Challenges for families facing dementia
To the editor:
I think it strange and disheartening that as a society, once a friend or a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the overwhelming reaction is to feel primary sympathy for the spouse and family, rather than for those struck down. It seems that after the initial blow has been absorbed, we are very quick to diminish, and then sever, emotional connections with those losing their short term memory. For many of us, half a man, is no man at all.
Why is that? Why are we so quick to run? Because we feel helpless, or because we come to believe that our loved one is gone? And what impact does that aversion have on the care of those afflicted with Alzheimer’s?
It is as if we conclude that if Mom doesn’t recognize me, then I won’t recognize her. Perhaps this is why only about 15 percent of people living in dementia units receive regular visitors. As a culture, we are quick to saw the branch, even when we are standing on it.
It is of course a bitter and maddening challenge, as to what our model of care should look like for someone with dementia. Today we have two models: institutional care, and a more ambitious model consisting of a pharmacological regimen of memory saving drugs like Aricept and computer games such as Luminosity. Unfortunately, as Consumer Reports tells us, the memory saving drugs have little more benefit than placebos, and once we tire of the games, we give up. So we really have only one model of care: Institutional. This should be grossly unacceptable for Baby Boomers as we project our own future needs. In the next ten years, 2,000,000 more Americans will fall prey to Alzheimer’s, all of them Boomers, like me. So what should be done?
For any aging person, whether they have dementia or not, they continue to have a desire for purpose and resolution. Existential needs do not end because memory becomes blurry. And neither of these objectives can be achieved in stultifying isolation that currently prevails for those with dementia.
Purpose or meaning is of course a perplexing concept, but there is collective comfort in establishing ourselves in a context. Josiah Royce tells us in his 1908 book “The Philosophy of Loyalty”, that being merely fed and housed is often emotionally meaningless, and that we need a cause beyond ourselves. This can be a nation, tribe and most importantly, a family. Families, give us context, a legacy, an enduring purpose. I may know my days are numbered, but in the eyes of my children and grandchildren, the days of my family are not. But for the isolated Alzheimer’s victim living behind a Maginot Line, this lack of purposeful connection must be a horror.
Resolution, may be an even more compelling concern enmeshed in family relationships. Naomi Feil, the great pioneer in dementia care, tells us in” The Validation Breakthrough” that as we prepare to die, we have a need to resolve un-resolved memories, and relationships. Perhaps I was sexually abused as a child which was a memory suppressed, my husband was an alcoholic despite my lionization of him, or I was a terrible and vindictive mother, which was obvious to all but me. (No, obvious to me too.)
As we approach death, Feil suggests we want to heal, apologize on some level, and to be understood. We need resolution, and what she calls, validation. Again, none of this in conceivable if we are abandoned in a lock down unit of a nursing home.
So as families and friends run from what they think are dementia besotted ghosts of those they once loved, they are in fact depriving their loved ones of meaning and resolution, basic end of life human needs.
When we ask what a meaningful model of dementia care should look like for Baby Boomers, or how do we want to be cared for, it must contemplate, as it is for eons before, a family. And for those families that do remain engaged, please know, that you are quite literally doing, God’s work.
Stephen Sarsfield Bowman
Presidet of Peregrine Senior Living
Support for Hubbard
To the editor:
The Skaneateles Community is once again very fortunate to have Marty Hubbard as a candidate for mayor.
Skaneateles knows Marty Hubbard through his many years of service as Mayor and former Village Trustee. Marty’s dedication to the community’s values and citizens is exceptional.
What people may not know is that Marty Hubbard is also one of the most highly respected individuals in the regional heavy construction industry. As the owner of M. Hubbard Construction, Inc., Marty has successfully completed over three decades of challenging projects involving public facilities, roadway and bridge construction as well as water and wastewater treatment plants.
Marty is known throughout the industry as an outstanding contractor and trusted colleague. Success in this industry does not come easy and Marty’s achievements are applauded. From personal experience I believe Marty’s success is enabled by his hard work ethic, intelligence, ability to communicate with people at all levels and unquestionable integrity.
