Plan Out Your Winter Reading List

Cold weather means snowy streets, turning up the heat, and knitting yourself a seasonal sweater. But while you may find yourself stuck indoors, it is a great opportunity to work on a winter reading list. Making a physical list of things you would like to achieve helps many people accomplish their goals easier. As you work on your own list, keep in mind these books on retirement and living a happy life that come highly recommended:
 
1. How to Retire Happy, Wild & Free by Ernie J. Zelinski

One of the most highly recommended book on retirement, “How to Retire Happy, Wild & Free” provides insight into living a happy life after retirement. The book is financially focused, helping readers gain a new view of money in retirement. It also discusses setting goals, following your heart, and living a life that you love!
 
2. A Couple’s Guide to Retirement by Sara Yogev Ph.D.

Retirement can put a lot of unexpected stress on a relationship. Between money issues, moving to a retirement community and selling a house, making decisions about family and belongings, and actually discussing retirement options with family, the process can be draining even to the most stable couple. This book explores what it takes to maintain a loving relationship through the stress.
 
3. 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey

Retirement gives you more time to devote to having a happy and healthy family. Stephen Covey, author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” also has a book dedicated to the family dynamic, exploring topics such as how to hold a useful family meeting and how to communicate more effectively to reach goals as a family.
 
4. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

While riding the bus one day, author Gretchen Rubin decided that she wanted to be happy in her life, and that she wanted to have a better understanding of what made her happy. The outcome of this thought was “The Happiness Project” where Rubin explores happiness in every aspect of her life, whether it be marriage, parenthood, or career. The book has encouraged many people to do their own Happiness Project. Will it inspire you?
 
5. Tuesdays With Morrie

If you’re looking to read something with plenty of life lessons, read the popular “Tuesdays With Morrie,” which gives you gems like:

“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

While this book is a work of fiction, it gives plenty advice that you can apply in real life.
 

A Book Lover’s Dream

Still not sure what you should be reading? There are plenty of resources out there to help you find your new favorite read. What Should I Read Next? instructs you to enter in the last book you read and then gives suggestions for the next one. For instance, if you last read “The Great Gatsby,” the site suggests Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms,” among other titles. You can also do a search based on author to find another author whose work you may enjoy.

Book lovers will also enjoy browsing Goodreads. Along with many other features, such as reading forums and an easy way to track which books you’ve read and want to read, Goodreads has a “Recommendations” feature, which gets more precise as you rate books on the site.

Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community residents don’t need to worry about not having the right book on hand when they need it. We have a 6,000+ volume library, affiliated with the Carnegie, which includes large print books, books on tape, DVD’s, reference books, and new releases. If there is a book that you can’t find as you browse, Sherwood Oaks can get the book for you! And for those of you who enjoy book clubs, we have one that meets once a month. Book lovers should feel right at home at Sherwood Oaks!
No matter which book you crack open next, use your reading time as a way to relax, learn, and truly enjoy your retirement!

Beat Winter Woes with These Healthy Tips

Winter might be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be a quite dangerous time for retirees. As we age, our bodies have a more difficult time defending from sickness and recovering from injury. But you can take preventative measures to be sure that you can spend this winter snuggling up to loved ones, not sniffling in bed.

Cold & Flu – According to Contac Cold and Flu, Cold and flu season spans October to May, with the peak of cases popping up in February. To avoid the aches and pains that come with cold and flu, you should be sure to wash your hands after coming into contact with others and before meals. Keep hand sanitizer handy when there is no soap and water nearby. Getting enough sleep, drinking the recommended amount of water, and reducing stress also help to keep your immune system strong. It is also recommended that you get the flu shot to avoid illness.

Frostbite and Hypothermia – The older we get, the more difficult it is for our bodies to retain body heat, which means that senior citizens run a higher risk of suffering from frostbite and hypothermia. To reduce your risk, be sure to cover as much skin as possible when you leave the house and to be on the lookout for signs of danger. According to the American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging, these symptoms include shivering, pale or ashy skin, a feeling of sleepiness, confusion, slowed heart rate, or trouble walking.

Heartburn – Ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes… the food around the holidays is exceptionally good, but not always so good for you. Bigger meals can lead to heartburn that is less than merry, so you should try to take a preventative heartburn medication and eat slowly and in moderation to avoid paying for your meal later.

Dry Skin – Dry, itchy skin can make winter uncomfortable. To go from scratchy to smooth, be sure to moisturize regularly with an over-the-counter moisturizer, especially after a bath or shower as this removes moisture from the body. Running a humidifier can also help keep skin soft.

Arthritis – Many sufferers report that their arthritis is more painful in the winter. Ease arthritis pain by staying warm, which includes taking warm baths and enjoying some time in the hot tub. It’s also important to stay active in order to keep muscles strong.

Slips and Falls – Suggesting winter boots with traction might sound more like fashion advice than health advice, but slippery sidewalks and parking lots can be a serious issue for senior citizens, who already run a risk of being injured in a fall due to brittle bones. Choose footwear that is as functional as it is stylish. Snow might be falling, but you shouldn’t be, too.

