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Sorbet Mag

Sorbet Mag

February 9 to March 6, 2022

he Broadway sensation WICKED looks at what hap-pened in the Land of Oz...but from a different angle. Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin, who is smart, fiery, misunderstood, and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friend-ships...until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other one “wicked.”

A9R14obq1k 12y7jhe 9hsWith a thrilling score that includes the hits “Defying Gravi-ty,” “Popular” and “For Good,” WICKED has been hailed by The New York Times as “the defining musical of the de-cade,” and by Time Magazine as “a magical Broadway musi-cal with brains, heart, and courage.” NBC Nightly News calls the hit musical “the most successful Broadway show ever.”

Single tickets for WICKED start at $ $44.75 and are avail-able online at, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, or by calling (714) 556-2787; for inquiries about group ticket discounts for 10 or more, call the Group Services offices at (714) 755-0236.

You’ve Got a Friend in Me

Friendship is special and precious. It feeds our soul, comforts our spirit, and inspires our intellect. As one of life’s great joys, good friendships should be celebrated – especially ones that last a lifetime.

For Pat Beery and Shirley Forden, their friendship spans 70 years, and it all started on the campus of UCSB as members of Sigma Kappa, one of the oldest sororities in the country.

In the 1950s, UCSB was known as Santa Barbara College of the University of California. During the post-war years universities expanded access to education, especially for women. In those days, Pat says women had fewer choices. “An education gave us opportunity and independence.” For Shirley, the sorority was a vital part of her experience, “We supported each other as we chased our dreams.”

Sigma Kappa offered an important social network for members, many of whom were away from home for the first time. “We worked hard but we also had fun,” laughs Shirley. They have fond memories of their time on campus and enjoyed going to dances together.

Occasionally, Pat would invite her brother along as an escort. “Of course, he loved it. I introduced him to his future wife, another one of my sorority sisters.”

Both women felt fortunate to be able to continue their education and were determined to make the most of the opportunity. Shirley graduated as an Art Major in 1955 and taught art in middle school. Pat graduated in 1956 with a degree in Early Childhood Education and became an elementary school teacher.

Pat and Shirley say they love the lush garden settings at The Covington.They are proud of their accomplishments and proud to know their example inspired future generations of women in their families. Pat’s daughter had a lengthy career as a teacher in the California public school system and Shirley’s granddaughter has recently taken up a teaching post in New York City.

Over the years, they stayed in touch socially and through the Sigma Kappa alumni association where they helped to raise money for charity. “We organized an annual Boutique Fair,” says Shirley, “it was a going concern.” The Fair offered handmade items from local artisans and craftspeople and Pat says that the focus on the community was a key to its success. “People loved it.”

The bonds of sisterhood remained strong through the years and paid dividends again later in life. For each of them, the time came to plan their next move. Pat said once she stopped driving, she felt isolated in her own home. For Shirley, her family was anxious about her daily safety as she aged. “They we’re constantly wanting to check on me.”

The women had a mutual sorority sister who lived at The Covington in Aliso Viejo, and occasionally they would visit. “We would dine together in the on-property restaurant, and I was always so impressed by the delicious food,” says Pat.

The quality of dining and accommodations, the vibrant lifestyle and continuum of care were all important factors in the eventual decision that each women made to make their home at The Covington. Having friends already living on campus made the transition that much easier. “It almost feels like we are back at our sorority house,” Shirley says, “but with more comfortable beds!”

Since moving in, the women say they now feel much more at ease and relish the active, social opportunities that The Covington provides. “There is so much to do here,” says Pat. For Shirley, the variety of on-site facilities and The Covington’s Creative Living philosophy of life-long learning, were also important considerations. “I so appreciate being able to continue to paint and make pottery.”

Pat, who moved in last year, has since met another old friend already living at The Covington. “I had not seen her in years. It has been so wonderful to reconnect and catch up. I know I am not the only person who has had this experience.”

The Covington is a member of the ECS family of campuses for active seniors. Founded on four commitments – choice, creativity, confidence, and connection – ECS has been at the forefront of senior living in Southern California since 1923.


At The Covington, your journey can be as adventurous or easy-going as you want. A maintenance-free lifestyle means freedom to create your future, pursue your passions and enjoy active independence. Our residences, villas, and cottages offer floor plans for all needs, freeing you from the worry of having to move again. With services to ensure your comfort and mobility, and amenities to keep you active and inspire learning, here, life is what you make it.

