Thursday, December 12, 2013

Noise and Air Pollution Effects on Seniors

                                           Over 55 Community

Ongoing studies show a correlation between noise pollution and the health of older persons. We have always suspected that air and noise pollution are not good for people as they age and these studies are showing this to be true.      

Blood Pressure Increases for Those Over 65 Exposed to Noise

In one study it was found that high noise levels raise blood pressure on those over 65.  On younger people the effects are negligible in this study.

Noise negatively affected blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and caused more heart attacks and stroke in persons living in high traffic areas. However, in some cases it was not determined if it was the noise or the air pollution caused by traffic.

Some of the noises studied were air traffic, road traffic noise, hospital noise levels, and restaurant noise.

In one particularly interesting study the conclusion was that residential traffic noise was associated with a higher incidence of stroke in people over 64.5 years but not in younger people.*

  *From the European Heart Journal content on noise studies and its effects on heart health.

Over 55 Communities Can Be a Refuge from Noise

There is one place that you can go to get a quieter environment. That place is an over 55 community.  This is the prime reason I like them. I have always liked quiet but now as I age I am finding it a more and more desirable element for retirement. 

These types of communities:

  • Have rules and restrictions to protect you 
  • Have very few children or teenagers around  
  • Have residents that are slower, take more naps, and require more rest
These features overall encourage a more quiet and restful environment.    

You have to know yourself to determine the level of quiet that is right for you.

If you must work in the city--don't live in the city

            See Portland, Maine article on my website

Urban Communities

The opposite of a quiet area would be an urban community with surrounding city noises such as street traffic, loud people and music, sirens and noisy garbage trucks. These communities are very popular now especially since people are living and working longer.  However, if you are worried about stroke or heart attacks, these health studies indicate you may wish to find a quieter environment. 

There are communities located in rural or suburban areas around cities but out of the congestion and noise.  The newer ones are usually located around transportation hubs for an easier commute to jobs in the city.


  •  Buying in Locations Near Noise

Even in a quiet residential community if your home is on the busiest road there, you may want to re-think that choice.

In a country community you could get some noise pollution from air traffic overhead if you live near an airport (another study was ongoing for this with a correlation between airplane noise and heart health.)

There are headphones you can wear to deaden noise. I tried out a pair of those on a recent airplane flight and it did make a difference in noise level.  

Some studies aren't sure if the bad effects are due to noise or the air pollution created.

  • Noise In Other Situations

I find myself now going to restaurants at their more quiet times (choose 2:30PM right before the luncheon special is over) or shopping early in the morning when no one else is around and staying away during high traffic times.  It is just more peaceful that way.  Now I suspect it really does affect my physiological well being.

  • Noises at Night

Loud levels of noise are especially harmful at night because they affect sleep.  Stop by a potential property at night to make sure it is quiet.  If you work in a noisy environment, you may not want to live in one.  Living away from a large city you will have some periods of quiet at night and on weekends. 

Find a Quiet Place to Live 

Take a good look at your prospective retirement home and decide if the air and noises around you will be helpful or harmful to your health.

These studies seem to suggest finding a quiet place to live would be recommended in your golden years.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Travel--It's A Super De-Stressor

This Thanksgiving I visited my daughter in California. We booked a stay in a luxury hotel, the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, with an ocean-front room.

I was determined to have a healthy, relaxing, healing vacation.

 One needs to indulge oneself occasionally.  And what a treat it was.

Days go by when I am working on my website non-stop writing about communities and places, but I have to admit writing takes its toll on the body. The eyes get a little red and tired. Sitting for long periods disrupts the circulation and breathing. It is my passion, but wish it could be a little less stressful. I need breaks and travel to relieve stress and tension that can affect how one looks and feels.

Even if you live in a place that is naturally relaxing, which is what I recommend on my website for retirement, a temporary change of environment can be good for you.
Travel is a super de-stressor. See what I mean:

Day 1 - Arrival and an immediate booking at Tao Healing Arts Center for an amazing deep tissue massage with Neti.

Day 2 - Breakfast at the hotel. Banana pancakes for him and a 3-egg mushroom, onion and red pepper omelet for me. Feeling better already.

