All Posts for March 2009

Jesse Crew: Recreational Therapist

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009


(The paintings in between the paragraphs are samples of Jesse’s own artwork. They are watercolors or tea dyed paper that’s been pierced. It’s based on tin poking from colonial times.)

Jesse Crew is a ball of artistic energy at Saunders House, where my mother-in-law Lena resides. After watching her in action and the results of her efforts, I knew I wanted to interview her for Profiles. Jesse arrived at Saunders House soon after my mother-in-law chose to live there for long- term care. Jesse has made a huge difference in Lena’s life as well as the lives of other residents.


An artist through and through, Jesse brings a wealth of information and artistic creativity to the older residents at Saunders House. Graduating with a degree in Education and Art with advanced classes in Therapeutic Recreation, Jesse has spent most of her career learning and creating in the field of arts and crafts, with an emphasis on colonial arts. She can spin, weave, do rug hooking, dye fabric, and make pottery, all of which she demonstrated at the Delaware County Bicentennial in 1976-1977.


Then, Jesse plied her artistic endeavors to horticulture therapy, another way to get people involved in the art of gardening and flower arranging. From there, Jesse worked with seniors in Chester Towers, a center for seniors outside Philadelphia. During this time she also hand wrote a 50-page craft booklet.When one of her jobs ended, she taught aerobics in order to support herself and her two daughters. As a single mom, she has always watched out for her girls. Her younger daughter, Aurora, works weekends at Saunders House while finishing her degree in the same area as Jesse, Therapeutic Recreation.


At Saunders House she is everywhere: running a café in the afternoon, creating wonderful art displays in the lobby with the help of residents like my mother-in-law, planning art appreciation and painting classes with Carole Hayes, designing mind games for the residents, including Jeopardy, word-building, Bingo, and Trivial Pursuit. All of these are intended to stimulate the residents to use their minds, keeping their brains active.


Why does Jesse love to work with older people? “Older people are the sages of society. We learn from them.” She loves to engage them in conversations and listen to their life experiences. For example, during current events, she might talk about the economy today and ask them to compare with to The Great Depression of the 1930s. When I asked Jesse what gets her up every morning, she said that she is not a “church goer,” but she’d like to think that she’ll get into heaven because the work that she does means something to someone, making a difference in older people’s lives. She’s got my vote!!!

Follow Up on Heart Month & Earth Hour

Monday, March 30th, 2009

First Feedback:


Last month was National Heart Association Month and I forgot to post this article sent to me by my former neighbor Nellie. It seems important enough to share, since postmenopausal women seem to be at a higher risk for heart disease, attacks, and stroke than was formerly thought.

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke…totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.


Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

S *Ask the individual to SMILE.

T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
(i.e. It is sunny out today)

R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

New Sign of a Stroke ——– *Stick out Your Tongue

NOTE: This is another ‘sign’ of a stroke is: Ask the person to ‘stick’ out his/her tongue. If the tongue is ‘crooked,’ if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people, you can bet that at least one life will be saved.

Thanks, Nellie!

Second Feedback:


Earth Hour was this past Saturday. I received this email today:

Earth Hour 2009 was an amazing success and we wanted to thank you for your support.
Lights went out in 4,085 cities in 88 countries in what is being described as the largest demonstration of public concern about climate change in history.

Check out this amazing view of the world going dark at: