2 - Mature Lifestyles - January, 2012 - TheIntelligencer.com
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Carol, right, and David Gilbert work in the office of their home at a senior community in Palo Alto, Calif. As the population ages, many people find themselves navigating a confusing web of interconnected services for themselves or their parents when it comes time to shed possessions and relocate.
Downsizing specialists in demand Relocating presents a challenge to seniors By LEANNE ITALIE Associated Press Carol Gilbert remembers well the heartache and hassle of watching her aging parents struggle to remain in their house of 45 years; the desperate, last-minute calls for help and her dad’s isolation as her mom’s health declined. She also remembers the frustration of going through their things once they finally agreed to relocate
to a senior care facility nearby in San Mateo, Calif. “I must have gone up to the house every Saturday for a year helping them sort through their stuff,” Gilbert said. “I couldn’t get my mother to make decisions or really do much each visit.” Once settled in the smaller space, surrounded by peers, her father’s burden lifted. He got his wish to remain with his wife and began enjoying life again at 86. Gilbert is now 72 herself and her folks are long dead, but their rocky transition in 1992 motivated her and
her husband, David, to consider retirement housing at a much earlier stage. She was only 64 and he 67 when they moved into a full-amenity complex in Palo Alto, Calif., about 20 miles from the rural, ranch-style home where they had spent 35 years and raised their daughter. There’s a chef, a pool, a fitness center, a TV lounge with surround sound and a music room with a grand piano. There’s a housekeeping service, a balcony for a small garden and entertainment at least once a month. Continued on Page 4
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Relocate Continued from Page 3 “I’ve never looked back,” Gilbert said. “At that time we were the kids here. We certainly weren’t candidates for God’s waiting room.” As Americans live longer, many people find themselves navigating a confusing web of interconnected services for themselves or their parents when it comes time to shed possessions and relocate. Some, like the Gilberts, use hardwon lessons from their parents’ experience to take control of their own late-life downsize while they still have time to enjoy it. Others have created a new industry, becoming “senior specialists” to help make those transitions less troublesome. Such specialists span business worlds, from real estate and financial planning to moving, home staging, personal organizing and “late-life coaching.” Roughly 25,000 have sought training and education to focus on senior logistics, said Nan Hayes, a senior relocation specialist in suburban Chicago who is also a trainer. In addition to logistics, they provide emotional breathing room between grown children and aging parents, Hayes said. “If your parents feel comfortable with the process, if they feel they
have some control over it, things will run much more smoothly,” she said. “If you have to argue to make your point or force your opinions and decisions on your parents, you will find yourself up against a roadblock. No one will feel good. Moving mom and dad doesn’t have to be a nightmare.” In Cincinnati, John Buckles went through a troubling transition with his parents. Determined to enjoy their retirement and hold on to their house, they were forced by ill health into a senior care facility instead, leaving him to sort through decades of their possessions. “I had no clue what they owned,” he said. “I remember being pissed off because there were thousands of books. I must have gotten rid of 2,000 before I realized there was stuff inside of them, like a little story my mother wrote about me, and money.” The experience prompted him to co-found Caring Transitions. With about 130 franchises around the country, the company provides “general contractors” who do what faraway relatives often can’t: make sure that moving companies, real estate agents, liquidators, charities, disposal companies, appraisers, cleaners and home stagers are working together with the older person’s best interest in mind. Buckles and Hayes encourage a “sooner-rather-than-later” approach to sifting through pos-
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sessions, whether the person is moving or looking to “age in place” through home modifications such as handrails and stair lifts. That approach to late-life housing doesn’t negate the value of a good home clean-out, they said. “If you want to remain independent longer, you must start making the decisions and acting now to preserve that independence,” said Hayes, who launched a network, MoveSeniors.com, that works with organizations around the country to provide reliable specialists and advice. “I’ve witnessed too many situations where adult children are forced to make tough decisions about mom’s home and possessions because she kept putting it off,” she said. The emotional toll on an older person can be heavy, bringing on anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and short-term memory loss, said Hayes and Tracy Greene Mintz, a social worker in Redondo Beach, Calif., who specializes in a body of symptoms known as “relocation stress syndrome.” “It’s a train, and everybody gets on the moving-mom-and-dad train, and it’s easy to focus on the logistical details because they don’t require you to address the emotional aspects of the move,” Mintz said. “Then mom and dad get to their place and they just shut down.” Continued on Page 5
