22 River Road, Newcastle, ME 04553


Contact Steve Raymond
207-563-3350
For a personalized tour

Midcoast Maine’s Finnish History and Culture

We invite the public to join us, Monday, November 13, from 3:00 to 4:00pm. Steve Gifford will present a program entitled “The Finnish Imprint”.  He has been interested in all things Finnish for a good part of his life and recently returned from his 

fifth trip to Finland.  Steve, and his wife Mary, have created summer exhibits for the Finnish House in South Thomaston for the past ten years on various aspects of the mid-coast Finnish American settlement.  The program will be an overview of the Finnish community in mid-coast Maine and will include the Finns’ reasons for immigrating and their choice to settle here.
 

The Lincoln Home is located at 22 River Road, overlooking the Damariscotta River, in Newcastle. For more information, please contact Rhonda Hanna, Director of Community Life, at 563-3350. This event is free and open to the public.

 

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If “Age is Just a Number,” What Can We Do When We Really Try?

Pat Gallant-Charette
Photo Credit: Brian Fitzgerald

We’ve all heard the expression, “He’s 93 years old, and sharper than a tack.” It expresses our admiration and awe for people who have unusual abilities at an advanced age. Whether those abilities are athletic, artistic or cognitive, people tend to feel surprised that older folks can accomplish things that seem larger than life.

At the Maine Wisdom Summit, hosted by the Maine Council on Aging, I met keynote speaker 66-year-old Pat Gallant-Charette from Westbrook. This past June, Pat successfully swam the 34-mile English Channel in just under 18 hours. She set a record by being the oldest woman to ever make this swim.

You’d think that would be enough for one year. But this year Pat also became the oldest woman to swim the 26-mile crossing between the Hawaiian islands of Molokai and Oahu. For good measure, she threw in the 32-mile crossing from Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario to the provincial capital of Toronto.

So far, this Westbrook mother, grandmother and retired nurse has set five world records in marathon swimming. She has also swum the Catalina Channel in California; the Tsugaru Strait in Japan, and the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland. The prestigious Swimming World Magazine has named Pat “one of the greatest open water swimmers of all time.”

Pat started swimming at the relatively older age of 46. She began as a response to her grief and depression over the sudden death of her younger brother Robbie, who was an avid swimmer and died of a heart attack at the young age of 34.

Robbie had twice won the Peaks to Portland 2.4 mile swim. His untimely death left behind his wife and 3-year-old son and bereaved family. Pat told the audience the story of her son Tom wanting to swim the Peaks to Portland “as a tribute to Uncle Robbie.”

Pat says she responded, “Tom, that’s so sweet, I wish I could do the same.”

Tom replied, “You can, if you try.”

Those few simple words inspired Pat to begin swim training with the goal of swimming the Peaks in honor of her brother. She completed the Peaks, coming in last, and met by her nephew, Robbie’s son, at the finish. Now, all these years later, her life has been radically transformed by her progressively longer and more challenging swims, becoming a multiple world record holder, fueled by her mantra, “You can, if you try.”

Pat still swims the Peaks every year.

So is Pat a superwoman? Well, yes, but also, she was a woman who started her journey swimming laps in a pool at the age of 46. Paraphrasing the old Chinese expression, “Her journey began with a single stroke.”

But what’s the moral of this story? The moral is actually a question. For those of us who are aging, what can we accomplish that would be totally unexpected, if we try? It is a very partial perspective to place Pat’s accomplishment on a pedestal. We see her as an example that we all can have potentials that could enrich our lives, if we try. We don’t have to break world records to enrich our aging years with new endeavors. We can start small and see where it takes us.

Maybe you are drawn to writing poetry, taking a painting class, volunteering your time for useful causes, or walking a mile. Maybe you want to gain control over your diet and blood sugar. Or now that you’ve had that knee or hip surgery, really embrace the rehabilitation exercises and get a new lease on life. Maybe you want to finally downsize the decades of belongings you’ve put off for so long, or heal a damaged relationship that needs communication and reaching out.

Or maybe you’d like to do something seemingly wild like training for an event in the Maine Senior Games. They actually had a 93-year-old javelin and discus thrower this year who had rehabbed herself from back surgery!

Whatever it is that calls to us … Our age is not necessarily the obstacle. It’s our thoughts about our age that can obstruct us, but we can change that.

We can do it if we try!

If you’d like to learn more about Pat Gallant-Charette, you’ll see her blog at www.patgalant.blogspot.com. She has written some cool and inspirational stories.

For more on the Maine Senior Games, visit www.smaaa.org.

