Still working—and living at Touchmark

Eric Ericson, 80, still gets up and leaves for work at 6 am every weekday morning and commutes to St. Anthony Hospital, where he has worked for two decades and serves as Director of Accounting.

“I love what I do, and they love what I do for them. I will continue working as long as I am in good health. I don’t have a hobby, so if I were to retire, I really wouldn’t have anything to do. I’m not an idle type of person. I need to be busy.”
Eric and his wife Sharon recently moved into their single-family Parkview home. Sharon, 73, retired about five years ago from Francis Tuttle Technology Center, where she taught Medical Office Technology.

She laughs and says they were ready to move “because Eric was tired of making sure the yard was taken care of, the pool, that sort of thing.” Actually, both say they were ready to downsize from their Oklahoma City home of more than 4,000 square feet to their new home, which is just under 2,000.
Once they made the decision to move, the couple went comparison-shopping throughout the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, sizing up different retirement communities.

“Parkview came out on top for a lot of reasons.”
Eric says there were three reasons they chose Touchmark. “One is the staff was just absolutely supportive, informative, and friendly. The way they treated us was just exceptional.”
Economically, the move was a sound financial decision, he adds. Another appealing aspect was how the Parkview neighborhood looks. “It really feels like it’s part of the larger Coffee Creek housing addition,” says Eric. “The appearance makes it look like you are just in a normal neighborhood.” They both enjoy the close proximity to the larger Touchmark community where they can dine and participate in social activities.

Neighbors welcomed Sharon and Eric to Parkview long before they moved into their home. “The neighbors just across the street came over and introduced themselves,” smiles Sharon. “Then we met several while we were eating at Touchmark as guests, so we knew the names of several neighbors. The whole concept is incredible.” Eric agrees. “We love the neighbors we’ve already met. They’re very friendly.”

They are active members of the River of Life Church where Sharon plays the piano and keyboard, and Eric sings on the worship team.

In remaining on the job long past age 65, Eric says he’s following the lead of his late father, who also moved into a retirement community before he retired. “My goal is to easily live to 100. I may not work until then, but who knows. If things are going well, and I’m in good health, why not work until 90!”

Meet Juanita Ryan

Savoring good food, books, and friends
dsc_8868Since moving to Touchmark in 2013, Juanita Ryan has fully embraced the Touchmark lifestyle. Her days are filled with meaningful pursuits, healthy living, and enriching relationships—interests nurtured over decades.

Raised on a farm in Milroy, Minnesota, Juanita helped her mother with household chores while her father tended the crops of grain. “But I always wanted to be a nurse, ever since I was a little girl,” she says. This desire was fueled after discovering the Sue Barton series of books. The main character, Sue Barton, was to aspiring nurses what Nancy Drew was to budding detectives. “I loved that series of books.”

While attending Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Juanita met her husband Bob. Even though she moved on to Deaconess Nursing School, the couple kept in touch. After just a few months following their graduation and marriage in 1952, Bob was drafted to serve in the Korean War. “While he served overseas, I started my nursing career.”

Upon his return two years later, the Ryans started a family. Juanita continued working as a nurse part time while raising their son and two daughters. “I especially loved working in home health and adult daycare. It was so fantastic and rewarding to help families.” She retired in 1992 after 40 years of serving patients and their families. Her love of nursing rubbed off on both of her daughters. Today, both work in nursing.

Montana moves
Seeking a drier climate, the Ryans moved to Seeley Lake, Montana. “Bob was a pilot, and we loved traveling around in our small planes, including one he built.” In 2000, they moved to Helena to be closer to medical care.

“One day, we called and talked with Touchmark—we had talked with them before. We learned there was a cottage available. Within the month, we had moved. Our kids were tickled to death we were living at Touchmark.”

Less than a year after moving, Bob’s declining health led to a move into Touchmark’s assisted living neighborhood. “It was so wonderful that when something like that happened, we could move right to assisted living. My husband and I had been married 61 years when he died. We had a good life.”

