Category Archives: Grandchildren

5 Common Questions Families Have About Independent Living in Eugene, OR

When searching for the right senior living community, you’ll struggle to find a location that is more suited to active senior living than Eugene, OR. Located right on the Willamette River with a myriad of indoor and outdoor attractions, independent living communities in Eugene are an ideal place to call home. However, if you are just starting your search, it’s common to have more questions than answers. Here, we answer the five most common questions families ask about independent living services to make your search just a little easier.

Will my loved one really be able to maintain independence?

Independent living means exactly that: your loved one can continue doing things for themselves like cooking, cleaning, or managing appointments and medications. Most importantly, while they’ll have access to a myriad of activities, events, and amenities, they’ll choose which amenities to take advantage of and which to bypass.

Most people find that independent living communities simply offer resort-style retirement with access to beautiful outdoor space and walking paths, a state-of-the-art fitness facility, gourmet dining options, much more predictable expenses, and a plethora of opportunities for friendship and adventure.

Is Independent Living Affordable?

The more potential residents learn about the resort-like amenities available in some of Eugene’s independent living communities, the more curious they become about its fit within their budget.

No matter how simple or luxurious of a retirement community you seek, meet with a financial planner or a community director to discuss feasibility. Most find that independent living (even resort-style independent living) is well within their reach – and many find that the fixed, predictable monthly expenses are easier to manage and afford than their previous living arrangements because so many utilities, services, and amenities are included in one low monthly fee.

Make sure to request a full list of all costs and expenses so you can get a complete understanding of the costs of independent living. This ensures you can do an “apples to apples” comparison of Independent Living versus at-home living as well as comparing each senior living community to one another.

Which amenities will residents have access to?

Independent living residents typically have access to a variety of amenities and programs which may include:

  • Help with moving
  • All-day dining options
  • Door-to-door transportation for appointments and shopping
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Concierge services
  • Housekeeping
  • Maintenance and Landscaping Services
  • Robust activity and event schedule
  • Full wellness program
  • Access to fitness facilities
  • and more

Your loved one should be able to pick and choose which amenities fit their needs and enrich their life.

What happens if their needs change over time?

Should a resident ever need a higher level of care than independent living can provide, a care planning professional should discuss living options with the resident and their family to determine appropriate placement for the best care possible.

Some independent living communities may offer varying levels of care on site while others can offer a 3rd party care provider to help supplement the resident’s increase care needs until independent living is no longer a suitable option for them.

How do we stay involved in our loved one’s life?

Retirement living can be an upgrade from living at home, and yet, not so different from home. You’ll be able to maintain a close relationship with your loved after they move in, taking advantage of family dining rooms, meeting spaces, and common areas to share time together. Independent living means your loved one is free to have family over or spend time with family off-site whenever it’s convenient for them.

Additionally, staff members will often share as much information with you as your loved one desires.

About Garden Way Retirement Community

While there are a variety of independent living options in Eugene, few offer the luxury of Garden Way, a 118-unit resort-style senior living community. We are committed to providing a warm, comfortable atmosphere for our Eugene-area residents who have access to beautiful gardens, private event rooms, grandkids playroom, movie theater, and a multitude of activities and events to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

With 24/7 dining, as well as an optional Gourmet Food Program, door-to-door transportation, and indoor-outdoor living that is ideal for the active senior, Garden Way is the perfect choice for senior independent living in Eugene.

We encourage you to schedule a tour and enjoy lunch for free, with the engaging team at Garden Way Retirement Community or give us a call at 541-359-3208 today.

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living, January, 2019.

Shaking the Family Tree – The Fun and Importance of Knowing Where You Come From

Larry Dewberry, senior living resident at Dunwoody Pines, shows pictures from his family tree.

Ever wonder why you ended up being born in one particular area of the country instead of another? Maybe you’re not sure where that strange middle name of yours came from. Or perhaps your family has a peculiar holiday tradition that no one else seems to have.

Chances are, the answers to all of those burning questions – and many others – can be attributed to your ancestors. How they arrived in the United States searching for religious freedom or financial opportunity. How they managed to make a living, build homes, and raise families. How certain names, foods and cultural traditions reminded them of their homeland.

Whatever the circumstances, it’s fascinating to learn about your ancestry. Not only is it a fun family project around the holidays, it’s a wonderful way to honor and show respect to the loved ones who came before. Better yet, it’s easier than ever to do so, thanks to a host of websites dedicated to connecting families across multiple generations, including these:

Why is it worth doing?

