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As a chef, being invited to cook at the James Beard House is like a musician being invited to play at Carnegie Hall – it’s an honor and a big deal. Kelly Cook, dining services director at Presbyterian Village North (PVN), is passionate about preparing delectable and health-conscious cuisine for residents of the senior living community. He’s defying food stereotypes that many senior communities face and is bringing a delightful culinary experience to the seniors who live there. Now, he will have the opportunity to show off his skills and years of experience at the James Beard House in New York City with a group of six chefs who dub themselves “The Lone Star Chefs of Texas.” The team will prepare its second practice dinner on April 28 at 6:00 p.m. at Presbyterian Village North (8600 Skyline Dr, Dallas, TX 75243) in advance of the actual dinner, which will take place on June 21 at the James Beard House located in Greenwich Village. The event is a fundraiser that will help pay for the dinner in June, and tickets can be purchased for $100.

“We are honored to have the privilege to perform in the James Beard House this summer,” said Cook. “The Lone Star Chefs is a seasoned group of chefs with more than 200 years of combined experience. While we are all very competitive, we share a common goal of helping others and promoting education. We are now a part of a larger group of chefs who have traveled the world over the last 25 years competing, raising money for charity, working with students, cooking at disaster relief sites and bringing the “Tastes of Texas” around the world though cultural-exchange dinners. This opportunity to cook at James Beard House is something we are all excited to cross off our bucket lists.”

A culinary groupie, James Beard was a champion of American cuisine who helped mentor and educate generations of chefs and food enthusiasts. His spirit lives on through the James Beard Foundation (JBF), which exists to celebrate, nurture and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse and sustainable for everyone. The foundation offers a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships for culinary students, publications, chef-advocacy training and thought-leader convening. The foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House as a performance space for visiting chefs. Each event is a fundraising opportunity which provides the funds necessary to complete the foundation’s initiatives and maintain programming. Foundation members and the public are invited to buy tickets for each dinner or special event.

“We are excited to showcase Texas cuisine, and our menu is a tribute to the tremendous amount of resources available within our community,” said Cook. “These include the abundant seafood in the gulf, the wild game from the plains, the bountiful produce from the Brazos Valley, cheeses and grains from the hill country and the centerpiece of our menu – iconic Texas beef – we worked to represent all the facets of Texas life. We are eager to complete our first practice dinner. Not only will it be a time for us to test out our menu, it is a way for us to fundraise. It is tradition for visiting chefs to provide all of the food and wine for those who attend, while JBF provides the service and venue space. We hope the Texas community will support us in this endeavor as we strive to deliver an exceptional culinary experience.”

Cook has been active with the Texas Chefs Association for more than 20 years and has served on the board of directors in many capacities including currently holding the office of president of the Texas Chefs Association. He also is actively involved in the community and charity organizations such as the National Kidney Foundation of West Texas Board of Directors. In 2005, Chef Kelly was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs (AAC) – the honor society of the American Culinary Federation (ACF). He has received many service and culinary awards including the Second Place Silver Medal in the ACF National Cooking for Life Championship in 2011. He has been responsible for organizing and producing formal and casual dining experiences for U.S. Presidents, members of Congress and other dignitaries and organizations. Cook received a Bachelor of Science, Magna Cum Laude, in Organizational Management from Lubbock Christian University and achieved the level of Certified Executive Chef from the American Culinary Federation Educational Institute.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Chef Kelly lead our dining services team at Presbyterian Village North,” said Bryan Cooper, executive director of Presbyterian Village North. “When a person is talented, passionate and altruistic, that’s a winning combination and someone you want on your team. Chef Kelly ensures that residents get a five-star culinary experience every day and at every meal. From the food to the quality of the service, he and his team deliver. We are so supportive of this opportunity at James Beard House and wish him the best of luck. We know he and the other chefs will make Texas cuisine shine.”

