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Strumming Their Way to Senior Stardom: Self-Taught Retirees’ Ukulele Skills Something to Behold

May 10, 2018

There’s never a bad time to learn something new. That’s the attitude of 17 self-taught musicians at The Stayton at Museum Way who caught the recent wave of ukulele fever about a year and a half ago.

“While it’s not uncommon for former musicians to form a band, I think it’s very unusual for a group like this to learn an instrument and begin to perform together,” said Gayle Massey, a resident at The Stayton who leads the group. “We have one member who played a bit in high school. The rest of us had never touched a ukulele, let alone played one.”

The group, which has performed for area country clubs and other gatherings, patterns their concert attire after the Fort Worth Symphony. Massey says when they play, everyone smiles. 

“It’s impossible to play or listen to a ukulele and not find yourself in a better mood,” Massey said. “When I look at the faces of our audiences, all I see are big grins. That’s very rewarding.”

Recent studies have supported the premise that learning a new skill as we age slows cognitive decline, which is music to the ears of The Stayton Strummers. 

Leeza Gibbons Speaks at The Stayton at Museum Way

September 19, 2017

Leeza Gibbons, Emmy Award-winning pop-culture icon best known as a co-host for “Entertainment Tonight”, host of syndicated talk show “Leeza”, and winner of “Celebrity Apprentice”, recently spoke to residents and invited guests at The Stayton at Museum Way as part of the community’s Red Carpet Speaker Series. Gibbons delivered a keynote, followed by a Q&A. After the presentation, she signed copies of her new book “Fierce Optimism”.

Gibbons is an advocate for health, wellness and caregiving. She started the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation in 2002 as a promise to her mother. The foundation’s signature program, Leeza’s Care Connection, offers free services for family caregivers. During the presentation, Gibbons discussed her own personal challenges of caring for her mother after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 62. The New York Times best-selling author offered an inspirational account of her family’s role as caregivers and offers compelling advice in her guide, “Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health and Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss.”

“We are thrilled Leeza Gibbons came to the community as part of our Red Carpet Speaker Series,” said Scott Thomas, executive director of The Stayton at Museum Way. “Her story is relatable to millions of families across the country who have a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. She shared a message of hope for others battling the disease and for those caring for their loved ones.”

The Red Carpet Speaker Series at The Stayton at Museum Way provides unique and often once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for residents and invited guests to meet renowned individuals and hear inspirational presentations. The speaker series is a dynamic piece of the Masterpiece Living philosophy which encourages continual learning in all regards – physical, mental, social and spiritual.


The Stayton at Museum Way Names Scott Thomas Executive Director

August 10, 2017

The Stayton at Museum Way, a nonprofit Life Plan Community located in the heart of the Fort Worth Cultural District, is pleased to announce that Scott Thomas has been named executive director.

Thomas spent the past two decades in the hospitality and hotel industries.  He held positions with luxury hotel chains including The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, as well as private country clubs across the country.

“We couldn’t ask for a better leader to help us continue to provide outstanding service and an unmatched lifestyle and quality of care to seniors in the area,” said Scott Collier, chairman of the board of directors for The Stayton. “Scott’s experience in the hospitality and hotel industries will translate well to senior living because of his commitment to providing an environment full of new experiences where residents can truly enjoy life. We look forward to seeing the energy and ideas he brings to the team.”

“I am excited to take on this new role, and I have received support and encouragement from the team members and residents,” said Thomas. “The senior living and hospitality industries have many similarities. In my previous leadership roles, I made sure our guests were well taken care of, had memorable encounters, and felt energized. I will work diligently to ensure exceptional service is provided to residents of The Stayton, much like I did at the resorts and hotels in the past. This is a vibrant and thriving community, and I hope to make a difference in the lives of seniors and their families.

“It is especially gratifying for me to be able to return to my hometown,” Thomas continued.  “I went to school with children and grandchildren of many residents who have made The Stayton their home, and I recognized the names of at least 20 residents right away. “It’s comforting to know that I am around families I know personally. I want all residents and their families to know this community is a place where they can feel at home and create memories, and I am looking forward to creating my own memories in the years to come.”

