Thursday, December 18, 2014

Avoiding the Blues in the Season of Red and Green

By Nicole Jovel, guest blogger

Ann Burnside Love’s Top 10 list to help seniors beat the winter blues

It’s wintertime and though some might call it “the most wonderful time of the year,” many seniors experience some level of winter blues. Fewer hours of sunshine, longer hours of darkness, and the potential for snow and ice can leave people in hibernation mode. When you find yourself more lethargic than usual or experience a general drop in mood, turn to Ann’s list of tips for beating the winter blues:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Senior’s Guide to Battling Holiday Bulge

By Leslee Jaquette, guest blogger

I recently lost control at the first Thanksgiving buffet, gorging myself on turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy as well as three kinds of berry pie with real, whipped cream!

After my first holiday celebration, I –a personal trainer with credentials in senior fitness -- am already sporting the proverbial one to five pounds many people gain (and never lose) as a result of seasonal stuffing!

But now with one food overdose under my belt, I’m going to use some common sense ideas to maintain my weight. Nhayomee Perez, fitness expert with Future Fitness, a partner with Cadbury Senior Lifestyles, Cherry Hill, will also share tips she uses to coach participants through the holidays at the Cherry Hill, New Jersey, continuing care retirement community.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

From “For Sale” to “Sold” — Selling Your Home in Winter

By Sarah Koons, guest blogger

It’s almost winter and the weather outside is frightful, but living in a senior community is so delightful! If you are considering moving into a retirement community, but own a home, don’t let Jack Frost deter you from proceeding with your plans. With the help of experienced retirement community professionals, realtors and supportive family members, the process of selling your home in winter can become not only doable, but mark the beginning of a new chapter of your life. Fortunately, there are many things senior homeowners can do to increase the salability of their home in the winter months.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Passing Thanks: When to Give Your Possessions to Loved Ones

By Anne Gill, guest blogger

We all know Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and gather with friends and family. For seniors looking to downsize, it’s also a perfect time to pass on meaningful possessions or purge unwanted paraphernalia.

“Many of us live in homes with an attic, basement and one-to-two levels of living space, not to mention a shed in the backyard,” says Margit Novack, president of Moving Solutions, a senior move management company. Tack on 40 years of living in one dwelling, and the thought of excavating these spaces becomes overwhelming.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Budgeting Your Time (and Energy) for the Holidays

By Nicole Jovel, guest blogger

“My head could just buzz with all the things I’d like to do for my family,” said Ann Burnside Love as she thought about the upcoming holiday season. But Ann, founder and chair of Love & Company and resident of a suburban Maryland retirement community, has a plan. “Holidays require lead time and pacing,” she said. Her plan is to think ahead, review her calendar, and pencil in down time to counterbalance the hustle and bustle of the season. “I occasionally have ‘crash days’ where I don’t get dressed, catch up on the newspaper and listen to music all day. I might read a book with my feet up and order in the wonderful food they have on hand in my community so I don’t have to go anywhere,” Ann said.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Strength Training for Seniors – A Little Dab Goes a Long Way Toward Wellness

By Leslee Jaquette, guest blogger

In the “old days” women were cautioned not to work out with weights for fear they would look muscle-bound like Charlie Atlas. Men, on the other hand, might forego weight training because they didn’t want to get “too big” and their clothes might not fit.

These days those sorts of rationalizations simply fly in the face of research. For one thing, most women can’t get muscle bound due to the effects of estrogen. But more importantly, if we don’t work our muscles most of us will lose 20 to 40 percent of our muscle tissue as we age. With it go balance and the ability to easily conduct everyday tasks. Not working our bodies also spells an increase of risk for osteoporosis as well as obesity and diabetes.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Moving in Your 70s Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

By Sarah Koons, guest blogger

Moving is intimidating! Theres so much to do arrangements to make, what to give to children or others, things to pack and thats all just to get stuff out the door. When you add arthritis, aging knees, and muscles that just cant lift as much as they used to, its easy to see how putting off moving quickly becomes the simpler option. However, moving in your 70s doesnt have to be scary, difficult or inconvenient. Thanks to proactive retirement communities and specialized moving companies with compassionate services, moving has never been easier for seniors.

Most of us have been there before: you start the daunting task of packing when suddenly four hours have passed and all you have to show for it is a renewed realization that going through a lifetime of possessions is an enormous job. Fortunately, there are professionals who have made it their career to assist with situations exactly like this. Beth Wenhart from Carolina Relocation and Transition Specialists is one such person. Ms. Wenhart said, We understand that this is an overwhelming and emotional process. Having an experienced professional to walk through the process with you makes it much less overwhelming.

