Things You Didn’t Know About Halloween

October 26, 2017

Trick or Treat! 


What do you know about the origins of Halloween? Did you know that Halloween is derived from two words: “Hallowed Eve”? “Hallowed” means “holy” and did you know the Holy Eve of October 31 was originally for Christians, the sacred evening before All Saints Day? All Saints Day is still observed as a day of remembrance and giving of thanks for all the saints who have died. In some cultures, family members of the deceased go to the graves of their departed loved ones and enjoy a family picnic there.

Did you know that the ancient Celts carved out large turnips and put lighted candles inside to drive away evil fairies? When Irish immigrants came to America by the millions to escape the potato famine, they changed the carving of turnips to pumpkins.

Our tradition of trick-or-treating is a rather recent one, but centuries ago on the eve of All Saints Day, poor people went door to door asking for handouts of food, and their requests were granted in hopes a good deed would ward off evil spirits and the ghosts of those in the past.

Did you also know that Americans spend more money on Halloween than on any other holiday except Christmas?

Read this article and more in our October newsletter

Being Elderly in the Technology Era

October 15, 2017

You’ve Got Mail!


At 92, my Mom’s hearing was declining and it was very difficult for her to have a telephone conversation with any of her 4 children or 6 grandchildren scattered across the country. Luckily, technology offers many alternatives, and learning to use email for the first time was a saving grace in keeping those lines of communication open and flowing. She learned to type at a young age, having been a secretary after high school, so she had a leg up when it came to learning to email. With computer and keyboard in hand, I traveled across the country, set up her very first computer, gave her a few lessons, and documented every step to leave behind as an instruction manual. I also set up a free program where I could remotely log into her computer screen if she got stuck and needed help after I went home.

This is just one of many stories we hear about seniors learning technology for the first time later in life. What can seem daunting and downright frightening at first can turn into a new routine with amazing results. Looking forward to seeing new emails in your computer inbox can be energizing and purposeful – something to look forward to each day. Composing emails – just short sentences or many long paragraphs – gives a new meaning to the word “conversation.” You may find that you are even more in touch with family members than you have been by phone just because of the convenience of emailing at any time of the day. While you wouldn’t dream of calling your daughter at 4:00 in the morning, you might wake up and not be able to get back to sleep. It could be the perfect time to compose an email to her and she will be so delighted to read it when she wakes up.

With so many people on email, this may also be a great opportunity for you to look up some old friends from high school, college, the military, or workplace and reconnect with them. Won’t they be surprised when they see your name in their inbox! Here at Sterling Court, an internet connection is available in each apartment (carrier fees apply) but even more exciting, we are just weeks away from providing Wi-Fi (wireless service, pronounced as if rhyming the words Why and Fy) throughout the entire complex. This means that if you are using email wirelessly on your smartphone or on a laptop computer, you could compose the email while sitting outside in our beautiful courtyard, the library, or the lobby. You would not have to be in your
apartment, although you will be able to use Wi-Fi in your apartment as well. We will announce more details about Wi-Fi very soon.

Many of you are already successfully using email to stay in touch with family and friends. If you would like to improve your skills, or learn how to set up an email account for the first time, we offer computer classes every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and can help you get started or answer your questions. Technology need not be overwhelming. If you embrace the idea, you may find a whole new way to “talk” to people all over the country and, for that matter, all over the world!

Read this article and more in our October newsletter.

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.

Learn More

We can help with apartment availability and scheduling tours, or send an application for residence. Let us know what you are interested in learning more about and how we can help you!


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

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