The holiday season has arrived – and so have the hundreds of songs that come along with it! While this time of year’s tunes can inspire joy and beautiful memories, their constant repetition can also be a bit much. So, on that note (pun intended), we opted to keep music as our topic for this month’s article but rather than focusing on Jingle Bells or Ode to Joy, to instead shine a light on this wonderful fact: Music has been proven to promote our emotional and physical well-being. This season, we encourage you to explore the healing power of music. Happy Healthy Holidays!
Music brings people together and encourages us to be active.
Would you rather go to the gym or go to the dance? For most of us, music makes movement a pleasure – not the chore of working out. Music inspires us to pick up the pace, let go, and have fun! And if dancing isn’t your cup of tea, simply enjoy the social aspects of musical get-togethers. Be sure to come on down to Social Hour, Tuesdays and Fridays at 4pm in the Living Room!
Singing exercises the mind and stimulates memory.
Singing is a great workout for the brain, and a wonderful way to be around others who adore the beauty of song. Science confirms that music has the capacity to reach hidden areas of our brain because it is stored differently than speech and memory. This is why we can perhaps recall a tune from our childhood more easily than something that happened yesterday!
Music strengthens our overall well-being.
Listening to music you enjoy increases brain chemicals that give you a feeling of well-being. Uplift your spirit, reduce anxiety, say so-long to stress. We’ve all got those special songs associated with happy memories and they are a source of healing and relaxation. Listening to music has been linked to better health measured within the body’s immune system, such as the presence of antibodies plus strong heart rate and blood pressure.
Explore new music.
We often only listen to music from our own generation and avoid hearing anything from a different era. Experts suggest listening to music that your kids or grandkids love. Experiencing the tones and lyrics of new music challenges the brain in a way that old music may not. Though at first it might be a little out of your comfort zone, that unfamiliarity forces the brain to struggle to better understand the new groove.
Embrace the classics.
On the other end of the suggestion above, treat yourself to a listen of your favorite oldie – especially if it came from a time period you’re trying to recall. Perhaps listening to Louis Armstrong will bring you back to the moment of your first kiss!
Music inspires in us a feeling of meaning and fulfillment.
Enjoying music in your own way helps build your self-esteem. Studies show that we all have our own particular musical taste with which we identify, and from that we are instilled with a great sense of meaning and confidence. What a lovely way to ring in the holiday season!
You wouldn’t know that Barbara Mollison has called Sterling Court home for just a few short months as she has settled in like it’s been home for years. Perhaps that’s because San Mateo has been her home for the past 43 years. When it was time to downsize from the family home, she knew Sterling Court would be just right for her. One of her daughters helped her to select her first-floor apartment that looks out over the verdant garden courtyard. It was here that I first met Barbara as she was enjoying time with new friends on a beautiful summer-like day.
Anyone who loves bridge will certainly have met Barbara by now. She plays bridge almost every day and you can be sure she’s quite good at the game having played it since she was 16 years old! She was quick to tell me “I can’t imagine sitting and doing nothing.” As we started talking about her life’s journey, it was apparent that she’s always been doing something – raising children, traveling, flower arranging, and more.
At 16, something else very special happened in Barbara’s life – she met her husband (a fellow bridge player as well!). They got married when she was 22 and were married for 43 years. In the early days, her husband was at the Annapolis Naval Academy and Barbara worked in a doctor’s office. They had 3 children and moved around as he was stationed at different ports – Connecticut, Florida, and Norfolk, Virginia to name a few.
The entire family also experienced living internationally when they were stationed in Japan for over 4 years and the children were quite young. “I loved living in Japan and loved the people. We lived on the naval base and it was a great experience.” It was here that Barbara learned her passion for flower arranging.
I was interested to know how the family got to California and was surprised by the answer. “Our daughter said, ‘everyone lives in California and I want to live there too’.” And, so they did (and to this day, all three children still live in California, two right here in San Mateo and Hillsborough and one in San Diego).