There are countless reasons to dig deeper into family history. The most obvious being to get a better understanding of who we are, what makes us human and unique; because in reality, we are all an accumulation of our life experience, as well as those who came before us.

Family history also helps to keep memories alive for future generations. We all want our kids, grandkids and great grandchildren to know where their ancestors came from and to be proud of them.

Above all, when we explore our ancestry, we enrich our lives. From immigration records to marriage records and even gravestones, historical documents offer a view into the past. With more and more databases becoming publicly available, the search into your family’s history can be more comprehensive than ever before.

Keeping up with the Dewberrys

A great example of this can be found with our own Larry Dewberry, a resident at Dunwoody Pines and a native of Carroll County, Georgia. Not long ago, Larry’s brother in Alpharetta, Georgia, received a strange phone call from a man in Washington, DC, who knew a lot of information about the Dewberry family. Turns out that man was Sidney Arthur Dewberry and he was helping another Sidney (Alton) Dewberry create a book on their family lineage.

The result was a comprehensive genealogical survey of Dewberry families in America between 1665 and 2003. It took 50 years of research by the authors, including 12 years of full-time efforts by Sidney Alton Dewberry after he retired in 1991. Dating back to Thomas Dewberry (the first Dewberry to arrive from England in 1665), the book contains approximately 10,000 family members connected through blood and/or marriage. As you can imagine, there are many stories of hardship, tragedy, failure and success.

According to Larry: “The book is a revelation that I cherish every day. I find it very satisfying to know all about where I came from.”

Of course, we’re not suggesting that everyone who starts digging around their roots will end up with a 50-year research project. But we promise you that spending some time exploring your ancestry with your family over the holidays will be both a revealing and rewarding experience. Especially if your middle name is Kowalski and your family always has kolaches at Thanksgiving.

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living, November, 2017.

Boomer parents: ‘One day, this will all be yours.’ Grown children: ‘Noooo!’


JULY 25, 2017 BOSTON — Two hundred stuffed animals, two violins, and a 7-1/2 foot-tall Christmas tree: That was just a corner of the possessions Rosalie and Bill Kelleher accumulated over their 47-year marriage. And, they realized, it was about 199 stuffed animals more than their two grown children wanted.

Going from a four-bedroom house in New Bedford, Mass. – with an attic stuffed full of paper stacked four-feet tall – to a 1,300-square-foot apartment took six years of winnowing, sorting, shredding, and shlepping stuff to donation centers.

Among the possessions the Kellehers are keeping are three hutches – one that belonged to his mother, one that belonged to her mother, and one that they purchased together 35 years ago. One shelf is carefully lined with teacups Rosalie collected during her world travels. Another houses a delicate tea set from Japan, a gift her mother received on her wedding day.

“We really don’t need them,” she admits.

That refrain is becoming a common one as baby boomers begin to downsize and discover (as many generations before them have) that their children do not want their stuff. In fact, they recoil in something close to horror at the thought of trying to find room for the collections of Hummels; the Thomas Kinkade paintings; the complete sets of fine china and crystal, carefully preserved and brought out at holiday meals.

For their parents, to have a lifetime of carefully chosen treasures dismissed as garage-sale fodder can be downright painful.

“When [people] try to throw something away, they feel like they are losing … personal history, losing a bit of themselves, losing a little of their identity, and they fear if they get rid of it they’ll never have that same experience again,” says Randy Frost, a psychology professor at Smith College and co-author of “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things.”

While every generation has its turn with an attachment for antiques or nostalgia for outdated technology, today’s tech-heavy culture shows few signs of trading in its sleek, modern designs for dark furniture or knick-knacks from bygone eras. And many younger families see trips, vacations, and photos as the repository of family memories – not shelves full of mementoes.

“Their kids … oftentimes have homes already, they have families already, they have furnishings already,” says Kate Grondin, owner of Home Transition Resource in Andover, Mass. Ms. Grondin is part of a senior move-management industry that will pack, move, unpack, sell, and donate clients’ things as they move to smaller homes.

seniors downsizing for retirement living

There are other signs that the next stop for those attic treasures may be the town dump. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo with a specific process for getting rid of things, has sold 1.5 million copies since 2014 in the United States. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, otherwise known as The Minimalists, have published several bestselling memoirs, produced “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” in 2016, and are currently traveling across the US in their “Less is Now Tour 2017.”

When a pile of possessions has come to embody a sense of identity – or even what someone could yet become – it’s not always easy to figure out what should stay and what should go.