Like many ECS campuses, The Covington is a Life Plan Community. Choosing a community like ours ensures a plan for your care needs — now and in the future – with a focus on pro-active wellness and a continuum of care. Making your home here also provides peace of mind, knowing you do not have to move should your needs change.


Our Creative Living philosophy drives life-long learning, growth, and social and cultural connections. Here, you will find the settings, services, and amenities that support fun, fresh opportunities for self-expression and discovery. Choose from fitness for all levels, theater and singing groups, and art and dance classes – all available on campus. If you need more inspiration, our communities are conveniently located near many of Southern California’s celebrated cultural destinations.

Staying healthy and active is always better with friends.


Confidence is everything. As a non-profit organization, ECS is continually reinvesting to improve infrastructure, services, and programs. No matter which Life Plan community you choose, you will experience relaxed, maintenance-free, sophisticated retirement living. With one of the highest credit ratings in the industry, ECS offers the security, services, and peace-of-mind that allows you to enjoy all life has to offer.

There are so many activities to enjoy and always something new to learn.


The strength of a community is the strength of its people. Relax over morning coffee with friends, take a class, attend a lecture, and delight in live entertainment. Here, your social life is as vibrant as you are. Or contribute by serving on a resident club or leadership committee. Our “Resident Centered, Staff Supported” approach means you enjoy the full spectrum of quality-of-life benefits that comes from calling a Life Plan Community home. It is an environment that allows you to flourish and be your very best.


For Pat and Shirley, the choice, creativity, confidence, and connection they enjoy at The Covington has been life changing. “I eat better, sleep better, and live better,” says Pat. “And we’re having more fun than ever,” says Shirley.

The culinary team at The Covington delivers inspired dining for the discerning palate.

About Us

The Covington offers exceptional continuing care, retirement community living in a secure, gated neighborhood in Aliso Viejo, Southern California. Our relaxed, maintenance-free, resort-style accommodations, and active campus environment offer the perfect place to continue your journey of a life well-lived, on your terms. Contact us today to learn more.

The Covington
3 Pursuit
Aliso Viejo
(949) 209-3829

Protect Your Family from Viruses, Bacteria, Chemicals and Mold

There’s a phenomenon that happens in the atmosphere when it rains. A term for it - petrichor - was coined in 1964 by Australian scientists.

It attempts to describe the earthy smell associated with thunderstorms. The result of compounds like activated oxygen and plant oils in the soil contribute to what smells like the cleanest, most fresh air possible. Puréfi Air Systems is a local Orange County distributor for the 97-year-old parent company Aerus - and the company that manufactures products that can replicate that incredible phenomenon…indoors.

There aren’t many companies out there that I fully get behind as a mom. Especially in this day in age, when so many social media influencers prioritize followers over function - image over quality standards. Puréfi stands apart. Not only are they dedicated to educating and helping Orange County residents breathe easier in their homes, offices and schools, they strive to give back where their employees live and work.

PureThe past couple of years have been challenging for us all, not just those of us who have children at home, and the anxiety over airborne pollution and contaminants - not just COVID-19 - seems to have peaked. In our extended family as an example - my mother is asthmatic and several family members face a similar set of allergens and respiratory conditions, so clean air is certainly a priority. Puréfi tackles that on behalf of families like ours, with the only air cleaning technology awarded the prestigious Space of Technology Seal of Approval. (You read that right.)

ActivePure’s portable filtration, purification and sanitization system technology works by destabilizing the outer shell of a virus, pollutant, or bacteria which turns them into harmless by-products. Aerus worked with NASA to design and patent the technology, which makes this “air and surface defender” the only one that actively seeks out contaminants in your home or office. Other technologies can be passive or slow, as they wait for the pollutants to be pulled into their filters. ActivePure doesn’t wait. It neutralizes and continues to protect beyond the initial cleaning 24/7.

Keeping particulates at bay is more important than ever and this is the only technology proven to inactivate 99.99% of SARS COV-2,” says Kaeli Wilson, owner and CEO of Puréfi, whose own family have been utilizing similar technology since 1995.

“My parents were struggling to overcome an air quality issue at their hatchery in Hemet when they met a farmer from Minnesota who was here in California on vacation who suggested a solution, something he called ‘a thunderstorm in a box.’ Dad bought the air cleaning system and in a matter of days, the air quality problem was gone. We’ve been serving Southern California residents ever since.”

image2222So what is it about ions, wave patterns, wind, solar, and oxygen? Well, they go together, first and foremost. More importantly, they’re natural elements designed to keep the environment healthy for its own sake - and thankfully, we benefit from cleaner air. ActivePure works by recreating photocatalysis, the very same process found in nature.

