Enriching Elder Lives

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Enriching Elder Lives

Reflections of a Seashore Gardens Living Center Client

Walter HeadshotTestimonial by Walt Murphy

I never thought I’d need assistance. (What the heck, I’m only 82.) But my adult children did notice. They noticed a subtle decline in my alertness, and my memory. Issues with my balance caused me to have a serious fall, face-first into the pavement on my street. That little episode earned me a trip by ambulance to the ER at a nearby hospital.

         As I said, I’m 82 years of age, but in physical appearance, I could pass for 65. Also, I still work part-time, as a writer. (Much of the written material for Seashore Gardens Living Center is done by me.) I’m mentally agile. I shop for my food and am capable of preparing my own meals. But that fall, and the trauma resulting from it, caused me to take the advice of my kids. I needed a degree of assistance. They called Seashore Gardens Living Center (SGLC) and asked about options that existed for me.

I was contacted by Bill Resnick who coordinated home care. Bill explained that his motto is, ‘It’s good to be home,’ and his mission is to assist clients with their desire to stay at home by providing them with professional caregivers, education and counseling. Bill offered a program that was affordable, and sensible, and we agreed to ‘do a deal.’

Next off, I was visited by a Seashore Gardens Living Center staff registered nurse who evaluated me. Based on that evaluation, Bill suggested that I have a certified home health aide visit me two days a week for a period of four hours each visit. I was a bit ambivalent about this as I had had a home health aide after a serious bout with shingles and he really didn’t fit the bill. I cancelled that particular service after a short period.

SGLC sent a very pleasant young woman, Catrina Dejean, whose parents were originally from Haiti. Catrina had earned a degree in biology from Rowan University and, like me, she enjoyed meeting and conversing with people. She was very professional, very punctual, yet personable. We immediately hit it off!

In the initial visit, Catrina surveyed my house and asked me where I would need her assistance. She offered to, on arrival, straighten out my bed and clean any dishes and eating utensils that had been left in the kitchen sink.  I told her that I had a cleaning woman go over the house on a scheduled basis and that I enjoyed preparing my own meals. I would, however, need her to transport me on errands and visits to the nearby supermarket.

I noticed that, during our visits to the supermarket, Catrina could quickly spot an item that I couldn’t find on the shelves. She helped carry the bags from the car into the house. She also made sure that I was using my cane during our chore-related outings.

Over the weeks, as we got to know each other, I asked Catrina if she had been to Haiti and, if not, was she planning a trip there to link up with family. I suggested that a thorough familiarity with her Haitian culture would enrich her life. She agreed, and we researched that together, solidifying a growing relationship that benefitted us both.

At one point, I suggested to Catrina that she would make an excellent nurse. I’m happy to say that she has started back to college in her journey to pursue several degrees in Nursing.

When the December holidays arrived, Catrina helped me bring up my Christmas items from my garage. This was a beloved family tradition, and Catrina was part of it as she helped me assemble and decorate my Christmas tree. At the New Year, she helped me take off and store my ornaments, disassemble the tree and return it to its storage location.

It’s been several months, and Catrina’s twice-weekly visits are a blessing. I see them continuing for the foreseeable future.

As I had mentioned earlier, I am still enjoying working, on a limited basis in my public relations profession. My very favorite client is Seashore Gardens Living Center (SGLC), in Galloway. Along with my business partner, Felicia Niven, we make frequent trips to SGLC and create events in which we interact with residents. On a recent visit, we had a group of women recalling and singing some of the songs from their (and my) younger years. We were having so much fun, none of  us wanted it to end.

I have gotten to know many of the residents through activities and interviews that Felicia and I have conducted over a lengthy period, and this has led to friendships and a genuine concern for their continued contentment at Seashore Gardens Living Center, located in South Jersey’s storied Pinelands.

Walt Murphy is a publicist, writer and former journalist who resides in South Jersey.

Staying Active in Body & Spirit

By Felicia L. Niven

It was time for Tai Chi. The group of seniors formed a circle, some in wheelchairs, others settling comfortably in chairs. Activities leader Cindy Weinraub walked around, warmly welcoming each person by name and clasping their hands in greeting. “Only do what’s comfortable,” she reminded them, as she led the group through a series of gentle movements accompanied by a video and music.

