Posts Tagged ‘Chambers Court’

Catholic Guild for the Blind

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Dara Marshall Outreach worker is visiting our communities to discuss tools and techniques that help legally blind people live independently.  The Catholic Guild for the Blind have an adaptive living program that is for people who need training and services to assist them in living safely & independently at home.  This program offers services such as home management, financial management, meal management, personal care, communication skills, and orientation & mobility.  The person that is suffering from vision loss has to fill out an application ( by calling 917-510-3146)  and then an instructor will come in and help by offering all the services listed above.  This adaptive living program goal is to allow senior citizens who are experiencing vision loss to function independently.


Resident Profile – Ruth Rosu

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Ruth Rosu loves to paint. She’s been interested in painting all her life – from the time she was a very young girl to her golden years. But, it was only about 15 years ago that she really started enjoying her hobby.

More than five years ago, she was living in Daytona Beach, Fla., taking care of a friend who had had a stroke. She had painted while staying with him to keep him company. It was a way to pass the time together, she said. When he passed, Rosu wanted to be closer to her two daughters, who live in Saugerties and Stone Ridge. So, she moved back to Ulster County.

Ruth Rosu at The Birches at Esopus

Ruth Rosu designed and painted this tugboat to reflect The Birches at Esopus. The tugboat was featured in a Memorial Day Parade and was later auctioned off for charity.

With a desire to paint landscapes, she discovered that she wanted to live on a property with more scenery. She was inspired by the Hudson River views and landscapes, making Birchez communities the perfect home. “I wanted to have that magnificent view,” she said.

Today, Ruth lives at Chambers Court – where her cottage overlooks the woods. Those woods are often the subject of her paintings. “I love the trees. I love to paint them.”

Why did she move to a Birchez property? “I think it’s the way seniors should be living,” she said.

Specifically, she likes that Birchez offers her a community of senior citizens who she can talk with, relate to and socialize, housing that is built with seniors’ safety in mind and are beautiful inside and outside, and activities such as craft club, garden club, movie club, social club, book club and Bible study.

Now that Ruth has friends at all Birchez locations, she visits each community regularly. For example, she goes to The Birches at Esopus each Thursday to visit their crafts studio and gallery as part of the Busy Bees Crafters group and on Monday afternoons you can find her in the crafts studio at Chambers.

She has primarily painted in oils and has done some watercolors. She even volunteered to design and paint a tugboat for the Tugboat Trail Festival. The tugboat was designed to reflect the style and look of The Birches at Esopus community. The tugboats were featured in a Memorial Day Parade and later auctioned off, with the proceeds going to charity. The tugboat is now on display at the gallery in Birches at Esopus. Now, she is experimenting more with craft painting, painting boxes and trying different techniques. “I must be getting brave in my old age,” she laughed.


Chambers Elementary Students Serenade Neighboring Seniors

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

By KYLE WIND, Freeman staff, December 20, 2011

TOWN OF ULSTER — The Chambers Elementary School chorus on Monday spread some holiday cheer to its little corner of the world when students caroled and performed songs from their latest concert for residents of The Birches at Chambers and the Chambers Court senior communities.

Traditional holiday hymns 51 fourth- and fifth-grade students performed for their neighbors at the apartment complex, which is a short walk from the school, included “Joy to the World,” “The First Noel,” “Silent Night,” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

“It was wonderful,” said 80-year-old Fran Gillis, one of the 25 residents who watched the performance. “It means very much to me, and the kids are really great.” (To see the accompanying video, click here.

Chorus Director Mona Stovall said the carolling is part of a longstanding Chambers tradition she started in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Students have caroled in different places around town over the years ranging from the Golden Hill Health Care Center to Barnes & Noble.

Fifth-grader Kiera Gallo, who was excited for the chance to perform her solo in “The Holly and the Ivy,” described the visit as “a chance to spread cheer through The Birches and Chambers Court.”

“The children get great joy out of it, and so do I,” said Stovall, who said she began the tradition because she believes in community service.

Stovall said the experience often exposes students to elderly people with disabilities, and some of her former students went on to become special education teachers, perhaps being put on that path as the result of their early carolling rounds.


Holiday Party Has Seniors Rocking to the Beat

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Holidays can be lonely for seniors living on their own. But at the Birchez Associates communities, you’ll find many ways to celebrate the holidays. In addition to cosponsoring the Kingston area senior New Year’s Eve party (to watch video, click here), Birchez owners Steve and Judy Aaron also hosted a holiday party for all their senior residents and staff.