Today, Juanita enjoys her third-floor apartment. “I have a lovely view of the hills to the southwest. I have a lot of friends, and everything is good. And when you’d like to talk with someone, you can just go have a cup of coffee at the coffee shop, and talk and visit.”

Tasting the Full Life
For the past year, Juanita has served on the Resident Council as food liaison. Residents come to her with any issues, specific dietary requirements, or comments about the food. Serving in this role has made Juanita even more conscious of what she eats. “I have never eaten so many vegetables as I have since I came here!”

Juanita appreciates how responsive Chef Chris Bullard is to residents’ suggestions. “I talk with Chris at least once a week. He’s very good. He listens. For example, everyone was so tickled when we got the salad bar. And for those who don’t like standing in line, we’ve made it clear that all they have to do is ask a server, who will get them cottage cheese and fruit or a salad. Our servers are really good, and it works well.”

In addition to the taste and quality of the food, presentation is important. “Last night was so exceptional,” she enthuses. “I had to go tell him that right away!” Juanita is friends with the previous food liaison and says the two always eat at the same table. “We talk continuously about food!”

In addition to serving Touchmark residents through her role on the Resident Council, Juanita also facilitates the Touchmark book club. “I read with talking books. I can sew and read at the same time!”

Other pursuits include going on outings, visiting with friends, and participating in Gentle Yoga classes. “The yoga class is so good for people like me who need to keep limber!” Church activities also remain a large part of Juanita’s life, and she appreciates the transportation to appointments. And whenever she’s at home, she loves to cuddle up with her 12-year-old cat, Blackie.

“I’m very content, and I’m not moving anymore!”

Resident Feature: Love and life—before and after dementia

When Alice Kulak married Geoff, her high school sweetheart, 57 years ago, she knew life would be anything but boring.

Alice, 78, kept an active schedule volunteering with the Junior League of Edmonton, serving on the board of directors of the Art Gallery of Alberta, and sitting on the executive board of the Chamber Music Society. She worked part-time and anchored the home front for her husband and two daughters, but Geoff, now 79, led the parade!

Geoff was a prominent, well-regarded engineer with an international reputation for his specialty in steel structures.

“It was an adventure,” remembers Alice. “He was ambitious and bright, and we lived for periods of time in places as diverse as the US, Brazil, South Africa, Switzerland, and Norway where Geoff lectured and did research.”

Geoff taught for 25 years in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Alberta, retiring in 1994. He sat on many technical committees in Canada and the US. In 1996, he cochaired with lawyer Ken McKenzie the Royal Commission that investigated the rollercoaster accident at West Edmonton Mall that resulted in three deaths.

Geoff wrote the engineering textbook Limit States Design in Structural Steel, which is still used at the undergraduate level in 95% of Canadian universities. To honor him, the Steel Fabricators of Alberta created a $30,000 annual scholarship fund in his name.

Dealing with “the diagnosis”

Over four years ago, Geoff was diagnosed as having entry-level dementia. The couple’s once fast-paced and busy lifestyle shifted to more of a shuffle. The change has affected both Alice and Geoff equally.

“There’s a lot of pain and grief as you see a life slipping away; seeing your loved one losing his presence. Geoff feels frustrated as well. He realizes he is losing ground, and it bewilders him.”

The Kulaks moved to Touchmark as the couple realized the two-story home they were living in had become more house and garden than they could handle. Alice, Geoff, and their two daughters felt it was the right time to make the move as Geoff’s dementia was becoming more defined.

“We definitely enjoy the maintenance-free lifestyle here at Touchmark. When we need someone to fix something, it happens very quickly.” Touchmark’s various levels of care services also appealed to the couple.

“Everything has changed in the last two-and-a-half years. I now feel the responsibility of being a caregiver rather than a companion. I take care of Geoff and the household, but I now also handle all of the things Geoff used to deal with like our investments and taxes. All of this, while trying to grieve the husband I am losing.”