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Several studies show that a nutritional diet and regular exercise help prevent sickness, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Staying active in retirement also helps keep the joints moving and increas energy. It’s for these reasons that residents of Presbyterian Village North (PVN), a faith-based nonprofit senior living community, are biking, swimming, rowing and walking nearly every day. Three residents, Janice and Chester Bentley, and Pam Altizer, are working out for one-to-three hours a day in the wellness center at PVN. From participating in classes to using state-of-the-art machines, these seniors are not letting anything slow them down. 

“Chester and I start off our day with a three-hour workout,” said Janice Bentley, a resident of Presbyterian Village North. “I wake up at 3:30 a.m. and hit the gym by 4:45 a.m. six days a week. Chester is not far behind me, though he does not wake up quite as early as I do. We both work out for three hours exercising various muscles and joints. I do a bit of everything – Spin classes, elliptical trainer, rowing machine and exercises for my back. Exercising makes me feel better and gives me energy. I think everyone should do it, as it wards off depression and anxiety, helps with joint movement, along with several other benefits. I started working out vigorously in my 40s and haven’t stopped since.”

The inspiration to work out came when Janice turned 40 and Chester presented her with a cake that read “Over the Hill.” Janice decided she wanted to age gracefully and actively, so she picked out some workout clothes and shoes and started walking. Chester soon joined her and eventually they were doing 10K races every Saturday morning. The dynamic duo reached a point where they were running 10 miles every week day and 20 miles on Saturdays. At one point, they determined they had put more miles on their shoes than on their car. They eventually returned to walking and still covered an impressive eight miles a day. Now, they work out in the convenience of PVN’s wellness center.

“Janice has always had a lot of energy, and working out helps me keep up with her,” said Chester. “I feel like I miss out on a part of my day if I do not get my workout in. I spend about 30 minutes on each machine and do laps in the pool. I enjoy exercising on the stationary bike, elliptical trainer, rowing machine and getting in the pool four days a week. Sometimes PVN has monthly wellness challenges that encourage us to really push ourselves and makes working out even more fun.”

Presbyterian Village North’s Total Conditioning rowing classes are at 1:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Spin classes are held at 8:00 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Pam Altizer, a resident of PVN, enjoys the Spin classes, combining them with the Total Conditioning class and a cardio class called Interval Blast. With both the conditioning class and Interval Blast held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Pam gets in two workouts on those days.

“I'm on a personal journey focused on wellness. I'm working on toning up and strengthening my body while also losing weight,” said Pam. “I enjoy the Spin class so much I typically arrive earlier before it starts to do some exercises on my own. When I start off my day with a workout, it makes me feel better and more alert. If there is a day I don’t get my workout in, I notice my body feels differently. Before moving to PVN, I never tried Spin, but ever since I attended my first class here I have loved it. We are so fortunate to have access to state-of-the-art machines and a variety of classes here at PVN. I encourage anyone who wants to stay healthy to participate.”

Recently, the Presbyterian Village North Foundation gifted rowing machines to the wellness center, and Pam enjoys using those too. She says it is one of those workouts that does not feel that intense when you are doing it, but afterward you can feel it everywhere. All the residents agree that only good things can come from working out and encourage everyone to try it out even if they are intimidated because everyone has to start somewhere.

“It is inspiring to see residents such as the Bentleys and Pam dedicating so many hours of each day and week to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle,” said Bryan Cooper, executive director of Presbyterian Village North. “Opportunities to start community-wide health initiatives help motivate individuals even more. Just last month the wellness team created a health challenge for American Heart Month. It brings everyone together in an environment that is supportive and goal oriented. It is amazing to see how far everyone progresses toward reaching their goals when they support each other in the gym and at class.”