Dr. Frost recounts the story of a woman who “saved all of these cookbooks and all these recipes,” even though she didn’t really know how to cook. “If she were to try to throw some of that stuff away,” he explains, “that [removes] the opportunity for her to become the cook she thinks she’d like to be. In a sense, it’s removing a potential identity for her.”

‘You know you don’t have space for it’

Judy Maguire of Andover, Mass., and her siblings helped their mother move to an assisted living facility after their father died. They carefully selected some furniture and photographs that would make her feel at home.

But then they faced the difficult task of figuring out which heirlooms to keep for themselves.

“We were all pretty sentimental,” Ms. Maguire admits.

She recalls the siblings arguing over one particular piece – not over who would get it, but how to stop one sister from keeping what Maguire describes as a “big, hideous piece of furniture.”

“I said, ‘You know you don’t have the space for it. You don’t really need that.’ And she said, ‘I know, … I just can’t let go of it,’ ” Maguire says.

They ended up donating the table.

Dr. Frost suggests posing a simple question for those going through this process: “How does this object … fit into your life?”

The Kellehers created staging sections in their house for specific items, using their kids’ vacant rooms, the living room, and the sunroom. Eventually, all of the leftover items to be taken away fit into the downstairs rec room, half of which had been filled with empty cardboard boxes being saved for some potential use.

Others have found that parting ways with familiar possessions actually brings a sense of freedom.

‘It’s like he’s still in college’

Carolyn Ledewitz of Cambridge, Mass., discovered that her son didn’t want anything when she downsized. “My son drove all the way up from New York City to go through his childhood things. I was appalled [when] he just grabbed them out of the boxes and dumped them into the trash,” she says.

Ms. Ledewitz describes her 40something son’s apartment as “so sparse – it’s like he’s still in college. He doesn’t have a single picture on the wall” of his Manhattan apartment, she says.

But Ledewitz ended up adopting some of her son’s attitude to achieve her goal of living in a sleek city condo in Boston’s Seaport district. She and her husband made the transition in two steps. First, they downsized from their ranch home in Springfield, Mass., where they had lived for 33 years into a three-story town home nearby.

“I had a china cabinet in my dining room with all my wedding presents … my mother’s sugar bowl, the silver. I just loved it. I would look at it every day,” she says.

Ultimately, she says, the lifestyle she wanted outweighed the things she thought she cherished.

“Over the years, when you can’t hand it down, you have to let it go,” she says. She and her husband are now living out their urban dream.

That said, even professionals are not immune to temptation: Of all their late father’s possessions, Nan Hayes and her siblings found themselves squabbling about a large statue of a conquistador. (Ultimately, the brother whose vehicle could transport it lugged home the booty.)

Ms. Hayes, the business development director of Caring Transitions, spent 10 years as a transition specialist helping individuals downsize their possessions and homes.

“The part of the job I miss the most,” she says, is seeing her clients “so much happier to be where they are because they know it’s where they need to be.”

“[Downsizing] was challenging, but it was good for [my husband and me],” Ledewitz admits. “It’s been so nice not worrying about all that stuff…. Life is much simpler without all that maintenance.”

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living

Extra credit. Sunshine seniors flock to study up on science

Albert Einstein once said, “Science is a wonderful thing as long as one doesn’t have to earn one’s living at it.”

Considering that residents at Sunshine Retirement Living communities already happen to be retired, it should come as no surprise that many of them have been discovering the wonders of science on a regular basis.

Ashley Hurd, Activity Director at Dunwoody Pines, puts on “Science Club” classes each month, usually on a Friday. So far, she has taught the residents how to make elephant toothpaste (a big concoction of steaming foam), ice cream in a plastic bag, and lava lamps in a plastic bottle with water, oil and Alka-Seltzer. They even put on a Senior Science Fair with many different experiments going on at various tables all at once.

“The Science Club was formed as a spin-off of our Art Club.” says Hurd. “Surprisingly, the majority that come are women, but we do have a few men as well. Everyone seems excited for our Science Club next month, because we will be making Slime!”

A few other activity directors have replicated Ashley’s classes and she is happy to share ideas for experiments and demonstrations. Meanwhile, Lauren Dubay, Sunshine’s Wellness Director, is about to replicate her favorite scientific spectacle at Villa Serena in Santa Clara, California.

“Every year in June I do a Watermelon Experiment,” says Dubay. “It’s not very science-y from a chemical reaction standpoint. But I do dress in a lab coat and safety goggles. I’ll be doing it on the outdoor patio on Thursday, June 29 at 1:15 pm.”