Dinner at Dr. Andrew Weil's True Food Kitchen in Santa Monica that night. The curry bowl is super healthy and delicious. All recipes follow Dr Weil's anti-inflammatory diet. The food is very healthy. This is the way to eat on a healthy, healing vacation. The atmosphere was eclectically satisfying. I wish I had remembered to get a photo.

Day 3 - Breakfast at LePain.  Enjoying the ocean views and sunsets from my room and my daughter and son-in-law's apartment. Calming.

She brought up a website that offered free meditations. I nearly fell asleep listening to it.

 She profoundly loves healthy food.

 We were constantly showered with the fresh fruits and veggies, dips and snacks from where else: the Santa Monica Farmer's Market. Farmers markets are not just for food. They are relaxing and fun and therapy to me, and the one in Santa Monica is huge.

Photo shows snack of tangerines, persimmon, kiwi, candied walnuts, and blueberries.

Doing this the day before Thanksgiving was a special treat since the vendors really outdid themselves with their display of goods. Heaps of goodness everywhere.

Day 4 - Rented a bike to ride along the Santa Monica bike trail which goes right beside the ocean. If this isn't enough to inspire one to exercise, I don't know what it is. Bikers, skaters, walkers etc. were all out moving and breathing the fresh air.

 Take a deep breath. This is the Pacific Ocean clearing out your lungs and filling it with the sea's best air. Dinner that night was in to enjoy the produce we had bought that day.

Day 5 - First, a dip in the outdoor Jacuzzi by the Sea. Completely relaxed we went up to our room and took a long nap. Feels good to stay under the cool silky sheets and sleep. Dinner is Mexican at Border Grill. You must have Mexican food when in California. Again lots of herbs, spices and fresh veggies. I got a photo of my Chile Relleno (I am a vegetarian)
but wish I had gotten some of the restaurant. The walls were a beautiful warm sunset color. In LA everywhere, one feels part of an artistic setting.

Day 6 - An enjoyable breakfast at the hotel.  Just lazing at the ocean in a sand chair, experiencing the breeze. We had fine weather. It was sunny every day. As the day came to an end, the sunsets were full of color. It certainly helped that my daughter was playing soft classical music as the sun melted into the horizon. At night, the air was crisp but not chill. Walking at night along the beachwalk, the sound of the surf and twinkling bright stars carves an indelible streak in your mind and senses calming every fiber of your body. Ahhh

More sunsets...

Day 7 - More massage...
This time at the hotel's spa.
The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel has everything one could want for a luxury vacation, and their Spa is unquestionably excellent. A "Deep Ocean" massage with Denise (I actually fell asleep) followed by a facial with Nicole. Nicole said my skin was now clean and hydrated. I purchased a Travel Kit which gave a sampling of skin cleansing and moisturizing products and I vowed to treat my facial skin better than before.

Thanksgiving with my daughter and her husband. She is a vegan, so her dinner consisted of Field Roast's Celebration loaf (because we love it and it's easy), a delicious chestnut stuffing, orange glazed sweet potatoes, baked red carrots and sweet oranges, cranberry and apple sauce, sweet potato and hummus pita pockets, and of course vegan pumpkin pie with whip cream and a mini-scoop of real vanilla ice-cream (Coconut Bliss by Lara and Luna.)

Day 8 When the day came to check out of our hotel, we were rested, happy and felt fabulous. This proves my theory that travel is de-stressing and in my opinion anti-aging.

Every day a new sunset.  Enjoy the holiday season with travel.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Back to Comfortville: The Over 55 Community Lifestyle

There's a fine line between the intergenerational communities, whatever kind, and the over 55 communities, that when you cross it, you are happier.

My husband and I began enjoying the lifestyle of an over 55 community ten years ago and still do today. If I moved again I would prefer this type of community. But that's me. I want to tell this story to help you better understand what type of community is for you.

Two years ago my daughter and her husband moved to another state on an assignment, and they asked my husband and I if we would like to move into their condo while they were gone. We jumped at the chance.