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Relocate Continued from Page 4 There’s a lot that families can do to de-stress a latelife downsize: SLOW IT DOWN: Sometimes, Buckles said, resistance to shedding that grandfather clock or box of old aprons is driven by the owner ’s desire to tell the stories behind them. “Once that’s done, once somebody took the time to listen, they can give it up,” he said. GIFTING POSSESSIONS: Planning to pass down something once you’re gone? Don’t wait. “I’ve comforted hundreds of clients who have had to watch their possessions being donated, sold or tossed in a Dumpster,” Hayes said. “Take the time to decide what you really need or love, and take steps to get rid of everything else NOW.” FALSE SPIN: Nobody wants to be the emotional downer, and that can lead to stiff, empty attempts to stay positive when everybody’s hurting, Mintz said. “Ask mom or dad, ‘Does any of this make you feel anxious? Does any
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of this make you feel a little bit sad?’ That tiny nudge goes miles toward a better outcome in the new place,” she said. HOME STAGING: Mom has always stored the silverware in the top drawer to the right of the fridge. Make sure that happens in her new home. Bring along her favorite beat-up ottoman that you wanted to toss, and have her new place set up with pictures on the wall and slippers bedside when she moves in. SPOUSES: Jo Magnum in Raleigh, N.C., twice downsized her parents with the help of her three siblings. They made a pact: no spouses involved. “They weren’t allowed in on the conversations over who took what, where our parents went, who took care of the money. They weren’t even allowed in the room,” she said. “We just didn’t need them there.” DOWNSIZE THE DOWNSIZE: Organizer Vickie Dellaquila in Pittsburgh wrote a book, “Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash: A Stepby-Step Guide to Helping Seniors Downsize, Organize and Move.” Her advice? Don’t give up everything in a set if it means that much. Save six rather than all 12 place settings of the good china or silverware. The same goes for treasured books.
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College towns a draw to seniors By CAROLE FELDMAN Associated Press College isn’t just for the young. With many people seeking a retirement that is culturally active and intellectually stimulating, colleges and universities are working to bring retirees to their campuses and towns, offering them free or reducedrate classes, artistic performances or lectures. Some have partnered with retirement residences in the area. For some retirees, it’s a homecoming: They’re returning to their former campuses with warm memories of the time they spent there as students. Others are moving to be closer to their children, who might be affiliated with the university. For still others, it’s just a new adventure. “People think seniors today are looking for sun and sand and not
much else,” said Jill Lillie, director of marketing at The Village at Penn State, a continuing care residence in State College, Pa. “But boomers are focused on new challenges. They want to enrich their lives, write a new chapter.” Campus life can provide plenty of opportunities to do that. “We were tired of looking at old people, and we wanted to get to a place where there was a little more vibrancy, a little more to do,” said Al Green, a 1947 Penn State graduate who moved to The Village at Penn State after first retiring to Florida. On a recent fall weekend, he was juggling sporting events, a bridge game and drinks with friends. Students cite benefits, too. Vicki Centurelli, an Ithaca College senior from Hingham, Mass., who has volunteered with retirees, says, “Hearing about different experienc-
es allows you to reflect on your own life and see it a little bit differently, which I think is important for college students to do.” Sure, the same types of residential facilities and programming are available in communities around the country, but there’s a preponderance in college towns, said Scott Perry, president of Bankers Life and Casualty Company, which put out a study on the best U.S. cities for seniors. Among the criteria it considered were social opportunities, including the number of colleges and universities in town. “We can’t underestimate the importance of keeping our minds active as we age,” he said, adding that college communities have the resources to “allow seniors to focus on what they want to pursue in the next stage of their life.” Continued on Page 7
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College Continued from Page 6 And it’s not just intellectual and social. Typically, he said, many large universities will have teaching hospitals and even dental schools which provide health services for seniors. “They raise the quality of care in the community,” he said. In Ithaca, N.Y., the Longview retirement community offers independent and assisted living, and has a partnership with Ithaca College to promote intergenerational learning. Two or three residents are taking classes at the college, said Breelan Nash, Longview’s recreation and volunteer coordinator. Residents also attend plays and concerts on campus, with transportation provided. At the same time, some classes for students are held at Longview, and residents can sit in, said Rhoda Meador, director of the Gerontology Institute at Ithaca College. Talking with the seniors can provide context and reality to the students’ academic subjects, she said. Sarah Furie, 20, a junior from Windsor, Conn., who is majoring in television and radio, said student volunteers have taught Longview residents about computers, performed musical programs and done arts and crafts.
