Let’s Play a Game… Again!

May 13, 2019

iStock-660863480Whether it’s to stay in touch with loved ones, access email, or keep track of appointments, smartphones play an important role for many Sterling Court residents. But there are also several great games for your smartphone that are fun and can help keep your mind sharp – and a variety you can play with your friends.

Mobile games are a great way to pass the time and usually easy to learn. Many of them are free to download and play, too. And if mobile games aren’t your cup of tea, there are a number of great board and card games that you can play with friends and family – you might even find yourself organizing a Sterling Court game night!

You can find these free mobile games by opening the App Store on your smartphone and searching for them by name, while most of the traditional games we mention can be found at toy stores like Five Little Monkeys in Burlingame and Talbots Toyland in San Mateo. And remember, some of these mobile games, while free to download, may ask you if you want to make purchases within the game for extra levels, upgrades, etc. Disregard these prompts and continue to enjoy the games for free. And if you have any questions about downloading games, the Sterling Court computer classes with Juan are a great place to learn.

Mobile Games

Words With Friends: A game very similar to Scrabble that matches you with a randomly selected player or a friend or family member who has also downloaded the game. Challenging and fun, some of the most competitive games can take days to complete. Practice with this game and then join in the Scrabble games at Sterling Court!

Candy Crush: One of the most popular mobile games of all time, Candy Crush is a puzzle game that asks you to match like candy pieces together to clear a level. Beware, because it can be very addicting!

Word Search Pro: If you love working on word search puzzles but don’t want to keep buying puzzle books, try this game instead.

Solitaire: Do you love to play solitaire but don’t have a deck of cards handy? Or are you unable to shuffle cards in order to play? Problem solved! The classic game in all its glory is readily available on your smartphone.

Dots: Simple, fun, and addicting, Dots is a game that challenges you to connect dots of the same color vertically, horizontally, or in a square. It doesn’t sound like much, but it can be incredibly challenging.

Jigsaw Puzzles Real Jigsaws: All the fun of completing a jigsaw puzzle without worrying about where to put it once you’ve completed it. It’s easier on your hands, too.

Traditional Games
(taken from www.greatseniorliving.com)

Cranium: Be the first to circle the board by successfully solving puzzles and other challenges that will have you acting, guessing, sculpting, sketching, and humming.

Ticket to Ride: Claim as many North American railway routes as you can by collecting illustrated train cards and reaching more cities than your opponent within a short amount of time.

Bugs in the Kitchen: Set the path and lure the little scuttling bug into your trap before anyone else. No Thanks! A card game where you try to get the lowest score by constantly weighing the potential consequences of picking up a particular card or playing one of your chips.

Liar’s Dice: Outlast your opponents by successfully deceiving them and recognizing when they are bluffing you.

Balderdash: Fool the other players by trying to make them believe your fake answers or definitions represent the truth about obscure words, people, or movies.

Fred and Barbara McCollum: Blessed to Be Together

April 30, 2019

SALE (1)On the day I arrived to interview Fred and Barbara McCollum, it happened to be their 61st wedding anniversary. Considering how impressive that number was to someone who hasn’t even been married for 5 years, I wanted to know their secret.


“Patience,” Fred says, laughing. “To be with me for 61 years, Barbara needs a lot of that.”


All joking aside, it is abundantly clear that Fred and Barbara have shared a lot of love over the past 61 years. And it all started because of Fred’s persistence.


As a salesman for the Stanley Bostitch company, Fred sometimes had to call in orders and the person on the other end of those calls was Barbara. “It was her voice,” Fred recalls. “It was so nice, I had to meet her.” He asked Barbara out, and she refused – more than once. But that didn’t stop Fred, and he kept trying until Barbara said yes. They’ve been together ever since.


Fred and Barbara have lived in California for most of their lives, although neither was born here. Fred, a native of Massachusetts, moved west in 1953 after serving in the Navy. Barbara grew up in Washington state and moved to the Bay Area after college. “I wanted to get some sun!” she says, smiling. Fred’s work brought them to Chicago for a few years, but they found their way back to the Bay Area.


Fred had a very successful career with Stanley Bostitch, rising to the rank of regional manager and even hiring the first female salesperson for the company. Barbara stopped working once they had children, and she concentrated on raising their three kids until they all made it to college. After that, she took a position as a secretary for a private Christian school. “I loved that job,” Barbara says. “God provided me with a wonderful opportunity there.”


