Eco-conscious Tips for Winter

Although Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring on Groundhog Day, recent snowfalls seem to indicate that warm weather is still quite far away. With that in mind, our Green Committee has complied a few tips that can help you be more eco-conscious through the end of winter.

Burn Cleanly

Opting for firewood rather than turning on the thermostat in the winter months can save energy for many homeowners. But fireplaces and wood-burning stoves can emit large amounts of soot and carbon pollution into the air. Older model fireplaces and stoves can also harm the air quality in your home. Upgrading to a newer pellet or wood-burning stove is provides greater efficiency than traditional open-air models. Using clean-burning stoves such as a biomass- and bio-fuel burning stove is more efficient alternatives to wood burning. Clean-burning stoves give off fewer toxic emissions and use cleaner fuel, such as ethanol or bigas. Biofuels used for home heating come in the form of logs, wood chips, wood pellets or other recycled materials. Contemporary stoves typically burn cleaner and can reduce home heating costs.

Plug Drafty Leaks

Walk around your home to check for leaky windows and doors. You may be surprised to learn that cold air is coming in. The potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home may range from 5% to 30% per year, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Thankfully, in most instances, solutions are relatively easy and affordable. Homeowners can conserve heat and energy by weather-stripping and caulking leaks. I did this and realized that I needed stripping for my patio doors and had to ensure my screen door was properly secured to avoid a draft. Window treatments or curtains may improve your home’s energy efficiency by trapping heat in, but the U.S. Department of Energy also encourages homeowners to open curtains on south-facing windows during the day. Natural sunlight is a great way to heat your home for free.

Choose a Safe De-Icer

Another way to make winter a little greener is to avoid using toxic chemical de-icing salts and sand. Homeowners typically use salt and sand on icy sidewalks and roads to make them safer, but they aren’t the best for the environment. Before choosing a chemical de-icer, consider its impact on plant life, concrete, vehicles and animals. And although sand isn’t corrosive, it can clog storm drains and cause flooding in the spring. Even rock salt can cause environmental contamination and damage pavement. Greener alternatives include Magic Salt, which is rock salt treated with magnesium chloride and a sugar byproduct. It has earned the EPA Design for the Environment label, which recognizes that the product is considered to be safe for the environment. Magic Salt is 70 percent less corrosive than rock salt and works to 35 degrees below zero. Ice-Clear, another green option, is a liquid you spray on the pavement and is best used before snowfall. It is made of a corn extract so the sugar reacts with the pavement to form a bond that prevents ice from sticking. Ice-Clear is 100 percent organic and noncorrosive. Also, Ice Melt by Earth Friendly Products is both animal- and eco-friendly salt.

Buy Seasonal Produce

When you buy vegetables and fruit out of season, not only are they being shipped longer distances, burning more fuel than usual to get to your grocer, but they also ripen during transport instead of being picked ripe. Season-appropriate produce requires less energy for transport, is less expensive and often tastes better. According to healthyeating.org, eating fresh fruits and vegetables provides the body with more nutrients, easier digestion and a boost to the immune system. Examples of produce in season from October through the winter months includes apples, pears, beets, pumpkins, cranberries, blackberries, cabbage, celery, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflowers, potatoes, beans, winter squash, sprouts, leeks and spinach. I’m sure you can find something you love in this list!

Buy Eco-Friendly Clothes

Have you considered buying organic clothing? Organic clothing may be good for the environment. Chemicals used in the process of making clothes can damage the environment through run-off water after heavy rains, which poisons lakes and rivers. According to the Organic Consumers Association, cotton growers around the world often use liberal amounts of insecticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers to grow the cotton. Seven of the top 15 pesticides used on U.S. cotton crops are potential or known carcinogens. Organic cotton apparel may also help reduce allergies and respiratory problems. So when you load up on warmer cotton clothes this season, consider choosing organic cotton. In the winter, wool, hemp or fleece are greener fabrics that will still keep you warm. Wool is a natural product, unlike many synthetic materials that won’t biodegrade. It is durable, which creates less waste since it will last longer.

