Fences, Construction Begins on Soldiers’ Home this Week

Fences, Construction Begins on Soldiers’ Home this Week

The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home construction project will begin in earnest this week as fences are expected to go up around most of Malone Park.

Supt. Cheryl Poppe told the Record that the construction fence is scheduled to go up any day on about two-thirds of Malone Park, with about one-third of the park on the western edge to remain open.

“About two-thirds of the park will be fenced off and one-third will stay open,” she said. “That will help us start the drainage work, the geothermal wells and the parking lot. I want to make sure everyone knows what is happening with the project and that they can use the park one last time before it is closed off.”

The project will be the replacement of the old Quigley Memorial Hospital with a new Community Living Center for veterans. The $199 million project is a partnership between the federal and state government and represents one of the largest expenditures for long-term veterans care in the history of the state.

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Residents Remember the Soldiers’ Home Water Tower, Bittersweet Farewell

Residents Remember the Soldiers’ Home Water Tower, Bittersweet Farewell

It was the talk of the town.

Few in the world of kid-dom could believe it.

But, as School Committeeman Rich Maronski recalled, Scottie Holden did climb the Soldiers’ Home water tower and it was the stuff of legend growing up in Chelsea.

“The biggest news with the tower as a kid was when Scottie Holden actually climbed it,” said Maronski. “It was the talk of the town for more than a week. I grew up beside this tower all my life. It’s the thing I look at when I’m on an airplane. I know when I’m leaving and I know when I’m home by looking at that tower.”

His remembrance was but one of many that were shared at a special farewell to the Soldiers’ Home water tower last Friday, Nov. 30, in the shadow of the tower, which was constructed in 1958 and will come down in the next few weeks. It has to come down to make way for the $199 million Community Living Center that will provide long-term care for veterans in a modern, home-like setting. Currently, the Quigley Hospital provides great care, but it is laid out in open wards, which are no longer acceptable.

“Today is an opportunity to say farewell to the water tower that served as a beacon or a landmark to so many in and around Chelsea,” said state Veterans Secretary Francisco Urena. “This is a bittersweet moment, but this is also a happy moment for the veterans at the Soldiers Home who will reap the benefit of the largest investment ever in the Commonwealth for long-term veterans care. It’s going to be a beacon of care for veterans across the Commonwealth now.”

Supt. Cheryl Poppe said CBI Corp. put up the six-legged water tower in 1958, and the purpose was to help the water supply and water pressure at the home. Over time, however, the tower became less useful and a permanent pump station was implemented in 2011. The tower was decommissioned at that time, but allowed to stay in place. Over time, it has deteriorated and vandals have painted it.

“It was a noticeable part of the Chelsea skyline, but now our Community Living Center will serve as a special vision on the horizon as it will serve our veterans for the decades to come,” she said.

Tom Kasiecki said he has watched the tower all his life.

“I watched this tower go up when I was a kid in 1958,” he said. “I sat there at my window over there and watched them build it. Now, as a senior citizen, I am going to sit over there and watch them demolish it.”

Former City Councillor Matt Frank said he is going to miss the tower, and that it is special to him, but he also said he will choose to remember it now as a place of hope and rest for those who have served their country – as it was for his grandfather when he was there.

“That’s what I’m going to remember moving forward is we’re going to have a brand new facility for the veterans,” he said. “When I look up and see the skyline without the tower, I will be sad. I will miss the tower because I’ve had it there all my life. It’s always been there. However, when I look up and don’t see it, I’m going to think of the wonderful care that the veterans are receiving there.”

Added Barbara Richards, “It’s going to be very hard to see it go. Whether you go by boat, train, plan or car, you can always see the tower.”

Dottie Kusmierek has lived across the street from the tower for most of her life. She said it holds a special place in the hearts of her family members. She said it will be hard to see it go, but she understands the reasoning.

“My older brother was in Vietnam and he saw the water tower when he came back home and said, ‘At last, I’m home,’” she recalled. “There are a lot of changes now in Chelsea, and a lot of them I’m not happy about. Good bye old friend and on with the new.”