Her condo is in an urban environment and the majority of the population is in their 30's. They are also young professionals with lots of discretionary spending money.

This type of area attracts entertainment, restaurants and services of all kinds.

Our 55 condo is in a suburban setting. So the temporary move into her condo would be like night and day.

Benefits of the move:

  • A change of scene would be nice
  • Try out the urban lifestyle
  • Be around younger people
  • Easier shopping
  • Huge number of restaurant choices and all walkable
  • Every convenience nearby
  • Bookstores and coffee shops
  • Cutting edge clothes and furniture stores
  • Stimulating

We very much enjoyed our time there (nearly 2 years). Everything literally was walkable. We shopped, we went out to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, and usually at a different restaurant every night. We enjoyed fine dining and sophisticated stores that were not walkable near our suburban 55 community.

We occasionally went back and spent a day or two at our 55 community to catch up on mail, etc. But we always looked forward to going back to the urban environment. It wasn't sleepy like our 55 village.

But after thoroughly enjoying this environment for 2 years, things began to change. My husband's health was becoming an issue. He could no longer walk the mile to the farmer's market, stopping for coffee along the way, on a Saturday morning that we so much enjoyed.

He began to get out of breath. Then one sunny afternoon he tripped on the sidewalk. A much younger couple rushed over to help. He was ok but shaken up and somewhat embarrassed. I was upset and concerned. We bought his first cane which he uses more and more to this day. But it also made him feel more conspicuous in the younger environment.

The urban environment that we were enjoying so much was becoming less available as we could not get around like before. We loved the young people, but they were becoming more obviously accommodating to our ages by opening doors, letting us go first in lines and other things one would do for the "elderly." I began to feel uncomfortable.

We began going back to our over 55 community more often. We realized we got more rest there than in the midst of the constant noise created by trucks, cars, and people in the city. It was darker at night, quieter all day, and many seemed to be having the same challenges that my husband did. Some people had canes (although most did not). Seniors were trying to stay fit (were still very active). Some were in wheelchairs, and no one noticed because it wasn't that unusual. We were all in the same boat, and I found that incredibly comforting.

The young faces, the squealing kids, and hot singles out for a good time, were all gone.

I am still, knock on wood, feeling very young and fit, but my husband has some health issues. It was becoming too hard for him to keep up with young people just starting their work lives.

After the past 2 years of an "exciting" lifestyle, we have moved back to "comfortville," our over 55 community. We still had with us our more chic clothing, our more discriminating dining palate, and our tons of books from B&N that was once just a block away. Sure we miss it. Living there was a gift that we truly appreciate, and we have our amazing memories, but we can't go back. That was a time we will always remember, but we are happier now.

A New Appreciation for the Benefits of an Over 55 Lifestyle Community

This is something we didn't expect to gain from our experience: We now enjoy our over 55 community more. We appreciate it more. We don't take it for granted anymore. We see all the advantages and benefits more clearly.

The urban lifestyle we enjoyed taught us to look around and broaden our span of attention thus we began finding some rather interesting restaurants right in the area of our community. We have to drive to them, but that is preferable now. (Our recent acquisition of GPS is very helpful in this regard.)

Our urban lifestyle taught us to reach out beyond the borders of our 55 community for more excitement, but at the end of the day, the quiet peacefulness and serenity of our over 55 refuge wins hands down.

Friday, August 2, 2013

An Avocado Becomes a Smoothie

..thanks to "365 Vegan Smoothies"

                                                        Acai Smoothie

This morning I had an avocado sitting in my refrigerator. If you don't eat avocados when they are just right, they turn old fast. This one wouldn't last another day, but I didn't know what to do with it.

My choices: 1) Peel it and eat it outright (boring), 2) make a sandwich (I didn't have any bread on hand), 3) make a salad (I didn't have any lettuce either), or 4) make a smoothie. I chose option 4. But I had never made an avocado smoothie before.

Everyone knows how to make a simple smoothie with a banana, some cocoa, soy milk and ice. That's easy, but this was very different. An avocado is not sweet and doesn't go with everything. It's also very oily and thick. I had no idea what would go with it.

