St. George Village Blog
Tag Archive: senior citizens
Posted on August 18, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
“I like the companionship. You always feel like you have friends here,” says Mary Shern, who moved to St. George Village in 2006. “It reminds me a little bit of living in the dorm in college — you can borrow whatever you need!”
That youthful college spirit is still quite evident in Mary’s vivacious, enthusiastic personality. The nonagenarian makes use of SGV’s indoor pool as often as possible, serves on the community’s food committee, has produced a couple of the Villagers shows and participates in the Great Decisions program…and also has just completed a soon-to-be-published book on the subject of being 90!
Mary’s life is a testament to the term “active aging.” Growing up in New York, she began working when she was just a teen.
“I started out in show biz, acting on radio soap operas. My first role was on the show, ‘Pepper Young’s Family’ — Burgess Meredith was Pepper! Later, I had a role on ‘When a Girl Marries,’” she says. “Then, I did an interview show for a while and years later, when I was living in Hawaii, I had a real estate show on Sunday afternoons called ‘The House Detective.’”
It was in New York as a young woman that Mary met and married her husband, a real estate developer…and that led to her second career as a realtor and a side job as an author.
“I was a real estate broker with my own company, teaching the business to agents who needed their licenses. I had my own style of teaching, so I wrote my own textbooks,” she explains. “I published three of those.”
She also wrote a novel that she says was “just happenstance. The Women’s Real Estate Association wanted me to write about how a housewife could get into the real estate business once her children were in school.”
Mary lived in Hawaii for 18 years before moving to Atlanta, where two of her children live, and where she continued working in real estate.
“At that time, the market in Atlanta was still pretty good,” she says. “I ran a real estate school and did a lot of speaking engagements and traveling.”
Finally, at the age of 90, Mary decided to retire. But that didn’t mean she retired to an easy chair. She wrote an autobiography just for her family, and then moved on to write the new book in progress.
“The books weren’t a big part of my career; they were more like an ancillary occupation at the time. But writing did become a kind of compulsion for me,” she laughs. “I don’t know how much longer I’ll do it, though.”
Posted on July 14, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
St. George Village residents turned out to cheer on the Gwinnett Braves in their game against the Norfolk Tides on July 11, 2013. The outing was one of SGV’s Thursday trips — organized day travels to fun and interesting sites and events around the north Georgia area. (By the way, the G-Braves bested the Tides in a 10-4 rout!)
Posted on July 8, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
If you’re ever invited to a free seminar that promises to teach you about investing or managing money in retirement, and that comes with a free meal, there may be a few facts you should digest first.
Research by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation found that 64 percent of Americans age 40 and older have been invited to so-called “free lunch” seminars. While a free meal or prize might be enticing, in many cases the goals of these seminars are to recruit new clients and sell products.
“Even when described as purely educational, free-meal seminars typically have one aim and that’s to sell you something,” said FINRA Foundation President Gerri Walsh. “That ‘something’ might be a book, a particular product or financial services. But just because someone buys you a meal doesn’t mean you have to swallow any pitch—that day or days down the road.”
Securities regulators such as FINRA conducted more than 100 examinations of free-meal seminars. In half the cases, invitations and advertisements contained exaggerated or misleading claims, and 12 percent of them appeared to involve fraud.
If you decide to attend a free-meal seminar, be cautious and informed:
• Watch out for conflicts of interest. Even if the people who host a seminar or speak at the event are industry experts, they might not be the ones actually paying for it. At times, insurance companies or mutual funds finance these seminars, expecting the speaker to drive sales of their products.
• Do your homework before the seminar. You can verify that the salesperson is licensed and the investment is registered at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s website.
• Ask questions while you’re there. What are the risks of this investment? How much does it cost initially to purchase the investment? For what type of investor is this investment a good idea? For what type of investor is this investment a bad idea?
• Don’t buy anything or open an account on the spot. The seminar might be intended just to introduce you to the product, with a hard sell later. After the event, do some research on your own. Understand the risks. While the prospect of high rates of return might sound tempting, remember that there may be additional risks or costs associated with the product.
• Savvy investors refuse to be rushed. A good investment will be available tomorrow or next week or next month when you’re ready and understand where your money is going. Rarely, if ever, do you have to invest your money on the spot.
For resources that can help you avoid investment fraud, visit the FINRA Foundation’s website.
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 11, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
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 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 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.