American House Resident Leads Active, Purposeful Lifestyle at 102

Here at American House, we pride ourselves on having a robust and active schedule of activities and events for our residents. American House Hazel Park Resident Pastor Payne goes above and beyond the meaning of staying active as the community’s 102-year-old Pastor, choir member, avid reader and licensed driver.

American House Blog - About Pastor Payne

American House resident Pastor Payne

Pastor Payne, born Eunice Payne February 27, 1912, was renamed Leo Adkins Payne several years later. However, to the residents and staff at his home of American House Hazel Park, he is simply known as Pastor Payne – the community’s leader of bible study and provider of what Pastor Payne calls “spiritual food.”

Becoming The Pastor

Pastor Payne was not always a pastor. Originally from Greenville, Alabama, the potential of a better life and education brought Pastor Payne to Detroit in 1941. In 1942, he began working for Ford Motor Company as a checker and packer. Thirty years later, Pastor Payne left the company to pursue his true passion.

“I love people very much,” says Pastor Payne. “It is in my heart to preach and teach, but I was reluctant to face the congregation.”

Pastor Payne underwent public speaking training and gained the confidence he needed to preach. In 1958, Pastor Payne organized his first church at 24 E. Nevada in Detroit where he grew the congregation as pastor for 47 years.

Coming to American House

Pastor Payne first became acquainted with the Hazel Park community by coming regularly to visit one of his members. Pastor Payne would have bible study with his member and, in doing so, became familiar with his future home.

“Moving to American House was one of the best choices I’ve ever made,” says Pastor Payne.

In August 2011, the current pastor of the community approached Pastor Payne with a request to lead Bible study. He accepted and, two and a half years later, continues to faithfully lead bible study sessions on the first and third Mondays of each month.

Pastor Payne describes the experience as very rewarding. “Many senior citizens had church homes, and many of them aren’t able to go – this fills a void. Nothing else will really satisfy them but spiritual food.”

Staying active, staying well

In addition to serving as community pastor, Pastor Payne enjoys participating in the American House Choir, which regularly performs across Southeastern Michigan. The choir is composed of more than 70 talented American House residents with a passion for music, which Pastor Payne enjoys very much.

Pastor Payne recently acquired his driver’s license at the age of 100, and still drives occasionally. Payne can drive and read without problem and enjoys reading the local paper to stay up-to-date and well-informed on current events and politics.

AMERICAN HOUSE

At American House, we’re committed to a whole person wellness for each resident. Call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a tour and find out about the exciting activities and events we offer to your loved ones.

American House Honors Our Own Tuskegee Airman

Washington_Ross_Tuskegee_Airman_Southfield_2010

Tuskegee Airman, Lt. Col. Washington Ross, an American House Resident

At American House, we’re fortunate to have a whole lot of history behind our doors! We even have our very own Tuskegee Airman, Lt. Col. Washington Ross. Ross, who lives at American House Southfield Senior Living, always knew he wanted to be a pilot. He was born in Mississippi, the fourth son in a family of five children, and then spent his youth in Kentucky.

In the 1930s, Lt. Col. Ross said there were barnstormers who went around Kentucky, city to city, with their Ford Trimotor planes. One Sunday, these barnstormers came to his city and offered rides on the planes — for a penny per pound! So, Lt. Col. Ross paid his fare, went up in the air and was instantly smitten.

“I told my parents if I ever got the opportunity to be a pilot, I was going to take that opportunity,” Lt. Col. Ross said. And he did.

At American House, we love honoring our residents who are veterans – and we have quite a few!

FLIGHT TRAINING

In 1936, Lt. Col. Ross was a freshman in college and decided to join a program at the university to learn to fly — because the country couldn’t legally train military pilots since it was not in the war yet. He earned his pilot’s license and, although he received word from Washington, D.C. in 1940 that he was to report for the draft, he still had one year left of school and got a deferment — because he didn’t want to go to war.

After completing school, Lt. Col. Ross began teaching and noticed a sign for aviation training over in Tuskegee, Ala. So he went there and got his training.

“I wanted to be a fighter pilot,” he said. He knew that if he was drafted, he didn’t want to be with the infantry on the ground, plowing through the mud all the time. He wanted to fly.

FIGHTER PILOT

In 1943, Lt. Col. Ross graduated and became part of the 332d fighter group — which moved him to Selfridge Air National Guard Base. His first assignment was to patrol the harbor in Naples, Italy. He flew a P-47, an aircraft with eight machine guns on it. He said this was the plane he liked most to fly for actual fighting.

