Retirement living is one thing, but moving to retirement community living is quite another. The subject can generate a lot of resistance – the “elephant in the room.”
The elephant in the room points to an issue that is not being addressed. The elephant in the room is a hard subject that is easier to avoid.
Aging: The Elephant in the Room
As it turns out, in the matter of aging, there is a huge elephant in the room. We at St Anne’s call that elephant “Annie,” and she is so common that many, if not most of you reading this, already know what is meant:
- Aging parents, relatives and friends who are unable to recognize their own situation.
- Loved ones, otherwise responsible people, who are unable or unwilling to take personal responsibility for their aging.
Pro-active aging or pro-aging is to anticipate and plan for the “next step” of life. It is a measure of personal maturity and, in pro-aging families, there is little or no Annie in the room. However, we are living in a time when people are living longer than in previous generations and the responsible thing to do is often met with resistance…even though the answer is obvious to most everyone: the elephant in the room.
We must respect the resistance of our loved ones, even as we must do what needs to be done. We must seek understanding, and where that is not possible, seek counsel regarding best care guidelines.
The decision is not easy and often not black or white…it’s gray, just like an elephant.
How to Manage the Elephant in the Room
St. Anne’s Retirement Community understands the elephant in the room. Every day, families seeking a safe home environment for relatives come to our door and see Annie, our elephant who stands seven feet tall. Her friendly expression brings smiles to faces and serves as a reminder that we are not alone in dealing with Annie, the elephant in the room.
How to Approach the Elephant in the Room:
- Do not avoid Annie, as it only makes the outcome more averse to all.
- Gather all parties and make a plan of care for your loved ones.
- Include your loved ones in every step of the process.
- Meet with an expert to help facilitate a difficult conversation and make sure you are clearly seeing the options.
St. Anne’s Retirement Community promotes proactive aging by encouraging and facilitating conversations about Annie, the elephant in the room. To meet with our Admissions team and discuss plans for you or a loved one’s future, please call 717-285-5443.
When it comes “community,” the care and compassion one finds at St. Anne’s Retirement Community reaches far beyond our doors along Columbia Avenue. Over the past four years, our Catholic-Centered senior living community has been involved in the Brown Bag Lunch program at St. Anne’s Catholic Church.
Located in Downtown Lancaster, St. Anne’s Catholic Church distributes lunches, free of charge, to community members in need. The Brown Bag Lunch program serves approximately 80 to 120 individuals, Monday through Friday, with the help of countless volunteers from organizations throughout Lancaster County.
“The program is utilized by people who are down on their luck. Volunteers don’t ask questions and the recipients are very respectful and thankful for the meal,” says Dan Lytle, who coordinates St. Anne’s Retirement Community’s involvement in the program.
Four times a year, volunteers from St. Anne’s Retirement Community roll up their sleeves to help with the Brown Bag Lunch program on the last Friday of each quarter. Meals are packed in the retirement community’s kitchen by a crew of employees, Residents and Sisters of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ on Thursday for distribution on Friday. When Dan Lytle asks for help with preparing the lunches, the response from the retirement community is so great, he usually has to turn away volunteers.
“I enjoy packing the lunches because so many people here want to help do it. There is love, a lot of love, packed into each of those brown bags. I am always amazed at all the people who want to pitch in,” says Dan of the Residents, Employees and Sisters who volunteer to help with the program.
St. Anne’s Retirement Community takes pride in providing its Residents with compassionate
care, and participation in the Brown Bag Lunch program as an extension of that mission. As for our Employees, Residents and Sisters who assist with preparing and distributing the meals, they too feel special to be a part of it.
The Brown Bag Lunch Program offers an afternoon meal to local residents in need on weekdays at St. Anne’s Catholic Church on Duke Street in Downtown Lancaster from 11:30AM to 1:00PM. For more information about the program, visit http://stannechurch.org and select “Brown Bag Lunch” under the Outreach menu.