The residents tapped, stretched and swayed in graceful motions. When asked to mimic the up-and-down motion of bird-like wings, one quipped, “This is how the Wright Brothers started, you know!” Another equated the group’s kicks to the Rockettes. “That’s right, we’re going on tour,” Cindy joked back.

The easygoing banter, the frequent smiles, and the opportunity to exercise mind and body are plentiful at Seashore Gardens Living Center (SGLC). When the weather is cold outside, residents
especially enjoy the fact that they have so much activity right in their own home.

“I used to live in Pennsylvania and the winters were brutal,” said Mary Hood, age 86, president of the Resident Council at SGLC. “I would go out despite the weather but now it’s nice that I can stay active right here at home.” She notes that bowling is her favorite activity at SGLC because of the laughter and conversation. She also enjoys floor scrabble, trivia, and singing in the Seashore Songbirds Choir. She attends nearly all of the activities, including the Tai Chi session described earlier. “It keeps me busy and out of trouble,” she joked.

Residents can choose from a daily calendar packed with different types of activities from exercise to games to music and entertainment, and seasonally themed gatherings. “Mr. Klein and the administration have created a special place here,” said Missy Rundio, Director of Recreation and Volunteers. “It’s not just somewhere to go and spend your last years. This is living. We try to make every day a happy one for our residents and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Missy and her team plan the activities for the residents. For holiday celebrations and special events, they meet months in advance to determine a theme. Last year, New Year’s Eve was “out of this world,” and featured a homemade spaceship and starry décor. Other events are seasonal, and often feature staff in entertaining roles. Executive Director Janice Cambron is known for dressing up, and has appeared as Marilyn Monroe, the flower girl from My Fair Lady, and Shirley Temple, to name a few.

Missy works with Food Service Director Jill LaBoy on weekly cooking and baking demonstrations. Some resident favorites included fake shrimp for this kosher home, and bananas foster.

Mildred “Rusty” Evans, age 90, loves the baking sessions because it reminds her of home. “It’s very interactive, and it’s always a treat to taste the finished product,” she said. She also participates in some of the exercise programs, and enjoys spending time on the ItsNever2Late computer, where she keeps in touch with friends and family via Facebook. In addition, Rusty looks forward to the monthly birthday parties, which feature professional entertainment, cake and ice cream.

“Yesterday, it wasn’t a birthday party but we had a comedy show here,” she said. “The staff and some of the residents got up and told jokes, and it was just fantastic. This is the kind of thing that keeps your mind working, and you really enjoy the day. Before you know it, the whole week’s gone.”

Kay Higgins, age 83, concurs that there’s plenty of activity at SGLC. “They find things to teach you, and it’s always a lot of fun,” she said. She especially enjoys the crafts. “We made a gate out of tongue depressors, and put a face on it. I put my smile upside down just to be ornery,” she said with a knowing grin.

She also enjoys the visiting entertainment. “Every Wednesday, Joe comes to play piano and sing for us,” she said. “He tells stories. People call out the names of the songs they want, and everyone sings along. It’s a great time.”

Kay reflected on her time at SGLC, which she says has been very fulfilling. “They make you feel so welcome, and they do so much for you,” she said. “I’m happy to be here. It’s not home, but it’s damn close.

Seashore Gardens Living Center wins Best of the Press Gold for the 4th Year in a Row

We are happy to announce that Seashore Gardens Living Center has won Best of the Press ( Press of Atlantic City) GOLD for the fourth year in a row for Best Senior/ Assisted Living!



Finding the Perfect Fit

An Article by Felicia Niven
Photos by Alex Anton

Finding that Perfect Fit

When my 82-year-old father spent over a week in the hospital last fall, reality hit home quickly. He would need real help when he came home, and my mother wasn’t going to be able to do it alone. I began turning over scenarios in my mind. Would I be able to move in and help my mother, while still running a business and managing my own household? It made me wish we had planned for this occurrence.

As a matter of fact, we had. Unbeknownst to me, my parents had purchased long term care insurance years ago, which fully covered the cost of his care. But until then, it never occurred to me to have the conversation with my parents—the one where we thoughtfully consider where they’d like to spend their Golden years when they could no longer care for themselves. I’d avoided the topic because it wasn’t comfortable or easy to broach. But avoiding it is clearly not the answer.