“You didn’t need to use your gun sight,” he said. “If you got on those Germans’ tails, you’d just start shooting and you were bound to hit it.”

In all, Lt. Col. Ross flew 63 missions in World War II. He flew P-40, P-39, P-47, P-51 and B-25 aircraft.

“My aim was to fly my missions and come home,” he said. “I only fired my gun one time.”

He was fighting for 11 months and then the war ended. He spent 20 years in the Air Force and joined the reserves, retiring from the reserves in 1981. During this time, Lt. Col. Ross also taught in the Detroit Public Schools for 29 years until he retired in 1984. Following that, he spent time talking to schools about his experiences in the Air Force and as a fighter pilot.

Lt. Col. Ross remembers there was a high-ranking government official who said, “blacks would never fly,” and when questioned why, said, “because they’re too dumb.” Pressure was put on Congress and the rules changed, and Lt. Col. Ross was able to see his dream of flight fulfilled.

THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN

In the early part of the 1970s, Lt. Col. Ross said he and three of his comrades formed the Detroit chapter of the Tuskegee Airman. His wife was also part of the Tuskegee Air Force, Lt. Col. Ross said, as a secretary — because for every pilot, there was at least 10 other people who supported them and composed the group as well.

Our very own Tuskegee Airman had four children — one girl and three boys — with his wife. We are honored to have Lt. Col. Ross at American House, sharing his bit of history with us.

AMERICAN HOUSE

We love to hear the stories our residents at American House have to tell! Call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a tour and talk to our residents yourself.

4 ways to keep your senior loved ones looking – and feeling – their best

Just because they’re not in their 20s anymore doesn’t mean your senior relatives shouldn’t still be looking their best, right? When you look good, you feel good — so here are some tips on how to help keep your senior loved ones look stylish all year long!

1. Give a manicure.

manicureYour mom or grandma may not have the dexterity in her hands that she used to and it might be awkward and/or painful for her to paint her nails. Pick out a pretty polish (ask her what she likes or become a stealth observer the next time you visit her). Then, gather up your manicure tools: Nail polish remover, cotton balls, cotton swabs (for any off-the-nail messes), nail file and clippers. The next time you visit, spend some quality girl time doing her nails!

It will give you a great opportunity to talk up a storm! (Be sure to read these Conversation Starter Tips for Your Senior Loved Ones to have some topics ready to go.) TIP: Men enjoy having their nails cut and shaped, too! Just ask!

2. Cut, color, style.

You’re probably not a hairdresser (even if you are, keep reading!) but you can still help keep your loved one’s hair looking good. If your lovely lady or gentleman has a stylist they already treasure, go and get a gift certificate. Or, you can put some cash in an envelope (lovingly decorated, if you so choose) and hand it over with the express direction that it be used on a day of pampering at the hair salon.

3. Shop ‘til you drop.

shoppingbagsClothes make the man (or woman), right? If your senior loved one has a birthday coming up, or there’s a special holiday or event on the agenda, be sure to stop by and offer to take him or her shopping for some new clothes. Whether you pay or not, going shopping together is a great way to lift both of your spirits while you spend time together. But what if your loved one isn’t up for walking around the big stores and shopping malls for a few hours? Then bring the mall to them! There’s this great thing called the Internet, where you can browse tons of clothes in a fraction of the time – boot up your laptop or tablet and start shopping!

4. Bring on the skin care regimen.

Men and women experience dry and dull skin at any age, so help your loved ones brighten up their skin! Stock up on their favorite facial moisturizer, hand cream, body lotion and foot cream and they’ll start to experience that glowing skin all year long. For the ladies, try a special scented body lotion, or even some lavender-scented creams to help promote calmness and relaxation. Don’t forget a simple, but deluxe, face wash and body wash that your loved ones probably wouldn’t purchase.

VISIT AMERICAN HOUSE

At American House, we’re committed to helping our residents feel and look good! Call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a tour and find out all the exciting activities and amenities we offer for your loved ones.