General Unhealthy Feeling – If you’re just feeling a little bit crummy this winter, it might be because you need to make time for fitness in your schedule. We’ve written before about the top-quality exercise programs and amenities that come with being a Sherwood Oaks resident. Be sure to use them! Combined with a full menu of healthy foods, we are your partner in staying active and healthy this winter.

Some great news for the winter season (and every season)? Residents of retirement communities are shown to have a longer lifespan with greater quality of life because of the balanced lifestyle that they are able to take advantage of. With so many opportunities for socialization, exercise, and nutritional food, it’s easy to see why retirement communities like Sherwood Oaks are a healthy decision.

Cash in on Senior Citizen Discounts

Everyone likes to save a few dollars here and there, and one great benefit of being in your golden years is the senior citizen discount. From national chains to independent stores and attractions, discounts are available everywhere for you to take advantage of. This list we’ve compiled is just a sampling of the savings you could be getting!
 
On food:
There are plenty of food chains that offer discounts and free items to senior citizens, including:

    [one_half]

  • Boston Market
  • Burger King
  • Chick-Fil-A
  • Chili’s
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Dairy Queen
  • Denny’s
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Eat ‘n’ Park
  • Friendly’s
  • Golden Corral
  • Hardee’s
  • [/one_half][one_half_last]

  • Hoss’s
  • IHOP
  • KFC
  • Longhorn Steakhouse
  • Long John Silvers
  • Ponderosa
  • Sonic
  • Steak & Shake
  • Subway
  • Taco Bell
  • Wendy’s 
  • [/one_half_last]

On products and services:

  • Anyone age 50 and over can get 20% off of their order at 1800flowers.com when you use the promo code SENIORS. Send flowers to family and friends without breaking the bank!
  • Most Ace Hardware locations will offer up to a 10% discount to customers 60 and older.
  • AT&T and T-Mobile both offer special packages for senior citizens.
  • While not available at all locations, many Roto Rooter branches offer a 10% discount to customers 55 and older.
  • Is Banana Republic just your style? Fill your closet with a 10% discount, offered daily at most locations to shoppers over 50.
  • While the discount varies by store, Goodwill stores typically offer a 10-20% discount to shoppers 55 and older, often on certain days of the week. The Salvation Army also offers discounts up to 50%.
  • Tuesday is the best day for you to shop at Kmart, as you’ll save 10% as long as you’re 55 or older.
  • Shoppers 60 and older shouldn’t forget their ID at Kohl’s on Wednesday, or they’ll miss out on a 15% discount.

On activities:

  • Planning on doing dinner and a movie? Save a few dollars by going to an AMC or Carmike theater! AMC theaters often offer a 30-60% discount on a regular ticket prices for customers 60 and older, while certain Carmike locations offer up to a 35% discount to those 65 and older.
  • The Andy Warhol Museum is located in Pittsburgh’s Cultural district, which is filled with galleries, restaurants and theaters. Make a day of it and save $3 on your museum admission with proof that you are 55 or older.
  • Speaking of museums, those 65 and older can also get $3 off their admission to the Carnegie Museums of Art and History.
  • The Carnegie Science Center is a fun activity for science students of all ages. Anyone 64 and older can get a discount off of their admission ranging from $4-6 as well as $2 off Omnimax shows.
  • History buffs and Pittsburgh’s biggest fans ages 62+ can save up to 15% off their admission to the Heinz History Center.
  • Have a day of fun and flight at The National Aviary for $1 off if you’re 60 or older.
  • Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens offers a beautiful view of nature year-round. Just as beautiful is saving $1 off admission fees if you’re 60 or older.
  • The exact same deal as Phipps applies at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium.
  • The Kelly Strayhorn Theater, located along Penn Avenue, offers $5 discounts to theater lovers 65 and older. 

On travel:

  • Did you know that senior citizens age 65 and older can ride Port Authority transportation (busses, the T and the Mon Incline) for free? All you need is a Senior Citizen ID card, which you can apply for at the Port Authority’s Downtown Service Center or at your local senior center.
  • Many airlines offer discounted ticket prices to senior citizens. If you’re booking with your favorite company, be sure to ask if there are any specials available to you.
  • Considering a cruise? If you book through Carnival Cruise Lines you could save more than $100 on a cruise. Be sure to ask about this discount if you are 55 or older.
  • Enterprise offers discounts to AARP members, and many other car rental services, such as Hertz, offer discounts to senior citizens. AARP members get a long list of discounts, which you can browse on the AARP website.


Many businesses offer senior citizen discounts without promoting them too much, from heating and cooling companies to local coffee shops. If you think you might be able to score a great deal, don’t hesitate to ask!

Educate Yourself on Cancer Risks in Patients Over 50

Cancer can affect patients of any age, but cancer risks increase with age. According to Senior Homes, “Approximately 2.15% of all adults over 65 will be newly-diagnosed with cancer each year compared to 0.2% of those under 65.”

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the word “cancer” seems to be everywhere. And while everyone has been affected by cancer, whether firsthand or by watching a family member or friend fight the disease, those near and above retirement age should take a particular interest in the topic and what it means for them.

