Congrats to every Sunshine poet!
You took the time,
To make it rhyme,
And weren’t afraid to show it.
The above feeble example of an ABBA rhyming scheme can mean only one thing: Sunshine Retirement Living has just announced the winners of our annual Poetry Contest. You can download a copy of the booklet here.
This year’s contest was organized by Leslie Trevino, Life Enhancement Director at Brooke Ridge in Pharr, Texas, and
“This year, we explored the topic of ‘Transitioning into Retirement,’” said Leslie. “We knew it would be something everyone could relate to – joyful and inspiring for many, challenging and bittersweet for others – and that was indeed the case.”
For the judging, Leslie recruited three friends and family members who are also published writers and poets – Kathy Egbert of Leander, Texas, Sandra Paredes of McAllen, Texas, and David Bryant from Copperas Cove, Texas. Bryant is also a reporter for the Killeen DailyHerald.
Judging was based on the following criteria:
Overall, this year’s competition was smaller than last year’s but had more communities represented. That diversity was evidenced in the three highest award winners. The 1st Place Winner of a $50 Gift Card was penned by Alice Sweeney of Garden Way in Eugene, Oregon.
“Fancy clothes and Cadillacs” The fortune cookie said.
Aches and pains and cataracts are what I got instead.
My knees are getting wobbly, and I wake up in a skin
More wrinkled than pajamas that I’d tossed the whole night in.
Everybody mumbles, so I can’t hear what they say.
I’d forget it anyhow. My memory’s gone astray.
But I know God still loves me, and I’ve friends who cheer me on,
So I don’t worry ‘bout the vim and vigor that are gone.
And I still have some body parts that never do get sore.
So I just count my blessings, and then I feel young once more.
– Alice W. Sweeney
The 2nd Place Winner of a $30 Gift Card was a lengthy tome by Jane Cocke Perdue from The Clairmont in Austin, Texas.
The day arrives quickly – surprising us!
Workplace demands have ended,
sending us into another stage of changes,
gravity pulling us toward a center
like moths circling light.
From places near and far
we come as pioneers of old
searching for a new home.
Arriving with trepidation and hesitation,
greeted by the sight of a grand procession
we stand and watch with fascination─
Steering his power chair
like the tank commander
he was in Viet Nam,
he sits erect,
looking straight ahead,
speeding toward the dining room.
She clutches the handlebars
of her well-worn walker,
her daily life-line,
gently lifting and lowering the frame
in steady rhythm
with each painful step.
He shuffles slowly,
shoes scraping the carpet,
right side leaning toward the wall,
knowing he can balance against it
to avoid a fall.
A wheeled chair rolls slowly
down one corridor,
tenderly and carefully pushed
by a partner
of over fifty years.
Each person in this parade of elders
determined to navigate
the long halls of the golden age
from their apartment
to the dining room
to nourish their bodies with good food
and their souls with friendship
We know with the wisdom
of this life phase,
we have found our home
and this parade of elders
will soon become our friends.
– Jane Cocke Perdue
Shirley Laundy from The Continental in Austin also went to great lengths with were poem and was rewarded with 3rd Place and a $20 Gift Card.
Easing into retirement? It all
goes in stages –
Changing, evolving as each
For me it began with excitement
As I played with my love in
the Florida sun.
The kids came to visit – then
grandkids – a bonus!
They moved far out west but,
oh well! They’d still phone us.
But as years sped on by it
was harder to travel.
My idyllic existence began to
Friends faded away. There were
The ER was one of our prime
Then one day I awoke and my
dreams were all shattered.
I faced life alone and I felt
Yet time eases pain and after
I went on with my life – even
started to smile.
My days settled into a
My home was my castle. I
reigned there as queen.
I gladly flew westward for
special occasions –
Weddings and birthdays – no
Not even my 90th! Yikes!
Could this be true?
Was I really that old? Now
what should I do?
My far away family was
worried and so
I decided ‘twas time just
to pack up and go.
So now I’m in Texas with
family at hand
Trying retirement home living
and so far it’s grand.
The staff here is gracious. I
like my new pad.
Most people are friendly. The
food isn’t bad.
So I thank the dear Lord for
this thrilling new chapter
In my quest to seek life
happily ever after.
– Shirley Laundy
Congratulations to the winners and all those who participated in this year’s contest. Whether it’s expressed through poetry or a warm smile, we are delighted to help so many who are transitioning into retirement and to do whatever we can to create your happily ever after.