The Watermelon Experiment is not only a nail-biter for Sunshine residents, it has become somewhat of a sensation on the internet, as well as on video at various museums around the world.

Basically, the experiment consists of two people placing a large number of rubber bands around a full-size watermelon one at a time. For the first several minutes, the rubber bands appear to have no effect. But eventually, the watermelon starts to look like an “8” instead of a “0” and an explosion appears to be imminent.

The questions that arise are, will it actually explode or just start to leak? Plus, how many rubber bands and how many minutes will it take for something to happen?

“Before we begin, I survey the crowd and write down their predictions of how many rubber bands they think it will take to burst the melon,” says Dubay. “Some years it takes 20 minutes to burst, others almost an hour.

“We usually get into a pretty good rhythm of putting the rubber bands on, so the crowd can count them off in unison. Then I typically ask if anyone would like to volunteer to put on the last few bands. Having some audience participation definitely creates a little more intrigue and suspense.”

The end result never disappoints nor fails to surprise. But perhaps the best part of the experiment for everyone involved is the aftermath.

“We serve watermelon smoothies and snacks,” says Dubay. “After that, we do a scavenger hunt to try to find the rubber bands that got flung all over the yard. Some even end up in my hair or in the duck pond!”

Carl Sagan used to say, “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”

At Sunshine, we’re having fun doing our part to change the latter part of that statement.

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living

Sunshine Reveals What Fathers Know Best: Family Always Comes First

“So help me, I’m gonna stop this car and come back there…” “Eat that! It’ll put hair on your chest…” “You’ll thank me for this someday…”

We interrupt this series of “Dad-isms” to share an interesting bit of fatherly wisdom that we just discovered: Father’s Day isn’t just about the ties Dad gets from the family. It’s about the ties that bind the entire family together and grow stronger and stronger day by day.

An informal survey of a handful of fathers at Sunshine Retirement Living communities revealed that they all have fond memories of family vacations and road trips. They love watching their children mature, have successful careers and raise families of their own. And they treasure every single moment that they get to spend with their children and grandchildren

Richard Shapley, a resident at Creekside Oaks Retirement Community in Folsom, California, remembers quite clearly the day his first child was born. It was supposed to be a boy, but ended being a girl. Yet he was still so excited on the way home from the hospital, he had to get out of the car and dance around.

He and his wife ended up having two more children (a boy and a girl), six grandchildren and four great grandchildren. One of his children lives close by and visits often, while the other two are farther away in California.

Richard was a music teacher throughout his career and shared his love for music with his kids. So naturally, they passed the time on long summer road trips by singing songs.

“When the kids became restless and needed to burn some energy,” he said, “I’d pull off at a local park and let them run around and shoot anything they could with water

The best advice he gave his kids was to do what they enjoy most in life and the money will take care of itself. And that’s definitely been the case for all three.

“Father’s Day is usually a surprise,” says Richard. “But they will probably take me to our secret lake where they have a houseboat and we’ll go fishing.”

And what secret have the kids taught him through the years?

“To listen,” says Richard. “If I didn’t listen to them, we couldn’t understand each other.”

Like Richard, Phillip Nichols, a resident at The Clairmont in Austin, Texas, will probably be taken out to dinner for Father’s Day, but usually prefers the food at his Retirement Community. His daughter and granddaughter live in San Francisco, and his two sons live near him in Plugerville.

“The boys come to see me almost every night except Thursday,” says Phillip. “Thursday is Bingo night at The Clairmont. They don’t mess with Bingo night.”

Much of Phillip’s perspective on fatherhood and life in general undoubtedly stems from watching his own father sacrifice so much to provide a better life for his children. His dad couldn’t afford a car, so he would wake up at 5:00 am to walk to work and walk home as well. To help provide for his father and three younger brothers, Phillip joined the Army when he was only 17.

After getting married and raising a family, he’s very proud of how he responded to the call of duty when his son-in-law passed away while his granddaughter Karmyn was quite young.

“My daughter Belinda needed to work,” says Phillip. “So I made sure Karmyn got to school every day all the way through 6th grade. She felt more like another daughter to me than a granddaughter.”

What was the best advice he gave her as well as to his other children?

“Be yourself,” he says. “Never try to be anyone else. It’s too hard.”

Just as important, perhaps, is the valuable lesson Phillip’s children and his late wife Johnnie taught him: to be loving and compassionate regardless of the situation. After being married to Johnnie for more than 60 years, he still misses her dearly and wishes she could be with him for Father’s Day.