Marty Hubbard makes his living understanding problems, developing solutions, marshaling resources and implementing plans. The Skaneateles community will be well served with Marty Hubbard as mayor.
What does the future hold for the library?
To the editor:
I read with interest your news article in the Jan. 11, 2017 Press about the proposed movement of the current Skaneateles Library to property on East Genesee Street, known as Stella Maris and now owned by the Soderberg family. AS a former resident of Skaneateles and a person with considerable interesty in the history of Skaneateles, I found the article short on details about the planned disposition of the current library.
As a visual anchor to the lovely Skaneateles downtonw, the current library might even be described as the ehart and soul of the vilalge. I do not have details at hand about the age of the building , but I do know it has a rich history and it a treasured part of the arcitectural heritage of Skaneateles. I suspect it would be eligiable for designation as a National Historic Landmark if that process were to begin. And, it should begin if there is a risk that the building would be torn down and turned into a commercial enterprise.
There there is the whole question of whether moving the public library out of the downtown is desirable. I understand that space is ata premium but do those consideration override the wonderful esthetics in this fine old stone building with its warm woodwork, amssive front door, impressive art gallery and rich history held dearly by all who ever borrowed a book there? Some are apparently trying to promote onsite parking space at the proposed new location but the village parking lot is only steps from the current library.
In an event I feel that current residents of Skaneateles and the various baord members who will be cahrged with decision making on this proposal should tread very carefully. Those of us who have strong sentimental attachment to the current building are large in number I suspect. We and future patrons deserve to have all aspects of this process given the closest scrutiny.
Marcia Chilson Gillis
Rye, New Hampshire
Thank you from the Skaneateles Education Foundaiton
To the editor:
The Skaneateles Education Foundation [SEF] extends heartfelt thanks to the 138 guests who attended the 3rd annual Stroll for Education on January 28th. Strollers enjoyed a social evening with friends who share SEF’s commitment to support quality education for our children.
SEF would like to thank the Stroll’s three host locations: the John D. Barrow Art Gallery, The Sherwood Inn, and the White Birch Tasting Room. Their generosity in providing beautiful venues, food and beverages made this event a resounding success.
Finally, we are so appreciative of our family of supporters, both old and new, who attended the event or sent a contribution in lieu of tickets. Through their generosity, the Stroll raised $4,200 which will be directed toward grants for innovative teaching and curriculum.
On behalf of students in our community and the board of the Skaneateles Education Foundation, we extend our warm gratitude and thanks to all.
Stroll Committee Chair
A response to Lanning
To the editor:
I was surprised by Supervisor Lanning’s endorsement of Andy Ramsgard for mayor, because most of the letter was spent accusing Mayor Hubbard of not working together, of not co-operating, presumably with the town board.
This appears something of a stalking horse with the supervisor. Several times there have been letters in the paper refuting Mr. Lanning’s claims of non co-operation, most recently in a letter by town councilor Claire Howard, which appeared in the last weeks edition of The West Onondaga County Journal. He has publically accused members of the town board of not co-operating with him. Answering letters showed that it was a matter either of strong disagreement with his direction or of wanting further debate.
One example of supervisor Lanning’s own non co-operation has been a complete absence of sharing information with the village contact, trustee Greg Eriksen, concerning the status of a professional engineering study awarded to the town to recommend solutions to developing safe biking and hiking lanes, which was to have begun in May 2015.
Clarification on Allyn Foundaiton and Bookends
To the Editor:
On behalf of the Allyn Family Foundation, I’d like to clarify misconceptions and inaccuracies regarding the Foundation’s involvement with the Skaneateles Library’s proposed Bookends Project.
Last year, the Skaneateles Library was approached with a generous offer by Elsa and Peter Soderberg to consider a parcel of property, the former Stella Maris, as the site for a new Library and Learning Center. The Board of Directors of the Skaneateles Library prudently decided that they should fully explore and evaluate this potential opportunity as it addressed some critical issues that have long hindered the Library’s ability to serve the community.
