Ovation Partners with Local Artist to Celebrate Life Stories

Ovation Communities, with gratitude to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation for their support of this program, recently partnered with local Milwaukee artist Angela Shelstad, creator of Project Hue, to celebrate life stories through art.

Over the past three years Shelstad captured the stories of 11 Ovation residents and program participants, turning their memories into paintings and videos. As part of her process, Shelstad sat down with each person to talk about their life, dreams and adventures as the inspiration for her artwork.

“Everyone has a story to tell,” Shelstad said. “Project Hue helps people celebrate who they are and some of the most wonderful moments in their lives. At the same time, their memories are preserved as a permanent keepsake for that person, their family and their friends.”

Shelstad’s work has had a positive impact on many of Ovation’s residents and Adult Day Services participants with memory loss. The initiative provides a way for older adults to maintain their identity and individuality. Creative art programs like Project Hue have been shown to improve self-confidence, stimulate brain health, reinforce a strong sense of identity and reduce isolation.

“We’re so thrilled to partner with Angela to bring Project Hue to life,” said Dawn Adler, Ovation’s Director of Adult Day Services. “We all crave connection and meaningful activities, and this partnership is a great example of some of the unique things we do at Ovation. It’s about bringing a wide range of rich and interactive programs that bring joy to the heart and create long lasting relationships.”

  • September 9, 2021

Jewish Museum Milwaukee with Ellie Gettinger – Partners in Ovation

This week on Partners in Ovation, Trish Cohn sits down with Ellie Gettinger, Director of Education at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee to discuss all the great things you can experience at the museum. It’s a lot more than Art Exhibits!

When Ellie moved to Wisconsin, she began her career as the Young Leadership Coordinator at the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. Soon thereafter she was offered a key role in helping create the new Jewish Museum Milwaukee. She became part of the museums founding team.

  • September 3, 2021

Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle with Rob Golub – Partners in Ovation

This week on Partners in Ovation, Trish Cohn sits down with Rob Golub, Editor of WI Jewish Chronicle to discuss the history of this paper and his contributions to the Chronicle. Rob has two decades of experience in journalism, is an attorney, and is a long-time member of Congregation Sinai in Fox Point. Rob has spent much of his career working to engage audiences through journalism.

Rob has two decades of experience in journalism, is an attorney, and is a long-time member of Congregation Sinai in Fox Point. Rob has spent much of his career working to engage audiences through journalism.


  • August 24, 2021

Touch Points – A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello Friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

We are in the Hebrew month of Elul; this is a special time of preparation leading up to the Jewish High Holidays. During this month, we begin a thoughtful inner dialogue to help us reflect, repent and prepare for Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Throughout this period, we carefully examine our patterns, looking for cracked or damaged areas that may need healing. In addition, Elul provides a unique opportunity to look at any challenges and dreams.  What did we do well? How can we improve and make the coming year better?

This has been a challenging year!  Find the time and the space to reflect and prepare for the High Holidays. Use the ideas (below) to help guide your intention, prepare mentally, and heal spiritually. I hope the month of Elul brings you many opportunities for spiritual growth and loving connections.

“And above all, remember that the meaning of life is to build a life as if it were a work of art.” -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel)


1.Getting Started and Setting Intention  A self-inventory is not always easy. So, before you begin to ask yourself questions, focus on quieting your mind. Strive for a peaceful openheartedness. Find the best time and space to encourage introspection. Be very intentional. Use these simple steps to set your intention:

  • Find a Peaceful Physical Space and a Calming Time- Where do you feel balanced and have a sense of shalom (peace)? Everyone is different. Perhaps this is a room in your home or a backyard space? Perhaps, nature promotes healing and wholeness.  If so, a lovely garden, a spot near Lake Michigan or even a park bench may bring you tranquility. What time of day are you at your best? Are you more alert in the morning or at night? Some people feel calm and refreshed in the morning. Personally, I love the stillness in the evening; the quiet night brings me peace and focus. Find your best time of day.
  • Quiet Your Mind and Body, Then Find Your Intention- Try deep breathing to induce relaxation. Quieting your body and mind can help you feel balanced before you begin. Close your eyes. Take in a breath. Let it fill your lungs deeply. Hold the breath, and in this moment, set your intention toward inward reflection. Let out your breath. Unwind, feel your body relaxing. Breathe deeply and let your mind go.
  • Aligned Your Physical and Mental State- Now that you are focused and calm, you may feel more committed and open to the process of introspection.

