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.

In the Northern hemisphere, Monday, December 21st was the longest, darkest day of the year. After that date, the days have become longer and the nights have become shorter. Therefore, each day we receive additional light into our lives, and the darkest days, literally, recede.

In my heart, I also believe the dark days are metaphorically behind us. With the discovery of a Coronavirus vaccine, December has brought a renewed bright and optimistic outlook. As you know, just days ago, Wisconsin’s front line workers received their first inoculations!  While we all have to diligently continue wearing masks, staying home, social distancing and washing our hands, this is the first sign of hope to end the pandemic! Such incredible news overwhelms me with tears of joy, gratitude, and relief. Friends, we made it through the dark tunnel of 2020, and I can now see the sunlight peeking through the other end. Do you see the glimmer too? It is just around the bend. Consequently, this Touch Points is about brightness and positivity.

Throughout my life, I have been blessed with two people whose hopeful outlook has provided strength and support. So, this Touch Points is lovingly dedicated to my beautiful Mother, Arlene, for teaching me how to find a positive outlook even during the most challenging times, and to my supportive husband, Adam, for infusing my life with an optimistic perspective- often when I need it most. I am so grateful to have them in my life.

“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” (-Les Miserables)

Ways to “Look Toward the Light”:

  1. Lighten Your Perspective-  One of the biggest lessons I have learned during the pandemic is about flexibility and letting things go. Nothing has been perfect during Covid-19.  In fact, throughout this ordeal we have needed to be creative, go with the flow and laugh. For example, who would have ever imagined my family would be eating Thanksgiving in my backyard, wearing winter coats and “gatkes” (Yiddish for long underwear)- with my parents seated 10 feet away?! How absurd! Despite the overall weirdness (is that a word?), we were not frustrated. Instead, we embraced this unusual Thanksgiving experience with hats, gloves, blankets and a few outdoor twinkling lights. In the end, we cherished this unforgettable, glimmering, slightly silly evening.

A bit of a Zen philosophy is a very good practice. Letting things go and allowing additional happiness and light into your heart will feel wonderful. Afterall, what is really important?!? -Good health, seeing the people you love, nourishment, safety and warmth. Let’s all lighten our perspective and find additional peace.

In the same manner, flexibility is also vital when caring for someone with memory loss. For example, there will be days that you plan an activity, but your loved one is not interested.  When this happens (and it will), take a breath, and say to yourself, “That’s okay.” Allow your loved one to lead, and go with his/her new idea.  Who knows, it might be more fun than the original plan!

“Change the things that can be changed, accept those that cannot, and have the wisdom to know the difference.”

(-The Serenity Prayer) 

  1. Find People with a Bright Outlook- We all have difficult days.  I encourage you to find people that help you look toward the lighter side, and can fill your heart with a sunny perspective. Who lifts you up and provides your “emotional medicine?” Call a friend that you haven’t talked to for a while. Find out the latest and share details about your own life. It won’t take long until you start laughing; laughing triggers endorphins, which are the “happy chemicals in your brain!” Surrounding yourself with positive people will enhance your quality of life.

“Stay Close to People Who Feel Like Sunlight.” (-author unknown)

  1. Embrace a Bright Caregiving Perspective- When sharing an activity with a loved-one with memory loss, try to create a space for unconditional acceptance and love. Concentrate on the feelings you both experience during the activity, not the outcome. For example, enjoy the beautiful moment when you licked the cookie dough batter off the spoon and grinned together; but let go of the not-so-perfect baked cookies. In addition, look for ways to compliment your loved one for his/her help and involvement. Admiration can make the interaction even warmer!

“A little bit of light pushes away a lot of darkness.” (-Jewish proverb) 

  1. Shine a Light on Yourself With This Illuminating ExerciseSometimes the questions we ask ourselves or contemplate awaken an optimistic perspective and attitude. You have many wonderful qualities; I hope these questions nourish your inner joy, sense of accomplishment, and value. Write down your answers or enjoy a lively discussion at dinner. Answer these prompts:  What are the things that keep you going? What are you most proud of- big or small? What do you love to be complimented on?
  1. Watch the Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s “Museum Moment”-  Evelyn Peters was raised in Milwaukee but impacted the Jewish world through her work with the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). She was a true “light unto the nations.” In this Museum Moment, Education Director, Ellie Gettinger, explores her life. On a personal note, my brother-in-law, Hyim, and sister-in-law, Sara, worked for Evelyn Peters in 1995.  Through the JDC, Hyim was the Rabbi for the Mumbai Jewish community and Sara was a volunteer in the Jewish Service Corps there. Watch this video (14 minutes) about Evelyn Peters’ global work:  
  1. Put Your Own Light into the World- As we have talked about, it is particularly important to think about helping other folks during the pandemic. If you are in a position to assist, please offer support. The simplest act or the smallest gesture of love can change someone’s day in an immense way. In what ways can you shine your light on other people? If you aren’t sure what to do, then give the gift of time to someone that might need it. Pick up the phone or make a Facetime call and listen.  Your genuine kindness and smile will have an impact and provide a precious, needed gift.

