4 Ways to Plug In When You’re Snowed In!

Temperatures near Sherwood Oaks, in the Pittsburgh area, got down to a frigid -5 this week, with many schools and businesses closing for the day. This winter has proved to be a dangerous one, with temperatures often dropping below zero. When something as simple as walking outside can be dangerous, it’s better to play it safe and stay inside.

But how do you still manage to be productive in your day when you can’t run to the grocery store or stop by the bank? Technology has made it easier than ever to pass time productively as long as you have an Internet connection. Don’t suffer from the doldrums of winter. Instead, turn your day into a day of digital productivity. 


Play the Game

If you’ve ever been told that playing isn’t productive, you need to seek a second opinion. A good example of how play can contribute to your health and brain function is this example from US News:  “All animals play, even though playing is not immediately productive and is sometimes dangerous. Yet grizzly bears that play the most survive longest. Rats that socialize more with other rats develop bigger, more complex brains. And play stimulates nerve growth in the portions of the brain that process emotions and executive function.”

The web has made some of your favorite brain games accessible on any computer, phone, or tablet you have near you.  AARP offers a wide variety of games, including those in the category of “Brain Games” and a paid service called “Brain Fitness.” You can also look into brain training puzzles through Lumosity or simply browse the archives of crossword puzzles from USA Today.


Get a YouTube Education

YouTube has much more to offer than just funny videos of cats and the latest music video crazes. There are a lot of valuable tutorials that you can watch in order to teach yourself new skills. And the best part of YouTube is that it’s free!  You can search for tutorials on anything from how to play a few chords on a new instrument to how to do basic edits to a photograph. For those artists at heart, here is a tutorial on how to draw a realistic eye:


Get a Handle on Your Finances

Knowing where your money is going to and where you can make adjustments to your budget is valuable at any age. You can create a free account today on Mint.com, a financial website that helps you track which categories of products and services you spend the most on and reach financial goals you would like to set for yourself, like budgeting for a vacation or contributing to a grandchild’s college education.

Sites like Forbes.com and WSJ.com are also good resources when looking for financial information tailored to seniors. Like this Forbes article, which details the danger in hiring a financial planner who says they specialize in senior finances.


Become a Top Chef

Even the most talented cook can use a little bit of inspiration every now and then. Pinterest is a great tool for collecting and organizing pieces of information, including cleaning tips, products you would like to buy, inspirational quotes, and… delicious recipes.  Browse the site’s “Food & Drink” section to see if anything catches your eye, or use the search function to find new twists on old dishes. It’s a huge help when you’ve got to accommodate your daughter-in-law’s gluten-free diet or switch to a heart-healthy diet as instructed by your doctor.

Not the chef of the family? Pinterest is FILLED with activities for a snowy day, like home décor projects you can DIY and tips for reorganizing your home.

And if when you’re done collecting home organization tips and realize that you need to clean unnecessary items out of your life, it might be time to consider a reorganization of your belongings into a patio home or apartment at Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community!

3 Reasons Why Americans Might Be Putting Off Retirement

According to Gallup’s Economy and Personal Finance survey, the average age of retirement in 1994 was between 57 and 58. In 2013, it was 61. The poll also revealed that only 26% of working Americans expect to retire before the age of 65. So why over the past 20 years have senior citizens chosen to put off their retirement? Here are some possible reasons: 

1. They don’t have the money to retire.

Retirement isn’t cheap, especially for those who wait until later in life to start saving and those who fail to save at all. The earlier you started saving for retirement, the better off you’ll be for the final time you have to clock in.

According to a CNBC article from 2011, “Fidelity Investments estimates a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2011 will need $230,000 to pay for medical expenses throughout retirement, not including nursing-home care. This figure assumes there is no employer-provided retiree health-care coverage, and life expectancies of 17 years for men and 20 years for women.”

And that is just a rough estimate of medical cost – not housing, travel, or any other unforeseen expenses that might pop up over the decades spent in retirement. Because of this, 50% of workers say they believe they will return to work during retirement. But there is some good news here, too…

2. They really love their job.

Some people choose to put off retirement just because they really love their job. If you’ve spent most of your adult life building a career you can be proud of, you will obviously have mixed emotions about leaving it behind.

No one is required to retire in a certain year, on a certain day, so there shouldn’t be anything holding someone back from continuing to do a job that they love and are talented at. Some people even feel a loss of identity when they do take the plunge and retire. They were used to their routine and being needed as part of a company or organization. Even if you do eventually want to quit working for good, it’s always nice to have a plan on what your new “thing” will be in retirement.

3. It keeps them active.

Gallup provided another fact that supports the idea of retiring later in life:

Gallup has found that Americans aged 60 to 69 who work have slightly better emotional health than those who do not work.

While waking up and going to work every day might not be what everyone considers to be the “dream,” many jobs keep you physically active, while others help keep your brain active – something that is just as important as physical exercise.

That isn’t to say that you can’t challenge yourself physically and mentally during retirement. In fact, we encourage our residents to be active in body and mind through activities like fitness classes and book clubs. But being held accountable at a job is a good motivator for you to stay at the top of your game.

At what age did you retire? What made you choose that time in your life to make the switch?

Entertaining in a Small Space

In your home, you’ve probably hosted a get-together or two (or hundreds)! And while having a large living room or family space once made sense for your growing family, making the decision to move to a retirement community such as Sherwood Oaks, and downsizing possessions and space, is a practical decision for a retiree.

