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.”

The Hidden Dangers of Depression

hands_shutterstock_176258786Although not often discussed, depression in older adults is common—affecting about six million Americans over the age of 65. It’s a serious condition that can easily be overlooked by both loved ones and medical professionals.

Depression later in life often accompanies other medical conditions, which can make it difficult to identify. The condition may be expressed through physical symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, or loss of appetite, all of which can be easily attributed to other factors. Other symptoms of depression may include aches and pains, loss of interest in hobbies, and a lack of motivation.

It may also be difficult to distinguish between depression and grief, which may be caused by the death of a spouse or friends. Grief is natural, but when it persists and includes feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or even suicide, it may actually be depression.

In older adults, depression can develop as a result of a serious health condition, such as a stroke, heart disease, cancer, or Alzheimer’s—and can also increase a person’s risk of developing certain conditions. It’s important to recognize depression as a separate issue and treat it as such.

Staying aware, active, and engaged

There are certain steps you can take to minimize the effects of depression, especially for those who may be at a higher risk.

  • Walking for 30 minutes three times a week or other types of regular exercise can be even more effective than medication in treating depression.
  • Consider taking folic acid and B12 supplements, as deficiencies can increase the risk of depression in older adults—but check with your doctor first.
  • Review medication side effects with your doctor, as symptoms of depression may be a known effect.
  • Socialize regularly. Spending time face-to-face with friends and loved ones offers support.
  • Maintain a healthy diet of foods that provide nourishment and energy.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark at night and get enough sleep.

If symptoms of depression persist, your doctor can determine the best treatment approach, which might include medication, psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, or a combination of treatments. Be sure to vocalize your concerns if you are experiencing symptoms of depression. Seek help and don’t be embarrassed.

Finding focus in an increasingly distracting world

attraktive, grauhaarige Frau genießt das MeerThese days, just reading an article online can seem like an impossible task—with pop-up ads, related links, email notifications, and more competing for our attention as we read. Even offline, cell phones, television and radio ads, or a knock at the door make distractions feel more ubiquitous than ever.

 

Organizations, advertisers, and even our loved ones are constantly trying to compete for our attention. This endless stimulation can have negative effects on our ability to focus on one task. Research shows that after a distraction, it takes an average of 25 minutes to get back to the original task.

 

As we age, not only do we have to contend against the endless distractions of the modern world, but we also are battling nature’s effects on the brain, with an increase in memory problems and brain fog. Getting through a to-do list can seem almost impossible.

 

Fortunately, there are steps to help restore or enhance focus and feel confident in your productivity.

 

  • Keep a notepad and pen nearby to jot down any reminders that you think of in the middle of a task—avoiding having to interrupt yourself with something new. While multi-tasking is a common goal, the brain can really only handle two simultaneous thoughts.

 

  • Practice mindful meditation to train your brain to stay clear throughout your day. This can be as simple as taking a few seconds to count your breaths.

 

  • Schedule time for important tasks and commit to completing them (and nothing else) during that time.

 

  • Train your focusing abilities on something you enjoy. Read a book or watch a movie to enhance engagement and absorb yourself in the story. These skills can be recalled when working toward a goal.

 

  • Exercise your mind every day. Crossword puzzles, passionate discussions, or making something keeps your mind active and strong.

 

Focus may not be attainable in ways it once was, but with mindful behavior it can still be achievable for maintaining a productive way of life.

 

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.”

Being Prepared: Learn About Advanced Directives

It’s not an easy thing to think about, but planning ahead for end-of-life care can prevent stress and anxiety among family members and make sure your wishes are met whenever the time comes.

The most effective way to set your wishes in place is to develop an advance directive. Requirements for this legal record vary by state (find your state’s requirements here), but do not typically require help from a lawyer and can simply be a notarized statement of your wishes.

An advance directive is actually made up of two separate documents: a living will and a health care power of attorney. Some states combine these documents into one, so be sure to check.

  • A living will is a written plan for what types of medical or life-sustaining treatment a person wants when they are unable to speak for themselves.
  • A healthcare power of attorney designates someone to make health care decisions on the person’s behalf when the person cannot communicate for themselves. This is different from a regular durable power of attorney, which usually is for financial matters.

Despite the importance and relative ease of creating an advance directive, they’re not quite as common as you’d expect. According to The American Journal of Medicine, only 26.3% of Americans report having an advance directive in place. And the California Healthcare Foundation reports that only 7% of people reported having an end-of-life conversation with their doctor.

Sharing this information with family members, your doctor, and the person you have chosen to serve as your health care proxy can help provide peace of mind for your loved ones. An advance directive can be changed at any time, as long as the person is considered of sound mind to do so.

To learn more about end-of-life care and ensuring your wishes are met, check out the following resources or look for an informational class in your area.

