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Identity

One man turned nursing home design on its head when he created this stunning facility

"What if we design an environment that looks like outside?" he said. "What if I can have a sunrise and sunset inside the building?



92-year-old Norma had a strange and heartbreaking routine.

Every night around 5:30 p.m., she stood up and told the staff at her Ohio nursing home that she needed to leave. When they asked why, she said she needed to go home to take care of her mother. Her mom, of course, had long since passed away.

Behavior like Norma's is quite common for older folks suffering from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. Walter, another man in the same assisted living facility, demanded breakfast from the staff every night around 7:30.


Jean Makesh, CEO of Lantern assisted living facilities, says he meets folks with stories like these every day. It's their stories that inspired him to make some changes at Lantern.

"I thought I knew a lot about elderly care. The more and more time I was spending with my clients, that's when I realized, 'Oh my god, I have no clue.'"

Confusion is common in Alzheimer's patients, but Makesh knew there had to be some way to minimize these conflicts.

A big believer in the idea that our environment has an enormous effect on us, he started thinking big — and way outside the box.

"What if we design an environment that looks like outside?" he said. "What if I can have a sunrise and sunset inside the building? What if I'm able to have the moon and stars come out? What if I build a unit that takes residents back to the '30s and '40s?"

And that was just the beginning. He also researched sound therapy. And aromatherapy. And carpet that looked like grass. No idea was off-limits.

What he came up with was a truly unique memory-care facility. And after testing the concept in Lantern's Madison, Ohio, facility, Makesh is opening two new locations this year.

Instead of rooms or units, each resident gets a "home" on a quiet little indoor street reminiscent of the neighborhoods many of them grew up in.

All photos courtesy of Lantern

Instead of a boring panel ceiling, residents look up and see a digital sky, which grows dimmer late in the day to help keep their biological clocks in tune.

Throughout the day, nature sounds and fresh aromas like peppermint or citrus are piped in.

Some studies have shown that this kind of aromatherapy may indeed have some merits for improving cognitive functioning in Alzheimer's patients.

There's even a little "main street" where residents can gather.

For Makesh, this isn't just about making patients comfortable, though. He wants to change how we think about the endgame of severe dementia.

The insides of the rooms aren't too shabby, either.

Makesh said one of the frustrating shortcomings of most nursing facilities is that they create conflicts with unnatural environments and schedules, and they try to solve them by throwing antipsychotic and anti-anxiety medications at patients. In other words, when someone has severe dementia, we often give up on them. From there, they stop getting the engagement their brain needs to thrive.

Of course, we're a long way from a cure for Alzheimer's.

But Makesh's project shows that when we think strategically about altering the environment and focus on helping people relearn essential self-care and hygiene skills, the near-impossible becomes possible.

"In five years, we're going to [be able to] rehabilitate our clients where they can live independently in our environment," he said. "In 10 years, we're going to be able to send them back home."

He knows it's a lofty goal. And whether he'll meet it remains to be seen. But in the meantime, he's proud to own one of the few places that offers something pretty rare in cases of severe dementia: hope.


This article originally appeared on 09.08.16

Identity

Comedian Tig Notaro's 7-year-old son had a beautiful reaction to learning his moms are gay

“I was so stunned because we’ve lived together almost eight years, and I’ve been gay the whole time — even prior!”

Comedian Tig Notaro on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

June is LGBTQ Pride Month, a time for celebration for those in the community and their allies. People celebrate the occasion with pride parades, fly the pride flag, and commemorate special events in the gay rights movement, such as the Stonewall Uprising. But so far this month, for comedian Tig Notaro, things have been “a little weird.”

She explained the funny situation she and her wife, actor Stephanie Allynne, recently dealt with on the June 6 episode of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

Pride month, I’ll be honest, it’s been a little weird. My wife and I found out recently that our sons didn’t know we were gay. They will be 8 this month,” Notaro told Colbert. "Their school is six minutes away from our house, and at minute three we were in the front seat of the car talking about something about gay. Our son Finn leans forward and says, ‘You’re gay?’”


“I was so stunned because we’ve lived together almost eight years, and I’ve been gay the whole time — even prior!” Notaro joked. “So, I was like, ‘Yes! We are.’ I was so shocked.”

