Brain Health and Wellness Center®

Newsletter© 2013 HealthCare Insights

In This Issue
Elma Holder Nursing Home Champion
Max Wallack’s New Book
Culture Change Conference this August
Donate to Tornado SafeRoom for Elma
Personal Story of Tornadoes in Oklahoma
Quick Links


Joanne Koenig Coste


Eric Reardon, Nutritionist

Senior Living Residences


Anne Beecher, Massage & Stretching


WBUR Alzheimer’s Special


Ch 5 Boston Chronicle Brain Foods


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Featured ArticleMax Wallack
Issue: 32
July 2013
Dr. Nancy

Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D.

Hope you all had some fun during the July 4th holidays. Read below about some of mine!

Please check out the exciting Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Boston July 13-18. As we mentioned in the previous newsletter, Dr. Nancy will be speaking about bringing her Memory Preservation Nutrition program to Assisted Living communities during the Dementia Care at AAIC part of the conference, and will have posters at both the AAIC and Dementia Care conferences.  For details see AAIC blog on  At the Dementia Care conference the Brain Health and Wellness Center will have an exhibit table featuring some of our specialties.Then read an interesting series of articles about our beloved Elma Holder, a Champion of Aging for Nursing Home Reform leadership, amazing 17 year old Max Wallack’s new children’s book “Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in the Refrigerator?”, the Pioneer Network’s Culture Change Conference this August near Seattle, Your chance to thank Elma by contributing to a tornado safe room for her home, and Elma’s personal story of the frightening tornadoes this past June 2013.

ElmaChampions of Aging – Elma Holder – Nursing Home Reformer Honored by AARP in May, 2013

Elma Holder, Nursing Home Reformer

In May 2013, in honor of Older Americans Month, the AARP featured 10 Americans who over the past 50 years, helped the outside world respect and protect its older citizens. This feature article called Champions of Aging & history section by Patrick J. Kiger on the AARP website. The 10 Champions include President Lyndon B. Johnson for establishing Medicare, Robert Butler for spearheading the National Institute on Aging, and Maggie Kuhn, leader of the Grey Panthers. One special person featured is Elma Holder, the only one of the 10 who is alive and well. Elma Holder is a good friend of Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo.   Elma Holder


Nancy feels privileged to know Elma and learned about this latest honor while visiting Elma in Yukon, Oklahoma (just outside Oklahoma City, tornado alley) this past July 4 weekend, along with another long time friend, Bill Keane who now lives in Chicago area. Elma, Bill and Nancy have been celebrating their summer birthdays together for many years. Nancy writes, “We enjoyed Fourth of July festivities with Elma’s wonderful extended family, helped a younger sister move to her new home, and delighted in a mourning dove hatching two young squabs on July 4th in a hanging basket of ferns on Elma’s porch!”


mourning dove & 2 squabs



Nancy writes, “Our friendship goes back over 25 years as Elma was the leader of the National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing Home Reform when I led Public Policy Committee for the Alzheimer’s Association Board of Directors. I had the Alzheimer’s Association join her coalition, and worked with Elma and NCCNHR to represent cognitively impaired people in the drafting of the Nursing Home Reform Bill.   Bill Keane was then the leader of the Philadelphia Chapter and later had several national leadership positions in the Alzheimer’s Association, did strategic planning for NCCNHR, and assisted in the culture change movement, of which Elma is also a critical original member and continuing inspiration. Both will be attending this August’s Pioneer Network Conference in Bellevue, Washington (near Seattle). ” (see related article below)

“Elma is so modest, only during the visit did I learn that in May she had been named one of 10 Champions of Aging by the AARP, looking back 50 years to LBJ and Medicare!  Elma is still a strong advocate for the elderly and particular residents in long term care, and hopes one day to write the history of the nursing home reform movement which she led. Because of her self-sacrificing nature (I poignantly remember more than one occasion when her friends begged her to use various personal cash awards to fund her pension plan and instead she would donate it to cover the budget gap at NCCNHR!), Elma has very limited funds and is living on just social security. She never complains and just continues hopeful for our respective futures.”