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Similarly, student interns teach fitness and art at the Village at Penn State and help with technology. Sports teams also visit, Lillie said. Residents can take one class a semester at Penn State. “There has to be space available and they can’t preempt a paying student,” Lillie said. But retirees don’t necessarily have to live in a facility partnered with a university to take advantage of programming at a school. Sam Wolsky, who retired to Tucson, Ariz., from Chicago to be near his children and grandchildren, said he and his late wife, Roberta, found the musical, dance and theater offerings at the University of Arizona an added benefit to their lives there. “There’s a smorgasbord of activities that you can be involved in,” said Wolsky. Colleges and universities also attract retirees who want to use their expertise and experience to pursue a second career — teaching. Ron Brown, a 64-year-old patent lawyer, decided to retire to Tucson from Minneapolis in part for an adjunct teaching position at the University of Arizona law school. He also hopes to take classes. “I have nightmares about forgetting how to do calculus,” said Brown, who studied chemistry and chemical engineering and got a PhD before going to law school. Continued on Page 13
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Ageless Grace a new path to fitness By CAROL KOHLER Of the Intelligencer
If one of your goals for the New Year includes getting your body in motion, Ageless Grace Fitness and Wellness Program may be the perfect idea. Denise Medved developed the program, consisting of 21 simple exercise tools designed for all ages and all abilities. These exercises, based on everyday movements that are natural and organic, focus on the healthy longevity of body and mind. The 21 tools have imaginative and creative names, making them easy to remember. For example, the first exercise tool is “Juicy Joints,” focusing on joint mobility, flexibility and circulation. Exercise tool number two is called “Dive In,” targeting upper body and abdominal strength and coordination. Continuing to Tool 21, “Dance Party” focuses on emotional expression, memory/recall and cardiovascular conditioning. There are four certified educators of Ageless Grace in the Edwardsville area: Gail Herzog, Jeanne Carter, Lisa Beaumont and Sally Burgess. Each educator has her own schedule of classes at various locations. Many of the classes take place at Edwardsville Fitness Studio on Hillsboro Avenue. Jeanne also teaches a class in the Wildey Theatre, Gail has classes at the YMCA on Esic Drive, and Lisa teaches classes at Our Health Club & Spa in Glen Carbon. The classes can accommodate individuals with limited movement and those who use a wheelchair. During class, participants will perform the Ageless Grace tools while sitting in a chair. According to Beaumont, the chair levels the playing field. “The chair gives you the confidence the floor doesn’t. People from ages 8 to 80 can do the same activities. Incorporating imagination into movement is key.” Intentionally nourishing the
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Students in an Ageless Grace class work out. mind-body connection on a daily basis can help improve health and well-being, reduce stress, keep the brain agile and the body responsive. Joyce Stewart had nothing but positive remarks when discussing Beaumont’s class, “I injured my foot and wanted to continue exercising. Ageless Grace turned out to be the perfect solution as I was able to continue to exercise on a weekly basis. Initially I was uncertain as to how much exercise you can get while sitting in a chair, but I soon learned it was more than I had realized.” “My grandchildren love to practice Ageless Grace with me,” said Herzog. “It is very important to teach young children and young adults how to relieve stress naturally and through these simple exercises any age can do it.” Ageless Grace pays special attention to the muscles in your face and teaches exercises to keep the muscle tissue from hardening. As people age, many lose expression in their face due to lack of movement, this program is designed to change that. “I enjoy going to the AG classes
because it makes me feel good without being over worked. I still feel that I had a workout without all the discomfort. The class is fun while still giving you a good workout,” said student Paula Yount. There are several options to getting involved with Ageless Grace. Residents can simply attend a class and participate at one of the convenient locations. For those more interested, there is the choice of attending a seminar and learning how you can do this on your own, and for those interested in becoming a certified education like Gail, Jeanne, Lisa and Sally, that option is available as well. For more information, contact Edwardsville Fitness Studio at 7795378, Katie Grable at Edwardsville Park Department at 692-7538 for Wildey location classes, and Our Health Club & Spa at 288-5555. Herzog will also be conducting an interactive demonstration at Main Street Community Center in February, March and April. For more information regarding the Community Center classes, please contact 650-3210.
TheIntelligencer.com - January, 2012 - Mature Lifestyles - 9
Rich Hayes’ latest idea is on display outside his Holiday Shores home.