“Let your light shine so brightly that others can see their way out of the dark.” (-unknown) 

  1. Get Inspired by Other People’s Example-  Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1995. His life changed. Among many things, he started the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and wrote books. One of his books is called, Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. Watch this (5 minute) video with talk show host, Ellen Degeneres, and hear Michael J. Fox’s inspirational, uplifting message. Click here:

“Bring love wherever you go. Shine light wherever it’s dark. Leave blessings wherever you’ve been. Be kind wherever you are.”

(-Mary Davis)

I am thinking of you and wishing you all a wonderful, bright December; I hope each day brings additional light into your lives. Let’s also raise our glasses and toast to 2021. May the new year bring peace and good health to those that are hurting or ailing, and a renewed sense optimism and light to the entire world.

As always, I am here for you, and would love to assist or answer questions with issues related to aging, memory loss or to offer caregiver support.  Please do not hesitate to contact me at

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


  • December 23, 2020

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.

Let’s lighten up December and give ourselves a little breathing room to be silly and have fun. December is a time for joy, and we need to “dial up” the happiness! Chanukah, known as the Festival of Lights, begins on Thursday evening, December 10th. This holiday is especially known for its joyful celebration. So, get ready to lighten up your home with the warmth and the miracle of Chanukah!

By now, we have discovered the way to create an enjoyable, safe (pandemic-friendly) holiday is through a little ingenuity and creativity. By embracing our traditions while combining new and imaginative ideas, we can deepen the holiday’s meaning and increase the fun-factor! Personally, during the pandemic, our family has incorporated new recipes that add novelty and excitement into our lives. (Yes, the Winkelman family really knows how to live on the wild side!) So, in addition to sharing amusing activity ideas and virtual events/links to brighten your holiday, I will sprinkle in a bissel (that is Yiddish for a little bit) of Hebrew and Yiddish, while I share delicious recipes. With a bit of planning, our holidays will be warm, wonderful, and full of love. Let’s get started!

Since much of this Touch Points incorporates food, in my own cheeky way,

I’d like to wish everyone a very….

“Happy challah days!” (-by RedwoodAndVine)

Ways to Bring More Joy Into Our Holiday:

Many (or all) of the ideas below are easily adapted for loved ones that have memory loss. My heart is with all the caregivers, as you lovingly and unconditionally care for your loved one during this extraordinary time. Thank you for finding the courage and the koach (Hebrew for strength).

The list below contains fun ideas for anyone to try, but it is produced specifically with you in mind to add humor, joy and hope.  I encourage caregivers to focus on creating positive feelings and meaningful moments. Don’t worry so much about the outcome.  Paying attention to the task and adapting the activity for your loved one, will create a positive energy. Enjoy this time together. 

  1. Celebrate with a Clever Meal Idea: One of my favorite things to do is going out for breakfast. I love everything about it:  the morning coffee aroma, the hot cup between my hands, the delicious wafts of eggs and toast spiraling in the air, and the “kibitzing” (Yiddish for chatting) with someone I love. So why not create this special environment with a breakfast café at home?! Start with an adorable Chanukah breakfast- complete with menorah waffles. (A menorah is the multibranched candelabra used during Chanukah.) The waffles are fun, easy and super adorable. Then add a hot cup of coffee, sticky maple syrup, and fruit. Voila!- a perfect Chanukah café breakfast!  Click here for the recipe and link:
  2. Watch a Favorite Movie and Have “Frozen” White Chocolate Popcorn: Choose a your favorite holiday movie, cuddle up on the sofa and watch together. This special “frozen” popcorn treat is sure to be a hit! Take the “frozen” theme to the next level (you over-achiever!) by eating the “frozen” popcorn while you watch the delightful movie, Frozen.  I highly recommend this wonderful, feel-good flick. Frozen popcorn is a great “nosh” (Yiddish for a snack or a nibble) for Chanukah or any other December holiday. Click here:
  3. Hot Chocolate- Need I Say More?:  Hot chocolate is one of those perfect, winter, make-you-happy beverages- and a great ‘go-to’ for any winter holiday. However, this recipe is not your everyday hot chocolate drink. This is ‘Hanukah Gelt-Hot Chocolate!’ Yum! During Chanukah, there is a tradition to give gelt (Yiddish for money) or chocolate gelt to children. Enjoy this indulgent hot beverage with chocolate gelt or even with chocolate chips. Click here for the lip-smacking recipe:
  4. Fry it Up- Eat Latkes!  Rachel Sanders writes, “Before we get started, let’s be clear: There is NOTHING wrong with classic potato latkes (Yiddish/Hebrew for potato pancakes). They are perfect.” Being a latke connoisseur myself, I must enthusiastically agree! Traditional latkes are, in fact, dangerously good. If no one is watching, I can happily “snarf down” more than a dozen. However, if you are looking to get a little nutty this Chanukah and mix it up (after all, there are eight crazy nights!) then click here to check out “21 Next Level Latkes You Need to Try.” For example, some of these oil-centric recipes are:  cheesy latkes, curry vegetable latkes, rainbow latkes, and even hatch chile latkes with hatch guacamole. Holy cow! Give it a try and let me know which is your favorite.