After Barbara’s husband died, her love of travel didn’t wane. She enjoyed immersing herself in the local culture of places like Africa, China, England, France, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. But mind you there are plenty of places in the US she loves as well having mentioned Boston and Philadelphia.
When Barbara is not playing bridge, you might catch her in the library looking for a new mystery novel, attending lectures here or at the San Mateo Senior Center as she likes to stay informed, visiting with any of her 6 grandchildren, or hopping on the bus for an outing. Barbara’s children encouraged her to downsize and join a new community feeling that it would be “less lonesome for her.” They were certainly right. For Barbara, there’s no time to be lonesome at Sterling Court!
At Sterling Court, we love to promote healthy, active, independent living. It’s amazing what fresh air (have you been enjoying the great weather recently?) and even a short walk around the block (the leaves are almost ready to change so no better time to get out than in the fall) can do for your overall well-being. And what about all those classes we offer? There
is something for everyone and it’s a great opportunity to make new friends. We always want to hear your ideas for new classes or events, so stop by the front desk and share with us.
In the meantime, we ran across a few tidbits recently that can promote positivity in your living space – and who doesn’t love that? Research shows that our immediate sur- roundings can have a tremendous impact on our physical and mental health. Take a moment to assess your apart- ment. What sort of changes could you make, big or small, to help bring a fresh start every day into your life? Here are some ideas to get you thinking.
A full life can lead to full shelves… and closets. Some of your belongings are surely worth keeping, but many other items may be doing nothing more than taking up space. Enlist the help of friends and family to help you lift and sort through your belongings. You’ll be surprised at what you can donate or toss out. Once the process is finished, you’ll have beautiful new free space for those things that are meaningful to you. Perhaps some new books, family photos, or space for your hobbies.
Are your side tables filled up with framed pictures of loved ones? Consider getting a few wall-hanging frames to leave table space for other objects and general use. Many stores and websites offer multi-panel hanging frames to display photos — ideal for family collages.
Wall frames are great, but you can take things a step further by using digital frames (drop a hint to a family member for one as a holiday present 😁 ). Digital frames cycle through hundreds of your favorite photos on a single, space-eﬃcient screen that easily sits on a shelf or piece of furniture. If you’re computer savvy, this can be a snap to set up. Otherwise, recruit a techie friend (or come to one of our computer classes) to help get your photos digitized. This also makes it easy to update with any new photos as you receive them via texts and emails.
Continuing down the digital path, you may have several other possessions – VHS tapes, vinyl records, CDs – that could be converted into digital formats and free up tons of space. There are companies in the area that will convert your music and videos recordings to smaller files for storage. This is Silicon Valley after all .
Keep your mobility ﬂowing by making sure there is plenty of space to walk within your apartment without running into anything. Seems obvious but moving one piece of furniture might make it easier for you. Or perhaps adding a new small piece might be helpful for your keys and phone.
And speaking of furniture, this can be one of the best things to consider for a fresh start! Are you taking full advantage of the sliding glass door and the natural light it brings into your apart- ment? Is your furniture placed to allow for the views that are outside your door and windows? Do you make a point of open- ing the curtains every day for natural light? Would a change in furniture placement be a benefit for how you use your space for watching tv or working on hobbies? Sometimes just relocating a chair and a small table to the other side of the room can open up how you navigate your space and, most importantly, enjoy the views. A few simple changes can make all the difference.
On the day Gerald Caudle was born, his family was given a devastating decision to make.
They lived on a farm in a small town in Oklahoma. When Gerald’s mother went into labor, his father jumped on their horse to fetch the doctor. Later, the doctor announced, “I can only save one of them” and asked which one that should be.
“My mother’s sisters said to save her,” said Gerald, “but we both made it. My mother lived to be 34 days short of 100 and I’m 85 years old.” Just a year after Gerald’s birth, his brother was born.
