Friday, April 27, 2012

Stay Active, Stay Busy, Stay Around

Our blog topics for the month of April have focused on health and activity.  With really nice weather up and down the East Coast this winter and so far this spring, I have no excuse for being in better shape!  It’s hard to find the motivation to exercise when I have the time and as hard to find the time when I am really motivated to work out.  But it’s a gift from Mother Nature to walk or run outside (in CT) more than usual over the last four months.  With the weather becoming consistently warmer, I look forward to more walking, running and biking, and other healthy activities all through the warm season.

Being healthy and active takes more effort as we age. These are generally high goals for those preparing for and already retired.  Who wants to be tied down due to health issues, if they can avoid it with good eating, sleeping and exercising habits?  With more time on our hands why not take advantage of it?  One suggestion often touted by Runner’s World is to set some goals and sign-up for running events.  That way we have something to work towards with our training.
There are a lot of fun ways to keep you motivated.  Signing up for an exercise class, running group, golf league, tennis round robin or masters swimming will focus your training.  Perhaps you can make it in the National Senior Games!  The important aspect of exercising however should ultimately be to enjoy it while you are doing it rather than looking at is as drudgery.  Finding some physical activity that you really enjoy will keep you going back for more.  Finding activities that you can enjoy with other people may help even more and build some long lasting friendships.
And besides being healthy and active for ourselves, how about for those we really care about?  Initially, we need to be self-motivated to undertake a change to our exercise habits.  But let’s face it, if we can keep up with our children and/or grandchildren on a walk, bike ride, paddling, surfing, playing tennis or golf, how much more fun will we have in retirement?
See you out there,
Kris Jensen III
Get in on the Good Life!®

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

When Age Is Just a Number

At Jensen Communities, we love it when we hear our residents say things like, “I still feel like I’m 20!,” “swimming in the pool makes me feel like a kid again,” or “when I get together with the guys on Saturdays, it’s like we’re back in college all over again.”

All of that is certainly proof that age really is just a number – and you’re only as old as you feel. In a vibrant 55-plus community, where there’s so much to and so much to keep you busy, lots of times, it’s fun to lose track of that relative number that has marked your birthday since the day you were born.

Sure, there’s the occasional ache here or tightness here, but all in all – if you can believe that you have a whole life of wonderfully new things ahead of you – and the passion to live with the unstoppable energy of youth, there’s no telling where your retirement years might take you.  

So, for all of you “young-at-hearts” out there, Jensen Communities wants to know:

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were? 

Share your thoughts, we’d love to know!

Jensen Communities

Monday, April 16, 2012

Keep On Playin'

When my dad was just a little older than I am now, people (especially my mom) were always telling him how at his age, “he should really start to slow down.”  The thing is, he was always a pretty active guy – and so “slowing down” wasn’t really a possibility in his eyes. He loved to go run around with his grandchildren, join me for a jog, and was always outside fixing, weeding, shoveling, lifting – well into his 80’s. When doctors or family would lecture him about “taking it easy,” giving it a rest,” he’d just put a smirk on his face and nod his head, just to end the conversation.

Suzie, he’d say to my mom – “like Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, ‘Men do not quite playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.’” Then he’d turn around and go right back to what he was doing.

I always got a chuckle out of the “old man” when he’d pull that one out. I mean, while lots of time I agreed with my mom and the others who felt concerned about his well-being, I always knew he had a point. He was passionate about life and about living that life exactly how he wanted. There was no way, up until the day he died, that he was going to “quit playing” – regardless of his age and perceptual limitations.

The way my dad lived his life was really admirable to me – and it’s that attitude that I like to think I carry with me as I gracefully walk into my older years. I may be getting’ up there, but I know I still have a hell of a lotta fire left in me. So, to keep me going, I don’t ever plan on “quitting the game.” In fact, there’s a new league of games that I still have left to play.
Really enjoying this part of life and…

Flyin’ Free

Monday, April 9, 2012

The New You

Being over 50 and in the retirement home (55+) business I regularly scan the AARP website and their periodicals.  While everyone might not want to face joining and carrying an AARP card, it is hard to ignore the information they have and topics they write about as well as the benefits and discounts offered.  I find the articles more interesting and thought provoking than I would have thought.  It is better to stimulate the mind and think “outside the box” than to get caught in a rut.

