“I’m the oldest of 16 children,” Jean explained while sitting in her Sterling Court apartment. “You had to be strong-willed.”
Jean grew up on her family’s farm in Minnesota, but she had a bigger dream in mind: working for the airlines. She decided she wanted to move to California to make her dream happen. When her mother asked her why she thought she’d be able to get a job with an airline so easily, Jean displayed a dose of her trademark determination, telling her mother, “I don’t think I will—I know I will,” Jean said with a smile.
Her “go-get-it” attitude served her well in pursuit of her dream. United Airlines wanted to hire her, but insisted she move to Atlanta to work. Jean refused, more than once. “I’d been to Atlanta and didn’t enjoy it,” she said, “I wanted to come to California.”
United eventually relented, and Jean began working in the airline’s dispatch office at SFO. Although she left her job with United just a few years later, Jean had the good fortune of meeting her husband Julian (or “Gus” as everyone called him) while working there. He stayed with United and made a career for himself, while Jean pursued different career paths, including selling Mary Kay cosmetics for many years. “I like to be interested in what I’m doing, and I enjoy the challenge.”
Jean and Gus made the Peninsula their home, living in Burlingame and San Bruno. Together they had five children, and over the years several grandchildren. “I’m not sure how many!” Jean joked, laughing. “I think my parents had about 88 grandchildren. I know I have less than that!”
Gus passed away years ago, and since then, Jean has been staying active and keeping busy. She was a regular mass attendee at St. Robert’s Church in San Bruno, and on her first day at Sterling Court, she encountered one of her neighbors who was a fellow parishioner. “We both looked at each other and said, ‘What are you doing here?’” Each replied, ‘Well, I live here!’
Jean has remained active since moving to Sterling Court last August, taking full advantage of the transportation afforded to residents. “I take the bus everywhere… I like going out and staying busy.” She finds time to enjoy many of the activities that are offered, counting the exercise classes and Wii bowling as her favorites. She’s also made many new friends since moving here, including more people who attended the same church.
Still determined, still spirited, and still spunky – Jean Domingues’ address may have changed, but her personality remains the same. It’s clear that she’s found a home at Sterling Court. “Everybody here has been super nice,” Jean said, reflecting on her time here. “It’s just been unbelievable.”
Have you ever struggled to remember the name of an acquaintance, place, or even a favorite TV show? When you go out, do you have trouble recalling whether you turned off the stove or locked your front door? As frustrating as these occurrences may be, they’re also natural.
Minor memory lapses happen to people of all ages, though memory loss can increase with age and become more pronounced over the years.
Thankfully, there are several creative ways to help stave off memory lapses. The next time you find yourself struggling to remember something, try one of these tips and tricks:
Write Tings Down: It sounds obvious, but writing things down – an appointment, the name of someone you just met, etc. – can be a very helpful memory tool. Perhaps try keeping a journal of important dates and names that
you can easily refer to; this way, all the information you need will be in one convenient place.
Say Things Out Loud: If you’re having trouble remembering if you’ve completed certain tasks after leaving your home, try saying the task out loud as you’re doing it. For example, say, “I’m turning off the stove” as you turn it off . This gives you an extra verbal reminder when you’re racking your brain later trying to recall whether your stove is off or not. This can also be helpful when meeting someone new. If a person introduces himself as Bill, say, “Nice to meet you, Bill” in response. It will help you recall his name the next time you see him.
Use a Mnemonic Device: A mnemonic is any technique used to help you remember something. For example, when memorizing a list, try grouping the items as an acronym. If you need milk, apples, and cheese at the store, you can jog your memory by grouping them as “MAC” in your mind. Then instead of remembering three things, you only have to remember one word.
Have a Designated “Stuff ” Spot: Are you constantly misplacing your “stuff ,” whether it’s your keys, phone, wallet/purse, etc.? Having a designated area – a table by the front door, or a desk, for example – where you always drop your items when you come home will go a long way in helping you avoid scrambling to find something you need.
Use Visual Images: When learning something new, create a visual image in your mind to associate with what you’ve learned. It could be something simple, like a picture of a flower if someone’s name is Rose, or something more whimsical. Just make sure it’s memorable so you can associate it with the new thing you’ve learned the next time you need to remember it.
Concentrate and Relax: Plenty of things can be distracting when you’re trying to memorize something new, from a blaring TV screen to background noise on a busy street. Make sure to pay close attention and concentrate on whatever it is you’ll need to remember. It may sound simple, but a lack of initial concentration is a big reason why we can forget things so quickly.
If you still feel as though you’re having memory problems, be sure to rule out other causes of memory loss. If you suspect that you are having memory difficulties, consult your doctor.
When Bay Area native Beverly Phillips came to Sterling Court in September of 2017, things felt very familiar to her.
“My elementary school only went up to 6th grade, and for 7th grade we were bussed to a different school,” Beverly explained while sitting in her apartment at Sterling Court. “And that school was where Sterling Court stands today! What a small world.”
Life has truly taken Beverly full circle. After high school, she studied eclectic subjects – and played lots of tennis – at the College of San Mateo before transferring to San Jose State. After graduating, she became a teacher, a profession that would bring her immense joy and satisfaction over the next 32 years.
“I really enjoyed teaching!” Beverly shared. “I taught 2nd grade, 5th grade, and Junior High. I enjoyed aspects of all the different grades I had.”