Recently Elma and her family just endured a horrific set of tornadoes and powerful thunderstorms that destroyed two cousins’ homes and damaged part of Elma’s home. (See last article below) Coincident with our writing this blog about Elma Holder and her AARP award, her friends in the nursing home reform and culture change movement are raising funds to cover the cost of a safe room for Elma. Moreover, Elma’s house holds the most critical historical records for the nursing home reform efforts.


I am including in the article below the letter from Morris Kaplan, a long time leader in the culture change movement, representing forward thinking for-profit owners.   I encourage anyone who can to send a check, as I will be doing.


Now it is time to share with you a bit of Elma’s story as nicely summarized by AARP.

The more Elma learned about the nursing home world, the more she realized something had to be done to watch out for the vulnerable citizens.


Below is the start of the article on Elma Holder:


“From the mid-1970s until her retirement in the early 2000s, Elma Holder did as much as anyone to protect some of America’s most vulnerable citizens – older nursing home residents – from neglect and abuse. As the co-founder of the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (NCCNHR), Holder fought tirelessly to improve conditions in, and increase oversight of, long-term care facilities. The effort culminated in passage of the landmark Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987. After that, Holder worked just as hard to make sure the law was aggressively enforced.”


Please see the full article at




“Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in the Refrigerator?” by Max Wallack
The Brain Health and Wellness Center is pleased toMax Wallack announce that one of our favorite innovators, Max Wallack, has just published an amazing children’s book. The book is  called “Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in the Refrigerator?” and is available at It is authored by Max Wallack and Carolyn Given. 50% of the profits will go to Alzheimer’s causes. 

Readers may recall that Max Wallack is an inventor and developer of Puzzles to Remember that he created when he was only 14, now offered for retail by Springbok. (Puzzles to Remember was featured in our Dec 2011 Newsletter. Max was recently honored by the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center at its brunch for participants in its major HOPE research study. At the brunch, Max donated puzzles for a lucky person at each of dozens of tables. Max Wallack has also donated funds to the BUADC research efforts.

Below is a description of Max’s book, “Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in the Refrigerator?” as well as a brief bio for Max:


“On some days, seven-year old Julie feels like she’s living in a Fun House. Hers is a topsy-turvy world where the toaster sprouts a toothbrush, and a watermelon gets dressed up in pink underpants for Fourth of July! But on other days, Julie struggles with understanding why her Halloween trick-or-treating got cancelled, or why Grandma can’t remember her name. Julie is struggling with understanding her grandmother’s Alzheimer’s disease. Authors Max Wallack and Carolyn Given believe that no child is too young to learn about this disease, or how to participate in providing safe care for their loved one. Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in the Refrigerator? is a sensitive, light-hearted children’s story that seamlessly provides its young readers with a toolbox to help them overcome their fears and frustrations. It shares easy-to-understand explanations of what happens inside the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, how to cope with gradual memory loss, with a missed holiday, or even a missing Grandma! This 40-page fully illustrated children’s book is told from a second-grader’s perspective in her own style and vocabulary, but it lovingly shares real strategies, scientific insights and lessons of dignity from which adult caregivers may also benefit.”


Max Wallack 1 “Max Wallack is a 17 year old junior at Boston University, as well as a researcher in the Molecular Psychiatry in Aging Laboratory at Boston University School of Medicine. Max was a caregiver to his great grandmother who had Alzheimer’s Disease, and, in 2008, he founded, a 501c3 organization that has supplied over 23,000 puzzles to Alzheimer’s facilities around the world. A member of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, Max gives research presentations at national conferences and publishes articles about his work in scientific journals. Max plans to become a geriatric psychiatrist, working with Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. Carolyn Smith Given is a mother of four, a caregiver, and a resident of the Blackstone Valley in Massachusetts. Since 2000, she has taught English Language Arts and Literature at both middle and high school levels, and currently performs medical research to support her husband’s multiple myeloma therapies. For fun, she attends her children’s weddings, invents gourmet vegan entrees, maintains a humor blog with more than 80 first person narrative vignettes — all true – at She enjoys any and all writing projects that come her way.”