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It is not always apparent when children are grieving, because unlike adults, they typically grieve silently and do not want to talk about unhappy or sad things in their lives. Though they may not express emotional pain vocally, it is imperative to understand how they grieve in order to help them cope with the grief. Faith Presbyterian Hospice offers many free bereavement programs and support groups aimed at supporting families as they grieve and heal together. With programs including Faith Kids, Camp Faith, and Coffee and Conversation, there is something for every child, regardless of age and experience. Both Faith Kids and Camp Faith bring the entire family together, either for a nighttime grief support group featuring a dinner, discussion and playtime or for an all-day camp focused on dealing with grief. Coffee and Conversation was developed for older teens and young adults. This age group is unique, as they are working to identify where they will go to college or determining what job to take or career path to follow. 


“When a close loved one passes, the entire family is impacted, regardless of age,” said Valerie Sanchez, director of bereavement for Faith Presbyterian Hospice. “It is therapeutic when the family can address sad situations and have difficult conversations, even though they may want to avoid them. I have a few helpful tips for guardians working through grief with children.”


Specific advice for assisting children as they cope with grief:


  • Recognize that children do grieve, and they grieve based on what they know and understand about dying.
  • Be honest about what is happening. The dynamic of the family has changed, and you need to acknowledge as well as explain it.  
  • Ask them questions: “What do you know? What are you most afraid of?” Most likely they will not ask questions because they are scared of making you upset.
  • Tell them what normal grief is like. Explain that it is okay to feel fear, confusion, anger and sadness. Explain anticipatory grief if the loved one is still on hospice.
  • Take care of yourself so you can take care of your child.
  • Make sure everyone in the child’s world understands that a big change occurred. They are not going to tell their teacher about experiencing frustration because their father is on hospice. Take an active role in educating people in their lives about the situation.
  • Be patient. Children are trying to understand death and make sense of grief. They are going to ask some of the same questions again and again. You need to be prepared to let them ask those tough questions repeatedly.


Advice and tips like the ones mentioned above are covered in Faith Presbyterian Hospice’s monthly support groups and annual day camps, encouraging families to confront grief and heal together.


“For younger children, we have Faith Kids, which meets twice a month,” said Sanchez. “The family comes together, and we start the evening with dinner and conversation. Then we split them into groups by age for circle time, where we have conversations about our loved ones. This is a time for questions and processing. Afterward, the kids go to different areas in the bereavement center to express themselves through 45 minutes of interactive play, art, music therapy and more. We even have a ‘Volcano Room’ that is completely padded so that children can roll, jump and stomp to get energy associated with grief out of their system. To conclude, we return to our circles for a breathing exercise and express what we look forward to in the coming days or weeks.”


In addition, Faith Presbyterian Hospice offers Camp Faith, a day camp held twice a year – once right before school starts and again during the holidays. The camp is designed to help kids work through their sorrow with grief-related activities. For example, one activity involves the children writing things they remember about their loved ones and how grief impacts their lives on tiles. Then, they use a hammer and smash the tile into a bunch of small pieces. The tile is a metaphor for the child, and the shattering is representative of how grief impacts them. Next, they put the tile back together, which is a very hard task. However, it shows the kids that despite the impact of grief, the tile has not changed fundamentally. It shows the kids that like the tile, they too can pull the pieces of their broken heart back together. After completing activities with the entire family, everyone breaks for lunch, followed by age-specific circle time and play time. To conclude, all families come back together for a remembrance ceremony during which each participant lights candles and shares memories.


“Our other support group targets older children, those in their late teens and early 20s,” said Sanchez. “It’s called Coffee and Conversation and is designed for children figuring out their identity, direction in life and future goals. It can be overwhelming to start a new job or go to school somewhere far from home when a loved one is on hospice or recently passed. This group offers opportunities for young adults to discuss unique challenges pertaining to people their age. Regardless of age or circumstance, everyone copes with grief differently, and our goal at Faith is to serve as a resource for anyone who needs assistance navigating this difficult time in life.”