Councilor Luis Tejada said he would definitely be sad to see it go, and it’s a part of the local history to him.

“It’s sad to me because New England and Greater Boston have so much history, and it’s why people are jealous of us in other parts of the country,” he said. “The tower was an historical marker for Chelsea. My generation and up recognize that certainly. Sometimes in the name of progress you must give up some things to get others.”

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Saying Bye to a Landmark: Soldiers’ Home Tower Ceremony Friday

Saying Bye to a Landmark: Soldiers’ Home Tower Ceremony Friday

The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home water tower – a beloved local landmark – is slated to come down next month, and this Friday, the Soldiers’ Home is inviting everyone to its grounds to give an official good-bye to the red and white checkered symbol of Chelsea.

“The ceremony Friday is going to be very informal, but meaningful,” said Supt.      Cheryl Poppe. “We’ve invited a lot of officials and the entire community. If anyone has a memory or a letter they would like to read, this would be a good time for that. This is a time for residents, staff and Soldiers’ Home residents to give the tower a farewell.”

Poppe said the tower has to be taken down due to the new $199 million Community Living Center project, which is starting construction now and will be in full building mode this spring. The tower has been a beloved symbol of Chelsea for decades since being put up in 1958. The red and white checkered tower was used to pump water, but for many more it became a symbol of the City of Chelsea – with people being able to see its ‘Chelsea Soldiers’ Home’ lettering from far and wide.

Poppe said it hasn’t been functional since 2009, and is structurally unsound now. There was no way to save it from the wrecking ball in order to build the new Center, but they do plan to commemorate it with a photo montage or a small model on the property.

“The construction company is still exploring ways to remove the tower and there are many ways,” she said. “They’re still examining things like how many layers of paint are on it and how they can safely take it down. It might now be until late in December, but we do expect it to go down soon. We wanted to make sure people had a chance to say good-bye before that happened.”

In addition, part of Malone Park will also be taken up soon by fences that will be used for construction activities and parking.

“I know I want to take my last walk around that loop before it’s not available,” said Poppe. “I’m sure others do, too.”

The Soldiers’ Home has had many scares over the years due to underfunding and the fact that the Quigley Hospital has open wards, something that was permitted in the past but no longer is.

“When it was built, you were supposed to come here, heal and then go home,” she said. “It wasn’t meant to be a home. Now, of course, people stay here and it is their home. This new Center will make it more of a home, right down to how the meals are prepared.”

Poppe said the fact that the hospital is getting a remake is a tribute to Lawrence Quigley, who advocated for years and years to get it built in the first place.

“At one point he said that the VA had done 21 surveys and 21 studies and it was time to do something,” he said. “He was trying to take care of the veterans from World War I, not even knowing his son would go to World War II and need the same services.”

She said there was quite a lot of folks who were sentimental or upset about the removal of the tower at first, but she said she believes in recent months many have seen the value of the overall project.

“The residents have a sentimentality for the tower, but at this pint they realize it is more important for veterans who need long-term care now and in the future to be served by this Community Living Center,” she said.

The farewell to the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home tower will take place on Friday, Nov. 30, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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City, State Officials Break Ground on New Soldiers’ Home Facility

City, State Officials Break Ground on New Soldiers’ Home Facility

The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home has officially embarked on a new face and mission to help care for veterans and their

Gov. Charlie Baker and Speaker Bob DeLeo lead the way in breaking ground for the new Community Living Center at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home this past Monday, Oct. 29. The new Center will eventually replace the Quigley Memorial Hospital. It is a state and federal project costing $199 million.

families, breaking ground Monday on a $199 million Community Living Center (CLC) that will provide modern accommodations and replace the old Quigley Memorial Hospital.

Gov. Charlie Baker joined Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael J. Heffernan, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco Ureña, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and veterans of the United States Armed Forces for the groundbreaking of the new long-term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.

The current facility will continue to be fully operational, caring for 154 veterans, during the construction process with an anticipated project completion date in 2022.

Some 65 percent of the funding for the new facility will come from the Federal government, which approved monies for the project earlier this summer.