Please check out this book and recommend it to others. Remember the proceeds will be going towards solving the major challenge that is Alzheimer’s disease.


pioneerHear the Voice. Honor the Choice. Top Ten Reasons to Attend Culture Change Conference August 11-15, 2013
Pioneer Network Conference Pioneer Network Culture Change Conference   CHANGING THE CULTURE OF AGING IN THE 21ST CENTURYClick website above to learn more about this exciting conference and to register.

2012 Pioneer Network Conference

Pioneer Network Conferees

Morris Morris Kaplan’s call for funds to buy Elma Holder a “tornado safe” room for her garage
Tornado Safe Room
Tornado Safe Room for Garage

Nancy Emerson Lombardo urges all those appreciative of Elma’s leadership in nursing home reform and culture change to answer Kaplan’s challenge for us to raise funds for a tornado SafeRoom for Elma Holder who lives in tornado alley, just outside Oklahoma City.


Dear Friends of Elma,


I am sure that you all were as shaken and awed by Elma’s harrowing tornado experiences as I was.  The stories of destruction and terror, and of heroism and survival are breathtaking.  I remember Elma telling me several years ago, when I called after hearing about a tornado in her area, that she and her family always went to her backyard storm cellar.  Now that she’s moved to a smaller place, unfortunately, Elma has no storm cellar or basement.  (Apparently most Oklahomans do not.)  And worse, this newer more powerful type of tornado makes the safety of a hallway closet inadequate.  While we can’t stop the tornadoes, there is something that we can do to help keep Elma safe.  It’s called a tornado shelter.  My research led me to the same company that one of Elma’s friends has used and is very happy with (especially after these last frightening and devastating tornadoes.)


The FlatSafe Tornado Shelter company, in Yukon, OK (where Elma lives), builds underground and above ground (in garage) shelters.  Their website is very impressive:   These shelters appear to meet a number of FEMA standards and other OK codes.  The cost for an above ground 4 x 8 saferoom for 8-10 people (standing) is $4800 including installation. This is the largest size.


Elma herself cannot afford such an expense on a fixed social security income.  I will contribute $1,000 towards the purchase and I’m writing to ask all of you to give what you can so that we can purchase the shelter and help keep Elma (with her immediate family) safe.  I propose that anyone who is interested, please send a check made payable to Elma Holder to my office (attn: Morris Kaplan, Gwynedd Square Nursing Center, 773 Sumneytown Pike, Lansdale, PA 19446, phone: 215-699-5000).  I will send the donations to Elma. If you can email me and let me know to expect it, I can try to let everyone know the amount raised as we proceed.  The amount you donate will be kept private unless you let Elma know directly how you want it handled. Any amount will help and be greatly appreciated.

There are many bad things in life that we cannot protect ourselves or our loved ones from.  This is one thing that we can do something about.  Please join me in helping to keep Elma safe.

Thank you and best wishes,

Morris Kaplan

Gwynedd Square Nursing Center

773 Sumneytown Pike,  Lansdale, PA               

(215) 699-5000


Family owned & operated since 1980

P.S.  In case you did not receive a copy of Elma’s account of the May tornadoes, I’m attaching a copy (See next article)  . Also, please note that Elma’s Yahoo e-mail account was compromised in May. She is working at reconstructing her lost contact list (both e-mail addresses and mailing addresses) since she has switched to a new g-mail account:

Sent: 7/3/2013 3:28:33 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: Fwd: OK Tornadoes and my personal thanks



For our readers at, you may want to learn more about Morris Kaplan’s nursing home because it is very highly rated and he is considered a leader in the culture change movement.  Here is the website and something I copied from it:

Gwynedd Square is rated 5 stars out of 5 stars by the U.S. Government


Gwynedd Square is a recognized leader in dementia care and has been selected by the US Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services, as a model for reducing antipsychotic drug use and improving care for residents with dementia. 