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After watching his wife paint for several years, Frank Pike, 86, was inspired to sign up for a painting series featuring six two-hour workshops. However, instead of using the coveted brushes his wife, Nancy, likes to use, he is learning to paint with a palette knife, a metal tool used for mixing and spreading paint. The Pikes are residents of Presbyterian Village North (PVN), a faith-based nonprofit senior living community, where they signed up for classes. They are thrilled to explore this technique of painting through the series held on Mondays from 12:30 to 2:30 pm.


"I started painting during WWII, though it was not a creative outlet for me back then," said Pike. "I was seven years old and my brother was off fighting the war, as were most other young men at that time. I did a lot of painting while they were away, but I was painting bedrooms, living rooms and houses, so you could say this is a different experience for me now. The unique part about this class is that the instructor teaches us how to paint using palette knives. Instead of using a bunch of different brushes and water to rinse them, we simply use the palette knife to mix the paint and put it on the canvas. To clean up, we wipe the tool with a paper towel and throw the towel away. I think we all appreciate the easy cleanup."


The instructor, Elliot Fallas, started teaching oil painting more than 20 years ago and found he preferred the palette knife to a brush. The students in his classes find inspiration for their own work, though he doesn't mind helping them come up with new ideas.


"We are looking for inspiration for our artwork everywhere, books, special interests, everyday objects and more,” said Pike. “Fellow residents have painted a variety of subjects including a single flower, a sailboat, a bison out in the snow and hunting lodge scenes. At the end of the class, Elliot will hold up each person's work, whether it is complete or not, and show it off to get feedback. It is interesting to see what people choose to paint, and the quality of work surprises us. The other day my wife even let me use one of her coveted brushes. I feel quite privileged, as it is the only brush, she loaned me for the remainder of the classes.”


Pike notes that the class is very quiet, as everyone focuses on their work. Though quiet, everyone finds inspiration as they work on their individual pieces in a group. Pike estimates that he will complete five paintings by the end of the series.


"I signed up for this series because I wanted to try something new and fun," said Pike. "I have drawn cartoons and things like that, so I figured this would be another creative avenue for me to explore. I am colorblind, and I hope this class will help me look at color in a controlled way."


Pike believes that any time a person has the opportunity to express creativity or try something new, they should because it may benefit them in a way they do not anticipate. He encourages people to go outside of themselves for these experiences. In the class, he is working on painting a desert scene and a mountain scene with lots of snow. Next, he would like to paint a canvas with an abundance of color.


"We value offering residents opportunities to discover and enhance artistic talents,” said Bryan Cooper, executive director of Presbyterian Village North. “Creating art is beneficial no matter your age, as it improves self-management, alleviates symptoms of depression, enhances communication skills, reduces stress and opens the mind. In addition to the painting series, our community offers other engaging artistic activities such as sewing, woodworking and crafting. Our goal is to provide residents with a lifestyle that leads to genuine friendships, meaningful options for personal fulfillment and a future filled with purpose.”

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Presbyterian Village North (PVN), a faith-based nonprofit senior living community, is delighted to announce it received a $10,000 grant from West Coast University. This grant will help provide nursing education for the current staff, including tools for developing skill practices and service training materials. PVN will implement a multifunctional mannequin for hands-on training and will purchase virtual education training materials with the grant funds. The university chose PVN because the senior living community contributes to the education of area nursing students by allowing them to participate in supervised on-site clinical training.


“We were thrilled to receive this wonderful grant. We have developed relationships with three area nursing schools that send students to our 66-acre campus to fulfill the clinical portion of their education,” said Jennifer Goen-Runnels, director of nursing at Presbyterian Village North. “Students from West Coat University, Chamberlin College of Nursing and El Centro go through clinical rotations at PVN two days a week. Students are supervised by a PVN nurse or an on-site instructor who oversees them as they tend to real patients and residents. The students conduct patient assessments to determine residents’ activities of daily living (ADL), as well as perform certain medical procedures and tasks. We are delighted to offer students this incredible opportunity and give them firsthand experience they can use in their career.”


