Touchmark Reports: April 2016

Current research and news to enhance your well-being …

Get out and shake it!

Whatever you do to keep your body moving is beneficial for your brain.


Even older adults need a boost(er).

Booster shots and other vaccinations are an important step in maintaining good health.


A look at dementia, through spouses’ eyes …

The effects of dementia can be trying for any marriage. Sometimes, just hearing someone else’s story can help.


Eat your apples (and other fruit)!

An expansive study in China shows a potential link between regular fruit consumption and reduced health risks.


Look to your waist—not your weight—to predict heart disease.

Excess abdominal fat can be a powerful predictor of heart disease.


Show your pearly whites some love.

April is National Oral Health Month in Canada. Good oral health can improve overall health and quality of life.


Beware: little-known danger lurks in the backyard barbecue.

Before you fire up the grill, take a closer look.

 

When “fine” is not really fine

As the child of an aging parent, it can be difficult to notice signs that things may not be as “fine” as the parent claims them to be. Those who live far away and may be consumed with their own busy lives can easily miss changes that can affect their parent’s safety, health, and overall well-being.

When visiting a parent or loved one, the signs listed below are just some of the things to keep an eye on to make sure they are continuing to manage well at home. Spending the night at a person’s house can often provide more insights than a short visit, and can allow you to observe hygiene, cleaning, and nutrition habits.

  • If things are piling up, the lawn and garden are overgrown, and laundry is not done, household chores may be too much to handle.
  • In the kitchen, charred pots and pans or burn marks on the countertops can indicate potential safety concerns. Expired food in the refrigerator may mean that nutrition needs are not being met.
  • Scratches on the side of the car could indicate it’s time to give up the keys.
  • Even when living with a spouse, the partner who serves as caregiver may be overwhelmed and in need of support.

A parent or loved one who insists they are managing fine by themselves will likely be resistant to accepting help. They may be too proud, in denial, or trying to avoid feeling like a burden. It’s important to approach any conversation with sensitivity and not just force a solution upon the person.

Adjustments to help a loved one manage at home can be small and may not require much disruption to personal routines. Hiring a cleaning service, transportation, or home care to assist with daily activities can help an older adult maintain their confidence and remain independent in their home.

Agreeing to check in every few months can help to identify potential issues and find solutions before they get serious. Maintaining an open dialogue about the changes that lie ahead can help to avoid surprises and avoid children having to “parent” their older parents.

Meet Kathy and Bob Ramsay

Catch them if you can
There is hardly a corner of the globe nor an adventure in Bend that Bob and Kathy Ramsay have not explored. And as Touchmark residents, they continue to embrace the {FULL} life.

The Ramsays met 36 years ago, when both were naval officers in the Philippines. Within a month of their meeting, Bob’s ship set sail and the two began a long-distance romance. Between space-available flights and conveniently scheduled training missions, they managed to see each other quite regularly. “We dated for a year long distance, and in that one year we got together 40 weeks out of 52,” says Bob. They will celebrate 35 years of marriage in May 2016.

Upon retiring from the Navy, the couple started an aerospace-consulting company in the Puget Sound area, and ran that company for 20 years before moving to Touchmark. The two did their homework before making the decision to move. “Bob had done lots of research online,” says Kathy. “We figured that if we’re going to go to all the trouble to move, let’s find a community offering a continuum of care so we won’t have to move again.”

They considered some communities in the Seattle area, but upon visiting Touchmark, they knew their decision was made. “When we drove in here, there was no comparison. This is what we were looking for, with the trees, river, and architecture.”

It may be a long wait
The Ramsays were told it could take five to seven years for a house on the river to open. “We ended up getting the call in only three months!” says Kathy. An upcoming cruise adventure posed a bit of a hurdle, though. “The wrinkle was that we were getting ready to go to Antarctica, and then we’d have to sell our house. We had 41 days to make it all happen, and it was meant to be! We got the perfect house for us. This is karma!”

While the earlier-than-expected move to Touchmark proved to be a challenge, the decision was not. “Once we knew we were coming, we shut the company down and moved here. It was an easy decision,” says Bob.

The couple wasted no time getting immersed in the Touchmark lifestyle. “We’re thrilled to be here, and we’re more active than we ever were,” says Kathy. “One word to describe it is ‘fun’. We’re laughing all the time! It’s really, really healthy. We participate in all kinds of stuff that Touchmark and Bend have to offer. Plus, we traded 300 days of rain for 300 days of sun!”

Bob adds, “One of the best parts is the happy hours and then going into the dining room and hanging out with people for a few hours. Every one of these people has a great story to tell, and they’re all different. All you have to do is ask them to tell you about themselves, and they have a lot to say!”

Loving life
The Ramsays love their carefree lifestyle. “We had a huge yard in Washington and spent hours keeping it up,” says Kathy. “Now I just have tomatoes in pots on the deck, and Bob doesn’t have to do anything except go hit golf balls.”

Bob grins. “I go out and watch those guys mow my lawn every Monday!”

From their river-view home, they watch the tubers and kayakers. Four days every week, they walk the River Trail. “We are really, really busy, but it’s really, really fun,” says Kathy. “I overheard Bob tell a friend, ‘I’ve known this lady for over 30 years, and she’s never been healthier or happier.’ There’s so much to do here, and the people are so wonderful. We’re as social as we can be!”

