The quiet blessing of grief that never ends

This writer finds beauty in the pain she feels over the loss of her sister

By Jill Smolowe for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

In the almost seven years since I laid my husband to rest, followed barely a year later by the loss of my sister and mother, I’ve developed an appreciation for just how unpredictable and, well, amazing grief can be.

I’m not talking about the period of hollowing when the shock and fog of loss clouds every thought and informs every waking (and perhaps sleeping) moment. No, I’m talking about the grief that comes after that. After the deceased loved one’s absence is no longer a constant presence. After the acute ache subsides and then, unthinkably, stills. After life moves forward, opening new melancholy-free vistas that trace no connection to the departed.

The grief I’m referring to lays claim to no stage and holds no hope of being put behind. Even on the happiest days, it lies patiently in wait for some quirk of logic to unleash it. A scent. A song. A glimpse of an almost-familiar face. Suddenly — whap! — you’re puddled in a heap, sobbing and thinking, WhatTheWhatThe.

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The 5 exercises you should do every day

Improve your range of motion and balance in less than 10 minutes

By Rashelle Brown for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Balance and mobility training can benefit us at any age, but it becomes more important as you reach and pass the age of 50.

Maintaining joint range of motion allows you to move naturally and helps to combat the postural problems that cause neck, back, shoulder and hip pain.

Far from only preventing stumbles and falls, balance training is extremely important for everyone because it makes us better at every physical thing we do. Having a keen sense of proprioception (the sense of where your body is in space) makes all movement more efficient. When combined with fluid joints that allow for a full range of motion, this puts you at your functional best.

Here’s a short sequence of five exercises you can do every day to improve and maintain your balance and mobility. Done in a slow, controlled fashion, you can finish the whole workout in under 10 minutes:

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Finding love in a senior living community

Add romance to what single older adults look for when seeking housing

By Kimberley Fowler for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

There are many reasons older adults move into a senior living community, but is looking for love one of them?

Burdett Stilwell has been working with older adults for many years and, and as sales and marketing director of Somerby of Mobile,  she has had the pleasure of developing friendships with the many residents of this Somerby Senior Living home in Alabama. She’s up-to-date on who is dating whom. When it comes to relationships, Stilwell says, the Somerby people she knows fall into two categories: those who are interested and those who have “been there, done that.”

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Dance your way to wellness

Dancersize_1-2Did you know May is National Senior Fitness Month? Here at Aberdeen Village, we celebrate fitness all year long!

Assisted Living dancersize class is not only is a great exercise activity but it’s a fun time! Rachel Esau is our Life Enrichment Lead Assistant and has been holding dancersize classes for four years. It started out small but has grown and usually sees a group of 10 or more residents.

Dancersize is a combination of movements involving the whole body to the favorites from long ago. The residents use a variety of props from ribbons to plastic eggs to small poles.

One of our residents, Becky Bright, has attended the class since it started four years ago. She admits that she loves the music. It takes her back to some wonderful memories, but she also sees the advantages of the exercises. Best of all, she enjoys Rachel and how lively she is and her interaction with everyone who attends.

Wellness is important to our residents. We recently had a wellness clinic where our very own therapy team, Aegis Therapy, did cognitive testing, grip strength and agility/coordination testing.  Many of our residents have understood the importance of wellness and continue to be involved in our different wellness activities such as water fitness, morning exercises, our walking trails and our fitness center.

Don’t ignore these facts about sunscreen

5 ways to apply it right and help avoid skin cancer

By Sheryl Kraft for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

The sun’s power is undeniable: The largest object in our solar system, it contains approximately 99.9 percent of the total solar system mass. Its interior could hold more than 1.3 million Earths. The sun provides for our very life. But this 4.5 billion-year-old star also has the power to kill.

Melanoma, the most dangerous and potentially lethal form of skin cancer, is caused most often by intense UV rays of the sun, and its rates have been rising for at least 30 years. About 73,870 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the U.S in 2015, and approximately 9,940 people are expected to die, according to the American Cancer Society.

The typical victim? On average, a person is 62 when the cancer appears. The risk of melanoma increases as we age.