But I had a solution at hand. I recently purchased a smoothie recipe book called "365 Vegan Smoothies," by Kathy Patalsky of the website The book publisher is Avery, a division of Penguin. It has the word vegan in the title, but that just means lots of fruits and veggies.

This isn't just any smoothie book. It is a true cookbook because it has so much more information than recipes. This book has 365 smoothie recipes, one for every day of the year. I counted 33 for avocado with titles like:

  • Brainy Avocado Green Smoothie
  • Chocolate Avocado
  • Avo-Pineapple Glow Shake
  • Book of Greens
  • Silky Greens
  • Skinny-Avocado-Peach

It also has a wellness section, FAQ section, a list of smoothie ingredients and their descriptions, gorgeous photos by Kathy to ogle, fun smoothie names, and so much more. Besides a fabulous recipe, each smoothie features a description and nutrition information.

One or more of these 12 categories (one for each month of the year) may particularly appeal to you:

  • Detox Smoothies
  • Energizing Smoothies
  • Slim-Down Smoothies
  • Strengthening Smoothies
  • Calming Smoothies
  • Brain-Boosting Smoothies
  • Healthy-Digestion Smoothies
  • Healthy-Heart Smoothies
  • Anti-Aging Smoothies
  • Mood-Boosting Smoothies
  • Immunity-Boosting Smoothies
  • Beauty-Boosting Smoothies

I chose "Heart of Green" from the Healthy-Heart category for my avocado smoothie. I had all the ingredients, fortunately.

Sometimes we don't have on hand vegetables or fruits for a smoothie we know how to make. The simple ones like blueberry or mango. Sometimes there is something we'd like to "use up" but are not schooled in putting together recipes to get a smoothie that tastes good. Therefore, a recipe book like this is a book to be used often for many reasons.

For seniors, making smoothies a regular habit will add a generous dose of nutrition to the day. They are easy to make, convenient, delicious and bursting with flavor. And now this book makes it even easier to make any smoothie because the hard work of knowing what goes best with what has been done for you, plus so much more.

You can find this book in Barnes & Nobles and other bookstores and online at (Average 5 Stars on Amazon comments.)

I personally feel better since I have included smoothies into my daily meals. I believe if you want to get on a healthy track, smoothies is a good way to start. Pick up "365 Vegan Smoothies," by Kathy Patalsky and, like Kathy says, "get blending."

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Evolving Service Providing Communities for the Senior Years

                         "For the times they are a-changin'" Bob Dylan

Due to recent changes in our economy, the popularity of service-oriented communities has increased.

Communities with Services

                                                Babylon Beach House Assisted Living on Long Island, NY:

Characteristics of Service Providing Communities:
  • Studio, one or two-bedroom apartments
  • One, two or three meals included in a monthly fee, and sometimes snacks too
  • Housekeeping - daily, weekly or monthly
  • If it is an assisted living community, included in a flat rate, along with meals and housekeeping, can be medical monitoring and personal services such as dressing and bathing.

Assisted living communities offer an easy lifestyle! Who wouldn't want that??

And that is the key to their recent popularity:

Physical Deterioration as we Age

As the population ages, fewer people are independent.

Aging can mean beginning to sit for longer periods of time. We can't lift and move objects around as we once did. Our legs feel stiff and achy. We lose balance easier and purchase a cane for the first time. We just don't have the same stamina. This accelerates when we are in our seventh decade.

In past times, by our 70's most of us are closer to passing. Times are changing and people are living longer with better health care.

This means just one thing: there will be a tipping point. When will we not want our independence any longer. We will always want it, but we just don't know how long we can maintain it.

Means of Transportation is a Huge Factor as we Age

Many people define losing their independence as the time when they can no longer drive.

When aging forces us to use alternative means of transportation, it becomes more desirable to move to communities that provide transportation and services as one has already given up a huge chunk of independence.

Cities that provide good transportation systems are also desirable for seniors. Santa Monica, California, and Portland, Oregon come to mind. There are many more cities that are addressing this problem for the future.

Types of Service Communities

What kinds of service communities are there?