Tom Rovello, another resident at The Clairmont, also lost his beloved wife Haley not long ago. His three children and four grandchildren all live nearby in Austin, which should come as no surprise after all of the globetrotting they did throughout Tom’s career. One graduated from school in Chile, one in India, and another in Singapore.

“I’m very proud of my children and thankful too,” says Tom. “They never complained about moving. They merely followed wherever my work took me despite a lot of hardship and sacrifice. That includes living in a jungle where there were no doctors or schools.”

His daughter Jo remembers having to go to the British Embassy in Bangladesh after breaking her knee cap in a softball game. She ended up in a cast for six weeks.

Every Friday, Jo takes Tom out to either The Catfish Parlour or for Mexican food, and Saturday is his usual dinner out with his daughter Mary and her family. Son Tom Rovello, III is busy most nights as a musician, but will surely find time for a Father’s Day visit.

Through all the travels and travails, the best advice Tom gave to his kids was simply, “Stay calm. The problem will look better tomorrow.”

Here’s to better tomorrows and Happy Father’s days to all of the dads at Sunshine Retirement Communities. From our informal survey, they all have advice to offer that’s much more helpful than, “Go ask your mother.”

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living

Tips For A Classic Spooky Movie Night With Family

Halloween isn’t just about kids asking for candy or finding the best costume. It’s a chance to get that exciting, exhilarating tingle down your spine. Being scared is a healthy feeling in many ways, and one that should be experienced every now and again. It can be equal parts thrilling as it can be freeing. This is a season to face your fears and conquer them, and there is no better way than having a scary movie night with every generation of the family. You may be surprised at just how much fun you end up having.

Movie Snacks Done Right

Traditional snacks (Raisenettes, SnoBalls, Red Vines, etc.) and movies have always gone hand in hand, but there’s something deeply satisfying about going above and beyond. Score a few squeals from kids by serving pea soup during the scenes where characters vomit, or eat some roasted cauliflower during a few zombie movies. It’s these types of special touches that make scary movie nights more memorable. If stomachs can’t quite handle these types of visual foods, then you can substitute the old favorites instead. One way to make movie night more fun for the parents in the room would be to do a wine pairing with your movie snacks like candy and popcorn.

Which Movies to Pick

Halloween, Night of the Living Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street or Dracula are horror classics. However, if you’re watching with younger kids, then movies like Hocus Pocus, Coraline or The Addams Family may be better choices. These movies offer a little more humor to break up the scarier scenes, and can help kids stay cool during even the worst moments. There are also campy classics like Gremlins which can introduce a whole new generation to these furry friends. Or you can try something a little out of the ordinary and watch The Book of Life. This movie explores the tenets of the Spanish holiday, Dia de los Muertos. The themes not only let kids learn about another culture, but also can stimulate discussion about how death is a natural part of life.

Accessories to Have

Fall gives everyone a chance to snuggle up with their favorite grandparent. Your favorite flannels, and blankets are an absolute must for spooky movie night. As an added bonus, they make an excellent blocker for the screen during the gorier parts of the movie.
Light up a Jack-O-Lantern and enjoy the warmth that comes from being in your own home surrounded by your favorite people. Regardless of how much you or the kids know the characters on screen aren’t really in mortal peril, it’s useful to have a little comfort available so you can truly enjoy your watching experience (and have an easier time sleeping that night.)

Family Memories

Whether your family has long-standing movie night traditions during this time of year or not, this is a time to gather with those you love. Bringing everyone together means a chance to bond over shared shrieks and feelings of joy when the hero finally defeats the bad guys. Bury your eyes into your grandkids sleeve and tell them to protect you, and watch their eyes light up in delight. Help them turn their favorite foods into a much creepier version to bring to the movie.
Seniors who honor the traditions of Halloween will find it remarkably more satisfying than those who just set out a few treats on a coffee table. Sunshine Retirement Living honors the residents who stay with us by making it easy to connect with those of shared interests.
We respect those who want to live their life in the way that they choose. From all-day dining to exercise classes and more, we make it easy for seniors to accomplish their goals. Please contact Sunshine Retirement Living for more information today!

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living

Autumn Activities to Share With Your Grandchildren

Autumn means getting back into the swing of a regular routine. With children back in school and the hazier days of summer a memory, this is the time to appreciate the crisper breezes, steaming hot cups of coffee and a more colorful scene when looking up at the trees. It’s also an excellent time to plan some activities to share with grandchildren. Devoting a few days to welcome a new season can soothe everyone as they adjust to a new change of pace. These suggestions use the foods of fall as a basis for both cooking and fun activities.