Carpool If Possible

It’s no secret that winter is harsh on both humans and vehicles. If you know people who are taking the same route every day, consider carpooling to save on gas expenses and wear-and-tear on your car. Consider starting a driving rotation with three or four people to lighten your load. Even carpooling once or twice a week can save money and help the environment. If one person is driving, split the cost of gas between the other passengers. Not only are you and the others minimizing your carbon footprint, but you may feel safer and get a sense of security from having partners to ride with in the event of a weather-related problem. Driving in the winter can be stressful at times. On days when you don’t need to drive, you can relax, read or just take it easy during the commute for a change.

Information sourced from https://www.quickenloans.com/blog/six-must-read-green-tips-to-use-in-winter

Twelve “Greens” of Christmas for Holiday Hosts

We Wish You a Green Christmas!Whether you’re hosting Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day brunch or a holiday open house, our tips can help you make help make the season bright…and a little greener too!

  1. Simplify the day. Celebrate being with those you love. Don’t overdo the cooking – and savor whatever you make. Linger over dessert, play games, watch football or a favorite movie, take a walk. Revive special traditions from the past and create new ones you can turn to next Christmas and other holidays in the future.
  2. Use the good dishes and cloth napkins. Disposable dishes and plastic utensils create a ton of waste. If reusable won’t work, choose disposable plates, cups, napkins and utensils made from 100 percent post-consumer waste recycled paper, sugarcane and corn—they are compostable, too.
  3. Decorate with boughs and berries. Head out to your yard with a pair of shears and find tree branches, bush stems loaded with berries, flowers whose seed heads have dried on the stem, and flowering grasses to fill tall vases or holiday baskets.
  4. Let there be light. Illuminate your table with candles of varying heights and widths.
  5. Serve locally grown food. Even in colder, northern climates, farmers markets are still selling locally grown greens, potatoes, apples, pears, spices, breads, and cheeses.
  6. Offer organic beverages. From apple cider to wine and beer, you have plenty of organic drinks to offer your family and friends.
  7. Eat all the food you make. Send guests home with leftovers in glass jars rather than wrapped in plastic or aluminum foil. Freeze leftovers in easily re-heatable portions.
  8. Use reuseables. Serve your meal on cloth tablecloths and napkins, accompanied by “real” silverware and plates. Worried about cleaning up after a large crowd? Let everyone pitch in – that’s half the fun!
  9. Simmer cinnamon. Roasting vegetables and baking pies should infuse your home with delicious holiday aromas. For even more fragrant smells, simmer a few sticks of cinnamon and a few cloves of allspice on the stove. Dab a few drops of pine oil or other favorite fragrance on stones or pinecones that are part of your centerpiece.
  10. Prepare less food. Everybody feels compelled to make a huge meal and prepare numerous courses. This year, if you’re serving turkey, choose a smaller bird and skip some of the less-popular dishes to reduce food waste.
  11. Turn down the heat. If all your holiday cooking doesn’t heat up your house, your guests will. Turn your thermostat down 3-5 degrees – no one will notice the difference.
  12. Recycle and compost. Keep a bin handy for glass, plastic and paper trash you can recycle rather than toss. Make soup from vegetable peelings, leftover meat and bones. Picked-over vegetables can be composted, though remaining meat and bones will need to be thrown away.

Compiled by the Green Committee at St. Anne’s

America Recycles

St. Anne’s Retirement Community’s Mission Committee and Green Team Committee

would like to thank you for all that you do through recycling

and conserving resources at St. Anne’s and at home

 for our Mission of Healing Earth, Healing Lives.

 

America Recycles Day, a Keep America Beautiful national initiative, is the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. Each year, on and in the weeks leading into Nov.15, thousands of communities across the country participate by promoting environmental citizenship and taking action to increase and improve recycling in America.

This America Recycles Day, November 15, EPA recognizes our nation’s progress on recycling, which has contributed to American prosperity. The recycling rate has more than tripled over the last 30 years to the current rate of 35 percent, and this steady growth has created jobs and wages for Americans, and has supported community development. For example, according to our most recent data, recycling and reuse activities in the United States created 757,000 jobs and produced $36 billion in wages in a single year.

There is opportunity for even greater contribution, as the most recent data shows that materials worth $9 billion are thrown away each year. As we celebrate the 21st anniversary of America Recycles Day, the EPA encourages every American to recycle more and trash less to minimize environmental effects, create jobs and strengthen the economy.

