We hear it throughout our lives: maintaining relationships is paramount to a healthy lifestyle. As children, our classmates automatically become our friends, while, as adults, we are surrounded by coworkers or families of our own. But, how do we cultivate a social life as we grow older?
The Importance of Support Systems
Having a support system provides many benefits for both physical and mental health. Numerous studies show that social isolation is one of the leading causes of depression in seniors. Loneliness can materialize at any age but can be especially challenging as we grow older, leading to feelings of self-doubt and being forgotten. An emotional support system allows seniors to participate in activities and conversations together, helping them feel loved and needed by those around them.
Without regular interaction, seniors risk developing sedentary routines, resulting in physical health issues. Many seniors who don’t have regular social plans choose to stay indoors, reducing not only their physical activity, but also their exposure to sunlight, introducing them to a plethora of health risks. Regular participation in physical activities can help prevent hypertension and reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems, among others.
Maintaining a Social Life
Though it may seem like a challenge, finding ways to maintain an active social life might be easier than we think. A short exchange with a friend can boost mood and brain health. Arranging a time to meet up with neighbors can promote physical activity, whether it’s a short walk in the park or a weekend trip together. Here are some other ideas:
At Sterling Court, health is our number one priority. With a calendar full of activities ranging from chair yoga to art classes to floristry demonstrations, our community will help you cultivate your life day in and day out. Enjoy everything we have to offer and turn your neighbors into new friends!
Bernie Katz lives in a peaceful fourth-floor apartment at Sterling Court. His home can only be described as an academic’s haven, with books and newspapers decorating his couch, each brimming with stories told from varying points of view. Next to them, an array of different colored hats.
Sitting on the recliner in his living room, Bernie points to the beige hat atop his head, smiling. “This one is my favorite.” Hats make him feel more comfortable, he says, so he always wears one. And hats aren’t Bernie’s only notable feature.
At 91 years of age, Bernie knows exactly how those closest to him would describe him.
“Jovial.” He doesn’t miss a beat. And from our first few exchanges, it’s obvious the word is fitting.
A New York native, Bernie laughs when asked about how he liked his hometown. “Well, I didn’t have a choice,” he chuckles, with no trace of bitterness. As Bernie shares with me the harsh realities of his youth, it becomes both more apparent and impressive why jovial is the perfect adjective to describe Bernie’s personality. As he puts it, “Attitude is very important.”
With a childhood steeped in poverty, Bernie began working at the age of 8, doing various odd jobs in the streets of Manhattan–from shining shoes to selling magazines. But despite his early introduction to the workforce, Bernie chose not to retire until he was 80 years of age, just a little over a decade ago.
“Curious”—Bernie’s second choice of adjective. “I’m a big reader,” he explains. “I quit high school, but I never stopped learning.”
At 18, Bernie joined the United States Army Medical Corps, an achievement that he rightfully remembers with pride. He learned a lot as an army man and continued learning long after his military career. When he left the army, Sergeant Bernie Katz entered the world of sales—insurance and securities, but he never became boxed in.
Bernie journeyed as a student of the world, amassing about a million miles in travel, attending workshops and reading books at every opportunity—his preferred subject-matter ranging from biographies to selling, a true testament to his determination to learn. And from his stories, it becomes clear that Bernie relished his visits to the big, bustling cities, citing Nashville, Los Angeles, and Seattle as some of his favorites.
As well as traveling and being a voracious reader, Bernie loves to play golf. He plays twice a week with friends outside of Sterling Court. True to his nature, Bernie’s joviality never wanes when talking about his sport, jokingly revealing that “My putting sucks!”
Talking about his life at Sterling Court, Bernie explains that while he doesn’t attend many of the community’s social events, he still loves being a resident. He finds great comfort in the tight-knit community and admires the kindness of the staff and his fellow residents.
“I walk down the hall, and people always say, ‘Hello, Bernie!’” It’s an easy image to conjure—Bernie, walking down the halls of Sterling Court, donning one of his many, different colored hats.
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.
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.”
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