See US Gov. Webcast featuring Gwynedd Square:

TOrnadoElma’s description of harrowing experiences with frightening tornadoes this past June 2013
Tornado near Oklahoma City June 2013 From:
Sent: 6/11/2013 8:42:12 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: OK Tornadoes and my personal thanks
Dear Friends.  I fully appreciated the many concerned, comforting messages during our recent OK tornado tragedies.  Regrettably, my yahoo account was completely compromised about that same time.  I lost all but a few e-mail addresses (which I had begun to record on a hard file), so I was unable to respond to most of the messages before my computer was restored.  Now, on g-mail I am rebuilding my contact list with help from a few friends who have been sharing mutual friends e-mail addresses. I know a few of you have had to do this reconstruction for various reasons in the past.  What a pain it is!  You will please note and record my new g-mail address.  For now, I just want to share a few thoughts and lasting impressions from the storms, so vivid still for people living in “tornado alley.”

As you know from news coverage, the Shawnee/Moore area tornadoes were deadly.  We were blessed, because both passed within 10-15 miles from Yukon. Those 2 days were horrendous and amazing because we watched live TV as the tornadoes formed and began their destruction.  (We have our own spring “reality” show here in OK.)  We were advised that our “normally run-to sheltered hall closets” would most likely not be enough to save people as in previous, less massive storms.  We are so grateful for the current technology which keeps us “weather alert” (the new OK buzz word) with minute-to-minute, block-to-block tracking.  It is almost indescribable what emotions surface as one watches such coverage – frightening beyond imagination at times. Intense feelings and dreams linger days after each serious event.

The loss of life and “homes” was tragic. Two of our cousins in the OK City/Moore area lost their homes. Luckily, they were not harmed.  Cousin Troy managed to save his neighbor and her children by hoisting them into his pick-up truck (the closest tornado “cellar” was full).  He sped to a nearby metal culvert – helped them in, throwing his big frame around them – moments before the tornado sped by.  He was bruised by flying debris; otherwise, okay.  Afterwards, they found only a concrete foundation where her house stood.  A small part of Troy’s home was still standing with a few pieces of furniture intact.  His neighbor with children had been headed for her closet when my cousin arrived!

We could hardly imagine that it would be so soon before another F-5 hit the next week right in the backyard of our Yukon community.  Now reported to be the biggest (widest) tornado ever, it had proceeded east down route 66 destroying the local tech school and rural houses 5-6 miles away. If it had continuing tracking 66 it could have wiped out most of our town. As it was, 12 of us (immediate family) were huddled in my nephew’s basement just 2 blocks south of 66.  We had plenty of pillows to cover our heads.  Jagger almost three had a helmet. (We were all wishing we had one too!)  Although we felt vulnerable, with two small low windows in that area, we were relieved to have our family together.

When we left the basement after two hours filled with periodic tornado sirens, the nature of the sky left a remarkable impression.  The sky looked battered and violent.  It appeared to be painted, with deep colors of green, black, brown, and yellow.  It felt and looked evil, as it had been a short time before.  I hope to never see that same sky-view again.

We all know people who suffered serious property damages in this latest storm.  I was fortunate with only minor loss since the strong winds blew siding off a small part of my roof.  I returned home that evening to find my family room covered in water from the torrential rains. I’m now dealing with the insurance company – waiting to see if it will provide the roof repairs, a new ceiling and part of my wood flooring.

Thanks for listening and thanks again for your expressions of concern.  I know that each area of the country has its own share of weather misery and abuse.  It does seem certain to me that Mother Nature expresses her wrath more intensely each year.  For now, like so many others in this area, I have two backpacks filled with things (papers, pictures, etc.) I might need or want with me if all else blows away. I’ll keep them packed during tornado season – and yes, they are in that hall closet; I just may need it  as a last resort!  Everyone is exploring all their options for safety.  Each community needs its own shelters. At least we hope more schools will get them now.

P.S.  Please send Elma your email address if you are a friend or colleague, as she lost most of those she had.



Nancy is available to answer your questions via e-mail or telephone.  Look for her monthly column in the South Shore Senior News!

For brain health consultations for yourself, your family, or your organization contact Nancy for further information or to book an appointment. 978-621-1926 or email at



Nancy Emerson Lombardo, PhD
HealthCare Insights, LLC
P.O. Box 2683 , Acton , MA 01720

© 2013 HCI


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