Helping hands

Two times a week for four hours, Alice has help through Home Care Services as well as from Touchmark’s assisted living staff to give her some time for herself.

“My goal now is to keep my health and my spirits up for Geoff. I exercise using the treadmill, bike, medicine ball, and weights for 35-45 minutes a day. The staff are great with Geoff, so during my breaks I go play bridge. I love going for lunch with my friends and going to church or reading.”

The respite care has been a benefit to the couple’s relationship, as well. “I’ve realized that I need time for myself. And Geoff welcomes the caregivers coming in. We’re together all of the time, so I’ve realized that he, too, wants relief from me.”

Memory care opening

With a new memory care neighborhood opened at Touchmark this March, more care options became available for families like the Kulaks.

“Geoff is on the waiting list, has had an interview with the nurses, and has been assessed for what his care needs would be. I know the quality of life for both of us would go up by having him there, but I still feel conflicted. I worry if I’ve done everything I can for him on my own,”

This is a conflict faced by many in the same situation. While it’s not an easy choice to make, Alice is comforted knowing there is quality memory care support coming available just a few doors away from her.

“Realizing I can’t do everything I want to do with him on my own and knowing that he could have quality care, and I could still be close by and involved—that gives me some peace of mind.”

Tips for other caregivers

While Alice realizes she isn’t alone in dealing with the demands of being a full-time caregiver, she also realizes just how fortunate she is to have help. She has friends who have gone through the same situation who have helped her, and now Alice shares her own personal story as a resource for others.

“My tips for other caregivers are these: get yourself into circumstances you can handle; get involved in your community; and ask for help! It’s important not to isolate yourself. Our family mantra is, ‘Keep Dad comfortable and loved,’ and having the help of my family and the extra care for Geoff have made my life—and his—a little easier.”

Resident Feature: Shari’s zest for life

May is Older Americans Month, and the minute you meet Shari (on left in photo), you realize she’s a woman full of life with boundless energy—someone who likes to make a difference in people’s lives. “I enjoy getting involved in a community and meeting people. I’ve done that everywhere I’ve lived,” says the Minneapolis Minnesota native who moved to Touchmark 13 months ago from her longtime home in Venice, Florida.

An outdoor enthusiast, Shari spends as much time working in her yard or walking as she can. She and her companion and best friend Lady, a 9-year-old papillion, are frequently seen playing Frisbee and going for walks. “My daughter found this cottage for me, and the corner lot is a blessing, I have a great yard, lots of open space, and great natural light coming in to my home. It has worked out perfectly.”

Community engagement

A former marketing manager for a chamber of commerce, Shari joined the Helena Chamber of Commerce right away. She takes every opportunity to attend the Chamber’s Lunch and Learn programs and other opportunities to learn more about Helena. She also joined the Elite Travel Group at a local bank and looks forward to their many local outings and educational lectures.

“I’m an avid supporter of the arts and purchased Helena Symphony season tickets,” she says, noting she also enjoys volunteering as an usher. In addition to joining a church, she has been taking a yearlong leadership course to keep herself engaged.

She is hoping to use her experience teaching English as a second language by volunteering with the Lewis and Clark Literacy Council. “I’ve reached out to several organizations to let them know I would be happy to help. I enjoy teaching and sharing my experiences with others.” Shari spent two summers teaching English to high school and first-year college teachers in China. “We primarily taught methodology. It was an amazing experience.”

Making her mark at Touchmark

With a skill for negotiation and a desire to improve her community, Shari accepted a position as the cottage representative on Touchmark’s Resident Council. She is also working with Touchmark staff to reduce how fast cars drive through the retirement community. “New 10 mph signs have been installed at the entrance, and we’re working on more ‘SLOW’ signs.”

Interest in mahjong is growing after Shari introduced the game. “We need two more full-time people to join us, and then we’ll have two strong teams.” In addition to mahjong, Shari participates in the Helena Duplicate Bridge Club as well as one at Touchmark.