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Having Three Nurses on Staff Positions The Lincoln Home Above and Beyond

A Registered Nurse is the best insurance and peace of mind a senior living community can offer their residents. With seniors experiencing health issues, taking a number of medications and interfacing with many health providers simultaneously, having a nurse to manage all the aspects of a resident’s health eases the burden on residents and their families. A nurse keeps a bead on an individual’s health and needs, consults with pharmacists, specialists, therapists, and physicians, then communicates between all the disciplines to insure all are working towards the senior’s wellbeing. Most senior living communities have one Registered Nurse on staff or a part-time consultant. The Lincoln Home has three RNs; the Executive Director, Lynn Norgang, the Director of Nursing, Millie Jones-Farnham and the RN Nurse Manager of Harbor View Cottage, Linda Morrison. The three RN’s work together as a team to insure that each resident’s care and wellness needs are met every day of the year. The Lincoln Home RN team offers an integrated approach to providing extraordinary care and peace of mind.

RN’s, Millie Jones-Farnham, Linda Morrison and Lynn Norgang

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Sacred Pipe of the Americas

 Valerie Lovelace will present, “An Overview for Cultural Awareness” on Monday, October 30, from 3:00 to 4:00pm.
Sometimes mistakenly referred to as a “peace pipe,” the Chanupa, or Sacred Pipe, holds deep 
spiritual meaning for Indigenous cultures across the Americas.  From the creation of stem and bowl, to the many ways Chanupa is used in prayer and ceremony, the Pipe is a spiritual gift for the People and the one who is entrusted with its care and safe-keeping.  Valerie  will share some of the commonly understood concepts and beliefs regarding this spiritual object.  You’ll leave this 
discussion with an enhanced understanding of Chanupa and be able to recognize ways it has been misunderstood or misrepresented in western culture.
 
 
The Lincoln Home is located at 22 River Road, Newcastle. This event is free and open to the public.

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Fall Floral Arranging at The Lincoln Home on Oct. 23

We hope you will join us, along with Shelley from Shelley’s Flowers and Gifts, on Monday, October 23, from 3:00 to 4:00pm.
Shelley, whose floral business is in Waldoboro, will demonstrate ways to arrange the spectacular colors of fall through her flower arranging.  
Come to learn some new ideas and maybe you will be one of the lucky few to take home an arrangement.

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A Tribute to Retiring LCTV Director Mary Ellen Crowley

My friend and colleague Mary Ellen Crowley received the diagnosis of cervical cancer this past year. She has gone through three rounds of treatment with radiation and chemotherapy. Cervical cancer is a tough diagnosis to begin with, but we all held out a hope that she would beat the odds. But then it spread to her lymph nodes, and now it has made its way into her lungs.

Mary Ellen is just 62. She made the decision to stop treatment and enjoy the life she has left. As I write this, Mary Ellen is leaving within the hour to head south to Massachusetts to live with her sister Pat, who will take care of her during this final passage of her life.

Mary Ellen looks remarkably good right now. She has been working in the LCTV studio to help with the transition of the management to Bristol resident Abby Ingraham. A bunch of us helped with packing belongings over the weekend, with laughs and sadness and food and the kinds of things friends can share in these circumstances. I shared more laughs and conversation at the studio yesterday with Mary Ellen, and goodbye hugs, and appreciation and acknowledgment of each other we have developed over the last couple of years.

Mary Ellen has been with LCTV for better than 10 years. She first became involved as a member of the board of directors, and her interest in production drew her quickly into a hands-on role, and for better than nine years now, she has been the station director, which has meant basically doing almost everything.

When I first arrived in my position with the Lincoln Home, I realized what a wonderful educational resource LCTV can be for this community. I approached Mary Ellen with the idea for the “Spotlight on Seniors” show, and within a short time, she provided the training for our production crew, and we have gone on to produce more than 50 shows.

Mary Ellen has a personal passion for giving a voice to people who might not otherwise have a say in community matters. She says, “The most important aspect of LCTV’s mission is to educate people about how to express themselves with video and then give them a place to air their productions.”

With her support and guidance, we were able to produce shows to inform our local community on issues such as food insecurity and our local Meals on Wheels program and food pantries; affordable housing; legislative issues such as the “Keep ME Home” initiative; proponents on each side of the “Death with Dignity” legislation; senior exercise and fitness and preventing and treating diabetes; hospice and end-of-life care; elder law issues; and looking at the broader demographic and social issues affecting seniors throughout our state.

Throughout all of our work together, Mary Ellen has always shown herself to be a great human being … simple, practical, humble and humane.

And in my view, this is how she has approached her illness and now her terminal diagnosis. She has shown great equanimity, living in the present moment, and making decisions about her treatment, and then her decision to stop treatment, with an open heart and practical presence of mind. She is choosing to live her final time with quality of life instead of chasing an ephemeral quantity of time.

Mary Ellen and I got on camera together to film a “goodbye and farewell” video to all of her friends here in Lincoln County.