Courtesy of Schreiber Pediatric
Alice “Skip” Steudler sat in the middle of a circle of toddlers leading them through musical games.
Over with the preschool-age kids, Betty Kuhn watched in one corner as a boy sprawled out on the floor with dozens of toy cars. Next to them, Joe Finger and his little buddy Grayson Pavlichko worked on pictures they were painting together. Several kids lined up to talk with Loretta Drolet about their little toy animals.
And out on the playground, Leon Hutton tended to a pile of sticks that served as a make-believe fire.
The unusual thing about these volunteers? They are all at least 79 years old. Skip is the youngster of the group. And the oldest? That’s Loretta, who turned 100 in August.
They come from St. Anne’s Retirement Community in West Hempfield Township, and their visits are coordinated by Hope Long, activity director at St. Anne’s.
All of the St. Anne’s volunteers are parents and grandparents, and they all said they enjoy the visits to Schreiber because they like being around the kids.
Loretta was impressed by how smart the kids are. She recalled one of the children showed her the little animals she had been playing with.
“I said, ‘That’s a doggie.’ And she said, ‘It’s a Dalmatian,'” Loretta said.
Her friends from St. Anne’s are just as impressed with Loretta.
“When I expanded our volunteer base,” Hope said, “I knew Loretta would be perfect. She’s kind and gentle. I knew she would be a good fit.”
“Loretta is my inspiration,” said Leon, who is still basking in the glow of recently being named St. Anne’s King of Hearts for 2017. “I thought if she can do this, I can do it, too.”
Leon admitted he needed a little bit of inspiration in the past year. His wife, Irene, passed away in January of 2016. They had been married 62 years.
“The time at Schreiber has been therapy for me,” he said. “When a person comes out of themselves and gives time, there’s nothing better.”
That’s exactly the kind of reaction Christina Kalyan hoped for when she introduced the program about a year ago. Christina is director of Circle of Friends. She said she thought the kids and the St. Anne’s folks could all benefit from getting together.
“There are a lot of families that don’t have a grandparent figure in their life,” Christina said. “And I wanted to offer (the seniors) a chance to get up and move around and do something that might add a little more meaning to their lives.”
The initial group was made up of a half dozen or so St. Anne’s Residents who have come over once a month (missing occasionally because of weather or schedule). Hope has brought in more Residents for the visits, and she and Christina both said they’d like to add a second visit each month.
“Our Residents love helping others and still have a strong desire to be needed and useful,” Hope said. “Schreiber is the perfect opportunity to allow this to happen. It really is a wonderful partnership and allows everyone the freedom to be who they are with no judgments or expectations from either group. It warms my heart to know that the universal language of love knows no age barrier! We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the Schreiber family.”
Back in the preschool-age room, Joe and Grayson had finished their paintings, exchanged them and gave each other a hug. These two formed a special bond from Joe’s first visit. Grayson is more than happy to sit on Joe’s lap and just hang out. And Joe’s gruff exterior crumbles away when he talks about his young friend.
“When we see each other and I leave, he makes me cry,” Joe said.
No, this is definitely not your typical volunteer group.
Originally published on February 28, 2017 on schreiberpediatric.org.
Money doesn’t grow on trees. After years of building up bank accounts and investment funds, why let hard earned money fall into the hands of deceptive criminals?
Why are Seniors a Likely Target for Fraud?
While fraud can affect people of all ages, seniors are often a prime and common target. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, older Americans are more likely to be a victim of fraud for the five reasons:
- Senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home, and/or to have excellent credit—all of which make them attractive to con artists.
- People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say “no” or just hang up the telephone.
- Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they don’t know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed, or don’t know they have been scammed. Elderly victims may not report crimes, for example, because they are concerned that relatives may think the victims no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their own financial affairs.
- When an elderly victim does report the crime, they often make poor witnesses. Con artists know the effects of age on memory, and they are counting on elderly victims not being able to supply enough detailed information to investigators. In addition, the victims’ realization that they have been swindled may take weeks—or more likely, months—after contact with the fraudster. This extended time frame makes it even more difficult to remember details from the events.