Green tips for the office:

    • Instead of printing hard copies of your documents, save them to your hard drive or email them to yourself to save paper.
    • Make your printer environmentally friendly. Change your printer settings to make double-sided pages. Use small point fonts when possible and use the “fast draft” setting when possible to save ink.
    • Pay your bills via e-billing programs when possible to save paper.
    • Use paperclips (over staples) when possible.
    • Reuse envelopes with metal clasps and reuse file folders by sticking a new label over the previous one.

 

 

 

Green Tips for Fall

Leap into Autumn on the Front Sign at St. Anne'sAs the leaves begin to change colors and the weather is (finally) cool and crisp, here are twenty tips for fall from the Green Committee at St. Anne’s! 

Outside Your Home:

  1. Check the air pressure in your tires. Cooler temperatures lower tire pressure and that, in turn, lowers fuel efficiency. Test your tires and make sure they are properly inflated.
  2. Examine your roof for any missing or damaged tiles or shingles.
  3. Clean the roof gutters and make sure downspouts are pointed away from the house.
  4. Consider installing a rain barrel to direct the water from downspouts to where it’s most needed instead of draining into one spot.
  5. Bring in any houseplants that have spent the summer outdoors. They’ll help clean the air indoors.
  6. Rake your leaves instead of using a “blower”.
    • Use the leaves as mulch to protect plants throughout the winter.
    • Add leaves to a compost pile to use throughout the year.

Inside Your Home:

  1. Clean and test the furnace.
    Did you know? Your furnace collects all kinds of dust and debris, which not only affects its performance, but could cause a fire. Before you really need the heat, get out your owner’s manual for instructions on how to clean it. If you have a gas furnace, have it professionally inspected once a year.
  2. Move furniture or any obstructions away from vents, baseboard heaters, registers on the floor or radiators to allow air to move freely.  This is also a good time to vacuum these areas to remove any dust or debris.
    Tip for Homes with Radiators:  Place a reflecting panel behind it – either purchase one at a home center or make one yourself with a plywood panel and aluminum foil.
  3. Remove window air conditioners for the winter. If they can’t be removed, seal them with caulking or tape and cover them with an airtight, insulated jacket.
  4. Give your refrigerator some TLC:
    • Vacuum the refrigerator coils to keep the compressor running efficiently.
    • Verify the refrigerator is level (the door should automatically swing shut instead of staying open).
    • Check the seal on the door by closing it on a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill out easily, it’s time to replace the gaskets.
    • Throw away old food contents and don’t over-fill your refrigerator. Allowing room for cool air to circulate will keep everything at the right temperature and help it run more efficiently.
  5. Don’t leave your dryer out to dry:
    • Clean the ducts and area behind the dryer.
    • Empty the lint catcher after each use, and every once in a while, give the filter a good wash.
  6. Ensure your windows and doors are ready for the cold weather!
    • Check windows for proper caulking. If you have single-pane windows, add storm windows. Even a plastic film over windows will reduce heat loss.
    • Examine doors for adequate weather stripping and replace as necessary. If drafts sneak in under exterior doors, replace the threshold or block the drafts with a rolled-up towel or blanket.
  7. Electrical outlets, especially on outside walls, and light fixtures are prime places for cold air to leak into your home. Add foam gaskets behind covers and switch plates and use safety plugs in unused outlets. **Remember to shut off the power at the fuse box or circuit panel before working with covers and switch plates!**
  8. Install foam covers over outside water spigots to prevent freezing.
  9. Check for water leaks both inside and outside your home.
  10. Wrap the water heater in an insulating blanket.
  11. If you have a ceiling fan, reverse the direction for cold weather:
    • Fans should run in a clockwise direction in the fall and winter to push the air up against the ceiling and down the walls. By doing this, the fan gently re-circulates the warm air without creating a cooling “wind chill effect.”
    • HINT:  Stand under the fan and if you feel a breeze, reverse the direction so that air is being drawn upwards. 
  12. Do you have a fireplace? This is a good time to have the chimney cleaned and vent systems checked.
  13. If your home has no sidewall insulation, place heavy furniture like bookshelves, armoires and sofas along exterior walls, and use decorative quilts as wall hangings to help block cold air.
  14. Before packing away those summer clothes, go through them and determine which items to keep, which items to repurpose into something else (cleaning rags, craft projects, etc.) and which to donate.