The busy couple can be found participating in a myriad of activities. For example, they are founding members of the wine club; they also enjoy playing Mahjong and Jeopardy as well as golfing with their neighbors, and skiing. They attend resident presentations in the Forum and Socrates Circle, and the two plan to participate on one of Touchmark’s Pole Pedal Paddle (PPP) teams this spring.

Kathy was the sprinter on last year’s team that placed first for their age group. “Our downhill competitor was 84, our kayaker was 80, the chef did the mountain run, and a manager did a run.”

Bob and Kathy also manage to continue their globetrotting. In March, they returned from nearly a month of travel. Their trip started in Singapore. After a few days, they boarded a Seabourn® cruise ship and set sail for Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. “It was fabulous,” says Kathy. “Culturally, very interesting! And Seabourn ships are small and beautiful, and both the crew and passengers are international. It was a great experience.”

She adds that a lot of travelers live at Touchmark. “It’s so easy; they watch your house and take care of things.”

After a few days recovering from jet lag, the Ramsays’ days are again filled with friends and fun at home … and planning for their next trip.

Meet Sally and Rich Bradbury

Enjoying a full life of fitness, friends, and travel
touchmark4Sally and Rich Bradbury are packing their bags again. This time, they’re heading to Palm Desert for a couple of weeks to visit friends. Then it’s back to their Touchmark home in Meridian, just minutes from Boise.

Both are from the Treasure Valley. They met at the University of Idaho, where Rich set records on the swim team. After Rich finished his Army service in Korea, the couple settled near Walnut Creek, California, and started raising their family of four daughters and a son. Rich’s responsibilities as general manager with New York Life often pulled him away from home as he shouldered the position’s many demands.

Growing a successful business
While in Miami for a business meeting, he called Sally to suggest a spur-of-the moment trip to Las Vegas. “There and then, we decided we wanted to have more fun. I quit New York Life, and we carved out a new opportunity.”

While Sally took care of the children and home, Rich formed a business with three others offering insurance for disability, life, and health insurance as well as pension and profit sharing plans to 200 newly formed professional corporations. After three years, Rich set out on his own forming Bradbury and Associates and providing a mix of insurance policies and pension/retirement plans and investments for a diverse client mix of physicians, dentists, small-business owners, lawyers, wine purveyors, and many others.

“I was in charge of the office administration, and Rich was on the road constantly visiting clients and hand delivering their reports. Every year, he would visit each client three to four times.”

“I drove up and down the coast putting in a lot of miles and wore out three Mercedes Benzes!”

Making time for fitness
Even while busy running a business and raising a family, the Bradburys always placed a priority on sports, physical activity, and outdoor adventures.

“I’d come home from the office, and Sally would have everything organized and food ready to go,” explains Rich. “Camping was our way to build good family relationships and teach our kids to love the outdoors.”

As the kids grew, the couple enjoyed tap dancing, racquetball, tennis, and then snow skiing—a sport that kept their attention for more than 20 years and into retirement.

“We really enjoyed it. Since Rich and I worked together all day, the ski mountain was one place where we didn’t talk business as we were more focused on getting down the mountain.”

She continues, “When we retired, we moved to our vacation home near Tahoe and clicked with a good group of people who were all interested in the same things: hiking, biking, skiing, and golf. We had some very special trips of exotic travel that included scuba diving while living aboard ships in the Grand Cayman, Philippines, and Belize.”

When knees no longer appreciated the impact of skiing, the Bradburys moved to Palm Desert filling their days with golf, trips to Idaho to visit family, and road trip with friends.

“We stayed all over the Idaho backcountry—Redfish Lake, Henry’s Lake, Driggs—exploring and staying in funky places,” laughs Sally. “We were always Idaho centric and would come back for Vandal football games, jazz concerts, and skiing.”

Combining a passion for history and travel
Another interest the couple share is visiting professional baseball stadiums and presidential libraries. “Of the 30 professional teams, we’ve seen 16 ballparks,” says Rich. “Baltimore and San Francisco are two of our favorites as the parks are so well designed you feel close to the field.”

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Museum in Simi Valley, California, is one of their favorites, because they were able to tour the Air Force One Pavilion, which houses an Air Force One plane that served seven presidents including President Reagan. Another favorite is The Jefferson Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, because of the many inventions President Jefferson created.

Next on their list? The intrepid travelers are planning a trip to see the Texas Rangers at their home stadium in Arlington. Close by are the libraries honoring the two Bush presidents: the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas and the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station.

Keeping fit and making new friends
While at home, Rich and Sally work out regularly at the Touchmark Health & Fitness Club. Both take the Balance & Posture class and enjoy the pool as well as work out on their own using the different equipment.

Touchmark also provides opportunities for regional excursions and social outings. “We like to eat at different restaurants that we wouldn’t normally go to,” says Rich. “Most importantly, it gives us a chance to meet other residents we haven’t yet met. Talking over dinner gives us a chance to hear others’ interesting life stories.”

Sally smiles and adds, “We’re lucky we like to do the same things. It keeps us together and on the move.”