A strong faith is a constant in the couple’s life together. Barbara counts Philippians 2:3 as a roadmap for how they both choose to live, saying, “It says to think more highly of others than you do yourself. That’s how we try to live each day.” Family is also extremely important to them, especially considering just how big theirs happens to be: they have three children, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. They’re so close to their family that Barbara can’t bring herself to use the term “in-law” when it comes to the spouses of her kids. “Law makes it sound like a legal obligation,” she says. “We love them. It’s love above everything – always.”


Since moving to Sterling Court last September, Fred and Barbara have settled in quickly. “Time flies here,” Fred says. “We love everything about it.” Since neither of them drive, the couple appreciates the rides Sterling Court provides to their doctor’s appointments, shopping trips, and church services. They are also fans of the staff and what they provide the residents. “They do everything for you here,” says Barbara. “What’s not to like?”


An avid sports fan and a decorated high school athlete, Fred still keeps up with his beloved Red Sox and is planning a trip to Fenway Park in April with his sons. Barbara started a Bible chat group at Sterling Court that meets two times a month and hopes to grow its membership as the weeks go on. And while they still keep busy, it’s clear that the time they spend together brings them the most joy.


When I ask again them for their secret to staying together for so long, it isn’t just Fred who provides an answer. Barbara has one, too. “Always look on the bright side. There will always be others who have it worse than you do. So, look at the bright side and appreciate what you have.” And when I mention that 61 years is a long time, Barbara just smiles and looks at Fred.


“We still have a long way to go together,” she says, as the two share a smile. Indeed, they do.

How To Find Your Long-Lost Friends

April 9, 2019

Granddaughter showing her grandmother something on laptop.

Do you ever think back to your high school days and wonder what happened to a good friend you never saw again after graduation? Or perhaps you were in the military and want to reconnect with the people who served in your unit. Maybe you lost touch with old co-workers years ago and think about what they might be up to these days.

People come and go in our lives all the time, but there are some we wish we’d held onto and stayed in touch with. If you find yourself in this category, there’s hope: today, finding your long-lost friends has never been easier. Here are some tips for starting the journey:

Collect and Gather Information

First things first: before you start, gather and organize all the information you have or can remember about your friend. Their full name, birthdate or approximate age, nicknames, past addresses or phone numbers, old schools, previous employers – all of this can help in your search. If you don’t have any of this information, don’t worry – there are still ways of finding someone. But the more info you have, the easier it will be.

Use Online Search Engines

You know about Google, but you may not know the most effective ways to search within it. Type in the name of your friend in quotation marks – such as “John Smith”– and then add any of the other details you may remember after that. “John Smith” San Francisco, for example. Or “John Smith” US Air Force 1955. You can comb through the results and see if your friend happens to pop up. And if you don’t have any luck with Google, lesser-known search engines such as Bing.com may yield different results.

Join Social Media

Nearly 68% of adults in the United States are on Facebook, and the share of older Americans on the site has doubled since 2012. Finding people is relatively easy on Facebook, and there are group pages on the site for high school graduating classes, military units, and more. And if you’re worried about online privacy, there are steps you can take on the site to make your profile more secure. You can learn more about online security at the Sterling Court computer classes offered every Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Bristol Room.

Join Alumni and Military Websites

Many high schools and colleges around the country have their own alumni websites, and there are also all-encompassing sites like Classmates.com that have several alumni classes to look through. Many of these sites have contact information for their members, too. For the military, there are many government websites that house old records, such as the National Archives. There are also sites like the “Buddy Finder” on Military.com that are the Armed Forces version of the school alumni sites. Some of these sites cost money to join, so be sure to search around for one that’s free of charge.

Try the Library

If going online doesn’t appeal to you, there’s an old-fashioned option that might work. ReferenceUSA is a database that provides the most up-to-date information you can find about people all over the country. The San Mateo Public Library has access to the service, and you can use it for free with your library card. Librarians will be able to help walk you through the process of searching for your friend, too.

With a little bit of effort, you’ll be reconnecting with your long-lost friends in no time!

Sally Bernstein: Always on the Move

April 4, 2019


Sally Bernstein has been all around the world. Name a place, and she’s probably been there: she’s traveled through Europe, visited Japan and south- east Asia, ventured down under to Australia and New Zealand, and toured through South America. When asked how many countries she’s actually been to, she can’t answer – there are too many to remember.

But when she’s asked why she wanted to visit so many places around the world, Sally has an answer at the ready. “I wanted to see as much of the world as I could,” she says, “and I wanted to see it when I could.”