Comparing a couple of recent posts of older articles on the site shows how obtaining the right balance becomes even more important for all of us to get the most out of life on the north side of 50.  Reading13 Little Luxuries We Deserve Now That We’re Over 50” and its sister article “25 Things We Don't Need Now That We're Over 50” got me thinking.  If we don’t get to have a few more things and experiences than we did when we were younger, what is the payoff for all the years of hard work?
And this is not to say that it is about still accumulating stuff.  Quite to the contrary.  It should be about being more practical in order to simplify and stream line our lives so that we gain more time, energy and resources to do the things we really want to do and be with the people we really want to be with.  The economy over the last ten years has not been kind to those close to retirement.  But it is what it is.  We all have the choice to reset what is most important and make the changes needed to get there.
Think about what makes your life richer and what makes you sleep at night.  Make time to do some things that will help you cut out what you don’t need in order to gain experiences and the things that you truly treasure.
Get in on the Good Life!®

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Struggles With An Aging Parent

My mom is in her early 80’s – and ironically, although I have downsized and made the move to a home that’s more conducive to my needs, she’s actually still living in the home where my sister and I grew up. While it’s not huge, I’m really beginning to see how its layout, structure and isolation are causing a lot of problems in her day to day.

First off, it’s an older home, where the hallways and doorways are narrow and where there’s no bedroom on the first floor – forcing her to use the stairs every morning when she wakes up and every night before she goes to bed. The cabinets are difficult for her to reach into, the washer and dryer are in the basement and as for the outside– well, it could definitely use a whole lot of TLC.

Due to increasing arthritis in her legs, she wakes up real stiff in the morning until she gets moving. Showering worries me after she slipped and fell a few years back, I’ve since come over every other night to assist her in getting in and out of the old tub, which requires her to lift a leg to get in.

I know that now is the time for her to make a move – into a place that that accommodates her aging needs. Ever since I, myself, moved into my retirement home in my 60’s, I’ve been insisting that she do the same before something forces her to make a move. Her biggest concern though? The expense of moving. She’s been to my very comfortable single family, single floor home – and after seeing how neat and new everything is, she’s automatically assumes that a place like that would cost a “pretty penny,” as she says.

What I’ve explained to her over and over again is that she can afford it – and I know that in the long run, she’ll be so much more content. Plus, she’d be right in the same neighborhood – and having her close would certainly give me the peace of mind that I need.

Hopefully soon I can make her see the light…

Promoting the Good Life,

Get In On It

Comfort in Disguise

One of the things we hear a lot from the neighbors within our communities is that they love living in a home that fits every one of their aging needs – but that doesn’t stick out as looking “different” than any other traditional home inside and out.

They love how their open floor plans not only allow them the space they need to get around – but also the space they need to entertain. If they have trouble walking stairs, they don’t have a clunky stair lift creating
an eyesore in their home – but instead, they benefit from a bedroom on the ground floor, so that no one would ever know that they actually had trouble.

Unlike the obvious signs of an aging household that can make it look like a nursing home, personally selected universal design elements allows you to keep the aesthetic beauty of a regular home, with subtle nuances that make the home work to your advantage. Think fewer steps, wider doors, hallways and extra space in the kitchen and baths. Think lever locksets, rocker light switches, double hung tilt-in windows, kitchen pull out shelves and comfort height toilets. The designs and features allow you to “age in place” – to grow with you, from middle age and beyond and to accommodate you when you need them.
Oh, and the best part is – you’re the only one that needs to know that things are built…just a little “different” J.

A Time To Be Social and A Time To Enjoy Me

With Spring here, I got to thinking how great it’s been to have so much activity going on around me where I live. I know guys aren’t supposed to admit things like this – but before I moved, it was starting to get a little lonely in that big old house where I used to be. My neighbors, who I had become close with over the years, were all moving away and the sense of community really started to become non-existent. It was so different than it used to be – and it started to feel like I was left behind in a whole world all to my own.

Since I’ve moved, though, that’s all changed. In the community where I’m living, there’s all kind of action. On any given day, people all around my age are walking, biking, or out in their yards gardening. Heck - sitting on my front porch just the other day, I must have had about a dozen people stop outside my home to just to talk; and for a social guy like me, it is really great to have this kind of interaction.
While I never thought making new friends would be a possibility at my age, I’ve already made so many, right here in my community. There are guys just like me who I can call up at any time to join me fishing at the lake or just drop by for a game of cards, or a few beers.

The best part is – in a world with so much activity, at the end of the day – I also have my privacy. I can just shut my front door, ease onto on the couch and enjoy the freedom of my own home. 

In this new chapter of my life, I get a healthy balance between a sense of community and me time. It’s the best of both worlds – and truthfully, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Flyin’ Free