  • *Rental Apartments for seniors: Most of these communities don't even offer leases but are month-to-month. Developers design them for an active, independent lifestyle. Eventually, you can consider hiring home care if it becomes necessary.

  • *Rent with services. These communities are like the rental communities, but they also include meals, housekeeping and a few to extensive services. These communities are good to a point. If you are no longer independent, you may need to move again. Each community varies in their policy.
  • *Assisted living communities with an independent living wing. These dual communities are good when only one spouse is not well and needs care, which is very common. The average age in most assisted living communities is older, in the 70's, and some have designations of being for 62+.
  • *Continuing care community - guarantees ones care for the rest of life. These usually require a large deposit and monthly fee. Best for people who know they will probably not move again. You enter them when you are still younger (50+) and active. Make sure the community is financially stable.
  • *Memory Care Communities: The memory goes too. Alzheimer's is on the rise. There now are communities dedicated just to care for those with dementia. Spouses would need their own housing elsewhere.

The average age for men passing is younger than it is for women. These service communities are filling up--mostly with women whose spouses have passed.


Your monthly costs are not just a mortgage, utilities and property tax. It becomes a flat fee to cover housing, meals, and services. That means it will blend all your costs of living into a new monthly amount, and it may be higher than you can afford. That is it's major flaw.

As more people turn to these communities for help, hopefully the costs would come down. For instance, when you buy your own groceries and cook your own meals, you can look for sales and cut back on costs. But at these communities, you cannot do that.

Look for affordable options now!:

I hope you have plenty of assets as you age. If ones assets eventually disappear, which is common, one may rely on the family for care. Unfortunately, today most families have two people working and no one is around to give you care. You'd best look at some affordable housing options for your old age. You'd better look now because the waiting lists are filling up.

Can You Stay Active

There is another downside to these communities: the temptation to get lazy.

That is one thing living in an over 55 community will give you: more activity and push to keep moving.

But at some point, the body wears down, and these service providing communities can fulfill ones needs.

It is a whole new world, the world of the aging senior. More and more, service providing communities vs over 55 communities are blending and evolving into a new identity.

I can see active 55 communities becoming more service oriented, and assisted living communities and service providers having more recreational and social programs as they have now begun doing.

So from over 55 communities to Service Providers and Assisted Living, and all the shades in between, there are ample choices. A lot depends on your life status in making those choices.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Retirement Places in Florida for Military

I love finding retirement places considered gems by those living there. If one is in the service, retired, or about to retire, Brevard County, Florida, is a place to consider, according to an informative article from "Florida Today."  Even if not a veteran, Brevard County sounds like a true winner for everyone.
Brevard County is also known as the "Space Coast," since the Kennedy Space Center is located there.
Veterans represent one in six residents living on the Space Coast.
The main cities include Melbourne, Viera, Palm Bay and Titusville.
When one does not like traffic and over-crowded places, but rather a slowed pace, easy access to the beach and boating, an active retirement with plenty to do, and fabulous climate, Brevard County may be your choice.
Besides relaxing days spent on the beach, there is the John F. Kennedy Space Center to explore, quaint shopping areas, King Center for Performing Arts and nearby excellent hospitals.
For military residents, it is convenient to Patrick Air Force Base. The base offers shopping, medical clinic, and pharmacy, amenities attractive to veterans.
Viera is a smaller town adjacent to Melbourne where the Indian River Colony Club, a military retirement community, is located. It is listed on the Florida and Military pages on our site. It is a large community previously only for retired officers. The rules have been changed to include 20% civilians and anyone honorably discharged from the services (see their website for requirements and features). Some of the outstanding amenities include 18-hole golf and a country club lifestyle. A very high percentage of residents are retired military.
Especially for military retirees,  this is a best place to retire.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A List of Top Retirement Communities

Photo permission of Del Webb Ponte Vedra
Here is an interesting list of top master communities ranked as the best selling in the United States. This list is from John Burns Real Estate Consulting, a prestigious firm that builders and anyone involved in real estate can reach out to for advice and consultation.

But we have an interest in this list because we wanted to see how many over 55 or senior communities were represented on their list of 50 of the "Top Selling Master Planned Communities for 2012." It turns out, quite a few. We thought you would be curious to see if your favorites made the grade.