- Senior citizens are more interested in and susceptible to products promising increased cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer properties, and so on. In a country where new cures and vaccinations for old diseases have given every American hope for a long and fruitful life, it is not so unbelievable that the con artists’ products can do what they claim
10 Ways Seniors Can Prevent Fraud
Fraud comes in many different forms and through different channels. Whether it’s by phone, online or in-person, there are ways to decrease your chances of being scammed. Here are a few common tips to help avoid falling victim to this crime.
- Create strong passwords for online accounts containing capital and lower case letter as well as numbers and symbols.
- TIP: A great way to develop and REMEMBER such a password is tying it to a sentence, for example: “My daughter Judy was born in 1960” would translate to the password “MdJwbi1960”.
- Do not open emails from people you don’t know. Beware of emails with generic subjects like “Hi” or “Hello”, or no subject at all.
- Never trust a call or letter claiming you’ve won a lottery, contest or drawing if you have to:
- Pay a fee upfront to claim your prize.
- Deposit a check for more than you’ve won and wire the difference.
- Think twice before wiring money to any source as it is nearly impossible to ever get the funds back.
- Ask questions if you receive a call from a “family member” in need of emergency funds.
- A true family member or relative would be able to answer questions about other family members or traditions. If the caller can’t answer your questions correctly, hang up!
- Offer to call the “family member” back and use a phone number YOU have on file. DO NOT USE the number the caller provides to you.
- If you’ve purchased an item from an online source, like Craigslist or internet yard sales, and agree to meet in person, consider using the parking lot of your local police station to exchange money for goods.
- Never give personal information (social security number, date of birth, account numbers, PIN numbers, etc.) over the phone or on the internet unless you initiated the call and know how the information will be used.
*If you gave out information to such a source, contact your financial institution immediately.
- Avoid using public WiFi with a shared or unsecured password to transmit personal information because it can easily be intercepted by fraudsters.
- Do your RESEARCH!
- Example 1: IRS Scams
- If you receive a call from the IRS claiming you owe money, HANG UP and visit the IRS’ website for notices about current scams from IRS imposters.
- According to the IRS website (www.irs.gov), “The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment, nor will call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill. In addition, the IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue.”
- Example 2: Contest Scams
- If you’ve won a contest you don’t remember entering, contact the church or organization sponsoring it for more information. It is also helpful to search online for articles regarding the validity of similar calls in your area or nationwide.
- Example 1: IRS Scams
- Call someone you trust for advice!
- Example: If your grandson calls for emergency funds, contact his parents before sending any money, providing account information, etc.
Fraud can rear its ugly head at any time and impacts people of all ages. From telephone scams to online hoaxes, it’s important to understand the types of fraud impacting your local community and scams occurring nationwide.
A good rule of thumb is NEVER respond to unexpected requests for money or personal information, and contact someone you trust when fraud knocks on your door.
You’ve built your nest egg, and now it’s time to enjoy it! After all, you earned it.
Winter is here, and with it comes cold weather causing you to spend more hours indoors than out. Rather than let Old Man Winter give you the blues, use your time inside free up space and begin to downsize for retirement.
While scaling down may seem like a daunting task, there are many obvious places to start, like spare closets, garages and extra bedrooms. Sort through items carefully to identify family mementos to pass onto younger generations and things that can be donated to charity or thrown away. Where ever and whenever you begin, keep one goal in mind – downsize, downsize, downsize!
Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:
Kitchen Appliances – If you haven’t ground your own coffee beans, squeezed your own citrus juice or made your own pasta in years, it’s time to take back the cabinet space. You can also eliminate serving dishes, extra plates, etc. to make room for a smaller kitchen in a retirement community.
Entertainment Equipment – In a small apartment or cottage, you may not have room for large entertainment centers or old, large televisions. Scale back the furniture on which your television set is displayed and watch for store promotions in the fall and winter if you wish to purchase a more compact, better quality and lighter weight TV.
