Resident Spotlight: Kaye O’Halloran

October 2, 2017

Kaye O’Halloran: Bay Area Born and Raised


You know a party went well when seven of the couples that met at it get married shortly afterward. Kaye O’Halloran just happened to be one of those brides.

But let’s back up for a moment, to a time before the infamous cocktail party.

Kaye was born in the Mission District of San Francisco, to parents who were also City-born and -raised. She attended St. Charles Borromeo Grammar School and Star of the Sea Academy High School. As a teenager during WWII, Kaye dutifully played City host to the many young GIs who descended upon the City.

“We had a lot of fun,” Kaye says, “but my group of girlfriends and I knew we didn’t want to marry someone from far away. We liked where we grew up and wanted to raise our families here.”

After the war, Kaye had a variety of professions, including working as a travel agent for Greyhound Sightseeing Tours in the City. As time went on, she and her close girlfriends decided they were ready to settle down and meet some nice boys, and so the cocktail party was planned.

“We got completely dolled up,” Kaye says. “We were serious about meeting someone.” That was also the case for Kaye’s best friend, Lorraine, whom Kaye befriended in kindergarten and stayed close with throughout their lives. Lucky for Kaye and Lorraine, love was definitely in the air the night of the party, and they each met their future husband that night.

“We all met and hit it off, and before you knew it, weddings were being planned,” Kaye laughs.

When asked if the weddings were modest affairs, given that there were so many to attend in their group of friends, Kaye replies, “No, not at all! We all went all out. Huge formal weddings, with china, furs, all of it.”

After the weddings, Kaye and her group of newly married friends stayed connected, raising their families together, with Lorraine and Kaye both relocating from the City to San Mateo. Once married, Kaye and her husband, Joseph, went on to adopt three children: Michael, Nancy, and Sheila. Raising a growing family kept Kaye on her toes, as did her work as a real estate agent. As their children grew, 5 grandchildren arrived, and now Kaye even has a great-grandbaby who lives just down the road, named Ace.

“His toys are all over here,” she smiles, pointing to a stuffed toy tucked at the top of the sofa. “I love having him nearby.”

When asked how she arrived at Sterling Court, Kaye gives a glowing review.

“I researched Sterling Court years ago when I was selling real estate and needed a place to recommend to my clientele that were selling their longtime homes,” she says. “I always felt good about Sterling Court and I’ve watched it really develop into its own community over the years.”

When the time came for Kaye’s dear friend and fellow cocktail party attendee, Lorraine, to move to more convenient accommodations, Sterling Court was selected, and when Kaye followed suit this past March, Sterling Court was the natural choice.

Read this article and more in our October newsletter.

12 Fun Facts About Coffee

September 28, 2017

12 Things You Might Not Know About Coffee


  1. More than 500 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year making coffee the world’s second most popular beverage. Water is No. 1.
  2. Coffee is the world’s most traded commodity after crude oil.
  3. In North America, coffee is grown only in Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
  4. The world’s first coffeehouse opened in 1475 in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul).
  5. Coffee grounds sprinkled on the ground around plants and garden areas will stop snails and slugs from eating the plants.
  6. Coffee contains more than 1,200 chemicals and over half of those are responsible for creating its flavor.
  7. The average coffee drinker consumes three cups of coffee per day.
  8. Three countries consume 65% of the world’s coffee: the United States, France, and Germany.
  9. The Japanese believe that bathing in coffee grounds fermented with pineapple pulp will reduce wrinkles and beautify the skin.
  10. Coffee beans are berries from the coffee tree bushes.
  11. Coffee tree bushes live, on average, 60 to 70 years.
  12. The first American to be granted a license as a coffee trader was Dorothy Jones of Boston in 1670.

Read this article and more in our September newsletter.

How to Protect Yourself from Falls

September 15, 2017

Fall Prevention


September 22, 2017 is the 10th annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day (FPAD)—celebrated, appropriately enough, on the first day of fall.

Preventing falls is important for all age groups, but it is particularly important for older Americans. Here’s why:

• 1 in 3 older Americans falls every year—with falls the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for those of us over age 65.

• More than 90% of older adults have a chronic health condition such as arthritis or diabetes that can increase the risk of falling.

• Every 11 seconds, an older American visits the ER for a fall-related injury.

• Falls result in hip fractures and other broken bones as well as head injuries.

That’s the bad news. But the good news—and it’s very good news, indeed—is that most falls are preventable.

Here are six tips from the Falls Free® program of the National Council on Aging. (For more information, including an excellent short video, visit the council’s site at

1. Find a balance/exercise program to increase your stability, strength, and flexibility and improve your gait. (Tip: Sterling Court has several great ones. See below for more info.)

