The Importance of Music

Music programs at Aileen Brazeua's San Clemente VillasFor some, economic recovery has begun, for others struggles remain. Our Orange County schools are among those who are dealing with cutbacks to sports and music programs. In much of South Orange County parents have stepped in to keep programs going in schools where there have been cutbacks. In other, poorer neighborhoods, where parents are working two and three jobs just to make ends meet, there was little to nothing left over for extracurricular activities.

Some schools are just this year beginning to plan for the reinstatement of music programs in their schools and more are feeling hopeful with the vigorous, healthy real estate market and some job recovery, they will be able to once again fund their music and sports programs.

As someone who works with people, I will tell you that being involved in music programs can literally change lives, no matter what age. It even makes a big difference in the lives of those you would not think would affect.

For children and teens, no matter what their economic status, music is a form of self expression, a way to get lost in something beautiful, and for many, a path to self esteem. Seniors love their music as well. It brings them together, for some, the songs bring back fond memories, and just the sheer joy of singing or playing an instrument lights people up and fills their souls. I know I sound dramatic, but if you watch people when they play an instrument or sing, you can see it. You can see their countenance change, their posture, and the looks of happiness on their faces. Our residents light up when local musicians come and play for them, and the musicians themselves are always thrilled at the appreciation and applause they receive after a performance at the Villas!!

Aileen Brazeau

Aileen At Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day 2012

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Aileen Networking

As Co-Owner of San Clemente Villas part of my job is to be out in the community talking about our beautiful Villas by the Sea. We sponsor Chamber of Commerce mixers at San Clemente Villas, and whenever possible attend local charity and networking events. Back in July I attended a local business networking event. Not only was it enjoyable, I got to see some friends that I hadn’t seen for a while, and to top it off, I made some new friends. Networking is an important and enjoyable part of being a business owner!!

If you are invited to local events in your community, take the time to go. Clear a little space in your busy day and get out, meet new people, connect with old friends.


Aileen Brazeau

Supporting families, supprting Camp Pendleton Marines and Navy, Charities, Sponsor, giving, Aileen Brazeau in Action

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How Much Sleep do Seniors Need?

communications with seniorsI was told that as we age we need less sleep. I must tell you that the truth is this. As we age we sleep less, but that doesn’t mean we need less sleep. Yes, our bodies are no longer changing and growing like a teenager.  Well, okay, they are growing and changing, that is still true, just not in the same way a youngsters body is.

The National Institutes of Health has put forth the proposition that older adults need 7 to 9 hours sleep, just like everyone else.  The fact that as we age our sleep tends to get interrupted more frequently with trips to the restroom, and just less REM sleep overall.  Brain function can become impaired at any age when we don’t give our minds and bodies enough rest and exercise. So I think it’s important to do the following:

  1. Find a way to ease aches and pains before retiring for the night, perhaps a warm bath, or a cup of tea
  2. If you are prone to leg pain, find just the right type of pillow to place between your knees
  3. Get plenty of exercise during the day, it’s good for your brain and will help you to sleep better
  4. If your mind gets restless when you lie in bed, try soothing music as a background for your sleep
  5. Dance whenever you can. Even if it’s by yourself at home. Dancing releases endorphins, and music makes us happy, when we feel happy and relaxed we sleep better.
  6. If you get really sleepy in the middle of the day, don’t be afraid to take a short nap. There are some people who have more trouble sleeping when they get overtired.

So remember, no matter how old we are we need our sleep…


Aileen Brazeau



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The Lasting Joys of Close Kin

the importance of family

Momma & her Twin

By Karen Everett Watson

It seems the older I get, the more I enjoy thinking about my childhood experiences. Growing up as an only child, the ultimate for me was spending time with my cousins. Since my mother had six brothers and five sisters, I had a multitude of cousins to enjoy.

For many years my mother’s twin sister lived just a few miles from us and her daughter, my cousin Jeannie, was just two weeks younger than myself. Because we were so close in both age and proximity, my cousin was more like a sister to me than a cousin. And if you have a sister you know what sisters do? Yep, there were fights. As babies, we fought over everything. It usually involved a hairbrush. I haven’t the slightest idea why we fought over hair brushes. Neither one of us had any hair at the time.

Me and Jeannie Ann Carr

Karen & Jeannie Ann

While fighting was a big part of our activities, we still preferred to play together. Jeannie was adventuresome and she always had three or four ideas ready to go. At four she decided to be a hair stylist. First she trimmed my bangs then her baby brother’s hair. Last of all she trimmed her own. Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty. At five she decided to make her own sandwich which in and of itself is not big deal, but in her case, it involved climbing into the cabinets next to the stove. I was in the living room when she emerged triumphantly with her sandwich masterpiece held in one hand and flames were going up the back of her dress all the way above her head. Did I mention it was a gas stove? Her momma started chasing her and I tried to stay out of the way. She ended up rolled in the living room rug. Amazingly she was unharmed.