“When you set an intention, the universe conspires to give you the inspiration to make it happen.” -Trish McKinnley

2. Asking Yourself Questions to Encourage Healthy Reflection Imagine each of us has our own Book of Life; it is filled with all our words and actions. Rabbi Jessica Barolsky (and others) uses this concept. She suggests the High Holidays is a time to pause and look back at our own Book of Life. Rabbi Barolsky asks, “What would you find in your divine notebook?” It is up to us to fill it with the good, rather than the bad. Ask yourself questions to encourage self-reflection and hope. Pick questions that speak to your soul. Here are a few to get you started:

  • During the Past Year, What Would Your Proudest Moments Be?- Perhaps your words or deeds made a difference in someone’s life. Who did you touch in a loving or a meaningful way? What have you done that fills your heart with joy and blessings?
  • What Would You Want to Change?- What habit would you like to break? What do you want to work on during the next year? Begin practicing habits that will make you proud next year (when you look back).
  • Do You Need to Say You Are Sorry?- Think about all the relationships you have. Who do you need to connect with- a partner, spouse, parent, child, or friend? Reach out and seek forgiveness to anyone you have hurt. It is never too late to apologize.
  • What Are You Grateful For?- Blessings and gratitude come in many forms and bring love and peace.  What are the simple pleasures that make you smile? What revitalizes you? Have you noticed daily blessings? Perhaps there have been larger, more monumental, ones?
  • What More Can You do in the Coming Year to Help Tikkun Olam– Repairing the World?- We each have an obligation to continue to mend our imperfect world.  Find a cause that matters to you, and work to bring in more kindness and love. Imagine if we all made a small contribution- how enormous the outcome would be!  Let’s all do our part. Wake up each morning, find a way to be grateful, and use energy helping others.

If you see what needs to be repaired and how to repair it, then you have found a piece of the world that G-d has left for you to complete. But if you only see what is wrong and what is ugly in the world, then it is you yourself that needs repair.”

Menachem Mendel Schneerson

3. Using Traditions and Ideas for Inspiration-  “Rosh Hashanah does not burst in upon us.” (-Arthur Waskow) We can use this time to make ourselves ready. Be fully engaged and present throughout the month of Elul; enhance your experience.

3. Try a Little Brain Health-  Regular mental fitness exercise can boost memory, focus, and mental skills. Give your brain a daily workout!

Try this Elul brain health exercise. Draw an outline of your family home. Describe each room. Add details about colors, scents, and what you feel and hear in your home. What blessings and memories fill your rooms? Recall these details during your reflection.

4. Check out a “Museum Moment”-  Ellie Gettinger, Education Director at Jewish Museum Milwaukee, sat down with Rabbi Moishe Steigmann to discuss how to approach the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In thinking about this time of reflection, how do you plan on preparing for a new year? Click here for this (14 minute) video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8KF8lzGOBg

5. Find a COVID-19 Vaccine-  I strongly urge you to get a Covid-19 vaccine! The Covid virus has mutated, becoming stronger with the very contagious Delta Variant.  Are you and everyone you love vaccinated?  If not, please get vaccinated today!  Do it for yourself, your family, and your community. Click here to find a vaccine near you: https://www.vaccines.gov/   Many locations offer same day and walk-in appointments. Do you have additional questions? Click here for more information from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/

Set a goal so big you can’t achieve it until you grow into the person who can.”unknown

We have been through many challenges this year- in our world, in our community and in our families.  Certainly, there is no shortage of events and feelings to process! So, use this month to prepare, reflect and find additional meaning.  I hope the enclosed creative questions and ideas enhance your experience. Reflect on the past year and set goals and positive intentions for the year to come; recommit to the people, issues and connections that matter most.

As always, if you have a question related to aging, memory loss or caregiving, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I am here for you, and happy to help. You can find me here: DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,


  • August 23, 2021

Thriving in place with technology with Marc Cayle

This week in Partners in Ovation, Trish Cohn sits down with Marc Cayle.

From caring for both aging parents to becoming a franchise owner for a non-medical home care agency, Marc began to wonder what more could be done to help seniors thrive in place. Fast Forward to now, Marc Cayle is the Founder and CEO of Silver Maple solutions. He offers an array of technology devices that makes his dream from long ago, become a reality.




  • August 5, 2021

Touch Points- A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello Friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

Summertime in Milwaukee is THE BEST; our city has it all! …beautiful Lake Michigan, lovely parks, art, music, and exciting places to explore!  As a person that is ‘fully vaccinated,’ I am beginning to spend (face-to-face) time with people I love and venturing out.  That little ‘jab’ (shot) has made a monumental difference in my life. Although I continue to be careful and safe, getting immunized has provided a new sense of safety.  In fact, just last night, tears of joy ran down my face as I hugged dear friends for the first time in almost a year and half. My world has opened up as I am able to safely spend time with those I love and begin to partake in additional activities. I feel happiness and gratitude to be fully vaccinated and to experience these pleasures!

