Stress-Free Travel for Seniors

April 26, 2018

Smooth Sailing: Top Tips for Stress-Free Travel

One of the joys of retirement is finally having the free time to check things off your wish list that you previously only dreamed about. For many, seeing the world tops that list. Travel offers education, experiences, and the opportunity for new friendships that are truly priceless. Whether you want to visit somewhere for the very first time or have a favorite spot you would like to see again, here are a few tips to help ensure your travel experience is as smooth as possible:


Key Documents

Nothing can derail a trip faster than losing your key documents – driver’s license, passport, or credit card. Make photocopies of these and leave them with a trusted friend you can call upon if you find yourself in a jam. You can also snap photos of important documents and digitally store them someplace they can be easily retrieved.

Remember to notify your credit card and cellphone companies about your travel plans so that they do not suspend service over any suspected fraudulent activity.

Health Habits

It’s hard to have fun if you aren’t feeling well, so taking care of your health should be a top priority during your trip. Be sure to drink plenty of water to
stay well hydrated and store necessary vitamins and prescription medications in their original bottles to avoid airport security delays. Pack extra eyeglasses and hearing aid batteries, as replacing these in an unfamiliar city or country may be challenging.

Give your back a break and pack as lightly as possible. Research the weather and pack an abbreviated wardrobe in which key pieces can be used for multiple outfits to cut down on baggage. If you can avoid it, do not check a
bag – you’ll save on bag fees as well as time standing at the baggage claim carousel once you arrive at your destination.

Consider investing in traveler’s insurance. Medicare is not valid outside the U.S. except in very limited circumstances, so it’s important to understand what your supplemental insurance will cover when traveling abroad and plan to fill in any gaps in coverage.

Tech Support

The days of labeling yourself as a tourist by carrying a giant paper map are over. Now, thousands of maps fit right in your pocket via free applications on your smartphone. Gone, too, is the need for a paper translation book, as there are several powerful applications that can translate text and speech for you in real time. Depending on where you are headed, internet and cellphone service may be spotty, so downloading a few key maps and phrases offline as a backup is always wise.

Traveling in the digital age puts a host of conveniences right at your fingertips and planning can help prevent other snafus that may arise. Now is the time to embark on the trip of a lifetime. Start planning your next great
adventure today!


Read this article and more in our April newsletter.

Resident Spotlight: Mil Sidell

April 5, 2018

Mil Sidell: Surrounded by Friendly Faces

Warm and friendly, Milroy “Mil” Sidell has an appreciation for the light-hearted. This is made evident by his extensive collection of caricatures, a select few of which adorn the walls of his Sterling Court home.

UntitledMil was born and raised in blizzardy Grand Island, Nebraska, and stayed in state to attend the University of Nebraska where he studied business administration. “The winters were very cold, but the summers were even hotter,” Mil recalls. When his parents retired to the more temperate climate of Los Angeles, Mil followed their lead and moved out west upon graduation. “I was talking about the cold weather at lunch today and said that I never want to go back to shoveling snow!”

Once he arrived in California, Mil embarked on a career in business, specifically working with health insurance claims. He worked for a few companies over the years but ultimately spent 24 years with American Insurance Consultants until retirement. He enjoyed his life in Los Angeles and still has the home there that he bought 50 years ago.

When asked what brought him to the Bay Area, Mil tells me it was his family.

“I have a son, Michael, and daughter-in-law, Emily, who have my two grandchildren, Cori and Matthew,” Mil tells me. “Matthew works in San Jose and Cori is at Carnegie Mellon, but I talk to Michael every day and see him frequently. Tomorrow we are going to Benihana to celebrate my birthday.” Mil’s birthday was last month on March 14.

Mil cherishes the memories with Michael and his grandkids, recalling a rainy Disneyland vacation as one particularly fond, albeit wet, adventure he had with his family years ago. But with friends, it’s all about cruises and gambling.

Back when Mil was working, he and a group of coworkers would visit Las Vegas regularly, and in Los Angeles he would spend early evenings after work at The Bicycle casino near his home. Over the years Mil has also taken several cruises to the Bahamas and Mexico.

A Sterling Court resident since December, Mil is settling in well and likes the full social calendar. “I enjoy the people, food, and activities. We just took a trip to Graton (Casino) and I had a good time with that,” he smiles.

Back to the caricatures, Mil indicates a favorite that he keeps close at hand. “That’s my wife, Paula,” he says, pointing to a cheerful drawing. “The kids visit and I like to have her picture here where her son and grandkids can see her.”

Whether through the engaging conversation or the colorful portraits around him, one thing is sure: a visit with Mil is guaranteed to be full of smiling faces.

Read this article and more in our April newsletter.

How Music Benefits Older Adults

March 31, 2018

Music to Our Ears: The Benefits of Music for Older Adults

Untitled1It has been said that music is the universal language of mankind. Whether singing “happy birthday,” playing in your high school marching band, or attempting more serious instrument mastery, music has likely played a part
in your life. But did you know that there are a variety of benefits to incorporating music into your life, especially as you age?