Being on the move has been something of a constant in Sally’s life. Originally from a North Dakota town of 6,000 people, she spent two years at the University of North Dakota and two years at the University of Minnesota studying to become a dental hygienist with the encouragement of her father, who was a dentist. When she graduated, Sally made the decision to move to San Mateo even though she didn’t know a soul in the Bay Area. “I wanted to get away from the weather,” she says, laughing.

Sally spent the next 48 years as a dental hygienist, getting to know generations of patients along the way. “I treated parents, their children, and then their children’s children,” she says. “I knew them all.” After retiring, Sally volunteered her time to organizations helping veterans and it quickly became her passion. She belongs to the Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Legion, and donates her time to veteran’s hospitals in the area.

“I always say ‘thank you’ to any veteran I see,” she says. “The way we treat our veterans in this country isn’t right. I want to do whatever I can to help.”

Through it all, Sally never lost her enthusiasm for travel. She visited China in 1971 just as it was opening its doors to the rest of the world. She counts Turkey as one of her most favorite places to visit, saying, “The people there were very nice, and it was an interesting country to see.” Traveling the world also instilled in her an appreciation for what she has in the United States. “You see how others live, the different conditions,” she says. “We have so much here. You appreciate what you have so much more when you get back home.”

Sally now calls Sterling Court home and couldn’t be happier about it. She’s made great friends since moving in last September and enjoys many of the activities and classes that are offered. “I’m a big history buff,” she says, “so I really enjoy the history classes they have here.” She also enjoys the chair yoga classes and spends time on the exercise bikes in the fitness center. Always one to take care of herself, Sally still goes to the gym twice a week.

Living at Sterling Court has other perks, according to Sally. “I love that I don’t have to cook or clean!” she says with a laugh. She’s also thankful for the staff. “I love all the people here, they couldn’t be nicer. You’re here one day, they already know your name.”

Having lived such an eventful and adventurous life already, it’s fair to wonder if Sally has a philosophy she espouses or a mantra to live by. Turns out she does, and it applies to her perfectly.

“You just have to keep moving,” she says. “That’s all.”

Staying Healthy: Everyday Dietary Tips for Seniors

March 20, 2019

iStock-906818396As we grow older, our dietary needs change. The foods we used to love may not agree with us anymore, and lifestyle changes might be necessary for the benefit of our health.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still enjoy our favorite meals; instead, it means we must be more aware of what we’re eating and sometimes make healthier choices. Here are some foods to both avoid and seek out as we get older in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle – and remember

to always check with your doctor first before making any major dietary changes.

Avoid: High-Sodium Foods

Too much salt in a diet can lead to health problems, especially for those with a history of hypertension. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends anyone over the age of 70 to limit their sodium intake to 1,200 milligrams per day, or around two-thirds of a teaspoon. A good way to cut back on salt is to read the labels of any pre-packaged foods you buy – you may be surprised by the amount of sodium you find. And if your food is bland, try adding different herbs and spices for added flavor rather than table salt.

Seek Out: Fish

Fish is a wonder food for seniors containing many nutrients that are beneficial. Seafood is high in omega-3 fatty acids which have been found to combat heart disease,

Alzheimer’s, and degenerative eye diseases, to name a few. If you don’t like seafood, Omega-3 supplements are available; however, they don’t have the same amount of nutrients you would get from eating fish alone.

Avoid: Caffeine

Not only can caffeine keep you awake, it can also in- crease anxiety and make your heart beat irregularly – which is highly dangerous for anyone with a heart condition. It may be best to avoid caffeine altogether, but sodas should especially be avoided since they also contain huge amounts of sugar as well as caffeine.

Seek Out: Water

It sounds simple enough, but how often do we go through most of our day without drinking any water? As we age, we tend to have a reduced sense of thirst, meaning we may miss the telltale signs of dehydration. Drinking water every day is important to overall health, though how much of it varies by the individual. Make sure to ask your doctor how many glasses of water per day you should be drinking, especially if you have kidney or liver issues.

Avoid: Empty Calories

Foods like potato chips, donuts, or French fries may satisfy hunger, but they won’t provide you with any nutrients you need; instead, all they’ll give you are a few extra pounds to work off. And since our activity levels tend to drop off as we get older, working off extra weight only gets harder. Avoid the situation all together by saying no to empty calories.

Seek Out: Fiber

Our digestive system slows as we get older, which can lead to issues like constipation. Foods rich in fiber help to move food through the digestive track and have also been shown to help combat heart disease and high cholesterol. Wholegrain breads and pastas, brown rice, and vegetables are just a few foods rich in fiber.

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 sarah.stcharles@sterlingcourt.com

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