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Meet Geno

Visit a local Bocce Ball court and chances are good that you’ll see a crowd gathered around one of the star players named Geno – the subject of today’s resident spotlight. That’s because, along with being a resident at Oakmont Parkway, Geno is one of the best Bocce Ball players in Michigan – fronting his own team and taking home the gold in the Michigan Senior Olympics. But more than just Bocce Ball, Geno is a man of many stories, many laughs, and an all-around great neighbor for the residents and staff of Oakmont Parkway. In today’s Resident Spotlight, we learn more about what makes Geno such a popular fixture and friend.

A Wife from a Rival School

Eugene, or as he’s known to all of his friends, Geno, grew up on Detroit’s East Side. His father worked for Chrysler while his mom stayed home and helped raise her son (Geno) and his two sisters. Life was good for the young family, and the children quickly grew, with Geno enrolling in and graduating from St. Rita’s High School near Eight Mile and Woodward. It was during these formative years that Geno would meet the woman who would go on to be his best friend and life partner.

“I met my wife in High School; she went to our rival school, St. Benedict’s, in Highland Park,” he said, laughing. “Mother Superior said, ‘you can’t take her to our prom, you need to take a girl from our school.’ And I said, ‘Oh no,’ and took her to our prom anyway.”

His instincts turned out to be right on with this girl from the rival school, as she would go on to become his wife and the mother of his children. Truly high school sweethearts.

From School to Service

After graduating from High School, Geno went into the service, joining the United States Navy as a Radio Man in the early 50s. “The Navy showed me the world,” he said laughing – but it also showed him conflict. He served with eight different ships during the Korean War, helping to send and transcribe important messages and support his squad. However, the war wasn’t all bleak. Two years into his service, Geno and his long-time girlfriend officially became husband and wife, and his first son was born on Selfridge Military Base. “He was a freedom baby,” Geno said.

When his service came to an end after four years, Geno came home and got a job delivering milk for Twin Pines Farm Dairy, a former Detroit institution, before finally settling into a job with the City of St. Clair Shores where he stayed for the next 22 years. When asked what he did for the City, Geno didn’t mince words. “[I did] everything,” he said, joking. “Water department, sewer department, tree trimmer, DPW – you know, just everything you could do, I did!”

East Siders for Life

The young family of seven, now with four daughters added to the mix, thrived, and they enjoyed family trips together to visit grandparents in Northern Michigan as well as the Sunshine State of Florida. The kids grew up and though some moved away to places like Texas and Florida, Geno and the gang always considered the East Side their home – where he remains to this day.

Happily settled into his life at Oakmont Parkway, Geno doesn’t waste a minute. He’s a board member of the St. Clair Shores Senior Center, an ambassador for the Macomb County Senior Olympics, and an avid Bocce Ball player – currently playing on an Oakmont-sponsored team in St. Clair Shores – vying again for yet another gold medal next year to add to his vast collection of accomplishments.

When asked about how he likes living at Oakmont Parkway, Geno’s answer was short and sweet. “I like it good,” he said. “There’s a lot of other places out there, and we looked at them, but here, you get a little extra.”

Congratulations Joanne on 20 Years of Service to Oakmont Parkway!

At Oakmont Senior Communities, we strive to not only provide a great place for our seniors to live and thrive, but also a great place for our employees to enjoy their career. That’s why we are so proud of the longevity and dedication of the staff in many of our communities.

When it comes to longevity and dedication at Oakmont Parkway, there is no staff member who has made a bigger impact than Housekeeping Supervisor Joanne English. Now celebrating her 20th year of service to the seniors of Clinton Township, Joanne’s irreplaceable spirit, incredible work ethic, and love for her co-workers make her a truly outstanding member of the Oakmont team.

We were thrilled to celebrate this milestone with a special luncheon, engraved plaque (not pictured), and a gift of appreciation for Joanne for all she has done to make Oakmont Parkway the outstanding community that it is. We look forward to 20 more years of her fantastic efforts!

Congratulations Joanne!

 

Oakmont Rochester Residents Create Stunning Raku Pottery

Oakmont Rochester Independent’s ongoing partnership with the Creative Arts Studio in Royal Oak has presented our residents the opportunity to try new things, be creative in new mediums, and learn more about the process of making art. From painting and pottery to mosaics and mixed media, each month brings with it a new chance to create something beautiful.

The project for the month of August was Raku Ware. A form of traditional Japanese pottery that dates back to the 16th century, Raku’s unique look and texture is brought about by first glazing a piece of dried pottery, then heating it to high temperature in a kiln, and quickly cooling it down in a reduction chamber. The results are often stunning patterns of earth tones, and depending on the glaze used, intricate colors and sheens kissed in unique patterns by the fire of the combustion.