Each semester, approximately 300 students from all three schools complete the clinical training at PVN. There is a shortage of nurses both nationally and in Texas, and relationships like this help students fulfill their curriculum requirements in a timely fashion while gaining much-needed experience.


“We have high standards at PVN and hold every student to those standards when they serve patients and residents on our campus,” said Goen-Runnels. “This is an eye-opening experience, and we consider it an honor to train the next generation of health care professionals. The new tools purchased with the grant will further sharpen our nursing skills to ensure we continue to deliver exemplary care.”


West Coast University recently presented Presbyterian Village North with a check.

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It is disheartening to know that some children are wondering if they will get to experience the joy of opening gifts on Christmas morning with their families. In an effort to make sure every child feels the magic of Christmas, Presbyterian Village North residents came together to make this holiday season a truly meaningful one. They spent the earlier part of December purchasing Christmas gifts online and in stores for children in need who attend their neighborhood school. Having developed a close relationship with Stults Elementary School, PVN and the school collaborate on many programs and intergenerational activities all year long. At the end of the year, the residents provide one final gesture of love and compassion by giving Christmas gifts to students in need. The school sets up an Angel Tree and brings it over to PVN. Residents then pick out children and lovingly purchase items that are on the children’s wish lists. The goal is to not only make Christmas extra special for the children, it is also to alleviate the parents’ stress so they do not have to fret about providing these things in addition to basic necessities. It’s that time of year when many people look for ways to give back to those who are less fortunate and in need, and there’s nothing cuter than seniors giving back to children.

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Presbyterian Village North (PVN), a premier nonprofit senior living community, is pleased to announce a new expansion project is underway. While still in the early planning stages, the community plans to add a new independent living building featuring 102 one- and two-bedroom apartment homes, some with lake views. Seniors joining the Priority Program will have first pick of units with lake views. Bryan Cooper, executive director of Presbyterian Village North, made the announcement.  

“We are thrilled about the opportunity to continue PVN’s legacy and look forward to eventually welcoming new residents into our family-like community,” said Cooper. “We received a great response from the 2016 expansion, and most of those residences are now occupied. With this new expansion, we seek to address more market demands by providing senior housing that meets the desires and needs of today’s seniors.”

The new building will take the place of an older, outdated building. It will be positioned over an underground parking garage and will connect to the Corrigan Building, the main hub of the campus which houses many of the amenities and much of the residential activity. Amenities accessible through the Corrigan Building include a café, beauty salon with spa and massage area, onsite doctor’s clinic, game room, auditorium, mailroom, spiritual life services, library, wellness center and a pool. The new building will feature signature designs and contemporary finishes evocative of current multifamily developments. Each residence will come complete with full kitchens and their own washers and dryers. The pet-friendly building is near PVN’s dog park.  In addition, PVN plans to enhance commons areas.

“The goal of the project is to stay at the forefront of industry trends and to give our community a competitive edge over other senior housing providers in the area,” said Cooper. “We have welcomed many new faces these last two years since the completion of the previous expansion, and we look forward to having many more Dallas-area seniors join us in the years to come. I had the privilege of speaking with one of our newest residents who spent three years searching for the best senior living community. He described PVN as ‘an oasis amongst the chaos,’ indicating that our campus was the perfect place for serenity within a large metropolitan city like Dallas. We sit on 66 lush acres, and we are excited for this opportunity to serve more seniors in the Dallas area.”

Construction is expected to start in the first quarter of 2020, and the community anticipates it will begin move-ins in 2021. Currently, PVN is conducting a Priority Program Seminars to provide information about the project and what it will offer. For a list of dates and venues, please visit

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An ideal doctor’s visit would be easy to schedule, convenient to get to, personalized, not rushed, and performed in an environment with a pleasant ambiance. The newly formed, Dallas-based company AveoMedical aims to act as a change agent and provide this kind of service for seniors, who are traditionally underserved when it comes to access to high-quality health care. Presbyterian Village North (PVN), a senior living community, is pleased to announce it will be the first community to partner with AveoMedical, a patient-centered mobile medical practice that brings a new level of access, convenience and personalization to seniors and families. Together, they will partner to meet the needs of PVN’s independent living residents.   