At The Hillside Manor, a popular dining and events destination in Kingston, Birchez took over . A decorated Christmas tree welcomed guests in the foyer, with holiday decoration throughout. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres started the event in the front ballroom. Then festivities moved to the full back ballroom (complete with its own Christmas tree and Menorah) for dinner and dancing.

Congressman Maurice Hinchey pictured with Birches at Chambers Resident June Diamond (left) and Hostess Judy Aaron

Special guests included Congressman Maurice Hinchey who spun at least one senior on the dancefloor. County Treasurer Eliott Auerbach and his lovely wife Judy, County Clerk Nina Postupak, County Legislators Peter Loughran, Hector Rodriguez and Walter Frey, as well as Town of Esopus Council members Kyle Barnett, Gloria VanVliet and Donna McAuley also joined the party.

The band leader of “Outside the Box” thought he was doing the right thing when he mentioned a 92 year old resident was on the dance floor, only to have other dancers raise their hands to say “I’m in my nineties too!”  From the salad course through desert, the dance floor was in motion. Whether a classic melody or a cover of a contemporary song from Lady GaGa or Adele, guests were up and dancing. Chambers Court Resident and Centenarian Bill McDonough didn’t dance but had a front row table to watch others do so.

Host Steve Aaron (right) greets Centennarian Bill McDonough as Chambers Court Resident Dorothea Schwenk looks on.

Pointsetta centerpieces obtained through the local Boys & Girls Club were given to those residents who found a lucky penny underneath their place setting. In addition to peach melba for desert, plates of cookies from local Deising’s Bakery provided some extra energy for seniors to keep the dance floor full.

And for residents who no longer drive, A.N.N. Transportation provided a handicapped bus and van to get everyone to the event. After four hours of partying, there was even some grumbling when the announcement was made that the bus and van were ready for loading to take residents home. “Already?” some were heard to exclaim!

For additional pictures, see Holiday Party album on Facebook


Going Strong at 100

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Recent projections on seniors living longer are certainly borne out at The Birches communities. Just last week members of the Residents Club for The Birches at Chambers and Chambers Court met to fete William McDonough on the occasion of his 100th birthday.

Bill was born November 23, 1911, and he considers himself “just an ordinary guy.” Bill didn’t know why people would make such a fuss. So he was surprised at the turnout that included residents, owners Steve and Judy Aaron, and staff of Birchez Associates and Rondout Properties. Or that we would want to interview him.

Earlier this year, Bill was honored as a centenarian by the Ulster County Office for the Aging. On the left, pictured before the luncheon began at the Hillside Manor, is Bill with his loyal helper Dorothea Schwenk, a resident of Chambers Court since 2004.

Since the County’s celebration, it’s been about six months of birthday acknowledgments. He brought one to the party this week, a birthday card from the President and First Lady (click on the photo so you can read it!). This was in addition to the number of declarations and proclamations from many local politicians and dignitaries including State Senator John Bonacic, Assemblymember Kevin Cahill, and Ulster County Executive Mike Hein.

Bill lived in the area for 25 years before moving to Chambers Court early in 2008. He values living in a safe senior community. Bill says he’s found a really nice place and values the new friends he’s made.

Bill served as a conductor for the New York Central Railroad for many years. His “route” was Grand Central to Buffalo on the 20th Century Limited. At the time it was the fastest train out there. Today Bill wonders why people want to go much faster. “When I think of some of these tiny cars speeding down the highway at 70 miles per hour, I don’t think it’s safe. Why is everyone in such a hurry?”

Bill is, at the moment, the only centenarian living at one of the Birches Communities but there are a number of residents close behind. Currently there are 43 residents aged 85 and over, with 14 of those 90 or over. In the picture to the right taken at the Residents’ celebration, Bill is pictured with Tess Glassman, a Birches at Chambers resident who turned 90 on November 20th. Between them is Steve Aaron, founder and managing member of Birchez Associates which developed and manages four senior communities in Ulster County.

Steve Aaron spoke about aging in place in independent living communities. “Bill’s a great example of why I believe so in the aging-in-place concept. It’s a better quality of life and much more economical for society than nursing homes or alternate level of care facilities.” Most units at The Birches Communities are handicapped ready if not fully ADA handicapped accessible. Home care and personal care aides from a number of local agencies can help provide assistance with daily living tasks which allows many seniors to spend their time “at home.”

Steve went on to say, “Annecdotally, we’re hearing that our residents, when they do have to be hospitalized or spend time in a rehab setting, are coming home sooner because the apartments’ features encourage that. They don’t have to wait for a ramp to be built or a bedroom created on the first floor or even the necessity to move from their home.”