This list is just for master planned communities. A master community is one that has many villages within one master development. If your favorite community is not on this list, it may be because it is not within a master community and stands alone. Only the top selling communities are on this list.

The communities selected are those that have been selling better than others. That is good because it probably means there is something about it that is attracting people to it.

Here are those on the list of 50 that are for over 55 or are especially good for seniors:


The Villages in Central Florida by Village of Lake Sumter, Developer.

Lakewood Ranch Esplanade - not over 55 but an active lifestyle with low maintenance by Taylor Morrison in Sarasota, Florida

Nocatee in Ponte Vedra, Florida, near Jacksonville. There is a Del Webb community.

Valencia Reserve Palm Beach, Florida by GL Homes.

FishHawk Ranch Lithia, Fl. by Newland Communities - not over 55 but good for retired military.


The Woodlands in Houston, TX by The Irvine Company - has an independent and assisted living community.

Teravista - Round Rock (Austin) - Village Builders has a NextGen home. These homes have a home within a home, conceived by Lennar Homes. This is a floorplan where seniors and their adult children can live in the same residence but with separate entrances.


Highlands Ranch in Denver, Colorado by Shea Homes. Many senior activities.

The Meadows at Castle Rock, Colorado. Bonaventure of Castle Rock is an Independent and assisted living community. There is also a memory care option.

Highlands Ranch Denver, Colorado - Many activities for seniors.


Summerlin - Sun City in Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada.


Daybreak Salt Lake City - Garden Park over 55 community at Daybreak.


Vistancia in Phoenix, AZ

Verrado in Buckeye, AZ


Cane Bay Plantation - Del Webb - gated neighborhood in Charleston, SC.

One might further assume that these areas where they are located may be in some of the most popular places to retire.

You can see the entire list of 50 here.

New:  See my new post, "A New List of Top Retirement Communities,"  from the most recent list of 50 top master communities by John Burns Real Estate consultants.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Suzanne Somers Tells us to Plan for Aging in her New Book

In her new book, "Bombshell," Suzanne Somers, who has turned 65, makes some good points:
One needs to plan for aging
In essence, one needs to take lifestyle seriously. Here is the video that inspired this post:

People plan for retirement, vacations, education, where to live, what to do during the day, but does one plan for future health.

Ok, some people are doing the right things for health, but there may be a nagging thought that one could do better.

How about losing weight? It is possible. I know because I did it. When I crossed over the recommended 25 BMI into the overweight category some years ago, I said, "ok, stop, that is enough." I was thin all my life and I decided I wanted to be thin again. Me-fat? Impossible. But there it was. I could not deny it.

So one changes. I became vegetarian. I began to follow the DASH diet. And I increased my exercise. I lost 30 lbs.

It does take some discipline. Keep in mind that foods one eats now may no longer be foods to eat going forward. One learns to find healthier choices.

Suzanne's book sounds intriguing and it might be a good place to start. Another way is to sign up for the DASH Diet program from their website for a way to a healthier lifestyle. And when looking for retirement communities, here are some things one might want to look for:

Somewhere to walk
Fitness Center
Recreational amenities such as golf, pool or tennis
Social programs
Wellness Programs
Well planned kitchens
Kitchen Islands
Restaurants with healthy food choices
Farmers markets and organic grocery stores in the area

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring Notes on Retirement

I recently posted on my website that the big news for spring is that new home prices are moving up in some markets.  What does this mean for you.  We hate hype and writing about this news is not intended to make you feel rushed to buy.  It is for your information.  What is happening is that I just had to change a lot of prices on my Florida page.  The prices had moved up slightly but still there was movement of 2 to 4 thousand $$.

Florida is still the #1 place to retire for most people.  This is because of a combination of features:  climate, prices and beauty.  Just look at this photo by Del Webb of one of their communities on the East Coast of Florida: Ponte Vedra:

If there was ever a photo of Florida that made you want to move there, this must be it!