“The new long term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home will improve the quality of services and care provided to the Commonwealth’s men and women who have answered the call of duty and served our nation,” said Baker. “Our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much for this country, and it is our duty to care for them with honor and dignity.”

House Speaker Bob DeLeo was also on hand and has been a friend to the Home for years. Gov. Baker gave credit to DeLeo for getting funding through the Legislature so that the federal application was prepared quickly.

“Having been in the Legislature 25 years now, you, Mr. Speaker, own a big piece of that and we are all extremely grateful for this work and all the work you do for veterans in the Commonwealth,” he said. “This place will be a true testament to our investment to our veterans.”

DeLeo said the Home does have a special place in his heart, and serves veterans from his district as well.

“I am so pleased this project is underway and moving forward,” he said.

In May 2017, Governor Baker  HYPERLINK “https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-releases-fiscal-year-2018-capital-budget-plan” t “_blank” announced plans for a new long-term care Community Living Center, which was included in the Baker-Polito Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 capital investment plan, and in November 2017,  HYPERLINK “https://www.mass.gov/news/governor-baker-signs-bill-to-fund-new-facility-at-chelsea-soldiers-home-and-high-speed” t “_blank” signed legislation authorizing funding needed to advance the project.

The Administration has also received funding authorization from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the project. The federal funding was awarded through the VA’s State Home Construction Grant Program which provides reimbursement of up to 65 percent of construction costs for approved projects. The Administration, with strong support from the Legislature, plans to spend approximately $70 million net of federal reimbursement on the project.

The Home has long suffered from having open wards at the Quigley, and it was a point of contention for federal authorities – as health care payments are not allowed to go to facilities with old, open wards. With funding on the line, the Home was able to secure the project funding. This will allow the Home to now have private rooms and modern facilities for the residents there.

“This facility truly is a fitting tribute to our veterans who have served our nation,” said Supt. Cheryl Poppe. “With this building construction, we honor their sacrifice…The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea is honored to serve Massachusetts veterans, and this groundbreaking reaffirms the Commonwealth’s commitment to veterans of yesterday, today, and for generations to come.”

HYPERLINK “https://www.mass.gov/orgs/soldiers-home-in-chelsea” t “_blank” The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea first opened its doors to Massachusetts veterans in 1882. The first residents were Civil War veterans who were wounded or unable to care for themselves, many of whom had previously resided in the Commonwealth’s “alms houses.” Today, Chelsea carries on Massachusetts’ proud tradition of helping all veterans in need of both long term care and domiciliary / supportive services. Chelsea is surveyed annually by the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”). It is also fully accredited by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (“Joint Commission”). Chelsea has a Board of Trustees appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The trustees and DVS share responsibility for the management of the home. Chelsea Soldiers’ Home currently has capacity for 136 beds for long-term care.

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Graham Readies Another Great Walk for Living on Admiral’s Hill

Graham Readies Another Great Walk for Living on Admiral’s Hill

The ALS Walk for Living on Admiral’s Hill, run by the Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCFL), will host its 10th

In its milestone 10th year, the Leonard Florence ALS Walk for Living on Admiral’s Hill is being coordinated by Maura Graham, who came to the LFCFL in January. She said they are in the middle of crunch time for the Sept. 30 walk, but are excited how things are coming together. The walk is expected to attract residents of all ages, including several high school students from Chelsea, Everett and Malden Catholic.

annual walk this coming Sept. 30, and new Director Maura Graham said she is ready for another great event.

“This is my first year as walk director, but I’ve had the good fortune of having the previous walk director sty on to consult and help me,” said Graham. “Now we have 10 years of walks and so we have some history under our belts and it comes together really well. It’s huge for us. It’s our only fundraise at Leonard Florence and 100 percent of the proceeds go towards resident care.”

The Walk for Living benefits ALS and MS patients at the LFCFL, and helps them to be able to do unique activities. It is the only fundraiser for the home, which exclusively cares for those with ALS and MS. As an example, last year several residents with ALS were able to use proceeds from the walk to go to Disney World in Florida.