Just because you don’t have the space you once did, that doesn’t mean you can’t host family gatherings as you always have. You just need to think about the space in your patio home or apartment in creative ways.


1. Add some mirrors to your décor.

Mirrors help to open up and brighten a small space. Before a get-together, consider adding some mirrors to your décor. This can be achieved by hanging a mirror on the wall, adding reflective vases, or incorporating a mirror into your centerpiece.


 2. Get creative with the furniture.

Foot stools, spare crates, and furniture from other rooms and outdoors can make great seating. Giada De Laurentiis made this suggestion to The Daily Meal: “Ditch standard table seating and get some great floor pillows.  Have your guests circle up around the coffee table and eat in their lap!” This is a great option for children and relatives who don’t mind opting for the floor.


3. Put your sink to work!

She Knows gave this great tip for entertaining with limited refrigerators space:  Put ice in the sink and use it as a beverage cooler. That way you can free up space to put your famous veggie dip in the fridge until you’re ready for it.


4. Opt for apps.

If serving a full meal seems like a big task for your small space, consider serving appetizers instead. Things like dip and chips or other bite-sized snacks will take up less space but are still delicious. Just remember to tell guests that you will not be serving full meals and try to schedule the gathering so that it won’t interfere with meal time.


5. Take advantage of counter space.

Unless someone will be using your toaster during your party, it’s a safe bet that you can store it in a cupboard. Think about what won’t be put to use and put it in storage temporarily.


6. Think about convenience and traffic flow.

Making the most of your space and having a good flow through your house is important when it’s crowded! If you have a plate of hot dogs on your kitchen counter, have the buns there, also. Don’t put the napkins across the room from the plates. Having guests running around trying to complete their plate is hectic and counterproductive.


7. Make some moves.

Consider moving furniture to other rooms that won’t contribute to seating or table space. You don’t need to redecorate your space forever, just for the day!


8. Have guests prepare food before.

In a great tip from Care2, have guests complete their dishes before they arrive if your event is potluck style. Failing to do so may just result in too many cooks in the kitchen…literally!


9. Take the party to a bigger space on campus!

Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community offers a variety of spaces on campus for hosting family parties, and we even cater! There is more space to fit all of your loved ones without having to leave home!
For more information on reserving campus space, call our receptionist at 724 776-8100. To talk about catering your party, call 724-776-8505 and ask for Jesse.

10 Simple New Years Resolutions for Senior Citizens

Happy 2014! We’re glad to have another exciting year in the books at Sherwood Oaks retirement community, and we are looking forward to everything the New Year will bring. With each New Year comes a new set of resolutions to set for a happier and healthier you.

If you’re looking for simple ways to make 2014 better than the last, here are some of our favorite suggestions:


1. Take Your Health Into Your Hands

Listening to health professionals is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Knowledge is power at any age. Do your own research on healthy habits you can begin based on your individual health needs. If you’re trying to watch your blood sugar levels, find some great sugar-free versions of your favorite foods. If you’re active and trying to come up with stress relief techniques, think about yoga or meditation. From dropping your diet soda habit to taking an hour-long walk a day, you can make small changes for a big difference.


2. Eat Better

Speaking of food habits, 2014 is a great year to provide you body with the right fuel that it needs.ChooseMyPlate.gov is a great resource on nutritious eating, and it suggests that 50% of your plate be fruits and vegetables. It’s a known fact that when you eat better, you feel better!


3. Find a New, Healthy Activity

Not everyone is a runner, and some people hate working out in a group! The great thing about physical fitness is that there are so many ways to incorporate it into your lifestyle. Now is a good time to try out a sport you’ve always wanted to take part in or to swim laps a few times a week like you used to. Experiment and find the right activity for your personality and activity level.


4. Check Something Off of Your Bucket List

Entering your golden years doesn’t mean that the excitement is over! This can be the year you finally take that trip to Paris, reunite with your childhood best friend or buy your dream car. It might take some work, but think about the biggest goal you have yet to accomplish and start working toward it!


5. Connect More With Friends and Family

As children and friends get older, their families grow – and their free time shrinks. Make connecting with loved ones a priority this year. This can happen by scheduling a weekly Skype call with your grandchildren, having coffee every other week with your old high school pals or making sure to fit in a date night every month. Time spent laughing with those that mean the most is time well spent.


6. Reduce

One of the best lessons we ever learn is the difference between “want” and “need.” Making the move from a house to a retirement community is a great example of downsizing and making this important decision. But it doesn’t have to stop there. Look around your home and see where you can reduce clutter. In just a few minutes you can sort through one of those messes you’ve “been meaning to get to” and make your space more usable!

Similarly, the beginning of a new year is a good time to look at your budget and decide where you may be able to cut back.


7. Be a Kid Again 

Did you love riding bikes as a child? Did you take Saturday morning shopping trips with your mother? Think about a happy memory from childhood and bring it back to your life in a new way!


8. Tell Your Story Your Way

Sharing your life with your children and grandchildren will mean more to them than you know. Technology makes it easier to share photos and stories than ever before. Upload old photos toFlickr or start a blog to share your story with the world!


9. Brush Up on New Technology

Speaking of new technology – are you confused about theFacebook feature your granddaughter explained to you? Would you like to figure out how to video chat on your own? Learn about a piece of technology that is of interest through a local community class or your own research! Searching YouTube for tutorials is a good place to start, or reach out to the tech addict in your life!


10. Celebrate the Little Things

Every healthy check up, child’s birthday, and reached goal is another reason to celebrate. Make 2014 the year that you acknowledge and celebrate the good moments!