Once everything is packed up and ready to go, there is also the physical move that needs to take place. Businesses like Carolina Relocation and Transition Specialists offer turn-key services that make the process painless. Those services include planning what can fit in your new space, helping clients decide what to take with them (plus taking care of the things left behind), packing, moving, unpacking and settling into your new home.

Ms. Wenhart recalls moving a client from her home of 40 years soon after her husband passed away. They had traveled extensively together and collected many beautiful things in their travels. These beautiful things all reminded her of happy times and how much she missed her husband. She was afraid that this relocation was going to force her to give up most of those things. By working with her to learn the items that were the most important to her, and with careful layout of her new space, we were able to incorporate many of her treasures into her new home, said Ms. Wenhart. The day before the move she was in tears about leaving her home, but when she walked into her newly set up apartment the next afternoon she gasped and said, Oh, it is so beautiful. It looks like home.'

While moving can be an intimidating task, its encouraging to remember where you are going. Senior communities like Springmoor Life Care Retirement Community boast many exciting amenities and modernizations that can make life more comfortable. Leah Holdren, marketing coordinator at Springmoor, reassures seniors considering moving that there are many advantages in moving to a new home. You can pick the paint you want for your new apartment and make it look like home. We know its stressful, but we work with moving companies and can tell you what will fit and what wont, said Ms. Holdren. At Springmoor, they have a hair salon, physical therapy center, movie theater, salt water pool and more for residents to look forward to when they arrive.

While at first thought moving may be upsetting, relocating in your 70s can be delightful! To make the easiest transition, make sure not to wait until the last minute. Come to us while you are still able, so you can enjoy all that a retirement community has to offer, recommends Ms. Holdren. Ms. Wenhart agreed by saying, Dont allow your apprehension about this type of move to prevent you from going forward. Postponing the relocation until you are a little older tends to make it more difficult. 

Besides, this could be the opportunity youve been looking for to finally have a movie theater in your own backyard and have someone else do the cooking!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mythbusting: “CCRCs are filled with old people who are sick and dying.”

This is our final post covering Age Wave’s Five Myths & Realities of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). This myth is a bit more somber than some of the others, but it is equally important to talk about. The myth is “CCRCs are filled with old people who are sick and dying.”

The simple answer is that there is no simple answer. There are people of every health stage in any community, whether it is a neighborhood, a town, a CCRC, a city, or a state. However, when you live in a senior living or continuing care retirement community, there are opportunities and options for people who need more care, whether on a short-term or a long-term basis. Many communities offer assisted living services and higher levels of care, including skilled nursing services and memory care. Many residents, however, live in the “independent living” areas of the community, and are still extremely active like me.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Quick Temperature Check for Seniors

By: Ann Burnside Love

In the natural climate wherever we’ve lived much of our lives, most of us have developed opinions on which temperatures are comfortable, which are tolerable and what’s miserable. We’re also aware of how these varying climates affect our health and lifestyle. Some of us, me included, have become extra-sensitive to temperature extremes, and therefore try to avoid them.

Many retirees are aware of the benefits of a residential living community — where you no longer have to shovel snow, clean snow off your car, drive through ice and storms to the doctors’ offices, grocery stores or on shopping errands.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Myth-Busting: “It would be easy to get any care I might need at home.”

Have you ever seriously considered that you may need long-term care? Most likely not. Most of us like to think that we will age well, our health will never fade (just as our energy hasn’t), and even if we do fall ill, it will be for a short period of time. This is the basis for this week’s myth-busting: “It would be easy to get any care I might need at home.”  It’s the fourth myth we’ll examine from AgeWave’s Five Myths and Realities of Continuing Care Retirement Communities. (To view our previous myth-busting blogs, click here, here, and here.)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Declaring your Independence! Is your move also liberating your children?

By: Ann Burnside Love

Before I moved to my independent living retirement community, I admit I was bugging my children for information or assistance undoubtedly more than I realized. They have always been good-natured about this, but their demanding professional and family schedules didn’t really have room for things I impulsively just picked up the phone and asked about. (Especially irksome to them when I didn’t remember I’d already asked………….) Anything sound familiar yet?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Myth-Busting: “It’s less expensive and more financially secure for me to stay in my current home.”