As the sandwich generation, we’re constantly pulled between caring for, and supporting, our children—and our parents. Now as we contemplate retirement, we’re also going to be helping our parents to get the right care, and find the right place. It’s an awesome responsibility. As with any situation where I found myself unsure, I turned to the experts, and got some sound advice.

“Because circumstances change gradually over time, families may not realize they need help until it becomes quite apparent,“ says Alysia Price, MSW, LSW, CALA, Administrator of Seashore Gardens Living Center (SGLC) & Assisted Living. “At that point, it can be overwhelming.” She cautions families to spend some time researching the options. “Ask questions. Find out what your insurance covers. Take a tour. Finding the right fit for your loved one is so important. It makes the difference between a seamless experience and one that can be quite stressful.”

A Glimpse Inside Seashore Gardens Living Center 

IMG_0573Seashore Gardens Living Center (SGLC) offers a continuum of services which include assisted living, short and long term nursing care, Alzheimer’s care, respite care and full rehabilitation services all under one roof. There’s also Seashore Gardens Without Walls, the home health service which turned out to be a wonderful fit to get my father back on his feet.  The residential programs provide full support in the tradition of honoring thy father and mother.

“We care for our residents’ complete health needs, including medical, social and emotional,” says Edmond Francisco, BSN, RN, Director of Nursing, SGLC. “We have to look at the entire person not just the medical side. We get to know them and their families. We appreciate the journey that has brought our residents to us. We think of them as our extended family and we honor them as such.”

SGLC’s active schedule of activities includes stimulating programs, themed parties, trips, a beauty salon, gift shop and a highly-trained professional staff to see to their needs. These activities and events are at the core of that most important element of social interaction with other people outside of the family. The staff of Seashore Gardens Living Center is skilled in encouraging social interaction among residents to make their days more fulfilling.

Why We Golf: The Seashore Gardens Foundation Centennial Golf Tournament

For the past nine years, Art Gurman has been driving to doctor appointments, and in the process, making memories. As the concierge in Seashore Gardens Assisted Living, Art is the one that residents rely on when they need an appointment or a ride—or simply a good chat. It’s a role he enjoys thoroughly because he gets as much as he gives.

[caption id="attachment_947" align="alignleft" width="5472"]Art Gurman, SGLC Driver with AL Resident Toni L. Art Gurman, SGLC Driver with AL Resident Toni L.[/caption]

“When I first meet someone new, I ask where he or she is from,” said Art, “and then we reminisce a little. The more we talk, the more we strengthen the relationship. Over the years, I really get to know them and their families. They become part of my extended family, and while it’s tough when we lose someone, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Art is honoring those relationships in a special way this summer, by playing in the Seashore Gardens Foundation Centennial Golf Tournament. The tournament, to be held on Monday, July 16, at Ron Jaworski’s Blue Heron Pines Golf Club, will benefit Seashore Gardens Foundation, a nonprofit 501 (c) organization created to provide aid and support for the health care programs and supportive services provided by Seashore Gardens Living Center (SGLC), including Alzheimer’s Outreach Services.

“The tournament supports the programs that are so important to the residents,” said Art, who sees a lot of these activities in action. “When we have singers performing the oldies, there’s a lot of humming along, clapping and toe tapping,” he says. “I think for a moment, they are back, reliving that time in their lives.”

Other programs funded by the tournament include art and art therapy, pet therapy, cooking and baking, the It's Never 2 Late ComputerTM or the Summer Sizzlers Youth Program. “It’s why we golf,” noted Jason S. Goldstein, co-chair of the tournament with David R. Lieberman. “We’re helping to enrich elder lives by funding ‘dream’ programs, and making a difference in the lives of our residents.”


“Make A Wish” Painting on the Patio

[caption id="attachment_951" align="alignleft" width="5472"]Recreation Leader Jessica Broskey with Resident Myrtle Recreation Leader Jessica Broskey with Resident Myrtle[/caption]

Dreams are a theme for the non-golf portion of the event as well. SGLC Recreation Leader Jessica Broskey will be leading Painting on the Patio and has chosen a special image.