The Library subsequently formed a Project Bookends committee, comprised of Library Board members and community citizens, to review and evaluate the feasibility of the project. The Library requested support from the Allyn Family Foundation to fully explore the possibilities.
Over its 65 year history, the Allyn Family Foundation has provided strategic planning grants to almost every not for profit in Skaneateles that has considered a major capital project. We have quietly and humbly supported the initial costs of consultants, architects and other specialists so that organizations could effectively evaluate and vet the feasibility of a project. For non profit organizations with limited funds, the ability to have funding to pursue the feasibility of a project is critical. Organizations such as the Skaneateles Early Childhood Center, SAVES, Skaneateles Festival, Skaneateles Historical Society, Skaneateles Endowment Foundation, and the Skaneateles Community Center, to name just a few, were provided planning funding to develop proposed plans, seek community input and conduct community fund raising campaigns.
The Allyn Family Foundation has complete confidence in the Board of Directors of the Skaneateles Library to appropriately evaluate the merits of a new Library and Learning Center. We strongly encourage everyone to participate in the community meetings and voice your opinions and concerns to ensure the best outcome for our community.
W.G. Allyn, Bill, Penny, Dawn and Lew Allyn and Elsa and Peter Soderberg, along with their children, have tirelessly tried to be good stewards in a community they dearly love. They have not only provided financial resources for projects, but endless hours of their time and energy. In all the projects they have supported, they have insisted on seeding endowments to ensure that the long term operations are sustainable.
To be clear, the Allyn Family Foundation has not endorsed this project (nor has an opinion) but rather supported the ability of the Skaneateles Library (working with the Project Bookends committee) to conduct an engaged and informed community process to ensure the best outcome for our community.
Executive Director, Allyn Family Foundation
Vote for Hubbard
To the editor:
While Marty Hubbard served as Mayor, I had the unique opportunity to serve with him as a Trustee for two and a half years on the village board and work with him for two years when I was Skaneateles town supervisor. In both cases I found Marty to be honest, easy to talk to and always accessible.
As a new trustee, I had many questions and much to learn. Marty made time to talk with me, either in his office or on the phone. He invited me to attend mayoral meetings to broaden my perspective and meet village board members from other communities. I was included in meetings with the director of municipal operations so I’d understand our utilities and infrastructure. Before every board meeting Trustees knew the issues to be discussed as they were included in an agenda given out earlier in the week. This same agenda was available to the public on that same day. I never felt there was anything that wasn’t open and available.
During my tenure as town supervisor, Marty and I weren’t always on the same side of an issue. Whether we agreed or disagreed, once again, Marty was willing to talk and work through our differences. Marty is a professional who strives to do the very best for the village. He understands the nuances of municipal government, which makes him a very effective and efficient Mayor. I hope I have the opportunity to serve with Marty again. Please vote for him on election day, March 21.
HUbbard brings no nonsense approach
To the editor:
Marty Hubbard brings a no nonsense approach to serving as mayor of Skaneateles – teamwork, integrity and passion.
Although he holds the title of mayor, Marty views himself as an equal member of a team that includes the four trustees. He believes that by working together, the board is able to meet its obligations and responsibilities to residents of the community. He also understands the importance of working with others with special knowledge and skills to help meet these responsibilities.
Marty is a man with strong moral principles and good character. He is honest with his opinions and thoughts, and has no agenda other than to get the job done and to get it done right.
Finally, Marty has a strong passion for service to our community and serving as mayor is his way of giving back. He has lived in our village for 38 years, and now has children and grandchildren who live here as well. He understands the unique characteristics of our village, and works to maintain the quality of life his family, as well as all of us, enjoy as residents.
When you go to the polls on March 21, think about the aspects of our community that brought you and your family here to the place we call home. Julie and I moved here 25 years ago, and we cannot think of a better place to have raised our children. And it is people like Marty Hubbard who have helped to keep our community such a special place to live.