Enjoy Fall Breakfasts

In addition to the normal pumpkin pie this year, try a stack of pumpkin pancakes in the morning. These take traditional fall spices, like ginger, cinnamon and allspice and add in an orange fall favorite, pumpkin puree, for more zest. There’s also pumpkin bread, scones, oatmeal or crepes. Any of these would be perfect for surprising the family with a different twist on the classic breakfast. Or make apple fritters to substitute a traditional doughnut or danish. These fried treats are perfect for dunking into coffee or dipping into a cream-cheese icing.

Bob for Apples

Children don’t need to be on their phone any longer than they already are, so have them hop off their electronic devices for this unique challenge. A fun Halloween tradition enjoyed throughout the country, the activity can be played with minimal equipment practically anywhere. Fill up a large tub with water, and have everyone participate either by bobbing or counting the seconds during the competition. Serve sliced apples with peanut butter, chocolate spread or caramel sauce as a snack.

Carve a Jack-O-Lantern

It all starts with picking out the perfect pumpkin, so let children know that they’ll need a large one with relatively flat sides. What makes this activity so universal is that the supervising adult doesn’t have to be an artist to give the pumpkin an interesting and scary face. Younger children can help draw the design and clean out the pumpkin while older children can help carve and light the candle. Or use Play-Doh to make scary faces instead of a knife to minimize the chance of injury. Toast pumpkin seeds while carving to enjoy after the project is complete, and watch a movie by the light of the Jack-O-Lantern.

Apple Stamps

This is a simple activity that will be enjoyed by the artists in the family. Take a paper plate, and squirt different colors of non-toxic paint in the middle. Cut an apple in half, press the cut-side down into the chosen color and then use to create fall masterpieces on paper or fabric. For those who love to decorate with stickers and stamps, this adds a new dimension to the artistic process.

Spice Up the Kitchen

For those who love a challenge in the kitchen, there are recipes that incorporate apples or pumpkins in practically every dish imaginable. Try pumpkin risotto with pumpkin butter on a candlelit table, and enjoy the season in all its glory. Take the family apple picking and then have everyone participate in making an apple pie. Or serve apple bruschetta, bacon-apple dates or apple-pork burgers. Home cooks can also combine the fall flavors in one dish, such as baking a Dutch Apple-Pumpkin Crisp.
Sunshine Retirement Living understands the importance of the many little ways our residents stay connected to their passions. Spending time with loved ones while creating and maintaining traditions is one of the best ways to bond over a shared experience, and we’re proud to support those efforts during the winter, spring, summer or fall.
If you want to know more about how Sunshine Retirement Living brings joy all year round to our residents, then contact our friendly staff today!

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living

Celebrate Grandparents Day By Becoming A Pen Pal

With the amount of digital content today, it’s important to remember just how much handwritten letters still count. Changing your font and text color is not the same thing as putting pen to paper. Your handwriting has a personality all it’s own; it can be friendly, playful, or serious. For those living in a senior community, being pen pals with their own grandchildren is a beautiful way to keep in touch. This relationship between generations can benefit everyone and there are several ways in which you can create this unique connection for your loved ones.

A Grandparents Day to Remember

This is a beautiful time of year when we honor those who have raised families and maintained or created family traditions that will continue to be passed down for years to come. Becoming pen pals with grandchildren could very well become another one of those traditions. Sending letters is more intimate than sending an email, and it can inspire people to share more than they would have over the phone. Grandchildren can share parts of their lives, and grandparents can give advice and share stories of their own.

Bringing Generations Together

It’s normal to get older and forget certain parts of your past, and it’s normal for younger generations to feel that older people have lost touch with what’s going on in the world. Instead of widening the gap, however, being a pen pal is a good way for relatives to remember that all of us are trying to find our best path through life — no matter how long it takes and how many mistakes we make. Grandparents keep up to date on what’s happening in their grandchildren’s lives, and grandchildren learn more about what it was like to live in a different time.

Tips to Do It Right

For whatever purpose you choose to use a pen pal program, it’s important that letter writing not be seen as a chore. It is the sense of emotional closeness that yields the best benefits between grandchildren and grandparents, not a sense of obligation. Both parties should be excited to take out a fresh piece of stationary.