Physical Fitness

Studies have shown that when older adults listen to music while exercising they gain increased mobility and coordination. One study compared two groups of seniors, one that exercised to music and one that exercised without it. The group that used music saw improved balance and a reduction in falls outside of their exercise routine as the benefits attributed to music carried into their daily lives.

Music is also a great motivator for physical activity, and matching the rhythm and tempo to the activity is shown to improve stamina and performance.

Disease and Illness Prevention

Music has also been shown to improve sleep, which helps protect against serious medical conditions including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Soothing songs with a slow rhythm of 60 to 80 beats per minute, the low end of a resting heart rate, can encourage your brain to sync your heart rate with the beat of the music and lull you into a restorative sleep.

In a hospital setting, music has been shown to significantly lower the heart rates and regulated blood pressure and respiration rates in patients who had undergone surgery. Even cancer patients have shown benefits from music. A clinical trial revealed that participants of a research-based group drumming program showed an increase in the cell activity that boosts the immune system to fight cancer.

Mental Well-Being

Studies have shown that music reduces stress and anxiety and can even reverse stress at the molecular level. One study on mental well-being tested cognitive and mental speed tasks, such as trying to recall a list of 15 words immediately after a short study period. One group completed the tasks to no music, one to white noise, one to Mozart, and one to Mahler. Interestingly, episodic memory was not improved in any situation, while semantic memory was better with music, and processing speed was improved specifically in the Mozart group. Researchers factored emotions into the study, and a mood questionnaire indicated that Mozart generated higher happiness than the other three sound choices.

Another study showed that adults ages 60-85 who did not have previous musical experience showed improved memory and processing speed after three months of 30-minute weekly piano lessons coupled with three hours of weekly practice. Those who began playing an instrument as a child have also been shown to have preserved cognition in older age.

Regardless of age, music can benefit us all. From enhancing mood to improving sleep and reducing stress, it’s never too late to start incorporating music into your daily life to begin enjoying its positive effects.

Read this article and more in our March newsletter.

Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring!

March 20, 2018

Spring: Re-emerging and Reawakening

UntitledThe spring equinox is celebrated as the first day of spring when day and night are equal in both hemispheres. All of nature is stirring now and showing signs of activity after the winter sleep. Buds are bursting on and seeds are germinating. Weather is beginning to warm and we see nature’s bounty re-emerge. Birds are chirping, bees are droning, and an abundance of blooming flowers signal the end of winter. The power of the sun is increasing, the days are lengthening, and the nights are shortening. We begin to feel empowered to reach out for what we want and to take risks, strike out on our own, go for walks, and connect to the Earth again.

Even though our minds are eager for the warm weather ahead, our bodies are oftentimes weighed down by the sluggishness of winter. Luckily, there are many ways to detoxify the body, mind, and spirit from the sludge of winter. Exercise, especially yoga, cleanses the body by stimulating the lymphatic, circulatory, and digestive systems to rid the body of toxins and waste. Why not join one of our exercise classes or the yoga class?

Read this article and more in our March newsletter.

Resident Spotlight: Patricia O’Brien

March 8, 2018

Patricia O’Brien: A Life of Many Seasons

Patricia O’Brien has led a multifaceted life, living in different climates, countries, and circumstances – from young Navy wife to entrepreneur to retired European explorer.

Patricia O'BrienOnce the children reached adulthood and left the home, a new life season began. Tilt accepted an assignment in Alberta, Canada, and he and Patricia made a home there for 5 years. “Sixty degrees below zero was the coldest we ever lived through there. It wasn’t near that temperature most of the time. There was also a lot of sunshine and long summer days,” Patricia recalls. While Tilt worked, Patricia enrolled in various college courses, studying accounting, French, and painting. These courses laid the foundation for their next phase. When Tilt retired, the couple moved to San Jose and Patricia created her own business, the Yarn Studio, and ran it for 10 years. Patricia tells me, “When I had the shop, Tilt said one day, ‘If you ever sell the shop, I’d like to live in Europe for a while.’ Sure enough, the shop sold a month later!”

The couple then embarked on their European adventure. Patricia recalls, “We happened to be in Germany the day the wall came down and Germany was reunited. I remember people lined up at the post office wanting to get the first printing of the new unified stamps.”

Upon returning to California, Patricia put her accounting knowledge to work and started a career as an Enrolled Agent, preparing income tax returns for her neighbors and, later, a full book of clients. During this time, Tilt participated in an active retirement club where he planned group sightseeing trips around the world. “We visited places like Rome and the Greek Isles. It was a wonderful opportunity,” Patricia says.

Now at Sterling Court, Patricia finds herself in a new season of life. She still enjoys painting and recently displayed several of her works in the Sterling Court community art show. Staying connected to family also remains important to Patricia, and her circle has grown exponentially over time to now include 12 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Closer to home, her sister, Arlene, lives just across the hall. Speaking of her sister, she smiles, “We get along very well. We spend a lot of time together, but we also make a point to meet other people here.”

Read this article and more in our March 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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