Ridding the air of mold, mildew, viruses, pollen, tobacco smoke, dust, pet dander and chemical particulates in our homes, office, schools, and hospitals is especially critical now that we’re spending close to 90% of our time indoors.

I found it particularly surprising to discover that indoor levels of pollution may be 2 - 5 times higher - and occasionally more than 100 times higher - than outdoor pollutant levels and that "energy-efficient homes trap pollutants" according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

As ActivePure's systems are portable, with no installation required, you can get one set up in no time, and they’re actually whisper-silent, unlike so many of the so-called kid-friendly devices out there that clutter the home with noise pollution and produce ozone while they’re at it.

While also featuring complementary HEPA, Ionization and Activated Carbon technologies, there’s just no downside. Especially for those with asthma, allergies, COPD and now COVID transitioning to endemic, general health has never been easier to access.

The scientists were onto something when they started talking about an atmospheric perfume in the 60’s. Smells like an obvious choice to me.

For a Free Indoor Air Analysis, contact Puréfi - The Air & Surface Defender
(949) 295-9323

World-renowned lung cancer experts offer treatment breakthroughs and highly specialized cancer care

City of Hope Orange County is changing the lung cancer story by providing residents much-needed early detection screenings, innovative prevention programs, and top experts in lung cancer research, diagnosis, and treatment. The world-renowned cancer research and treatment organization is also correcting the myth that lung cancer is only a disease of people who smoke.

“Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in Orange County. City of Hope is responding to this pressing need by bringing our world-renowned lung cancer experts and pioneering research closer to home for patients and their families,” said Annette M. Walker, President, City of Hope Orange County. “We are here for everyone impacted by this disease.”

City of Hope Orange County is addressing lung cancer incidence in the community and speaking out about available resources for prevention, early detection, and the highly specialized lung cancer care available at its four Orange County locations. City of Hope is currently taking appointments for lung cancer screenings at its Newport Beach Fashion Island location, with screening taking place at Newport Diagnostic Center.

“There’s a real need to separate lung cancer facts from fiction. Although people who smoke and people exposed to secondhand smoke are at high risk, it can impact anyone with lungs at just about any age,” says Edward S. Kim, M.D., M.B.A, City of Hope Orange County Physician-in-Chief and renowned lung cancer specialist. “Perhaps even more importantly, advanced cancer centers like City of Hope are working on new therapies that offer better outcomes than even a decade ago.”

City of Hope Orange County is working with The White Ribbon Project, an international organization dedicated to promoting awareness about lung cancer. Heidi Onda co-founded The White Ribbon Project with her husband Pierre, a primary care physician, after being diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer three years ago. She had no known risk factors or symptoms and did not know then that anyone could get the disease.

She has since learned the sobering statistics about the disease, which kills more people than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined and is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women.

“Why isn’t this common knowledge?” she said, adding that radon exposure is the number one cause of lung cancer for people who have never smoked. “The White Ribbon Project aims to increase awareness of the facts about lung cancer by changing the public perception of the disease. Lung cancer can happen to anyone, no one deserves it, and we need to talk about it.”

Danny Nguyen, M.D., a medical oncologist and hematologist who treats patients at City of Hope Huntington Beach and City of Hope Irvine Sand Canyon, says people can reduce some of the risk factors for lung cancer through lifestyle choices but other factors like age and genetic mutations cannot be controlled. “I have patients in their 30s and 40s who have been diagnosed with lung cancer despite having never smoked,” he said.

Lung cancer survivor and grateful patient Sherman Johnson, who is benefitting from Dr. Nguyen’s expertise and personalized care, attests to the lifesaving benefits of lung cancer research and pioneering treatment.

“It’s important to call attention to the impact of this disease as well as the need for greater funding of lung cancer research that is leading to breakthroughs in treatment,” said Johnson, who never smoked. “My lung cancer story was changed by pioneering science, and it may change yours.”

For more information on City of Hope Orange County’s lung cancer screening and treatment programs, visit

To make an appointment at any of City of Hope’s four Orange County locations, call the numbers below.

Newport Beach Fashion Island: (949) 763-2204
Newport Beach Lido: (949) 999-1400
Irvine Sand Canyon: (949) 333-7580
Huntington Beach: (714) 252-9415

by Molly Keating, MA, CT, O’Connor Mortuary

We are entering a familiar world with familiar places but the way we are experiencing them is altered. We are different, too.

