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Senior Saving Secrets: The Best Hidden Discounts You Never Knew Existed

June 21, 2018

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 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.

Resident Spotlight: Arlene Murphy

February 5, 2018

Arlene Murphy: City Sophisticate

Arlene Murphy is a city person, that much is clear. When I meet her on a balmy California day and comment on the warm weather, she indicates that while she appreciates the temperate climate, cold weather is OK, too, especially when it’s accompanied with all the amenities of a bustling city. 

Born and raised in Pocatello, Idaho, Arlene started off working for the Union Pacific Railroad until junior college, and eventually set out for the University of Michigan to pursue a degree in nursing. Though she ultimately decided against a nursing career, the move was still a success, since it brought her one step closer to moving to Chicago, where she really hit her stride.

“I really enjoyed Chicago,” she tells me. “I worked for a big manufacturing company first, then moved to a little candy company for several years after that,” Arlene says. “While I worked, I finished my bachelor’s degree in the evening, and then took a job in hospital personnel. I stayed at the hospital and eventually worked with the nursing students while I obtained my master’s degree.”

When asked what attracted her most to city life – the shopping, scenery, museums, or something else – she enthusiastically replies, “All of the above! I liked the variety, it was just fascinating.”

She continues, “When I first moved to the city, I shared an apartment with two other ladies right downtown. It was so elegant. We were near the Palmolive Building and I remember seeing its beacon shining and how impressive that was. Now that building is dwarfed by everything else around it! It was amazing to see the city change over the years that I lived there.”

Regarding her Chicago neighborhood, she says, “I lived in Near North, a tight-knit community where I knew my neighbors. We worked for several years to have it recognized as a historical district, which it eventually was.”

Her Near North home was a labor of love. “At that time, rehabbers were buying old houses and fixing them up. I didn’t set out to do that, but I
found an 1880s house that I liked, and it needed a lot of work. I bought it and spent 5 years fixing it up.”

Asked about making the transition from busy urban life to calmer California, Arlene muses, “I had been in and out of here to visit on holidays and I always quite liked it.”

Arlene spent 50 years in her beloved Chicago before relocating to San Jose, where she lived close to her sister Patricia. After several years in San Jose,
the sisters decided to move to Sterling Court to be closer to Patricia’s children.

While her urban landscape has changed, Arlene’s upbeat attitude and thirst for variety remain the same. Now, she does her downtown exploring on Burlingame Avenue and says, “It’s changed a lot here, too. It’s lovely in its own way. I’m enjoying downtown Burlingame and meeting everyone here at Sterling Court.”

Tips for a Balanced Diet

February 1, 2018

Balanced Eating for a Healthy New Year

The new year is the perfect time to reset your eating habits from indulging in holiday treats to building healthy habits that will keep you going all year long.

Here are a few tips for balanced eating that are certain to start your new year off right:

1. Go Green

Plant-based foods are the foundation to a healthy diet and play a vital role in delivering the vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to ward off conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables that represent a rainbow of colors will liven up your plate and diversify your diet. It is recommended that women aged 51 and over have 2 cups of raw or cooked vegetables per day, and 1.5 cups of raw fruit. For men, these recommendations are 2.5 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit.

2. Pack in Protein

Protein offers several benefits including appetite suppression due to it slow-digesting nature and trigger of satiety hormones. Lean proteins such as chicken or turkey are best, though be aware that sodium may be contained even in fresh poultry as the result of taste-enhancing solutions that contain salt. Ask the deli to ensure the meat you choose does not have added sodium, and pay close attention to the nutrition label on processed meats to limit your sodium intake. Though some fat is acceptable, try to limit sources high in fat, such as red meat. There are also many vegetarian protein sources that you may incorporate into your diet, including eggs, cheese, nuts, beans, tofu, and yogurt.

3. Stay Hydrated

Just as important as selecting the right foods, liquids are also crucial for a healthy body. Water should be your go-to beverage throughout the day. Unsweetened tea and coffee are also good choices, but beware sugar-packed beverages marketed as orange, cranberry, or apple juice that often contain little natural juice. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation, with a recommendation of one drink per day for women, and two for men.

4. Take Your Vitamins

Though food should be your main delivery system of vitamins via a balanced diet, as the body ages, so too does its ability to absorb certain vitamins. For example, vitamin D, necessary for calcium absorption, is typically delivered via the sun through our skin. As the body ages, skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing the vitamin. A similar situation exists for B12, which is typically absorbed from the food breakdown process with the help of gastric acid in the stomach. Aging can reduce these acids and thereby miss absorbing B12 from food. Therefore, these and other vitamins may be best delivered on a supplemental basis, so check with your doctor to ensure you are getting the correct amount for your specific situation.