“We’ll be painting a dandelion blowing in the wind, with the words, ‘Make a Wish’,” she said. “I wanted to choose an image to show that we are helping to make dreams come true for our residents.”

One of the dreams is the art program. In her role at SGLC, where Jessica often works in Comfort Care, she sees firsthand the role that creative expression can play. “The benefits are tremendous,” she said. “Creative projects help strengthen hand-eye coordination, cognitive abilities and concentration, and also are opportunities to socialize. It’s also great fun.”

Jessica is well suited for both her role at SGLC and at the tournament. She majored in psychology and minored in studio art at Queens College in New York. She was excited to learn that some of Seashore Gardens’ Assisted Living residents will be joining her on the patio to support the tournament. “Everyone should have an opportunity have their dreams come true,” said Jessica, “and this is a chance for them to participate in the process.”

You can help our residents enjoy more Art Therapy programs! Donate by clicking here


Father's Day at Seashore Gardens Living Center ( 6/17)

Seashore Gardens 8th Annual 5K Raises 15,000 for Alzheimer's and Dementia Services

ATLANTIC CITY — Superheroes of all ages participated April 29 in the eighth annual Seashore Gardens 5K Run and Health Walk on the Boardwalk.

The event raised more than $15,000 for Seashore Gardens Living Center’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia Outreach including monthly support group meetings and case management services.

Participants raced as individuals and in teams of friends, neighbors and families.

Anthony Guiliano, 38, of Niskayuna, New York, finished first in 16 minutes and 35 seconds. Dave Favorito, 30, was second, crossing the line in 17:33. James Germano, 31, of Fredericksburg, Maryland, and a member of Team Nan Fallon, finished third in 19 minutes and 39 seconds. Germano donated back his third place cash prize back to SGLC.

Alexa Weber, 18, won the woman’s race in 19:13. She donated her first place cash prize back to SGLC. She was followed by Susan Reich,59, of Ocean City, who crossed in 20:27, and Riley Lerner, 12, of Mays Landing, who finished in 20:59.

Team Nan Fallon and Team Mary Malloy, both named for past residents of SGLC’s Comfort Care neighborhood, received special recognition at the event for largest team and largest fundraising team.

The Family of Nan Fallon and the Rundio Family both received Forever Family awards for their continuing support of Seashore Gardens Living Center.

In addition, newcomer Harry Halper, 13, raised money and walked with his team, the HarrBears, for his Bar Mitzvah Project. One of his team members was his grandfather, who has Lewy Body Dementia and was pushed in his wheelchair during the race.

For Race Results: Click HERE 
For Photo Gallery:Click HERE 
To Sign Up For Race Email List: Click HERE 
To Donate towards Alzheimer's and Dementia Services:Click HERE 


Why We Run: The Malloy Family

Malloy1The early signs were subtle. Cutting pills in half when it wasn’t necessary. Difficulty recalling the names of specific places, people or objects. Maybe these were normal signs of aging but her daughters weren’t so sure. Their mother was changing before their eyes.

Mary Malloy was fortunate in the fact that she was not alone. Her four daughters were very involved in her life, especially Jeannine, who along with her husband and children, lived with Mary for many years.  Daughters Mike, Susan, and Colleen, along with their families, were regular visitors. They all watched as slowly, over time, Mary transformed from the care giver to the recipient of care as she became increasingly forgetful and confused.

Following probable small TIAs and increasing forgetfulness, Mary suffered her first major stroke in 2004 at age 84.  The ensuing years saw increasing dementia, an additional stroke, and, at age 87, a diagnosis of probable Alzheimer’s. She became one of 5.7 million Americans living with the disease that slowly erodes the memory of our loved ones. In fact, every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.


Mary’s symptoms progressed. She had a hard time making a meal for herself. She would forget where she was and even who she was. She sometimes didn’t recognize family members. Mary stopped her beloved excursions to the senior center. She didn’t want to go on her once-loved shopping expeditions either.


This was unlike their active, social mother. Born and raised in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia, Mary was always on the go. Her favorite volunteer work over the years was with Catholic Charities, taking infants awaiting adoption into her home and caring for them. She also supported youth groups in Brigantine and was an active Girl Scout leader and PTA officer. Mary was a parishioner of St. Thomas Church, and in later years she was a member of the Young at Heart Club, the Red Hat Society, and the Brigantine Senior Center. But now all Mary wanted to do was stay home and watch TV.


