Atlanta Retirement Communities

St. George Village Blog

Category Archive: Independent Living Lifestyle Residents Corner

  • Meet the SGV Staff: Dave Fagerstrom

    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 in Independent Living, Lifestyle, Residents Corner | Tagged , , , , , ,

  • It’s Springtime! How Does Your Garden Grow?

    Bill Crosby says gardening is a not only a fun hobby, but also a great way to make new friends.

    Looking out over the northwest corner of St. George Village continuing care retirement community’s lake is a sunny, serene patch of land that boasts a variety of beautiful vegetable and flower gardens maintained by SGV residents.

    Assisted Living resident and avid gardener Bill Crosby appreciates the opportunity to continue his long-time hobby, which has been valuable in more than one way.

    “I’ve had a garden almost every place I’ve lived,” he notes. “Gardens are a very good thing for a new neighbor to participate in, because you make friends fast! Other gardeners talk to you, and you can share your produce with your neighbors.”

    SGV’s plant operations department tills the land and prepares it for planting each spring.

    Mr. Crosby plants several vegetables, including cucumbers and bell peppers, but tomatoes reign supreme. He plants different varieties, small to large, and shares them with friends because “everyone loves a tomato!”

    He also admires the flowers that some of his fellow gardeners have planted in lieu of vegetables. But whether it’s flowers or vegetables, he says gardening is a great hobby to have.

    “I recommend that anyone who has the space plant a garden,” he comments. “St. George Village has been so nice about assisting us with the gardens. It’s a little extra that they give us, and we really enjoy it.”

    Posted in Lifestyle, Residents Corner | Tagged , , ,

  • An Active Lifestyle Improves Physical and Mental Health

    Former Miss America contestant and dancer Mary Ann Hearn enjoys the many fitness classes, such as stretching, strength training, Tai Chi and yoga.

    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 in Independent Living, Knowledge Center, Lifestyle, Residents Corner, Wellness | Tagged , , , , ,

  • Going Red to Support Healthy Hearts

    SGV residents and staff are wearing red in recognition of National Heart Health month and the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign.

    In recognition of February as National Heart Health month, North Fulton Hospital is sponsoring Go Red, North Fulton!, a campaign that encourages women to be proactive about their health by learning more about heart disease risks and making heart-healthy changes in their lives. St. George Village staff and residents recently dressed in red to show their support for the hospital and Go Red, North Fulton!

    Go Red, North Fulton! is a community program modeled on the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women® campaign, which was started 10 years ago to call attention to the fact that cardiovascular disease claims the lives of more than half a million women every year.

    Posted in Knowledge Center, Lifestyle, News, Residents Corner, Wellness | Tagged , , , , , , ,

  • A Children’s Book Does Double the Good Works

    SGV residents Mary Apps and Gene Stelten read A House for Wally and Me to a group of elementary school students.

    St. George Village resident Gene Stelten says his granddaughter, Allie, was the inspiration for A House for Wally and Me, a children’s book that he wrote about the process of building a Habitat for Humanity home. The story is told through the eyes of seven-year-old Allie, who is helping to build a Habitat house in which she and her family will live.

    “My granddaughter has always loved helping people in need, so I named the main character in the book after her,” Gene says.

    Since the book’s main message is to help children understand the importance of people coming together to work on a common goal of helping others, Gene thought it would be helpful to distribute copies to local school children. He enlisted the help of fellow SGV resident and professional storyteller Mary Apps, and together they read the story to students at local elementary schools.

    After reading the book and distributing copies on a recent visit, Gene recalls a little girl who came up to him and asked if she could really take her copy of the book home and keep it. “When I said, ‘Yes, you can,’ she was so excited! I don’t know if she’d ever had a book of her own before,” he says.

    In addition to helping children see how much fun it is to work together to help others in need as well as discovering the joys of reading, A House for Wally and Me has another important purpose. All proceeds from sales of the book (which costs $13.95), go to Habitat for Humanity.

    Gene, a long-time volunteer for Habitat, wrote the book for free and the illustrator donated her services as well. He says that friends often give him monetary donations, which he uses to purchase copies of the book.