Alzheimer’s Association – North Central Texas Chapter Presents Award To The Stayton At Museum Way For Annual Support Of Cowtown Marathon ALZ Stars Team

March 21, 2017

A special recognition award was presented by the Alzheimer’s Association – North Central Texas Chapter to The Stayton at Museum Way, an SQLC retirement community, for supporting the ALZ Stars team, which raises money for the association as annual participants in Fort Worth’s Cowtown Marathon. Each year since the team’s formation in 2013, The Stayton serves the team a fabulous pasta dinner on a day leading up to the race to help energize and encourage the ALZ Stars team of runners and walkers. The dinner also serves as an opportunity for team fellowship, as many of the team members are either reuniting or meeting for the first time. In addition, The Stayton supports other Alzheimer’s Association initiatives and activities including sponsorships of the chapter’s signature fundraiser, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, as well as the annual Spring Symposium which provides education to caregivers and health care professionals in North Central Texas. Last year, residents also produced “The Stayton Cooks to End Alzheimer’s” cookbook to raise funds for the organization.

“We wanted to give The Stayton at Museum Way an award to recognize their consistent hospitality and generosity on our fifth anniversary, as they’ve been a key asset to our team’s value and growth since ALZ Stars began in 2013,” said Sarah Ethridge, special events coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association – North Central Texas Chapter. “We are grateful for our partnership with The Stayton, because without relationships like the one we have with them we could not successfully execute our mission of providing the care, research and support needed for those facing Alzheimer’s in North Central Texas.”

The ALZ Stars team had 46 participants who collectively raised more than $53,000 in this year’s Cowtown Marathon, held Feb. 26. Fundraising efforts are still underway in hopes of reaching the team’s $75,000 goal. Donations can easily be made at

“We are grateful for this beautiful award, which represents our commitment to the Alzheimer’s Association and, in a unique way, to some of our residents living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia,” said Melissa Heiss, director of sales and marketing for The Stayton at Museum Way. “As a life care community, we not only have independent living residences, but also multiple levels of living including memory support. Family members, caregivers, and health care professionals all benefit by the awareness and educational efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association, which is why supporting them is important to us and all of our North Central Texas community.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Currently, more than 350,000 Texans are living with Alzheimer’s, and that number is expected to grow to 490,000 by 2025.

Monet The Early Years at The Stayton

November 8, 2016

The Stayton at Museum Way, Fort Worth’s premier retirement community, recently hosted a sneak peek of the Kimbell Art Museum’s groundbreaking exhibition Monet: The Early Years. Invited guests and residents were treated to a presentation and private conversation with Kimbell Art Museum Deputy Director George Shackelford, who identified and secured the artwork in the exhibit. He provided insight into why he selected certain pieces, where he found them and how he acquired them.

“I truly enjoyed sharing these incredible works with the residents at The Stayton,” remarked Shackelford. “We’ve come upon so many paintings that are virtually unknown, like a brilliantly sunny painting of a hut perched above the sea. It's a composition that Monet loved, showing it four times in major exhibitions between 1868 and 1889. It was never once chosen by a curator for an exhibition in the 20th century; and in fact this is only the third time it has been lent. It has never even been to France, and of course this is the first time it has ever been shown in the United States. It's as if we had discovered a new painting—and a masterpiece, at that.”

“It was such a privilege to have George Shackelford at our community to share the story of how this amazing Monet exhibit came to fruition,” said Melissa Heiss, director of sales & marketing for The Stayton at Museum Way. “Residents and guests enjoyed hearing firsthand about George’s vision for the exhibition. It was fascinating to learn more about Monet and how his early works defined a 19th-century art movement that inspires us still today.”

This is the first time in The Stayton’s tenured relationship with the Kimbell Art Museum that the deputy director visited the community. The collaboration between the Kimbell Art Museum and The Stayton is an extension of the community’s Masterpiece Living® philosophy, which promotes successful aging by providing residents and invited guests opportunities to enhance their spiritual, intellectual, social and physical wellness—including exposure to astounding artists and noteworthy speakers. In addition to the Kimbell, the community occasionally brings in cultural events and performers from the Fort Worth Opera and The Cliburn.

