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By Orion Bell | 07/26/2023

On a recent morning on my way to work, I listened to an interview on NPR about a recent study on student performance, which expanded on the existing assumption that happy students are generally better students. This study showed correlation between those students with good grades and those with a sense of purpose in their lives. Michaeleen Doucleff interviewed Tania Clarke about her study of...

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Larchmere Porchfest

By Orion Bell | 06/28/2023

The Larchmere Porchfest returned this summer. On a recent Saturday, area residents and businesses hosted live music from their front porches and storefronts. Beginning at 1:00 p.m., when Austin Walkin’ Cane kicked off the afternoon at Fairhill Partners with a set of delta blues, more than thirty bands and solo performers entertained the crowds with a variety of musical genres. There was...

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By Orion Bell | 05/22/2023

“There won’t be any grass on that one.” I don’t remember the exact year she said it, but I remember where I was when I heard it. Shortly after my uncle died, I had gone along on a trip with my aunt and my parents to a rural cemetery in eastern Kentucky. The graveyard sits next to a small church near the house where my mother was born. A number of my kinfolk comprising four generations of...

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Hello In There

By Orion Bell | 04/27/2023

. . .Old trees just grow stronger . . .Old rivers grow wilder every day, Old people just grow lonesome. . ..  So goes the chorus of Hello In There, written by the late John Prine. Prine was a master storyteller. His songs contain characters and observations of the human condition, part ballad and part novel. More than any other contemporary songwriter, he often told stories from the...

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Margaret Wagner

By Orion Bell | 03/24/2023

One of the things I love about Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging is the amazing history of the organization and the impact it has made in the field of aging. The Institute has served Cleveland area residents since 1908, fulfilling Benjamin Rose’s vision that people should be able to maintain their comfort and dignity as they age. The programs and services have always strived to be state of the...

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Take Action on Dementia Care

By Orion Bell | 02/27/2023

Approximately 6.5 million American live with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. According to Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures, experts estimate that 1 in 9 people ages 65 or older live with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association projects that these figures will double by 2050, as the population of older adults continues to increase. The incidence of dementia increases with age, and it is estimated...

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Sister Andre

By Orion Bell | 01/26/2023

Earlier this month, Lucile Randon passed away in her sleep at her home in Toulon, France. Her passing made world news, because she was 118 years, 340 days old. Born in France in 1904, Randon entered the order of the Daughters of Charity in 1944. She chose the name Sister Andre, in honor of her older brother. She spent the next sixty-five years caring for orphans and older adults in hospitals...

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Looking Back

By Orion Bell | 12/20/2022

“The only time you should ever look back, is to see how far you’ve come.” -- Berta Lippert Soon we will be closing the books on 2022. It has been a year of change and growth at Benjamin Rose, as we adapted to changing environments and sought out ways to meet the needs of older adults and family caregivers. When the year began, many COVID protocols were still in place. Like many agencies, our...

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Holiday Travel

By Orion Bell | 11/28/2022

The late John Hughes directed many successful comedies. In one of his most loved films, Steven Martin plays Neal Page, a man trying desperately to make it home to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Planes, Trains and Automobiles, released in 1987, also starred the late John Candy, and is a holiday staple on basic cable. Like a lot of folks, I hit the road for the Thanksgiving...

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A lot of what I know about caregiving, I learned from my brother.

By Orion Bell | 10/27/2022

I was two years old when Daniel was born. My brother was diagnosed as having cerebral palsy and he was also considered, in the terms of the day, as “profoundly mentally retarded.” His physical and cognitive development would be limited, if it happened at all. For my parents, the realization of his condition came as the milestones of growth and development—his ability to lift his head, sit up,...

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By Orion Bell | 09/27/2022

This month, the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition in Health will focus the nation’s attention on the importance of a high quality diet and the impact of diet on hunger and health. Millions of Americans are afflicted with food insecurity and diet-related diseases—including heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes—which are some of the leading causes of death and disability in the...

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Generations in Music

By Orion Bell | 08/29/2022

I came across a video from this year’s Newport Folk Festival of Joni Mitchell singing a duet with Brandi Carlile. It was the first time in more than a decade that Joni Mitchell had performed live. The video would have been remarkable just for that. Even more so, given that Mitchell experienced a devastating brain aneurysm in 2015, and had to relearn to walk and speak. At Newport, she sang...

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By Orion Bell | 07/20/2022

“[In 1898], Mr. Rose had the occasion to aid an aged couple whom. . . had been friends of his many years before. . .. Reverses had come and they were left in their old age without any means of support.”   Benjamin Rose shared the story above when asked about his intentions in establishing the Benjamin Rose Trust and the Institute that bears his name. A former colleague, whose business had...

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My High School Reunion

By Orion Bell | 06/22/2022

A few weeks ago, I attended an all-class reunion of my high school in Louisville. Thomas Jefferson High School graduated its first class in 1966. Changes in population led to its closure as a high school the year after I graduated, although it continues as a middle school. In its short life as a high school, Thomas Jefferson, or “TJ” for short, won state championships in cross country,...

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Grandma Never Learned to Drive

By Orion Bell | 04/27/2022

My grandmother never learned to drive. For most of her life, this was never a problem. My grandfather drove her. She lived along the bus line. She could walk to the market or the department store. In a pinch, she could take a taxi.  After Granddad passed away, Grandma was still able to find a ride when she needed one. Family lived nearby: my dad, my brother, an uncle and me. There were...

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Mental Health

By Orion Bell | 03/29/2022

I measure every Grief I meet With narrow, probing, eyes –  I wonder if It weighs like Mine –  Or has an Easier size. -- Emily Dickinson Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you felt down, depressed, or hopeless? This is one of the questions used in the PHQ-2, an assessment tool that can help identify someone at risk for serious depression. Screening tools also help...

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It snowed this winter.

By Orion Bell | 02/23/2022

It really snowed. It was the sort of winter that my friends from further south talked about a lot when I said I was moving here a few years ago. “Cleveland?  Hope you like snow.”  A call home to talk to my Mom isn’t complete until she asks, “Is there still snow on the ground at your house?” Yes, Mom. There is. For someone whose understanding of Cleveland in winter is mostly based on...

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It's January, Again.

By Orion Bell | 01/18/2022

I saw a posting on Facebook about the start of the New Year. New year. But it doesn’t seem like it. Nothing about resolutions. Omicron, the latest version of COVID-19 has the new year seeming a lot like the old one. Or the one before that. Maybe you have seen the memes, too: there’s the one of Bill Murray and Groundhog Day, or the twin girls from Stanley Kubrick’s version of The Shining, only...

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Home for the Holidays...Again

By Orion Bell | 12/20/2021

I’ve been thinking about something my mom said.  I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. I wasn’t born there. And I haven’t lived there for years, but it is the place I think of as my hometown. Like a lot of people, my brothers and I moved away from home. School, career and other life events took us other places.  I had moved to Topeka. During the holiday break we would make the trip...

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Caregiver and...

By Orion Bell | 11/22/2021

Ann is a successful attorney practicing elder law. Her interest in this specialty grew in part from her personal experience in dealing with her mother’s rapid decline due to early onset dementia. There were other siblings. But Ann was the youngest, and so her mother moved in with her. Several years later, an aunt began to show similar signs of Alzheimer’s. Family members suggested Ann could...

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