“When we learned of AveoMedical, we knew this integrated approach with customized care would be an ideal model to meet the needs of our residents,” said Bryan Cooper, executive director of PVN. “They surveyed a third of our independent living residents to discover what they are looking for in regard to their health care experience. They then took those results and incorporated the feedback into how they will run the clinic: from the span of time it is open, to how many days it is open, to how appointments are scheduled and more. It is amazing to see their genuine interest in our residents. We couldn’t be happier with the response and feel privileged to be the first community to apply this innovative approach for providing medical care for seniors.”

AveoMedical is a mobile medical practice that brings experienced physicians who specialize in geriatrics to senior living communities so that residents can schedule and make it to appointments with ease. As part of its recent $93 million expansion project, PVN opened a wellness clinic complete with exam rooms which AveoMedical leases to provide on-site care to residents five days a week. The initial visit with a new patient includes the Aveo Lifestyle Medicine assessment, which explores past and present health events with state-of-the-art tests to provide a comprehensive lifestyle guide geared toward achieving health and wellness goals.

“AveoMedical is forging a blueprint for a more integrative type of care in senior living communities,” said Doretta Spates, nurse practitioner at AveoMedical. “We are setting the bar for the future of senior care with our high standards and exceptional quality indicators, as well as through the use of technology with gold-standard medical guidelines. AveoMedical will attend community council meetings, socials and gatherings to ensure each client understands our dedication to be their on-site medical service provider. We embrace PVN’s mission and will integrate it into our services on their campus to ensure exceptional medical care.”

During focus groups with PVN’s residents, AveoMedical learned that residents wanted greater access to primary care with customized care planning. They learned that many residents are aware of chronic conditions such as arthritis, hypertension, pain and sleep apnea. These seniors desire a closer primary care physician (PCP) relationship that would allow for timely, high-touch follow-ups with the right specialist coordination to manage these conditions available at an overall lower cost as compared to an expensive healthcare system. Since many residents use the internet for online shopping and email, the ability to schedule appointments, conduct virtual visits with their provider and view health records online will provide them with the access they want and need. AveoMedical also found that 35 percent of those surveyed saw their PCP at least three to four times last year, and that number should be higher, especially for chronic care management.

“Due to advances in medical care, we are seeing people live much longer, resulting in an increased need for the management of chronic disease and preventative care,” said Dr. Jordan Pastorek, medical director for AveoMedical. “If their illnesses and risk factors are effectively managed, their quality of life is improved. We are excited to bring care to patients’ doorsteps and provide efficiencies that allow them to spend more time enjoying their personal lives.”

“To stay competitive in today’s marketplace, there is tremendous pressure on communities to offer acute and chronic care services on-site to support aging independent living residents and complement wellness programs,” said Jade Falldine, vice president of operations of AveoMedical. “The AveoMedical model provides operators with a cost-effective solution by delivering on-site primary care services focused on quality care and prevention, technological integration and adherence to current Medicare requirements. The successful launch of our partnership with Presbyterian Village North has exceeded our expectations. We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from residents, family members and staff.”

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Usually at family events, it’s the grandparents asking the grandchildren about their love lives, but in a timeshare in Cancun last year, the grandchildren of Jim Spell listened with rapt attention as he shared the story of his first kiss with Pam Davidson at Presbyterian Village North (PVN). Spell was married for 60 years and has been a widower for the last six years. After her divorce, Davidson was single for 46 years. The two didn’t plan on dating during their retirement, let alone sneaking into a chapel on a Thursday evening after a dentist appointment to elope.