Monet: The Early Years provides a stunning view into the formative years of the artist’s impactful career. The exhibition runs through January 29, 2017, and features approximately 60 paintings from the first phase of the artist's career, from his Normandy debut in 1858 until 1872, when he settled in Argenteuil on the River Seine near Paris.

The Stayton at Museum Way Reaches a Milestone As the Community Celebrates Tremendous Growth on Its Fifth Anniversary

October 25, 2016

The Stayton at Museum Way, an SQLC retirement community, recently celebrated its fifth anniversary with an evening of food, fun, fellowship and dancing. At 98-percent occupied, The Stayton has experienced tremendous growth and success over the years. Residents form deep friendships, and together they create a true community where they dedicate many hours to volunteer work, including reading to kindergarteners in local schools. In addition, the community brings cultural events from the Kimbell, as well as performers from the Fort Worth Opera and The Cliburn to the residents and invited guests. These activities are an extension of the community’s Masterpiece Living® philosophy, which promotes successful aging by providing residents and invited guests with opportunities to enhance their spiritual, intellectual, social and physical wellness.

 “We have a lot to celebrate, and our anniversary event was a huge success attended by residents, their families and team members,” said Scott Polzin, executive director of The Stayton. “The party was a wonderful way to not only honor the residents and exemplary team, but also acknowledge the evolution of The Stayton during the past five years and recognize the role that we play in our local community.”

 For Kathryn Bryan, one of The Stayton’s first depositors and a five-year resident, The Stayton is the perfect location for community involvement and culture. She and her husband Lowell also like the fact that the retirement community offers a continuum of care from independent living to memory support.

 “We moved into The Stayton before we had to, and by doing so we got rid of the headaches of homeownership,” said Bryan. “We wanted stay involved in activities in and around the cultural district and be near our church. Over the past five years, we’ve been involved in unique activities including a new ukulele band.”

 Bryan, who helps coordinate the annual Stayton Style Show, says she enjoys the lifestyle offered at the community. She is particularly complimentary of the dining experience. She also acknowledges an increase over the years in the number of activities and programs that residents can participate in, which she credits to Amy Janak, who has been the lifestyle director at The Stayton since the community opened.

 “Amy continues to find wonderful things for us to do, and is so supportive and open to new ideas that we bring to her,” said Bryan.

 “We have an engaged and high-quality team, and we work together each day to provide the best lifestyle possible for the residents,” said Polzin. “It is rewarding to be a part of this milestone, and I am proud of our community. We look forward to enhancing lives of many more seniors and their families in Fort Worth for many years to come.”

New Cookbook From the Residents of The Stayton at Museum Way Raises Funds for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s® in Fort Worth

September 30, 2016

Residents at The Stayton at Museum Way, an SQLC retirement community, are using appetizers, entrees and desserts to help raise funds for the North Central Texas Chapter of The Alzheimer’s Association’s October Walk to End Alzheimer’s®.The Stayton Cooks to End Alzheimer’s” cookbook – which includes recipes submitted by residents – will sell for $40 with half of the proceeds being donated to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which takes place at Panther Island Pavilion in Fort Worth on October 22. Residents and staff encourage the public to purchase a copy of the cookbook. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Currently, more than 350,000 Texans are living with Alzheimer’s, and that number is expected to grow to 490,000 by 2025. 

“This is our fourth year to participate in the local community’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s®. It is a cause that is near and dear to our hearts, and we are honored to do our part to help raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia,” said Scott Polzin, executive director of The Stayton at Museum Way.

As a life care community, The Stayton not only has resort-style independent living residences, but also multiple levels of living including memory support and assisted living. For Stayton resident Julie Zobal, whose husband Arthur was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009, the cookbook fundraiser is her way to help contribute to research that will hopefully one day find a cure.

“Arthur and I will have been married for 59 years in November, and he has been in the memory support since April 2015,” said Zobal. “The tragedy of Alzheimer’s is that he is no longer able to paint, which was truly his passion. In addition, he practiced patent law for many years. I feel so strongly about helping the cause of Alzheimer’s but I can’t participate in the walk, so contributing my recipes to the cookbook makes me feel like I’m helping in some small way.” 