This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living, June 2019.
Your experiences during facility visits often drive your decisions when it comes to memory care. During your visit to Lake Charles memory care community The Verandah, we recommend you take full advantage and participate in a number of engaging activities to ensure you’re able to make a decision with all of the information available to you.
Based on our own residents’ experiences and input, here’s what we recommend you do while you’re here:
You’ll see them in the common areas and green spaces during your visit, so we encourage you to say hello and pull up a chair when you do. Our current residents can tell you more about living at The Verandah, and many of them moved here from other local communities and care to share those experiences with you, too. Ask them tough questions:
We’ve always said that our past and present residents are our best marketers. They’re always eager to share their experiences with us and others, driving us to become the best at what we do.
Whether prospective residents are interested in Assisted Living or our specialized Alzheimer’s and Memory Care programs, food is always an important factor. Assisted living folks are often seeking opportunities to cook less at home (while keeping the option open so they can cook when they choose to) without sacrificing the flavors they love. Memory care residents have an added interested in dining, as reduced appetite is common, and nutrition plays a key role in their cognitive health.
We can answer all of your questions about our specialized, gourmet menu options – following the recommendations of the MIND diet – but we’d also like you to experience it for yourself. Take advantage of a free meal during your site visit so you know exactly what to expect here as you make your decision.
If you let our friendly staff know what you or your loved one enjoy doing most when you call to schedule your visit, we’ll be happy to choose a time that coincides with an activity or event that will pique their interest. Examples include Wheel of Fortune, fitness classes, video games, Zumba, and local outings.
Attending an activity or event while you’re here serves a number of purposes:
We’ve also found that many residents express that while they’re looking for more adventure and social opportunities, they want the opportunity to choose which activities speak to them and whether they feel up to attending or not. Attending an activity gives prospective residents an opportunity to learn more about the other participants.
Friends and family members of residents in our Alzheimer’s and Memory Care programs often express worry that their loved one will be excluded from activities due to disruptive behaviors or decline in cognitive health. Many of those concerned have found that attending our specialized programming during their site visit quickly eased their worries.
To visit The Verandah Retirement Community in Lake Charles, call 337-508-0396 today. We can’t wait to meet you.
Senior living today is hardly recognizable compared to it’s 1950s counterpart. Here are the major changes that have taken the industry by storm since then.
Healthcare Segment Leader at Granger Construction, Jon Update describes the evolution of senior living facilities over the past several decades. 50 years ago, senior living communities were designed and built with one purpose: to provide for the healthcare needs of the aging population. Because the focus was primarily or even entirely on healthcare, these senior living communities didn’t look so different from a hospital or inpatient ward.
However, the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s led to a revolution in senior care. It was during this time that organizations began to change their vision from providing healthcare to providing a retirement lifestyle featuring comfort and luxury. And so the buildings themselves evolved; many rebuilt, including shops and services on site, restaurant-like dining rooms, grand views, peaceful walking paths, and more.
While retirement communities of the past were staffed primarily by nurses and orderlies, today’s retirement communities have a much different schedule. Clinical staff are still important in communities where assisted living or memory care are offered, but perhaps the greatest investment is in staff selected to contribute to a luxurious retirement:
Today, more staff are available simply for resident luxury than ever before.
How seniors view retirement living has evolved as communities have evolved to meet their needs. Healthcare-focused senior living communities of the past were often at odds with their own residents; that is, residents moved in because they had to, not because they wanted to. Perhaps an even greater issues was the discord resulting in families when mom or dad had to be placed in a facility for better long-term care, essentially taking away the things that brought them fulfillment at home. Retirees often asked, “Why did you do this to me?” or, “Why can’t I go home?”
Today, the vast majority of retirees we meet with are asking different questions:
As we’ve been at the center of the evolution of senior care, we’ve seen these independent living communities become a luxury and a life goal for seniors in New Orleans. We’ve seen more and more seniors incorporate our communities into their retirement plans and then wait eagerly for move-in day.
The greatest benefit to these changes? Seniors today make their own choice to move in and experience the resort-style retirement they’ve earned, eliminating the hurt feelings between parents or grandparents and loved ones making decisions about their care.
To learn more about the modern amenities at The Landing at Behrman Place, schedule your visit and tour today. We’re eager to meet you.
Any time is a good time to explore the lifestyle you want, but we see a peak in new residents in early summer. Here’s why.