So, what does it look like to transition from the deep sorrow of one place into the space where the sorrow has been more digested, is more manageable and incorporated into our lives?

How do we transition out of grief?

I believe, when we ask this question, we are really saying – “when can I get back to living?” or “when can I stop being sad?”

Life lesson time:

1. Grieving is part of living.

2. You have permission to stop feeling sad whenever you want to. Being bereaved doesn’t mean you must remain and always be sad. Being bereaved means you lost something that caused tremendous pain. There is sadness and there is transition and learning to live with the loss.

3. Taking each day at a time is wise and removing guilt or “shoulds” is necessary.

Re-entering the world after huge loss

For bereaved people, this largely means taking on the monumental task of writing a new narrative while also cherishing the old one. For example, a widow goes out for drinks with girlfriends to a place she previously frequented with her husband – she’s prepared to do this but knows it will be hard. There’s tenderness in those memories and simultaneously there’s a new story waiting and new memories to be made.

This is what a transition out of grief can look like. It’s hopeful, it’s full of movement, and it’s open to change.

COVID has taught us all SO much about change. How instantly change can come, how devastating it can be, and how we can come out of it all into a world we still feel hopeful about.

Will we ever be the same?


But that is true at the end of every day (hopefully), right? We are people with the potential to always change and grow and that is beautiful. We can never be ready for forced change like death – but we can slowly, adapt and still find a way forward.

So, as we open our doors to summer and a season of warmth and leisure, lets collectively bask in the need of this time to be warmed and rested. We are not done changing, we are not done learning, we are not done living. On this side of resurrection, I’m grateful for all of those truths. Here’s to stepping out into transition.

Photo Molly KeatingO’Connor Mortuary
25301 Alicia Parkway
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
(949) 581-4300

Life behind the gates of OC’s Best Retirement Community

Not too long after moving to Reata Glen in 2019 to start an exciting new chapter in life, Katheryn Roberson’s husband, Barry, was diagnosed with cancer. As he started undergoing treatment, Katheryn says the staff at the retirement community in Rancho Mission Viejo rose to the occasion.

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“The staff bent over backwards for us, and they’re so supportive,” Katheryn says. “There’s such a sense of family here, and it’s really meaningful.” Of all the well wishes and encouragement, one of the most unlikely but touching came from a staff member who attended a Los Angeles Kings hockey game. It was a special night at STAPLES Center with a tribute to Hockey Fights Cancer™ where players and fans in the stands had signs saying “I Fight For” followed by the name of someone on each sign. Barry, who was going through chemotherapy and radiation, was at home with Katheryn watching that game.

“All of a sudden, I received a photo from someone who works here and she’s at the game, standing with a sign that said she’s fighting for Barry,” Katheryn vividly recalls. “Our eyes swelled up upon seeing it, and it was heartwarming.”

It’s just one example of why the Robersons were not surprised that Reata Glen was recently voted in as the “Best Retirement Community in Orange County 2021” by The Orange County Register.

Making strides as a young retirement community and growing fast

“Among other reviews and recognitions, to earn Best of Orange County is an extraordinary accomplishment for us in just two years of being open,” says Stephanie Riggs, director of marketing and sales at Reata Glen. “We are different than other senior living options, and there’s a great deal of pride among both residents and staff here.”

“I went to every senior community in south Orange County to compare when I was looking to make a move,” says resident Kathy Allen, who chose to call Reata Glen home in 2019. “I’m pretty athletic and outgoing, and I wanted socialization. Reata Glen is the future of how my generation acts – we aren’t sitting at home alone feeling sorry for ourselves – we want to be active, healthy and going places. I see Reata Glen as a hybrid between a university, cruise ship and country club.”

Without the burdens of home maintenance and cooking everyday as Kathy enjoys the multiple dining venues at Reata Glen, she now has the freedom and time to get involved in what she really cares about.

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We want to be active, healthy and going places.

Physical attributes, amenities and an abundance of activities stand out

“You could be busier here than you’ve ever been in your life,” Kathy says with a smile. “More than I ever had been before.”

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With a fitness center, indoor pool, pickleball and tennis courts, woodshop, and activity rooms for educational, fine arts and fun classes, residents’ calendars are often full.

“They go full bore for parties and events here, and there’s excellent food, too,” notes Katheryn. “I also walk a lot, go to the gym for a class called crash cardio and also write for the monthly newsletter.”