6 Resolutions That Will Change Your Life

new-year-resolution2Tired of making the same resolutions year after year — and then losing your steam by the time Groundhog Day hits? Instead, try making resolutions that are just easy and basic changes geared toward improving your daily life and making you a better person. Don’t think of these as resolutions; think of them as opportunities to incorporate something new and better into your world! Here are our 6 Resolutions that Will Change Your Life:

1. A new skill I want to learn.

Have you wanted to be able to knit scarves for Christmas presents or build a new patio? Maybe you’d like to grow a beautiful garden or entertain your friends and family with a spectacular harmonica performance. Either way, now is the perfect time to take up a new hobby.

2. One way I will help others.

We all want to make a difference in someone else’s life, but it may be difficult to determine the best way to do so. Whether it’s donating your time to your favorite cause, helping your friend fix things around the house or shoveling the walkway for your neighbor: Pick one way you can help someone else — and you may be surprised at how it snowballs!

3. At least one book I will read.

Reading that book you’ve thought about opening for some time now is a great way to enrich your mind. Jumping into the world of literature can relax you and transport your mind anywhere you want to go. Don’t have a book in mind? Head to the library and ask the librarian for recommendations. You won’t be sorry!

4. A bad habit I will break.

Quitting smoking, putting an end to complaining or stopping overeating are quite popular New Year’s resolutions. If you view them as a bad habit to break instead of something to “keep,” it’ll be easier to make the change.

5. A healthy habit I will start.

How can you better yourself? Start by implementing something positive! Try incorporating more healthy food choices, practicing some Tai Chi daily OR writing in a journal before bedtime. Pick something that’s good for YOU: Your mind, body or soul.

6. A new food I will try.

Resolutions don’t have to be difficult changes! Are you anti-green vegetables? Have you always avoided any “fancy” food that you didn’t grow up eating — or are you afraid to try dishes or cuisines? Make a promise to try a new food this year. And once you try that food, well, maybe you’ll decide you want to try all kinds of other foods, too!

RESOLVE TO VISIT AMERICAN HOUSE

At American House, we work hard at bringing out the best in our residents — and offering plenty of activities for them to showcase their talents! Give us a call today at (248) 579-4422 to schedule a tour as part of YOUR New Year’s resolution!

5 Festive Halloween Door Decorating Ideas from Pinterest

If you’re looking to get into the Halloween spirit without (or in addition to) carving the ol’ jack-o-lantern, there are oodles of ideas out there on how to decorate your door. Scary? Funny? Crafty? Colorful? We’ve collected 5 Festive Halloween Door Decorating Ideas from Pinterest that will have your neighbors asking you for ideas next year!

And, there’s a door decorating idea for everyone — from the person who doesn’t have the time or energy to do much detailed decorating to the person who turns their home into an orange-and-black tribute:

Because You Don’t Want to be Left Out:

Photo credit:  pinterest.com

This Halloween door decoration idea is SIMPLE. As in, grab some scissors, construction paper and tape and you’re done — plus, it’s not time-intensive. If you’re not really sure how to decorate your door or you aren’t really a Halloween-y person, this is the one for you. Surprise all who come to your door by cutting out big googly eyes and a startled mouth to create a Ghost Face.

In the Spirit, but Not Too Crafty:

Pinterest Door MummySay you love the season leading up to Oct. 31 every year, but you’re not the type to accumulate glitter pumpkins or make intricate Halloween scenes. No worries — just take a roll or two of toilet paper and turn your front door into a Mummy.  Grab some black, white and purple (or yellow, or orange, or green) construction paper and make some really big eyes for your mummy.

Creative, Whimsical and Comical:

Pinterest Door WitchBetween miscellaneous items you already have and a quick trip to the dollar store (or Halloween costume shop), you can create an entertaining door decoration sure to bring smiles to your guests’ faces! Items needed: Witch hat; gloves; a black cape (or garbage bag), some colorful striped tights and a pair of black ballet flats or witchy boots. Arrange and adhere the items to your door and — presto! — it looks like the Wicked Witch crashed into your door! Don’t forget the broom.

Martha-Stewart-in-Training:

Pinterest Door BooIf you’re the crafty type, it’ll probably take you no time at all to create this darling “BOO” door hanging . The best part is, every person who makes this will create a completely different look. Head to your local craft store to pick out some wooden letters, and then use Mod Podge to stick some decorative scrapbook paper to the letters. Once you have turned the letters into your own style, tie them together and you have a cute Halloween door hanging to use for years to come.

Wreath Lovers Unite:

Pinterest Door WreathAre you a fan of holiday wreaths? Then this one is for you! Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.” — A wreath paying homage to Edgar Allan Poe speaks to the more intense side of Halloween. It’s classic, yet meaningful and stylish at the same time. And, it’s just the kind of thing you can create yourself with this detailed tutorial.