    “I buy the books and then Mary and I take them to the schools to give to the students,” he explains. “Habitat gets the money from the sale of the books for its building projects, and the children get a free book of their own and learn about the rewards of helping others.”

    If you would like more information about A House for Wally and Me and this worthwhile project, contact Gene Stelten by email at

    Posted in Knowledge Center, Lifestyle, News, Partnerships, Residents Corner | Tagged , , , , ,

  • Making the Connection…in the World of Technology

    St. George Village recently held its first “Cyber Café” on a Sunday afternoon in the Bistro, and what a resounding success it was! More than 25 residents showed up, armed with their tablets, laptops, smartphones and e-readers, to learn more about how to operate these technology devices from a group of 10 volunteers.

    The volunteers from BlueHair Technology Group, along with students from Blessed Trinity High School, provided hands-on assistance, answering questions about basic operating functions of the devices and helping residents learn how they can get the most out of their technology, including:

    • How to connect to the Internet and find information
    • Setting up an email account, sending and receiving messages,
    attaching and downloading files
    • Playing games such as Words With Friends
    • Creating a Facebook page
    • Downloading and using applications such as Skype and Pandora

    Due to the success of this initial event and the continued interest it generated, the Cyber Café will become a regularly scheduled event.

    St. George Village, a senior living life care community, is committed to creating an environment that encourages residents to continue exploring, learning and challenging themselves, regardless of age.


    Posted in Independent Living, Knowledge Center, Lifestyle, News, Residents Corner | Tagged , , ,

  • Help is There…When You Need It

    Martha Mobley says she never worried about losing her independence when she made the transition from independent to assisted living.

    SGV resident Martha Mobley is well acquainted with transition — and says there is nothing to fear from it. When Mrs. Mobley left her home of 34 years to move into an Independent Living apartment at SGV, she maintained her active life, making friends in her new community while still visiting her old neighborhood and friends. Then, she experienced an illness that moved her from the hospital to skilled nursing and then to Assisted Living at SGV’s Wellington Court.

    “I realized that I could not go back to Independent Living without having some help first, so I chose to move into Assisted Living,” she says, adding that there was no need to worry about giving up her independence. “I had the privileges in Assisted Living that I had living independently, but also had help when I needed it.”

    Life Care Communities like St. George Village are wise choices because they provide an independent living lifestyle with a comprehensive plan for the future — residents experience the security of being cared for as needed throughout the aging process. Simply stated, one of the most reassuring benefits of living in a Life Care Community like St. George Village is having a residence for life!

    Posted in Independent Living, Lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , ,

  • Vitamin D is Crucial to Your Overall Health and Well-Being

    Supplementing your diet with vitamin D can improve physical and mental health.

    Recent studies show that bone and teeth health, as well as breast, colon and immune system health, can be improved simply by making sure you get enough vitamin D.

    Senior citizens, especially, can be affected by low levels of vitamin D. According to a study published in the Archives of International Medicine, an estimated 40-100 percent of older adults in the United States are deficient in vitamin D. As a result, they can experience declines in thinking, learning and memory, and may have an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, this deficiency has been linked to bone fractures and various chronic diseases.

    Since it can be very difficult to take in enough vitamin D through diet alone, many health experts recommend an increase to the Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamin D, suggesting you get a minimum of 2,000 IUs each day.

    And while your body will naturally produce vitamin D when exposed to sunshine, doctors recommend you use sunblock when you go out to protect yourself from skin cancer — which prevents absorption of the vitamin. In addition, the lack of sunshine in many locations or a person’s lack of mobility — and therefore inability to go outdoors — means that many people are at risk for vitamin D deficiency.

    Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get the vitamin D you need:

    • Take a nutritional supplement, readily available at your local pharmacy or grocery store .

    • Add one tablespoon of white cod liver oil or other fish liver oils to your diet daily.

    • Use mushrooms in salads and soups.

    • Drink beverages fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, orange juice and soy.