For Holiday Shores man, it’s once in marketing, always in marketing By LAURA SCATURRO Of the Intelligencer In 2005, Rich Hayes retired after making a very successful living as a salesman and marketing executive for over 40 years. His sales expertise developed into “business turnarounds” and then into “business start-ups.” Hayes took pride in his salesmanship which included remembering the employees in the factory who made the fabricated metal products and heating equipment products he was marketing and selling at Jackes-Evans Manufacturing Company located in St. Louis. “I tripled the sales at Jackes-Evans in St. Louis in three years,” Hayes said. “I was the vice president of sales and marketing with full responsibility of the P & L. When I worked anywhere, I would make a point of visiting the
factory to shake hands with our employees because they were the ones making the quality product.” In 1995 Hayes left Jackes-Evans after learning about an opportunity with Imperial Manufacturing, a Canadian company located in Richibucto, New Brunswick, Canada northeast of Bangor, Maine. The company dominated the Canadian industry with its’ fabricated pipe and pipe fittings products. At Imperial, he became the executive vice president of operations for the United States and worked closely with the CEO, Normand Caissie. “They wanted to be established in the U.S.A. and open a U.S.A Division,” Hayes said. “It would be their first major commitment in the United States. The initial fulfillment center was in Madison, Ill.. We then moved to a 6,000 square foot facility in Hamel, Ill. We leased the building in 1996 with an option to buy.” Continued on Page 10
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Hayes Continued from Page 9 In 1997, after discussion with Caissie, Hayes exercised the right to purchase the building himself since Caissie said there was no benefit for him to own the building in the United States. “He suggested that I buy it and that it could be a part of my retirement package,” Hayes said. The division’s penetration into the market took off. In 1998 they added another 12,000 square feet to the Hamel building. Then, in 1999 and 2002, more square footage was added – 12,000 and 24,446 respectively. His wife, Sue, also worked at Imperial handling customer service, billing and support, product fulfillment and running the warehouse. By 2005, the start-up company had cornered 55 percent of the retail market in the United States selling HVAC galvanized accessories related to heating and air conditioning to retailers such as Ace Hardware, True Value, Do-it-Best, and Lowe’s. Hayes was also offered a buy-out from the multi-million dollar corporation -- a buy-out that was too good to be refused.
As agreed upon by the two men, Hayes kept the 54,446 square foot building now occupied by VSE out of Alexandria, Va. In 2005, Hayes could’ve sat back and enjoyed the “retired” life in Holiday Shores -- boating, fishing and taking it easy. An avid hunter, he could have scheduled more hunting trips in his favorite locations. But that isn’t Rich Hayes. Hayes, who has five patents in his name, wasn’t ready to retire to the quiet life. “I was given four weeks of vacation every year for 10 years but I never took my time off,” he admitted. His wife, Sue, states the obvious – “he’s always thinking, planning, creating. His mind is working all the time.” So, in 2005, after he dabbled as a sales representative, he and his wife started a cleaning products company named Green Keepers. He even hired a chemist to develop green cleaning products. His first venture into small business wasn’t quite what he expected, but he said he learned a lot from the experience. He also served as a general contractor and built several spec and custom homes until the housing industry took a downward turn. Now, in 2011, Hayes’ is again venturing into sales and marketing of his own products. Continued on Page 11
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Hayes Continued from Page 10 He is combining his talent for marketing and sales, his vast base of friendships made over the last 40 years across the country and his constitutional right to bear arms to produce signage with a message that he believes hits the mark in deterring home burglaries. The idea for the poignant message on his signage came to him in 2007, but he took time to develop the products and launched his concept last fall. Hayes knew he was headed in the right direction when, in September, he saw a news article in the Edwardsville Intelligencer stating that home break-ins were escalating in Madison County “from 80 reported through the first eight months of 2010 to 142 this year” and a quote
from State’s Attorney Thomas D. Gibbons encouraging folks to get their FOID (firearm owners identification card) in order to exercise their right to arm themselves in their homes “One in every six homes had a home invasion in 2011,” Hayes said. “Most criminals that come in to rob you want an easy in and easy out. It’s a home alarm sign that costs less. It’s a deterrent. You have every right to defend your home, your property and your environment. It doesn’t bother me to tell them that I own guns and I know how to use them. If I catch you breaking into my vehicle or my home, you may get shot.” The black, white, grey and red color sign shows a silhouette of a man with three shots in his head and five shots in his chest. The sign states: Trust Me. Nothing inside’s worth dying for. Hayes has yard signs and window static clings and decals for homes,