“I felt slightly embarrassed as I was telling my family the story of how I met Pam, but my children and their spouses were just tickled, and my grandchildren stared at me wide-eyed,” said Spell. “I had not been on a first date or tried to do something romantic with someone new in nearly 70 years. You could say I felt a bit out of practice. It was like I was stumbling over my words, knowing how I felt but unsure of how to communicate my feelings or take the next steps. I never expected life to bring Pam and I to where we are now, but fate is a funny thing. Our love story starts with a ukulele.”


Every year at PVN, the senior living community hosts a Senior Follies Talent Show. Spell was approached by the event organizer who was seeking more acts to fill up the show. He happened to have a ukulele he never learned to play, so he searched on the internet for a song with only four cords. He decided to learn a song called “Daisy a Day” and perform it for the show. Davidson was delighted by his performance and later approached him at dinner on a Sunday evening in March 2017, asking if her daughter and she could sit with him and his friend. She simply wanted to make his acquaintance.


“I am very social, so I am always trying to meet new people at Presbyterian Village North,” said Davidson. “That first dinner was a platonic evening filled with laughter and lighthearted conversation. A couple of months later, he called to ask if I would like to go to dinner in the dining room again sometime, and after I said yes, he hung up. It was a very direct call. We visited some more during this second dinner and then parted ways. A few summer months passed by, each of us traveling and doing our own thing. In August, some friends of mine decided it would be fun to go dancing, so I invited Jim because I knew he enjoyed dancing as well. While we shared several dances, we were still just friends. After that we met for more dinners, during which I would talk and talk, telling him every story I could think of, laughing all the while. Jim is a wonderful listener.”


After a few dinners in, Spell knew he was attracted to this sweet lady, though he didn’t know where it was going. He tried to explain his feelings and thoughts to her, but he stumbled over his words. Davidson thought he was trying to say they should just be friends, but he was actually trying to tell her he wanted more. Finally, after dinner one evening, Spell felt inclined to show Davidson how he was feeling. When words fail, kisses speak. He kissed her in a public place when no one happened to be around, and it was the perfect moment for a long, romantic kiss.


“After I kissed Pam, I was in a daze. I couldn’t wait to get to my apartment and call her on the phone to ask her what just happened between us,” said Spell. “The whole start of our relationship and our feelings went right over our heads, but looking back, we can see how everything fell into place. All through the village, people would comment on how they loved seeing us with each other and how they thought we belonged together – and they are right, it’s as natural as breathing.”


On the evening of May 14, 2018, Spell asked Davidson to marry him, to which she agreed. Not wanting to wait or go through the stress of planning a big to-do, the couple decided to get their marriage license and sneak into the Presbyterian Village North Chapel on the evening of Thursday, May 17. The day of their wedding, Davidson told Spell she would like to feel like a bride and requested that they pick up some flowers for her to carry in a bouquet. They picked them up later that day before her dental appointment at 3:00 p.m. Afterward, she went home and pulled something from her wardrobe to walk down the aisle in. Their wedding was simplicity at its finest – the beautiful union of two people in God’s presence.   


“My son-in-law is a minister, so we asked him to marry us,” said Davidson. “Two of our five daughters were also present, as they live nearby. Other than the three children, we invited our friend who is a photographer to capture the union. We didn’t tell anyone our plan, and we weren’t planning on telling anyone after, but we could not keep the secret. The entire community was incredibly happy for us when they found out. Upon our first visit back to the dining room for dinner, we were welcomed with applause, much like when the bride and groom enter for their reception. So many people reached out to shower us with love and kindness. We are grateful to them for making this so special. As a way to say thank you for all the support we have received, we hosted a happy-hour style reception on September 1 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., during which our families got to know one another, and we did a blessing of the rings we bought a couple months after we got married. Family from New York,  California, Washington, Florida, Nebraska and Oregon all came in to celebrate with us. More than 200 people were in attendance, and we are truly touched.”


Dating, let alone marrying at this point in life, can be intimidating for seniors. The Spells advise that people stay open to the possibilities that life presents – to grab them and run with them, to recognize what is happening and don’t let wonderful opportunities slip through your hands. 