Another of Shari’s keen interests is cooking and entertaining. She’s looking forward to hosting coffees and other social gatherings for her cottage neighbors. Last Christmas, she hosted a Tom & Jerry party for all the cottagers. “Super group and great fun!”

“Shari embraces all seven dimensions of wellness,” says Life Enrichment/Wellness Director Nanette Whitman-Holmes. “She demonstrates each day how older adults lead active, full lives.”

Read about more Touchmark residents and how they embody the {FULL} Life!

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.”

Success{FULL} role model

Meet Neal Gamsky

Dr. Neal Gamsky describes himself as “a high-energy person.” The 84-year-old leads an active life with Irene, his wife of nearly 60 years. Born into “abject poverty”, Neal met Irene in elementary school. The two later became high school sweethearts. At age 25, after graduating from college with bachelor’s degrees in education—and his two-year stint in the US Army completed—they married.

Education and working with young people have played a central role in the couple’s lives. Irene, a teacher, earned a master’s degree in counseling. Neal followed his time in the army with law school, a master’s in psychology, and three years as a high school counselor. “I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” he says of their two daughters, who also have advanced degrees.

In 1962, a persistent professor persuaded Neal to pursue a doctorate—and the degree opened a new life chapter. He worked in a psychiatric facility at the University of Wisconsin and for the state in mental health. This led to an opportunity at Illinois State University (ISU). “They brought me there to start a counseling center and teach clinical psychology,” Neal shares. “I became a full tenured professor, and I taught for several years before being appointed Vice President and Dean of Students”; he continued to teach clinical psychology for another 20 years. Today, three awards at ISU are named after him.

Building a life at Touchmark
Since moving to Touchmark, the couple has become involved in numerous activities offered through the Full Life Wellness & Life Enrichment Program™. They continue to participate in outside activities, as well.

Neal enjoys trophy fishing, gardening, and photography; reads medical research and financial reports (“it keeps my brain sharp”); and attends plays, musicals, and lectures with his wife. In addition, he exercises for two hours on most days of the week. Neal serves on the Touchmark Resident Council (he was formerly president), and the party-loving couple invites other residents into their home “so we can get to know them.” They are also ICAA Champions. “I like trying to get people involved in trips and other activities,” Neal says.

He encourages others to eat well, exercise, and participate in intellectual activities.

For Neal, active aging “means engaging yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally in the community and for yourself. You have to stay active—exercise, be involved intellectually and emotionally, and interact socially. It means having a sense of curiosity.”

Outside the community, the couple advises older friends to downsize. “Things don’t create your life, people do,” Neal observes. “We let friends know that you’re not giving up your life when you downsize. Instead, you’ll be more engaged in life, if you move out of a large, demanding home.”

It’s all about perspective
Neal also finds that a positive attitude to aging makes a difference. “I’m trying to grow old cheerfully,” he stresses. Someone who naturally jokes a lot, he cites the example of his mother, who died at age 96 and “always chose to look forward to tomorrow.”

Travel is a particular passion. Every year includes a three-month stay in Florida for the couple, who’ve “been to all 50 states and visited every presidential home, museum, birthplace, and many of their graves,” Neal shares. The world travelers have explored every country in Europe, plus Finland, Russia, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. His once or twice a year travelogues are enjoyed by Touchmark residents.

Young people, too, have learned from these active-aging role models. “My wife and I gave back-to-back presentations—six of them—to high-school health classes for sophomores, juniors, and seniors combined,” Neal reveals. Pre-presentation surveys asked the teenagers their biggest worry about growing old. “You’ll never guess what most students answered,” says the former high-school counselor and grandfather of four—“getting wrinkles!” Among the words of wisdom he shared with the students? “Age is not a matter of years; it’s a matter of perception.”

Filling her days with enthusiasm

Caroline DeinemaMeet Caroline Deinema

Caroline has converted one of her bedrooms into what she calls her “activity room.” In it, she has her loom and spinning wheel, her sewing machine, and her computer.

But Caroline’s interests travel way beyond that room. In her parlor, she has a harp; on her wrist, an Apple watch; in her refrigerator, homemade yogurt; and beyond her front door more pursuits.