Zobal has several of her recipes featured in the cookbook, including gazpacho soup, cold cantaloupe soup, chicken and rice casserole and a flaming ice cream dessert. 

“It is truly moving to see residents, like Mrs. Zobal, working tirelessly to raise awareness and funds to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s,” said Polzin. “She is selflessly contributing to the cause with the knowledge that her husband Arthur may not personally benefit from the research currently underway or have the opportunity to be cured. She is committed to making a difference for those who will experience similar circumstances as hers in the future.”

Featured Appraiser of Antiques Roadshow Reveals Value of Residents' Special Treasures at The Stayton at Museum Way

August 4, 2016

Featured appraiser of the popular PBS program “Antiques Roadshow” Gary Piattoni visited with residents at The Stayton at Museum Way – an SQLC retirement community – as he inspected dozens of their treasured heirlooms and antiques. Piattoni’s eye for fine art, antiques and collectibles landed him on the renowned PBS television series in 1995. Piattoni has also made several appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” over the course of his 25 years in the antique appraisal industry.

“It was an honor to host the very knowledgeable Gary Piattoni and give residents a chance to have their antiques, heirlooms and flea market finds assessed,” said Scott Polzin, executive director of The Stayton. “Piattoni captivated the audience at The Stayton with his vast expertise in the appraisal industry.”

According to Piattoni, his favorite part of the session – even more than discovering the value of items – was learning about the history behind family heirlooms and favorite treasures, along with taking questions from residents. In many cases, Piattoni only confirms what antique owners already suspect – that their ancestor’s prized possessions aren’t worth much money. But sometimes, Piattoni stumbles upon a piece that catches his attention.

Resident Cuba Web brought in a life-sized, hand-carved owl she and her husband discovered at a New England-area antique shop while on vacation in the 1980s. Web explained to Piattoni that her husband had noticed she was particularly fond of the owl, and surprised her with the gift as a Christmas present a few months after their trip. Piattoni also took notice of Web’s rare owl, and shared his findings with the audience.

“My beloved owl reached a new level of popularity!” said Web. “I believe my husband purchased the cross-eyed owl for $800 decades ago. The owl was sitting under the Christmas tree, wrapped in a box that resembled a chimney with Santa Clause sitting atop. Piattoni appraised my owl at $3,500, but I have no reason to sell him, especially now that I have this story to share. 

Hosting educational and social events like this is important to the The Stayton, Fort Worth’s premier retirement community, as it subscribes to the Masterpiece Living® program philosophy, which embraces healthy living at any age and in all regards – physical, spiritual, social and mental.

“The value that Gary Piattoni assigned to the treasures turned out to be less important than the fact that everyone had a wonderful time meeting new friends, and perhaps learning a bit of history along the way,” said Polzin.

The Stayton Invites the Public to Attend the Longest Day Fundraiser Event In Support of the Alzheimer's Association

July 14, 2016

Residents and staff members of The Stayton at Museum Way, an SQLC retirement community, are encouraging the public to celebrate the Longest Day by supporting the Alzheimer’s Association. Held annually on the summer solstice, the Longest Day takes on a different meaning for the Alzheimer’s Association. The sunrise-to-sunset event symbolizes the challenging journey of those living with the disease and their caregivers. The Stayton has teamed up with the Alzheimer’s Association, and is inviting community members to participate in the Longest Day fundraiser event on Monday, June 20th. Nearly 5.3 million people in the United States live with Alzheimer’s disease, including approximately 340,000 Texans.

“Many residents living in our community have a loved one living with Alzheimer’s, and we strive to provide fulfilling experiences each and every day for the residents living in our memory support neighborhood,” said Scott Polzin, executive director of The Stayton. “We know the challenges that those living with Alzheimer’s face. This fundraising event is a way for The Stayton community to raise awareness and encourage the public to support continued Alzheimer’s research.”