My summers were spent in the heart of Oklahoma. Both sets of grandparents lived there and it was the only vacation destination for all my childhood summers. My momma’s mother lived in a little cement block house on the edge of town. It had two bedrooms and one bathroom. It was tiny by anyone’s standards, but when summer came, it held over thirty of my relatives. All the cousins slept of the floor. Our pallets stretched from the front door to the kitchen door at the back of the house. Getting to the bathroom in the middle of the night involved careful placement of one’s feet. Somehow we all survived and couldn’t have been happier in a five star hotel. After all, there wasn’t a chef alive that could compete with my granny’s cooking!

I loved listening to my momma and her siblings talk about their years growing up. There was the time she finally convinced her twin sister to try the rope swing next to the creek. I think you can probably guess how that turned out. Then there was the story of the pet crow that liked shiny things, including matches. Those matches happened to be on top of granny’s sewing machine, along with all the material for her girls’ school dresses. The crow survived the neck wringing from granny. The material did not. Some of their stories almost hurt to listen to. My mother and her siblings never had a lunch to take with them, but Granny always had dinner waiting for them when they got off the bus.

Without my cousins, my aunts, my uncles and grannies, I would have been a very lonely child. They filled my life with fun, adventure, and memories I will never lose. They connected me to my roots. They taught me where I came from and more importantly who I was. As a teenager, my Aunt Glory made sure I could spend a portion of my summer lounging by her pool. Her daughter, my cousin Linda was grown by then. She’d take me wherever my heart desired. We window shopped on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. We visited Ports o’ Call and Disneyland and nearly every beach in Southern California. She taught me the fun of macramé and I carried the purse she taught me to make for years to come. She continues to be a gift of life – a gift of family.

I so appreciate the connection with all these “close kin.” They enriched my life beyond measure just by spending time with me. How long has it been since you called your brother, sister, or one of your cousins? Don’t lose touch – they’re treasure to cherish all through life. And ask your older loved ones about their close kin. It will lift both your hearts!

Aileen Brazeau



San Clemente CA, senior living, fundraising, charities, Dana Point, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano






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Including All of Our Family and Friends During the Holiday Season

Caregivers for boomersDuring the holidays, we want to remember all of our family members, neighbors and friends who may be living in assisted living facilities or nursing homes.  Everyone wants to enjoy the holiday season no matter where they are and see their loved ones.  We have some  ideas on how to make this the best season ever for you and your loved ones!

Bring holiday decorations and put them up for them.  A special tree with tiny decorations or a beautiful ornament hung from a window will sparkle and make their room brighter.  Bring photos or albums to share with them to relive the past or the past year of “happenings”.  This is something that will bring new conversation and delight.

Find their address book, bring some special Christmas cards with you and help them with writing cards to their friends or family members.   For older family members, especially those in a nursing home, this can be a daunting task for anyone. Most of us forget that older family members don’t use social media they value a good old fashioned card or letter. In this age of technology, it does not seem many people do this anymore and it means so much.

Old movies and music can bring back treasured memories. We know that trying to spend a few hours talking to someone whose memory is fading can be a less than exhilarating experience. So how do you fill the time and still make a nice day for you and your loved one?  Find recordings of “old-time” radio shows or DVD’s of old movies that you know they like.  These can be found in specialty catalogs or online.  These will be cherished and listened to over and over.  If they do not have a CD or DVD player, consider giving them a portable one as a gift.   In this way, they can listen to things or watch movies as they lay in bed at night.

If your loved one is no longer mobile, would like to do shopping but cannot get out, offer to bring catalogs and help them choose items and place orders.  If there is WIFI at their place of residence, bring your laptop. Sometimes there are computers in the facility that residents have access to, go online with them, help them choose a little something as gifts for other family members.  This is a wonderful, caring gift that you may not even realize.  Navigating through catalogs or online may be impossible to them and giving your time will be so appreciated.  Offer to read to them.  This is another invaluable gift of time.

We have said this before, in fact it seems to have become our theme this month. Just please, take time to spend and  most importantly, listen to them.  There is nothing more appreciated than the gift of someone who will sit and listen.  A smile or a hug is priceless.  And, don’t forget, this is so important at the holiday season but is also something that you should remember the entire year.  Sharing your love, time and efforts are the most precious gifts of all!

Aileen Brazeau


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Doggie Love for Seniors


Visiting Dogs for Seniors

There are organizations all over the country who understand the impact and importance of dogs visiting seniors in their visiting dogs at San Clemente Villasenvironment. Here at San Clemente Villas we love it when dogs come and visit our seniors. They bring love and warmth to our place.

