With 90 being the new 80, 80 the new 70 and 70 the new 60, etc. — see the indomitable Queen Elizabeth II, trending as always with Season Four of “The Crown” set to be released on DVD Nov. 2 and Season Five now filming — people want to live as fully as they can as long as they can. Sometimes, that requires assistance in the form of quality care, whose variety in Westchester and Fairfield counties we explore in this our caregiving issue. Peter visits The Bristal, with upscale locations in White Plains and Armonk. Bridget encounters The Osborn, a gracious, 56-acre Neo-Georgian campus in Rye. Jena considers the Wartburg in Mount Vernon, known for its artistic engagement of seniors and the surrounding community. Jeremy previews the tony Waterstone of Westchester, scheduled to open in White Plains early next year.
In Fairfield, Phil offers a selection of 20 senior living locales, from Atria Ridgefield to Waveny in New Canaan. He also plumbs the history of Assisted Living Home Care Services Inc., celebrating 25 years of helping people age in place in Connecticut.
Aging in place is always what Black families have done, out of a multigenerational tradition and a wariness of institutions that have not been representative of, affordable for or straightforward with them. But that is changing — somewhat — as Blacks balance family, careers and caretaking. Abbe Udochi, CEO of Concierge Healthcare Consulting LLC in New Rochelle, joins us for a guest article that reminds us that Blacks are not monolithic any more than white, Hispanic, Asian or Native Americans are. Just as there is diversity among groups, there is diversity within groups.
Sadly, not everyone will live to see his or her golden years. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States (after heart disease), and lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among American men and women. (November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month.) We talk with Aviva C. Berkowitz, M.D., and Mark D. Hurwitz, M.D., both of New York Medical College and Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, about the special requirements for treating lung cancer. And we speak with lawyer Richard S. Cohen, whose wife, Rubenstein publicist Marcia Horowitz, died of pancreatic cancer as the pandemic was breaking in the U.S. last year. His subsequent memoir, “The Smooth River: Finding Inspiration and Exquisite Beauty During Terminal Illness” (Smooth River Inc.) tells the story of how he helped her achieve her goal of living completely until she died.
Elsewhere we lighten up with Jeremy’s take on senior shopping — as many independent living complexes offer shopping excursions as part of their activities — and his looks at D’Errico Jewelry, in a distinctive Swiss chalet-style building on Central Avenue in the Scarsdale zip code; and The Westchester in White Plains, which despite the rise of online shopping and the pandemic, continues to provide us all with some retail therapy as new stores come in.
Jeremy also visits Bistro 12 in Tarrytown, graced with co-owner Luis Miguel Rodrigues’ vibrant canvases. Cami helps seniors downsize, while Katie tells them how to market some of those treasures they’re ready to part with. Doug discusses what he calls the new “liquid chefs,” who are concocting cocktails just as their counterparts in the kitchen are creating great food recipes.
It’s our hope that our beloved Waggers can offer not only a guide for those seeking care but a respite for caregivers, who need a little TLC themselves. It’s something I know a good deal about — having cared for my aunt, Mary R. Violino, while she died of the effects of her dementia, even as I plunged into a new chapter in my career at Westfair Communications Inc., WAG’s parent company, and rebuilt our house, damaged in the nor’easter of March 2010. My aunt, the love of my life, passed away on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, 2011.
This is a subject I’ve either alluded to or written about many times over the years, including in these pages, so I won’t repeat myself. But what I will offer those going through similar challenges is this: Caring for my aunt was the most difficult thing I have ever done and the accomplishment I’m proudest of.
To caregivers, I say: Take a breath and a break — when you can, if you can. Enlist any and all the help you can get. Pace yourself — the first advice that WAG’s publisher, Dee DelBello, ever gave me. Caregiving can engender all kinds of resentments. Forgive those you care for. Forgive yourself.
But above all, endure. You’ll be glad you did.
A 2020 YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester Visionary Award winner and a 2018 Folio Women in Media Award Winner, Georgette Gouveia is the author of “Burying the Dead,” “Daimon: A Novel of Alexander the Great” and “Seamless Sky” (JMS Books), as well as “The Penalty for Holding,” a 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist (JMS Books), and “Water Music” (Greenleaf Book Group). They’re part of her series of novels, “The Games Men Play,” also the name of the sports/culture blog she writes.
Her short story “The Glass Door” was published by JMS and part of “Together apART: Creating During COVID” at ArtsWestchester in White Plains. Her new story, “After Hopper,” is now available from JMS Books. For more, visit thegamesmenplay.com.