One concern that never seems to go away, no matter our age, is saving money. We worry about saving to buy a house, saving to send our children to college, saving for the dream vacation, and eventually, we worry about having enough in our savings to carry us through retirement.

According to a survey of older Americans done by Age Wave, a research and consulting company, it may seem like moving to a continuing care retirement community isn’t a fiscally sound decision.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Boxes of Life: Lightening the Load

By: Ann Burnside Love

It’s summer, time to shed layers of clothing … and other belongings as well.

Whether you’re beginning to think about moving to a senior retirement community, or you’re moving soon, or if you took entirely too much to your new retirement residence — planning to think about it afterwards, as many people do — here are suggestions for handling all those boxes which contain chapters of your life.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Myth-Busting: “My current home is the best option to continue an active social life and to stay connected with friends in the years ahead.”

Did you know that just like eating your vegetables and getting exercise, maintaining friendships is one of the primary ways to continue living an active, healthy lifestyle? It’s true! In an article about the health benefits of friendship, the Cleveland Clinic notes that friendships have been found to increase longevity, delay memory loss and reduce stress.

But we already felt that in our bones, didn’t we? Since having an active social life is so important as we age, we must consider our social lives as a factor when deciding where we will spend our retirement years — even if socializing doesn’t come easily.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Best Mother's Day Gift May Be...

By: Ann Burnside Love

Since my four children’s father died while they were still very young, over the years they’ve found some special ways to celebrate Mother’s Day, ranging from seriously thoughtful to downright funny and beyond.

One of my best ever Mother’s Day gifts happened several years ago, when one son made it my gift to plant all the annual flowers I had just bought when I had a big yard and suddenly could no longer do all the gardening myself. For the last few years it has become a tradition. So now he visits me at my retirement community toting a huge bag of potting soil, trailed by one of my beloved teenage grandsons toting tools. They plant new flowers on my balcony in my favorite containers — and refresh my indoor plants. (I do everything I can to prevent Vanessa the cat from munching on the greenery, but …)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Myth-Busting: "My current home is the best place to live in my retirement years"

“My current home is the best place to live in my retirement years.”

How many of you have thought that’s true? How many of you are sure there is no better option for you than remaining in the home where you’ve spent decades living? After all, this is where you raised your children, hosted parties for friends and family, celebrated holidays, planted your annual gardens and stored decades of fond memories. Often, when looking back, our minds gloss over the negatives, choosing to remember the happy times and moments.

If you are still living in this home, you have to consider that it is also where you had to pay holiday rates to a plumber because your son wanted to see if his toy car would flush down the toilet. It’s where you had to pay to have the leaking roof repaired just after you paid for your daughter’s first year of college. It’s where you had to shovel 18 inches of snow to be able to get to a doctor’s appointment, where you had to pay to have the fence repaired, the swimming pool liner replaced, and let’s not forget that you still have to make dinner, put away the leftovers and clean the kitchen every night.

With all that considered, your home—as chock full of good times as it has been—may not be the best home to spend your retirement years.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Car, A Car, My Kingdom for a Car!

By Ann Burnside Love

With apologies to Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” transportation is a very big thing for most retirees. For years, as we retain our independence, driving our own car is one of the most important things we do. We drive to the mall and the grocery store, our physicians’ offices, to the golf course, tennis courts, bowling alleys, restaurants, and to our children’s homes if they live nearby. We drive to special events and meetings. We explore the national parks, spend the winter in warm places and drive there whenever it’s the right time.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The "Boomers" Retirement Community is Different

I live in a retirement community built 15 years ago.  Generally, the accommodations are what I expected. I’m very comfortable.

However. There is a very different community rising on 100 acres across the street, definitely part of our community by name, ownership and management. It’s specifically designed for boomers, who—research shows—want a different style of retirement. And what is that?

I visited the model home for this new section the other day, and can certainly see that these roomy residences are intended for 55-plus residents and up, members of the “boomers” generation; the model had elegance, spaciousness, granite counters and profoundly large closets. The hostess/marketer explained that “these boomer homes are for retirees 55-plus. They are not putting off moving from the homes where they raised their children. They are so ready for no-maintenance, single-level homes with fireplaces and plenty of space. They want to have fun. These customers are looking for ease of living, attractive and versatile space, attached homes, the wave of the future. They feel entitled.”

I came away impressed, not only with the space, but also with a vision of a new lifestyle.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Cleaning: At your house or mine?

