The Charles and Rae Kane Center, Council on Aging Martin County, provides valuable services to thousands of seniors in Stuart and Martin County.
The Great American Senior Show caught up with the Kane Center's President and CEO Karen Ripper to reveal some amazing facts about the Council on Aging's Headquarters and the programs for seniors.
Our mission to reveal ten years of growth and service takes on a bit of special meaning for this episode as the grey-haired host for the Great American Senior Show helped to launch the Council on Aging in the early 1970's while anchoring talk radio and news in Stuart, Florida from WSTU.
Let's learn what that journey of growth has been like and where the Kane Center and Council on Aging is looking to grow in the future in this special episode, part one, of the Great American Senior Show.
Hello, everyone and welcome to another special edition of the Great American Senior Show. I'm your grey haired host, Sam Yates. Today we're at a very special place for me because they're celebrating are going to be celebrating a 10th year milestone. The anniversary of the cane Center here in Martin County, Florida. And why that's a little special to me is because it is something that I have believed in for many, many years. I supported and have been made aware of the Council on Aging here in Martin County dating back to the 70s. And I want to say around 1974. At the time, I was a news reporter/on air personality for one of our local heritage stations WSTU. And I do remember the founders for the Council on Aging coming in and saying, Hey, you know, we have a population that is getting older, we need a Council on Aging, and there wasn't one here. I think the closest one at that time, may have been in Palm Beach County. So there was a big drive to make sure that we had our seniors covered for all the things that they would need here in Martin County. So it's near and dear to me. And now after all those years, guess what? I'm here gray haired host, which puts me in that senior category. So I'm really happy today to welcome Karen Ripper to the program. Karen, tell us a little bit about yourself as we open the program up today.Karen Ripper:
Thank you, Sam. Well, I moved here from New York in 1969. And went to middle school, that Stewart Middle School, and that started my career when my dad and I talked. He said you're going to be a nurse. I said Okay, sounds like a plan to me. I liked people and that worked for me. So I began my career. Getting my education Indian River Community College was called back then in four years, and became an a registered nurse and began my career at Martin health system, Mark Memorial Hospital in 1975. And worked there for 35 years working as first a labor and delivery nurse for many years and assumed many educational spot opportunities and had great mentoring from guy Cranwell did Carmen Mark Robitae, and I w rked for Mark and Dick. My l st position was Senior Vice P esident of Health Care, Patien Operations. I had respon ibility for both hospit ls, patient care, and I retire in for Martin health in 2011. nd was asked by Barbara Kauffm n to come over to here to the ne building and assist. So that's where we are today.Sam Yates:
And a lot of familiar names their dating back a few years. I'm not going to deliberately date us by naming the number of years, but we share quite a lot of quite a lot of background. And actually, my oldest son was born at Mark Memorial, and I'm trying to remember maybe you were on duty at that time. So very possible. That was about 1977. Yes. So while I was there, What a small world it is. Well, we're here at the cane center. So let's let's jump right in the the cane Center has a special name and tell us how that because people drive by and they go, Oh, Charles and Ray cane. How did that come about?Karen Ripper:
So Charles, Kate, Charlie and Ray Kane moved to this area 45 years ago. Charlie was in many different forms of government service. He was in the FBI, the CIA and they moved here. And he wanted to advocate for seniors in a community that was a lifelong passion of his. He was very prominent in the Republican Party circles, was chair of the republican party here in Martin County for an extensive period of time, and formed close alliances with Joe Negron, who was in our state senator, our representative representative became a state senator. And Charlie had an idea that Martin County needed a great place for seniors to turn to, for resources and for a place to go where they would have activities that would help people age. So he and Joe worked tirelessly to obtain some money through the Florida Legislature to begin the talks about the senior center and relocating the Council on Aging of Martin County from East 10th Street to here at the Kane center on Salerno road. Joe was able to achieve over $5 million from appropriations and another 1.5 million to build the building and with other benefits, actors such as the Francis Langford foundation of 2.5 billion, and many other philanthropic gifts, the Kane center became a reality. And it was because of Charlie's tireless work with his wife, Ray, on behalf of seniors that we need, the building was named the Kane center.Sam Yates:
And that's a heritage, I think that we can all appreciate. Well, one of the things that I remember dating back to the days of the groundbreaking, this area where the sitter is now was literally a cross between just some Florida scrub, and perhaps a cow pasture. And when they broke ground, it was like, this was a big deal. As a matter of fact, there were some fundraising efforts and I won't put you on the spot. But I can remember either buying a bag of dirt or a vial of dirt to help the cane center as it was meant to looking at the funding process. So we literally had people throughout the county, who came and got their hands a little dirty. And that was their investment in making sure that our seniors were going to be taken care of. So when is the anniversary of the cancer,Karen Ripper:
the building actually opened into in June of 2011. And the open houses in July. So we say it's anywhere between June and December of the anniversary of 2011.Sam Yates:
But you are going to be celebrating the 10th anniversary coming up in November.Karen Ripper:
That is correct. We are inviting the community to celebrate with us. It's a ticketed event, we will have other opportunities to celebrate here at the Kane center. But this is a ticketed event with a concert and a meet and greet and tours and some heavy hors d'oeuvres to celebrate the night.Sam Yates:
