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Seniors Helping Seniors

Entering stage right, are Jean and Howie Harris of the “Jeannie and Howie Show.” A Brand New Day had the honor of spending some fun and enlightening time with this couple. Dave had the opportunity to meet with these two lovely people for an hour and found their passion, love of people and giving was infectious. Howie and Jeannie have been married for four years and want to give back to their community. Howie is a retired marriage and family therapist and taught at Santa Rosa Community College. They both have had experience with assisted living communities and hospice services with loved ones in their lives.

They are a well known and popular singing couple that performs for seniors all over Shasta County and in assisted living facilities. The couple continues to entertain with permanent bookings at various locations throughout Redding. They will be performing again at A Brand New Day in July.

Jeannie and Howie have both competed in the Senior Idol competition at the Cascade Theater in 2009 and 2011. Jeannie placed third in 2009 and earned first place in 2011 at age 84, singing “Cabaret.” Howie, who is 79, closed the 2011 show with the Beatles song “Hey Jude.” Jeannie and Howie have has a warm spot in their heart for the Senior Idol competition, which is no longer in production. Because of this and their love for the audience they are now performing in Redding as volunteers. It is their way of giving back.

Jeannie said, “The Senior Idol was a thrilling experience. To sing for an audience of over one thousand at the sold out shows gave us our five minutes of fame. The show will be missed.” She added with a smile, “Singing keeps me feeling young and living with a purpose. It is very gratifying to see smiling faces as the audience recognizes an old song they remember.” Howie and Jeannie both sang for A Brand New Day Mother’s Day celebration this year; the residents loved them. Their volunteerism was paid in smiles and applause which is their fulfilling reward.

Since their focus is giving back to the Redding community they sing for seniors, and engage the audience with songs of days gone by. If you would like to see a performance, you can watch their video on by typing in Jeannie Harris.

Jeannie believes, “We need to keep the seniors engaged in life and to experience music, which I understand is a form of therapy.” It is said that music stimulates more areas of the brain than any other stimulus. It can conjure up, memories of a first date, getting married, or a terrific vacation. Remembering the words to the songs of the good ole days is engages the part of the brain known as the hippocampus.

Howie and Jeannie continue to entertain seniors with oldies but goodies and country songs. The couple believes seniors don’t want to be in the way, or “bother anyone.” They have turned that statement around with their willingness and passion to perform. The couple sings and performs for parties, bbq dinners, and just about any other celebration involving seniors. To check their performance schedule, give them a call at 229-1300.




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Its Time to Embrace Aging

When did you notice your appearance began to look older? As astonishing as this may seem, a survey of 4,000 women revealed they were worried about looking older at the age of 28. Perhaps it’s not so astonishing given our youth oriented culture and all of the companies which promise the fountain of youth in a pill or jar.

Even so, there comes a time when the mirror reveals unwanted spots, wrinkles, sagging skin, graying and thinning hair.

Aging is inevitable, yet it is something most of us try to resist. We become serious about using sunscreen, buying miracle creams and hair color. Still, time marches on and there is only so much you can do.

The lucky ones reach a turning point and decide that is it OK to look older. Wrinkles become character lines. Gray hair looks distinguished. Age becomes something to brag about: “I’m 75 years young and going strong!”

How do you get to the point where you stop worrying about what you see in the mirror, to embracing the notion that being good is better than looking good?

It starts first with letting go of appreciation for the superficial. This is good for any age. There is always going to be someone who looks younger, fitter, faster, stronger. Sooner or later, focusing on superficial qualities will lead to disappointment.

Second, it helps to change your perception of aging. Let go of “fighting every step of the way” as a skin care commercial suggests. Aging is not something to be battled. It is something to be embraced. Aging is evidence of a long list of memories, of purposeful work, of love, and making a difference in the lives of those around you. Age can bring wisdom drawn from a variety of experiences.

Third, understand that attractiveness is not dependent on meeting cultural standards of beauty. People are attracted to those who are confident and comfortable in their own skin, no matter if it is firm or wrinkled. People want to be around someone who shows confidence and poise.

Happiness and enthusiasm are also attractive. Seek out the things that make you happy and spread your joy when you find them. Look for others who share these traits and it will be easier to keep the good vibes going.

Beauty truly comes from within, especially as we age. But keep in mind that you can help it along by taking care of yourself. This includes getting plenty of sleep, managing your food and alcohol intake at a healthy level, exercising on a regular basis, and following your doctor’s orders for medications.

A little vanity is OK too. It helps to be confident in your appearance when you practice good grooming and wear clean clothes that fit. Don’t worry about the latest fashion trends. Fashion comes and goes, but the classic look sticks around. Most would agree that dressing like a teenager looks pathetic on adults, young or old.

Finally, try to smile more often. It’s the ultimate facelift.

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