It’s not just enjoying the activities and amenities on the Reata Glen campus, it’s the people you experience them with.

“In the beginning, I didn’t know anyone,” Kathy says. “Now, it’s like being part of an extended family. I love being surrounded by people and friends and not having that alone feeling.”

Intangibles and culture make the difference

“As much as I love my coworkers, I love residents more,” says Karter Farris, who started as a dining server at Reata Glen, then transitioned to EMT safety officer after schooling. “To win Best of Orange County makes me very proud.”

Karter’s team oversees security at the community, and she often wears many hats to serve residents’ needs. She’s a resident favorite, and some have labeled her as the happiest, bubbliest person they know. “The residents always make me smile,” Karter says. “Even if I come in and I’m not in the greatest mood, they say one thing and it brightens my day up, and I forget why I was bummed.”

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Recognized as a Great Place to Work by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Karter says the variety of job opportunities and the bonds with residents make it a fabulous place to start or continue a career.

“There’s a spirit here – we care for each other,” Kathy says. “It is a community, and you feel connected.”

Residents say they also feel safe – even during the challenging times recently.

“Over and over, we’ve said we can’t imagine being anywhere but here when the pandemic hit,” Katheryn adds. “Management did an excellent job, we had peace of mind, and they made it interesting and fun with little surprises and creativity.”

The Reata Glen experience

It’s no coincidence the word Reata translates to a lasso or loop of rope – a fitting representation of the bonds that connect those who live and work at Reata Glen to each other.

Receive an exclusive invitation to attend a lunch presentation and learn about the Reata Glen experience. You can even meet Katheryn, Kathy or Karter firsthand. Call 1-949-529-3134 to find more.

Patients across the region gain increased access to advanced cancer care

When City of Hope unveiled its bold vision to bring its lifesaving care and pioneering research to Orange County, it was in response to a pressing need in the community.

Nearly 20% of patients with cancer left the region for advanced care, which created a burden on patients and their families. Additionally, cancer rates are expected to grow in Orange County by nearly 20% in by 2028.

City of Hope Newport Beach, the first phase of City of Hope Orange County’s expansion, opened in January 2020 and a comprehensive cancer campus is opening in Irvine next year. With the addition of the Pacific Shores Medical Group locations, City of Hope Orange County now has four locations in Orange County providing highly specialized cancer care for patients and their families.

The Orange County locations are in Huntington Beach, Irvine Sand Canyon and two locations in Newport Beach (Fashion Island and Lido).

“By welcoming Pacific Shores patients, physicians and staff to City of Hope, we are fulfilling our promise of bringing our advanced cancer care into the heart of our communities. City of Hope is honored to work with the nation’s leading researchers and clinicians, and we are privileged to welcome these like-minded experts from Pacific Shores to our team. Hope is indeed growing across the Southern California region,” said Annette M. Walker, president, City of Hope Orange County.

With 1 in 3 Americans receiving a cancer diagnosis and with everyone impacted by cancer in some way, that’s good news.

Edward Kim, M.D., M.B.A., physician-in-chief, City of Hope Orange County, presents  N. Simon Tchekmedyian, M.D., founder and CEO of Pacific Shores Medical Group,  with his City of Hope coat.

City of Hope is investing $1 billion to develop and operate a cancer campus of the future and network of advanced cancer care in Orange County. Lennar Foundation Cancer Center will open in the summer of 2022, followed by the county’s only specialty hospital exclusively focused on treating and curing cancer scheduled to open in 2025.

“This expansion means that we’ve quadrupled outreach in the county,” Walker said. “As we look to the future and open the Irvine campus, we will have a comprehensive network of cancer care established, with breakthrough treatments and expert cancer care within reach throughout Orange County.”

Pacific Shores’ 14 physicians, 11 nurse practitioners and physicians and more than 200 staff became part of City of Hope on Aug. 6.

Established in 1986, Pacific Shores Medical Group has locations across Los Angeles and Orange counties. A cancer care pioneer, Pacific Shores is recognized for excellence in cancer therapy practices, receiving certification from the American Society of Clinical Oncology Quality Oncology Practice Initiative. It is also one of the most experienced cancer groups in the country, with more than 80,000 patient visits a year.

“Pacific Shores physicians chose to join City of Hope because of a shared interest in advancing cancer medicine through research, clinical trials and breakthrough treatments. We are delighted that our patients will have unprecedented access to City of Hope’s leading-edge treatments, extensive clinical trials and highly specialized cancer expertise. Additionally, our physicians and staff welcome the opportunity to count on many world-renowned scientists and clinicians as colleagues and collaborators,” said N. Simon Tchekmedyian, M.D., founder and CEO of Pacific Shores Medical Group.