“I feel I’ve been given the enthusiasm for interesting things,” says Caroline.

Caroline grew up in Madison County, Iowa, and then attended the University of Iowa, where she met her future husband. After graduating, they moved to his hometown of Canton, South Dakota, about 20 minutes south of Sioux Falls.

With her nursing diploma, Caroline sometimes worked in a doctor’s office, but mostly, she devoted herself to being a full-time mother and wife. She and her husband raised two sons and a daughter.

“My husband had a Ford dealership for 35 years; we were married for 42 years.”

In 2012, on her 80th birthday, she moved to Touchmark.

“I moved to Touchmark, because I had been taking care of our home by myself for 20 years after my husband died, and I just wanted to retire from that,” she says.

A fascination with “strings”
Near Caroline’s loom is a beautifully handcrafted spinning wheel from Norway that once belonged to her mother-in-law. Caroline first learned how to weave by going to a workshop. She then became interested in spinning the wool, which led to making her own natural dyes. “I collected weeds and cooked them on the stovetop.”

Nowadays, she focuses on the spinning and weaving. “I have lots of ideas for new projects.”

About 30 years ago, Caroline was visiting with a piano teacher who also gave harp lessons. Fascinated by the beautiful instrument, Caroline began lessons. After three months, she bought her own harp.

When she’s not playing her harp for her own pleasure, which she does frequently, Caroline shares her talent. “I play throughout Touchmark around Christmas time and as background music for special occasions.”

A reputation as a techie
Caroline is absorbed with technology and owns an iPad, iPhone, Mac desktop computer, and her most recent purchase, her Apple watch. She is self-taught and considers technology an essential part of her life.

Caroline uses her devices to play games, do online banking, shop, read e-books—and help others.

“Often when I’m with a group of friends, a question will arise, and someone will look over at me and say, ‘Caroline, just look it up on your machine!’”

She also appreciates the health benefits. “Learning technology or new music is very healthy for the brain.”

Always learning new uses for her equipment, Caroline especially gets a kick out of teaching her kids a few things.

She says that one of her sons loves to brag about his mother to his friends. “He’ll say, ‘Now who do you know that’s 82 years old who owns an iPad, iPhone, and an Apple watch—and knows how to use them!’”

Exploring the world abroad
Caroline has traveled quite a bit. She has visited China, South America, Haiti, and the Galapagos Islands (her favorite trip).

When she was 70, she hiked the Grand Canyon with her daughter, taking five days to hike down to the Colorado River and back.

She also has a time-share in Cabo, Mexico, and meets her children there once a year.

“The weird thing about me is, I really like the South Dakota winters,” Caroline confesses. “I’m not interested in being a snowbird and going to warm places to escape. I want to stay here during the winter. I just turn on the fireplace and watch the snow fall.”

And exploring her world at home
Caroline has practiced yoga for many years and has added tai chi since moving to Touchmark.

She is not inclined to use the exercise machines, preferring walking. She and her dog are often seen taking morning strolls on the Touchmark paths.

She belongs to a Touchmark book club. She plays Texas Hold’em twice a week at Touchmark and drives 25 miles to Canton once a week to play mah-jongg with friends.

“I used to be very good at cooking, but I’ve sort of relaxed on that. I eat many of my meals in the dining room now. Recently, someone brought me a basket full of vegetables, so I made a couple batches of Ratatouille, my favorite.”

Caroline always makes her own yogurt. “It’s a standard in my refrigerator!”

She also volunteers regularly at the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science. She has worked at the information desk twice a month for nearly 15 years. “It’s such a wonderful environment for seeing art and the artists—a very enriching place to volunteer.”

She also enjoys taking the Touchmark bus with friends to restaurants and special events. “If the bus is scheduled to go to lunch, dinner, or other activity—I’m on it! I really enjoy the social aspects of it.”