Click here for the entire list:

  1. Skip the Housework, Make Cookies: (That would be a great t-shirt logo!) Cookies make everything better! Enjoy your holiday baking traditions and make delicious sweets. Gobble them up or drop a special delivery at someone’s front door. You could also organize a group cookie making session with family through facetime/zoom/skype and bake a family favorite. Adapt the activity if needed. For example, have your loved one mix the batter, or place the cookies in a container. Click here:
  2. Get Bundled up and Take a Stroll Outside:  If the weather cooperates, enjoy the lights and decorations. Spending time outside (while practicing social distancing and safety, of course!) can improve your sleep and mood, and reduce stress. It’s important to enjoy a daily dose.
  3. Play a New Game:  Learning something new is fun and good for your brain. Novel activities help brain cell growth. What game have you always wanted to learn?
  4. Enjoy an Amusing Gift Exchange/Have a Zoom Party! This year, since we can’t be together in person, my family is sharing a virtual Chanukah party.  We are exchanging crazy socks and writing an associated poem. The wacky socks will be shipped/dropped off at the receiver’s home, and the gift giver will write a silly poem to go with each sock. Then, during Chanukah, all four households will gather virtually on Zoom for a Chanukah party/sock exchange. I can’t wait!

Try hosting a virtual holiday party with your loved ones. Raise a glass together on the screen, play a festive song, or enjoy a one-on-one call.  This is a difficult time; it is important for your health and well-being to connect with others. Please make it a priority.

Sometimes, the noise and flurry of activity may be overstimulating for someone with dementia. If this is the case, then I encourage you to adjust expectations and simplify celebrations. Making changes can minimize the stress for both you and for your loved one. This will help make the holiday environment pleasant.

  1. Watch the Hoan Bridge Light up in Celebration of Hanukkah 2020!  Starting Thursday, December 10 through Thursday, December 17, the Hoan Bridge support beams will be lit — a new beam each night of Hanukkah — with flickering red, orange and yellow lights to represent the light of a candle’s flame.  Watch this event online.
  1. Listen to Joyful Music:  If possible, let your loved one choose the music. Please be thoughtful about the volume and tempo.  (A slower beat may be comforting.) While you listen, prompt your loved one to reminisce about the memories. Ask things like: “Where were you when you heard this music?” “What were you doing?” Create a beautiful holiday moment by cuddling on the couch and singing together. Music is therapeutic for you as the caregiver, too!  Lift your mood and enjoy! Or, click on the unbelievably artistic tunes below:

This is going to be a spectacular Chanukah! …SOOO much to do! Wishing you a wonderful, healthy joyous December. With a little preparation and creativity, we will all get caught up in the December spirit. Please give yourself permission to laugh and unwind. Whatever you do, make it special.

As always, I am here for you, and would love to assist or answer questions with issues related to aging, memory loss or to offer caregiver support.  Please do not hesitate to contact me at

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


  • December 9, 2020

Surlow Award Winners – August 2020

Lucero (Lulu) Jimenez

The Maurice S. Surlow Award for Employee Excellence was established in 2000 and made possible at the direction of his extended family, including Jim, Bob and Burt Zucker. Mr. Surlow was born in Hungary and immigrated with his family to Milwaukee in the early part of the 20th century.

Fikerte (ZZ) Zewdie, Camila Tejeda, Natasha Wells

At his passing in 1997, he left a major bequest to the Jewish Community Foundation of Milwaukee Jewish Federation. A portion of that bequest is annually directed to the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation. Working closely with Bob and his daughter Debbie Zucker, a team of staff members who made special efforts to care for residents with the best customer service are selected.

Ovation was proud to present this award to five outstanding employees in August: Lucero (Lulu) Veloz Jimenez of Chai Point; Rosemary Lawson of Sarah Chudnow; Camila Tejeda, Fikerte (ZZ) Zewdie and Natasha Wells of Jewish Home.

Rosemary Lawson

  • November 27, 2020

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Annie

Ovation Communities has a rich history of volunteerism dating back more than 100 years.

There are several community members who dedicate their time in supporting our residents through helping with activities and events, and friendly visits. One volunteer who has made a great impact on residents is Annie Kleynerman.

Annie began volunteering at Ovation while she was in high school. Her mother was the Director of Nursing at Sarah Chudnow and was a  great influence on Annie’s desire to give back to the residents. After she returned from college this past spring, she started volunteering again.

Being a Russian speaker, Annie connects very well to that population at Ovation. She enjoys translating and working with the activities department on programs and events. Most recently, Annie has connected with residents through zoom calls and by organizing a greeting card activity. The greeting cards were made by Annie, her friends, and her professors and their children. These touches are so impactful and greatly appreciated.

Annie recently graduated from the University of Miami, Florida with a bachelor’s degree in biology and minor in chemistry. She plans on applying to medical school this summer. In her free time, Annie enjoys art, free diving, and research.


“ Ovation Communities is so thankful to have amazing, caring and compassionate volunteers. Every day our volunteers take time out of their lives to visit with the residents and assist our staff with a variety of programs and other tasks. Annie Kleynerman is a volunteer who exemplifies the wonderful qualities of our volunteers and she shares her dedication and commitment to our mission. Her enthusiasm and caring shows in everything she does for us. We are eternally grateful for Annie’s service and the service of all of our incredible volunteers.”