“As a Pacific Shores patient for 23 years, I am grateful that I will continue to have my trusted physician’s care now at City of Hope — known for saving the lives of people with cancer,” said Elizabeth Lucas, 84, of Long Beach. “This is care that is the best of all possible combinations. I’m getting world-renowned care close to my home.”

Orange County patients can also access care in adjacent locations in Long Beach in the Elm and Worsham neighborhoods. These locations will provide Northern OC residents with more options.

“It is heartening to watch City of Hope expand its reach throughout Orange County so that those undergoing cancer treatment can find care within a few minutes from their homes,” said Orange County patient Rob Montgomery. “Since going to the Newport Beach location, I’ve had more time to spend with my family, and that is my hope for others in Orange County. No one wants to undergo cancer treatment, but it is good to know that hope is here, in our community.”

Learn more at

Make an appointment at any of the four City of Hope Orange County locations:
City of Hope Huntington Beach,
City of Hope Irvine Sand Canyon: 949-333-7580
City of Hope Newport Beach (Fashion Island): 949-763-2204
City of Hope Newport Beach Lido: 949-999-1400

I was in middle school at my best friend's house when her Dad got a call one afternoon. It was a complete stranger, albeit an incredibly friendly one, who had taken the time to sort through who my friend’s grandmother was and why she happened to be strolling up and down his street in the middle of the day. On our way over to pick her up, her Dad attempted to describe what was happening in her brain. Over dinner that night, I watched her between bites halfway expecting her to forget which utensil to use for the salad and the soup. But there, surrounded by her family at the dining table she'd eaten at a thousand times or more, she was sharp. Clear. Quick witted and lively.

Not a real specific disease, as I learned later through some of my own research, but more an umbrella covering the impairment of at least a couple of different brain functions; dementia’s group conditions affect memory loss and judgment, often the two most important pieces in the typical motions of an everyday life. Parkinson's, Huntington's and Alzheimer's all snug up neatly under the umbrella, as does vascular dementia. At some point, like with my friend’s grandmother later that year, it can become necessary to offer more care than is available around the home. That’s when care in a senior living community like Serra Sol Memory Care in San Juan Capistrano becomes so vitally important.

An Agemark facility, in conjunction with Protea Capital Partners - two of the foremost names in senior residence care - Serra Sol Memory Care prides itself on offering "a truly inspired life" for its residents.

A partnership between Protea Senior Living and Agemark Senior Living - two of the foremost names in senior residence care - Serra Sol Memory Care prides itself on offering “a truly inspired life” for its residents. As with all things, there are homes that feel like sterile hospitals and communities that feel like home. Serra Sol certainly falls in the latter category. Providing exceptional care is the tip of the iceberg at the new South Orange County location, and like most icebergs, the weight of their mission hovers below the surface, imbuing each day with meaning derived from little things that mean a lot. As the management company who will oversee all day-today operations, Agemark creates true communities that are warm and welcoming, and works diligently to give those in their care love, laughter and joy and encourages residents to live life fully - despite the challenges they face.

021564878Renowned for turning the traditional image of an old-folks home into a passionate, engaging, mission-driven community, Agemark's custom touches at Serra Sol include an onsite Director of Nursing, Physician oversight, assisted telemedicine appointments, balanced menus and dining services, on-site physical, occupational, and speech therapy from preferred partners, and regular communication of resident’s assessment and needs with loved ones.

dsede10101My friend later shared that her grandmother's room at the senior care residence might not have been a replica of her bedroom in the home she lived in for years, but all of the important things were there - photos, cards from the grandkids, her favorite reading chair. At Serra Sol, they understand that in addition to making sure your loved one’s health-related needs are met, equally important is the warmhearted staff who care deeply about their feelings, and the routine and familiarity of place that sparks an awareness of the positive memories they carried in with them.

wsw12345As far as personalized care goes, Serra Sol has it all. In fact, through the 26 Agemark communities spanning six states, everything from the environment to the friendly faces one sees each day contribute to an elite level of service. The leadership teams are all handpicked, ensuring that each member of the staff exemplify the values they hold close: professionalism, integrity, compassion. Employees assist with daily outings and activities, customizing them to each resident's passions and interests. From social gatherings to individual spiritual practices, crafts, baking, yoga, walking, or trips to local attractions, keeping residents motivated and excited for the day-to-day means stimulating their minds and bodies. After all, feeling engaged combats memory loss, and can even trigger new neural pathways to link old and new memory together.