By Ann Burnside Love

Do I mean heavy-duty spring-cleaning, where you roll the rugs, carry them outdoors and beat them with a tennis racquet? Hardly. Though some of us may have traces of memory about that. For myself, I can’t remember when my mother did not have a vacuum cleaner, although the cooling process in the kitchen was by icebox, until the amazing Frigidaire came along.

When I think about spring cleaning, I’m certainly relieved not to still be living in the six-bedroom house where I raised my children, although it was emotional agony leaving it, or the three-bedroom house on the edge of the park I bought when they were grown, or even my first retirement house in a 55-plus community. I remember them all. And I remember spring cleaning in all of them.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Planning to Age in Place? But Which Place?

By Ann Burnside Love

My friend Marjorie and I, during the same month, signed onto the waiting list for the retirement community I now live in, two and a half years before our names came up on the list for our apartments. When I got the call that a residence was reserved for me, I was definitely ready. I’d made my choice. My children had been concerned about me after some health issues, though I still considered myself independent. So I was stunned to discover that my friend had no intention of moving. Ever. She truly caught me off guard when she said: “I’m not leaving this house until I’m carried out feet first.”

Many people expect they will be independent all their lives, “doing for themselves” forever. And some do. Others expect their families to take care of them, also forever. Many people during their early years as a senior are in good health and having a fine time doing things they’ve always looked forward to doing. And that may work immediately after retirement, and for a few years afterward; some seniors expect that to last perpetually.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Working on Your Moving Plans After This Year's Weather Extremes?

By Ann Burnside Love

While enjoying the fireplace in our lobby’s sitting room, a lovely neighbor came up to me with a friend who’s moving into our retirement community a few months from now. The friend said she enjoys reading the newspaper column I’ve written for years. When I heard her voice, I realized that I remembered her from a group we both belonged to in our 30s.

“I’m moving this year because I can’t stay on the farm through another winter,” she said. “I can’t do all the stuff required through as much snow and ice as we’ve experienced recently. Actually, I’ve been downsizing for five years, so it won’t be as big a deal to move as it might have been.”

So she’s positioned herself to make the move she really wants to make. And she’s taken steps to make it possible. She’s decided on a retirement community, gotten onto the waiting list, been what we call “right sizing” for years, and she’s recognized now is the time.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I'm Living in a Media Center! Who Knew?

By Ann Burnside Love

We’re not to call libraries “libraries” any more. They are now media centers doing much more than housing books. I know this is true truth, because two of my daughters-in-law are media center coordinators in public schools. One works in an elementary school in Northern Virginia, and the other in a nearly brand new Maryland high school. Both started out as teachers and later took extra masters’ degrees to qualify as media center coordinators. This is where I get my information.

How do I know that I actually live in the middle of a Media Center? Well, I already knew my retirement community had several libraries, for starters.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Olympians Fall More Gracefully Than We Do!

By Ann Burnside Love

The Olympics are reserved for the most masterful athletes, and over the last two weeks, we’ve watched ice skaters gracefully twirl and dance, and also gracefully fall to the ice on their hips, knees and sides. We’ve likewise watched skiers with medals and stellar reputations fly downhill around challenging turns and jumps — only to fly right off track into snow banks and forgiving fences.

Many of these athletes already endured multiple surgeries for broken bones and injured backs. They’re young. They know they will (probably, if they work very, very hard) heal enough to come back next season.

Seniors, on the other hand, have less chance to heal that successfully if our falls are serious. We will probably never climb a ladder again, much less get out on the golf course, tennis court or mountainside in hiking boots. Or even live by ourselves anymore, running errands and getting ourselves to doctor’s appointments in bad weather. Think about the challenging weather we’re experiencing this year alone. How often have you dared to leave the house?

At a retirement community, you don’t have to ask yourself the question: Is leaving the house worth the fall risk? Many of my neighbors — already surprised by the countless amenities available to them now that they are at a retirement community — were also shocked to realize the many ways communities work to keep residents safe. Whatever weather emergency is going on, we don’t have to worry about braving the elements and risking a fall since most communities provide indoor access to dining services, a wellness center and exercise pool.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Olympics, Retirement Living and Inspiration to Keep Moving

By Ann Burnside Love

Let’s face it: The Olympics are a sedentary sport for us retirees. Right now we’re in the midst of our least active two-week period of the winter, if you’re as interested in the Winter Games as I am. Over the years I‘ve planned my Olympics-watching to make sure I don’t miss any ice skating. I’ll ignore much of the rest to keep my own life going appropriately.