–Beth Draper, Ovation Communities Volunteer Coordinator

  • November 27, 2020

Meet Katie – Ovation Jewish Home Administrator

As long as Katie Quintanilla can remember she always wanted to be a nurse. Her work for over 20 years in that role and now as a nursing home administrator is more than a lifelong career, it’s a calling.

Quintanilla started at Ovation Jewish Home in January just before the pandemic hit and has supported residents, families and coworkers through one of the most challenging times in the organization’s history. She can’t imagine being anywhere else.

“Ovation’s mission speaks directly to who I am as a person,” said Quintanilla. “I have a strong purpose and truly love coming to work every day. I feel an immense responsibility and accountability to the residents who call Ovation home.”

Quintanilla’s extensive career has taken her around the state in a variety of nursing and administrator roles. She served as president of the Long Term Care Nursing Administration Group of Southeast Wisconsin and as a member of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). Quintanilla received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and nursing home administrator’s license from University of Wisconsin- Madison Extension.

“We’re so lucky to have Katie join the Ovation team,” said Michelle Putz, Chief Operating Officer. “She is a kind and empathetic leader and is truly passionate about helping others be successful.”

A huge Beatles fan, Katie lives in Mukwonago with her husband and beloved Westie puppies Ellie and Rigby. She has two adult children and inspired several family members to follow in her nursing career path.

  • November 27, 2020

Direct Supply Named Ovation’s Business Partner of the Year

In February, a group of Ovation’s Recharge and Renew (R & R) Club participants visited Direct Supply’s Innovation and Technology Center (ITC) on the MSOE campus.

The ITC is focused on improving existing technologies and developing forward-thinking innovations related to senior health. One of the highlights of the visit was the opportunity for Adult Day Services participants to test out a virtual reality station that transported” them back to their hometowns, favorite vacation spots, and even a military base one member served at over 40 years ago.

Direct Supply was recognized at the recent annual In-Ovation celebration as the Ovation Communities Business Partner of the Year. The nation’s largest provider of senior living solutions, Direct Supply has a longstanding 20-year partnership with Ovation. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Direct Supply shares Ovation’s commitment to the future of senior living.

“Our missions are very similar: to provide beautiful environments for our residents and take care of them in the best possible way,” said  Tanya Mazor-Posner, Vice President of Development for the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation. “We also share a deep commitment to serving the greater Milwaukee community, and are thrilled to recognize Direct Supply for their unwavering support.”

“It is a tremendous honor to receive this recognition and to have the opportunity to connect with and serve the community in our hometown,” said Sharon R. Jordan, Direct Supply Community Relations Director. “Ovation is focused on celebrating life by continuing to live it and that is central to how we approach our work. Seeing that mission come to life has been exceptionally rewarding for our entire team.”



All photos on these pages were taken in February this year. They depict the participants of the R & R Club and staff of Direct Supply enjoying interactive and immersive experiences at Direct Supply’s Innovation and Technology Center.

  • November 27, 2020

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.

It’s November, can you believe it? For many of us, November is a reminder to be thankful and express gratitude. But, how do we find appreciation when we are knee-deep in a serious pandemic? Like you, I have been preoccupied. Finding gratitude is not always an easy task, but there are still numerous things to be grateful for.  Sometimes looking a little harder at what we already have, increasing our awareness, or finding the preciousness of a moment can lead to deeper appreciation.  Personally, I have found that opening my heart to the miracle of gratitude fills my life with more light and love.


A grateful mindset has immense benefits. So, I am pushing you to search for gratitude because it is important to your health. For example, gratitude can increase your psychological health, enhance optimism, self-esteem and resilience, and even improve your sleep! Today, let’s look toward this positive mindset and count our blessings.

So, on this cool November day, I want to warm you up with a little “chicken soup for the soul.” I will share a few personal (sweet, slightly absurd, and more serious) anecdotes and suggestions to help elevate your attitude of gratitude.  I hope that living a life bursting will appreciation will fill your heart with love, blessings and peace.

“This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen it before.” (-Maya Angelou)

Dana’s “Chicken Soup for the Soul”-

Gratitude. Sometimes it’s in the unexpected. My first story…  Last weekend, my 14-year-old daughter, Shoshi, plopped herself quickly on the couch. A quarter of her ended up on top of me, but she didn’t move and neither did I. It was late, and Shoshi was supposed to be heading up to bed, but instead she thought it was the perfect time to show me inane videos on her phone. So, blurry-eyed and we cuddled together and laughed. In those few unexpected, intimate minutes, I found my heart overflowing with the preciousness of the moment. That was love.  Like everyone else that has children, my house does not always feel this way. Still, there it was; a lovely moment that I felt the blessings of motherhood. The love seemed to glisten.

You never know when the moment will occur. …Sometimes it’s when your daughter half-sits on you at midnight that you feel a rush of gratitude. When was your moment? Think hard… I know you have one too.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are they charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” (-Marcel Proust)

Gratitude. Sometimes it’s an awareness of a funny situation. Sometimes it’s the mundane. Here’s my next story…  I am close to my parents; I love them and appreciate them more than I can say.  I also talk to them every day on the phone. Often, they have a propensity to both talk on the phone at the same time, and/or put me on speakerphone. Sometimes, if I am really lucky (said sarcastically), I call when they are in the middle of finishing a project or making a meal. Of course, they continue multitasking while we talk. Consequently, some days our phone call feels a little like a Jerry Seinfeld episode (TV sitcom); it is often slightly ridiculous, but in an endearing Jewish way. “Arlene, are you crumbling something? I can’t hear Dana. Will you please stop that?” “ Howie, I’m trying to make dinner. I’m making soup. Dana, can you just talk louder!? …No, I still can’t hear her.”