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vehicles and businesses. He even has door mats made from recyclable and renewable materials with the ominous greeting. Similar to the beware of dog warning signs so often seen in neighborhoods, Hayes’ products are a declaration -- this house isn’t an easy, unprotected target, so don’t do something stupid, or you may get shot. Marketing of the product is under way. Hayes has ads in several National Rifle Association publications as well as the VFW, American Legion and Elks magazines and a toll free number which is manned by customer service employees. He has developed a website, but has learned that his clientele are not particularly Internet savvy, such as one of his newest customers a former U.S. Marine who resides in California and who fought in Vietnam. Continued on Page 13
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Hayes Continued from Page 11 “He was recently a victim of a home invasion and got into a fight with the perpetrator who finally ran away,” Hayes said. “He said he has a right to carry and he wants everyone to know it.” Hayes has gone to great lengths to ensure that all the components of his products are made in the USA. All his products are trademarked and are under copyright. “I’m selling a lot of my products to veterans, so it’s important that everything is made in the U.S.A. Also a percentage of every sale is
donated to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Sons of the American Legion Post in Adrian, Mich., in loving memory of his father Rexford J. Hayes and his uncle, Richard D. Hayes as well as the Elks Lodge in Kearney, Neb., where Hayes has been a member for more than 30 years. “No criminal wants to get in a gun fight,” Hayes said. “If you indicate that someone or a few someone’s may have a gun in there, it will deter them to find another location to burglarize. The criminal wants to be the only one with a gun.” Hayes’ first shipment went out the door in November, 2011, and he is now networking through his contacts across the country with plans to stage his products in Cabelas,
Menards, Bass Pro Shop, Mills Farm and Fleet as well as indoor and outdoor gun ranges. Gun instructors have also ordered signage for their graduates who are learning about guns for the first time and for one reason - home protection. “There is unrest in the United States, an increase in armed robberies at banks that have cameras, and some desperate people,” Hayes said. “You have to find your niche market and that’s what I’m doing now. Several new product launches will be made within the next 30 to 45 days.” For more information about the products available visit www.homeinvasionsigns.com or contact 1-866708-1622 .
College Continued from Page 7 One school — the University of North Carolina at Asheville — has established an oncampus center dedicated to making retirement a fulfilling stage of life. The North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement, founded in 1988, lets retirees in the community “use their lifetime experience to solve some of the problems, make a contribution,” said Catherine Frank, the executive director. Among other programming, the center offers for a small fee some 280 classes each year, from arts and crafts to philosophy, religion and literature. About 30 percent of the members say the center was the primary reason behind their decision to retire to Asheville, Frank said. Other reasons cited include the area’s beauty and lively arts scene.
In this photo taken Friday, Oct. 28, 2011, Charlie Baer works out in the fitness room at The Village at Penn State before dinner in State College, Pa.
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Creating an accessible bathroom for mom and dad (ARA) - Many boomers caring for their aging parents don’t realize that their bathroom is the most important room in the house. Remodeling a bathroom for an elderly parent can make life not only safer, but also more enjoyable, improving comfort and personal dignity. Temporary fixes like plastic bathtub seats and toilet frames with elevated seats can be rickety, but even worse, they can be depressing and demoralizing. Upgrading to new fixtures built with accessibility in mind can cost less than you might think. Upgrading helps maintain independent living for the elderly, and is a wise investment for any home, given that anyone can experience temporary disabilities, such as surgery or broken bones. Try these helpful ideas to create a bathroom that will look great and work wonderfully for you and your loved ones well into the future. • Switch to an ADA-compliant faucet. Some faucet handles require a surprising amount of force to oper-