Outdoor Furniture – If you enjoy spending time outside, there’s no reason to stop doing it when you’re retired! Look for ways to reduce the size or amount of your patio furniture, because chances are, the space in a retirement community will be smaller than in a residential development. If you need to buy new furniture, wait until the end of the summer for reduced prices on patio sets.
Bedroom Furniture – Most retirement communities offer one or two bedroom residences. Consider donating furniture from additional bedrooms that don’t have nostalgic value. In addition, consider keeping smaller pieces over larger ones in the event that your new bedroom(s) are smaller than in your current home.
Holiday Decorations – As you celebrate holidays throughout the year, donate any decorations you haven’t used or those to which you have no sentimental attachment. In addition, you can eliminate items in storage by decorating for the season instead of specific holidays – i.e. winter themed décor vs. Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day.
Outdoor Maintenance Equipment – Many times, retirement communities will handle the lawn care, snow removal and general landscaping for Residents. So, you won’t need equipment like lawn mowers, snow blowers or leaf blowers, etc.
Childhood Memorabilia – If you’ve been storing artwork, prom dresses, bridesmaid gowns and other items created or used by your grown children, it’s time to talk to them about taking the things they want to keep and donating the rest to charity.
Clothing – If you haven’t worn an article of clothing in the past year, free up the space by donating or consigning it! A popular way to determine unnecessary clothing is to turn the hangers backward in your closet, and at the end of the season, anything that is not facing the correct way can be eliminated from your wardrobe.
Old Documents – If you have a filing cabinet full of documents over a decade old, consider cleaning out. Look up recommended time periods for retaining certain items like tax filings, medical bills, etc. and shred anything with personal information like social security numbers or account numbers.
As you approach retirement, it’s important to not only understand the financial aspects, but to be prepared to embark on the journey itself. If you plan to move into a retirement community like St. Anne’s, downsizing is essential and tackling it early can help minimize the stress of doing it at an older age, completing it within a short timeline or leaving it to your children, relatives or friends in the future. The task might even take you on an unexpected and enjoyable trip down Memory Lane.
Good luck and happy downsizing!
The New Year is often a time we reflect on the past year and set expectations for the twelve months ahead of us. Gym memberships, a fresh pair of sneakers, a scenic neighborhood route to walk or run, or a promise to be thankful for the things around you are a great way to focus on a healthier, happier YOU in 2017.
As you look for ways to make positive changes in your life, consider how you can use your time and talent to impact the lives of others.
New Year’s Resolution:
Make Others Smile and Enjoy Doing It
At St. Anne’s Retirement Community, our Residents come from a variety of diverse backgrounds, and chances are, you share something in common with some of them! Whether it’s walking a Resident to daily mass, accompanying a Resident to one of our many campus activities, chatting about current events, sharing an artistic talent or exploring a future profession, St. Anne’s has a variety of volunteer opportunities for people of all ages as well as scout troops and other organized groups. We also need friendly people who love to shop or have retail experience to volunteer in our great Gift Shop!
So, if you enjoy casual conversations with seniors who have experiences they would love to share, consider volunteering at St. Anne’s Retirement Community. As a volunteer, you’ll see firsthand how a little time (and sometimes even a little work) pays off…in friendly smiles and warm handshakes from our Residents.
For more information about volunteer opportunities, call 717-285-5443717-285-5443.
Turn your GREEN dream into reality with these environmentally-friendly tips!
While Christmas is sometimes white with snow, it generally isn’t “green.” All that one-time-use wrapping paper and packaging, fuel spent traveling and shipping presents, and energy used to light up houses and trees means the holiday season takes a toll on the environment.
In fact, according the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans produce about one million extra tons of trash around the holidays! The agency reports that the volume of household waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day rises by 25% above normal.
Four Green Tips for Christmas
- Use LED Holiday Lights
- LED lights can last up to 10 times longer, use 80% less energy than traditional incandescent holiday lights and are ENERGY STAR qualified.