I want YOU to feel this too!  Have you received your Covid-19 vaccine yet? Getting a vaccine has never been easier.

Let’s make the most of this precious Milwaukee summertime!  Get your vaccine, and then safely take advantage of our beautiful town!   I hand-picked fun attractions and local gems for you; all the activities below can be easily adapted for loved ones with memory loss, or enjoyed as intergenerational activities. Additionally, many of these happenings don’t cost a dime!  With 19 clickable links and one delightful virtual invitation, you have gazillions of things to do! All you have to do is choose your favorite entertainment.

In addition, with Father’s Day just around the corner, use the ideas below as inspiration for your celebration!  On that note, I would like to give a shout-out to my two favorite Dads, my Father Howie, and my husband, Adam. I am blessed beyond measure to have these special men in my life. I love you lots!  Happy Father’s Day everyone; enjoy the day and the season!

“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.” -James Dent

Fun Milwaukee Summertime Ideas:

1.Spend Time Near the Water This is the season of outdoor fun, and our beautiful waters are a great city perk.  Spend a day, a few hours, or take a drive and enjoy the view from the car. Anyway you choose, you are sure to have a pleasurable outing. Summer is in the air and Milwaukee’s beautiful Lakefront (or other water source) is calling your name!

  • Discover a little Lakefront fun! Check out Bradford Beach or McKinley Marina- Sit on the beach, swim, watch a volleyball game, or just dip your toes in the water.  Whatever you do, Bradford Beach is sure to offer good people-watching and a lake breeze. Don’t forget to wear your hippest shades and bring/buy a cool drink.  Then, marvel at the McKinley Marina boats and the spectacular panoramic view!
  • Collect sunsets- Hit the Lake at sunset! Bring a snack, take in a cleansing breath, and savor the view. Breathtaking! How many sunsets will you see this summer?
  • Put on your walking shoes. Take a stroll or a bike ride along the Lakefront. Check out Lakeshore State Park: http://friendslsp.org/  Rent a paddle boat and cruise the lagoon on Veteran’s Park, right on Lincoln Memorial Drive. Click here for a map of the area: https://county.milwaukee.gov/files/county/parks-department/Park-Maps/Veterans1.pdf
  • Milwaukee Pierhead Lighthouse- Not only is this a fun afternoon excursion, this is another great photo opportunity! Snap a few pictures and feel like a model. Cindy Crawford eat your heart out!
  • The Milwaukee Riverwalk- Enjoy this fun two-mile walk downtown that is peppered with shops and restaurants. Along the way, stop and pose for a kitschy picture with The Bronze Fonz. “Aayyyyy!” Located on Wells Street, N Riverwalk Way.
  • There is no shortage of gorgeous water views in our city! Also, try the Menomonee River, the Milwaukee River or the Kinnickinnic River! Wander the Riverwalk or be adventurous in a kayak!

“Everyone should believe in something. I believe I should go to the beach.” -unknown

2. “Lions and Tigers and Bears… Oh my!”- Visit your favorite animals at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Our Zoo is home to over 3,000 animals! I have enjoyed this wholesome fun as a child, as a teen and even as an adult! Spend a few hours, or stay the entire day. This is a favorite for kids of all ages!

  • Click here to plan your Zoo visit: http://www.milwaukeezoo.org/
  • Did you know a new hippo habitat was completed last year? This is home to the Zoo’s two hippopotamus- a 40 year-old male, Happy, and a 52-year-old female, Patti.  Oy vey, Patti and I are the same age! Who knew?!? Click here to watch Happy swimming in the underwater viewing tank (41 second video).  http://www.milwaukeezoo.org/news/2021/hippohaven.php

Mazel Tov! Three new babies were recently born at the Zoo. The new babies include a bushbaby, a prehensile tailed porcupine and a Japanese macaque born on Monkey Island. Click here to read more about our newest additions, and see Mohol galago baby, Grogu, and mom making a special appearance. https://www.cbs58.com/news/the-milwaukee-county-zoo-welcomes-three-new-babies

3. Parks-  Did you know that we have over 150 parks?! After looking at this website you will be amazed at all the options! We have something for everyone! For example, there are:  scenic trails, golf courses, beer gardens, beaches and nature trails. Click here for the website and to look for just the perfect choice.  https://county.milwaukee.gov/EN/Parks  If it is harder to get out right now, no worries! On this website, click on “Nature Areas” and appreciate the beauty from home.  Since there are so many park options, I have highlighted a few.