But I get caught up watching skiers and snowboarders do all those hair-raising things they do. I’m always amazed when they take off their helmets and we see such glowingly fresh faces of the healthiest, most beautiful young people alive.

Then it occurred to me recently that much of the same dynamic is going on in my retirement community. (What?) There is a tall, slender lady in her eighties who walks two miles vigorously every day and has done so for years. She’s always glowing and positive, even though she has her own health challenges.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Enjoying the Many Holidays Which Fill out Your Year

By Ann Burnside Love

You’ve been retired for a while. You’re doing well, or you’re doing less than well, but managing. Possibly you’re thinking about, or wanting, or needing to make a change to a community where your life will be more comfortable, safer, and where there will be both friends and prompt assistance when you need it. A place specifically dedicated to keeping life inviting and interesting, and generally helping you improve the quality of your life.

When I was still living alone, I was participating less and less in life around me because I was always tired, and frequently recovering from various health challenges. One example of the limitations on my energy was that I had virtually stopped decorating for holidays, except for a small pumpkin for Halloween and Thanksgiving, a few chosen ornaments at Christmas, and a wreath on my front door.

Seasonal decorating, which I’ve always loved, used to be a real pleasure. But now the thought of getting boxes out of storage, unwrapping, arranging, and then reversing the process, loomed in my mind as something definitely to be avoided. I simply didn’t care enough to expend the energy. Thus, along the way I lost interest in all but the major and family holidays.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Living Close and Staying Involved in Family Events

By Ann Burnside Love

My family is big in the birthday celebration department, and this month is especially busy with six in two generations. This means I’m not deficient in cake consumption, because my chosen retirement community is within convenient reach of the families involved. Plus, there was a truly delightful surprise addition when my first great-grandchild was recently born, thus becoming a member of this distinguished (fun) group of winter birthday celebrants.

Many of the residents in my retirement community also attend family and local events as I do. We have friends and colleagues nearby we also see regularly.

So I asked a few what they value about living close to family. These are some of their answers:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

What Made You Decide to Move?

By Ann Burnside Love

For this week’s blog, I introduced myself to some new neighbors, and asked them why they decided to move into a senior living community like the one I call home.

He says: “We had accumulated all these things together during our marriage. We were getting up in age. Rather than leave one of us to have all that to deal with, we decided to move into one of the beautiful new patio cottages this community has built. We’ve been here a month and can already tell it was exactly the right thing for us to do.”

She says: “We still need to go back to our house and finish sorting out the last of our possessions, so we can put the house on the market at the beginning of next month. We’re almost finished, thank goodness. We’re quite ready to settle down and have time to experience more about our new surroundings!”

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Arriving By the Back Door

By Ann Burnside Love

This story is about the unexpected way I moved into the beautiful retirement apartment I now call home. As a hint — although my daughter and I had planned every detail together — when the day came I never even saw the moving crew.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Where are you when the weather is extreme?

By Ann Burnside Love

Without getting into a discussion of whose theories are right about climate change, during this last week we have been experiencing the coldest temperatures Americans under 40 have ever encountered. (The weather folks tell us this, so it must be so.) At the same time, they give us below-zero wind chill reports in all sorts of cities and communities unused to and unequipped for these extremes.

Since I’m primarily addressing my contemporaries and their adult children, I realize that we are several decades older than 40 years, and most of us have experienced lots of weather extremes in our lifetimes, no matter what part of the country in which we live. Even the southern states are experiencing one of the coldest spells on record.

Now, I’m prepared to believe that this “cold” is life threatening, and that my contemporaries and I had better remain indoors, period. The question then becomes: Where indoors and under what circumstances?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Adult Child? You Can Help!

By Ann Burnside Love

Are you, by any chance, the adult child or child-in-law, niece, nephew, sister, brother, cousin or very good friend of a senior who would benefit from a different living situation?

May I suggest that the recent holidays could have given you an opportunity to look closer at how your senior relatives or friends are doing in important ways, such as:
• eating nutritious meals, or having access to appropriate food?
• getting enough exercise?
• living in physically safe surroundings indoors and out?
• receiving sufficient and quick medical attention?
• living in an unhappy or limiting situation?
• needing more assistance in daily living — or would benefit from a simpler and less demanding lifestyle where they have fewer responsibilities and more choices in how they spend their time?

Or, from a less dramatic point of view, do you think that person is in good shape generally — and could benefit from being around people with similar interests, abilities, and tastes — plus diverse life experiences to share? Studies show that these are among the best benefits of senior retirement communities.