The walk is a family activity, and Graham said they have a lot of fun things to do in addition to the walk for families and young adults.

Matt Siegel of Kiss 108 will once again be the emcee of the event, this being his fourth year of participating in the walk.

In addition, Phyllis and Alan Bolotin of Swampscott have been named the Walk for Living Ambassadors this year.

“They have been very good to the Leonard Florence over the years and they have graciously accepted the roles of Walk Ambassadors,” said Graham. “They’ve been wonderful and have a huge team coming.”

Also coming will be hundreds of students.

One of the unique things about the Walk for Living is the fact that high school students from Chelsea High, Everett High and Malden Catholic participate and learn about ALS. Many eventually befriend the residents and gain an understanding of what it is to live with ALS or MS.

“Everett, Chelsea and Malden Catholic will all be participating and will have a big group,” said Graham. “Malden Catholic will be bringing a large group because they are honoring Brother Joe (Comber), who lives here at the Leonard Florence. The fact that so many young people participate is wonderful and shows a great sense of unity with the residents here and the community. It is multi-generational.”

Another aspect of the walk is that many of the residents who are benefitting from the fundraising participate side-by-side with the fundraisers. Many even bring their own teams.

“It is a rare thing to be able to walk side-by-side with the people you’re helping,” she said. “It’s a sense of camaraderie.”

Graham came to the LFCFL in January and previously worked in public relations and marketing for the Cambridge Office of Tourism and the Harvard Square Business Association.

“The minute I walked in to the Leonard Florence, I felt it was a great fit,” she said.

Graham lives in Melrose and has two young children.

To sign up for the Walk for Living, go to WalkForLiving.org. Registrations are also accepted the day of the event. Registration is $20 and kids 12 and under are free. Students are $10.

The event begins at 10 a.m. on Sept. 30, 165 Captain’s Row.

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Soldiers’ Home Secures Federal Funding for Center

Soldiers’ Home Secures Federal Funding for Center

Gov. Charlie Baker announced last Friday that the state has secured approximately $70 million in federal funding for the new 154-bed Community Living Center at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home – federal funding that pretty much gives the green light to proceed on the project.

State leaders have made a priority of designing and funding the $199 million project, but getting the federal funding was always a crucial piece of the puzzle that had to come through.

On Friday, the Veteran’s Administration State Home Construction Grant Program announced it would provide a 65 percent reimbursement of approved construction projects, including the Soldiers’ Home.

“Our veterans have sacrificed greatly to protect our freedoms and we are proud to see this project move forward as we continue to provide them with great care and dignity,” said Baker. “We are grateful to the VA for their support of Massachusetts’ veterans and this funding allows us to construct a state of the art facility that will be a model for future veteran homes across the country.”

The Community Living Center at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home will provide 154 “home-like” rooms for veterans in accordance with VA standards of design, which promotes greater accessibility, mobility, and enhanced quality of life. Services will include physical and occupational therapy, recreational activities and greater access to the outdoors. The current facility, the Quigley Memorial Long Term Care Center, will continue to be fully operational during the construction process with an anticipated project completion date in 2021.

“We appreciate the Department of Veterans Affairs’ approval to replace the existing long-term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home Campus,” said Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco A. Ureña. “In addition to approving our replacement project, the VA granted the Commonwealth $129 million in matching funds.”

In May 2017, the Baker-Polito Administration announced state funding for the new long-term care facility as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 capital budget plan, and in November, Governor Baker  signed legislation to fund the project.

“I am thrilled that the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home will be receiving federal funding for its new Community Living Center,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “The House has been a longtime supporter of this project and, as a neighbor of the Soldiers’ Home, I have been proud to support the residents and their needs throughout my tenure in the House. This financing will allow the Soldiers’ Home to further improve and enhance the vital care that they provide our veterans.”

Governor Baker was joined at his 2018 State of the Commonwealth Address by U.S. Navy Veteran Tom Miller, who lives at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, Director of Nursing Debbie Antonelli and Superintendent Cheryl Poppe to celebrate the Administration’s commitment to this necessary funding.