– K.J. McIntyre, Director of Marketing, Birchez Associates


A senior moment or . . . what was the word? Alzheimer’s

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Town of Ulster, August 22, 2011  Wendy K. Rudder, LCSW and Care Consultant for the Alzheimer’s Association presented the basics of the disease to some fifty senior residents of The Birches at Chambers and Chambers Court who gathered today in the Community Room at The Birches at Chambers. This  is the latest affordable senior community developed and managed by Birchez Associates. Ms. Rudder had been invited to speak through the efforts of Senior Advocate for Birches Associates, Alice Tipp.

Alzheimer’s Disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that affects memory, behavior, personality and muscle control. And the numbers are startling: While Alzheimer’s generally affects people 65 or older, a quarter of a million under 65 have the disease. Over the age of 65, one out of eight people has the disease. The likelihood of developing the disease doubles every five years after age 65 so that 49% of those 85 and over have Alzheimer’s — nearly one in two people.

Already more than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s and yet the Baby Boomers are just crossing the age 65 threshold. It is estimated that without a cure, Alzheimer’s will move up from the #7 cause of death among adults to number one by the middle of this century.

Ms. Rudder shared the 10 Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease with her audience, careful to explain that just forgetting where you put the keys last night or temporarily forgetting someone’s name or a movie title you saw two weeks ago are probably more senior moments than symptoms of the disease. www.alz.org gives some good examples of the difference between senior moments and symptoms under “Know the Ten Signs”. The 10 Symptoms are:

  • Memory loss that affects everyday living
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion with time or place (even familiar places)
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities (initiative)
  • Changes in mood or behavior.

Wendy suggested that the above symptoms may merit a visit to a neurologist. And she stressed that one or two of the symptoms by themselves may not mean an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Sometimes the combination of medications, or the body’s inability to absorb B12 is enough to mimic these symptoms.

The Alzheimer’s Association can help in many ways including education, referrals  and caregiver groups. Their helpline and website is www.alz.org. The Hudson Valley/Rockland/Westchester, NY Chapter is housed in Poughkeepsie. If you are calling from Ulster County, use 845-340-8474. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s raises funds for global research and to provide support services locally. In this area the Walks to End Alzheimer’s will be Saturday, October 15th in Poughkeepsie and Saturday, October 22nd in Stone Ridge. To sign up, www.alz.org/hudsonvalley or call 1.800.272.3900.


Alice Tipp Appreciation Day

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

August 22, 2011, Town of Ulster: It’s not easy surprising Alice Tipp, the Senior Advocate for Birchez Associates, but the Birchez staff and the residents of The Birches at Chambers and Chambers Court managed to do just that. Today it was Alice Tipp Appreciation Day!

Alice has served in her position for the last six years. And as Steve Aaron, Founder and Managing Director of Birchez Associates, often says, “Alice works five days a week and is the first one in every morning.”

Alice has plenty of experience showing up and being on time having served thirty years in the Ulster County Legislature before accepting her position as Senior Advocate. Alice’s experience is invaluable as she matches resources to the needs of the residents in the four Birchez communities she services.

Appreciation was apparent in the applause, warmth and laughter expressed in the room of fifty or so. Among the attendees were several surprise guests including her son Tippy (Walter Scott Tipp II), her daughter Cheryl and son-in-law James McTague.

The residents presented Alice with a candle and candle holder to express the sentiment: “You Light up Our Lives.”

Steve and Judy Aaron presented Alice with a pearl necklace, and the staff gave her a basket of goodies and flowers. Ice cream cakes and pound cake rounded out her luncheon. Alice even read the sentiments of the many cards aloud and admired the stealth with which her friends had operated to pull off her surprise party.

The crown from Senior Property Manager Judy Fitzpatrick was just the right touch for a lady who deserves to be queen every day.


Centenarian William McDonough Honored

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Chambers Court resident William McDonough’s 100th birthday won’t be until November 23, 2011, but the celebration has already begun. Bill was honored at the Ulster County Centenarian luncheon organized by the Office for the Aging on Friday, May 6th, 2011, held at the Hillside Manor, sponsored in part by Birchez Associates.

County Executive Mike Hein presented Bill and 16 other centenarians with a proclamation; each birthday “boy or girl” also received certificates from State Senator John Bonacic and Assemblyman Kevin Cahill. The photo to the left shows Mike Hein handing Bill his own proclamation.

Ann Cardinale, head of Ulster County’s Office for the Aging, remarked on the growing number of centenarians country wide and that this year’s recognition represented the largest class ever. The oldest recognized this year is 106 years young.