Mental Stimulation

Seniors who write and tell their stories can stave off dementia as these are skills that require you to be present and focused, thereby stimulating and awakening the mind. Children also get to learn and practice an undervalued skill, as writing is not generally practiced outside the classroom. Both adults and children should have a means to derive the happiness that comes from these activities which should be described as timeless rather than old-fashioned.

Here are a few ideas to keep it fun and interesting for all involved:


Take the pressure off

If you or your loved ones are resentful of rules, try not to impose too many of them. Maybe you aim for one letter every three months at first, and see how that goes. Or perhaps you only write when there’s a big event that happens, or when you want to share an important moment.

Goals Only

Sometimes there’s nothing better than working towards a goal with the help and support of someone else. If your grandchild wants to try out for the swim team and you want to learn how to speak French, then this is a beautiful way to keep tabs on one another until you actually reach your target.

Stories and Drawings

If you would rather communicate through stories or drawings, then try sending your grandchild your favorite stories from your life and ask them to do the same. This is an excellent way to learn about the other one’s talents, hopes and passions and discover shared interests to genuinely grow the relationship.
Sunshine Retirement Living encourages you to either initiate a program with children in the local schools or just within your own family. Our retirement community is all about promoting wellness and independent living, and we want you or someone you love to be a part of it all. Give us a call to learn more about how we make each day rich and fulfilling.

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living

Vaccine Importance: Why Getting Immunized Protects You and Those You Love

Many of us agree that immunizations prove critical in protecting the health of children. But, as we age, we shy away from that needle – thinking that we are naturally immune (or at least we hope so).

The truth is that staying up-to-date on vaccines offers significant protection for both children and adults, while preventing outbreaks of serious illness. Also, the immunization of both age groups guards the other. In other words, vaccines prevent not only you from getting sick but also those around you no matter their age.

As stated, many of us believe it is enough to leave vaccines to the youngest generation. However, while this goes a long way to benefit society, it does not provide enough protection for you or others. With age, health conditions and weakened immune system responses increase the need for you to be vaccinated.


Reasons to Be Immunized

Keeping up-to-date on your vaccines serves several purposes.

Let’s Get Personal

Finances spent on things other than illness prove to be more satisfying.

Paying for doctor appointments, tests and hospitalizations can feel like throwing your money away when you would rather spend it on a vacation, your grandchildren or a dinner out. Though these costs prove necessary at times, immunizations reduce the risk of serious illness and the costs associated with health care.

You only live once, make it healthy.

Illness robs you of the freedom which marks the senior years. However, keeping current on vaccines and meeting with your health care team decreases your chance of contracting illnesses. This act alone allows you to enjoy your days unhindered by the severe discomfort of shingles or the debilitating effects of the flu.

Serious disease prevention proves possible.

The truth is that illnesses, even those that began in your youth, can lead to serious complications and even death in your later years. Getting immunized serves to protect you from these consequences.

Peace of mind for you and those you love.

Knowing that your health is protected in the best way possible breeds mental freedom as well. And, your loved ones can be reassured that you intend to live a long and healthy life with them.

It is likely that your doctor can explain even more reasons why vaccines are necessary. Schedule an examination and ask him or her to talk with you about and provide current information on vaccines. Developing an immunization schedule together with a medical professional helps get you up-to-date and on track in this regard.

Even if you were vaccinated as a child, protections wear off over time. Or, the bacteria changes, leaving your system at risk. Check with your doctor about the need to be re-immunized or receive a booster to protect yourself medically.

There is no denying that chronic health issues like heart disease, COPD and diabetes may accompany aging for many of us. The same holds true of a weakened immune system. Unfortunately, these conditions place people at greater risk of complications from vaccine-preventable diseases. For instance, even a mild case of the flu wreaks havoc for people afflicted with these conditions. And, those suffering from asthma or COPD see a greater incidence of pneumonia resulting from the flu.

While seemingly minute, the consequences of these complications may include serious illness, a hospital stay or even death.


The Bigger Picture

You can prevent others from getting preventable diseases.

Several people cannot receive immunizations due to age or condition. Getting a vaccine yourself keeps bacteria from those around you who are at risk, such as newborn grandbabies or a friend fighting cancer.

The elimination of some illnesses lies, in part, with you.

Vaccines prove to eliminate many diseases and bring others to the point of extinction. By getting immunized, you play a role in a future of greater safety regarding disease.


Recommended Adult Vaccines

Immunizations recommended by the CDC for most adults include:

  • Flu vaccine, annually.
  • Td, every ten years.
  • Td/Tdap vaccine, once.