2. Talk to your doctor if you’ve fallen or are afraid you’ll fall. (Your doctor or healthcare provider can assess your potential for falls.)

3. Check your medications. Any med or combination of meds can cause dizziness. (Tell your doctor or pharmacist what you’re taking, because even over-the-counter stuff can cause problems.)

4. Have a yearly eye and hearing exam. (Recent studies show that hearing problems can be linked to falls.)

5. Keep your environment safe. (That means improving lighting, removing obstacles, using non-slip mats in the shower, etc.)

6. Talk to your family. (Share any concerns you have and ask them to help you in your efforts to be fall-free.)

Improving your Balance

Sterling Court has a rich menu of balance improvement opportunities:

• Mind Jog & Exercise to Asian Music with Debbie Au – Every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in the Revere Room

• Senior Fitness Video – Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 11 a.m. in the Revere Room

• Sterling Walkers – Every Friday at 11 a.m., weather permitting

• Yoga with April – Every Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the Revere Room

• Shape up with Sofia De La Vega – Every Monday at 11 a.m. in the Revere Room

These terrific classes focus on balance, posture, core strength, stamina, and mental agility—all the things you need to prevent you from falling. An added bonus: You’ll have fun and sleep better, too.

For some up-close-and-personal tips on preventing falls, mark your calendar for 10 a.m., Friday, September 22 in the Revere Room. We’ll be celebrating Falls Prevention Awareness Day with a speaker!

Read this article and more in our September newsletter.

Resident Spotlight: Helen Pakush

September 1, 2017

Helen Pakush: At Home with Life



As a teenager, Helen Pakush was very involved with Ukrainian dancing—which is reflected in the decorative plaques that line the front door frame of her apartment. “I loved that kind of dancing,” she says, “and I still play many of my old LPs.”

Helen was born to Mary and Nicholas Pakush on the ethnically rich and vibrant Lower East Side of New York. Her parents emigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine, and found it a congenial place to raise their seven children. Helen’s father was a waiter on Wall Street, where he learned English and also to read and write. Helen’s mother was raised by her aunt and saved her earnings as a farm laborer to leave the old country. “My mother couldn’t read or write,” recalls Helen, “but she had great common sense. One day, I came home from school, crying because someone called me an ugly name, and she told me to recite ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will not hurt me.’”

After graduating from Washington Irving High School, where she excelled in math, Helen went to work for Equitable Life Insurance Company in its medical insurance lines. “I had wanted to be a nurse,” she said, “but my mother dissuaded me. She said I’d learn more as a secretary and get paid more. I think it’s the other way around these days.”

Helen met her late husband Nicholas, who was of Russian-Ukrainian background, at a picnic at College Point, N.Y. “I didn’t like him, and he didn’t like me. He said I was too skinny.” Still, Nicholas wrote to her when he went abroad to work as a civilian mechanic for the Boeing Company to assist Britain on a special project called Project 19. “He was abroad during the entire war,” Helen says. “He went to England, Africa, and India. That travel, I believe, was equivalent to a college education.”

Nicholas and Helen reconnected after the war and began to date. Nicholas worked in international sales for General Tire, and Helen was attracted by his excellent manners and work ethic. “Back in those days, we really dressed up to go on a date, and Nick loved to go to nice restaurants and Broadway shows.”

The young couple married and soon had three children—Barbara, Audrey, and Nicholas Jr. Nick was transferred to California, which Helen believes was “the best thing that ever happened to me.” After looking at various areas, including Foster City, which Helen laughingly describes as “looking like a sand dune at that time,” they moved to a new housing development on Los Altos Place in San Mateo.

Nick traveled extensively for business, and the children became involved in scouting, dance, and Little League baseball. Helen played “mother hen” to neighborhood children at the family’s backyard swimming pool and later went to work for the San Mateo County Medical Society. “It’s ironic,” she says, “that I never became a nurse but was involved in the medical field during my work life. My daughter Barbara is a nurse today and got her PhD in nursing from UC Davis.”

Helen has lived at Sterling Court for nearly a year and enjoys it. When asked to sum up her view of life, she points to her strong religious faith. “We’re all born with eyes, a nose, ears, and hands to work with,” she comments. “Our ten fingers remind us of the Ten Commandments. All we need to do is look at each finger and ask ourselves if we have followed the commandments that day. It’s so simple, and it has kept me on the right track.”

Read this article and more in our September newsletter.

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850 N. El Camino Real San Mateo, CA 94401 Phone: (650) 344-8200 Fax: (650) 344-7395

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