Women and men should do monthly self-examinations to check for Breast Cancer, and women over the age of 40 should schedule yearly mammograms.  According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, women who go through menopause later in their life have an increased risk of breast cancer.

But there are also things you can do to lower your risk! According to recent research by the American Cancer Society, taking a brisk walk for an hour a day can help women over 50 reduce their chances of breast cancer by 14%.

Here are some other facts about cancer as you age:

  • Age-related illnesses, such as arthritis, can make cancer treatments less effective and make healing after cancer treatment more difficult.

  • The most common fatal cancer in men is prostate cancer, which is why it is important to get a yearly exam.

  • Men die from cancer more often than women because they fail to visit a doctor and get proper treatment, according to the Daily Mail. Women are also more informed about the signs of cancer.

  • As is important to patients at any age, a healthy diet, limited exposure to UV rays, not smoking, and living an active lifestyle can all reduce your risk of cancer.

The American Cancer Society clearly lays out guidelines for cancer screenings, and the closer you follow these guidelines, the better chance you will have at detecting a problem early. If the unthinkable would happen and you are diagnosed with cancer, you can find comfort in Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community’s excellent level of medical care.

10 Reasons to Love Fall in Pittsburgh

Have the end-of-summer blues? The season of sun and surf may have ended on September 22, but that’s no reason to get down. The city of Pittsburgh has plenty to keep you busy. Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community residents can, of course, enjoy a nice stroll around campus when they want to take in the vivid colors of autumn, but when you want a fun fall day on the town, you have many options. Here are 10 of our favorite reasons to love fall in Pittsburgh:

  1. A giant duck?
    A 40-foot rubber duck is currently floating in the Allegheny River, and you’d better catch him before he’s gone! A series of rubber duck sculptures have been floating in Amsterdam, Osaka, Sydney, Sao Paulo, and Hong Kong, and Pittsburgh became the first U.S. city to host the duck when it arrived last Friday! The duck was created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman and will remain at the Point until October 20.
  2. Pumpkin patches.
    Choosing a pumpkin to carve or display in your home is one of the most important decisions you make during the fall. One of the most talked-about pumpkin patches in the Pittsburgh area is Soregel Orchards in Wexford. Their Fall Festival takes place every weekend from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. from now until October 31. You won’t want to miss pumpkin painting, a cornstalk maze, hayrides, and more. Choose apples and pumpkins for all of your fun fall needs. It’s perfect for the entire family. Another local pumpkin patch is Trax Farms in Finleyville, Pa.
  3. Rides on the Clipper.
    When you have as many rivers to choose from as we do, it’s a shame to not enjoy them! The best way is to enjoy a cruise on the Gateway Clipper. Along with their regular sightseeing cruises, they have seasonal offerings for tourists and locals alike to enjoy! Throughout October, you can enjoy a Fall Foliage Cruise, a Halloween Whodunnit Cruise, a Halloween Fun Cruise, or a Haunted Halloween Dinner. Ticket prices and times vary.
  4. Halloween at Phipps.
    Phipps isn’t just a beautiful experience in the summer, it’s also a must-visit spot for fall. The fall Flower Show takes place from October 19 to November 10. The stars of the show are chrysanthemums in bright, seasonal colors, which have been featured in the Flower Show since 1893. From 4-8 p.m. on October 25, Phipps has Halloween Happenings for everyone! Kids in costumes are welcome to enjoy an afternoon of spooky fun with parents and grandparents.
  5. Museums.
    When the air gets chilly, it’s a great time to get indoors and enjoy some of Pittsburgh’s most interesting art and history sites. The Carnegie Museums, the Heinz History Center, the Mattress Factory, and the Andy Warhol Museum are some of the most popular options for a fall day filled with art and culture.
  6. The scenery!
    It’s no secret that Western Pennsylvania has some of the most beautiful foliage to view in the country. One of the best perks of calling Pittsburgh home is witnessing the transition from greens to browns, yellows, and reds!
  7. The shows.
    Autumn is the perfect time to catch a show in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. October’s shows include “Defending the Caveman,” “Ina Garten: The Barefoot Contessa,” “Our Town,” and “We Will Rock You,” a musical featuring music from Queen.
  8. Pumpkin everything!
    This might not be a regional perk, but we sure do love it, either way! From pumpkin coffee and pumpkin cookies to pumpkin soup and pumpkin gobs, everyone is seeing orange! Enjoy a delicious pumpkin soup at Nicky’s Thai Kitchen on the North Shore or fill up with a pumpkin bagel from Oakmont Bakery. The world might be going crazy for pumpkin, but Pittsburgh is making it a local specialty.
  9. Phantom Fright Nights.
    If you don’t scare easily, you might want to take a chance on Phantom Fright Nights at Kennywood Park. Phantom Fright Nights, which is celebrating its 10th year this season, takes place on Fridays and Saturdays through October 26 (Plus October 13), and includes some of Kennywood’s favorite rides, plus tricks and shrieks around every corner. This event is not recommended for children under 13.
  10. The sports!
    We are now in the midst of both hockey and football seasons in the City of Champions, but everyone is talking about the Pirates! Good luck to the Bucs in tonight’s National League wild-card game.