“Touchmark is such a wonderful community. When I go away, I really miss it and the people. And when I come back, it is so good to see everyone again. We really look out for each other. It is very much a family and community from the staff to the residents. It’s a great experience.”

Focusing on fun—and family history

Dorothy KrogenDorothy has a Bucket List she’s working her way
through. The last big item is a hot-air balloon ride, and she’s determined to take that ride. She also vows never to go a day without having fun.

Raised on a farm in Killdeer, North Dakota, Dorothy graduated from high school in 1948 and then took a summer course at Dickinson College, a teacher’s college.

“They were so short of teachers back then,” recalls Dorothy, “that you could just take a summer course and teach in a country school.”

After she received her teaching credentials, a friend introduced her to the school board president of a small school. She was hired on the spot to teach five students: a
first-grader, a fourth-grader, two seventh-graders, and one eighth-grader.

That’s where Dorothy met her future husband. “It’s a funny story. This young man rode up on his horse and saw me standing on the porch in a blue dress. … The rest is a
long story.”

Dorothy married this young man in the spring of 1950 and moved to his farm. Together, they raised three children.

Traveling the world
After retiring, Dorothy and her husband enjoyed traveling. They visited many European countries including Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. They toured Australia and cruised through the Panama Canal.

They also traveled all over Canada and the United States, first with their own fifth-wheeler, then with bus tours.

“My favorite place was New York City. I’ve been there three times. I especially loved the Broadway plays. Australia was also a great trip, particularly when my brother was our tour guide.”

In 1981, Dorothy and her husband started making annual treks to Arizona to escape the North Dakota winters. They made many friends from all over the country.

“We had a wonderful life. My husband and I were married almost 60 years before he passed away in 2009.”

Moving to Touchmark
A few years later, Dorothy decided she wanted to move closer to family, so she moved into a Touchmark cottage in the fall of 2013, not too far from her daughter.

Now Dorothy is near six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, with another on the way.

She lives with Molly, a very talkative cat, who loves bringing in “live gifts” for the two of them to play with. Sometimes, Dorothy posts pictures of Molly and these gifts on her Facebook page.

“Touchmark doesn’t just feel like home, it is home. They offer you everything here. The house is wonderful. The people are nice. I just love it here. I can’t say enough nice things about Touchmark.”

Dorothy continues to go to Arizona in the winter months. “This will be my 34th year,” she says. “Molly and I fly down. I’ll keep going as long as I can.”

Every day is eventful “I sign up for everything that Touchmark has to offer.” She dances, takes riverboat cruises, goes on casino excursions, and visits different restaurants with friends.

She also plays pinochle every day. “I like to beat the boys,” she says with a grin.

“Do I work out in the gym? No, that’s not my favorite thing to do. My favorite thing to do is to write books on my family’s history.”

Dorothy’s lifelong passion
When Dorothy married in 1950, she began using her wall calendar to record daily notes on everything she and her family did. In 1960, she began writing a history of her
family, using those notes. She started out using a manual typewriter and pasting pictures onto the pages. “It’s like an autobiography with pictures,” she explains.

She has since exchanged her typewriter for a computer and now scans her pictures into her digital text document. “Oh my, this is so much easier and faster!”

Besides documenting her immediate family, she also researched ancestors. She traced her husband’s family back to 1534 and her own family to about 1746. “When I’d get little bits of information about their lives, I’d make a story out of it.”

Dorothy recently published her third book of family history, covering the years 2009 through 2013, and will soon start on her fourth.

“It takes a lot of my time, but it’s something I love to do. I will do this as long as I live; as long as I am able to do it.”

Philosophy of life
Like many people, Dorothy has a Bucket List. At 86, she still wants to take a hot-air balloon ride.

“I want to do what I want, and have fun every day for the rest of my life!”

He aims to “live life to the fullest”

Paul KimblePaul’s exuberance for life is contagious. That’s because Paul wants to make every day as good as it can be—for himself and for everyone around him.

Raised on a family farm near Hazlehurst, Mississippi, Paul developed a strong work ethic growing up and then worked hard to get an education to launch a successful career.