Yep. Welcome to my life. A special thank you to my amazing parents for creating the best, can’t-make-this-stuff-up, phone calls and for filling my heart with so much love. I am supremely grateful. Do you have your own ridiculously absurd Seinfeld moment? Think hard… what is your story?

“Be grateful for every second of every day that you get to spend with the people you love. Life is so very precious.” (

Gratitude. Sometimes we need to look closer. Maybe the blessings were always there, but we need to increase our awareness. Each day, I challenge you to widen your gaze, and look for small things to be thankful for throughout your day. Start keeping a journal, and at the end of the day write down 3-5 things you are grateful for. At the end of the week, read through all the small things you discovered. Then, at the end of the month, make your heart soar and read the extensive list of blessings! Enjoy this exercise; it will create happiness as your blessings increase. Here are just a few examples of everyday things to be thankful for:  food on the table, a pay check, a song you love, your favorite morning drink, sleep, sunshine, clean water, a moment of quiet, or your favorite book. Adopting this optimistic attitude and routine will invite more beauty and hope into your life.

“Spend the day appreciating every little thing that comes your way, and you’ll end the day feeling deeply grateful for your life.”(#gratitudeapp)


For all doctors/nurses/health care professionals- say thank you and do your part!

Wisconsin is facing soaring numbers of Covid-19 cases. Our healthcare professionals are walking into a person’s room that is Covid-19 positive to provide care.

Related to the gravity of this situation, I wanted to share another story that shook my mind and soul. Unexpectedly, one of my dearest friends (who works in a hospital) announced she was “excited to be fitted for a respirator.” (If you can’t picture what a respirator looks like, picture something similar to a 1930’s gas mask. Absolutely frightening.) …Let that statement and jarring image sink in for a moment. As I processed her words, I felt like I was in an alternative universe.  She was excited about a respirator?? As I pictured my friend in this alarming way, I thought, “Should I be excited too?” No, mainly I felt fear. Incidentally, my beautiful friend is not obligated to be in a hospital; rather, she does this work because she wants to help others in our community. Like other essential workers, she is a person of valor.

So, with profound admiration for their kindness and bravery, I ask you to sincerely thank our hospital professionals and staff, and all the essential workers. They are the heroes; they are the angels on earth. These angles also work at Ovation Communities. They are taking care of our loved ones. In addition to sharing grateful words, let’s also express our thanks in deeds. Our greatest expression is taking the pandemic seriously by wearing a mask, washing our hands for 20+ seconds, and staying home.  All our angles are safer when we do our part to help.


…The next time my treasured friend is excited to share something new with me, I would like it to be a new shirt or delicious recipe.

“You are not stuck at home. You are safe at home.”



Try a Gratitude Brain Health Exercise

  • Write a letter to someone who has had a positive impact on your life. Maybe it is someone in your family, a close friend, a confidant, a mentor, a teacher, a colleague, or clergy.  What did that person do and why was it so meaningful? Did he/she care for you, or teach you an important lesson? Feel the love and strength in this appreciation, and if you are able, share with this individual.
  • List ten friends/family and what you like about them.

“This is not the year to get everything you want. This is the year to appreciate everything you have.” (-author unknown)


Check out The Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s “Museum Moment  Shabbat is a weekly reminder of G-d’s role in creating the world, and provides a regularly scheduled way to show appreciation and find respite. Curator, Molly Dubin explores artwork related to the Shabbat exhibit, The Seventh Day. What does Shabbat mean to you? Click here to watch:

 Grateful people feel happier, are less stressed and have more ways of coping with the challenges in their lives. I pray that as we move toward a more grateful perspective, we each find increased joy, meaning and peace. This Thanksgiving will be different, but let’s be thankful for good health and blessings. We will get through this storm.

“Be grateful for today and never take anything for granted. Life is a blessing.”


As always, I am here for you, and would love to assist or answer questions with issues related to aging, memory loss or to offer caregiver support.  Please do not hesitate to contact me at

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


  • November 24, 2020

Partners in Ovation – Protecting Against Elder Fraud

Ovation Chai Point Executive Director Trish Cohn sits down with Ovation Communities President & CEO Michael Sattell to discuss the dangers of elder fraud and how you can protect yourself and loved ones from these schemes.
  • November 17, 2020

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.

This pandemic has attacked us in many ways. Usually, during the holiday season we look forward to in-person festivities and celebrations. Of course, this year will surely be different. To minimize the risk of exposure for ourselves, our families and our community it is important that we do our part by following the CDC’s guidelines. Therefore, this year, we may be staying home for the holidays.

While hunkering down in our homes and isolating is particularly important for an older, more vulnerable/high risk population, the social separation can lead to increased loneliness and stress. To make matters worse, research also associates social isolation with an increased risk of developing dementia. Although each person’s response is dependent on many factors, this potential forecast is alarming.