- They are also more durable and shock resistant than other lights because they do not have moving parts, filaments or glass.
- Find LED lights at your local hardware store, and don’t forget to recycle your old lights!
- Use a timer for your external lighting decorations—a huge electricity saver!
- Use Recycled Paper
- Wrap your gifts in recycled paper, rather than shiny, metallic rolls you see in your local shops which are hard to recycle. Greenfieldpaper.com has fantastic, green wrapping paper options.
- Send Christmas cards printed on recycled paper, or send homemade cards.
- Shop Online
- Often times, online retailers have better pricing than “bricks and mortar” stores, plus you’ll save fuel, time (and stress!) traveling from store to store.
- Choose a Live Tree
- Although plastic Christmas trees are reusable from year to year, real trees are the more sustainable choice.
- Plastic trees are made of petroleum products (PVC), and use up resources in both the manufacture and shipping.
- While artificial trees theoretically last forever, research shows that they are typically discarded when repeated use makes them less attractive. Discarded artificial trees are then sent to landfills, where their plastic content makes them last forever.
At St. Anne’s Retirement Community, Residents and visitors always admire our seasonal decorations, and Christmas is by far one of the most beautiful times of the year on our campus. To set up a tour (and get a few decorating ideas!), please call 717-285-5443717-285-5443.
~ Compiled by the Green Committee at St. Anne’s Retirement Community
As a pet-friendly retirement community, St. Anne’s allows furry and feathery companions in our villas and cottages. Residents in our apartments, personal care and skilled care can also enjoy the company of two dogs, four cats and a bird who call St. Anne’s “home.” While our residents provide daily affection, it is our Pet Committee who handles the financial responsibility of caring for the pets owned by St. Anne’s Retirement Community.
Help keep tails wagging and feathers flapping at St. Anne’s with a donation to our Pet Fundraiser now through April 11, 2016!
The St. Anne’s Pets Committee is hosting its annual campaign to raise funds to care for our pets. In addition, we want to help local, less fortunate animals with a collection drive for the Lancaster County SPCA‘s wish list. The fundraiser concludes on April 11th with a celebration for National Pet Day.
Want to make a donation? Bring items from the Lancaster County SPCA’s wish list to St. Anne’s and drop it in the donation bin just off our main entrance lobby. You can make donations to our pet fundraiser at the front desk too!
Not able to make a donation? Show your support by sharing the details of our fundraiser and collection drive on Facebook or Twitter!
Lancaster County SPCA is in greatest need of the items below:
- Paper towels
- Lavender Pine-sol cleaner
- Clorox spray cleaner
- Liquid laundry soap
- Scrub sponges
- 39-gallon trash bags
- Critter houses
- Critter water bottles
- Food for domestic ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, mice, gerbils & rabbits
- New, untreated wood chew sticks
- Timothy Hay (unopened)
- Shavings for bedding
- Finely shredded paper for bedding
- Heat lamps for reptiles
CAT AND DOG SUPPLIES
- Washable beds
- Cat litter
- Wet dog and cat food, unopened
- Dry cat, kitten, puppy and dog food
- Soft treats
- Leashes and collars
View the Lancaster County SPCA’s full wish list here.*
*When you click on the link, you will leave St. Anne’s website and be directed to Lancaster County SPCA’s website. We have provided the link as a convenience and are not responsible for the content on third-party sites.
If you’re like most people, you have probably been thinking about retirement since the first day of your first, full-time job. As you embark on the journey, or find it just within your grasp, you should consider how and where you want to spend your time.
When considering a retirement community, it’s helpful to understand your options to find the place that best suits your lifestyle now as well as in the future.
Five Things to Consider in a Retirement Community
Retirement should be a time to do the things you love. Whether it’s exercising daily, relaxing with a book or playing cards, it’s important to look for a senior community with offerings and events of interest to you. At St. Anne’s, we plan regular activities for all levels of interest and ability. In addition, our Residents enjoy the convenience of an on-site library and café, and can take advantage of transportation to nearby recreational centers, restaurants, shopping centers and more.