Ms. Cardinale also presented some of the qualities that lead to such longevity including a positive attitude. This certainly characterizes Bill McDonough, a gentleman who continues to live on his own with the assistance of his loyal caretaker Dorothea Schwenk (also a Chambers Court resident and pictured with Bill in the photo to the left). Bill still votes in person; although he said maybe this year he’d consider an absentee ballot he’d prefer to go to the polls.

Birchez Associates salutes Bill and looks forward to celebrating with him throughout his 100th year. Chambers Court, the first of Birchez Associates affordable senior communities, opened in the town of Ulster in 2004/. As with all of the company’s communities, it is designed to help seniors live successful, independent lives of quality as they age in place. Adjacent to the company’s latest community, The Birches at Chambers, Chambers Court residents now enjoy all the amenities of the latest community, including a fitness studio with trainer who specializes in senior exercise, a media room — a small state of the art theater, library/game room, crafts room and more, all at no cost to the residents.


Redefining Affordable

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Kingston, 11-10 by Kim Plummer

Over the past few years there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of affordable housing developments being built throughout New York State. For aging boomers seeking affordable housing, the key is to start looking early, do your homework, and reach out to local agencies, sources say.

Ken Harris, senior policy analyst for New York Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (NYAHSA) says the decline in this sort of housing can be attributed to increased costs and zoning issues. “A lot of housing that needs to go through zoning changes is finding opposition from neighbors in many cases,” Harris says. “It’s a recent trend that’s difficult.” . . .

When looking for affordable senior housing, one should keep in mind that affordable housing can still be very competitive with market-rate housing as far as amenities go. A lot of people believe the more you pay, the more services you get, but that’s not always the case, Harris says.

Housing is unique; amenities, transportation services, and communities vary quite a bit, even in the realm of affordable housing units. Harris suggests people do their homework when searching for affordable housing; one element he finds particularly important to seniors is an onsite service coordinator.

“The service coordinator is sort of like a linchpin between the resident and services in the community,” Harris says. “They can help the resident find resources in the community – everything from Medicare, Medicaid, help with information, and supportive health services.”

Currently, The Birches at Chambers in Ulster and the Birches at Esopus in Ulster Park are two ADA-compliant, affordable housing facilities resembling market-rate housing. Amenities in the average rental price of about $750 per month include fitness trainers in the onsite fitness studio, a movie theater, community rooms, a library, fully equipped computer labs with Internet access, and craft rooms. Additionally, The Birches at Chambers is anticipating LEED Platinum certification and has been certified as a NYUSERDA Energy $mart Building. “It’s not what people expect to see for affordable housing,” says K.J. McIntyre, director of marketing for Birchez Associates, LLC.

Most recently, Birchez Associates has received initial funding from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York to build affordable senior housing onto the Elant campus, a nursing home in Fishkill. This will be another ADA-compliant facility. “With the service of Elant close at hand, we can offer additional home health and nursing care as needed, while our residents continue to live in their homes, as opposed to the nursing home environment,” McIntyre says.

Birchez Associates also owns and manages two additional affordable senior housing communities. Chambers Court, completed in 2004, provides cottage-style one- and two-bedroom apartments adjacent to The Birches at Chambers in Ulster. The Birches at Saugerties is another affordable senior community completed in 2006 with 60 garden-style apartments. . . .

Seniors who need assistance finding affordable housing can contact their local Office for the Aging, where they can be provided with additional consultation about affordable housing as well as Active Adult Communities that specially reserve units for affordable housing.

Photo: The Birches at Esopus

Excerpted from the full article, Affordable Housing Trends: Redefining Affordable, in the Boomer’s Guide to Living 2010 published by Schein Media (Kingston, NY)

The publication is currently available by clicking here.


Scary Stories come to The Birches

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Ulster, NY 10.29.10 –  Chambers School elementary students, all members of the Nature Club, accompanied by Club member Charlotte Adamis and parents walked over after school for a Halloween gathering at the  community room of The Birches at Chambers, the senior housing community that adjoins the school property. Greeting the students were residents of both The Birches at Chambers and Chambers Court, many of whom in costume, ready with treats for the students. The students showed off their costumes,chatted with residents and entertained with a scary reading of Scaredy Cat, Splat! by Rob Scotton.

The new book, a recent acquisition to the library, was read without prior rehearsal by two of the students to much laughter and applause. In the picture to the right, club mentor and school librarian Adamis speaks to some of the audience. Even the parents got into the spirit of the event sporting costumes — some scarier than the children’s! The event was one of several intergenerational activities with the neighboring school’s Nature Club.