Dr. Walter Guralnick has never been content to rest on his laurels. This does not mean there haven’t been opportunities. The 100-year old resident of Youville House was an early pioneer in bringing affordable health insurance to the masses. He worked with Blue Cross Blue Shield to expand coverage for oral procedures and served for years on the BCBS Board of Directors. He introduced a dual degree curriculum in medicine and oral surgery that is now commonly practiced in oral and maxillofacial surgery training programs. He is a World War II veteran, the former chief of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Mass General Hospital, a recipient of the Harvard Medal and has been recognized with countless other distinctions. Since 1996, there has been an endowed professorship named for him at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

Dr. Guralnick poses at MGH for The Boston Globe (Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe Staff)

Dr. Guralnick poses at MGH for The Boston Globe (Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe Staff)

 

What is most notable about Dr. Guralnick, however, is that he is still working and has no plans to retire. In acknowledgment of his 65th anniversary with MGH and remarkable career stamina, Dr. Guralnick recently became the subject of a segment on Channel 5 news and a front page article in the “Metro” section of the Boston Globe. As he told Globe reporter Billy Baker, “I haven’t retired because my interests are the same now as they were 50 years ago. I’ve always said that if you’re going to work, you should seek to find something that you enjoy doing, and hopefully at the same time you can do some good for people.”

 

Health care has been more than a career for Dr. Guralnick; it has formed the basis of a remarkably rich life with its share of unexpected surprises.  Many Youville residents and staff were interested in speaking with Dr. Guralnick when the Globe article came out. He was happy to share what he views as one of the most important eras in his career: his sabbatical in China.  

 

In 1979, a few years after President Nixon restored relations with China, Dr. Guralnick and his wife decided to spend 6 months in that country. This trip would mark the beginning of a long series of overseas initiatives and lasting friendships. Work went on as usual, with Dr. Guralnick working in various Chinese medical schools and hospitals. Along with other colleagues, he helped establish a preventive dental health program in China. His wife Betty, a Radcliff graduate, introduced students and staff to social work practices in the United States.

 

The Guralnicks would return to China every year, making nearly two dozen trips in total. Their work in the cities of Chengdu, Xian and Shanghai became among their most important ongoing initiatives. Back in the United States, they had memorable gatherings for their growing number of Chinese friends. The connections made abroad helped pave the way for Chinese doctors to travel to the United States in turn, many of whom completed fellowships at MGH.

 

Many people hope to expand their horizons after retirement – they dream of traveling, learning something new, exploring interests. Dr. Guralnick’s intense focus on work led to all of these opportunities. He is far from being burned out, or even considering retirement. The remarkable centenarian may himself be a case study in the value of resisting complacency, and always looking ahead.

Youville Hosts End-of-Year Luncheon for Lexington Chamber of Commerce

On Tuesday, December 6th, Youville Place hosted the end-of-the-year Women in Business Luncheon, a monthly networking series presented by the Lexington Chamber of Commerce and hosted annually at Youville Place. The December 6th luncheon featured speaker Sona Antonyan, Principal of the Russian School of Mathematics branches in Lexington and Belmont. Ms. Antonyan discussed her lifelong passion for education and her discovery of the Russian School of Mathematics (RSM) after immigrating to the United States from Armenia. Inspired by her observations of the teachers and methods at RSM, Ms. Antonyan opened a branch of the school in Lexington in 2009, where she serves as principal.

Lexington Chamber of Commerce Board Members Lester Savage, of Lester Savage Real Estate; Veronica Caira, Branch Manager of Cambridge Savings Bank; and Ada Wong, Chair of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce pose with featured speaker Sona Antonyan, Principal of the Russian School of Mathematics;  Dinah Olanoff, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at Youville Assisted Living; and Chamber Board Member Brian Yurovich of Edward Jones.

Lexington Chamber of Commerce Board Members Lester Savage, of Lester Savage Real Estate; Veronica Caira, Branch Manager of Cambridge Savings Bank; and Ada Wong, Chair of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce pose with featured speaker Sona Antonyan, Principal of the Russian School of Mathematics;  Dinah Olanoff, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at Youville Assisted Living; and Chamber Board Member Brian Yurovich of Edward Jones.

Youville has partnered with the Lexington Chamber of Commerce for 5 years to host the end-of-year Women in Business luncheon. The series was established to facilitate networking between Lexington-based business owners and professionals in a collegial, open environment. 

AARP State Director and State Representative Discuss Care Giver Support Bill at Youville Place

State Representative Chris Walsh, Youville Place COO Joanne Scianna and AARP State Director Mike Festa chat outside following the Lexington Providers' Meeting at Youville Place.

State Representative Chris Walsh, Youville Place COO Joanne Scianna and AARP State Director Mike Festa chat outside following the Lexington Providers' Meeting at Youville Place.

