Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Facts & Myths

If you have ever experienced the pain of watching and caring for a family member or close friend with Dementia or Alzheimer’s you know how devastating these afflictions can be. They gradually destroy the minds of once active, intelligent men and women. The people who guided you through life no longer live in the body you see, they are gone and you won’t ever get them back. I make it a point to donate, advocate and share information at every turn  to help people understand and cope with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

I am extending an invitation to you and yours to attend this seminar at San Clemente Villas Assisted Living Facility in San Clemente :

san clemente villas seminar on Alzheimers and Dementia

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Living Longer, Living Well



By Karen Everett Watson – Gerontologist

There’s a lot of information about living longer. Most of it is wonderful information that can make our lives better. But I think living longer is only a good thing if there’s happiness in each day. When I think about the older people that I truly admire, it’s not because they’ve lived to be old, but because they live each day with enthusiasm and purpose. They’re interested in the world around them and do what they can to make other people’s lives better.

Doing for others is something that is ingrained in many of our elder family members. While age can bring on some limitations, it doesn’t have to be the end of them contributing to others. Research has proven that those who volunteer for causes they believe in are happier and they live longer. While many of them may not be up to the task of helping Habitat for Humanity, they can contribute in so many other ways.

New programs are emerging that pair up older people with “adopted grandchildren.” These intergenerational programs are a huge success. Older people have so much wisdom to share and they also have the patience and time to give to younger folks. They can help by reading to them, teaching them to knit, or do wood crafts. They can just be there to listen. Don’t we all relish someone who is interested in us? Many hospitals have programs set up for volunteers to come in and rock babies. The human contact is wonderful for the babies, and probably enjoyed just as much from the rocker!

Elders also value helping other elders. Maybe it’s just helping out with a daily phone call to shut-ins, or filling containers of food for Meals on Wheels. The social aspects of volunteering and the physical activity can keep anyone “young.”

Even seniors with mild to moderate dementia can contribute. Dr. Arnold Bresky, believes in keeping them active and enabling them to contribute. He believes that depression and a lack of purpose is a huge factor in cognitive decline. It was this belief that inspired the Hands of Kindness program that he started with the Alzheimer’s unit patients in a Pasadena hospital. He asked his patients to knit blankets for the homeless that would be distributed by the local fire department personnel. The results even surprised Bresky.

“Research has shown that working with numbers and patterns can improve cognition,” said Bresky. “The numbers are on the left side of your brain, the patterns are on the right side. What I’m doing is connecting the two sides. It was like my patients were slowly waking up and recognizing where they were. They began smiling more often and laughing. That’s a powerful medicine.” There are now two chapters of Hands of Kindness, one in Southern California and one in the Fresno area. Bresky hopes that other localities will promote new chapters which he believes will bring community awareness to the plight of dementia sufferers while easing their symptoms.

I truly believe that being needed and appreciated is better than any vitamin or medication on the market. It’s not only good for seniors, it’s good for us all!


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USO Canteen Style

Hotel Wolverine Band performs for Aileen Brazeau's residents.To celebrate independence day, Aileen Brazeau’s residents and guests at San Clemente Villas were treated to a WWII, USO Canteen style celebration.  The event featured all the hallmarks of an authentic evening at a small town USO including  music, food, refreshments and dancing in honor of Independence Day on Monday, July 4th.

The festivities took place in the spacious San Clemente Villas lobby and patio area just outside.  Dance music was provided by Frank Sano’s Hotel Wolverine Band.  The Hotel Wolverine Jazz Band is a seven piece traditional jazz group consisting of Cornet, Clarinet, Trombone, Piano, Tuba or Bass, Drums and Banjo or Guitar.  They perform music from the tuneful era of the 1920’s, the 1930’s and through the war years of the mid-1940’s.

Their repertoire consists of very danceable/listenable songs to take attendees back to those memorable musical years. Highlights include such favorites as “Sentimental Journey” “Ain’t Misbehavin” “Washington & Lee Swing” “It Had To Be You” “All of Me” “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree” “Five Foot Two” and “Bye Bye Blues”.

As is often the case, Aileen opened the event to members of the local community as well.   Did you know that the USO is still supporting our troops?  You can  click here to support the USO.


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Aileen’s Community Concerts

Aileen Hosts Famed Yale Men’s A Cappela Singers.

The community often benefits from the first class  facilities at San Clemente Villas when Aileen and Paul Brazeau open up the resort style grounds to host a concert.

Not long ago Paul and Aileen hosted a performance by the world renowned  Society of Orpheus and Bacchus, a men’s Capella singing group from the ivy covered halls of Yale University. This special event was open to the public at no charge. Light refreshments were even provided all compliments of San Clemente Villas.

This storied group features an enormous and complex repertoire. Their song-book includes jazz standards, folk tunes, barbershop quartets, spirituals, blues, pop, rock and roll, traditional Yale songs, and original compositions drawn from the 74 year history of the groups existence.

The group regularly performs at their home venue,  Mory’s Temple Bar, adjacent to the Yale University Campus, but have also performing around the world at villas in the French wine country, the White House, and even on national television.

It was a great treat to seen them perform live for our community in San Clemente.  On behalf of the community, thanks Paul and Aileen Brazeau.


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Go Solar: It’s Good For the Earth

Aileen and Paul Brazeau are both  strong believers that  corporations have a social responsibility to be good citizens too.  Aileen believes we have just one planet, and we must take care of it for our kids and their kids, whether we are individuals or corporations.  Aileen is going green-Solar-Electricity System at San Clemente VillasThis belief motivated her own corporation, to install extensive solar panels at their own San Clemente Villas Assisted Living Community.

Solar Electrical Systems of Westlake Village, CA, handled the install of the 288kW solar installation on San Clemente Villas by the Sea, making it the largest PV system on an assisted living resort in the United States.

San Clemente Villas by the Sea decided to install not one or two, but three complete solar electrical systems. One was installed on the rooftop, one on a solar carport, and one on a steep hillside.  The hillside system posed the biggest challenge  not only because of the steepness of the hillside, but also a lack of direct access.

Aileen and Paul Brazeau believe that their residents take pride in the fact that their home is involved in the green movement.   More and more people are looking to do business with companies who demonstrate that they are responsible social citizens.

Of course the economic aspects of the install do not hurt either.  Available rebates and tax incentives made the investment much more affordable.  San Clemente Villas estimates that the entire system will pay for itself within five years with the energy cost savings they will enjoy.

The hillside solar electrical system, visible to thousands of commuters on the 5 freeway, is an impressive sight and a powerful reminder that good corporate citizenship is on the rise.


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