Tips compiled from reducefootprints.blogspot.com by The Green Committee at St. Anne’s

The Elephant in the Room

Annie the elephant is in our lobby to remind families that they are not alone in dealing with aging, the elephant in the room.Retirement living is one thing, but moving to retirement community living is quite another. The subject can generate a lot of resistance – the “elephant in the room.”

The elephant in the room points to an issue that is not being addressed. The elephant in the room is a hard subject that is easier to avoid.

Aging: The Elephant in the Room

As it turns out, in the matter of aging, there is a huge elephant in the room. We at St Anne’s call that elephant “Annie,” and she is so common that many, if not most of you reading this, already know what is meant:

  • Aging parents, relatives and friends who are unable to recognize their own situation.
  • Loved ones, otherwise responsible people, who are unable or unwilling to take personal responsibility for their aging.

Pro-active aging or pro-aging is to anticipate and plan for the “next step” of life. It is a measure of personal maturity and, in pro-aging families, there is little or no Annie in the room. However, we are living in a time when people are living longer than in previous generations and the responsible thing to do is often met with resistance…even though the answer is obvious to most everyone: the elephant in the room.

We must respect the resistance of our loved ones, even as we must do what needs to be done. We must seek understanding, and where that is not possible, seek counsel regarding best care guidelines.

The decision is not easy and often not black or white…it’s gray, just like an elephant.

How to Manage the Elephant in the Room

St. Anne’s Retirement Community understands the elephant in the room. Every day, families seeking a safe home environment for relatives come to our door and see Annie, our elephant who stands seven feet tall. Her friendly expression brings smiles to faces and serves as a reminder that we are not alone in dealing with Annie, the elephant in the room.

How to Approach the Elephant in the Room:

  • Do not avoid Annie, as it only makes the outcome more averse to all.
  • Gather all parties and make a plan of care for your loved ones.
  • Include your loved ones in every step of the process.
  • Meet with an expert to help facilitate a difficult conversation and make sure you are clearly seeing the options.

 

St. Anne’s Retirement Community promotes proactive aging by encouraging and facilitating conversations about Annie, the elephant in the room. To meet with our Admissions team and discuss plans for you or a loved one’s future, please call 717-285-5443.

Helping in the Community, One Lunch at a Time

Dan fills cups with soup during the Brown Bag Lunch program at St. Anne's Church.When it comes “community,” the care and compassion one finds at St. Anne’s Retirement Community reaches far beyond our doors along Columbia Avenue. Over the past four years, our Catholic-Centered senior living community has been involved in the Brown Bag Lunch program at St. Anne’s Catholic Church.

Located in Downtown Lancaster, St. Anne’s Catholic Church distributes lunches, free of charge, to community members in need. The Brown Bag Lunch program serves approximately 80 to 120 individuals, Monday through Friday, with the help of countless volunteers from organizations throughout Lancaster County.

“The program is utilized by people who are down on their luck. Volunteers don’t ask questions and the recipients are very respectful and thankful for the meal,” says Dan Lytle, who coordinates St. Anne’s Retirement Community’s involvement in the program.

Four times a year, volunteers from St. Anne’s Retirement Community roll up their sleeves to help with the Brown Bag Lunch program on the last Friday of each quarter. Meals are packed in the retirement community’s kitchen by a crew of employees, Residents and Sisters of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ on Thursday for distribution on Friday. When Dan Lytle asks for help with preparing the lunches, the response from the retirement community is so great, he usually has to turn away volunteers.

Deb and Amanda hand out brown bag lunches with a smile at St. Anne's Church.“I enjoy packing the lunches because so many people here want to help do it. There is love, a lot of love, packed into each of those brown bags. I am always amazed at all the people who want to pitch in,” says Dan of the Residents, Employees and Sisters who volunteer to help with the program.

St. Anne’s Retirement Community takes pride in providing its Residents with compassionate
care, and participation in the Brown Bag Lunch program as an extension of that mission. As for our Employees, Residents and Sisters who assist with preparing and distributing the meals, they too feel special to be a part of it.