@colbertlateshow

#TigNotaro’s sons didn’t realize their moms were gay, but they jumped on board quickly! #Colbert

The couple felt they had to address the big revelation before the kids got to school, but they didn’t have much time. “We’re like three minutes now from the school, and I start explaining what gay is,” she continued. As she explained what it meant to be gay, she felt a little awkward coming out to her sons.

"And then while I was explaining it, I started getting insecure, thinking, 'What if he doesn’t like this?'” she worried. “So, she asked her sons to share their feelings on the sensitive issue. “What do you think about what I just told you?” Notaro asked them.

Her son Finn gave the most beautiful response.

“Oh, I love my family,” he said.

The couple were shocked that their kids had no idea what gay meant, even though their mothers were lesbians. “We drop them off at school and we’re like, ‘bye!’ and we truly drove off going like half-a-mile-an-hour, like ‘How on earth do our kids not know we’re gay?’ Because, dare I say, we’re also an iconic gay couple,” Notaro joked.

Allynne and Notaro have been married for over eight and a half years, tying the knot on October 24, 2015, in Notaro’s hometown of Pass Christian, Mississippi. It wasn’t long after that they became parents. On June 26, 2016, their sons, Max and Finn, were born by surrogate.

When the couple first met, it was challenging for Allyne, who wasn’t sure how to label her sexuality. "Everything about her felt right," she told People. "I knew I liked her, I knew I cared about her and that sent me into an identity crisis spiral. I felt the need to label myself. Was I gay? Was I bi? Was I still straight? Was I ever straight?"

"It took me six months to realize those labels were ridiculous. Once I was able to own my true feelings it was all easy and beautiful. I now don’t believe in the labels,” she continued.

Now, things have come full circle and the couple are explaining to their kids what it means to be gay. “I realized that even though there’s pictures of our wedding day and they know they have two moms, that doesn’t mean they know what gay is,” Notaro told Colbert.

Identity

Cardiff man helps homeless women after they were refused water at McDonald’s

“I’m no saint, but this small act of kindness cost me about £20.”

Jonathon Pengelly and Polly.

It goes without saying that water is a basic human right that should never be denied to anyone. So when a homeless woman named Polly in Cardiff, Wales, was refused a drink at her local McDonald's recently, a good Samaritan wouldn't stand for it.

Jonathon Pengelly couldn't believe his eyes when the cashier told the woman no. "I don't know what was going through their minds but a lady, clearly homeless was asking for a basic human right; and for a multi-billion pound company, for them to say no is disgusting!" Pengelly wrote on Facebook.

Pengelly was behind the woman in line, so he offered to buy her and her friend something to eat and was shocked at Polly's response.

"She asked for a single cheeseburger and that was it," Pengelly said. "We bought as much as we could carry so I knew she wasn't going to be hungry." He then sat and ate with them and was blown away by their positive attitudes. So he brought them back to his house, where they showered and brushed their teeth. While they cleaned up, Pengelly prepared some food to tide the women over for a few days.


Pengelly posted about the evening's events on Facebook to raise awareness about the problem of homelessness in the U.K. "I'm no saint, but this small act of kindness cost me about £20," he wrote. "I know 90% of people reading this will earn about 10 times that a day. … If you see someone on the streets, don't look down on them like they're nothing. You don't know what they've been though! Spare a little thought!"

Pengelly's experience didn't just open up his eyes to a real problem, he made a friend as well. "Me and Polly have chatted on the phone and I've promised her that she will never go hungry or cold again!" he said.

Here's Pengelly's full post:

"Well, my night took an unexpected turn! So I finished my night out, ended up in the dreaded McDonald's queue. I couldn't help but notice the lady in front me, all she asked for was a cup of hot water.

The member of staff told her no. I don't know what was going through their mind but a lady, clearly homeless was asking for a basic human right; and for a multi billion pound company, for them to say no is disgusting!

My heart was shattered! So I spoke to her and told her to order what she wanted, expecting her to order everything. I was so shocked. She asked for a single cheese burger and that was it. We bought as much as we could carry so I knew she wasn't going to be hungry.