During her career, Beverly applied for a leave-of-absence in order to teach children whose parents were serving in the military overseas. She was approved, and spent a year teaching in Germany.
“Teaching overseas was a wonderful experience,” she said. “It led me to want to teach social studies, which I ended up doing.” She enjoyed the experience so much, she did it again a few years later.
After taking an early retirement, Beverly moved to Auburn, CA. There, she pursued one of her favorite hobbies: golf.
“I lived right by a golf course and played all the time,” she said. “I even got a hole in one once!” She went on golf trips, playing on some of the best courses around the world. Her travels have taken her throughout most of Europe, twice through Russia, and twice through China – including once by boat. “That at was a long trip!” she laughed.
Beverly also gave back to her community, volunteering her time for several different organizations. She helped the 1st grade teacher at a local elementary school, worked for a thrift shop, and was an active member in the Assistance League, a volunteer organization comprised entirely of women., “A league of only women,” she said, proudly. “They could run the country!”
Keeping busy during retirement is something that remains important to Beverly. Besides golf, travel, and volunteering, she also keeps in contact with many friends from her teaching days – including the sister of a fellow Sterling Court resident – and has lunch with them often. She also makes time to see her nephew, who lives in San Mateo.
Since arriving to Sterling Court, Beverly has enjoyed many different activities. She counts the Friday lecture series with Michael Svanevik as her favorite, and has even attended his lectures elsewhere. A lifelong fan of pinochle, Beverly found other residents who enjoy the game and a group was formed that plays every Saturday.
Although she may be retired, it’s clear that a teacher’s soul still resides within Beverly. When asked what has been most important to her during her time at Sterling Court so far, she offered, “Helping new people. Every day I learn something new here, and I always pass it along whenever I can.”
TO TAKE UNDER ONE’S WINGS
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings and ye would not!”
This passage from Matthew 23:37 is the source of our present expression. This expression of protection like that of a mother bird over her young also appears in Psalms l,13:7 “Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.” It is amazing how long we have been saying some phrases – this one goes all the way back to the Bible written centuries ago.
TO BITE THE DUST
In the United States, it is always the hated villain who “eats” dirt or bites the dust when slain.
The picturesque phrase goes back to the ancient Greeks and is found in Homer’s The Illiad, Book II, lines 417-18. It reads “…his friends, around him, prone in dust, shall bite the ground.” Apparently, it is overused quite a bit now and implies little more that to suffer disaster of a moderate degree. Even a businessman “bites the dust” if he fails.
TO BE WELL HEELED
In these days, if one is well heeled, that person probably has plenty of money. He or she is well-to-do rather than down at the heels. Originally, in the 18th century in England, it was a game cock that was well heeled; that is, provided with a good “heel” or artificial sharp spur (or later razor blade) before it faced an opponent in the pit. A person, who had very nice shoes, likewise became seen as being well-heeled. He or she had a lot of money to look pretty sharp.
Every year, thousands of people of all ages fall victim to dishonest people out for money. Seniors are often targeted because scammers believe seniors are likely to have a savings nest egg readily available.
These scams usually start with a phone call, with the person on the other line asking you to send money. The reasons given vary, as we will soon see, but these callers can sound very persuasive and legitimate.
It’s important to be aware of these calls, and to remember that just because someone sounds genuine doesn’t mean they’re telling the truth. Let’s look at some of the most common scams, and how to protect yourself in case they come calling:
IRS IMPOSTER: Someone calls claiming to be from the IRS and states that you owe a tremendous amount in back taxes and penalties, and if not paid immediately, you’ll be subject to prosecution or arrest. Victims are instructed to pay by credit card, wire transfer, certified check, or even in gift cards.
Protect yourself: The IRS always sends letters about back taxes owed before calling anyone. And, a real IRS agent will never ask for immediate payment or threaten legal action. If you’re still unsure, contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.
MEDICARE BENEFITS: Callers will say you’re entitled to a refund and ask for your bank account number in order to deposit it. There are also callers who tell you that you’ve qualified to receive a free medical device but need to provide your Social Security number for enrollment verification.
Protect yourself: Medicare representatives contact people by first-class mail. They won’t call to enroll you in a drug plan or ask for payment over the phone. If you have any concerns, call the customer service number on the back of your Medicare card.
FISHING FOR NAMES: In this situation, someone calls you and says, “Hey, grandpa (or grandma), guess who this is?” in hopes you’ll respond with the name of one of your grandchildren. After “confirming” their identity, the caller will tell you he’s in trouble – maybe he’s been in an accident or has been arrested and needs money. Whatever the reason, the person will beg you to send them money for help.
Protect yourself: Ask the person on the phone some basic questions only your grandchild would know, such as the name of a family pet. Or say you’ll call them back and then call your grandchild or another relative to verify the situation.
SWEEPSTAKES WINNER: A caller contacts you with vague details about a sweepstakes you may have entered at a mall, or a restaurant, or anywhere – but more importantly, you won! All you need to do to collect your prize is send a few hundred dollars to cover taxes and processing fees.
Protect yourself: Legitimate sweepstakes never require you to pay fees to collect your prize. And if you can’t remember entering the contest, there’s probably a good reason for that – you didn’t!
If you get one of these calls, or one that sounds similar, always remember that most legitimate companies won’t ask you for payment information over the phone. Try not to take what they say at face value; instead, ask questions, be persistent, and don’t give out your personal information ever. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to hang up!
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