St. George Village Blog
Category Archive: Independent Living Lifestyle Residents Corner
Posted on June 22, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
In honor of the onset of summertime, we at St. George Village share this poem and wish you all the fun and joy of the warmest season of the year.
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.
Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.
The dusty attic spider-clad
He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
And through the broken edge of tiles
Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.
Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy’s inmost nook.
Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please the child, to paint the rose,
The gardener of the World, he goes.
Posted on June 14, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
One of the volunteer activities St. George Village resident Mary Apps loves most is making blankets for the Linus Project, a national nonprofit organization that provides homemade blankets to children in need. (The concept is based on the Peanuts cartoon character, Linus, and his trusty security blanket.)
Mary and several other SGV residents had been making the Linus blankets and giving them to a group at St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church, who then distributed the blankets to area shelters. When a teacher at nearby Queen of Angels Catholic School heard about the Linus blankets, she approached Mary about getting some of the younger students at the school involved in the project.
“Each class at Queen of Angels works on a project during the school year. The first graders help make the Linus blankets and the second graders distribute them,” Mary explains. “In November every year, the children come over to St. George Village and we show them how to tie knots and finish off the blankets so that they don’t ravel.”
“The blankets that our children make are given to local organizations like the Drake House, the Ronald McDonald House and the Catholic Charities’ prenatal program,” Mary explains. “A supply of blankets is also given to first responders and emergency workers, who often encounter children who are affected by disasters and other emergencies — children who don’t have as much as they need to stay warm.”
After the blanket-making session, the children go to the chapel, where a priest blesses them and their blankets, and then they enjoy a reception with refreshments.
Mary says that the Linus blankets have become a beloved tradition at Queen of Angels, both for the good feeling it brings to do something for someone else and for the fun of partnering with SGV residents.
The students have fun making friends with the St. George Village residents and they learn how their Linus blankets will help other children in need of comfort.
“So many of the children have older siblings who participated in the project and have talked about it,” she says. “They look forward to being in first grade so they can work on the blankets and come over to spend time at St. George Village!”
Posted on June 8, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Iran, Egypt, China, Africa, NATO, the future of the Euro and the threat assessment of certain countries to the United States and other countries — these are the topics St. George Village residents are learning about and discussing in the Great Decisions program.
Great Decisions is America’s largest discussion program on world affairs. This national civic education program, administered by the Foreign Policy Association, takes place in communities all across the U.S. Discussions highlight eight of the most thought-provoking foreign policy challenges facing American each year.
Great Decisions members are provided with background material — a study guide and a short DVD presentation — to review before each lecture takes place. Then they are treated to presentations by foreign affairs experts including university professors and ambassadors, who speak on the designated topic.
The Great Decisions program requires participants to commit to attending the eight presentations, which are scheduled throughout the year. About 30 SGV residents currently are members of the class, a number that has remained stable for the six years the program has been in existence.
SGV’s Great Decisions members find the presentations intellectually stimulating and thought provoking. And they never allow their diverse political views to get in the way of their discussions.
“We try to leave politics out of this particular situation,” says Pat Tritt, who organizes the program’s schedule and lines up the guest speakers. “Everyone is respectful of each other’s opinions.”
Posted on May 10, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
As you get older, your risk for health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, increases. You also have a greater chance of getting type 2 diabetes if you have a family history of the disease. But it’s never too late to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Research shows that modest weight loss through healthy eating and being active can help to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in people over age 60.
If you are overweight, losing 5 to 7 percent of your current body weight can help you prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. If you weigh 200 pounds, this means a weight loss of about 10 to 14 pounds. Talk to your doctor about setting safe weight loss goals and ways to be more active.
Once you set your goals, decide what small steps you will take to get started. For example, you might say, “I will walk for 10 minutes after lunch to be more active each day” until you reach at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Be active, move more and sit less to help yourself lose weight or stay at a healthy weight and be more flexible and strong. Ask your health care provider how you can safely start to be more active. Before being active, be sure to warm up to get your body ready. Shrug your shoulders, swing your arms, or march in place for three to five minutes before you begin any activity.
There are many ways you can get active at little or no cost, such as walking or doing chair exercises. Find an activity you can enjoy so you can stay at it. This will make it easier to stick to your plan and reach your goals. Try these ideas:
• Around the House. Things that you do every day can help you be more active. Stand up from a chair and sit down again without using your hands. Rise up and down on your toes while standing and holding on to a stable chair or countertop. When you watch TV, stretch and move around during commercial breaks. You can also walk around the house when you talk on the phone. Follow along with a video for older adults that shows you how to get active.