Event organizers at The Stayton have put together a variety of all-day activities that represent and honor the strength, heart and endurance of those living with Alzheimer’s. Teams are encouraged to create their own experience as they fundraise and participate in activities that honor people living with the disease. A silent auction comprised of 20 items donated in honor of each memory support resident at The Stayton will be auctioned off to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. The public is encouraged to participate in the following events:

  • 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. - “Painting with Mimosas” by Klarus Home Health. Seating for this activity is limited to the first 20 guests.
  • 11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. - “Purple Party” on the 2nd Floor Terrace
  • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. - Vendor Show in the Sundance Room, with ten percent of sales donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.
  • 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. - LIVE entertainment from Sylvester Jones and Professor D. Tapas and cocktails will also be provided. Winners of the silent auction will be announced.
  • 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. - Dr. Janice A. Knebl, founding executive committee member of the Texas Institute for Research and Education on Aging, and Medical Director of The Stayton will speak on the topic of “Empowering Seniors”. Dr. Knebl regularly gives lectures for the Alzheimer’s Association and American Geriatrics Society. Dr. Knebl also brings advanced and innovative approaches to memory support at The Stayton at Museum Way.
  • 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. – Prize bingo in the Sundance Room.

The Longest Day fundraiser event is an extension of the Masterpiece Living® philosophy, which serves as the retirement community’s foundation. The philosophy embraces a wellness-minded attitude that encourages learning in an individual’s key development areas – physical, mental, social and spiritual. A $10 donation is encouraged, with all proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Members of the public who wish to participate are asked to RSVP by calling The Stayton at 817-439-6936.

Music & Memory Program Helps Resident with Dementia Relive Lost Experiences

May 25, 2016

When Delmar Caskey slips on the earphones to his iPod Shuffle, the music jogs his memory back to his country and western two-stepping days. Caskey, a resident of The Stayton, an SQLC retirement community, was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago. Now he is experiencing lost memories through MUSIC & MEMORY, a personalized music therapy program for individuals living with memory loss. With more than 5 million people across the country experiencing Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, MUSIC & MEMORY is gaining traction and earning recognition as a powerful tool to combat memory loss. Delmar Caskey’s nephew, Craig Caskey, has noticed a remarkable improvement in his uncle’s ability to recall seemingly lost memories.

“Uncle Delmar used to go country dancing every weekend when he lived in East Texas,” said Caskey. “He loves just about any song ever performed by Bob Willis, and through the program we have created a music playlist with songs that trigger those memories again. A slight smile washes over his face, and that’s when we know the music is working – we can see he’s able to recognize pieces of his past.”

Valynda King, the activities director for memory support at The Stayton, recently became certified in MUSIC & MEMORY and has seen the program’s positive impact on residents. The unique program is designed to improve mood, social engagement and family relationships. According to King, the program is often a spontaneous activity that really depends upon an individual’s needs at the moment. Two days a week, King sits with Delmar as he listens and taps along to the beat of his favorite music. King asks questions about Delmar’s life during those sessions, and is always touched when he shares a piece of his past with her.

“Delmar’s facial expression immediately softens when he hears the music, and I can see him traveling back in time,” explained King. “He has a reminiscing smile and begins to giggle. It’s touching and it grips you to the core to witness a resident fall back into a familiar place. There’s nothing better than watching a resident experience a lost moment.”

MUSIC & MEMORY is an extension of the Masterpiece Living® philosophy, which serves as the retirement community’s foundation. The philosophy embraces a wellness-minded attitude that encourages learning in an individual’s key development areas – physical, mental, social and spiritual. For King, the program has served as a breakthrough to connect to residents living with memory loss, and each resident involved in MUSIC & MEMORY uses the program in different ways. For example, one resident finds the music soothing during meal times, helping with his nutrition.

“When residents feel overwhelmed, music puts them back in that place where there are good times and smiles,” said King. “It’s an excellent tool to reach residents. Even if the residents are not verbally communicating, it enables us to reach them on a whole new level.”

Caskey visits Delmar on a daily basis, and continues to be impressed with the positive impact the sound of music has made on his favorite uncle. Delmar is one of six residents currently involved in the program, and King’s goal is to reach as many residents possible through the powerful tool of music.