“This funding will allow us to provide our veterans with a long-awaited updated home that will enhance their quality of life with increased privacy and greater access to services,” said Chelsea Soldiers’ Home Superintendent Cheryl Lussier Poppe. “Our veterans deserve the very best, and this home will complement the quality care our veterans receive here at the Soldiers’ Home. We are grateful for the support of the Baker-Polito Administration for this opportunity.”

The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea first opened its doors to Massachusetts veterans in 1882. The first residents were Civil War veterans who were wounded or unable to care for themselves, many of whom had previously resided in the Commonwealth’s “alms houses.” Today, Chelsea carries on Massachusetts’ proud tradition of helping all veterans in need of both long term care and domiciliary / supportive services. Chelsea is surveyed annually by the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”). It is also fully accredited by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (“Joint Commission”). Chelsea has a Board of Trustees appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The trustees and DVS share responsibility for the management of the home.

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‘McKenna Magic’ Will Bring Hope for A Cure at LFCFL Walk Sunday

‘McKenna Magic’ Will Bring Hope for A Cure at LFCFL Walk Sunday

By Seth Daniel

Kathryn McKenna was in the middle of reinventing herself – getting into peak physical condition – when her life took an abrupt turn to ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

McKenna, a life-long Salem resident with deep roots in that city, now lives at the Dapper McDonald House in the Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCFL) on Admirals Hill – and she couldn’t be happier and more hopeful.

On Sunday, she and a huge contingent of family and friends will participate in the ever-popular Walk for Living on the campus of LFCFL and on Admirals Hill. The walk is expected to attract 1,000 or more people raising money to help expand opportunities at the home – which is considered on the forefront of facilities in the world for treating and managing ALS.

“When I envision a Leonard Florence resident with ALS, Kathryn McKenna was the ideal candidate,” said Barry Berman, CEO. “That’s because Kathryn has a zest for life and living at the Leonard Florence allows her to continue living a very active and engaged and dignified life. We all realize that if Kathryn was in a traditional nursing home, she would be leading a much different life. Our staff are experts in understanding the nature of the disease, thus offering our residents the highest quality of life possible.”

McKenna led an active life for certain. The son of a famed basketball coach at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, she was always in top shape and active – known as a chatter box.

She was a flight attendant, was multi-lingual, traveled the world and worked at the Lahey Clinic.

That active lifestyle was cut out from under her starting in 2014 when she noticed changes. She was diagnosed in 2015, but the degenerative disease has not taken completely taken away her active nature – especially since coming to the LFCFL in January.

“It was very hard to leave my apartment in Salem overlooking the Harbor, but I had to do it,” she said. “it was the best decision I ever made. I’m very independent. I was very chatty and that has changed, but I still get my point across…I believe in a cure by 2020.”

Many of the things that McKenna and the other residents at the two ALS homes at the Leonard Florence would not be afforded them at other facilities. Designed by resident Steve Saling, who has ALS, the homes are customized with technology and the staff is trained specially to meet the needs of those with ALS.

That combination, plus a very active and understanding administration, has led to remarkable achievements in quality of life for individuals who were written off in the past.

McKenna, 60, said she had been inspired by a co-worker at Leahy to go back to college and finish her degree in 2013. She decided to major in Sports Science. While working two jobs, exercising with 20 year olds and taking care of her elderly mother – the active woman began to notice some inconsistencies.

“I knew something was wrong in 2014,” she said. “My speech was getting impaired. One day I was working out and my colleague, who was so nice, noticed and said, ‘Kathryn, you don’t have to do anymore.’ I was diagnosed with ALS in 2015, but I still had a semester of school left until graduation. I had promised my dad I would finish, so I went back…It was hard during that semester, but I wanted to persevere.”

And that she did, graduating from Salem State in 2015 with her degree.

Now, with that same die-hard spirit, she keeps focused on eating and attitude.

“The doctor told me when I was early on that appetite and attitude would determine my quality of life,” she said. “I work very hard to keep my appetite up and my attitude positive.”