Additional immunization guidelines come into play depending on age, health, employment, hobbies and other factors:

  • Chicken pox
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • Meningococcal
  • Pneumococcal
  • Shingles


Travel Safety Immunizations

Travelling brings a separate set of vaccination considerations. And, the move into a transient adult culture often brings plenty of opportunities for moving between countries and continents. Plus, the freedom to travel often accompanies aging.

Check with the CDC and your healthcare provider to be in-the-know if you plan a trip outside the U.S. Some vaccines require several months lead time. Also, some countries require certain vaccinations for you to enter as a guest. So, be sure to gather information well in advance. Being properly immunized before travel ensures a memorable, illness-free experience and a healthier return.

Immunization dangers such as an allergic reaction are rare. The risks far outweigh this chance. For fun, check out the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) vaccination quiz to stay in-the-know.  Then, make locating a provider near you a priority.

To speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable staff members, click here today.

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living

Your Family Tree: A Generational History That Lasts Long Into Forever

A family with roots grows strong, and family tree lays out these roots for remembrance in and connection with the current generation and those to come. Spreading your lineage across a physical page illustrates relationships, common traits, health histories and more.

A family tree can help children see where they have come from, and help young adults recognize the foundation that impacts their current situations and their futures. Our lives weave story over story to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that the family tree holds in its framework. And, these stories last far into the future.


Tips for Designing a Family Tree

Perhaps the idea of a family tree project overwhelms you a bit, or maybe a lot. After all, generations of names, various technologies and a pile of dates offer enough reason to say, “I don’t have time for this.” But, be assured you can design a family tree.

Keep in mind:

  • Your family tree can be as simple or as complex as you decide.
  • You can record histories that you know or research more extensive information.
  •  It is meant to be fun.


How to Start?

Many Internet sources offer online and printable templates to help you draw out your family tree. But, let’s begin in a different direction. To get started, grab a pen, a large sheet of paper, like a piece of butcher or even wrapping paper, and a stack of Post-It notes. Then, take the following steps:

  • Determine your goal. For instance, a tree that you intend to print and frame requires less information for readability.
  • Decide the information to be included. Will your family tree offer only individual names or additional dates, places of birth and death, marriage and health information, religious preference, occupation, photographs and more?
  • Write each name and the information you choose to include on Post-It Notes.
  • Use the large sheet of paper to arrange the Post-It Notes on in the proper genealogical order and desired tree shape, whether horizontal or vertical.
  • Transfer the information to a printable template or transcribe it online for more permanent keeping.

Children and other family members may enjoy engaging in the puzzle-piecing that this type of  tree requires. The dialogue that arises through this activity bonds generations and passes down family history. Isn’t this the point? The framework of information means nothing without the relationships and stories that it represents.


Where to Find Online Templates

The Internet offers seemingly unending sources for researching and recording family history. If you are new to this technology, libraries and senior organizations in your area may offer courses. Or, you can check the following design sources:

Who to Include?

The contents of a family tree are personal to its creator. Knowing the reason why you are drawing a tree helps determine the generational reach and the broadness of relationships to include. For instance, projects aimed to engage grandchildren should include the family members they know and perhaps go back one or two unfamiliar generations.

Nontraditional family structures often throw off tree creators. Blended, adoptive and divorce situations prove best handled by personal preference and the context for which the family tree is being drawn up. Family Tree magazine offers helpful insights on this point.


Value to Family

Family is forever. This concept comes to life through the valuable information detailed on family trees. Details recorded and uncovered on a family tree for future generations include:

  • Recognition of fame.
  • Medical history.
  • Land ownership.
  • Proof of paternity or birth parents.
  • Religious association.
  • Family tradition.
  • Family culture.

Yet, perhaps the most significant values prove to be family connection and legacy. The relationships marked out by the family tree signify powerful factors impacting an individual’s current reality and future days. These qualities connect us, inform us and comprise our memories.


Medical History

Including medical information on your family tree offers critical insight to current and future generations. Being informed as to the history of certain conditions and diseases allows doctors to be on alert, and even run screenings that save patient lives. Be sure to understand the reasons why family medical history proves valuable and consider including it in your document.

To spread out a family tree between generations and tell stories of those that grace its limbs offers unforgettable family memories. And, if a dear one’s family has passed, what a precious opportunity to hear the stories of those filling their lineage. Do you need any more reason to start recording your history today?

To speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable staff members, click here today.

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living