“Sometimes it can be hard to walk away from someone you think might be the right person for you, but don’t settle” said Davidson. “I needed to be divorced and single all those years because I needed to wait for Jim. If someone had told me 46 years ago that this is how long it was going to take, it would have been a crushing amount of time to grasp, but looking back, he was worth the wait. I fell in love with what I saw in Jim’s eyes – his strength, character, dignity and respect. He is a good man and I love his company. We laugh all the time and share many interests. Life is beautiful because we have each other.”


“I love Pam’s positive outlook, as well as her upbeat and lively personality. She is a sweet, attractive woman who is so friendly and outgoing,” said Spell. “We made plans to visit each other’s families later this year, and I cannot wait to take her to my annual high school reunion brunch to meet people I grew up with. We have so much in common, and it is nice to share my life with someone as lovely as Pam.”


“It is amazing to witness the development of a relationship into a marriage between two people who clearly belong together here within our 63-acre community,” said Bryan Cooper, executive director of Presbyterian Village North. “It has been a delight to see all the residents come together to celebrate Pam and Jim’s union these last few months. We were all excited to commemorate the occasion during their reception in September.”

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Retirement, just like the rest of life, is what people choose to make of it. When some people think of retirement, they envision a group of older adults meeting up regularly for a game of bingo or a game of bridge. While this isn’t untrue for some individuals, it is a stereotypical assumption for the rest. Seniors are living longer, healthier lives and are accustomed to a different lifestyle than that of previous generations. Today’s seniors feel and act ageless. They want an abundance of choices. While Bingo isn’t quite as popular as it once was with the aging population, it doesn’t mean that Bingo is becoming obsolete, it simply means that seniors expect more out of their retirement. Today’s culture is consumed with staying busy – everyone is on the go and their planners are packed. Luckily for seniors living at Presbyterian Village North, there are more than 300-plus activities to choose from each month. These options do include bingo and bridge, among many other opportunities to explore, engage, create and indulge.


“You know when you visit a large, upscale all-inclusive resort and you wake up each day with a full calendar of activities and happenings at your fingertips? That’s what we want life at PVN to feel like,” said Lisa Englander, independent living life enrichment manager of Presbyterian Village North. “There’s social clubs, books clubs, clubs that focus on one particular hobby, there’s fitness classes, discussion groups, cultural and historical outings, educational opportunities, meetups for games, movie nights, entertainers, art sessions and themed parties. Our residents worked hard doing significant things throughout the course of their lives, and we want them to feel rewarded in their retirement. We want them to feel like they are living at a resort, and that they have many options available to them to continue leading the life they love or to start leading a life they love even better today.”


Beyond providing residents with an abundance of choices, the main purpose of such well-rounded programming is to help them feel connected, relevant, productive and like they are still living with purpose. It can be hard to go from being an involved parent to an empty nester or going from a workaholic to a retiree. Research conducted by the University of California, San Francisco shows that loneliness affects 40 percent of seniors on a regular basis. Other research conducted in Health Psychology shows that people who are lonely report their symptoms being approximately 40 percent more severe than those who are less lonely. Feeling lonely on a regular basis can be as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Some of the significant side effects of loneliness are cognitive decline, potential progression of Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, obesity and even the common cold. 


“Social connection is important at any age, and our goal is to make sure that people living in our community feel fulfilled in the life they are living,” said Englander. “We want residents to have so many choices so that there is literally something for everyone, no matter what their interests may be. August is known for its dog days of summer, and we have some cooler activities and outings planned this month to keep everyone out of the extreme heat. We will be celebrating Restaurant Week, having travel club meetups, delivering a therapy lecture, reuniting veterans at Happy Warrior meetings, hosting bible studies and more. We have watched friendships blossom, families enjoy quality time together and people fall in love at PVN. What an amazing time to be alive!”