Thursday, December 19, 2013

Resolved: In 2014 you'll find useful / rewarding / fun ways to volunteer

By Ann Burnside Love

You’re a relatively new resident at your retirement community, or you will be moving in soon, or you’ve been there for some time but haven’t yet found volunteer opportunities that really appeal to you.

You see others around you with meetings to go to that they find satisfying. There’s obviously a hospitality committee welcoming newcomers, engineering monthly birthday celebrations and supporting holiday parties. Other groups put on monthly meetings with lunch and outside speakers. A dozen standing committees oversee various aspects of community living, like the residents association, and informal groups and committees interested in wellness and exercise, safety, outdoor environment, travel, book clubs, card playing, choir, entertainment, and ever so much more.

Many people have urged you to “get involved,” and for some it’s automatic and simple. They plunge right in, meet people and put their skills to good use. If you’re one of these, congratulations! Have at it!

However, if that’s not you, you may prefer instead to chat with the director of volunteers, to find suggestions where you may be most comfortable and have the most to contribute. Many have made successful choices that way.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

No More Snow Shoveling for Us!

By Ann Burnside Love

Right now as I’m writing, major areas of our country are dealing with heavy snow and ice, and The Weather Channel is constantly talking about, and showing us, places where the accumulation has made transportation particularly difficult and dangerous.

Accidents along major highways: 30-some cars skidded into a tight mess that looks, unfortunately, like a junkyard. Overturned 18-wheelers. People bundled up as they try to shovel snow that’s building up faster than they can shovel. Airports are delaying hundreds of flights, again experiencing massive tie-ups and stranded people.

And I’m looking out the window behind my computer, enjoying a gorgeous multi-day snowfall that’s made the trees into a fairyland. I can see my car down in the parking lot, the seventh totally blanketed mound from the left — and happily my name is already on the list to have my car dug out when it lets up. Soon I’ll go down to the dining room for a hot lunch and all the hot green tea I want!

Back in the early ‘90s, when Love & Company first became involved with senior living, one of the main features prospective residents were interested in was “No More Snow Shoveling.” Everyone talked about it in the same breath they talked about not having to cook. One of our newspaper ad series featured individuals gleefully listing all the things they no longer had to do related to snow and other challenges.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Measure Your New Retirement Home Before You Move!

By Ann Burnside Love

Well, you were given a floor plan when you chose your apartment or cottage, weren’t you? It showed the dimensions, didn’t it? Why should you have to measure it yourself?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

20 Reasons I'm Thankful to Live in a Retirement Community

By Ann Burnside Love

• Someone else cleans my apartment regularly, changes my bed linen, and recycles my newspapers. (If this sounds wonderful, it is.) After certain breaks in health, I really can't do many of these things. And I'm most grateful for their services because they allow me time to continue my professional career at the level I do.

• At Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and more holidays, our kitchen staff throws banquets for us so delicious that family members love to come. Thus I still have a turn in the family cycle for holiday entertaining.

• Vanessa, the cat, is happy here, has engraved all her habits, wishes and desires upon my brain, and she hasn't yet climbed from my balcony to the roof, as others’ cats have.

• When my garbage disposal broke down, all I had to do was phone maintenance and it was fixed by the next day.

• Someone else clears my car of snow and ice before I go out.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Seasonal residents: Now they’re here, now they’re away

By Ann Burnside Love

The new lady in the apartment next door moved in, then disappeared. Six months later she returned. Seems she owns a summer home in Maine where the community requires residents to be there for six months a year. Her brood is large, and each family loves to come there for a couple of weeks every summer. But there would be gaps if no one were in residence continuously.

Actually, she’s due back from her second and what she said would be her last summer away for six months, because she’s too tired to keep it up. So when she sold her house in our area, she established her new home in our senior residential community so it would be ready and waiting for her at all times. This is her permanent home.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Dumbest Thing I Actually Worried About Before Moving

By Ann Burnside Love

It had to do with something I’d never lacked before and truly valued above much else. Actually, I felt guilty that I was even thinking about this possibility, but so it was.

Separately, I was happy and excited about the apartment I’d chosen. I was practical enough not to really worry about the actual moving process, once my daughter and I planned it down to the tiniest detail. A lot of the important-to-me worry stuff was being taken care of — having to do with possessions I was passing along to the next generations.

My oversize recliners, comfortable and beloved by all, went to No. 2 Son and his family, my piano to No. 3 Son whose young family loved music. The round dining room table and chairs, with carpet, went to No. 1 Son’s family. And the capacious mahogany buffet from my late husband’s family went to my daughter, along with a selection of the china, silver and linens that lived within. Then the whole family, including grown grandchildren, got to choose a share of the lovely things left throughout the house — bargaining with each other so politely I was stunned. My concern about fairness was resolved.

But when all that was settled, I was still left with inside-the-churning-brain worry, the dark kind: I was entering a group of a couple hundred people. Would I be comfortable with the established residents and they with me? I knew a few, but just acquaintances. Would there be people with whom to converse, think aloud, learn from … and laugh?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What Residence is Right for You?

By Ann Burnside Love
When I finally decided to move from my spacious “first” retirement home in a 55 and up development, I knew that I would again have to condense my belongings, and I had to decide which residence—apartment or cottage—would work best to create a comfortable home, as well as showcase my most valued possessions and allow me to continue my active writing life. Thus, a must, in my case, was a place I could set up my writing and business office. So I chose an apartment layout with one bedroom, two baths (one for me, one for Vanessa, the cat), and a den that let me create a horseshoe in which to build a surround of equipment.
It all fit: filing cabinets, computer, printer, a variety of well-lighted work surfaces, outlets and whatever. There was room for the five-drawer legal file that preserves my writing career. Plus the tall metal cabinet that stores supplies galore. I also needed shelves—lots of shelves. Throughout my life I’ve always been able to fill all available shelves, plus more.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Like Living on a Cruise--Only Better!

By Ann Burnside Love
This attitude I can understand: Many people liken living in a senior living community to being on a cruise ship. Your meals are provided in a beautiful dining room, there’s an array of entertainment from concerts and shows to speakers on all sorts of subjects, and holiday celebrations, all of which — differently from a cruise — you may invite family and friends without also arranging for their travel!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What's it really like, those first days?

By Ann Burnside Love

For weeks I‘d imagined the scene: On my first full day as a new retirement community resident, I would leave my pile of boxes and go down in the elevator for lunch, and walk the curving hall, with big windows overlooking the lovely pond with fountains and water lilies, to the dining room entrance. Study the lunch menu in the lighted case for the first time, then walk into the dining room and find a seat. By myself. Surrounded by examining eyes.

I’ve been on my own for a lot of years: Decades ago, as a young widow, I founded a little marketing company that grew way beyond anyone’s expectations. Traveled the country to clients alone, been in professional meetings with total strangers. Circulated and made new acquaintances in crowded rooms. Eaten in lots of restaurants alone. Confident and independent, you bet. But now it would be different. I would be a newcomer, no longer in charge. This entrance …

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Do I Stay, or Do I Go?

By Ann Burnside Love

One might have thought that I, of all people, would not have hesitated when it was time to move into a retirement community. As the founder of a senior living marketing company, I’d visited scores of communities, led the planning and fulfillment of their marketing needs, and along the way written tens of thousands of words about them.

So I knew very well how to recognize when it was decision-making time for myself. That didn’t mean I would decide, of course. (“I’m not ready yet!”) Oh yes, I knew the decision-making and moving drills very well — and how to advise others! However, my whole background had made me, shall we say, very independent.