• Around Town. Being more active can also be a great way to meet friends. Join a local walking group. Always walk in safe places such as the mall, museum or a community center. Wear shoes that fit your feet and provide comfort and support.
• While Running Errands. Make getting active a part of your regular day. If it is safe, park the car farther away from stores or restaurants. If you take the bus or train-and the area is safe-get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
• With Your Family. Get your family involved to make being active more fun. Teach the younger people in your life the dances you enjoy. Plan a trip to the local pool and go for a swim together. Moving around in the water is gentle on your joints.
• Get Outside. When you can, get active outside. Take care of a garden or wash your car. Enjoy a brisk walk with friends or family around a park, museum or zoo.
For more tips to help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, download or order the “It’s Not Too Late to Prevent Diabetes. Take Your First Step Today” tip sheet or “Small Steps. Big Rewards. Your Game Plan to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: Information for Patients” booklet from the National Diabetes Education Program or call 1-888-693-NDEP (6337).
—From The National Diabetes Education Program
Posted on April 26, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
One of the first things you notice about Dave Fagerstrom is his welcoming smile. Dave, who has been a driver for St. George Village since August 2011, says that being behind the wheel gives him a reason to smile.
“I love driving!” he says. “And I enjoy spending time with our residents. It’s great to feel I’m being helpful to them by getting them where they want to go.”
Originally from Jamestown, N.Y., Dave served in Vietnam as an Air Force helicopter pilot. After serving his country, he began a career in banking as a branch manager and eventually moved to Atlanta in 1979. He discovered his true love of driving in retirement, when he did a stint as a tractor-trailer driver.
Today, Dave ferries SGV residents to doctors’ appointments and routine errands like grocery shopping and stops at various banks and dry cleaners. But he especially enjoys SGV Trip Days.
“On Thursdays, we take day trips to places like Calloway Gardens, Amicalola State Park or the outlet mall,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun!”
The St. George Village staff invites you to get to know us better! We’ll highlight a different staff member occasionally in our blog as an ongoing feature.
Posted on April 19, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Many retirees are looking to volunteer at organizations that can benefit from their work experiences and expertise. Perhaps surprisingly, that’s not always easy.
“One out of three retirees leave their volunteer posts within months because organizations are not properly prepared to utilize the volunteers’ professional experiences and knowledge,” a recent study released by the Corporation for National and Community Service revealed.
Fortunately, there’s a new website that can help organizations tap into the professional expertise that recent retirees can offer.
The Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative is designed to help agencies prepare for and take full advantage of the volunteers they have.
The Collaborative is a full-service support center designed to help the agencies of the Aging Network engage older adults in meaningful service. Its website provides tools and resources to build a strong volunteer program.
To learn more, visit www.agingnetworkvolunteercollaborative.org.
Posted on March 29, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
An active lifestyle contributes to a healthy body and mind — staying active enhances the immune system and helps prevent illness, improves memory, reduces stress and increases your sense of well-being. St. George Village resident Mary Ann Hearn is the embodiment of an active lifestyle.
When Mary Ann moved to SGV, she was pleasantly surprised to find the extensive list activities offered by the community.
“I’d visited one retirement place in Florida [where I was living at the time] and knew it was not for me,” she recalls. “But my daughter and her husband had been looking at continuing care communities here in Atlanta and when they saw St. George Village, they knew this was the right place.”
Mary Ann says she’s always been physically active and attributes that activity to her continued good health and mental sharpness. The former Miss America contestant and dancer enjoys the many fitness classes offered at SGV, such as stretching, strength training, Tai Chi and yoga.
“Whenever they offer an exercise class, I take it,” she laughs. “Tai Chi is wonderful for my posture and balance. And I particularly love the yoga class!”
Mary Ann says that participating in classes or other activities such as gardening and serving on SGV’s Election Committee have not only helped her stay physically and mentally sharp, but also helped her meet people and make new friends. She encourages fellow seniors to participate in activities they enjoy and to occasionally try something unfamiliar.
“It’s always good to try something new,” she says. “Or else you’ll never know. You may really like it!”
Posted on March 22, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Investing some time and effort in researching your stockbroker — just as you would if he or she were a security — can pay dividends.
That’s the word from experts who say before working with a broker or other financial professional, make sure that person is licensed to sell you an investment. One way to do this is by using a free online tool from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) called BrokerCheck.
To use the online tool, go to FINRA BrokerCheck. You can look up a specific firm or investment professional. You can also search by zip code.
