where children cannot see or touch them.
  2.  Place babies to sleep on their backs, alone in their crib. Don’t put pillows, blankets, comforters or toys in cribs. These things can sometimes prevent a baby from breathing.
  3.  When children are in or near water, watch them very carefully. Stay close enough to reach out and touch them. This includes bathtubs, toilets, pools and spas – even a bucket of water.

Prevent Theft and Burglary

  1.  Make sure all exterior doors have good proper locks. Install 1” deadbolt locks on all exterior doors.
  2.  If you leave your house or apartment for an extended period of time: discontinue your newspaper, create the illusion that someone is home, leave the T.V. and various lights on a timer, and leave a neighbor or friend’s car in your driveway if possible.
  3.  Burglar-proof your glass patio doors by setting a pipe, bar or wooden broom handle in the bottom track of the door. The pipe should be the same length as the track.
  4.  Keep drapes and blinds shut–especially in rooms where there is expensive equipment. Don’t advertise the items in your home.

By following these simple safety tips we can all look forward to many happy and safe years at work and especially at home.

John Nakaki is a Courier and Staff Training Consultant for Keiro Senior HealthCare.  John previously was in Human Resources at UPS beforing retiring and spending his time volunteering, following USC Sports and fishing!

The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer

It's Obon Season!

Children's Performance at Nishi Obon, July 9-10

Volunteering at Obon

Being involved in community activities is a great way to socialize and stay genki! Karen Escano of Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple (one of Keiro’s Nikkei Senior Network member organizations) talks about her volunteer experience at this year’s obon carnival.  

On July 9 and 10, the members of the Los Angeles Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple held their annual Obon Carnival. It was the culmination of months of planning and preparation. To be a part of Nishi’s Obon celebration is something one has to experience to appreciate. While remembering our loved ones who have sadly passed away, side-by-side with friends and family, there is a sense of “oneness” as everyone works together. It has been reported that during our Obon carnival, there are at least 200 people hard at work.  Whether they are in a booth, the kitchen, directing cars in our parking lot, or making sure we have toilet paper in our bathrooms, the efforts are endless. Everyone simply wants to do what they can to make it easier and more enjoyable for others. The contributions of Nishi members are numerous, and whether it be in the form of the delicious osushi made by the Fujinkai women, whose members range in ages 50 to 90 years, to the sweet song and dance performed by the Nishi Development Center children, who are between the ages of 2 and 5, the sense of pride and selflessness are evident.

A Community Effort

This year, as in years past, we were fortunate to have thousands in attendance. Guests were able to enjoy a variety of food and drink items, (the boba and dango were amazing!), games, cultural exhibits and demonstrations as well as entertainment. This year, our guest MC was Mr. Rodney Kageyama. We were thrilled that he was able to join us in welcoming The San Fernando Hongwanji Buddhist Temple Choir, The Taiko Project, Kotobuki no Kai, LA Matsuri Daiko, and Matsutoyo Kai, to name a few, during our entertainment segment. Our objective in providing entertainment at our Obon carnival is two-fold; one, to provide a lighthearted atmosphere for our guests and two, to provide our hardworking members a slight distraction from their efforts. We are always humbled and very grateful to the talented performers who donate their time to be with us.

We hope that if you were able to join us this year that you had a memorable time, and if you were not, please plan to do so next year. The energy that our members put forth in celebration of Obon each year is truly amazing.

As a side note, when I was approached (begged) to write this article, my immediate response was “okay,” not knowing until hours later that it would require more brain power than I might actually have, and that I was probably not very qualified to do so.  However, having said that, I am glad that I was asked as it has given me an opportunity to reflect on the significance of Obon and the ability to express how meaningful it is to be a part of something so very special.

Karen is a member of the Board of Directors for Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple.  She has served as past president of both the Adult Buddhist Association (ABA) and the Dharma School Parents for the Temple. For the past four years she has served as co-chair of the Obon Entertainment Committee.


The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer

If you enjoyed this article, click the “like” button below!

Summer Travels…

 

Kanako Kusano, Keiro Staff Member & Jimi Hendrix

Weekend  Getaway to Seattle and Portland (click on link to see some great pictures!)

Ever since Lauryn joined The Institute for Aging at Keiro, she has been talking about how beautiful her home town, Seattle, is and how much she misses it. So, last weekend, I decided to visit and see for myself.

A Seafood Lover’s Dream

Lauryn was right – I fell in love with the city right away! There were tall green trees, water, bridges, and fresh seafood. I had clam chowder for lunch, fresh oysters for a snack, and crab for dinner. The city is a dream for a seafood lover.  Pike Place Market is great for anyone who enjoys going to farmers markets filled with fresh seafood, colorful fruits and vegetables, and beautiful flowers.  I was really disappointed that I could not bring the flowers home since they wouldn’t stay fresh. Instead, I began dreaming about living by the market and walking there to buy fresh flowers and seafood every morning… That would be my ideal lifestyle!

Other than food and the market, we enjoyed the nice views from the Gas Works Park and Alki Beach.  Also, at the Chittenden Locks, I was impressed by the canal system to keep the fresh water from the seawater, as well as human technology to preserve the ecological system for salmon by creating a  fish ladder

Concordia University, Portland

On the third day, we drove to Portland, Oregon. There was a reason why I wanted to visit there; I spent a summer at Concordia University, Portland to study ELS about 20 years ago. That was my first experience in the U.S. It was a small private college with only two or three buildings on a huge campus located in a quiet residential neighborhood.

However, it has changed so much. Now there are many more buildings with a beautiful, brand new library. Much of the empty yard has been converted to parking areas. The old dormitory where I stayed was also converted to an administration building. All of a sudden, I was having mixed feelings of nostalgia, disappointment, and excitement.  I felt disappointed since I was expecting to recall memories of summer days, but it did not happen as the campus had changed so much. At the same time, I was proud of the school for expanding.

A Moment of Realization

While I was having such mixed feelings, I saw foreign students coming out of ELS classes, which reminded me of when I was just like one of them. Twenty years later, I was in the same place again only to realize that I met so many people in those years, each who supported me when I needed it. I was feeling overwhelmingly grateful for every single person in my life since I wouldn’t have been here if I hadn’t met them. 

I love traveling, whether it’s to a new place or the same old place that I’ve been many times.  There’s always something I discover about the place and myself.

Kanako Kusano, a Health Promotion Specialist at The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, was born and raised in Urawa, Japan.  Upon graduating from a high school, she came to California  to fulfill her dream of becoming a social worker.  She has been working for Keiro Senior HealthCare for 11 years.

The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer

If you enjoyed this article, click the “like” button below!