Taking the plunge now means you can pack your things and get them moved before we hit those July and August highs or those December and January lows in Hot Springs. April, May, and June offer temps ranging from about 50 to 89 degrees, making moving easiest for those who don’t want to be exposed to extreme hot or cold.
When you move in late Spring or early Summer, you take full advantage of the gardening that comes with independent living communities, which means you can enjoy beautiful grounds and green spaces, contribute to those projects in whatever way you choose, but never feel tied down as the work continues when you’re on vacation or not in the mood to spend time weeding.
Predicting your monthly expenses when you live at home (often on a fixed income) can be a challenge. Not only do you have to plan for major appliance repairs and regular home maintenance, but air conditioning in the summer months can cause unpredictable hikes in your energy bill. A number of our residents have shared that knowing those air conditioning bills were just around the corner was a factor in their decision; it helped them justify the retirement lifestyle they want and make decisions without delay.
It’s during these months that many of us aim to see places we’ve never seen before or go visit our loved ones who live far away. Many of our residents start exploring their options in the spring so that by early summer they’re settling in and making plans, taking full advantage of our travel program. Country Club Village’s travel program offers residents the opportunity to travel to 26 other sister communities nestled into some of the most beautiful cities in the United States, enjoying free dining, lodging, and activities while they’re there. This allows residents to cut down on travel costs, enjoy adventure, visit loved ones, and make new friends all year long. Independent living also supports travel by ensuring your home and yard are maintained while you’re away.
Retirement communities offer an adventurous and luxurious lifestyle marked by fewer responsibilities and obligations and more opportunity to make new friends, soak up the sun, and experience local culture and events. Early summer is the perfect time to move into an independent living community so you can enjoy access to tons of local events, all of the summer fun within the community, free local transportation, and camaraderie with neighbors and new friends.
Even those who love to cook often find that cooking becomes a chore during the hottest months of the year. Independent Living offers you the best of both worlds: the option to cook when you’d like to and the option to enjoy gourmet meals and snacks prepared by a chef when you’d rather not. Because 24/7 dining is included in the regular cost of rent, there is no increase in cost when you choose to “dine out” and enjoy the meals offered by the community.
To learn more, schedule a tour of Country Club Village today!
Today’s seniors have more options than ever before when it comes to assisted living and memory care services. In fact, a quick online search of “assisted living near me” will reveal that Tallahassee alone boasts 57 agencies that offer home health in some form and over a dozen senior living communities. This leaves most seniors wondering, “What’s the difference and which option is best for me?”
Memory care needs are unique and not addressed by all home health or senior community options. Here, we’ll share some of the main advantages of choosing a memory care facility over in-home care to help you narrow down your options and make the most informed decision
Azalea Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care, located on Ox Bottom Road in Tallahassee, is a beautiful memory care facility designed with the well-being of your friend or family member in mind. To learn more, schedule a site visit with our compassionate team today.
Decades ago, we saw senior care trends shift from long-term care facilities to home health services, which allowed seniors to stay in the comfort of their homes as they age. Today, retirement, assisted the living, and memory care communities have responded to the needs of the modern senior, leading to more and more seniors foregoing in-home care for community living and all of the amenities it affords.
A quick online search for assisted living near me might leave you more overwhelmed as you find that they are many options to consider for your loved one. Here, we’ve compiled some of the primary reasons our residents and their families chose Marshall Pines Assisted Living & Memory Care over home health and other options.
While there are lots of things you can do to make it safe at home – like installing handrails in the shower and removing throw rugs – memory care communities are designed with the risks unique to patients suffering from dementia in mind, providing the safest setting of all. Some features memory care facilities offer that are generally not available at home include:
Seniors who live at home are at higher risk of isolation, especially as it becomes difficult for them to do the things they enjoyed in the past. When you choose a community, your loved one has “neighbors” they can visit without ever leaving home, a wide variety of events and activities to choose from, and common spaces designed to accommodate friends and family who visit. When you schedule your site visit and community tour, you’ll be pleased to observe lively conversation, belly laughs, activities, and gatherings to support the social well-being of each resident.
Living at home comes with variable and sometimes unpredictable monthly expenses: a high water bill after a running toilet or an unexpected furnace repair, for example. Likewise, the cost of care when living at home can fluctuate depending on needs. Many residents and their families share that one of the reasons they chose Marshall Pines was for peace of mind; they know exactly what it’s going to cost from one month to the next and that rent price includes meals, care, maintenance, activities, transportation, and more.