At our senior living facility we know that some days can get pretty long. No matter how many activities we plan for our people, there are just days when our people can get to feeling down. On November 18 our favorite doggies came to San Clemente Villas by The Sea. All the dogs were happy to see each other and the residents got a big, warm dose of doggie love. On this day friends Sugar Flyer, Star and Jet who were all visiting at the same time came to give a triple dose of that doggie love!

I want to let you in on a little secret, it’s not just the residents who enjoy the visiting dogs, and our staff loves it too. There is something about a creature so full of love and joy that warms everyone’s heart. These three dogs just love being here, and that happiness emanates from them and we all hate to see them go. Paul and I love our dogs, so we already know how the love of a good dog can change your life.

If you have a dog that interacts well with others, is pretty calm and well behaved, call the facility where your loved ones are and ask if it would be alright to bring your dog. Unless your loved ones don’t care for dogs, it will be the highlight of their day. And never underestimate  the extra notice and extra esteem  you loved one receives when they take the dog around to all of their friends.

Aileen Brazeau



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What’s Happening at the Villas?

Here at the San Clemente Villas, we celebrate life. In October we celebrated the 100th birthday of our resident Don:, we hosted Oktoberfest and Paul, residents, staff and guests celebrated our 11th year is a snapshot:

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Family Memories

Ever get curious about your past? Did you wait too long to try and find out about your personal heritage? Why do television programs like Lisa Kudrow’s Who do You think you are and the PBS program Finding Your Roots have such popularity these days.

America has always touted itself as a place where all types of people from around the world could come and make whatever kind of life they wished. Through hard work, smart investing and skill, you can go from a poor immigrant to a successful business person.

As I have watched shows like this, I find it amazing when contemporary people find out their ancestors had many of the traits they carry within themselves in these modern times. An actor or actress discovers an ancestry that carries strength and innovation. A black actor learns his family ancestry comes from freed slaves who went on to build a town, run businesses and own their farms. Irish ancestry that speaks of unbearable conditions that drove a father to send a young son to this strange country called America at only 11 years old.

It is good to remember that although in general most of us are second or third generation Americans, our ancestors arrived on these shores with much less than we have today. That is the blood that runs though our veins. We are from people who risked everything to come here. There is nothing weak or fainthearted in our genetic make up.

I wrote a blog post for the Patch San Clemente about this subject. I hope you take a moment to read it:

SC Patch Excerpt:


“ Talking about the past and remembering the good times is such a blessing. It doesn’t just bless the older person . . . it can bless you. Knowing the family stories and the obstacles that your loved one had to overcome to be successful in life are rich and worthy to be passed down to future generations. Talking about a person’s early life also helps us to understand them better. What great wisdom would be lost if we neglected to know how they became who they are!

My friend’s maternal grandmother raised 14 children and all reached adulthood, save one. Her husband was twice her age and long past where he could make a decent living. That grandmother is part of my friend, Karen. My grandmother is also what I am made of.

Whenever I feel discouraged or that I have too much on my plate, I remember that friend’s granny. All Karen’s granny had to do to raise those kids – feed them, cloth them, and without any help. That’s all. What work!

I remember sitting on that granny’s bed with Karen who asked her granny why she would marry a man twice her age. I asked my own granny about her childhood and her mother’s childhood. I wouldn’t trade those stories for anything in the world.

What stories do your loved ones still need to share? Do you know why they lived where they lived? Do you know what the happiest time in their life was? Do you know what they consider their greatest accomplishment? Do you know what lessons their parents taught them that are still the most important to them? These are all topics that could enrich your life while giving them the time to share on subjects they feel comfortable with.

Our society revels in those who are young, but do we give enough honors to those who have lived good lives and have wisdom to share? Will you be the memory keeper for your family?

Here are a few questions to ask your older relatives to get you started as the Memory Keeper for your family!

1. What occupations or roles have you had in life that has given you the greatest sense of accomplishment?
2. Why did these roles or occupations seem to be gratifying to you?
3. What single “seed of wisdom” do you hope to hand down to the next generation?
4. What did you want to be when you grew up?
5. What was it like when you were first married?
6. What did your family do for fun when you were young?
7. What was your first “date” like and who was it with?
8. When did you first learn to drive and who taught you?
9. What was the best present you ever received as a child?
10. What was your wedding day like? What did you wear and were there any catastrophes?

Note– Being “interested” and a little less “interesting” is how you connect with anyone!”

Aileen Brazeau


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Family Wedding at SC Villas

Two of my employees, Anna Lombardi and  Mario Veluz, were married at San Clemente Villas. Our other employees, residents and their families were in attendance  to participate in the blessed event. It was a loving and beautiful way to start the new year. We wish them all the best..

Aileen and Paul


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