Slowly, she withdrew further into herself. After 8 years of being cared for at home, it became apparent that Mary needed more care than could be provided there.  Her daughters gathered and began the tour of nursing homes.


Finding a Forever Home


malloy4“We didn’t have a choice; we knew we had to do it,” remembers Colleen. “We’d go to these places, and they’d tell us all about the activities that they had, but the residents were just sitting around. It was depressing. We’d try to convince ourselves, well this isn’t so bad. Finally, we walked into Seashore Gardens Living Center (SGLC) and they didn’t have to tell us anything.  We could see what they were doing. It was lively and cheerful. There were calisthenics on the Boardwalk. They had a drum circle in Memory Care. We asked, ‘are these the higher functioning residents?’ and they told us, no. These are all of our residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia.”


“We looked at each other and said, this is it,” remembers Colleen. “This is home.”


The family moved Mary, age 92, into SGLC’s Comfort Care Residence. Comfort Care is a dedicated unit for seniors with memory loss. Comfort Care is a safe and secure environment that was carefully designed for the unique needs of these residents. Activities in the Comfort Care Residence start around 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m. and go until about 6:30 p.m. They include music, bingo, cooking classes, aromatherapy, massage, crafts, games and pizza parties. When the weather is nice, they enjoy outside activities as well. Families are welcome to visit, and residents are permitted to leave for outings with family members.


Malloy2Alzheimer’s taught the Malloy family to live in the moment and enjoy their time with Mary on her terms. Jeannine would take her mother for long walks around the property. Colleen enjoyed painting with Mary and sitting in on the group activities. Mike loved the opportunity to bring her grandchildren to visit (Mary’s 6 great-grandchildren). The entire family enjoyed the gardens, the porch, the children’s play center, the accessible glider, and the snack bar. “We were happy; my mother was very content,” says Jeannine. “All the nurses, the aides, the social workers, and the administration made us all feel at home.”


“The Malloy family constantly amazed me with their positive attitude and unconditional love and devotion for their Mom,” says Sharon D’Angio, Fund Development Coordinator at SGLC. “Whether it was  playing “Cheeseburger  in Paradise” while eating a burger outside in the Gazebo, spending time in the sensory trail and garden or celebrating Mary’s Birthday on the Boardwalk complete with tiara, flowers and generations of family they are true role models for loving someone with Alzheimer’s.”


malloy3“The staff is ultra-caring,” says Colleen. “I was there twice after a resident had passed away and each time I saw staff members break down in tears. The staff really makes a connection with the residents. I never had a second thought about my Mom at Seashore Gardens Living Center. It’s just a wonderful place.”


Run for a Reason


The Malloy family heard about the annual SGLC 5K Run & Health Walk to benefit Alzheimer’s outreach, and it was a natural fit for them—a way to support their Mom and the home where she lived. Jeannine, because she was local, became the point person. The whole family got involved, from as far away as Florida, with their support. The local family ran and walked that first year, and it’s just evolved since then. Last year, Team Mary Malloy was among the largest teams with 35 members. This year, it will feature four generations, including three of Mary’s great grandchildren.


The family has continued to participate, even after Mary’s passing on Dec. 22, 2016. As a result of their contributions, the Malloys have received SGLC’s first Forever Family Award. “Seashore Gardens Living Center became my Mother’s family,” says Jeannine. “Her last years here were very good. She was very content and happy. As a result, Seashore Gardens Living Center will always be part of our family.”


Join Us and Make a Difference


The 8th Annual Seashore Gardens 5K Run & Health Walk is scheduled for Sunday, April 29, 2018 on the Atlantic City Boardwalk at Tropicana Casino & Resort.  Proceeds from this fundraising event will benefit the Alzheimer’s Outreach Services at Seashore Gardens Living Center, an independent nonprofit Home for the Aged in Galloway Twp., N.J.


The run begins at 9 a.m. and the health walk begins at 9:01 am. The awards ceremony will take place at 9:45 a.m. and will feature Diane Mitchell from WAYV’s Mike & Diane Show as master of ceremonies.  Free parking is offered from 7 am to 12 noon at the Tropicana Havana Tower parking garage. Refreshments will be provided following the race.