A sensible diet and active lifestyle are your best defense against age-related ailments. Learn more about these tips via the National Council on AgingChooseMyPlate, and your personal health care professionals. Make 2018 a year full of healthy choices to live your best life!

Hat History

The History of Hats

People have covered their heads with various materials to protect themselves from, heat, rain, or other elements since ancient times. The first recorded use of a hat with a brim was in the 5th century B.C. in Greece. The felt petasos was a wide-brimmed hat worn by huntsmen and travelers for protection from the elements. This hat was popular into the Middle Ages.

Another early hat was a brimless hat made out of felt shaped like a truncated cone. The Greeks copied the design from the Egyptians and named it pilos, which means “felt.” Over the years, there were variations throughout Europe. With the rise of universities in the late Middle Ages, the pileus quadratus, or four-sided felt hat, became the head covering for scholars. It later became known as the mortarboard worn by graduates.

Throughout history, men have worn hats and it was acceptable for them to keep them on indoors, even in churches. In the 16th century, men wore false hair and wigs. As the size of the wigs grew, it became impossible for most men to wear hats. As the fad of wigs declined towards the late 1700s, men started wearing hats again and new customs included men not wearing hats indoors, in church, or in the presence of women. In addition, hats for men were considered important items.

In contrast, women wore soft head coverings such as veils, kerchiefs, and hoods, but not hats. Bonnets were known as small, soft hats. Most European women wore plain caps indoors and hoods outside. In the late 1700s, women in the upper and middle classes, as well as country women, began to wear hats decorated with ribbons, feathers, and flowers.

During this time, a bonnet became known as a particular type of large, brimmed woman’s hat that tied under the chin and was decorated with gauze and feathers. Milan, Italy, became the bonnet capital of Europe, and other Milanese hats were in great demand. As a result, the word “milliner” became synonymous with hat makers. Hats became fashion items for women.

Resident Spotlight: Lillian Benson

January 2, 2018

Lillian Benson: Always on the Move

Lillian Benson is always on the move. It’s the secret to staying young, she tells me. And her life’s stories demonstrate that.

Lillian was born in San Francisco as the third of three daughters. Her own mother, Freida Sussman, immigrated to the U.S. from Kiev, Russia, at just 19 years old. Freida came to the country by herself, through Ellis Island, and immediately set to work establishing herself as a tailor. She eventually relocated from New York to St. Louis, where she met Lillian’s father, and then to California.

Growing up, Lillian dealt with serious asthma, and as a result lived in many homes all around the Bay Area as doctors tried to advise her of the best climate for her breathing. Despite her frequent childhood moves, Lillian always stayed rooted to San Francisco, and was even one of the first people to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge the day it opened in 1937.

When she was older, Lillian attended Balboa High School, commuting each day by streetcar from her home in Daly City. After graduation, her mother, who by that time had her own tailor shop, spied a handsome young man about Lillian’s age in her store. She struck up a conversation and invited him to a family dinner. Lillian and the boy from the store, Leon, found they had many similar interests and began dating, eventually marrying and moving to their own home in the City. Three children soon followed – two boys, Paul and Mark, and a daughter, Janette. Lillian stayed home to raise the children when they were small, but once her youngest was a few years into grade school, she headed to work as a typist, taking two buses each way to get to her job in the heart of the City.

Lillian has always loved zipping around the City – by streetcar, bus, or car. In fact, when it was time for each of her three children to learn to drive, it was Lillian, not Leon, who served as their teacher – and not an easy one, at that.

“To teach me how to drive in San Francisco, she had me take a manual transmission car to the top of the steepest hill she could find, Lombard Street, and told me to go for it. I was panicked!” daughter Janette recalls.

“She’s smart,” Lillian says of her daughter. “I totally trusted her.”

“She knew how to give her children challenges, and then guide us to accomplish them,” Janette says, smiling.

Even after retirement, Lillian stayed on the go. She and her husband traveled extensively, seeing much of the world. When they were home, they would end each day with a long walk around Lake Merced.

Since joining the Sterling Court community 6 months ago, Lillian has settled in well. She still makes it a point to walk daily. Her daughter reports, “She goes out and walks around the block every day. She’s feisty. The sidewalks aren’t even, and it doesn’t stop her. She just keeps going.”

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