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ate, and knobs can be difficult to twist for seniors. Instead, try an ADA-compliant single lever faucet that allows for easy on-and-off operation without the need to grip. This faucet style, which complies with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), also has an adjustable hot limit safety stop that helps reduce scalding. This simple and inexpensive alteration will make washing up more comfortable for elderly parents and grandparents, and is also a great excuse to perk up the look of your bathroom. • Try a taller toilet. Standard toilets have a bowl height of about 15 inches, but many manufacturers have recently introduced models that are an inch and a half higher. These taller commodes make sitting down and getting back up less stressful on the body. Bring high style and performance as well as comfort to your bathroom by upgrading to a luxury toilet. Porcher offers several elegant “Right Height” toilets in sleek, easy to clean, onepiece styles. Continued on Page 15
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TheIntelligencer.com - January, 2012 - Mature Lifestyles - 15
BatHRoom Continued from Page 14 â€˘ Think about accessible storage. Keep bathing and grooming accessories neatly stowed out of the way to reduce trips and falls, and to keep them clear of wheelchairs. Accessibility and functionality are essential when planning for convenient storage options in the bathroom. â€˘ Make it easy on the eyes. High-gloss paints and tiles can produce an uncomfortable glare, so introduce matte finishes for better visibility. Choosing wall and floor colors or patterns that contrast is another great way to increase visual perception of space and help older adults feel more confident as they move about the room. â€˘ Replace an unused bathtub with a walk-in shower. Holding on to the ability to bathe independently is key to aging gracefully and with dignity. The ubiquitous tub/shower unit in so many homes may be uncomfortably high for the elderly and disabled to step over, and too low to sit down into for bathing. American Standard has a unique low-cost solution with its walk-in seated shower
that features a wide, contoured, full-sized seating area with recessed front to make standing or sitting while showering comfortable and easy. This unit has a low 3-inch threshold for easy access in and out, plus a built-in wrap-around grab bar for added safety. â€˘ Provide a spa-like walk-in tub. Why shouldnâ€™t Mom have her own home spa? The greatest generation is also the â€œbathing generation.â€? Boomersâ€™ parents are more likely to benefit from replacing an old, under-used bathtub with one of todayâ€™s walk-in tubs. Installing a walk-in bathtub or shower system with a built-in seat brings back a measure of independence in self-care. Many walk-in tubs are designed to fit perfectly in the space of a conventional tub for easy installation and are now available with luxurious special features. American Standard offers a smart QuickDrain option that removes water in less than two minutes, so there is no need for a long, cold wait for the tub to drain before opening the door to exit the bath. American Standard walk-in bathtubs are available with advanced features like whirlpools and combo massage systems, so bathing can be safer and more luxurious for aging parents and for you.
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16 - Mature Lifestyles - January, 2012 - TheIntelligencer.com
Beryl O’Connor, center right, plays cards with her friends, from left, Kay Platz, June Szabo and Jo Burgillos in her home in Verona, N.J. Physically spry and active, 80-year-old O’Connor is the embodiment of “aging in place”, growing old in one’s own longtime home and remaining engaged in the community, rather than moving to a retirement facility.
Aging in place means a lot to those who can By DAVID CRARY Associated Press VERONA, N.J. (AP) — Retirement communities may have their perks, but Beryl O’Connor says it would be tough to match the birthday surprise she got in her own backyard when she turned 80 this year. She was tending her garden when two little girls from next door — “my buddies,” she calls them — brought her a strawberry shortcake. It underscored
why she wants to stay put in the house that she and her husband, who died 18 years ago, purchased in the late 1970s. “I couldn’t just be around old people — that’s not my lifestyle,” she said. “I’d go out of my mind.” Physically spry and socially active, O’Connor in many respects is the embodiment of “aging in place,” growing old in one’s own longtime home and remaining engaged in the community rather than moving to a retirement facility. Continued on Page 17