I couldn't just leave this lady go, she was so warming and so lovely. So I sat with her, on the cold hard floor, in the middle of winter and you know what I did? I cried my eyes out.

You know if people of Cardiff walked passed them and didn't do anything because, financially, they weren't in the position, I would understand. But people walked passed and laughed at them. I don't care who you are, If this was you; and you're reading this I hate you!

When I got to speak to them I was genuinely shocked at their story and how educated they were! So full of life and enthusiasm and they literally have nothing!

I invited polly and her mate back to my house and we all cooked enough food to feed them and their friends for the next few nights. We boxed them up and packed them in their bags.

Polly and her mate have had showers, brushed their teeth and they both said they have ever felt so appreciated in their life.
I'm no saint, but this small act of kindness cost me about £20. I know 90% of people reading this will earn about 10 times that a day.

It costs nothing to be kind, and I genuinely hope people share this to raise awareness of homelessness throughout the UK!
Me and polly have chatted on the phone and I've promised her that she will never go hungry or cold again! I've given her blankets, pillows and a backpack full of food.

If you see someone on the streets, don't look down on them like they're nothing. You don't know what they've been though! spare a little thought!

I don't care if I look like shit cause I'm crying!

Polly, you've changed me!"


This article originally appeared on 08.10.18


A woman is flirting with a gay man at a bar.

A gay man is getting some love for the way he handled a straight woman at a bar who behaved rather entitled towards him. A Reddit user named KineticVibes was out with his friends when he noticed a woman trying to get his attention.

“I (25M) was out with friends last night and we went to a bar. This girl made eye contact with me when I walked in and I smiled at her. Me being a gay man I thought nothing of it,” KineticVibes wrote.

The woman approached him after realizing he wasn’t reacting to her flirtations from across the bar. “About 20 minutes later, the same girl walks up to my friends and me, and it's clear she is very drunk and says to me, ‘Do you want to buy me a drink?’ To which I replied, ‘No, sorry, I'm here just to hang with my friends,’” he continued.


She was clearly taking an aggressive approach by walking up and asking him to buy her a drink. Why didn’t she just ask what he was drinking and buy him a drink instead? She also unintentionally put him in a very uncomfortable spot because he didn’t want to tell her he was gay.

Even though it’s 2024 and people are a lot more accepting of people’s sexuality, you never know when a drunk person in the bar will have a problem with someone being gay and try to start a fight. “I am still not totally comfortable telling any old stranger on first meeting that I'm gay—so this seemed like the best course of action for me,” KineticVibes wrote.

Even though he was polite, the girl kept prodding him.

“She looks rejected and a bit frustrated now behind her glossy eyes and says, ‘A pretty girl wants to drink with you and you say no?’ Now I'm getting frustrated, and I kind of snap and say, ‘Well, I'm gay, so pretty girls don't work on me.’”

“She snarkily laughs and says, ‘Well, if you ever decide to date women, let me know,’ to which I very snappily reply, ‘If you ever decide to become a man, let me know,’” KineticVibes said. The quick-witted response made his friends a bit uncomfortable.

“You could tell it embarrassed her and my friends all kind of got mad at me, saying that I should have patience and be nicer,” he concluded the story.

But did he need to be nicer to the woman? She tried to make eye contact, but he didn’t respond. Then she asked him to buy her a drink, to which he said no, politely. She then doubled down and asked why he wouldn’t buy one for her because she was pretty. Just about everyone in the comments on the story thinks he did the right thing by responding to her snark with a bit of sass. "I would’ve bought you a drink after that. Handling with humor 10/10," A_Bull_Nuts responded.

Others thought the woman acted entitled by demanding a drink and got what she deserved. "If she was a dude, people would call her an incel for behaving like she's entitled to anyone's attention. It's not cute when dudes do it. It's not cute when dudettes do it," NotSoBunny wrote.

"This is what I came here to say... She reeks of entitlement! She put herself out there and got shot down and then doubled down. She may not be a man, but she's got a huge set of balls demanding a stranger pay her way," formiddabble-opponent added.


This article originally appeared on 4.2.24