However, there are ways to mitigate the effects of social isolation in older adults. It is still possible to remain at home while improving social connections. For example, individuals can be isolated, but not feel lonely. Also, people can remain at home, but still find meaningful, new experiences. In fact, we have found that even in a virtual setting, technology-based interactions create wonderful connections! Virtual classes, clubs, and support groups may help decrease the negative emotional and cognitive effects due to the pandemic. This is encouraging, hopeful news!

Ovation Adult Day Services understands that Covid-19 has had a profound impact on older adult’s health and well-being. Therefore, we have thoughtfully created an array of virtual services to foster friendship, discovery and joyful connection. We know this year has been tough, but you are not alone; we are here to support you during this difficult time. Not only do our programs care for those with memory loss, but they are designed to also provide rest and peace of mind for caregivers. Below are the ways we are engaging our beloved community. We want to strengthen the ties and help you access programs that will improve your life. Please check out our website at and go to the Adult Day Services webpage for additional information. From the comfort of your home, find the best option for your loved one.

“The brain needs stimulation like our body needs food.” (-Piero Antuono, MD, Neurologist)


Virtual Services and Program Offerings:

  1. ReCharge- Interactive Brain Health and Fitness Class:  Studies suggest that socialization, physical exercise and mental workouts have a direct effect on the brain. This fun, interactive class brings people together while working to improve memory, focus and concentration. It is never too early or late to start a brain fitness program! Virtual sessions meeting three times a week- Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 10am-11:30am. For more information, contact Dawn Adler, Ovation Adult Day Services Director at: or (414) 277-8838
  2. R&R Club- Recharge and Renew Club: This social club offers individuals experiencing memory loss opportunities to participate in a variety of interactive experiences and to enjoy guest entertainers, artists and presenters. This club improves the quality of life for participants through social connections and offerings. Meeting virtually on Fridays:  10am-11:30am. For more information, contact Dawn Adler, Ovation Adult Day Services Director at: or (414) 277-8838
  3. SPARK!: A free program for caregivers and their loved ones experiencing early to mid-stage memory loss. This collaborative program with the Jewish Museum Milwaukee combines art and featured exhibits. SPARK! runs virtual programs with Jewish Museum Milwaukee the first Friday of the month. For more information, contact Dawn Adler, Ovation Adult Day Services Director at: or (414) 277-8838
  4. Caregiver Support Group:  A group specifically dedicated to those providing care and support for a loved one with dementia. This synergetic group supports emotional needs while minimizing anxiety and stress to encourage therapeutic calm, balance and connection. Now offering free virtual sessions the first and third Fridays:  1:30pm-2:30pm. Contact facilitator, Dana Rubin-Winkelman, Social Worker, Ovation Adult Day Services at: or (414) 721-9249.
  5. “Touch Points: A Spark of Light with Dana” E-Newsletter:  Dana Rubin-Winkelman, Adult Day Services Social Worker, shares a bimonthly e-newsletter as a way to continue meaningful connection and support during the uncertainty of the pandemic. Designed to ease stress and promote wellbeing, Touch Points cover a variety of topics including common issues and concerns, suggestions for staying balanced, brain health exercises and tips for caregivers. If you have friends or family that would enjoy receiving this free e-newsletter, contact Dana to sign up:  or (414) 721-9249.
  6. Community Brain Health and Wellness Workshops:  Offering an array of workshops helping families with needs and concerns, assisting with emotional well-being/balance, and providing information to plan for the future. Dawn Adler, Director, and Dana Rubin-Winkelman, Social Worker, are creating programs to meet the needs in the Jewish and the secular community. For more information, contact Dana Rubin-Winkelman at or (414)721-9249.

I care deeply about our community. I truly hope you will take advantage of our offerings and strengthen your mind and spirit. As always, I am here for you, and would love to hear your concerns or answer any questions. Please do not hesitate to email or call for more information. Contact Dana at  or (414)721-9249.

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


  • November 12, 2020

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. This Touch Points e-newsletter will cover two timely subjects- voting and sleep. I hope the topics resonate with you and provide needed information and inspiration!



Time is running out to have your vote counted!  Your vote is your voice; let your voice be heard! Election Day is Tuesday, November 3.

Voting and Transportation Information:

  • At this time, experts are urging voters to drop off mailed ballots ASAP! -Use an official ballot drop-off box or a clerk’s office. Please follow the voting instruction sheet carefully.
  • The ballots must arrive by Election Day- November 3 by 8pm to count! (Supreme Court ruled this week.) Please do NOT mail your ballot- it will not get there in time.
  • Click here to find out voter information, polling place, approved forms of ID needed, and where to drop off your ballot.
  • You can still register to vote at early voting locations through October 30, or register in person on Election Day.
  • Don’t forget to bring a valid photo ID to vote and proof of residence if you are registering. For details check above website.
  • Need transportation? – The Milwaukee Department on Aging is offering seniors age 60+ a free ride to the polls, or to the DMV if you need a photo ID. (They report that their drivers wear a mask and riders need to wear a mask too. The van is sanitized. Often, seniors will likely have the entire vehicle to themselves.) Please call a few days ahead of time. Call: 414-289-6874


  • Not a senior and in need of transportation? –  A group called Souls to the Polls offers  Free rides to the polls!- Call 414-246-1823 to reserve Uber and Lyft. Available now until November 3 (8am-6pm weekdays, and 10am-3pm weekends). Early voting sites also listed on website. Souls to the Polls is “an organization that unites ministers and their congregations in Milwaukee’s central city to strengthen the voting power of the Black community. An alliance of churches committed to building an army of 100,000 voters!”