Serra Sol boasts an incredibly safe and secure environment, keeping those with memory loss top of mind.

frfr1385478Secured entries and exits, alarm systems, and emergency call buttons complement lovely natural vegetation and water features in the residence’s secure outdoor courtyard, perfect for dining or simply enjoying an afternoon chat. Restaurant-style meals are served in a beautifully appointed dining room, and a multipurpose area serves to house crafts, cooking, games, film screenings and more. A state-of-the-art Tovertafel table features a game system providing cognitive stimulation to its players in the form of movement and interaction. Don’t miss the ice cream sundae dipping station in the dining area, where everyone can enjoy a sweet treat. Additionally, activities and outings will be in abundance, with a Life Enrichment Coach on hand to ensure residents are able to cultivate their current interests as well as try new things.

edee4545454Choose one of three floorplans, and enjoy a private or companion room. All feature en suite, private bathrooms, walk-in showers with grab bars for safety, and a bench for comfort. Storage space ensures residents can bring their favorite objects from home - making each suite a welcoming, warm respite at the end of the day. My friend’s grandmother passed away a few years after she moved into the home, at a ripe old 93. I’m told she was surrounded every day by the comforts of her own memories until the end, and remained a hilarious, crisp fighter regardless of what came her way. I understand the perils that a disease like dementia can bring a bit better now that I’m older, but that only amplifies my gratitude for the safety and sense of community that the residents of Serra Sol Memory Care enjoy. Set the standard for care for your own loved ones, at Serra Sol.

SERRA SOL MEMORY CARE 31451 Avenida Los Cerritos San Juan Capistrano (949) 485-2022

Keating, MA, CT O’Connor Mortuary

As hope begins to flicker in with vaccinations and re-openings, I feel the great temptation to forget all that we’ve been through this last year and move into the excitement of our “old” life.

But – we’ve all been changed dramatically by the pandemic. I know that there are parts of the depression, confusion, isolation and anger I experienced that taught me things.

I think the most stand-out experience of COVID has been the strange, shared depression. Never before have I experienced darkness where there was no one to lift it. It’s not that I didn’t have support, it’s that there was no one not going through what I was going through. The balance of suffering and joy was non-existent.

As we re-enter the bright territory of hope, here’s what I want to hold on to from the dark:

  • Doing things differently – I don’t think any of us enjoyed the changes we’ve experienced. I HATE not seeing people’s faces – I just miss seeing smiles and understanding people when they speak to me (right!?). But experiencing changes and adapting to a new way of living is a powerful process. This has ended up in my trying many new things and making a regular pattern in my life to bring more “new” into my life.
  • Being present – I had to slow down, get creative, and I found that I had time to really be with the people I live with. I am deeply grateful for this and never want to lose this gift.
  • Noticing myself – I learned quickly that I had good and bad COVID days. There was a lot of time for reflection and noticing. Realizing what I struggled with, what helped, and how I chose to cope was enlightening.
  • More global thinking – Watching the world go through this brought a type of connection that I only ever feel during the Olympics. But this has been different. Being together in tragedy has broadened my empathy and grown my consideration for my fellow-people.

There’s more, I’m sure – but I am very ready to focus on looking forward. But it’s important to make something meaningful out of all of this pain.

What this whole post actually is, is my attempt to “make meaning” out of this disaster of a year. We all need to do this as we grieve – it is natural and helpful.

So – how have you made meaning out of 2020 and COVID? What lessons will you keep with you – how did last year change you for the better?

O’Connor Mortuary
25301 Alicia Parkway
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
(949) 581-4300

--- May is Melanoma Awareness Month: Prioritize a Skin Exam with Your Dermatologist ---

You eat well, get lots of exercise and try to obtain at least eight hours of sleep a night — you’re doing everything right to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But when was the last time you had a skin exam?

The skin is the largest organ in the body and plays an extremely important role in our overall health and well-being. It serves as a barrier that protects the body from external stimuli, trauma and dangerous substances, it helps regulate the body’s temperature and is integral in balancing the body’s water. The skin is a warrior fighting on the outside to protect our insides — and it can also provide helpful clues about other issues the body may be experiencing, like stress or inflammation. For all these reasons, it is very important to take care of your skin — and not just the skin on your face! Regularly looking at the health of your skin and proactively monitoring for changes or abnormalities is a smart way to help ensure you’re identifying anything suspicious that may indicate a larger health concern.