Levels of Care
Initially, you may be downsizing or seeking maintenance free, independent living in a senior community, however it is important to consider more skilled care you might need in the future. St. Anne’s offers all levels of care and independence including private cottages, independent living apartments, personal care, skilled nursing care, memory support and restorative care. Once you are a member of the St. Anne’s community, we are committed to your care and prioritize your placement into more skilled care should the need arise.
While many retirement communities offer similar levels of care and activity, it is the Christian connection that can set one apart from another. If you want attend weekly worship services, consider a faith-based institution or one with close proximity to a worship center and transportation opportunities to get there.
St. Anne’s was founded by Catholic nuns and we take pride in our Catholic sponsorship, so Residents can attend the Rosary and mass on a daily basis. In addition, we welcome all our Residents, approximately half of whom are non-Catholic, to take part in interdenominational worship services every Sunday afternoon.
It’s important to ask questions around costs to “buy in” to a retirement community. For example, do you have to sell your home to be able to afford to move into the community? It’s also important to understand care an institution will provide should your finances become limited or exhausted.
At St. Anne’s, we understand the bottom line and want you to understand it too. Our staff takes the time to explain costs and fees and guide you through every step of the application process. In addition, we do not turn away current Residents should their finances become limited.
To understand the atmosphere of a retirement community, talk to the organization about the people and staff who walk the halls. You can also speak with Residents about their experiences and if they are happy with their decision to live there. If you’re looking with a spouse, ask about other couples residing in the community and how future placements into more skilled care are handled. In addition, you should inquire about waiting lists and the typical amount of time it takes to become a Resident.
St. Anne’s is a diverse retirement community open to individuals 62 years of age and older. Our entire staff takes pride in providing a clean, caring and faith-based environment where Residents can live and thrive – from independent living, to personal care, skilled nursing care, memory support and restorative care. We welcome couples as well as individuals and, once you’re a Resident, there’s always room for you in any area of care.
Choosing how and where to spend your retirement is a decision that’s a lifetime in the making. So, when considering retirement communities, schedule tours, ask questions and explore all your options and you’re certain to find the best place for you!
To set up a tour of St. Anne’s campus, apartments and cottages, please call 717-285-5443717-285-5443.
St. Anne’s is a special continuing care community in that it understands the benefits pets bring to people. While the campus is home to 250 human Residents, it is also home to several furry and feathered companions. When people move to the community, they can be comforted by the knowledge that animals will remain a part of their lives.
Pets weren’t always part of the St. Anne’s atmosphere. In the 1990s, Dan Lytle, administrator of personal care, brought two rescue dogs to the facility. Since then, a lot has developed as the staff recognized that animals play a vital role in people’s everyday lives. A pet committee was formed to take care of the costs of the facility owned animals. The committee relies on fundraisers and donations to cover food, vetting and other needs.
The joy these animals bring to Residents makes them an important part of the community. Many Residents either can no longer care for pets themselves, or had to leave their companions behind. The animals at St. Anne’s are pets to all who live and work there. They make St. Anne’s their home as much as the Residents do and consider all who live and work there to be their family. They have been known to brighten the days of many. They also make great companions for people to talk to, and are great conversation starters among Residents.
The facility currently owns two dogs, four cats, and a bird. St. Anne’s is selective about their facility pets. They must be able to adapt to such a large environment and be model citizens in their behavior. Those living in the cottages, villas and apartments can bring their own companions with them, but must be able to care for them.
St. Anne’s provides many additional benefits for its Residents. They have activities, personal care, therapy and a variety of other comforts and necessities on campus. They also have friendly staff who knows every Resident – including the furry ones. When choosing a continuing care facility, it is important to ensure you or your relatives are in a place that feels most like home. What could possibly feel more like home than having a dog by your side or cat on your lap to start or end your day?
Article courtesy of Samantha St.Clair, Editor at Lancaster County Pet Magazine, LancasterCountyPet.com