Halloween at American House

AH haunted house blog picAt American House Troy, residents and staff members are working together for the fourth year in a row to create a haunted house inside their community! Executive Director Debbie Smith said everyone is working on turning one apartment into a real haunted house for residents, their friends and family, and the public to enjoy. Stop by later this month and see what the collaborative effort cooked up!

We have plenty of fun activities at our American House communities that make us unique. Give us a call at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a tour today!

American House residents have summer fun with unique activities

summer-fun-sunshineFrom picnics to parades and golf to baseball, our American House residents really know how to live it up when the weather is warm. There’s always something fun, unique and enriching to do here, thanks to an adventurous staff and fun-loving residents. We’ve been enjoying summer to the fullest here at American House!

Angie Kadowaki, corporate lifestyle coordinator for all American House Senior Living communities, helps oversee a varied schedule of outings and activities for residents — and the bevy of things to do in summer is never-ending!

Some of the unique day trips the American House residents have been on this summer include:

 

Putt-Putt Golf

Several American House residents LOVED going on a recent putt-putt golf outing! It was a great way to take advantage of the beautiful summer weather while doing an activity many haven’t done in a long time. One of the biggest highlights of the trip was that one of American House’s very own residents, a 98-year-old woman, hit a HOLE-IN-ONE!

“I think that was pretty awesome,” Angie said.

Parades

Some of the residents from American House Milford participated in the community’s parade this summer. They took the time and decorated the American House bus in red, white and blue — and then the residents were able to ride in the parade and wave at passersby!

Horse Farm

Horses are magnificent animals and are innately attuned to people and their emotions — which means the horses can provide a calm sense of comfort when visited. Our residents were able enjoy the company of several horses when American House paid a visit to a local horse farm. Not everyone gets to be near and pet horses and our residents were thrilled to have this opportunity!

Detroit Tigers Games

Baseball is America’s pastime, so it’s only fitting that American House residents take in a baseball game whenever possible! This summer, as in summers past, our American House residents trekked to downtown Detroit to watch a Detroit Tigers baseball game at Comerica Park. It’s one of the more popular trips for our residents.

“We’ve been to a ton of Tigers’ games,” Angie said.

Barbecues

What is summer without a barbecue or two? Not quite the same, that’s for sure! We’re pleased that we have quite a few summer picnics for our residents to enjoy, eating some fun outdoor food and mingling with everyone.

Learn more about the exciting activities offered at American House on our blog. To find an American House Senior Living community near you, visit http://www.americanhouse.com/ or call (248) 579-4422.

American House Residents Travel to Orchestra Hall to Watch Detroit Symphony Orchestra Perform

imagesOur residents at American House Senior Living have been enjoying visits from Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) musicians for more than a year, but the residents were thrilled to actually be able to attend a full DSO performance recently!

Approximately 700 residents from 30 of our American House communities made the trek to Orchestra Hall in downtown Detroit in May to enjoy the DSO performance and friends and American House staff also joined in the event. We’re so thankful to the DSO for giving our residents this exceptional opportunity!

American House and the DSO created a partnership in 2012 where small ensembles of DSO musicians would play at a few different American House communities — and in 2013 that partnership expanded to present 36 FREE engagements! Each month, three American House communities host the DSO sessions for residents. Three to four DSO musicians play for an hour and the musicians talk to residents during a special meet and greet following the shows!

It was a great treat for our residents to be able to travel and watch a performance with the entire DSO at Orchestra Hall. In fact, the musicians in the opening performance told the audience, *”You’ve been gracious enough to welcome us in your homes, and we wanted the opportunity to welcome you into our home!”*

Residents were captivated watching and listening to the beautiful music — but perhaps even more enchanting was after the performance, when the musicians and conductor met with residents in the audience to answer questions and chat!

This was only one of the many exciting and enriching events we offer our residents — call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to find out what other activities and special happenings we have going on at American House!

Holiday Hope for Seniors at American House

All American House locations hosted their Annual Tree Lighting Events in support of Holiday Hope for Seniors. The Holiday Hope for Seniors campaign began with ideas from residents at local American House communities wishing to help their less fortunate neighbors: seniors helping seniors. Since its inception, the Holiday Hope for Seniors program has helped more than 650 seniors in need, including 350 seniors last year alone.