The best memory care facilities base their floor plans, staff training programs, menu options, and activity programming on the latest research on memory impairment in seniors, ensuring that all aspects of your loved one’s experience nurture their social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and spiritual well-being.
To learn more about the differences between home health care and memory care communities or to schedule a tour of Marshall Pines today, contact our friendly team
When you tour senior apartments for rent in Dunwoody, Georgia, there are a few things you can expect nearly everywhere you go:
At Dunwoody Pines, our goal isn’t to meet your needs but to exceed your wildest dreams. This is your retirement and you worked hard to get here! Here’s what we offer above and beyond other communities to give you an adventurous, relaxing, and luxurious retirement experience:
Complementing the full range of amenities at Dunwoody Pines is a calendar that leaves nothing to be desired. You can expect a weekly rendition of Are you smarter than a 5th grader? and a monthly staff cook-off alongside a full stack of other creative activities to make it easy to have fun. Many residents call the community “The Cruise Ship” Dunwoody Pines due to the resemblance between this community and high-end cruise vacations.
Whether you’re seeking community living options in Dunwoody because you’re ready to put your feet up and enjoy the simple life you earned or because you want to make new friends and experience new things, Dunwoody Pines is the community you’ve been looking for. Every aspect of the community is intentional, designed with the purpose to create a warm, inviting, and fun-filled retirement that’s all about you.
*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living, May, 2019
If you’ve been recruited to help a friend or family member find top retirement living in Austin’s best neighborhoods, these tips are everything you need to do the job justice.
Spend time interviewing your friend or family member before you start the search. Knowing what matters most to them, why they’re interested in senior living, and their non-negotiables will help you review each community from their perspective. Questions to ask include:
The only way to evaluate dining options in advance is to enjoy them yourself. Schedule your site visit during meal time and come hungry; most communities offer the opportunity for guests to purchase a la carte items, and some offer a free meal for those considering the community for themselves or a friend or family member. You can also better evaluate meal options by reviewing the menu, visiting with current residents, and learning more about dining hours and after-hours options.
Ask to take a look at the activities calendar to find out how much of Austin’s culture residents have the opportunity to take in – and which activities they can participate in when they choose to stay inside for the evening. To get an even better feel for the culture and environment, stop by the common areas to observe or participate in an activity of your choice.
As soon as you’re done touring, you’ll want to share everything you learned with the person considering senior living options. Because retirement communities are so vastly different from one another – and offer such an array of amenities and services – it’s nearly impossible to remember everything without good notes. So take great notes, and take as many materials with you when you leave as possible (brochures, estimates, etc.).
Since you interviewed your friend or family member in advance, you know exactly what they’re looking for in a community. Who better to share whether a neighborhood checks all the boxes than the people who live there? Stop and visit with a few friendly residents to answer your loved one’s questions. Questions to ask include:
During your tour and time with staff, find out what happens if your loved one’s needs change after they move in and what happens if they are ever unable to pay their rent. While these questions can be tough to ask – and tough to think about – it’s important to know ahead of time how much notice is given and what other options are offered in challenging situations like these.
If you ask one community about dining options and ask the other community about security, utilities, amenities, and services, you’ll come up short of information that your loved one needs in order to make an educated decision. Writing down your questions in advance can help you get the most important information from each community and then compare apples to apples at the end of the day.
While floor plans are helpful, it’s common for prospective community members to identify strengths and weaknesses in the walk-through that they may not have considered from the floor plans alone. Take time to walk through each potential unit to find one that best meets the needs of your friend or family member.
We visit with modern retirees all the time who have been exploring retirement communities in Oregon – primarily for the amenities and community environment – but dread the thought of coordinating a move. They worry about coordinating real estate agents to sell their current home, movers to get their belongings from their previous home to their new apartment or cottage, and even cleaners to prepare their home for showing on the market and a potential sale.
As we asked questions to learn more about these prospective residents, we were surprised to learn that it was the cost of services that concerned them as much as coordinating the communication, contracts, and arrangements. When they’re ready to settle down and enjoy retirement, they simply aren’t interested in scheduling meetings and making phone calls and handling the complex details that surround a life change like this one.
For that reason, Sunshine Retirement Living has answered the call by offering a free Easy-Move program to residents in all of its communities, including Garden Way in Eugene, Oregon. The Easy-Move program takes away the stress of coordination so you can choose the retirement you want and let the pieces fall into place. This program includes coordination of moving services in addition to a myriad of other services to make your transition smooth and peaceful for you.