The Brown Bag Lunch Program offers an afternoon meal to local residents in need on weekdays at St. Anne’s Catholic Church on Duke Street in Downtown Lancaster from 11:30AM to 1:00PM. For more information about the program, visit http://stannechurch.org and select “Brown Bag Lunch” under the Outreach menu.

New Friends for Kids at Schreiber Circle of Friends Academy

Courtesy of Schreiber Pediatric
Loretta, a 100-year-old Resident from St. Anne's and a Schreiber volunteer, plays with Charlotte during an afternoon at Circle of Friends Academy.

Alice “Skip” Steudler sat in the middle of a circle of toddlers leading them through musical games.

Over with the preschool-age kids, Betty Kuhn watched in one corner as a boy sprawled out on the floor with dozens of toy cars. Next to them, Joe Finger and his little buddy Grayson Pavlichko worked on pictures they were painting together. Several kids lined up to talk with Loretta Drolet about their little toy animals.

And out on the playground, Leon Hutton tended to a pile of sticks that served as a make-believe fire.

The unusual thing about these volunteers? They are all at least 79 years old. Skip is the youngster of the group. And the oldest? That’s Loretta, who turned 100 in August.
They come from St. Anne’s Retirement Community in West Hempfield Township, and their visits are coordinated by Hope Long, activity director at St. Anne’s.

All of the St. Anne’s volunteers are parents and grandparents, and they all said they enjoy the visits to Schreiber because they like being around the kids.

Leon, another St. Anne's volunteer, keeps an eye on kids as they play with a pretend fire on the playground.Loretta was impressed by how smart the kids are. She recalled one of the children showed her the little animals she had been playing with.

“I said, ‘That’s a doggie.’ And she said, ‘It’s a Dalmatian,'” Loretta said.
Her friends from St. Anne’s are just as impressed with Loretta.

“When I expanded our volunteer base,” Hope said, “I knew Loretta would be perfect. She’s kind and gentle. I knew she would be a good fit.”

“Loretta is my inspiration,” said Leon, who is still basking in the glow of recently being named St. Anne’s King of Hearts for 2017. “I thought if she can do this, I can do it, too.”

Leon admitted he needed a little bit of inspiration in the past year. His wife, Irene, passed away in January of 2016. They had been married 62 years.

“The time at Schreiber has been therapy for me,” he said. “When a person comes out of themselves and gives time, there’s nothing better.”

That’s exactly the kind of reaction Christina Kalyan hoped for when she introduced the program about a year ago. Christina is director of Circle of Friends. She said she thought the kids and the St. Anne’s folks could all benefit from getting together.

“There are a lot of families that don’t have a grandparent figure in their life,” Christina said. “And I wanted to offer (the seniors) a chance to get up and move around and do something that might add a little more meaning to their lives.”

The initial group was made up of a half dozen or so St. Anne’s Residents who have come over once a month (missing occasionally because of weather or schedule). Hope has brought in more Residents for the visits, and she and Christina both said they’d like to add a second visit each month.

Joe and Grayson have developed a special bond during their time together at Circle of Friends. Joe is one of a half-dozen Residents from St. Anne's who volunteer at Schreiber.“Our Residents love helping others and still have a strong desire to be needed and useful,” Hope said. “Schreiber is the perfect opportunity to allow this to happen. It really is a wonderful partnership and allows everyone the freedom to be who they are with no judgments or expectations from either group. It warms my heart to know that the universal language of love knows no age barrier! We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the Schreiber family.”

Back in the preschool-age room, Joe and Grayson had finished their paintings, exchanged them and gave each other a hug. These two formed a special bond from Joe’s first visit. Grayson is more than happy to sit on Joe’s lap and just hang out. And Joe’s gruff exterior crumbles away when he talks about his young friend.

“When we see each other and I leave, he makes me cry,” Joe said.

No, this is definitely not your typical volunteer group.

Originally published on February 28, 2017 on schreiberpediatric.org.

Fraud Against Seniors:
Turn “Why Me?” into “Not Me!”

St. Anne’s Retirement Community

Money doesn’t grow on trees. After years of building up bank accounts and investment funds, why let hard earned money fall into the hands of deceptive criminals?