  • Milwaukee’s Oak Leak Trail– This trail winds it’s way throughout the city and is a great way to enjoy greenery without leaving town. Click here to pick an area to start: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/wisconsin/oakleaf-trail-grant-park
  • You cannot go wrong at Lake Park. This Milwaukee gem has it all- winding paths, meadow-like areas, surprising vistas, and a view of the Lake. Before your visit, click here for more information. https://lakeparkfriends.org/visit/
  • Visit Doctors Park in the Fox Point/Bayside area. I have loved this park my entire life! This park has beautiful picnic areas, a great play area for your children/grandchildren, and a spectacular path to Lake Michigan’s beach. Spend a few hours there, and feel like you went on vacation.  For more info: https://www.doctorsparkfriends.org/

“I was made for sunny days.” -Unknown

4. The Famers Markets-  Honestly, shopping and roaming around a good Farmers Market is one of my top five things to do. I love it! Famers Markets are a true joy for the senses! Enjoy the fresh smells, feel the warm summer breeze and take in the bright colors and shapes!  To keep everyone safe, markets have Covid precautions in place. In addition, “a growing number of farmers markets across Milwaukee accept federal nutrition benefits such as SNAP, WIC, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers.” So enjoy an open-air fresh market, support our local farmers, and eat healthier food! Click here for more information and to find your favorite location (or try a new one each week).   https://onmilwaukee.com/articles/farmers-markets-guide

5. Explore These Novel Ideas:

  • Milwaukee Public Market -This two-story market offers unique vendors and many delicious treats. Wander through the market and pick out lunch. For example, there is a variety of fish, chocolate, coffee and cheese. Just give it a try- you will not be disappointed! Click here to browse or for more information: https://milwaukeepublicmarket.org/
  • The Milky Way Drive-In- Want a little nostalgia? The Milky Way Drive-In is an outdoor movie theater at Ballpark Commons in Franklin, Wisconsin. This is the Milwaukee area’s first new drive-in theater in decades! Click here for more information and schedule: https://www.milkywaydrivein.com/home
  • Visit the Milwaukee Art Museum-  This striking building, designed by Sanitago Calatrava, will impress. The Milwaukee Art Museum is a jewel in our city! Make a point to visit at noon when the iconic “wings” on the Calatrava building “flap,” or walk into the main atrium and enjoy the breathtaking view from inside. Click here for more information and times: https://mam.org/   You can also click here to enjoy virtual tours and interesting videos:  https://mam.org/athome/
  • Outdoor Concerts- Almost any night of the summer, you can find a free outdoor concert. There are diverse locations and music. Pick your favorites and give a few a try.  This is an especially lovely treat on a warm summer night.  https://www.visitmilwaukee.org/articles/events/summer-music/

6. Stay a Little Closer to Home- Some of my favorite memories are in the backyard! If getting out is a little difficult these days, make summer memories closer to home. Why not try a summer potluck? Have friends/family bring something to share. Click here for crowd pleasing ideas: https://www.kosher.com/lifestyle/crowd-pleasing-recipes-for-easy-summer-entertaining-876 Make it even simpler, and serve finger foods like cheese and crackers, hummus and veggies and fresh fruit. Or, better still, feel the sunshine on your face as you eat a popsicle together. It doesn’t have to be complicated; it is the time together that matters.

“Collect moments not things.” -unknown

7. Try A Little Brain Health-  Regular mental fitness exercise can help your cognition. Print out these handouts and have fun keeping your brain fit. Enjoy the two attached exercises.

  • Using the letters of the alphabet, list all the words associated with outdoor activities.
  • Try a summer word search. Find and circle all the hidden words on the grid. The remaining letters spell a message about summer.

8. Check out a “Summer Camp Museum Moment”-   Ellie Gettinger, Education Director at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee discusses summer camp. Summer camp is a formative time for kids of all backgrounds. Every summer, children from all over the country flood into Wisconsin for summer camps, providing connection to lakes and forests throughout the state. Check out this ‘Museum Moment’ to learn more about the history of Jewish summer camps in our state. Did you go to a summer camp? How did getting outside (be it in nature or a different routine) impact who you are?  Click here: https://youtu.be/mKnZ3YYnnrg

9. Looking for a Special Event? -You Are Invited to “Life Through Art and Film: Project Hue”   Please join us for an uplifting and innovative event that highlights the lives of people we serve in Ovation Adult Day Services. “Life Through Art and Film: Project Hue” is scheduled virtually on Thursday, June 24th from 3-4PM. Sit back and enjoy life stories through paintings and short videos. There will be a live Q&A following the event. By attending, you help the honorees celebrate their lives. The invitation and Zoom link are below. Simply click on the Zoom link to join this inspiring program!



“Hello summer, I have been waiting for you.” Unknown

I hope these ideas elevate your Father’s Day celebration and summertime fun!  Get your vaccine, and safely enjoy the many fabulous activities Milwaukee has to offer. As always, if you have a question related to aging, memory loss or caregiving, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I am here for you, and happy to help. You can find me here: DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,


  • June 24, 2021