Atlanta Retirement Communities

St. George Village Blog

Category Archive: Lifestyle Residents Corner

  • 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 , , , , ,

  • Building Bridges Between Generations

    St. George Village resident Kathleen Mayer is served high tea by Annaleah Fernandez, a junior at Blessed Trinity Catholic High School.

    St. George Village is all about building relationships — not only the relationships between staff and residents and their families, but also in the fostering of friendships among residents and in building partnerships between SGV and the community. One such partnership brings students in from neighboring Blessed Trinity Catholic High School to participate in activities with SGV residents.

    The teens help out with a variety of regular activities like serving refreshments at weekly parties and as callers on Bingo night, but they’re also a wonderful resource for special events that entertain and inspire residents.

    For example, students have participated in two fashion shows at St. George Village, modeling their attire for the Spring prom and then for the Homecoming dance in the fall. SGV Activities Coordinator Helen Hendricks says that the fashion shows are interesting for both students and seniors.

    “The students had great fun talking to our residents,” she says. “They enjoyed answering questions about their clothes and the dances, but they also enjoyed hearing the older people’s memories of their own high school days. Some of the students actually seemed even more engaged than the residents.”

    SGV Healthcare Activities Manager Renee Krosner says she has noticed several friendships springing up between the seniors and the teens because of the opportunities these activities present for intergenerational interaction.

    “A lot of these students want to help seniors because they’ve seen what their own grandparents needed. They just have that calling,” she states. “So, when they’re here at St. George Village, they do build relationships.”

    These friendships, many of which last even after the students graduate from high school, are beneficial for both generations.

    “The interaction with the younger generation really helps keep our residents interested and thriving,” says Hendricks. “But the students also get a lot out of these events. It’s fulfilling for everyone.”

    Posted in Knowledge Center, Partnerships, Residents Corner | 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 , , ,

  • Living With Macular Degeneration

    Breda Kosakowski’s macular degeneration may have affected her eyesight, but not her zest for living life to the fullest!

    St. George Village resident Breda Kosakowski has been living with macular deneration for the past 12 years. The disease, which causes loss of vision in the center of the visual field and leaves only peripheral vision, is a major cause of visual impairment in older adults.

    Undaunted by her diagnosis, Breda still lives independently and has found many aids to help her cope with her vision loss, such as a talking watch, a magnifying screen for reading books and magazines, and a magnifying glass for reading menus in restaurants. But some things were a little trickier to figure out, such as food preparation.

    “When I’d make a salad, I used to tease my husband about what he might find in it!” she laughs. “I couldn’t see the food I was chopping on my white cutting board. But using a black cutting board solved the problem.”

    In addition, Breda, who enjoys participating in fitness classes at SGV, was concerned that her disability would affect her ability to participate in physical activities. “I particuarly love line dancing, but worried that my impaired vision would keep me from being able to follow the steps,” she explains. “But we practice the steps before we try the dance and the instructor counts for us. I found my vision loss didn’t really affect me. I can still dance!”

    Breda adds that her fitness activities have contributed to her overall good health. “When I went for my most recent annual physical, I told my doctor about all of the exercise I get here at St. George Village,” she says. “I said that I do line dancing, yoga, tai chi, strength training, cardio and stretching. She was very impressed.”

    Breda has also revived her poker playing skills since coming to live at SGV four years ago. “I love poker! Some friends found ‘jumbo’ poker cards for me and the other players call out the cards as they’re dealt,” she explains. “I just have to remember everything they say!”

    Although Breda continues to visit her eye doctor on a regular basis, her eyes have been stable for quite a while. She considers herself fortunate. “As long as I’m stable, I’m good,” she says.

    Best of all, Breda says she’s never let her visual impairment interfere with her zest for life: “I’m busy every day of the week!”

    Posted in Independent Living, Knowledge Center, Residents Corner, Wellness |

  • 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 |

  • The Right Place at the Right Time

    Forrest and Marian Jones moved into St. George Village on opening day in 2005.

    “It’s like living in a neighborhood,” says Marian Jones when asked how she feels about St. George Village. “You know 100 percent of the people here, and everyone is on a first-name basis.”

    As SGV’s first residents, Marian and Forrest Jones literally do know everyone in the retirement community. They were first on the waiting list to move into SGV when it opened four years ago, and have been making friends ever since.

    “We had to leave our old neighborhood behind, but when we moved into St. George Village, we soon had 150 new friends,” Marian adds.

    The Joneses take full advantage of the many amenities and activities offered, including daily Mass, trips, games and special events. They also enjoy staying fit, making use of the fitness center and walking trail, and have used the community’s garden space to plant their own tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers.

    “We enjoy the scope of activities,” says Forrest. “There’s really no excuse for being bored here.”

    Although they are sometimes nostalgic for the house in which they lived for 44 years, the Joneses say they have no regrets about moving to their current home at St. George Village.

    “We downsized to about half the space of our previous home, but our apartment is what we really need at this stage of our lives,” explains Forrest. “Plus, we didn’t want to be separated if one of us eventually needed to be in an assisted living situation. We won’t have that worry here at St. George Village. This really was the right place…at the right time.”

    Posted in Independent Living, Residents Corner |

  • Take Steps to Stay Healthy…No Matter What Your Age!

    When it comes to good health, St. George Village resident Helen Paris is a walking advertisement for the power of proper nutrition and exercise. The vibrant 93 year old — an SGV charter resident who still resides in independent living — says she is a firm believer in taking steps to stay healthy, no matter what your age.

    “I suppose I was born moving! I’ve always been active and gotten a lot of exercise,” says Helen. “I’m not a fanatic altogether, but I must be doing something right.”

    Helen says she puts in about an hour and a half of exercise every day, varying her routine with yoga, tai chi, leg lifts, aerobics, walking, floor exercises, stretching and more.

    “I believe in working your body and using your own body weight mostly. I just try to do anything that will get my heart rate up,” she explains. “The exercise helps with my balance, too.”

    Helen also pays attention to her diet, filling her plate with lots of fruits and vegetables, chicken and cold water fish like salmon.

    In addition to keeping herself physically healthy, Helen shares a couple of other secrets to longevity.

    “For me, it’s important to stay busy and to be around other people,” she says. “And yes, some negative things will happen and you have to learn to cope with them. But I believe what makes us older people really thrive is using our energy and enthusiasm to enjoy life.”

    Posted in Independent Living, Lifestyle, Residents Corner, Wellness |