Because of the poignancy of that show, I decided to set up a GoFundMe campaign to benefit Mary Ellen. I hope you can see your way to contributing a few dollars to help give Mary Ellen a beautiful send off from Lincoln County, Maine, the place she loves as a home, and now which she must leave all too soon.

You can see Mary Ellen’s goodbye video and, only if you wish, make a small contribution to her benefit, at www.gofundme.com/the-mary-ellen-crowley-care-fund. A donation is not required to view the video.

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Short-Term Winter Stays at the Lincoln Home: A Smart and Comfortable Way to Prevent Falls

Three different senior women I know have suffered accidental falls recently. A broken hip is always a concern with falls, but all three of these women landed on their face and look like raccoons with two black eyes. It is just heartbreaking and scary, and a confidence demolisher if it happens to you.

The Maine CDC says that accidental falls are the leading cause of injury related deaths in Maine for people over 65. It occurs more to women than to men. What is shocking in this statistic is that I have never known anyone to die directly from a fall, but have seen uncountable numbers of people over the years suffer life-changing injuries from falling.

The single most frequent reason that seniors seek either in-home care or assisted living is that there has recently been a fall, and sometimes a few falls. Each year the Lincoln Home welcomes residents who come for a short-term winter stay of a few months. It is a nice way to soften the Maine winter, but more importantly, short-term residents know how easy it is to slip and fall on hidden ice even when you’re being careful.

 

Even Minor Falls Can Lead to Serious Injury

Even minor fall can results in a severe injury such as a fracture of the hip, pelvis or femur requiring a hospitalization. Recovery from such an injury can be an obstacle course that can lead to other debilitating health problems. According to the Maine CDC, in accidental falls that resulted in death, it is because the fallen person had no way to call for help, and suffered internal bleeding because of the fracture, or suffered from exposure and hypothermia.

Many factors can increase one’s risk for an accidental fall. These include: Impaired hearing and vision; General loss of muscular strength and tone; Arthritis; Osteoporosis (Many people think osteoporosis is only a problem for women past menopause, but it can also affect older men); Vertigo; Cerebrovascular insufficiency; Neurologic disabilities such as a past stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, or Dementias; Postural hypotension (sudden decrease in blood pressure). Sometimes a newly prescribed medication may cause dizziness.

Keeping Your Muscle Strength and Balance to Prevent Falls

If you are deconditioned, it is useful to consult with a Physical Therapist to receive an exercise prescription that is suitable for your current state of strength and health. The therapist will identify areas of weakness and imbalance that you are able to strengthen through specific exercises. These are not strenuous exercises! However, they are muscle specific, and receiving guidance can help you strengthen muscles you never think about, such as your foot and lower leg muscles, and the small muscles that support your spine.

Doing things like getting together with friends, gardening, walking, or going to the local senior fitness center are important for staying healthy. The good news is that there are simple ways to prevent most falls. By taking care of your overall health, you may be able to lower your chances of falling.

In general, you should stay physically active within your abilities, but also seek to gently challenge your abilities so that you maintain them. Regular walking improves your muscle strength, and keeps your joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible. Yoga is wonderful anti-aging medicine. Physical strengthening of the muscles used for balance is possible even for those in their 80’s and 90’s if a neuromuscular disorder is not present. We can definitely maintain and improve our strength, balance and flexibility through a variety of functional movement exercises.

Falls can never be completely eliminated. You’d have to wrap everyone in bubble wrap to totally prevent fall injuries. People need to lead their lives, and trying to eliminate all risk is simply not the way we do things in Maine.

However, being a strong and independent Mainer doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to reduce the potential for harm with some common sense measures. Call Valerie Lovelace, One2One Home Care Manager to arrange an in-home Fall Prevention Assessment. To learn more about Short-term Winter Stays at Lincoln Home, call Steve Raymond at 207-563-3350.

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10/16: Historical Talk at The Lincoln Home: A Young Loyalist

 In the spring of 1776, Boston was under siege by American troops.  General Howe, the British Commander, decided to evacuate Boston and move his headquarters to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Hank Lunn tells the story of his GGGGrandfather, a 16 year old American loyalist, who fervently believed it was wrong to rebel against the king and joined the American Loyalist Irish Volunteers to fight. Join us in our living room, Monday, October 16, from 3:00 to 4:00pm. 

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Lincoln Home Residents Enjoy Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Over the summer residents from The Lincoln Home took part in a six week Therapeutic Horticultural program taught
 by Irene Barber in the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses at Coastal Botanical Gardens.  On this late summer day, residents harvested parsley, fennel, and kale to bring home and add to a delicious soup prepared by Chef Julie Adams. Observing textures, smelling and tasting were part of the program to help identify tasty herbs and edible plants.  The residents then learned how and helped to plant radish seeds. 

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