My Stars and Stripes symbolize “American the Beautiful.” They are man’s remaining hope for a lasting humanity. They are the haven for the oppressed and persecuted. They signify the right to worship God in one’s own way, the right to free speech and to peaceful assembly. They proudly fly over 200 million living souls and the ghost of those who died for them. Yes, I know you Americans cherish my “Stars and Stripes.” They have given you heart, hope, and strength ever since this nation was born. They have flown in times of trouble and in times of triumph, as a symbol of America’s unquenchable ideals, ever since those ideals were first proclaimed. They fly today as a sign that Americans proud of their country’s stirring heritage are determined to carry the American Dream Forward. Millions of you fly me or display replicas of me on your persons, homes, offices, and motor vehicles, but so should many, many more millions. Display my “Stars and Stripes” proudly. If we all show “My Colors,” we shall also show what a privilege it is “to be an American.” Remember, when you fly my colors, you salute our brave servicemen and the blessings you enjoy in this “The Greatest Sovereign Nation” in the world. With your strength, unity, spirit, my “Stars and Stripes” shall fly forever and remain the symbol of a free and mighty nation. Built on faith, trust, and the love of God, dedicated to the principles of “Freedom and Decency” for all.
One of the many perks of stepping out of the workforce and into retirement is an increased access to discounts from restaurants and retailers. Some establishments begin offering so-called “senior” discounts to patrons as young as 50, but 65 is generally the magic number to score some savings. Here’s a quick list of some possible savings to consider the next time you dine, shop, or travel.
From quick bites to sit-down meals, restaurants are well-known for offering discounts to seniors. Some eateries that have become quite reliable for their discounts include Arby’s, A&W, Wendy’s, Subway, and Burger King. Others can be hit or miss, but Applebee’s, Outback Steakhouse, or Sweet Tomatoes may also be game to relay a discount or free beverage if you ask. Many of these restaurants are franchises, which means the final call on whether a discount is offered is up to the individual owners, so be sure to ask before you order your meal.
Retailers also like to encourage senior shoppers by designating a special day of the week to off er discounts. Some department stores and Walgreens reserve the first Tuesday of each month to recognize shoppers aged 55+ with special discounts, and Kohl’s does so each Wednesday for shoppers 60+. Discounts may vary but you can expect a reduction in the range of 15%. For the super saver, Goodwill and Salvation Army have been known to off er additional savings to seniors on designated days of the week – please call them for details.
Save on services you would be paying for anyway, like oil changes and haircuts, just by asking for a senior discount. AT&T has a reduced-cost Senior Nation cellphone plan that offers low-cost nationwide calling. Both Great Clips and Supercuts have been reputed to off er 10% off haircuts for seniors, and Jiff y Lube and Midas each offer discounts on auto services.
Staying active is key to a healthy senior lifestyle, and there are many discounts on fun things to do. SilverSneakers is a free fitness program made available to those 62+ through Medicare that includes free access to 14,000 participating gyms. Visit silversneakers.com to check your eligibility. For a night out, most movie theater chains including AMC, Cinemark, and Regal off er senior discounts, and several have special midweek showings at a dramatically reduced rate.
When you’re ready for a change of scenery, Greyhound and Amtrak both off er reduced ticket prices, as do Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Carnival cruise lines. Marriott hotels can provide a discounted place to stay, and the National Park Service offers a $10 lifetime pass that you can use to see a host of beautiful sites across the nation.
Don’t forget that many discounts are available regardless of the date on your birth certificate. Websites like Groupon and bulk retailers like Costco off er a pathway to savings, or you can do some good old-fashioned shopping around to get the best deals.
William Smart was a Civil War Veteran who was widowed when his wife died in childbirth after delivering their sixth child. As an adult, Sonora Smart Dodd (one of Smart’s daughters) admired and appreciated her dad’s selfless love and strength in raising her and her siblings. After listening to a sermon on Mother’s Day in 1910 at her church in Spokane, WA, she wanted to find a way to honor her father. Dodd drew up a petition recommending adoption of a national Father’s Day. She chose the first Sunday of June that year (June 5) because it was her father’s birthday. Spokane Ministerial Association and the local YMCA supported it, but they pushed the date to June 19 so they had more time to prepare. Th rough Dodd’s efforts, Spokane celebrated the first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910. Over the next decade, places around the U.S. began celebrating this day. It wasn’t until 1966 though that President Lyndon Johnson signed a Presidential declaration announcing the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.