In 1948, he took a job with Dun & Bradstreet, the US-based, worldwide credit-rating company. “Most of my business knowledge was on-thejob training in the areas of financial analysis, marketing, and management,” says Paul. “I was awarded the company’s presidential citation on two occasions.”

Since key people in the company were often transferred, Paul and his family moved many times during his 25-year tenure.

In 1973, though, Paul decided he did not want to move his wife and two sons again. “I just knew it was time for us to quit moving,” he says. “I’m a family person first and a business person second.” When he was offered a job by The Cardwell Companies (conveniently located in El Paso, Texas, where they were living), Paul left Dun & Bradstreet.

After several years with The Cardwell Companies, he became executive vice president of Petro Shopping Centers, a related company, which grew into a nationwide modern chain of truck stops. He also was vice president of several related companies having operational, marketing, and financial responsibilities.

After almost 25 years at Cardwell, Paul retired in 1997 and remained in El Paso with his wife Mary.

Paul laughs when he says, “I sort of wish I had never retired. I just love to work; I love people!” This love and concern for others was also evident during his 43 years as an active Rotarian.

Traveling the world
Paul and his wife did a lot of traveling after he retired. “We went to Europe 13 times, traveled all over the United States, went to Asia, New Zealand, Australia … you name it,” he says.

“Over the years, my wife and I met a lot of people on our travels. It’s comforting to still get emails from people you met 10 or 15 years ago,” Paul says, adding, “When I lost my wife, it was comforting to get over 100 sympathy cards from people we know. We’ve got a lot of friends.”

Today, Paul continues traveling. He recently went to the Eastern Caribbean for 10 days. In late summer, he’s going on an Alaskan cruise with family, and he’ll soon return to Mississippi for a visit.

Building a life at Touchmark
In 2012, Paul and Mary’s sons began encouraging them to move closer to one of them. That meant relocating to either Ruidoso, New Mexico, or Edmond, Oklahoma (about five minutes from Touchmark).

“Our son in Edmond did a lot of research and talked to many people, and everyone recommended Touchmark,” Paul remembers. After a few conversations with Touchmark, he and his wife made a trip to Edmond and signed an agreement to build a cottage.

“We got to choose a floor plan and customize it with the options we wanted,” explains Paul. They lived in one of the Touchmark apartments while their home was being built, so they were able to walk to the site and see the progress almost daily.

They moved into their new home in February 2013. Ten months later, Paul’s wife passed away unexpectedly.

“We were married 65 years,” says Paul. “I miss her every day, but life goes on.” Today, Paul honors his wife’s memory by continuing to plant the flowers that she loved so much.

“Every day is a good day”
Each morning when Paul gets up, he sends a text to his son in New Mexico that reads, “I’m vertical today.” Paul laughs hard. “That way, he knows I’m fine.”

Paul says he is in excellent health and “still able to do anything I want to do.”

His preferred form of exercise is taking daily walks outside, but he also uses the treadmill at Touchmark. “I walk real fast, and I walk for a long time,” he says. “I just enjoy being outside.”

He also gets exercise by planting flowers in his yard. “My wife loved flowers. Last fall I put out 250 pansies and a lot of vinca.”

Paul stays very busy with activities that combine his love of people with his business background. He is on the Touchmark Resident Council, representing cottage residents. He is also very active in his church, currently serving as the Finance Chair and a member of the Building Committee.

He belongs to a Touchmark singing group and enjoys the fellowship he finds here. “We look out for each other; it’s a supportive group of people here.” He prides himself on getting to know everyone, including the Touchmark staff, who he finds exceptionally helpful.

“Even though I like to plant flowers all of the time, I don’t like to pull weeds. So, they are always coming over and weeding my flowerbeds. And they trim my trees, mow my yard, and come in once a week and clean my house. My needs are all taken care of here,” he says, smiling.

“I want to make every day as good as it can be,” says Paul. “That’s what I live for: To live life to the fullest.”