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Aging Continued from Page 16 According to surveys, aging in place is the overwhelming preference of Americans over 50. But doing it successfully requires both good fortune and support services — things that O’Connor’s pleasant hometown of Verona has become increasingly capable of providing. About 10 miles northwest of Newark, Verona has roughly 13,300 residents nestled into less than 3 square miles. There’s a transportation network that takes older people on shopping trips and to medical appointments, and the town is benefiting from a $100,000 federal grant to put in place an aging-inplace program called Verona LIVE. Administrated by United Jewish Communities of MetroWest New Jersey, the program strives to educate older people about available services to help them address problems and stay active in the community. Its partners include the health and police departments, the rescue squad, the public and public schools, and religious groups. Among the support services are a home maintenance program with free safety checks and minor home repairs, access to a social worker and job counselor, a walking club and other social activities. In one program, a group of middle-school girls provided one-on-one computer training to about 20 older adults. Social worker Connie Pifher, Verona’s health coordinator, said a crucial part of the overall initiative is educating older people to plan ahead realistically and constantly reassess their prospects for successfully aging in place. “There are some people who just can do it, especially if they have family support,” said Pifher, “And then you run into people who think they can do it, yet really can’t. You need to start educating people before a crisis hits.” There’s no question that aging in place has broad appeal. According to an Associated PressLifeGoesStrong.com poll conducted in October, 52 percent of baby boomers said they were unlikely to move someplace new in retirement. In a 2005 survey by AARP, 89 percent of people age 50 and older said they would prefer to remain in their home indefinitely as they age. That yearning, coupled with a widespread dread of going to a nursing home, has led to a nationwide surge of programs aimed at helping people stay in their neighborhoods longer. Verona LIVE is a version of one such concept:
the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community, or NORC. That can be either a specific housing complex or a larger neighborhood in which many of the residents have aged in place over a long period of time and need a range of support services in order to continue living in their homes. Verona is an apt setting. Roughly 20 percent of its residents are over 65, compared with 13 percent for New Jersey as a whole. Another notable initiative is the “village” concept. Members of these nonprofit entities can access specialized programs and services, such as transportation to stores, home health care, or help with household chores, as well as a network of social activities with other members. About 65 village organizations have formed in the U.S. in recent years, offering varying services and charging membership fees that generally range between $500 and $700 a year. One of the potential problems for people hoping to age in place is that their homes may not be seniorfriendly “It becomes a challenge because we live in Peter Pan houses, designed for people who never grow old,” said Susan Bosak, a social scientist who is overseeing a program to boost intergenerational engagement in Tulsa, Okla. Many older people live in homes that are 40 or more years old, abounding with narrow interior doorways, hard-to-reach kitchen cupboards and potentially hazardous bathroom fixtures. “If you’re a boomer person, with money to remodel, think about making your house more userfriendly, not just more beautiful, for when you have your knee replacement or a chronic condition,” said Nancy Thompson of AARP. “We’re talking smart, convenient. It doesn’t have to look institutional or utilitarian.” To promote this outlook, AARP has teamed up with the National Association of Home Builders to create a designation for certified aging in place specialists trained in designing and modifying residences for the elderly. Several thousand builders, contractors, remodelers and architects have been certified. Building or remodeling homes can include such details as touchless faucets, trim kitchen drawers instead of cupboards, grab bars and nonslip floors in the bathrooms. Arizona’s Pima County, along with a few other local governments, has gone a step further, passing an ordinance requiring that all new homes in the unincorporated areas around Tucson offer a basic level of accessibility. They must have at least one entrance with no steps. Minimum heights and widths are set so that light switches can be easily reached and doorways are passable in a wheelchair.
18 - Mature Lifestyles - January, 2012 - TheIntelligencer.com
Several activites are held throughout the month in Holiday Shores that welcome and cater to a retirees’ lifestyle. Card players Sue Johnson, Sandy Bonfiglio, Jean Walker, Carolyn Potter, Sally Devers, Vicki McGill and Pat Barr met at Gilligan’z on Jan. 2 to play Canasta. Table talk centered around a favorite new year topic - dieting.
Local seniors remain active
BY LAURA SCATURRO Of the Intelligencer Many people who have met their goal to retire may have an abundance of newly found time but they may find that removing oneself from the workplace can lead to diminishing friendships and a sense of being less productive in their lives. Sandy Bonfiglio can attest to the changes after retiring from her activity coordinator position at Meridian Village in Glen Carbon which she held for three years. Previously, she served as an activity coordinator at Barnes Jewish Hospital for12 years. Her jobs were actually a 15-year labor of love for Bonfiglio, but in 2005 she made the decision to retire.