Why are Seniors a Likely Target for Fraud?

While fraud can affect people of all ages, seniors are often a prime and common target. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, older Americans are more likely to be a victim of fraud for the five reasons:

  1. Senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home, and/or to have excellent credit—all of which make them attractive to con artists.
  2. People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say “no” or just hang up the telephone.
  3. Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they don’t know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed, or don’t know they have been scammed. Elderly victims may not report crimes, for example, because they are concerned that relatives may think the victims no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their own financial affairs.
  4. When an elderly victim does report the crime, they often make poor witnesses. Con artists know the effects of age on memory, and they are counting on elderly victims not being able to supply enough detailed information to investigators. In addition, the victims’ realization that they have been swindled may take weeks—or more likely, months—after contact with the fraudster. This extended time frame makes it even more difficult to remember details from the events.
  5. Senior citizens are more interested in and susceptible to products promising increased cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer properties, and so on. In a country where new cures and vaccinations for old diseases have given every American hope for a long and fruitful life, it is not so unbelievable that the con artists’ products can do what they claim

10 Ways Seniors Can Prevent Fraud

Fraud comes in many different forms and through different channels. Whether it’s by phone, online or in-person, there are ways to decrease your chances of being scammed. Here are a few common tips to help avoid falling victim to this crime.

  1. Create strong passwords for online accounts containing capital and lower case letter as well as numbers and symbols.
    • TIP: A great way to develop and REMEMBER such a password is tying it to a sentence, for example: “My daughter Judy was born in 1960” would translate to the password “MdJwbi1960”.
  2. Do not open emails from people you don’t know. Beware of emails with generic subjects like “Hi” or “Hello”, or no subject at all.
  3. Never trust a call or letter claiming you’ve won a lottery, contest or drawing if you have to:
    • Pay a fee upfront to claim your prize.
    • Deposit a check for more than you’ve won and wire the difference.
  4. Think twice before wiring money to any source as it is nearly impossible to ever get the funds back.
  5. Ask questions if you receive a call from a “family member” in need of emergency funds.
    • A true family member or relative would be able to answer questions about other family members or traditions. If the caller can’t answer your questions correctly, hang up!
    • Offer to call the “family member” back and use a phone number YOU have on file. DO NOT USE the number the caller provides to you.
  6. If you’ve purchased an item from an online source, like Craigslist or internet yard sales, and agree to meet in person, consider using the parking lot of your local police station to exchange money for goods.
  7. Never give personal information (social security number, date of birth, account numbers, PIN numbers, etc.) over the phone or on the internet unless you initiated the call and know how the information will be used.
    *If you gave out information to such a source, contact your financial institution immediately.
  8. Avoid using public WiFi with a shared or unsecured password to transmit personal information because it can easily be intercepted by fraudsters.
  9. Do your RESEARCH!
    • Example 1: IRS Scams
      • If you receive a call from the IRS claiming you owe money, HANG UP and visit the IRS’ website for notices about current scams from IRS imposters.
      • According to the IRS website (www.irs.gov), “The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment, nor will call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill. In addition, the IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue.”
    • Example 2: Contest Scams
      • If you’ve won a contest you don’t remember entering, contact the church or organization sponsoring it for more information. It is also helpful to search online for articles regarding the validity of similar calls in your area or nationwide.
  10. Call someone you trust for advice!
    • Example: If your grandson calls for emergency funds, contact his parents before sending any money, providing account information, etc.

Fraud can rear its ugly head at any time and impacts people of all ages. From telephone scams to online hoaxes, it’s important to understand the types of fraud impacting your local community and scams occurring nationwide.

A good rule of thumb is NEVER respond to unexpected requests for money or personal information, and contact someone you trust when fraud knocks on your door.

You’ve built your nest egg, and now it’s time to enjoy it! After all, you earned it.

Tips on Downsizing for Retirement

Empty cardboard box for downsizingWinter is here, and with it comes cold weather causing you to spend more hours indoors than out. Rather than let Old Man Winter give you the blues, use your time inside free up space and begin to downsize for retirement.