To prepare for the day of Raku, the Creative Arts Studio created by hand a variety of unique vases. After choosing which custom vase they liked the most, residents were given the opportunity to select glazes of their choice and apply them in whichever pattern they liked. When the glazing was complete and the surfaces were dry, the pieces were placed in a kiln that brought the temperature up to over 500 degrees – activating the glazes and preparing the pieces for the Raku-signature combustion cooling.

Once heated to the proper temperature, each piece was placed in its own reduction chamber where it began to cool. Soon after, residents could identify which piece was theirs and were able to take home their creation to display in their apartment or present as a gift to family and friends.

The results of the residents’ efforts were truly stunning. Each vase turned out beautiful and unique in its own way, just like the artists themselves. The residents were encouraged not only by the satisfaction of making art but also by how much they learned about the age-old process perfected in Japan so many years ago.

Take a look through our photo gallery below which will take you through the entire experience – from raw clay to finished pieces.

 

Oakmont Seniors Set Sail on the Detroit Princess

Ahoy Matey!

On July 12th, excited groups from Oakmont Parkway, Oakmont Sterling, Oakmont Rochester Independent, Oakmont Rochester Assisted, and Oakmont Sterling Assisted enjoyed the calming waves and relaxing breeze of the Detroit River aboard an afternoon lunch cruise upon the Detroit Princess River Boat. The weather was beautiful, the space was elegant, and our residents arrived ready to set sail and enjoy an afternoon of elegance and entertainment.

The two-hour cruise treated guests to an unparalleled view of the Detroit and Windsor waterfronts, including Belle Isle State Park and the Renaissance Center. Lunch was a buffet-style affair, with freshly made options that gave everyone something to enjoy. Dessert was served and the entertainment began: the sweet sounds of the Motown tribute act The Prolifics. Dressed to the nines in their matching sequenced blue jackets, the Prolifics ran through the greatest hits of Detroit Soul including selections from the Temptations and Four Tops. They truly had everyone singing along.

Many residents ventured to the top deck to take in the sights, while others stayed on the lunch deck and danced, quite literally, to the non-stop music. The ship returned to port around 2:30, and Oakmont residents got back on the buses to head home, excited for the new friends and memories made during the wonderful afternoon cruise.

Three Tips to Help Seniors Beat the Heat

High 80s, low 90s, no rain. This kind of weather forecast is becoming all-too-familiar throughout Michigan this summer. And while these temps make it easy to get outside and enjoy a ball game or a BBQ with family and friends, they can create a potentially dangerous situation when it comes to dehydration and overheating – especially for seniors.

Along with the physiological changes of aging, many common medications and other lifestyle factors can actually make seniors more prone to dehydration-related issues and complications than younger people. That’s why we wanted to share three great tips to help seniors stay cool doing the summer season.

1. Wear the right clothes for hot temps

Along with its own set of activities, summer also has its own recommended wardrobe – with an emphasis on light, cool, and comfortable. For days like today that make it into the 90s, the Center for Disease Control recommends sticking to lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Wearing the right clothing will help your body’s natural cooling mechanisms do their job, and will help keep you from overheating.

2. Enjoy the beautiful summer weather from inside

Summer makes us want to go outside and experience the sunshine – especially after a long and bitter-cold winter. However, one of the best ways to beat the heat on these scorching summer days is to stay inside, preferably where it’s air-conditioned. Direct exposure to sunlight, even briefly, can not only raise body temps but can also cause sunburn – a condition which makes it virtually impossible to cool down and can easily damage skin.

If you do have to head outside in the heat on a day like today, be sure to wear sunscreen and weather-appropriate clothing like a hat and sunglasses. Carrying an umbrella can also be a great way to limit direct sun exposure.

If you’re looking for a place to cool down, many movie theaters, senior centers, museums, and public libraries tend to be comfortably conditioned, so consider spending your time there if you don’t have access to air conditioning at home.

3. Hydrate with water and fluid-rich foods

As we age, achieving proper hydration becomes harder and harder – which makes getting the appropriate amount of fluids a challenge every day. Combine that with the 90-plus-degree temperatures, and drinking the proper amount of water becomes even more important.

Along with drinking the proper amount of H20, seniors can help fight dehydration by eating a diet full of hydration-rich foods. These include cucumbers, watermelon, ice burg lettuce, radishes, and more. Though these foods can be helpful in the fight against dehydration, they aren’t a replacement for getting the proper amount of water in your diet, so be sure to be drink plenty of water, too.


The dog days of summer can be a great time to spend with family and friends, but it can also mean dangerously high temperatures for many. While no general advice like the tips above will replace conversations with your doctor and healthcare providers, we hope these tips will help you stay cool, beat the heat, and enjoy all of the fun activity that summer brings.

Stay Cool!

Note: If you’re prone to bouts of heat-induced dizziness or sickness, or have problems staying hydrated, be sure to have a conversation with your doctor. These tips are not a replacement for medical advice or the opinion of a medical professional.