“I waited so long and it seemed a dream come true in 2005 when it actually happened,” Bonfiglio said. “I floundered a bit trying to decide where to plant my feet in my newfound freedom. Much of the first year was catching up with things you never get done when working. Then, I found myself with time on my hands and started looking for fulfilling activities.” Although living in Holiday Shores for more than 30 years, she began traveling to Edwardsville to play cards and join in on activities. “I tried several different avenues but quickly became aware that a 10-mile drive was not exactly in my retirement plan for enjoyment,” she said. “I decided to join the garden club here in Holiday Shores and soon became a substitute for a bunko card game.” Continued on Page 20
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Seniors Continued from Page 18 Joining one activity led to joining another for the retiree. Soon she was meeting other women looking to join and create meaningful events in the community. Although Bonfiglio has activity coordination in her blood, she is unwilling to take any credit for the success of all the various events and clubs and can list all the people who willingly take the lead. “There is no way all these activities could be offered had it not been for the team of people here in the community to take on all the different tasks to make it work,” she said. “This is a very diverse group of people and we are all congenial. The team has grown and everyone pitches in, in some way to develop, chair, organize or host an event.” Bonfiglio added that it’s not mandatory to host an event in your home so it shouldn’t scare off people from joining a club. She encourages everyone to get involved to enrich their golden years. ••• The following is a rundown of activities going on monthly in Holiday Shores. Whether you are retired or just looking to make new friendships you are invited to participate. If you need meaningful intellectual stimulation or some physical movement to keep you on your toes, you can find it going on in the community. Most of the activities are free. Exercise Class: Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings there is a free exercise class at the clubhouse. Stretching and balance, yoga and low impact exercises are offered. The average age of class members – “retired.” You will find that these exercises are age appropriate. Book Club: If exercise isn’t your cup of tea, how about joining the book club. On the third Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m., members discuss the current read and everyone gets a turn to choose the book of the month. Volunteers facilitate the meeting. The January book of the month is “Ice Bound: A Doctor ’s Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole” by Dr. Jerri Nielsen. It is not mandatory to host a meeting. Lunch Bunch: Maybe you would like to try a new restaurant and hesitate to go alone. Join the
lunch bunch. Their mission – to have lunch out. It is often accompanied with a tour or wine tasting. Once a month an outing is organized, reservations made and lunch is served – dutch treat. Simply join the email listing to find out where and when. Cards: On Mondays, after you’ve exercised, you can sit down with your new found friends and play a few hands of canasta, euchre or sequence. Games begin at 1 p.m. at Gilligan’z in Holiday Shores. Just call Bonfiglio ahead of time and introduce yourself and you’ll soon be shuffling and dealing. If you don’t know how to play the games, they will teach you. Many members have lunch prior to the games at noon. Bridge, as well as other card games, are also played between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Mondays at the clubhouse. Bible Study: This isn’t your traditional Bible study. The Reverend Larry Meinzen leads the group on the second and fourth Friday of each month beginning at 10 a.m. Meinzen, who is 86 years young, leads an open progressive discussion. Meinzen has traveled the world so don’t forget to ask him to tell you about the day he met Ghandi in India when he was a youngster or his adventures in World War II. Socializing With A Purpose: The group named Socializing With A Purpose meets monthly at noon and brings an awareness to the members of local and smaller organizations that don’t necessarily get recognized for their services to the community. Entering its fourth year, the group successfully raised more than $2,600 in 2011 to be distributed to charities such as Smile Train, Puppies Behind Bars and Tree House Wildlife Center. Members donate $10 at each meeting, listen to the invited speaker representing the organization and enjoy discussion about the organization’s mission. Men’s Poker Club: The most recent group to form in Holiday Shores is the Men’s Poker Club. The club meets weekly at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays. If that isn’t enough to chose from there are activities throughout the year produced by the Holiday Shores Social Committee, Ski Club, Garden Club and Tiki Bar Bass Club. The activities and dates are listed in the Holiday Times. Volunteers are always needed. To learn more about the activities available in the community, contract the Holiday Shores main office at 618-656-7233 or Sandy Biofiglio at 6563297 or visit www.holidayshores.us.
TheIntelligencer.com - January, 2012 - Mature Lifestyles - 21
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Are you ready for retirement? (ARA) - The idea of retirement is both exciting and daunting. After leaving the workforce, you’ll have the opportunity to pursue dreams that you have envisioned for your retirement. But you’ll need to have the financial wherewithal to fund those dreams and cover your day-to-day living expenses. It is clear from everything we read in the news that many Americans likely aren’t saving enough. While many people might rely on Social Security to help cover their costs during retirement, it may not be enough and those who want to live a full life in their later years should focus now on saving more. This fact is underscored by a LinkedIn Poll that Prudential Retirement began on Sept. 9 about Americans’ perceptions of workplace retirement plans. There were more than 300,000 impres-
sions and more than 1,000 individuals voted. Of those voters, more than 50 percent were “very interested” in a guaranteed retirement income feature. Moreover, 23 percent were “somewhat interested.” Whether you’re in your 20s or your 50s, retirement should be on your mind. Regardless of your age, now is the time to start planning so that you can make sure you are able to save enough to live the retirement you envision. Spend some time considering these points and consult with a financial advisor who can help you lay out a plan to maximize your savings. Some options to consider include: • Workplace retirement opportunities. If you’re fortunate enough to have access to a workplace retirement plan, take advantage of it - they are one of the best ways to save for retire-
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