She and many other residents of LFCFL and the community will bring that same positive, can-do attitude to Admirals Hill on Sunday, where critical fundraising and fun are set to take place.

“The walk certainly helps raise money, but it also gives our residents a sense of well-being when they see how many people that do care about their living situation,” said Berman. “We are now working on opening our third residence, but obviously that will take time with the fundraising.”

The LFCFL Walk for Life will begin registration on Sunday, Oct. 1, at 8 a.m., with the Walk beginning at 10 a.m. A celebration will follow.

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Soldiers’ Home Meeting Features Discussion on Water Tower, Overall Project

Soldiers’ Home Meeting Features Discussion on Water Tower, Overall Project

By Seth Daniel

State officials made their first presentation of the proposed Community Living Center at the Soldiers’ Home, a project that will replace the Quigley Hospital and require the removal of the iconic Soldiers’ Home water tower.

The $199 million project, some 66 percent of which could be federally funded, has the makings of improving the living conditions of those in the long-term care portion of the Home – taking them from open wards that are no longer permissible to private rooms with social areas arranged in “houses.” However, to date, and through a large part of the meeting Thursday night, Aug. 3, the overall project has been overshadowed by the potential loss of the water tower.

Some residents have voiced approval for the project, but want those building it to see if they can save the tower or come up with a similar iconic structure. Other residents have started a very popular online petition to ‘Save the Chelsea Water Tower,’ and it has caught on.

On Thursday night, many of the voices of the veterans, who have yet to be heard, resonated.

“I guarantee you a few years after it’s gone…we’ll barely remember it,” said Daniel Heagan. “You’ll say, ‘I know there was a water tower there, but I don’t even remember what color it is.’ Please accept this change. It’s for the best of the veterans. Please go along with it. This is a positive change for the men and women who represented you in combat. You won’t know it’s gone in a few years.”

Tom Miller, who has lived at the Home for 11 years and is a member of the Honor Guard, said the priority is now the veterans.

“The water tower provided some great memories,” he said. “Right now the priority is to build a new Quigley Hospital. That needs to be the focus. We can always have those memories. The Historical Society will have wonderful photographs. We can have a party when it comes down to celebrate what it meant. But it has to come down.”

However, many long-time Chelsea residents said they hoped there could be a compromise.

“When I come over the Tobin Bridge and have people in the car I point to the tower and tell people that is where I live,” said School Committeeman Rich Maronski. “You can see the tower from East Boston. That’s where I live. The residents really wish if you could preserve it or move it, that would be great. The veterans health care comes first, but we wonder if there is a chance to do something.”

Councillor Matt Frank said he loves the Soldiers’ Home and all that it represents. He said he believes its time to support the veterans to get the new home, but he also said he hopes there can be some accommodation for the tower.

“Sometimes emotions do matter and I think it’s for the best of the veterans community to be visible to everyone around like they are with the tower,” he said. “You see it every day. If you lose something that’s such a visual reminder, people would drive by without knowing what this place is…My biggest fear is the Solders’ Home could be lost in the shuffle. I think we need to take (resident) emotions into account.”

Some in the audience suggested replacing it with a “ginormous” flag that could be seen from downtown Boston, as the tower is.

Francisco Urena, secretary of Veterans Affairs, led the meeting and said that they are listening to the public and the residents. Both he and Supt. Cheryl Poppe said the status quo with open wards must be replaced, as they get marked deficient frequently and could lose crucial funding.

To weigh in, the state has established an e-mail to submit comments. It is soldiershomeinfo@massmail.state.ma.us.

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Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell

The passing this week of Glen Campbell, the country singer who crossed over into the pop genre in the late 1960s with hit records such as By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, Galveston, and many others, marks the end of an era for those of a certain (older) generation.

His records were both timely and timeless. Whether singing of lost-love (By the Time I Get to Phoenix) or about a soldier at war (Galveston) or of lost youth (The Dreams of the Everyday Housewife), Glen Campbell’s songs (many written by Jimmy Webb) spoke to the human condition.