One of the most serious skin conditions that is often overlooked is melanoma. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that starts in melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its color. Melanoma can occur anywhere on the skin surface from the scalp to the soles of the feet. It occurs in areas that are easily seen on self-examination but can also occur in areas that are impossible to see without the help of a partner.

Melanoma, when identified early, has a 99 percent survival rate.[1] This number drops to 27[KG1] percent if it spreads to other parts of the body.1 It is considered the deadliest form of skin cancer, and unfortunately, numbers are increasing worldwide.[2]

While the exact cause of melanoma is still unknown, several risk factors have been identified — notably, exposure to UV rays, either via sunlight or tanning beds. Other risk factors may include family history, genetics and skin type.2Although people with any skin color can develop melanoma, individuals with lighter skin tones, red hair or those who’ve had several severe sunburns in their lifetime may be at increased risk. Additionally, people who have a large number of moles on their body and/or those who have a family history of skin cancer may also be more likely to develop melanoma.[3]

Most of us wear sunscreen on our face, neck and arms when we know we’ll be in the sun for extended periods of time. But I’ve found melanoma in areas that have never seen the sun (think: below the belt), and these are often places overlooked by most people. While some of these “hiding places” are common for melanoma, these are often areas of the body that can be very difficult to catch during a self-exam. When I was in medical school, my institution embarked on an educational campaign to inform beauty school students about skin cancer and what to look for. Often, melanomas or other skin cancers hide on your scalp or behind your ears — areas most people don’t think to apply sunscreen to or to check for abnormal spots or moles.


If you’ve identified an area of the skin that looks suspicious, your doctor may recommend a surgical biopsy. This is the standard method for detecting melanoma and involves the removal of part of the lesion for testing. Unfortunately, biopsies require local anesthesia, which means an injection. Many people find these injections uncomfortable, and the biopsy itself may sometimes lead to a wound and, potentially, a permanent scar. In a study from 2018, over 90% percent of biopsies to diagnose melanoma actually tested negative for melanoma![4] While it’s smart to be thorough, that’s a lot of cutting.

Fortunately, there’s an innovative, non-invasive tool for detecting melanoma that is currently available by a California-based company — DermTech. The DermTech test uses a clear sticker to collect skin tissue samples. This “Smart Sticker™” painlessly and non-invasively removes the most superficial layers of skin to obtain genomic material. This genomic material is tested by DermTech to look for biomarkers correlated with melanoma, which help your doctor diagnose your lesion. The Smart Sticker is able to pull cells from the whole lesion by painlessly lifting away the outermost layer of cells from the surface. For context, a biopsy, which takes a small portion of the lesion, typically evaluates approximately 1-2 percent of a lesion.[5]

The DermTech test helps to determine which skin lesions have the biomarkers correlated with a pathologic diagnosis of melanoma. If the test is negative, a biopsy isn’t required, but you and your doctor should continue to monitor for any changes. If the test is positive, your doctor will perform a biopsy to establish the diagnosis.

The DermTech test is a new, effective option for detecting genomic markers to help clinicians assess melanoma with genomic precision — but maintaining healthy skin starts with you. You can’t test an abnormal lesion on your body if you don’t know it’s there! I typically recommend an annual skin exam for most people. If an individual has undergone previous biopsies, has a family history of melanoma, or has other risk factors associated with skin cancer, a doctor may recommend more frequent visits.

Melanoma can have devastating consequences if not caught early. This Melanoma Awareness Month, make it a priority to see a doctor, encourage your friends and family to stay current on their skin exams, protect your skin from the sun by wearing sunscreen and other protective gear when outdoors, and avoid direct sunlight during midday hours.

This article was composed in partnership with DermTech.

Fleming Dermatology
& Aesthetic Center
23141 Moulton Parkway, Suite 110
Laguna Hills
(949) 916-5956

[1] Skin Cancer Foundation. “Skin Cancer Facts and Statistics.” 2021,
[2] American Skin Association. “Melanoma.” 2020,
[3] Mayo Clinic. Melanoma:
[4] Lott JP et al. Population-Based Analysis of Histologically Confirmed Melanocytic Proliferations Using Natural Language Processing. JAMA Dermatol. 2018 Jan 1;154(1):24-29.
[5] Dermatology Online Journal.
[KG1] Change “25” to “27” per reference listed: Bullet 8 listed under “Melanoma” section.

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