While scaling down may seem like a daunting task, there are many obvious places to start, like spare closets, garages and extra bedrooms. Sort through items carefully to identify family mementos to pass onto younger generations and things that can be donated to charity or thrown away. Where ever and whenever you begin, keep one goal in mind – downsize, downsize, downsize!

Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:

Kitchen Appliances – If you haven’t ground your own coffee beans, squeezed your own citrus juice or made your own pasta in years, it’s time to take back the cabinet space. You can also eliminate serving dishes, extra plates, etc. to make room for a smaller kitchen in a retirement community.

Entertainment Equipment – In a small apartment or cottage, you may not have room for large entertainment centers or old, large televisions. Scale back the furniture on which your television set is displayed and watch for store promotions in the fall and winter if you wish to purchase a more compact, better quality and lighter weight TV.

Outdoor Furniture – If you enjoy spending time outside, there’s no reason to stop doing it when you’re retired! Look for ways to reduce the size or amount of your patio furniture, because chances are, the space in a retirement community will be smaller than in a residential development. If you need to buy new furniture, wait until the end of the summer for reduced prices on patio sets.

Bedroom Furniture – Most retirement communities offer one or two bedroom residences. Consider donating furniture from additional bedrooms that don’t have nostalgic value. In addition, consider keeping smaller pieces over larger ones in the event that your new bedroom(s) are smaller than in your current home.

Holiday Decorations – As you celebrate holidays throughout the year, donate any decorations you haven’t used or those to which you have no sentimental attachment. In addition, you can eliminate items in storage by decorating for the season instead of specific holidays – i.e. winter themed décor vs. Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day.

Outdoor Maintenance Equipment – Many times, retirement communities will handle the lawn care, snow removal and general landscaping for Residents. So, you won’t need equipment like lawn mowers, snow blowers or leaf blowers, etc.

Childhood Memorabilia – If you’ve been storing artwork, prom dresses, bridesmaid gowns and other items created or used by your grown children, it’s time to talk to them about taking the things they want to keep and donating the rest to charity.

Clothing – If you haven’t worn an article of clothing in the past year, free up the space by donating or consigning it! A popular way to determine unnecessary clothing is to turn the hangers backward in your closet, and at the end of the season, anything that is not facing the correct way can be eliminated from your wardrobe.

Old Documents – If you have a filing cabinet full of documents over a decade old, consider cleaning out. Look up recommended time periods for retaining certain items like tax filings, medical bills, etc. and shred anything with personal information like social security numbers or account numbers.

As you approach retirement, it’s important to not only understand the financial aspects, but to be prepared to embark on the journey itself. If you plan to move into a retirement community like St. Anne’s, downsizing is essential and tackling it early can help minimize the stress of doing it at an older age, completing it within a short timeline or leaving it to your children, relatives or friends in the future. The task might even take you on an unexpected and enjoyable trip down Memory Lane.

Good luck and happy downsizing!

Resolve to Get Involved in 2017

Entrance to St. Anne's and Doorway to Gift ShopThe New Year is often a time we reflect on the past year and set expectations for the twelve months ahead of us. Gym memberships, a fresh pair of sneakers, a scenic neighborhood route to walk or run, or a promise to be thankful for the things around you are a great way to focus on a healthier, happier YOU in 2017.

As you look for ways to make positive changes in your life, consider how you can use your time and talent to impact the lives of others.

New Year’s Resolution:
Make Others Smile and Enjoy Doing It

At St. Anne’s Retirement Community, our Residents come from a variety of diverse backgrounds, and chances are, you share something in common with some of them! Whether it’s walking a Resident to daily mass, accompanying a Resident to one of our many campus activities, chatting about current events, sharing an artistic talent or exploring a future profession, St. Anne’s has a variety of volunteer opportunities for people of all ages as well as scout troops and other organized groups. We also need friendly people who love to shop or have retail experience to volunteer in our great Gift Shop!

So, if you enjoy casual conversations with seniors who have experiences they would love to share, consider volunteering at St. Anne’s Retirement Community. As a volunteer, you’ll see firsthand how a little time (and sometimes even a little work) pays off…in friendly smiles and warm handshakes from our Residents.

For more information about volunteer opportunities, call 717-285-5443717-285-5443.

Download Your Volunteer Application Here.