Shannon Ingram's Place

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Location: Orange County/CA

Musings of a woman who left her corporate career to become a caregiver for elderly parents, wrote a book and found her way back to corporate - with love, instead of fear, leading the way. Now working at my Alma Mater, UC Irvine, as Marketing and Communications Director for the School of Biological Sciences.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Silverado Beverly Place

I'm really excited to share the news that Silverado Senior Living-Beverly Place opened its doors this morning and began welcoming new residents! When I first started at Silverado two years ago next week, the company had just purchased the Shalom Hotel in LA's Fairfax District just a block away from CBS Television City. Sadly, it was a total dump. When I toured, I wondered how we would "Silveradoize" the old building. Wow, am I thrilled to share that the community is absolutely gorgeous! And one of the very best things about Silverado-Beverly Place is the amazing team of associates who are leading the community, with my good friend, Phill Barklow, as Administrator. You see, when Mom and Jack moved into the Inn at the Park several years ago, Phill was the Executive Director. He had a wonderful staff of professionals. Unfortunately, the community was purchased by a huge company and Phill chose to leave. Fortunately, I was able to reach him before he took another job and introduce him to Silverado. Now that Mom and Jack have left the planet, I feel really good that Phill, Chalio, Tahmina and others are all part of Silverado and I get to work with them often. It's made the Beverly Place project very near and dear to my heart.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Keiki's 2nd Birthday

Our little granddaughter, Kendall, or "Keiki" as she is nicknamed, turned two earlier this month. She had the big bounce house in the backyard that was more for the older kids, like her brother, Keegan. You can see her trepidation in the photo above as she lingered on the step before venturing inside with the bigger bouncers.

Gone are the days of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for kids and parents alike at toddler birthdays. We were treated to a magnificent array of Vietnamese food courtesy of Kendall's parents' new fave restaurant, "Photastic Soup & Sandwiches." Wow. Good stuff! The owner/chef is Vietnamese/French. VERY creative. Gary and I were privileged to sample some suggested dishes the week before the party. On the way to the birthday celebration, my mouth started watering about a mile from the kids' home.

One of the party highlights was Kendall's Dora the Explorer birthday cake. Happily, she got the actual Dora face on her piece, but almost had to fight off a couple of other guests under age five for that treasure. Glad I didn't have to fight them for my spring roll.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Women and their friends, breaking boundaries

Women and their friends, breaking boundaries

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Being Nemo

I'm in Chicago this week attending the American Society on Aging/National Council on Aging Annual Conference along with 3,999 other people. It's a zoo. And I have the prestigious honor of being a speaker here, along with about 1,299 other speakers. Who knew there would be topics like "Intensive Case Management for Russian-Speaking Elders with Mental Illness: A Collaborative Approach," "The Mapplethorpe-Haring Model of Depression Treatment for Older Adults with HIV" or "Believe and Anything is Possible: All You Need is Web Programming and Bubbles?" No shortage of variety here. I've enjoyed meeting new people and hanging out with old friends, too.

ASA has new leadership and it's nice to see many young people attending a conference about aging. Jane is a thirty-something Gerontology professor at University of Northern Colorado who is pitching her program at a trade show booth. She's a smart cookie, getting in on the ground floor of senior care as 78 million Boomers morph into senior citizens. My favorite speaker so far is author Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, MacArthur Prize-winning sociologist and Harvard professor. She read most of her speech, but spoke passionately and eloquently about developing "a compelling vision of later life, one that does not assume a trajectory of decline after 50 but recognizes this as a time of potential change, growth and new learning, a time when our courage gives us hope." I bought a copy of her book, "The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50." I feel quite thrilled and special to have been one of her peers as a speaker here, along with those 1,298 others. Nothing wrong with being a small fish in a big pond. After all, I'm one of those 78 million Boomers. I just think of myself as Nemo.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Lucky Charm

Last night I attended the monthly WomanSage Salon. The topic was "De-Clutter Your Life," which I found very attractive because my life is incredibly cluttered right now. My environments - external and internal - are overflowing with stuff, from dishes and paper to worry and stress.

The speaker, Penny Lambright of Clutter Cleaners, was brilliant - attractive, funny, caring, prepared - and her talk was filled with excellent tips. She gave us great handouts too. When I arrived at the salon, someone told me I looked frazzled. I told her I was indeed frazzled. As Penny talked, I gradually became unfrazzled - and it wasn't just the wine. It was the camaraderie of the women in attendance, the information sharing, the good mood.

My own mood lifted even more when my friend, Karen, bought raffle tickets for a round-trip ticket to fly anywhere in the Southwest Airlines system and then gave the tickets to me! She said she couldn't use a plane ticket but wanted me to have the raffle tickets as a gift.

Karen, affectionately known as "KK," is my "lucky charm" because she is the person who encouraged me to finish my book. She's a well-known author of books about caregiving for senior loved ones. I've written about her before in this blog. She is also the person who taught me to play penny slot machines when I go to casinos. She told me how to bet. I began following her instructions during my birthday trip to Pechanga in 2008. I have to admit that I've had very good luck since then.

When KK rubbed her hands on the five raffle tickets and handed them to me, I had a feeling we were going to win. And when the emcee called out "213," sure enough, it was one of the tickets in my hand. My lucky charm had come through again. Thank you, Karen!

Today the world looks brighter than it did yesterday afternoon. It's been a little over two months since Mom and Arline died. Gary and I are coming to grips with our grief. Gary's CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) consulting business is coming together to augment his construction work (which has been hit hard by the economic downturn). Mom's dog, Bailey, is happy at Silverado Senior Living-Newport Mesa and the dogs and cats in our home are much more relaxed. WomanSage is implementing a powerful new business plan and bringing on more Board members to help with the philanthropic work we do. The new Silverado web site ( is getting lots of hits. And now I have an airline ticket to play with - maybe to bring my niece, Lindsey, down from Seattle for a visit, or go visit her.

Life is always good - but it does help to have girlfriends when things get a bit out of control, especially one who is a lucky charm!