Please join me in voting for Marty Hubbard to continue serving as our mayor!
Hubbard serves Skaneateles well
To the editor:
I am the Chief Volunteer Officer of the YMCA-WEIU (operator of the Skaneateles Community Center) and a board member of the Skaneateles Community Center. I have worked with Marty over the past six years and it has been a very productive and enjoyable relationship. Helping to bring the community center on to the Skaneateles Electric Company, and his tremendous support in regard to our recent major expansion at the center, Marty has always been very supportive of this jewel of our community, an asset that has changed the lives of so many people in the village and the town. Marty has helped to make the Skaneateles Community Center a financially sustainable asset to our community.
From a personal perspective, Marty has taken a very pragmatic approach to the management of the village. He has worked hard to control costs and keep taxes down, while providing excellent services to the taxpayers. Marty’s relationship with the town board has been excellent, benefiting all of the members of the overall community. His success as a business person reflects what he has, and can, contribute to the management of the village. He has always made himself available to address constituents concerns and is there to listen to whomever has an issue. Marty is a true example of someone who is willing to give back to his community.
I strongly support Marty in his re-election and know that he will continue to provide professional and heartfelt efforts to our community. Please support him on Election Day, March 21.
Hubbard demonstrates leadership
To the editor:
As our village election approaches, many residents feel an understandable level of discomfort. Supporting one candidate implies being “against” another, who is likely a neighbor or acquaintance. Many residents feel only relief when an election is over. Despite these emotions, I am writing to support Marty Hubbard for village mayor.
Marty is one of four mayors I served with during my 14 years of service as a village trustee. I have often said that he is a terrible politician, which is exactly what makes him a great mayor. He does not remember your birthday. He does not live to get his photo in the paper every week. He shares any credit for a job well done with others and assumes responsibility when a problem develops and works to find a resolution. Rather than being a liability, his years of experience are a real asset to village residents. His knowledge of village infrastructure- the electric system, the streets, the water system, the storm and sanitary sewer systems, is thorough and complete. He understands the importance of our water filtration waiver. He has attracted and retained incredible talent to serve on our appointed boards. The work of members of our municipal, zoning, planning, boards and historic and tree committees impacts our village in significant ways.
The most important work of the Mayor and trustees is to supervise the work of the village work-force- the talented and dedicated staff who actually provide the services that residents enjoy and depend on for our quality of life. A group of inexperienced village board members would find this essential task to be nearly impossible. While term limits may sound appealing at first glance, remember that serving on the village board is considered a part time job. I believe that it takes two years to truly gain the experience needed to become an effective trustee or mayor. As I learned in 2015, village voters are very capable of providing a term limit to an incumbent by simply voting for a new candidate. When the new board convenes in April, none of the four trustees will have more than three years of experience. Marty’s leadership will be a useful balance and help the board to be effective and successful in facing the many challenges that lie ahead.
I am proud to say that our village is run in a most transparent manner. The budget, agendas and minutes of board meetings are quickly posted on the village website for all to see. Meetings are regularly covered by two weekly papers. Executive session is sometimes needed to avoid a potentially expensive lawsuit- what resident wants to pay additional taxes to cover litigation costs that could have been avoided and are not covered by insurance because confidentiality was breached? Remember that no votes or expenditures are ever made in executive session, only when the public and press can be present.
Unlike state or national elected office, serving on the village level is true public service. We are fortunate that Marty Hubbard is willing to put in the hours of hard work needed to lead our village board. He is thoughtful, smart, experienced, and presents no conflict of interest concerns. Over and over, he has proven willing to make difficult and unpopular but necessary decisions. He cares deeply about residents-the folks who live here, and whose work and volunteer efforts, make our community the special place it is. His integrity is rock solid.
Please mark your calendar for election day, Tuesday, March 21. Voting takes place at the fire station from noon until 9:00 pm. I will be voting for Marty Hubbard and ask that you do as well.