Garden Way’s Easy-Move staff have relationships with several local organizations who specialize in each aspect of the transition to retirement living. Some of the services they’re able to provide through these unique partnerships include:
Although these partners do charge a fee for their services, you’ll never be for coordination of services through Garden Way.
Many retirees have shared that they may not have moved forward with their dream retirement without access to the Easy-Move program. Knowing that you have a team of experts available to coordinate moving services and provide support along the way might be just what you need to take the next step.
*When it comes to independent living Eugene’s Garden Way checks all the boxes: Schedule a site visit today to get connected with all the services you need to enjoy your retirement to the fullest.
Don’t look now, but the lusty month of May is busting out of the gate with two incredibly exciting, yet radically different events on its first weekend. On Saturday, May 4, a handful of Sunshine communities will be treated to A Day at the Races, as they celebrate the 145thAnnual Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs in Louisville. And on Sunday, or in some cases, as early as today, several more communities will get their fiestas on with Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
As most everyone knows, the “Run for the Roses” kicks off the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing. And with favorite Omaha Beach having to scratch due to illness, the race between 20 other horses is wide open this year.
“Derby day is so exciting,” says Stephanie Hendrix, Executive Director at Creekside Pines in Dallas, Georgia. “What another sporting event has so much emphasis on the build-up with the hat contests, Mint Juleps, and everything, just to end with a race that lasts around two minutes.”
Also known as “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports,” the Derby is just as much spectacle and ceremony as anything else, with ladies expected to show off their finest hats and springy dresses, while gentlemen outfit themselves in their dandiest suits and blazers; all to fulfill Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr.’s vision of making it the classiest race this side of Europe.
“Stephanie and George Kahl, our Director of Maintenance, are both big into this event so they like to be present and help out,” says Creekside Pines Life Enrichment Director (LED) Brandi Limbaugh.“Stephanie puts up print outs of all the horses outside our theater, so the residents can choose which ones they like before the race and George makes Mint Juleps (the real deal). We’ll have some pretzels and light refreshments to go with them.”
Some years the crew at Creekside Pines has had a local horse farm bring over ponies for the residents to pet, learn about and take pictures.
“The race never disappoints,” claims Stephanie. “The residents that come to watch get really creative with their hats and all cheer for their favorite horses.”
Likewise, at The Verandah in Lake Charles, Louisiana, residents are also way into the Derby.
Says LED Becky Dent:
“We have a contest on for the best Kentucky Derby attire. I’m decorating up the Tavern and we will be serving Mint Juleps, cucumber sandwiches, pimento spread, and sweet tea.” While quite different, the culture and traditions of Cinco de Mayo are no less important. In fact, Olga Rosalez, LED at The Continental in Austin, Texas extends their celebration of Cinco de Mayo throughout the week. The menu includes Chicken and Beef Fajitas, Rice& Beans, Chips &Salsa, Tres leches cake and Margaritas.
“Since it has become more popular in the U.S., I share the history of the celebration,” says Olga. “Residents enjoy the foods, music, singing and dancing, the overall camaraderie. Mariachi del Alamo parades around the dining room, which everyone loves. After lunch, we play Mexican Loteria (Bingo). It’s a great fiesta!
Since Sundays at Country Club Village in Hot Springs, Arkansas is mostly devoted to church activities, LED Cindy Smith decided to move their Cinco de Mayo fiesta to today (Tre’s de Mayo).
“Celebrating Cinco de Mayo on Friday the 3rd made sense with this month’s calendar, as Happy Hour is held each Friday anyway,” said Cindy. “In addition to our regular beverages (beer, wine, and wine coolers) we’ll be serving chips &Salsa and listening to a playlist of traditional mariachi music. I’ve also incorporated a great supply of Cinco de Mayo decorations.”
Similarly, Brenda Olivarez, LED at Garden Way in Eugene, Oregon draws on her Hispanic heritage to provide an authentic experience for her residents.
“We are actually doing a social hour for the main part with ‘Mock-a-ritas,’” says Brenda. “Chef Martin will be having a yummy Mexican-based meal, along with Churros andChips & Salsa.”
Whether you choose to celebrate the weekend sipping a Mint Julep or a “Mock-a-rita,” singing along with “My Old Kentucky Home” or “DeColores,” we hope your Mayo starts off in grand style.
*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living, May, 2019.