“The right to vote is precious, almost sacred. People fought for it, bled for it, died for it. Honor their sacrifice. Vote.” (-John Lewis)



These days, many of us have worries and uncertainties that preoccupy our thoughts and may affect the quality of our sleep. I hear about sleeplessness from friends, learn about enervation from caregivers, and even read postings on Facebook about exhaustion. People are fatigued- in mind and body.  Concerns about the election, staying healthy, and even paying bills plague our thoughts. How do we turn off the “noise” and find the mental relaxation needed for a good night of sleep?

In addition, I am always thinking about my friends that are caring for a loved one with memory loss. Daylight Savings Time ends this Sunday, November 1st. When we turn our clocks back, our internal clocks are affected by the changes in natural light. This can be especially difficult for individuals with dementia and may increase “sundowning behavior” (confusion and agitation). The change can also affect sleep cycles. I hope that using some of the strategies (listed below) will help caregivers feel more prepared.

In addition, I will provide suggestions to overcome sleep challenges and to improve the quality of your sleep. However, if, after trying the ideas below, you (or someone you love) continue to have sleep issues, please consult your physician. Sleeping is critical to good health.


Sleep Tips:

  1. Transform your room into a sleep sanctuary-  Prepare a restful, calm space. Create a clutter-free space by keeping personal items out of sight, and placing papers in a drawer or cabinet. Less clutter, will decrease the disorder in your mind. Edit your bedside table with a minimalist look including a lamp, reading material, and a clock. In addition, a darker bedroom can also enhance sleep; choose window coverings accordingly. Even a street lamp or a glow from a neighbor’s home may interfere with sleep. However, safety first! -Please keep a nightlight on if you are concerned with balance, tripping or falling. Finally, choose a pillow that provides good head and neck support. Sleeping with an old or a hard pillow can lead to shoulder and neck pain. In addition, change the  weight of blanket based on the weather/season.
  2. Start a bedtime ritual-  “I’m so good at sleeping I can do it with my eyes closed.”(-Sleep Enlightened Blog)  Set the stage for relaxation and sleep by planning an easy nighttime routine. Start to wind down one to two hours before bedtime. We have heard it before, but it is important turn off your phone, tablet, computer and TV. Better still, ditch them completely and keep them all out of your bedroom. The electronics emit a blue light that suppresses the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin- making sleep difficult. Instead, turn your bedroom light low; this signals your brain that it is time for bed, and read a book or magazine.  In addition, adding a warm bath or listening to comforting music create a pleasant way to wind down and prepare for slumber. Music is remarkable and can lower blood pressure and heart rate. The National Sleep Foundation recommends choosing songs with 60 to 80 beats per minute. We all find different music and sounds pleasing, so here are a variety to soothe your soul.
  1. Let go of worry and change your mindset- It is normal to have things on your mind. The trick is to be mindful, and let go of the worry. Then, you can clear your mind for a peaceful night of sleep. Try this practice:
  • Keep your brain and body zooming during the day, and not at night. Plan to pay bills, think about work, exercise, and check emails in the morning or afternoon. If something is really occupying your thoughts, try designating a “five-ten minute worry time” during the day (but not in your bedroom). Allowing yourself some quiet time to ponder, may help contain distressing thoughts; you might even find a good solution! Additionally, before bed, place a journal on your nightstand table, and jot down any remaining thoughts. The thoughts are better in the journal, then in your head! Breathe deeply, and let go of the things you need to do. By creating a list, you can clear your mind. (It will be there for you tomorrow.)
  • Feeling gratitude can reduce stress. So, before bed, think of 3 things you are grateful for. This will increase your happiness, appreciation and reduce anxiety. On a challenging day, however, it might be hard to come up with a grateful idea. So, let me help get you started.  When you have a day like that (we all do!), simply be grateful for the cold side of your pillow. Think about the cool, satisfying feeling around your head. Who knows… sometimes one idea “mushrooms” into another. For example, the cool pillow might remind you of how lovely your entire room feels, and that might make you grateful for the warmth of your home. Let your gratitude grow. “Be happy not because everything is good, but because you can see the good side of everything.”(
  1. Being prepared and planning ahead: sleep changes and loved ones with dementia– Many people with dementia have sleep changes. Sometimes, daytime napping and confusion or fear can lead to sleep disturbances at night. As we turn our clocks back with Daylight Savings Time, there may be additional agitation. The change in routine and in natural light can impact your loved one. However, being aware and planning ahead will allow you to be a calmer care partner. If you feel stuck, please know you can always call or email me. It would be my pleasure to help. Truly. Here are some tips:
  • Keep your home well-lit (until the bedtime routine begins) and limit daytime napping if up frequently at night.
  • Plan an easy evening activity, and keep the atmosphere light.
  • Play your loved-one’s favorite, calming music.
  • Keep a small light in room if shadows or darkness increase fearfulness.
  • Sit with the person to reassure and present a calm presence.
  • Check if the room is too warm or cool.
  1. Try a sleep themed, brain health activity – There are many phrases and songs which contain the word sleep or dream such as “sleep tight.”  Try naming 15.