Well this is sort of my contribution to your anniversary then because as I say, I have believed at it for a long, long time. And Who in the world would have thought that you grow up here, you move away for your adult life and then guess what? back you are. So I'm glad to do my part. But you have some very unique programs here. Let's talk about the programs if we can, in my current capacity in working with elderly and senior care centers, and in particular, the sponsor of this program is VIP America. And I'd be remiss if I didn't make sure that I mentioned them as a sponsor brought to you by your home health referral experts VIP America. And it goes something like this like when you need professional home health care turn to the experts who have registered professionals, you can trust their nurse registry and that means that you can rely on them to screen and assess your needs to be able to match. Specifically what you need in home health care. 24 seven care got you covered. caregiver that likes football, you pick the team, caregiver who's comfortable with pets, dog, cat bird, they know how to match your needs. So they have stepped forward to help the great American senior show become a great podcast we're in to our 25th episode today with today's episode and literally, not just here in Florida and Martin County specific but all over the country and all over the world with Believe it or not Germany, France and Australia, topping our world listeners. So let's get back to the programs now that I've taken care of VIP for their sponsorship here. One that jumps out at me is the medical side. And trust me I've been in senior care facilities, senior centers all over the state. You're unique.Karen Ripper:
We are we are I one of the reasons I that Barbara asked me to come over was because of my knowledge regarding medical care and and looking at medical care as being a basis for Senior Health all the way around. We started our It was called the cane clinic back in 2013. It was primarily designed for patients clients of ours already that needed more time with the doctor preventative measures to cope with chronic care. And it's you know, in Martin County, there's over 6000 people that have three or more chronic care conditions. And as we grow as a community that's that's even more, but we now have almost 4000 patients in our panel. And we do accept all insurances it's primarily a senior adult focused a model. And we see we have two physicians on staff, one geriatrician, internal medicine boarded and we also have a Other internal medicine board physician Dr. treyvion, and Dr. saibot. We also have three nurse practitioners who work with them, even providing care in the homes for homebound clients. We work very closely with agencies such as VIP America, to help make sure our clients get what they need in the homes in regards to their health care. It's it's been a work of love, we really spend a lot of time with our patients to make sure that that we get we met, we want to avoid hospitalizations, and emergency room visits. That's our whole focus. So if we take the time to know the patient, and know their family support, know about their chronic medical conditions and make sure that we know what medications they're on, and look for clues to avoid deterioration. That's our whole focus. And it's nice because here in this building, we have resources for the medical side to be able to refer to the social side. And that makes a nice combination. We even have a registered dietician on staff who, when someone client or patient with diabetes needs an added support and health and education, the physicians or the nurse practitioner is able to refer to the dietician on site. So it's like a one stop shop, which makes it easier for the senior in their family, we have a very robust exercise program that is senior focused. Now when I say senior, I mean there could be people in their their 50s all the way, I think our oldest senior was 100 in chair fitness. So we try to appeal to all ranges of ages and abilities. So it could be zuba, which is very high functioning seniors who are able to work with our best instructor Osvaldo they love him. And before COVID, we had about 6070 seniors in the room in the morning, and now we try to offer the class more often. So it's not as as crowded. So but then there's chair fitness for seniors and eight aren't able to move as as as well. And then we have Tai Chi and yoga and even talk, sometimes we have line dancing. So fitness is one component of aging gracefully.Sam Yates:
Now along the line of having more people come in, this is a facility right now, that is not as active as it was before COVID. But I know you're always looking ahead to the next step. So I have to commend you on that. One of your programs, memory enhancement.Karen Ripper:
Sure. Tell us about it. Okay, so we partnered with the St. Augustine Council on Aging, they had a, they developed a curriculum for memory enhancement is called the interventional memory enhancement program I met we refer to it as, and it's a rigorous curriculum that we bring in folks that, you know, I just can't remember where I put my keys, or I want to really spruce up my brain because I think I might have problems in the future. There's something that is keeping them so to speak, is I need some help, I need to read to retrain or help. I don't want to deteriorate my memory in any way, if I can avoid it. So this program is based on spiritual and physical, nutritional and exercise brain exercises. And it's a it's a program that we follow their directions. And we purchased this program from St. Augustine and it's grown tremendously. adult daycare. So let me give an example. Mom needs to be she, she's been watching too much TV. And she's been, you know, not networking with her friends as much as she should be to keep active. She's getting depressed, she's socially, she's socially isolating herself. So I go to the cane center and say, What can you offer me for mom, the day, the day day club where she can talk with people that and network with with people that her have, they have something in common. And it starts with exercise in the morning, and goes through brain exercises as well as physical exercises. There's crafts, there's entertainment, they're singing, there's mom plays a piano, there's a piano in there, we can have a concert. There's all kinds of field trips that we are pretty robust when it's not COVID time, but there's a lot to do and it fills up their day if mom needs to be supervised because she has a memory impairment. We have things for groups in adult day club that are suited for mom as well. We try to match a client's aptitude, cognitive capacity and physical capacity. With the different programs we have an adult daycare,Sam Yates:
current, try to keep segments to about 15 minutes. So I'm closing in on that mark right Now I have a quick question. Can you come back for another segmentKaren Ripper:
I would love to.Sam Yates:
Alright with that word. I'm going to say in our next segment, we're going to go into something that everybody can enjoy cane cuisine. We're going to talk about the resources that you have for caregivers because that's very, very important. This facility is for rent to the outside community, and that anniversary. In our next episode, we're going to cover all of those topics. But for now, I'm Sam Yates, your gray haired host for the Great American Senior Show. And that's the way this program ends.