When researching individuals, the tool can be used to find:
• employment history;
• approved licenses, registrations, and qualification exams passed;
• certain misdemeanor charges and convictions; and
• disciplinary actions and sanctions imposed by FINRA, the SEC or other regulators.
When researching a firm, the tool can be used to find:
• its address, legal status and types of business it engages in;
• a 10-year history of all felony charges and convictions, and certain misdemeanor charges and convictions;
• disciplinary actions and proceedings initiated by regulators; and
• bankruptcy proceedings and arbitration award information.
Even if an individual or firm does not have a history of reported problems, the tool can help detect potential red flags. For example, you can see if an individual broker has switched firms frequently over a short period of time, or if the firm has changed its name often.
“The first step any investor should take before he or she does business is to use BrokerCheck to do a background search,” said Gerri Walsh, president of FINRA Investor Education Foundation. “Make sure the investment professional is licensed either with FINRA as a registered representative or with the SEC or a state regulator as a registered investment adviser.”
It’s also a good idea to check with your state securities regulator, local consumer groups or others who have business relationships with a particular financial professional.
FINRA is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States.
For more resources, visit FINRA’s website.
Posted on March 15, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
If you’re one of the 30 million Americans with a new Medicare card, you may take a healthy interest in how best to benefit from it.
One of the first and most important things to consider now that your new plan is in effect is prescription drug coverage. Perhaps the best way to save on medication costs is to utilize a pharmacy that’s within your Part D plan’s preferred network. Walgreens, for example, is a part of preferred networks with some of the nation’s largest plans, such as Coventry, Humana, SmartD Rx and UnitedHealthcare.
The benefit to beneficiaries is not only convenience, but cost savings. By using a preferred network pharmacy, you can recognize significant savings on prescription co-pays and medication expenditures.
It’s also important to understand the preventive health services you may need, what’s covered by Medicare and where you can go for these and other services. Medicare covers an annual wellness visit at your doctor’s office. In addition, immunizations, health tests and annual medication and plan reviews may also be available at your local pharmacy, so talk with your pharmacist or plan provider if you have questions on these or other services.
If you take multiple medications, many Medicare Part D plans will cover face-to-face annual checkups as well. Your pharmacist will review all your medications, vitamins and supplements, see if there are lower-cost alternatives and make sure you’re taking everything in the right way to get the best possible results. The pharmacist can then call your doctor to discuss any recommended changes, and you’ll receive a Medication Action Plan that you can share with your doctor.
Medicare Wellness benefits provide discounts on medications and services including immunizations, screenings for a number of common conditions, as well as education and counseling to encourage wellness and prevent disease. However, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, only 6.5 percent of eligible seniors have utilized this benefit. That’s where your pharmacist can be a great resource to help understand what services are covered.
Visit www.medicare.gov to learn more about how to make the most of Medicare and your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
Posted on March 1, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Older Americans should know that while financial abuse is believed to cost seniors an estimated $3 billion annually, you can help prevent it and protect yourself.
Signs To Watch For
• You, family, friends or your bank notice financial activity you don’t recall, that is not consistent with your financial history or that is beyond your means.
• Your caregiver or beneficiary refuses to use your funds for necessary care and treatment or is threatening to place you in a long-term care facility unless you give him or her control of your finances.
• It appears that food or medication has been manipulated or withheld so you become weak and compliant.
Steps You Can Take
• If you feel threatened and believe you are in immediate danger, contact law enforcement.
• Talk with family members, friends and trusted professionals to plan your financial future. If managing your daily finances is difficult, consider engaging a money manager.
• Talk with a lawyer about creating a durable power of attorney for asset management, a revocable or living will, trust and health care advance directives.
• Never send anyone personal information to collect a prize or reward.
• Don’t be pressured or intimidated into quick decisions by a salesperson or contractor.
• Don’t sign any documents you don’t completely understand without first talking it over with an attorney or a family member you trust.
• Never provide personal information (Social Security, credit card, ATM PIN number) over the phone unless you placed the call and know with whom you are speaking.
• Tear up or shred credit card receipts, bank statements, solicitations and financial records before disposing of them.
• If you hire someone to help you in your home, be sure that person has been properly screened, with criminal background checks completed.
• If you suspect you or someone you know is being exploited, call (800) 677-1116 to get connected with the state Adult Protective Services or other appropriate aging resource.
For more information on financial exploitation, you can request a free brochure from the Eldercare Locator, “Protect Your Pocketbook: Tips to Avoid Financial Exploitation.” Call (800) 677-1116; the brochure can also be downloaded at www.eldercare.gov. The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging and is administered by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a).