I hope some of the suggestions will increase your relaxation and support a better quality of sleep. When you wake, you will feel more energetic and clear-minded.  …So, what are you waiting for? Sweet dreams everyone!

As always, I am here for you, and would love to hear what worked, or other suggestions. Email me at

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


  • October 29, 2020

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.

For many of us, this is a stressful time; we have a great deal on our minds. For caregivers, this stress can be even more pronounced. Caring for a loved-one can be challenging, and sometimes caregivers neglect to take good care of themselves. Instead, their selfless energy is focused on their loved-one. It is important, however, to keep up with routine appointments and tests. Please do not neglect your health, especially with Covid-19 lurking about. So, this month, I am providing a few (not-so-gentle) reminders. Below, I have included things to prioritize and dates to mark; there are reminders for your physical health, for the health of our country and for the overall health of Ovation Adult Day Services. I promise this isn’t going to hurt. In fact, once you make the appointments, I bet you feel relief. Are you ready? Plop down in your comfiest chair, sip on a delicious beverage, and get ready to enter calendar dates and make a few calls. Let’s do an October countdown and stay on track!

…5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Important Things to Remember:

  1. Please Make a Plan to Vote-  “The vote is precious. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society, and we must use it.”- John Lewis

I have been heartbroken that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. Throughout her remarkable life, she fought to improve our world through the pursuit of justice, by balancing the scales and by fighting for equal rights. Her principles and words always touched my soul, and I am forever grateful for her wisdom, grace, strength and bravery. In Hebrew, I would call her a “tzaddeket” (the feminine form of tzaddik). The Forward wrote, “…Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a thoughtful person who worked tirelessly to create a more just world. One that would perpetuate equality and access, one that wasn’t reliant on charity, one that was better for people she did not know, without the expectation of praise or fame.” Today, let us all honor her incredible spirit and legacy by voting.  And…Tell them that Ruth sent you!

Your vote counts! Click here for Wisconsin election tools, deadlines, dates, rules and links. Furthermore, this website provides registration information, voting by mail information and a polling place locator (your polling place may have changed- so please double check).

Amazingly, I just read about a 102 year old woman that wore personal protective equipment so she could vote! Wow, what an example to follow! If she did it, we can too! No excuses friends…. just make a plan and vote! Election Day in Wisconsin is November 3, 2020. It is your choice to vote from home, or to wear a mask and vote in person. Please check the website (noting the deadlines), and make your vote count!

  1. Reduce Your Covid-19 Risk, and Get Your Flu Shot– “If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?” -author unknown

Usually, the Flu season begins in October, and peaks between December and February. So, we are entering the typical flu time. On a “normal” year I would encourage you to talk to your doctor about getting a flu shot, but this year it is especially important. The flu shot is another way to reduce your risk of Covid-19.  From my point of view- it is ALL about minimizing risk!  Below is the website for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention for frequently asked questions for the 2020-2021 season. As always, please check with your doctor for recommendations/guidance. In addition, if you are over 65 years, ask your physician about a Fluzone High-Dose vaccine. The CDC suggests that “September and October are good months to get vaccinated.” If you have not received your vaccine yet, please call your doctor and make an appointment this week.

  1. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month!- This is a great month to schedule a mammogram appointment, and to continue doing self-breast exams. I am sure many of you know someone that has been through Breast Cancer or is currently undergoing treatment. My family has also been touched with cancer, so this request is personal. Today, I ask you to please make your appointment for a mammogram, and to remind the people that you love (your mother, your partner, your sister, and your dear friends) to do the same. Click here for more information (from Mayo Clinic) about breast health/awareness and directions on how to perform a self-exam.  Please make your appointment today!
  2. Did You Know That Ovation Adult Day Services is in the News? …Hot off the press! (Can I still say this if it’s an electronic version?) I am delighted to share the electronic version of Rob Golub’s article entitled “Ovation Connects at Home During a Pandemic” – featured in The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle. (Thank you Rob!) This piece highlights how we currently provide services and connection to our wonderful families. Please click here to read:
  3. You are Invited to the Virtual In-Ovation Third Annual Event– This special, online event is held on Thursday, October 22nd, at 6:45 pm. Please join us! The event is free to attend (but donations are welcome) and will be streamed live from our website. Your registration is appreciated.

I am also thrilled to share that the proceeds from this year’s In-Ovation Fundraising Event will help support Ovation’s Adult Day Services!

These days, we have a lot on our minds. I hope this Touch Points will remind you of a few important appointments and dates to note. As always, if you have a question or need help, please contact me. I would be very happy to assist. I am here for you! Email me at

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


  • October 8, 2020

Partners in Ovation: Staying Connected During COVID

Ovation Chai Point Executive Director Trish Cohn sits down with Ovation Communities Director of Technology and Security to discuss how technology has impacted the lives of residents and families during the COVID pandemic.

  • October 8, 2020