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The health benefits of pets for older adults

They reduce blood pressure, help us get exercise and brighten our outlook

By Ronni Gordon for Next Avenue

Caption: Bridget Irving and her Yorkshire Terrier, Ben

When Lynette Whiteman’s youngest child went to college, Whiteman went out and got a second dog that she calls “my empty nest dog.” She wanted someone else to care for, “who loves me non-judgmentally and doesn’t mind if I’m gaining weight or getting gray.”

Whiteman may get home from work tired, but the 60-year-old resident of Toms River, N.J., says the dogs stare at her until she puts their leashes on. She walks them and always feels good afterwards.

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10 ways to turn your finances around in 2017

How advisers say you can do it without a lot of effort

By Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell for Next Avenue


Credit: Getty Images

Did you resolve to save more for retirement this year, become debt-free or put cash aside for a bucket-list trip? We’re more than a month into the new year, but there’s still plenty of time to turn your finances around in 2017.

Next Avenue spoke with a few noted money experts for their suggestions. Here are 10 recommendations:

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5 tips for disorganized taxpayers

How experts say you can avoid the mad scramble at tax time

By Rosie Wolf Williams for Next Avenue


Tax season is here and it may be causing you agita. Rifling through drawers for your 2016 tax paperwork; sorting a flood of receipts to qualify for write-offs; printing out assorted bank, brokerage and mutual fund statements and on and on.

Don’t hide under the covers. Instead, follow these five organization strategies from tax advisers to get your taxes together once and for all:

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4 money moves for a happier retirement

Advice from a writer who just combed through the latest retirement surveys

By Bart Astor for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

How do pre-retirees and retirees feel about retirement these days? Glad you asked.

Since this is “National Retirement Planning Week” (dreamed up by 40-odd financial industry and advocacy groups), a passel of retirement surveys have just been released. I’ve read them — so you don’t have to — and here are the highlights and four action steps to take based on the findings.

Interestingly, the results are somewhat contradictory.

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Celebrating service

April is National Volunteer Month, and we have many volunteers right here at Aberdeen Village to celebrate! While we’d love to highlight them all, we’d like to call out Mary Lou Niebling and Gib Hart, two residents who demonstrate what it means to have a heart for serving others.

Mary Lou-2Mary Lou Niebling

She enjoyed working at Aberdeen Village as a nurse in our assisted living community so much, Mary Lou Niebling decided to move here in 2003. She brought with her an extensive background in service and volunteerism. She worked many years in the medical field and also gave her time in service at Village Presbyterian Church, singing in the choir and working in the food pantry. Right off the bat, she started a recycling program when she arrived here, and she was also on the resident council for several years. She plays piano during Vespers and serves at the Library as well as on the Spiritual Life Committee. She’s a resident ambassador and leads aquatic aerobics on Saturdays.
“My parents were avid volunteers, so it comes naturally to me,” said Mary Lou. “Volunteerism helps me get to know people; it’s a ready-made group of friends, intellectually challenging and keeps me mentally sharper.”

Gib Hart 1-2Gib Hart

Much like Mary Lou, Gib experienced service in a professional setting before moving to Aberdeen Village. He served in the Army Special Training Program in 1943, then went on to get his Aeronautical Engineering degree from KU in 1947. He eventually began his own industrial pipefitting company, from which he retired. He moved to Aberdeen Village in 2001 and has given of his time freely and joyfully. His volunteer experiences have included Meals on Wheels, the Village Church food pantry, and serving as a Bingo caller, resident council member and package deliverer.

He’s also had an opportunity to utilize one of his hobbies to serve others.
“I’ve been a model train enthusiast my whole life and now run the holiday train every Christmas season at Aberdeen,” said Gib. “I have to say, though, that the Village Church Food Pantry was the most fulfilling of volunteer opportunities because there was such a need and you seemed to do such good for people. Volunteering is important to me because of the satisfaction in knowing you can help someone enjoy their life just a little bit more.”

Join us in thanking Mary Lou, Gib and all of our volunteers for all that they’ve done and continue to do for Aberdeen Village.