In addition to his singing ability, Glen Campbell also was a superb guitarist, who performed as a sessions musician on many hit records for artists including Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, the Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Jan and Dean, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and the Beach Boys before embarking on his own career.

Despite his success, Campbell himself was not immune to the vicissitudes of life. He was married four times and his battles with alcoholism and Alzheimer’s disease were well-known.

For those of us who were youngsters in the late 1960s and 70s, Glen Campbell’s songs were ubiquitous and crossed generations. His TV variety show, similar to others of those years, such as the Johnny Cash Show, The Smothers Brothers, and Laugh-In, were watched by the entire family in our living rooms on the one TV set in our household. His passing evokes bittersweet memories from our childhood and of our loved ones who also have passed in the years since.

May he rest in peace.

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Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home Celebrates Dramatic $16 Million Renovation

Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home Celebrates Dramatic $16 Million Renovation

Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home (CJNH), the flagship property of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, recently completed a spectacular $16 million renovation. Residents, families, friends and community officials joined Chelsea Jewish Lifecare to celebrate this tremendous milestone on Wednesday, June 21 at Lafayette Avenue in Chelsea.

Cutting the ribbon at the ceremony signaling the completion of the $16 million renovation project at the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home are, from left, Gilda Richman, Chelsea Jewish Lifecare (CJL) chairwoman of the board, Betsy Mullen, CJL chief operating officer, Edward Stewart, Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home executive director, Adam Berman, CJL president, and Barry Berman, CJL chief executive officer.

Cutting the ribbon at the ceremony signaling the completion of the $16 million renovation project at the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home are, from left, Gilda Richman, Chelsea Jewish Lifecare (CJL) chairwoman of the board, Betsy Mullen, CJL chief operating officer, Edward Stewart, Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home executive director, Adam Berman, CJL president, and Barry Berman, CJL chief executive officer.

Founded in 1919 by Lena Goldberg, the original goal of CJNH was to create a welcoming home for neighboring elders. Now, nearly 100 years later, the concept has come full circle. The completely renovated five story building reflects a legacy Green House® skilled nursing model, with kitchens on every floor, warm and spacious gathering spaces and an abundance of glass and natural light. The residence also features a new café, rehab gym, chapel and courtyard. It is a far cry from a traditional nursing home.

A Skilled Nursing Residence that Feels like Home

 “What’s so unique about our model is that we’ve combined contemporary design elements with the traditional concept of making one’s home as warm and inviting as possible.” He added, “In essence, we are going back to our roots.”

Traditional nursing homes rely upon one central kitchen to prepare food for the entire facility. At CJNH, each of the three residential floors features two modern and aesthetically appealing kitchens, which is an integral part of the renovation. The aroma of freshly-cooked food on every floor truly reinforces the home concept. Residents have choices of what they eat – and when they eat it. Living rooms with fireplaces and spacious dining rooms complete the area, providing a warm and comfortable space for residents to gather and enjoy good food.

In terms of the layout, the lower lobby houses the chapel and staff offices. A café and bakery, rehab gym, and salon and spa are all located on the main lobby. There are three floors on the upper level, which can accommodate up to 120 residents.

The Nursing Home of the Future

CJNH is more than just a renovated skilled nursing facility; it reflects an exciting trend in long-term senior care. “We believe this model of care has the potential to change the face of nursing homes throughout the country,” explains Barry Berman, CEO of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare. “The home environment can easily be replicated by other skilled nursing facilities, vastly improving the quality of life for our nation’s elders.”

About Chelsea Jewish Lifecare

Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, a highly respected leader in senior living, employs over 1200 people and provides care to over 800 individuals daily, with campuses in Chelsea and Peabody, MA. Offering a full continuum of services, Chelsea Jewish Lifecare (www.chelseajewish.org) is redefining senior care and re-envisioning what life should be like for those living with disabling conditions. The eldercare community includes a wide array of skilled and short-term rehab residences, ALS and MS specialized care residences, traditional and specialized assisted living options, memory care, independent living, adult day health, geriatric care management, home care, personal care and hospice agencies that deliver customized and compassionate care.

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