Pre-registration is available until Friday, April 27 at 5 p.m.  Cost is $30 per person and includes a t-shirt. Same-day registration will be available at the race starting at 7:15 a.m. for $40 per person, and does not include the t-shirt. Register online at http://seashoregardens.org/5k/. For questions, or for sponsorship opportunities, contact Sharon D’Angio at (609) 748-4614 or dangios@seashoregardens.org.

A Wonderful Life - A Reblog from Our EnrichingElderLives Blog

*Update* Assisted Living Resident Claire just celebrated her 98th birthday on this snowy first day of spring. Happy Birthday Claire*


Claire just celebrated her 94th birthday on the first day of spring. Seashore Gardens has a monthly group birthday party, and at March’s party you would have found Claire dancing. “I use a walker, but I hold on and dance,” she tells me. She has always loved dancing, and even entered a few contests when she was younger.

Claire called Philadelphia home for most of her life, though she would visit the beach every summer with her family. A friend had a rooming house, which is where they stayed. It’s a good thing, too, because Claire met her husband at the beach in Atlantic City. “We would all be hanging out with our friends on the beach. My mother had her friends, I had my friends, but we were all together hanging out and talking.” One day, Claire started talking to a guy who was quite taken with her. “He walked right over to my mother and told her he was going to marry her daughter,” Claire laughed, “my mother asked me who that crazy guy was.”

His name was Daniel, but everyone called him Danny. He and Claire would go dancing together on Steel Pier. They danced to many big bands, including Tommy Dorsey and Gene Krupa. The two got married, and had a wonderful life together. In fact, Claire tells me that her whole life has been really wonderful.


“My parents were wonderful people and wonderful together. Anything we wanted, we got,” she said, referring to her and her brother, Sidney. Sidney and Claire also had a great relationship, although he is no longer alive.

Throughout her adulthood, Claire loved seeing shows with her husband. One evening, the two were waiting in line and Danny tapped her on the shoulder to point out Cary Grant, only a few feet away. Once inside, Claire and her husband were seated at the table next to Cary Grant. “I missed the whole show because I was watching him,” Claire tells me. On another occasion, Claire was in the front row of a show where Frank Sinatra was making an appearance. “He got on his knee and sang right to me,” Claire recalls.

Now at Seashore Gardens for about three (seven)  years, Claire loves reading. “It keeps me sane,” she says. Her granddaughter mails her books to read, and she especially loves Danielle Steel. Claire enjoys a strong family connection with her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. As I finish my interview with Claire, I ask if there is anything she wants me to include in this piece. “I’ve had a wonderful life,” she says.Image

Caregivers: How to Cope This Winter

CaregiversSignWanted: Dedicated worker available 24/7 for a high-stress position, no vacations or days off, and zero monetary compensation

Chances are you wouldn’t even apply for the position above. But for millions of caregivers in our country, they have no choice. They have a loved one in need, and they’re the designated caregiver.

The winter months pose an especially tough time to be a caregiver. With inclement weather and an increase in colds and flu, it’s harder to get out of the house. The reduction in sunlight also can affect our mood. Being in the same home 24/7—even with someone whom you care about—can take its toll, and lead to caregiver burnout.

Caregiver Burnout: Know the Symptoms

  • Anger at your loved one; moodiness and irritability
  • Exhaustion, preventing you from completing daily tasks
  • Sleeplessness, worrying about your loved one
  • Anxiety about how you’ll care for your loved one if he/she becomes worse
  • Social withdrawal from the activities you used to enjoy

Help is On the Way

You’re not in this alone. Reach out to family, friends and community resources. It could be as simple as arranging for someone to provide a meal or give a ride to your loved one. SGLC has a Respite/Vacation Stay program if you’d like to get away and need a safe, welcoming place for your loved one. Call us at 609-404-4848 to find out more.

Our next two free Alzheimer's Support Groups are March 13th and April 10th at 5:30 at Seashore Gardens Living Center. Feel free to come out and join us!

Finally, take care of yourself. Exercise, eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep. Remember to schedule your own health appointments. You’ll be a far better caregiver – if you take care of yourself.


Janice Cambron, LNHA, CALA

Executive Director

Seashore Gardens Living Center