On Thursday, September 22nd, State Representative Chris Walsh addressed a room of 30 elder care providers at Youville Place to discuss the positive impact of a caregiver support bill in Massachusetts.  “We are just the leading edge of a large tsunami of people who will want to stay in their homes as they age,” said Walsh.  He explained that most older adults strongly prefer to remain in their homes, even as they begin to rely on increased physical and cognitive support. This desire to remain at home, the cost of skilled nursing support and the increasing needs of frail seniors has placed a burden of care on unpaid family members.

Mike Festa, State Director of AARP, joined Representative Walsh to discuss the importance of House Bill 3911, known as the Caregiver Advise Record Enable (CARE) Act. They believe the CARE Act would help ease the burden on caregivers. The CARE Act has nearly unanimous, bipartisan support in the State House. Representative Walsh told the providers that it was currently in the Ways and Means Committee, where disagreements on the bill’s language were being reviewed. He is optimistic that the bill will pass, but also encouraged the providers gathered at Youville Place to call their representatives and express their support for the bill.

The CARE Act is already law in 29 states. It was authored by AARP and first passed in Oklahoma in 2014. Mike Festa told providers that advocacy on behalf of care givers is a leading priority of AARP. “Care givers in Massachusetts provide an estimated $11 million of unpaid services for family members or loved ones. We estimate around 844,000 people in Massachusetts alone are providing these services.”

What is the CARE Act and how will it help?

AARP outlines the three key provisions of The CARE Act as follows:

 -A hospital patient is provided with an opportunity to designate a family caregiver.

-The family caregiver is notified if the loved one is to be discharged to another facility or back home; and,

-The facility must provide an explanation and live instruction of the medical tasks – such as medication management, injections, wound care, and transfers – that the family caregiver will perform at home.

“The CARE Act is not particularly heavy lifting,” said Walsh. “What it does is start the conversation about care givers and how they are treated.”

Under current law, hospitals often send elderly patients home with ongoing care required. Complex tasks such as injections, wound care, transfers and medication management have to be performed by unpaid family caregivers who have never worked in medical settings. Their lack of experience and instruction can lead to stress, mistakes, and very often, readmissions to the hospital.

Representative Walsh’s reasons for championing the bill are personal to a large degree.  He and his wife have been caring for Walsh’s father, who has dementia. “I understand the stresses that so many care givers experience every day,” Walsh said. “In many ways, I am lucky. My wife and I are in a situation where we can accommodate the needs of my father – we’ve been able to adapt our home so that he can stay there securely. Most people simply can’t do that.” 

The CARE Act is an important first step in recognizing the sacrifices made every day by care givers in Massachusetts.  

Introducing Joanne Johnston, Director of Dining Services

jojophotoshop.jpg

Joanne Johnston brings decades of experience in the culinary arts, and nearly a decade in assisted living settings, to her new role as Director of Dining Services at Youville House. According to Youville CEO/President Nicole Breslin, "Joanne's outgoing nature, curiosity and creativity will be major assets to our dining service at Youville House."

Joanne - who prefers to go by JoJo - has worked as a high end chef in multiple fine dining establishments. She completed a stage (a term used for culinary apprenticeships) with Michael Schlow, one of Boston's most famous chefs and restaurateurs. She recalls this experience as "extremely serious. The kitchen was often silent. If the shallot cuts were not absolutely perfect, they couldn't be used. It was intense, and very educational!"

As executive chef at a French restaurant in Lowell, JoJo had the opportunity to cook dinner for her hero, Julia Child. "Our restaurant was connected to a Barnes & Noble," she says, "and Julia Child was coming to do a book signing. So I thought it would be a nice gesture to prepare some of the recipes in her book and serve them to her. She was very gracious and complimentary."

With aging parents of her own, JoJo has always felt a sense of connection with older generations. At this stage in her career, she is glad to focus her talents on serving older adults. "There came a point when I realized that I could keep putting fancy plates in front of strangers, or I could be part of a community. I really enjoy knowing who my residents are and what they like."

When it comes to favorite foods, her interests range far and wide, from Greek cuisine and creative vegetarian dishes to French fare and seafood. JoJo is also a coffee enthusiast: at home, she buys her own beans and roasts them herself! In her spare time, she enjoys bluegrass music, riding her motorcycle and volunteering at her Greek Orthodox church.

Finding a Collective Rhythm (video)

Youville residents now have a unique opportunity to bond with one another musically: through communal drumming!

Drumming is one of the most innate, simple and powerful forms of musical expression known to humankind. It is also extremely therapeutic. We are thrilled to have established regular drumming sessions at both Youville House and Youville Place, led by SoulWorks Rhythm. Our facilitators, Monique and Stephen, provide residents with an eclectic collection of drums as well as instruction in various techniques.  The afternoon sessions culminate with a collective group drumming session. It is an opportunity for residents to tap into their own “inner rhythm” while feeding off of the group energy. We hope you enjoy this recent clip of a drumming circle at Youville House!