Dagne Krekorian’s Sterling Court home makes an immediate impression on its visitors. When I arrive to interview her, I am seated next to two remarkable collections – one of hats, displayed on shelves in her living room, and the second of vintage cigarette holders, pressed on velvet beneath the glass top of her coffee table.
I ask about her collections and learn just how representative of her life story they are. She begins, “I was born in beautiful downtown Eveleth, Minnesota. In 1939 we went to California for the World’s Fair, and in 1940 we moved to San Francisco because my older sisters, Viola and Aune, were both living there by then. They are 16 and 19 years older than me. I’m an afterthought,” she chuckles.
“In San Francisco, everything was bigger,” she tells me. “I was from a very small town in Minnesota, practically everyone there was a Finlander. It was very different, but I didn’t have any trouble mixing in.”
It was perhaps this dramatic shift that sparked Dagne’s love affair with seeing other cultures. “When I was 18 years old, I got on an airplane with my mother and we went to Hawaii. I was sitting there, and I thought, ‘There’s a job here I can do myself – the stewardess job.’ So, I lied about my age and got a job with United Airlines. You were supposed to be 21, and I was only 20 when I did that, but I got away with it!” she laughs.
“When I applied to United, I decided I would look ever so much older with a cigarette. So, I started with the cigarette holders. My friend and I went off to Asia and I bought my first one – this carved white one,” she points to one of the many intricately designed objects.
“United was also how I met my husband, Chuck,” she tells me. “He worked as a flight June 2018 engineer at the time and was on one of my flights. One day on a layover we went off and got married!”
The couple made their home in the Bay Area and raised two daughters, Lisa and Sarah. With young children, their travel remained within the U.S.
“The world traveling started up after the girls were grown,” she tells me. “When United merged with other airlines, we could travel globally. My idea of traveling wasn’t just to go to Europe. I wanted to see places where people didn’t do things the way we did them,” she muses. “Asia, the Middle East, everywhere. For some reason or other, I decided that I would get a hat from each place. They’re from all over – Tibet, and other farflung spots,” she gestures to the artfully arranged collection on the shelf above us.
This prompts me to ask Dagne about her favorite spot to visit.
“Oh, I couldn’t pick,” she says, earnestly. “I loved them all. They are each so different. We traveled a lot, saw a lot,” she recollects. “I had a wonderful time.”
Pets offer companionship, a purpose, and have been shown to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Furry friends also encourage exercise since they require walks or daily play and interaction to stay fit and active. They also contribute to boosting social interaction since they are natural ice breakers. Birds, cats, and small dogs are welcome at Sterling Court, so consider adding an animal companion to your home today.
Artistic ventures encompass a variety of hobbies that provide excellent health benefits. Knitting, scrapbooking, journaling, painting, and pottery are all activities that encourage mental focus and stimulation while also providing relaxation. The act of creating is also linked to self-esteem, especially as you see your artistic skills improve with each effort. Even better, making art with friends folds a social element into the hobby, keeping you connected to fellow hobbyists and creating an environment ideal for teaching, learning, and advancing your talents. Sterling Court offers a multitude of art classes that you can sign up for – take a look at our calendar on page 4 to see which classes suit you.
Volunteering is a hobby that pays returns twofold – to the recipient of your services and to you. Research has shown that the positive effects of volunteering include reduced rates of depression and isolation and increased emotional stability. The National Institute on Aging has reported that participating in purposeful engagements like volunteering can even lower the risk of chronic health issues and improve longevity.
Tutoring a younger generation, assisting neighbors with household tasks and errands, or volunteering with animals or at a cultural institution are just a few ways you can dedicate your time and effort to your surrounding community.
Whether an actual card game, like bridge, or another activity like Scrabble or bingo, playing games is a great hobby for socializing and keeping sharp. Research shows that seniors who regularly participate in mentally stimulating games have healthier brains and better recall than those who do not. Scientific studies have also shown that those who utilize their brains in this way can build up brainsaving reserves that help delay the effects of Alzheimer’s and allow for a longer, healthier life.
At Sterling Court, we offer a full calendar of activities that cover a variety of interests – from history lectures to floristry demonstrations to Rummikub. Schedule time to participate in your favorite activity or take time to explore something new that you may not have tried before. You’ll gain the positive benefits that accompany engaging in a hobby and may even uncover a hidden talent in the process!
Read this article and more in our May newsletter.
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