Other recent news:

Another builder, Shea Homes is having an interesting session: On April 20th, they will talk about their solar homes.  They have been getting energy bills close to 0 in their new homes - that is the goal and that is why they call it SheaXero.  To find out more, contact Shea.

A recent get together at the Country Meadows retirement homes designated April Random Acts of Kindness month in honor of their founder.  The Pennsylvania governor liked the idea so much he also designated April 7 as Random Acts of Kindness Day in memory of Mrs. Leader.

These are just a few of the over 55 builders that bring comfort and happiness to the senior years.

Friday, April 5, 2013

It's Spring! Time to walk!

If people have been putting off walking because it is too cold outside, there are no more excuses now because the weather is getting warmer. Sometimes I procrastinate posting, but I found this article by Dole about walking to be inspiring.   

As we age, we need to keep the brain healthy.  A study now shows that walking helps.  See this motivating article "Keep Your Wits by Walking," by Dole, the fruit and veggie people. 

You might want to read their blog "Nutrition News."   Dole is a class act.  I can still remember many years ago often driving by the gigantic fruit cocktail sign in Sunnyvale, California.   For me anyway, Dole has always been a superb leader in fruits and veggies.  Now they have this fabulous nutrition blog.

Nutrition is on people's minds today like never before.  Now walking is also since there is some evidence it is good for the brain as well as the body.  If one has couch potato tendencies, walking is easy, and the best exercise there is.  Walking may be especially good as we age.  Be sure to check with a doctor if this is a good exercise and wear good quality walking shoes.

When was the last time you took a long walk.  Remembering the sights, fragrances of flowers and sounds of birds, it reminds of how good it feels to be outdoors.  If in the city, the same applies.  The sounds of people laughing, talking, and cars going by in a rush is invigorating.  City sounds and sights are plentiful.

An important part of selecting the right retirement community is noticing where the walking paths are.  Is there a place for walks in the community or nearby in the country or city.  Walking as an amenity is easily overlooked, and yet it is extremely beneficial.  Be sure there is a place to get out and walk.  If not in the community, make sure it is near.   If people are living longer, it might be wise to keep the mind in good condition.    Do not forget the blueberries, also good for an aging brain.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Niches for the Retirement Years

I think it is marvelous that a New York Times blogger linked to my website.  I can see why they would do that considering their topic on niche retirement communities.  My site has some unique retirement categories.  Some of these are military, college, and equestrian.

I am always happy to discover more of these communities known as niches.  The New York Times article talks about some of them.  They are the community in Los Angeles for elderly motion picture actors and employees, the one for retired teachers, and there is one, as well, for former postmen.  These are just a few niche retirement communities.  I agree with the article that these communities are fewer now due to the economy.   However, there is a way to connect with whatever niche one chooses.

Large and small communities alike have been growing their lists of activities, clubs, and interest groups.  To find out if some of these have large groups of enthusiasts or are at the core of the community, one must ask.

Air Force Village West...military community in LA area
For instance, the Riderwood Community in Silver Spring, Maryland has an enormous crowd of card-playing enthusiasts.   In a conversation with the manager, this was mentioned.   There are extremely numerous card clubs.  This would be a dream community for card players.

Another community I came across had volunteering groups.  There was so much interest in this that I felt if one joined this community, they would have no problem joining in some of the various types of volunteering activities.

Another example would be the environmentalists.  There are communities that are adjacent to preserves.  A recent interview with Highland Green in Maine revealed the strong interest these residents had in nature and the outdoors.

Ecology Center at Highland Green--community in Maine

Unfortunately, a person may not even know about this.  On the surface, it looked to be like any typical active adult retirement community.

One has to dig deeper.  There are niches within niches.

I am not talking about any ordinary activity.  Most communities have the usual gardening club and clubhouse activities.  I am talking about real participation and commitment on a grand scale.  They are out there.  Whatever your preference, ask around.  I think it is essential to reveal it in my community descriptions when I find it.  I think it is what makes the community unique.   It is people joining others to enjoy the same thing.

The link from the New York Times article was to my military retirement communities page.  Military communities would be a niche.  Are there niches within this niche.   Start by asking the community.    Read the New York Times article, "Why Can't I Live With People Like Me?"