    • Breakfast or snack on cereal fortified with vitamin D.

    • Include several varieties of fish in your diet, especially salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines.


    Posted in Independent Living, Knowledge Center, Lifestyle, Wellness | Tagged , , , ,

  • Helping Others is “Worth the Trip”

    “I feel like I’m doing something important,” says Jean Hart about her long-time volunteer job arranging flowers for the gift shop at Saint Joseph’s Hospital. “It makes me feel good to know I’m doing something to help others.”

    Jean, who left her Sandy Springs condo and moved to St. George Village in December 2011, has kept her commitment to her volunteer work at the hospital, even though she has to drive a little further to get there now.

    “I used to live only 10 minutes from the hospital, but I don’t mind making the longer drive from Roswell,” she says. “It’s a full day, but it’s a very pleasant day. It’s worth the trip.”

    Jean’s favorite part of her job at the hospital is when someone comes into the gift shop and requests something special — a favorite flower or a special vase — that will make their family member feel better.

    “When you can do something like that to help someone else feel good, it makes you feel good, too,” she says.

    Bill Colombo, who also moved to SGV in 2011, volunteers at Saint Joseph’s as well. For the past 12 years, he has helped with transport, making sure that patients get to designated areas within the hospital for tests or helping them to their vehicles when they’re discharged and ready to go home.

    Bill says what he enjoys most about the job is the interaction with patients and hospital staff. “I visit with the patients and get to see just about every part of the hospital on my days there,” he says. “And I know that I’m helping both patients and staff by doing this. It’s very rewarding.”

    A former U.S. Army paratrooper who had a long career in sales, Bill feels that staying actively engaged with others is one of the keys to a fulfilling life.

    Oh and in case you were wondering? Jean and Bill are also efficient volunteers — they work the same day at Saint Joseph’s each week, so they carpool!

    Posted in Independent Living, Lifestyle, Residents Corner |

  • Getting to the Heart of the Matter

    A little regular exercise, just 30 minutes four-to-five days a week, can go a long way. Try walking or using hand weights for fitness.

    Keeping your heart in good shape may be simpler than you realize. That’s good news, since a healthy heart can be the root of a healthier you.

    Dr. Sid Sharma, a physician with North Fulton Primary Care, says that one of the most important things people can do to keep their hearts healthy, especially if they are over the age of 65, is to have regular check-ups with their physician.

    “Your primary care physician knows your medical history, can assess your health risks, and will keep you up to date on preventive care, such as cholesterol screenings,” he says. “And if you already have a heart condition, see your cardiologist on a regular basis.”

    Diet and exercise also play important roles in heart health. A healthy diet isn’t age specific, says Dr. Sharma.

    Residents of continuum of care retirement communities like St. George Village can take advantage of the healthy meals and food choices offered there. “But if you eat out, try to avoid fast foods and fried foods,” Dr. Sharma cautions. “The one thing I really harp on is salt intake— try not to have a salt shaker nearby. Watch out for processed foods. My rule of thumb is, if a product has a long shelf life, it probably contains a lot of salt. High salt intake can worsen heart conditions.”

    You can make other healthy food choices such as using extra virgin olive oil and garlic in cooking and eating nuts. Red wine can also be heart healthy, but in moderation — about a half glass per day.

    Regular exercise — even as little as 30 minutes a day — can go a long way toward promoting heart health.

    If exercise hasn’t been a part of your routine, Dr. Sharma advises starting out slowly and building up your endurance. “If you’ve been inactive for a while, start exercising for 30 minutes a couple of days a week. Walk or go to a fitness center. Swimming is a great form of exercise, too, because it’s easier on the knees and hips,” he states.

    It’s also important to know your own body and pay attention to changes. If you notice symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, body aches or weakness, talk to your physician as soon as possible.

    “Symptoms like these could indicate coronary problems, or they could be side effects from medications you are currently taking,” explains Dr. Sharma. “So it’s important to have a discussion with your doctor to determine what’s going on. Just don’t ignore the symptoms!”

    Posted in Independent Living, Lifestyle, Wellness |