 

The New Old Age

Since 1900, life expectancy has increased more than 30 years—and numbers continue to rise. What was once considered “old age” has shifted as people live longer, work longer, and maintain their independence for longer.

So when does old age begin now? Most people consider “old age” to be some number older than their current age, but a study by the Pew Research Center states that the average response is age 68. But the saying “age is just a number” certainly holds true—as 68 years can look vastly different for different people.

For those in good health, life in later decades can be quite an enjoyable time that exceeds the expectations held at a younger age. There’s plenty of time for family and hobbies, more financial security, and less stress in these “golden years.”

Technology is also catering to the older generation and new products are constantly being developed to help people stay safe and connected as they continue to live alone.

While longer life expectancy means more time to spend with loved ones and more life experiences and milestones to enjoy, it can also include increased and prolonged living costs, more required care, and more time spent in deteriorating health.

A controversial article published last year by The Atlantic detailed author Ezekiel J. Emanuel’s stance that living to age 75 is long enough for him. Emanuel argued that for many people, living too long renders people deprived of their former selves and changes the way others relate to and remember them. Age 75 represents a complete life as well as one that is past its prime.

While Emanuel’s article presented some valid points, it doesn’t appear to be a shared view. In the same Pew Research Center study mentioned earlier, when asked how long they’d like to live, the average response was 89 years. Most adults over the age of 65 report happiness levels comparable with those in younger age groups. And of adults over the age of 75, only 35% reported feeling that they were old.

Whatever your age, what’s more important than the number is how you feel and your outlook on life.

Resources:

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2009/06/29/growing-old-in-america-expectations-vs-reality/

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.”

Staying Protected Against Senior Scams

Male and female mature students working together on a computerFinancial scams are one of the most growing crimes in this increasingly technological age. These low-risk crimes can have devastating effects on a person’s well-being and financial security.

These days, we need to stay cautious of potential financial scams coming through the mail, the phone, our emails, websites, and the front door. The best protection against such scams is to be informed and alert when it comes to spending your money.

While these types of scams can happen to anyone, seniors are often targeted. Scammers may believe that seniors have a significant amount of money in their accounts—or that they would be more susceptible to believing the false claims purported. They are also less likely to report a scam to authorities.

Some of the most common types of scams targeting seniors include:

  • Health care/health insurance fraud
  • Counterfeit prescription drugs
  • Funeral and cemetery fraud
  • Anti-aging products or “miracle” cures
  • Investment schemes
  • Sweepstakes
  • Reverse mortgage scams

In addition to being aware of the common types of scams, there are general precautions to help identify red flags and keep your finances protected.

  • Avoid making on-the-spot decisions. An offer that requires you to “act immediately or miss out” is likely a scam.
  • Avoid giving out personal banking information, credit card numbers, or social security numbers over the phone to someone who has called you. Always verify the name and company or organization of someone asking for money over the phone.
  • Do not hire someone who shows up at the door claiming that work needs to be done on your house.
  • Do not sign anything that you don’t fully understand—and don’t be afraid to ask for help or further clarification from someone you trust.
  • Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call registry to limit phone calls from telemarketers. Call 888-382-1222 or visit donotcall.gov to sign up.

If you suspect you’ve been the victim of a scam, tell someone. Don’t be embarrassed by what has happened—know that you’re not alone. Reporting these crimes can help save someone else from becoming a victim, as well.

The FBI provides details on several different types of frauds frequently targeted to seniors as well as tips to avoid all types of scams. Visit their website for valuable information.

fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/seniors

When is it time to give up the car keys?

Making the decision to stop driving can be a scary, life-changing experience for many. Fears of giving up independence and not being able to meet basic needs are certainly common and not unfounded.

It can also be a sensitive subject to broach with someone—as driving and owning a car can be a matter of pride. Studies have shown that reduced mobility, such as losing one’s ability to drive, can be a major cause of depression.

But it’s important to value safety and consider the potential risks to yourself and others if your driving abilities are questioned.

There are several age-related factors that can affect a person’s driving abilities, including:

  • Impaired vision
  • Impaired hearing
  • Slower mental process
  • Side effects of medications

Fortunately, even without a car, there are several ways for older adults to get around. Family and friends can often help with basic needs. Public transportation, senior centers, and retirement communities can provide supplemental options, as well. It’s often a pleasant surprise to find that getting around can be easily accomplished—without the cost, maintenance, and stress of owning a car.

Staying safe

Ensuring safety behind the wheel requires regular evaluation by an impartial third party. Other steps to take include taking a driver safety course (often offered by AARP), exercising regularly to keep the mind and body sharp, and being cognizant to identify personal high-risk areas, such as driving at night, in bad weather, or on unfamiliar routes. A doctor can also provide a clinical assessment to evaluate an older driver.

If you think driving may no longer be safe for you or a loved one, the following resources can help identify warning signs:

Always put safety before pride when it comes to driving.

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!”