This was the 1930s, when Oklahoma was known as “The Dust Bowl”. By 1934, the Great Plains were a desert and Gerald’s dad couldn’t make money farming, so he and his brother took the family west.
“My dad knew he had an uncle in Modesto, California, so three adults and two kids crammed into a Model T,” remembered Gerald. When they arrived after the 1,700-mile drive, they didn’t have an address for their uncle, so they hung around the post office until he happened to show up.
The family picked peaches at a local farm. Gerald’s dad and Uncle James were good workers but at the end of that first day got “paid with
change.” They ate a lot of flour gravy and biscuits in those days. Ultimately their dedication paid off because the family was able to work that one farm and put down roots. Gerald’s dad built a home that stayed in the family until 2014!
As a teen, Gerald worked in a lumber yard. His boss noticed his aptitude with numbers and promoted him to work in the accounting department. Gerald went to night school for advanced accounting and of the 60 people who started in the class, he was among the 6 who finished. He and his brother then attended the new Sacramento State College and worked part time.
“We got an apartment above a garage and I made $300 a month. Th at’s when gasoline was 17 cents a gallon and McDonald’s had two cheeseburgers, two shakes, and fries for a dollar,” he said, so he felt pretty rich.
Gerald’s parents showed up at his graduation ceremony with a letter. “It said, ‘Greetings’ – so I was drafted,” he recalled. It was peacetime and he had hopes of being stationed in France but ironically, found himself back in Oklahoma. Using his accounting skills for the Army, he also made extra money doing taxes in the evening and his supervisor encouraged him to become a CPA.
After the Army, he joined an accounting firm and became a partner. He lived in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill for 38 years, had a view of the City, frequented clubs such as the Purple Onion and hungry i, and ran 5 to 10 miles every day. He loved City life. After 20 years as a CPA, Gerald left to become the Controller at a firm called Nurserymen’s Exchange in Half Moon Bay where he worked until retirement.
One thing that becomes apparent throughout Gerald’s story is that he is grateful to every person, family member, professor, or supervisor who ever encouraged and helped him along his journey. His cozy Sterling Court apartment is filled with mementos of a life well-lived – including a photo of him and his brother on that farm in Modesto.
ALL QUIET ON THE POTOMAC
This phrase means peaceful and undisturbed; a time of ease or quiet enjoyment. The saying comes from the frequent repetition of the phrase in bulletins issued during the War Between the States, 1861-1865. The original expression has been ascribed to General George B. McClellan (1826-1885) who was in command of the Army of the Potomac in 1861 and 1862. He received much criti- cism in Washington because of his lack of aggressiveness in pursuing the war against the rebels of the South.
The phrase sometimes is used as “All quiet along the Potomac,” from the poem, “The Picket-Guard” (1861) by Ethel Lynn Beers.
Following is the sixth stanza:
“All quiet along the Potomac tonight, No sound save the rush of the river, While soft falls the dew on the face of the dead,
The picket’s off-duty forever.”
TO RAISE CAIN
In the United States, one “raises Cain” when he or she causes a distur- bance. The saying refers to the first child of Adam and Eve, Cain who killed his brother, Abel. Cain was jealous of Abel and his anger knew no end. Cain’s name has been associated ever since the Bible was written with losing one’s temper and causing a real problem in society.
AT LOOSE ENDS
A person, with not much to do, is said to be “at loose ends.” During the days of the windjammers and other great sailing vessels, rigging grew more complex. On many ships, there were, literally, hundreds of ropes.
If these ropes had been left free to unravel, a hopeless tangle would have resulted, so every ship’s master prided himself on the good condition of his “ends” – the taped end of his ropes on board. And when other work was
slack, the captain might just put his sailors to work repairing the loose ends of the ropes. Such a ship’s master was accused by his men of ordering such work to keep the men occupied and they were working at the “loose ends of the ropes.”
Have you ever been at loose ends with just busy-work to do?
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!